Text for Testing – Finding free HIV testing just got easier

Text for Testing is a program created by the Pitt Men’s Study and the Pennsylvania Prevention Project, at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health. It was designed to make free HIV testing more accessible to residents of Pennsylvania. By texting “PAtest” to 41411, smart phone users can connect to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention database that lists free testing clinics throughout the state. You can then search by zip code to find the location nearest you.

Many of the clinics provide free rapid oral testing too—which means no needles and you get your results while you wait. For more information about Text for Testing, contact the Pitt Men’s Study by sending a message to PMS@stophiv.pitt.edu.

Real Talk About AIDS in Gay America

From the Huffington Post…

By Amber Hall, Executive Producer for SiriusXM OutQ

There are many reasons that AIDS isn’t on the front pages or in the forefront of our minds every day. As a community, we’re well aware of the medical advances and treatment options. We can calculate our risk factors. We know how to prevent transmission, and the importance of safe sex, or at least we think we do.

Bottom line: we don’t see our friends and lovers dying on a daily basis, and that means the immediacy of action and protection for many is less important while the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS remains high, a dangerous combination. Moreover, there is an entirely new generation of gay and bi men who never experienced that immediacy and for whom HIV was never a big deal.

Perhaps that’s why in a 2011 national public opinion survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 8 in 10 Americans say they heard little or nothing about HIV/AIDS in the last year, and public concern about HIV/AIDS has fallen steadily over the years, including among those most heavily affected. And according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 5 gay and bisexual men (19 percent) in 21 major U.S. cities today are HIV-positive — and nearly half of those who are infected (44 percent) don’t know it. It’s clear that attention needs to be paid, and I’m proud to say that Sirius XM OutQ is strengthening its commitment to covering issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.

On Saturday, March 17, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. EDT, Sirius XM OutQ will air the first installment of SpeakOUT: Real Talk About AIDS in Gay America. The show will be co-hosted by Larry Flick, host of OutQ’s The Morning Jolt, and Dr. Frank Spinelli, M.D., author of The Advocate Guide to Gay Men’s Health and Wellness. The first show will focus on the politics of mating — relationships and HIV — tackling such issues as how to ask a partner to get tested and use condoms, and how to disclose your status to a new partner. It will also explore the effects of Grindr and other popular social networking sites on HIV/AIDS among gay and bi men.

To read the full story, go to Huffington Post Gay Voices.

“Game changer” in fight against HIV?

From Fenway Health

Press Release: Analysis examines biomedical prevention technology to be reviewed by U.S. Food and Drug Administration by June 15, 2012

Pre-exposure chemoprophylaxis (PrEP) —taking antiretroviral medications to prevent HIV transmission—could be a “game changer” for HIV prevention, according to an analysis released by The Fenway Institute.

PrEP has demonstrated partial efficacy with men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexuals in several recent studies. Recent modeling of PrEP implementation coupled with scaled up treatment predicts that PrEP could significantly reduce HIV incidence and prevalence. If PrEP is accompanied by sustained care, behavioral interventions, and safety monitoring, PrEP need not lead to increased sexual risk behavior or drug resistance.

“PrEP has the potential to dramatically reduce HIV incidence among gay men, heterosexual women and men, and other populations,” said Sean Cahill, Director of Health Policy Research at The Fenway Institute and author of the report. “We look forward to action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization this year to make PrEP available to those most vulnerable to HIV. PrEP could prove an invaluable new tool in the fight against HIV.”

To read the full press release go to Fenway Health online.