From the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force…
WHAT: To observe the 28th World AIDS Day, The MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center (MAAETC), based at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, will collaborate with UPMC and local HIV/AIDS clinics to host an all-day educational event. The World AIDS Day 2016 conference will bring together experts in the field of HIV to enable physicians, nurses and other HIV care providers to improve care. Experts will discuss prevention including PreP, aging and HIV, antiretroviral treatment, and substance use and HIV. To learn more or register, visit https://www.maaetc.org/events/view/8202.
From the New York Daily News…
Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases an annual report of a national overview of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The report for 2015 was not encouraging at all. In fact, it was quite discouraging as such STDs as chlamydia and gonorrhea were at an all-time high, including higher rates of syphilis.
Sexually transmitted diseases are typically not discussed in polite conversation. But the less they are talked about, the more of a hidden epidemic they are becoming.
We need to realize that anyone who has sex — oral, anal or vaginal intercourse and genital touching — can get an STD. It doesn’t matter whether you are straight, married, single or gay, everyone is at risk.
From LGBT Weekly…
The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund and the National Coalition for LGBT Health have published a new guide on health issues important to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. Released in advance of the 2016 presidential election, the “10 Key LGBTQ Health Advocacy Priorities Guide” is intended to educate voters on LGBTQ health priorities the two organizations will continue to focus on during the next administration.
“This new guide is like no other as it outlines critical healthcare issues through an intersectional approach. It takes into consideration the realities that make up the everyday lives of LGBTQ people, such as racial injustice, economic injustice, gender inequality, and immigration status,” said Candace Bond-Theriault, Policy Counsel for Reproductive Rights, Health and Justice at the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund.“We believe that in order to improve the lives and health of all LGBTQ people, a clear understating that these issues overlap is necessary.”
The guide lists the following ten key areas as priorities: advocating for reproductive health, rights and justice; creating an AIDS-free generation, promoting HIV harm reduction, and increasing access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP); expanding public education and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI) and sexually transmitted diseases (STD); supporting LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness; improving transgender healthcare; addressing religious exemptions and nondiscrimination laws; promoting LGBTQ cultural competency; improving access to mental health; expanding access to affordable health care; and ending violence against LGBTQ people. The guide is available online on the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund and the National Coalition for LGBT Health’s Web sites.
“We collectively identified, prioritized and defined the issues that effect the LGBT community so that this information can be helpful in looking at how elected officials address these issues,” said Brian Hujdich, Executive Director of the National Coalition for LGBT Health. “The guide empowers LGBTQ individuals to have an impact on the health and wellbeing of our community
through voting and having their voices heard on Election Day this November 8th.”
Both organizations will host workshops, trainings, and informational sessions on these priority health advocacy issues during the 2017 Creating Change Conference Jan. 18-22 and SYNChronicity 2017: the National Conference on HIV, HCV, and LGBT Health, set for April 24-25.
From the Pittsburgh Trib Review…
A recently completed $1 million renovation and expansion of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force in East Liberty has made Sean DeYoung’s vision a reality.
The project, which took about a year to complete and included a medical clinic expansion, is a step toward PATF’s goal to transition to a fully integrated medical and social-service care organization for people with HIV.
“I’m a social worker, and that’s where the social work field is moving,” said DeYoung, the AIDS Task Force CEO who came aboard last year. “Research has shown that people who can receive all of their medical and social services in one place are much more likely to get the comprehensive level of care they need.”
The population served by PATF has unique challenges in addition to living with HIV/AIDS, DeYoung said.
“Ninety-eight percent of our client base is below the poverty line,” he said, “so they may also face housing challenges and job challenges, which is a huge problem. If you’re worried about getting evicted or not having a place to stay, you’re not going to be worried about taking your medication like you’re supposed to or coming to see your doctor when you need to.”
The renovated PATF center, unveiled at a ribbon-cutting last Tuesday, offers a food pantry, an on-site pharmacy, legal aid, programs for medical case management and federal housing assistance. It also offers an adherence program designed to help patients who struggle to remember to take their medications through personalized texts or phone calls.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has taken the unprecedented step of producing a music video Exit Disclaimer to educate gay men about the many HIV prevention options available to them, and it is foot-stomping fabulous.
By Mark S. King, Mark S. King, HIV positive activist and writer, MyFabulousDisease.com
From Rolling Stone online…
When Truvada was introduced four years ago as a way to prevent HIV, public health leaders didn’t welcome the drug with open arms. The head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation panned the once-daily pill as a “party drug.” Other health officials claimed that taking Truvada would cause a wave of wild unprotected sex. Even members of the LGBTQ community parroted the criticism, with one gay journalist (regretfully) labeling some users “Truvada whores.”
But the last four years has seen a shift in attitude. More and more Americans are embracing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the HIV prevention method that requires a daily dose of Truvada to reduce viral risk. And more and more prescriptions are being written for the antiretroviral drug. While PrEP is growing in popularity, a new study out of the University of California released last month suggests that the populations most at risk of HIV infection are not the ones benefitting from the prevention strategy.
In a survey of gay and bisexual men in California, only a handful of participants reported having taken PrEP. PrEP use was highest among young white men, at 13.9 percent. For young Latino men, that figure was cut by more than half, while young black men represented less than 10 percent of people who started PrEP.
“This is not reflective of the HIV epidemic at all,” says Shannon Weber, founder of Please PrEP Me, an online directory of over 230 clinics in California that provide PrEP. “It is reflective about access, and where and how people are getting that information.”