PositivelyFrisky.com on LogoTV’s Positive Youth

PositiveFrisky.com, a social network for HIV+ men, featured on LogoTV’s ‘Positive Youth’ Documentary

Press release from LogoTV:

HIV+ Gay Men, confronting a common stigma, once found themselves socially isolated from the broader community. It is hard to make new friends and connections when the general public doesn’t understand the true nature of their affliction.

Seeing a great need for change, LogoTV featured PositivelyFrisky.com in their new documentary ‘Positive Youth,’ which shines light on the hopeful reality of living HIV+ in 2012. Refusing to let the virus win, four inspirational HIV infected or affected young men and women interviewed in the film offer a raw, uncensored look into their daily lives: receiving an HIV diagnosis, positive/negative dating, the truth about medication and gaining the realization that life is not over and there is a future.

PositivelyFrisky.com – a community specifically constructed for HIV+ members in the English speaking world (e.g., Ireland, U.K., U.S., South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada) – is featured as a new place on the WWW proving to be a source of new friendships and emotional support for people who confront the daily ups and downs of living with HIV. The social network was deployed by Friend Factory – a niche social networking firm that has constructed and deployed communities for the wheelchair users, Latino and Deaf communities.

Where HIV+ people were previously restricted to making friends in and about their local communities or within organizations for their advocacy, PositivelyFrisky.com allows these individuals to span oceans.

‘Positive Youth’ airs on LogoTV on Tuesday, June 19th and is currently available to stream online at LogoTV.com.

Media Contact
Austin Head

HIV medical providers need to talk about sex with their patients

From the the AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC) Website:

Taking responsibility for preventing HIV transmission is an important concern for most people with HIV, as well as for their health care providers. Multiple studies have shown that one third to three fourths of HIV medical providers do not ask their patients about sexual behavior or drug use. However, many HIV-infected individuals report that they want to discuss prevention with their health care providers. Each patient visit presents an opportunity to provide effective prevention interventions, even in busy clinical settings.

It is clear that information alone, especially on subjects such as sexual activity and drug use, cannot be expected to change patients’ behavior. However, health care providers can help patients understand the transmission risk of certain types of behavior and help patients establish personal prevention strategies (sometimes based on a harm-reduction approach) for themselves and their partners. Some patients may have difficulty adhering to their safer sex goals. In these cases, referrals to mental health clinicians or other professional resources such as prevention case management may be helpful.

Patient-education needs are variable and must be customized. Providers must assess the individual patient’s current level of knowledge as part of developing a prevention plan. All the information that a patient needs cannot be covered during a single visit. A patient’s prevention strategy should be reinforced and refined at each visit with the clinician. Clinicians also should ask patients questions to determine life changes (e.g., a new relationship, a breakup, or loss of a job) that may affect the patient’s sexual or substance use practices. If the patient can read well, printed material can be given to reinforce education in key areas, but it cannot replace a direct conversation with the clinician.

Find out more on the AETC Website.

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month

From the CDC Website:

Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can become chronic, life-long infections which can lead to liver cancer. Millions of Americans are living with chronic viral hepatitis, and many do not know they are infected. CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis is leading a  national education initiative called Know More: Hepatitis.  The initiative aims to decrease the burden of  chronic viral hepatitis by increasing awareness about this hidden epidemic and  encouraging people who may be chronically infected to get tested.

Online Hepatitis  Risk Assessment

Know More Hepatitis is being featured in May as part of Hepatitis  Awareness Month.  This year, May 19th  will serve as the first ever Hepatitis Testing Day in the United States. Since chronic  hepatitis often does not cause any symptoms until serious liver damage has been  done, testing for hepatitis is crucial. Find out if you should be tested by taking a 5 minute  online Hepatitis  Risk Assessment.

The  online assessment is designed to determine an individual’s risk for viral  hepatitis and asks questions based upon CDC’s guidelines for testing and  vaccination.  The Hepatitis Risk  Assessment allows individuals to answer questions privately, either in their  home or in a health care setting, and print their recommendations to discuss  with their doctor.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website for the full story.

Oral HIV test approved for home use

From AIDSmeds.com

Orasure’s oral swab-based rapid in-home HIV test has been recommended for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Blood Products Advisory Committee. If the FDA follows its advisory committee’s recommendation, the Oraquick In-Home HIV Test will be the first complete home-based screening assay for any infectious disease available for purchase over-the-counter (OTC) from pharmacies and internet retailers.

The advisory committee voted unanimously, 17-0, in favor of the test upon being asked two questions: Do the available clinical trial results provide reasonable assurance that the test is safe and effective? And, importantly, do the benefits of in-home HIV testing outweigh the potential risks, notably false negative and false positive results?

The particulars of the second question were hotly discussed throughout the May 15 meeting in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Of concern to the FDA presenters and advisory committee panelists is the test’s reduced sensitivity—its effectiveness at screening for HIV antibodies in those infected with the virus—compared with the professional oral swab OraQuick assay.

However, even with reduced sensitivity, Elliott Cowan, PhD, of the FDA acknowledged, the in-home HIV test is anticipated to have a net public health benefit. “The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is expected to be associated with a net increase in the number of HIV infections newly identified each year,” he said, “with evidence of new infections averted with use of the test.”

Read the full article on AIDSmeds.com.

“Truvada” moves toward FDA approval for HIV prevention

From the LA Times:

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that Gilead Sciences’ Truvada appears to be safe and effective for HIV prevention. It concluded that taking the pill daily could spare users “infection with a serious and life-threatening illness that requires lifelong treatment.”

On Thursday, a panel of FDA advisors will vote on whether Truvada should be approved as a preventive treatment for people who are at high risk of contracting the human immunodeficiency virus through sexual intercourse. The FDA is not required to follow the advice of its panels, but usually does.

An estimated 1.2 million Americans have HIV, which attacks the immune system and, unless treated with antiviral drugs, develops into AIDS, a fatal condition in which the body cannot fight off infections. If Truvada is approved, it would be a major breakthrough in the 30-year campaign against the AIDS epidemic. No other drugs have been proven to prevent HIV and a vaccine is believed to be decades away.

Gilead Sciences Inc., based in Foster City, Calif., has marketed Truvada since 2004 as a treatment for people who are infected with the virus. The medication is a combination of two older HIV drugs, Emtriva and Viread. Doctors usually prescribe the medications as part of a drug cocktail that makes it harder for the virus to reproduce. Patients with low viral levels have reduced symptoms and are far less likely to develop AIDS.

Researchers first reported in 2010 that Truvada could prevent people from contracting HIV. A three-year study found that daily doses cut the risk of infection in healthy gay and bisexual men by 44%, when accompanied by condoms and counseling. Another study found that Truvada reduced infection by 75% in heterosexual couples in which one partner was infected with HIV and the other was not.

Read the full article on the LA Times Website.