Aging with HIV: What we know and what you can do


Untitled-1In the early years of the epidemic, there were few who thought that we would ever focus on HIV and aging. In fact, many providers are still not facing the massive change in the age of people with HIV and the challenges that come with it.

Although we are seeing new HIV infections in people over 50, the main reason for the rising number of older adults with HIV is better HIV medications. In 1985, a 20-year-old with AIDS might expect to live only to age 22. Today, that 20-year-old can look forward to an almost normal lifespan. This year, half of those living with HIV in the U.S. will be over 50. By 2020, that number may rise to 70%.

But HIV is not the only health issue these older adults face. Research shows that people with HIV have an increased risk of many illnesses associated with aging. These conditions, including heart disease, cancers, kidney disease, osteoporosis, and others, are occurring more often and sometimes earlier than expected. Also, mental health conditions like depression are common among those with HIV.

Continue reading.

Few gay teenage boys get tested for HIV


teensThe greatest barriers to these teenage males getting tested are not knowing where to go to get an HIV test, worries about being recognized at a testing site and—to a lesser degree—thinking they are invincible and won’t get infected.

“Understanding the barriers to testing provides critical information for intervening, so we can help young men get tested,” said study first author Gregory Phillips II, a research assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an investigator for the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program at Feinberg.

“Rates of new HIV infections continue to increase among young gay and bisexual men,” said Brian Mustanski, principal investigator of the study, an associate professor of medical social sciences at Feinberg and director of IMPACT. “Testing is critical because it can help those who are positive receive lifesaving medical care. Effective treatment can also help prevent them from transmitting the virus to others.”

The study will be published Aug. 26 in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Continue reading.

“I didn’t think he looked like he had HIV, he was so f***ing hot!”


naked men togetherHot sessions are part of any good sex life but sometimes they can put us at risk. But you can take control of what happens next, writes David Crawford.

Stories of HIV exposure have common threads. Recently I met Tyler, a young man in his early 20s struggling with a HIV diagnosis from a month ago. After his long term relationship had ended, to relieve some of the emotional sting, he started going out drinking and “fucking around”. He met Brandon*, a guy in his late 20s. After a few hook-ups, they started seeing each other more regularly and always used condoms. One night after Brandon had cum and pulled out, they realised the condom had broken. They talked. Brandon’s most recent test of six months ago was negative. Tyler knew his own most recent result was negative and this was his first significant risk since re-entering the meat market. Based on these discussions, they decided to keep on having sex without a condom.

A few months later Tyler got sick with severe flu-like symptoms, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting so bad, he said, “I thought I was going to die”. “This was my HIV sero-conversion illness,” he said. “I was surprised as I didn’t think he looked like he had HIV, he was so fucking hot!”

Continue reading.

HIV/AIDS still holds a powerful stigma


Indiana was hit with an outbreak of HIV/AIDS this spring, and it got a lot of attention because it is so exceptional.

Our perception of HIV/AIDS has changed since the disease emerged in the early 1980s. There are all kinds of treatments and resources — things that simply didn’t exist when the epidemic began.

In the U.S., an estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV, according to the CDC. New infections are down from the peak in the 1980s, but the epidemic is nowhere near over. HIV/AIDS has affected millions of people around the world. In this country, gay men have been hardest hit.

Today on For the Record: HIV then and now. Two survivors, from two different generations, tell their stories. Click the audio link on this page to listen to the full conversation.

7 ways the community is failing our youth on HIV

From the

gay youthAt a passing glance, it would seem as if gay men in America were on top of their game. After all, gay characters are more visible in the media than ever, public opposition to homosexuality has drifted into minority status, and same-sex marriage isn’t just a geographical privilege, but a national right.

But while the mainstream status of the young gay man has drastically improved, the status of his sexual health isn’t looking so good. A new research analysis organized by the Strategic Multisite Initiative for the Identification, Linkage and Engagement in Care of HIV infected youth (SMILE) reported that young people ages 13 to 24 now account for a quarter of new HIV infections, with only 7 percent of youth in the study reaching undetectable viral levels after diagnosis. This number, which is far below the national undetectable average of 30 percent, gives insight as to why HIV infection is up 132.5 percent among young gay men in the same age range over the past decade.

This stain on the gay rights report card demonstrates a glaring omission in our advocacy work. While we have been teaching young gay men the importance of business, family, and law, sexual health has been all but omitted from the curriculum.

In honor of the 7 percent, here are seven ways we are failing young gay men in America.

HIV prevention pill a tough sell among Latinos


“It hasn’t really hit the Latino community yet,” Jesse Hinostroza, an HIV prevention specialist with AltaMed health clinics, says while sitting at a table with a bowl of condoms and a stack of bilingual pamphlets about the pill. “They aren’t educated about it.” In California, New York, Texas and elsewhere, health workers are trying to get more high-risk Latino men to use the drug, Truvada. AltaMed’s efforts are being paid for by Gilead, the pharmaceutical company that makes Truvada.

The medication, which is used for “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” or PrEP, was approved by the FDA in 2012 for HIV prevention and has been shown to be more than 90 percent effective when used correctly. But health workers are encountering barriers among Latinos. Those barriers include a lack of knowledge about the drug, and the stigmas attached to sleeping with men and to perceived promiscuity. Many Latinos also have concerns about costs and side effects.

Read the full article.