National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

National Latino AIDS Awarness DayOctober 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. Coordinated by the Latino Commission on AIDS, this day encourages Latino  communities to take action against HIV. This year’s theme,You and I Will Defeat AIDS (Tu y Yo Vamos a Derrotar al SIDA), is a call to action to work together to end the spread of HIV. It asks each of us to learn and share the facts about HIV, get tested, and stay in medical care if we are living with HIV.

And for good reason.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the results of a recent study that confirms Latinos are diagnosed with HIV at a rate three times that of whites.

The report was featured in a recent issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Based on data from 2008 to 2013 on HIV diagnoses in the U.S. (and six “U.S. dependent areas” including Puerto Rico), the CDC concluded that although HIV infection rates went down for adult and adolescent Latinos overall, they increased three percent among Latino males who have sex with men. The rate of diagnosis—18.7 per 100,000—was nearly three times that of whites (6.6 per 100,000).

To find out more about National Latino AIDS Awarness Day, go to You can find free HIV testing near  you by searching by zip code at (Espanol)

Grindr, Scruff profiles now advertising use of PrEP

profiles advertise PrEPFrom the

Guys on Grindr and Scruff — two of the most popular gay hookup apps — recently started seeing profiles advertising the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year recommended for gay and bisexual men at substantial risk for contracting HIV.

Jason Marchant, chief product officer of Scruff and one of the app’s founding partners, tells The Advocate he’s been on PrEP for two years and has listed it on his Scruff profile for over a year and a half. Marchant’s username is “Jason Scruff [PrEP].” Such is the way many Scruff users advertise their PrEP usage; including it in their usernames or in their written profile descriptions. But Scruff is about to make it easier to advertise PrEP adherence or find other users.

“Scruff 5, which will be launching on iOS devices in the next few weeks, will have two new profile metadata fields,” Marchant says. “One of them is sexual practices like top, bottom, versatile, oral, fetish, no sex, stuff like that. The second one is for safer sex practices like condoms, PrEP, and treatment as prevention.”

Read the full article.

To find out more about PrEP, check out the PrEP page on this Website.

‘Undetectable’ a new identity for gay men diagnosed with HIV


Achieving an undetectable viral load is a key milestone in the period after diagnosis with HIV, qualitative interviews with Canadian gay men suggest. Men incorporated knowledge of their own undetectable status into their identities as HIV-positive gay men and their sexual decision making, according to a study published in the August issue of AIDS Education and Prevention. Being undetectable helped many men feel ‘responsible’ and ‘normal’.

The findings come from in-depth, qualitative interviews with 25 gay men diagnosed with HIV in British Columbia, Canada between 2009 and 2012. All had acquired HIV less than a year before their diagnosis and half had been diagnosed with acute (very recent) infection. Up to four interviews were done, in order to see how experiences changed during the year after diagnosis.

Interviewees typically reported a period of sexual abstinence immediately after being diagnosed with HIV. During this period of adjustment, many men had no sex drive. Avoiding HIV transmission was a major concern for many, including this man:

“First of all, I killed my sex life. I was like, you know, I don’t want to infect anyone, I don’t want to take the risk and I don’t want to disclose, so the way of not doing is just not having sex.”

When participants did start to have sex again, they found themselves in an altered sexual landscape, facing new scenarios, challenges and possibilities. Faced with the difficulty of talking about having HIV with new partners, some sought out other HIV-positive men. Others avoided anal sex, even with condoms.

Learning that one’s viral load was undetectable could open up new possibilities:

“I didn’t play around when I was not sure… if I was undetectable or not. I didn’t play. They [sexual partners] would be open to it, but I didn’t want… Personally I didn’t feel comfortable, so I didn’t play until I was undetectable.”

Read the full article.

Awareness of treatment’s impact on transmission is transforming the lives of couples of mixed HIV status


A greater understanding of the impact of HIV treatment on prevention is changing the experience of being in a relationship with a partner of a different HIV status, according to a qualitative Australian study published last week in the Sociology of Health and Illness. A biomedical intervention appears to be having unexpected effects – loosening the association of serodiscordant relationships with ‘risk’ and helping couples to experience their relationships as normal and safe.

Asha Persson of the University of New South Wales reports that people’s views about treatment as prevention have changed significantly in recent years. She previously researched the topic in 2009, soon after the ‘Swiss Statement’ was issued. At that time, people in a relationship with a partner of a different HIV status often expressed scepticism or uncertainty about the idea that HIV treatment could make a person non-infectious. They did not always see the relevance of the information to their own lives.

