Few gay teenage boys get tested for HIV

From Medicalpress.com

Few gay teens tested for HIVThe 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!”

from gaynewsnetwork.com

He looked too hot to have HIVHot 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

From NPR.org

Indiana was hit with an outbreak of HIV/AIDS this spring, and it got a lot of attention because it is so stigma still related to HIV/AIDSexceptional.

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 Advocate.com

community failing 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

From NPR.org

“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.

Updated HIV/AIDS strategy and amfAR releases report

From OUT online

Last week the White House released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States updated through the year 2020. It’s vision statement read: “The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare, and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.”

The five-year plan discusses steps that are necessary to take across different facets of the HIV/AIDS topic, including reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care for those infected and improving health outcomes for them, reducing HIV-related disparities and health inequities, and achieving a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic.

To accompany the strategy, the American Foundation for AIDS Research released a report commending the amount of coordinated efforts to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the federal level, but admits that to be successful, the same thing has to happen on a state level.

The foundation gave recommendations for the states so they can improve their HIV prevention and care, and align with the vision set out by the national strategy. “The burden of HIV, and the responses to it, varies across states due to a number of social, political, and economic factors,” said Jeffrey S. Crowley, Program Director of the National HIV/AIDS Initiative at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law in a release. “But we have found that if states focus on a handful of priority action steps and implement them successfully, they can begin to close critical gaps and dramatically accelerate progress toward ending their HIV epidemics.”

Continue reading.