Latest HIV vaccine doesn’t work; NIH halts study

From Seattlepi.com

The latest bad news in the hunt for an AIDS vaccine: The government halted a large U.S. study on Thursday [April 18, 2013] , saying the experimental shots aren’t preventing HIV infection. Nor did the shots reduce the amount of the AIDS virus in the blood when people who’d been vaccinated later became infected, the National Institutes of Health said.

“It’s disappointing,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. But, “there was important information gained from this” study that will help determine what to try next.

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/

Gay social app creators give attention to health and social issue

From the Huffington Post

by 

Nowadays there seems to be a mobile app for everything, including dating.

Long before my last breakup, I deleted Grindr, a smartphone app that is a household name in most gay circles, from my phone. Call me old-fashioned, but I wanted to meet people face-to-face. I found it creepy that the application pinpointed my exact location and told perfect strangers how close I was to them, and there was something seedy about texting headless torsos on my little phone’s screen. Even when I was bored, I thought that Grindr simply lacked the kind of fun and sophistication that piqued my interest. Moreover, I had long given up on dating sites such as Adam4Adam, Manhunt and even Gay.com; they’d started to have the feel of a bathhouse or a seedy bar. I decided that there simply was not a market in online dating for those who wanted to meet decent people to chat with.

Was I the last gay man on Earth who did not want to hook up? I was parched for conversation with other gay men. Sure, I have a sexual appetite, but I do draw a line sometime. And then, like a ray of sunshine, a friend suggested that I look into Hornet. “I only have it because I’m bored, but it is pretty awesome and a little like Facebook,” said my friend.

After incredulously scolding my friend for using a what I thought was a gay hookup app while in a relationship, I downloaded it. Incredibly, Hornet was different right off the bat. Not only was the interface user-friendly, but users can literally search the world for someone to talk to and not pay a dime for the service. People were using the app to address social issues like knowing one’s HIV status. I was intrigued.

Read the rest of the article on the Huffingon Post Website.

April 10th is National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day

nyhaadcolorlogoNational Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is a day to educate the public about the impact of HIV and AIDS on young people as well as highlight the amazing work young people are doing across the country to fight the HIV & AIDS epidemic.

Today’s young people are the first generation who have never known a world without HIV and AIDS. In the United States, one in four new HIV infections is among youth ages 13 to 24. Every month 1,000 young people are infected with HIV and over 76,400 young people are currently living with HIV across the country. While there has been much talk about an AIDS-Free Generation, we know that is not possible without our nation’s youth. Young people and their allies are determined to end this epidemic once and for all and this day is a way to acknowledge the great work young people are already engaging in to do so.

National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day will be celebrated all across the country. There will be events hosted by various organizations and individuals in high schools, colleges, churches, community centers and more! There also will be opportunities for online participation.

To find out more about the National Youth HIV & AIDS Awarness Day, check out amplifyyourvoice.org

Screening of “You Are Not Alone” – depression and Black gay men

Not aloneThe Washington, DC Public Library and DBGM present You Are Not Alone. You Are Not Alone is a documentary in which Black gay men are breaking a taboo and speaking out about their depression, how they coped and survived. This event is free and open to public.

When: Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 1:00 PM Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (901 G Street, NW, Washington, DC)

There will be a post-screening Q&A/discussion. To RSVP, please contact Turner Freeman either via phone at 202-727-1295 or via email at turner.freeman@dc.gov

CDC expands Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign™, launches Spanish version

From AIDS.gov

spanish campaignThis month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded the national HIV awareness and anti-stigma campaign, Let’s Stop HIV Together, including the launch of a Spanish-language version of the campaign, Detengamos Juntos el VIH. The campaign now includes new participants, more materials in both Spanish and English, and HIV awareness and testing information in Spanish through the new website. Campaign materials are available on the CDC’s Act Against AIDS website. New English materials available on the campaign website include:

  • PSA for TV featuring Jamar Rogers from NBC’s The Voice
  • 4 personal video stories
  • 15 campaign posters
  • Brochure

New Spanish materials on the Spanish-language version of the Act Against AIDS website include:

  • Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for radio and TV
  • 3 personal video stories
  • 12 campaign posters
  • Brochure and palm card

Expanded meningococcal vaccination recommendation to MSM who have traveled to NYC

From GLMA:

On March 25, 2013, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) expanded a recommendation issued earlier in March by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) regarding meningococcal vaccinations for men who have sex with men (MSM). These meningococcal vaccine recommendations have been issued in response to an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in New York City.

Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection of the bloodstream. Common symptoms include high fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck, and a rash. Symptoms may occur two to 10 days after exposure, but usually within five days. Since 2010, 22 men residing in NYC and one man who resides outside the City, but spent significant time there, have become ill in this outbreak, seven have died.

The recommendation by DOH has been expanded to include MSM residing outside NYC who have traveled to the city and engaged in the risk behaviors described below since September 1, 2012.

The following groups were identified by NYCDOHMH as being at highest risk of IMD and are being advised to obtain a quadravalent meningococcal vaccination:

• All HIV-infected MSM
• MSM, regardless of HIV status, who regularly have close or intimate sexual contact with men met through an online website, digital     application (“app”) or at a bar or party. (Previously, meningococcal vaccination was recommended only for those with contact in certain high risk areas in New York City.)

More information about the meningococcal disease outbreak among at-risk men is available here. Contact your health care provider or local department of health if you need to be vaccinated.

IMPACT in Atlanta takes a mental health approach in fighting HIV

positiveimpact-body-3-29-13From the gavoice.com

The list of drugs David Bedsole has abused reads like a greatest hits of the gay club scene: Ecstasy, GHB and crystal meth. Bedsole, age 50, says drugs became a problem for him not even three years ago, in August 2010, but it didn’t take long before his life came apart. “Meth brought me to my knees,” he admits.

For James Carmichael, age 42 and also gay, the struggle with substance abuse began much earlier, at only 17. After abusing heroin, cocaine and crack, he hit rock bottom. “[I was] losing myself spiritually, mentally, [facing] homelessness and wanting to live a better way of life,” he says.

Pearl, a 29-year-old transgender woman who did not want her full name used, dates her problems with marijuana back to 2000. She, too, found herself at a turning point.

In addition to struggling with substance abuse, Bedsole, Carmichael and Pearl are all HIV-positive. And all three found help and hope at Positive Impact, the HIV mental health agency celebrating its 20th anniversary with a week of events in April. Founded in 1993, Positive Impact served 135 clients in its first year. Last year, it served more than 5,500. The agency launched its substance abuse treatment program after achieving state licensure in December 2008. Leaders felt they needed to fill the void left by the closure of Our Common Welfare, which was the area’s only drug treatment program specifically focused on people with HIV.

Called simply IMPACT, the program is licensed by the state to provide intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment. It compliments Positive Impact’s host of other services, which include counseling for individuals and groups; psychiatric services, free HIV testing; education and empowerment programs; the MISTER Center, a drop-in center for gay and bisexual men; and more.

To read the full article, go to the gavoice.com.

To find out more about Positive Impact in Atlanta, you can visit their Website.