But in her more recent interviews, conducted in 2013 and 2014, couples readily discussed the implications of having an undetectable viral load. HIV treatment appears to be transforming the social and sexual lives of people living with HIV and their partners.

The research specifically focuses on so-called ‘serodiscordant couples’, in other words those in which one person has HIV and the other does not. The public health literature on serodiscordant relationships typically focuses on the risk of HIV transmission and tends to see such a relationship as inherently problematic. In contrast, Persson found that her interviewees wanted to stress how normal and positive their relationships were, with HIV being seen as ‘no big deal’.

Read the full article on

Lambda Legal launches “Know Your Rights: HIV”


On September 28, 2015, Lambda Legal launched the newest section of its Know Your Rights information hub. “Know Your Rights: HIV” provides information for people living with HIV people on topics such as disclosure and discrimination in housing, healthcare and employment.

Justice“Based on calls to our Legal Help Desk, people living with HIV still face, even in 2015, continued discrimination rooted in ignorance, unfounded fear, misconceptions and outdated science,” said Scott Schoettes, Senior Attorney and HIV Project National Director.

“When denied access to health care or fired from a job because they have HIV, people living with HIV will be able to turn to the “Know Your Rights: HIV” hub to provide much-needed information to help access and navigate the resources and protections that are available. This resource helps to further educate the public and end the stigma and discrimination that people with HIV encounter. Such stigma and discrimination hinder efforts to combat the epidemic.”

Launched the day after the 2015 National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the “Know Your Rights: HIV” hub provides a wide range of information about the rights of all people living with HIV, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Though Lambda Legal is primarily an LGBT organization, our mission with respect to HIV covers all people living with HIV, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Kyle Palazzolo, HIV Project Staff Attorney. “We believe everyone living with HIV will find this information useful, and we hope that even more people will call our Legal Help Desk when seeking guidance.”

Read more.

Increasing levels of engagement with care is key to controlling HIV epidemic in US


engagement with care key to controlling HIVTest-and-treat’ is unlikely to be an effective strategy to control the HIV epidemic in the United States without improvements in retention in care, investigators argue in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. A mathematical model suggested that without interventions to address poor levels of engagement in HIV care, there could be as many as 1.39 million new HIV infections in the US over the next 20 years, at a cost of $256 billion. Targeting testing and linkage would only prevent 21% of these new infections. But a package of interventions comprising testing, linkage and retention in care would prevent over half of the projected new infections, reduce AIDS-related mortality by almost two-thirds and be cost effective.

“To alter the course of the HIV epidemic in the United States, strategies of ‘test and treat’ alone may be insufficient; attention to the full continuum of care will be essential,” comment the authors.

United States guidelines recommend expanded HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy at any CD4 count as strategies to reduce rates of AIDS-related deaths and HIV transmissions. However, this approach may not be as effective as hoped. Recent research has shown that there is significant attrition at each stage of the HIV care continuum in the US. Up to a fifth of HIV-infected individuals are undiagnosed; 20% of recently diagnosed patients are not linked to care within 90 days; 54% of patients are not retained in care; only 30% of diagnosed patients have an undetectable viral load.

Continue reading.

Gonorrhea rising among gay and bi men


gonorrhea on the rise according to the CDCDiagnoses of gonorrhea among men who have sex with men are apparently rising in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers, in order to determine demographic information, interviewed a random sample of individuals diagnosed with the sexually transmitted infection (STI) in 12 areas across the country between 2010 and 2013. The researchers then used census and Gallup opinion polling data to estimate the respective sizes of the U.S. MSM, heterosexual male, and female populations by age group at the state, county and city levels.

In 2010, there were an estimated 1,169.7 diagnoses of gonorrhea per 100,000 MSM. In other words, about 1.17 percent of MSM contracted the STI that year. This rate rose 26 percent in three years, hitting 1,474.4 diagnoses per 100,000 MSM, or 1.47 percent, in 2013. Looking at MSM according to age bracket, those between 25 and 29 years of age  had the highest diagnosis rate: 3,400 per 100,000, or 3.4 percent.

During the study period, gonorrhea diagnosis rate among MSM was between 10.7 and 13.9 times higher than that of women or heterosexual men. While the researchers speculate that the rising gonorrhea rates may be indicative of a national trend, they caution that the data in this study is not nationally representative.

Read the full article.