Study links homophobia with gay and bisexual men not seeking HIV-prevention and testing services

A Yale University study of 38 European countries’ attitudes about homosexuality has uncovered homophobia was associated with gay and bisexual men not seeking HIV-prevention services, HIV testing, and disclosing their orientation to doctors.   The authors believed their study highlighted a dangerous trend: One where men who live in more homophobic countries were not only becoming less knowledgeable about HIV treatment, prevention, and resources, but also that this demographic seemingly had more opportunities for sexual activity through “hook-up” mobile applications and websites, a Yale University statement pointed out.

For their study published in the June 19 issue of AIDS, investigators used data from the European MSM Internet Survey (EMIS), a questionnaire that delved into gay and bisexual participants’ HIV-related knowledge, behaviors, and healthcare use.

Continue reading on hcplive.com.

AIDSVu releases updated interactive online maps

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Click on the map to go to AIDSVu interactive online maps

AIDSVu releases its annual interactive online maps that show HIV prevalence data for 34 highly-impacted U.S. cities, including for the first time Birmingham, AL, updated state- and county-level prevalence data, and year-by-year new diagnosis data for 2008 to 2013. HIV testing and treatment locator maps include, for the first time, housing opportunities for persons with AIDS, and also show NIH-funded HIV prevention, vaccine and treatment trials locations.

 

 

HIV testing ad causes controversy

From OUT.com

An ad for FreeHIVTest.net that appeared earlier this spring has caused controversy in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other areas where it has appeared on billboards and on public transportation kiosks. In the “white” version, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s ad features a gay couple in bed, covered only by a sheet and looking ashamed of what they’ve just done. A blond man clutches his pillow and looks suspiciously over the shoulder of the other man who appears to be almost catatonic. Above them, written in big letters is, “Trust Him?”

 

trusthim_gayaa_1094x335After the campaign launched this spring in Los Angeles, it’s been slated to appear in Oakland, California; Washington, D.C.; Columbus, Ohio; and Broward County, Florida. In a press release, AHF president Michael Weinstein explained:

“In today’s tabloid culture when it can seem that the game called ‘Life’ should be more appropriately tiled ‘Lies,’ the old adage holds true now more than ever, ‘It’s better to be safe than sorry.’ While infidelity is nothing new, the level of risk in contracting STDS from bed-hopping partners is at an all-time high. We want to remind couples that STDs linger around much longer than a wandering eye and that secret sexual experiences can often produce much more than what one bargained for.”

For some, it’s just a cautionary PSA about the realities of HIV and the importance of getting tested. For others, it’s been seen as a scare tactic to shame people out of having sex and demonize people with HIV — and many have spoofed the ads.

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Human Rights Campaign (HRC) publishes updated guide to practicing safer sex

Press release from the HRC

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, in collaboration with Whitman-Walker Heath (WWH), released an updated guide to practicing safer sex that includes essential tips to minimize the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The guide, “Safer Sex,” an updated version of the first edition released five years ago, is written for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, covering topics ranging from basic facts about HIV and STIs, and the importance of practicing safer sex, to the role of new HIV prevention regimens including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or “PrEP.”

The pocket-sized publication is the latest collaboration between the HRC Foundation and WWH, building on their shared commitment to securing the health and well-being of LGBT people in the nation’s capital and beyond.

“It’s a fact that many LGBT people don’t see themselves, or their relationships, discussed in mainstream sexual health resources,” said Jay Brown, the HRC Foundation’s Director of Research and Public Education. “With rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections on the rise among young people and in communities of color, HRC and Whitman-Walker remain committed to providing crucial health and wellness information in a way that is medically accurate, culturally competent, and judgement-free.”

Read more on the HRC Website.

HIV risk among young gay, bi men tied to societal issues

From Reuters Health

Participants were recruited from the New York City area between 2009 and 2011 and were 18 or 19 when they entered the study. At that point they were all HIV-negative. Over the next three years, 43 participants became infected with HIV. About a third of black, Hispanic and mixed or other race participants became HIV-positive during the study, compared to about 7 percent of white participants. People who described themselves as being in low to average social and economic groups were more likely to become HIV-positive than those in higher socioeconomic groups.

Also, the authors found, young age at first sexual experience with another male was tied to an increased risk of becoming HIV-positive, compared to a first encounter at an older age. “The bigger point here is that it’s just too simplistic to (blame) everything on race,” Halkitis said. “We’re trying to get at the reason that’s happening. This paper starts to point to it.”

The researchers point out that social and economic status is closely tied to race in the U.S. People with lower social and economic status likely live in areas with more poverty, less access to healthcare and more untreated sexually transmitted infections (STI), they write. They also point out that young gay and bisexual men may not be properly educated about STIs, and their heterosexual parents may not be equipped to educate on those topics.

“I think that one way we can begin to address this issue is through comprehensive sexual health education,” said Jason Coleman, an expert on HIV and STI prevention at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Read the full article.

Social apps back in the news after Rhode Island study notes alarming rise of STDs

From Latinos Health

In the report by the Rhode Island Department of Health, researchers highlighted the alarming rise of STD’s in the state between 2013 and 2014, with HIV infections up by 33 percent, gonorrhea up 30 percent, and syphilis rising an alarming 79 percent.

“New cases of HIV and syphilis continued to increase among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men at a faster rate than in other populations,” the report noted, adding that “infection rates of all STDs continued to have a greater impact on the African-American, Hispanic, and young adult populations.”

While better testing partly explains the increase, health officials also highlighted “high-risk behaviors that have become more common in recent years,” such as “using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters.”

Read the full article.

H.I.V. treatment should start at diagnosis, U.S. health officials say

From the New York Times

People with H.I.V. should be put on antiretroviral drugs as soon as they learn they are infected, federal health officials said Wednesday as they announced that they were halting the largest ever clinical trial of early treatment because its benefits were already so clear.

The study was stopped more than a year early because preliminary data already showed that those who got treatment immediately were 53 percent less likely to die during the trial or develop AIDS or a serious illness than those who waited.

The study is strong evidence that early treatment saves more lives, the officials said. Fewer than 14 million of the estimated 35 million people infected with H.I.V. around the world are on treatment now, according to U.N.AIDS, the United Nations AIDS-fighting agency. In the United States, only about 450,000 of the estimated 1.2 million with H.I.V. are on treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is another incentive to seek out testing and start therapy early, because you will benefit,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, which sponsored the trial. “The sooner, the better.”

Continue reading on the New York Times.