Professor Matt G. Mutchler examines HIV prevention with focus on communication among young Black gay and bisexual men

From csudhnews.com

Professor of sociology Matt G. Mutchler’s research over the past 20 years into HIV prevention and treatment issues, especially within the African American community, has garnered him more than 15 external research awards and respect as an expert in the field. In addition to serving as a faculty member at California State University, Dominguez Hills, he is currently a visiting professor with the Center for AIDS Prevention and Study at University of California, San Francisco, and director of community-based research with AIDS Project Los Angeles.

Mutchler’s more recent work addresses sexual communication among African-American gay and bisexual males and their close friends, and other sexual health issues related to gay men. He also investigates HIV treatment adherence programs.

Mutchler brings his expertise in community-based research to the CSUDH’s Urban Community Research Center (UCRC), where he serves as director. The multi-disciplinary, sociology-based applied research center focuses on the needs, problems and solutions that arise in urban areas. The center also offers CSUDH students hand-on research experience as they collaborate with CSUDH faculty, and a number of governmental, community-based, and university/research institutions, such as AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), Charles R. Drew University, Spectrum, REACH LA, and the RAND Corporation.

Mutchler recently shared insights about his studies and findings, the challenges and rewards of conducting his research within the African American community, and his latest work.

Read the interview with Professor Mutchler on csudhnews.com.

 

Six things you need to know for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

From thebody.com

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, observed every year on February 7, is a good time to remind the general public of the racial disparities in HIV infection that persist in the United States. Year after year, African-Americans continue to shoulder the heaviest burden of HIV.

Greg Millett (Credit: amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research)

Greg Millett (Credit: amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research)

“If you don’t have access to healthcare and you’re HIV-positive, you’re less likely to be on medication or virally suppressed, and therefore more likely to transmit HIV,” said amfAR vice president and director of public policy Greg Millett. “We also have to do a better job of reducing HIV stigma because it keeps people from being tested for HIV, and it keeps people who are HIV-positive from seeking care because they’re afraid they’ll be discriminated against. And that is what continues to fuel the epidemic.”

According to Millett, to effectively address the racial disparities in the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S., we need to continue raising awareness about how HIV disproportionately affects the black community, urge our policymakers to prioritize HIV prevention and treatment resources to the hardest hit communities, such as black gay men, and improve care for HIV-positive black women and injecting drug users.

Discrimination, stigma, poverty, and lack of access to healthcare contribute to the disproportionate burden of HIV among black Americans. This is most notably the case in regions with large black populations like the American South where approximately half of the nation’s new HIV infections occur, with black Americans accounting for nearly 80 percent of them. In general, African-Americans are less likely than whites to have private health insurance.

Read the full article.

LGBTs would be disproportionately affected by the repeal of the ACA

Matt Baume writes in the Huffington Post:

If the ACA is repealed, as Republicans are trying to do, not only would 32 million people lose health care, according to the Congressional Budget Office, but LGBTs would be disproportionately affected. And “disproportionately affected” is a phrase which here means “get sick and die.” For example, HIV treatment can cost thousands of dollars per month. Insurance companies that don’t want to pay for that treatment could just refuse to cover all gay people on the basis that gay men are more likely to be HIV positive. Or they could raise monthly premiums just for gays. Or they could create a lifetime cap, so you pay into their system and then as soon as you need expensive treatment, they drop you. All this was legal until the ACA banned it.

Gay men headed for an STD epidemic?

From Slate.com

Earlier this month, Poz magazine’s Benjamin Ryan drew attention to a concerning new study out of Northern California’s health system: Using data gathered from July 2012 through June 2015, researchers found that, among a cohort consisting mostly of same-sex–attracted men on the HIV-prevention regimen PrEP, “quarterly rates of rectal gonorrhea and urethral chlamydia increased steadily and about doubled after one year.” In other words, guys on the fantastically effective pill-a-day Truvada program were avoiding HIV infection—there were no new transmissions for regimen-adherent patients over the study period, in fact—but they seemed to be getting other sexually transmitted diseases relatively often.

Read the full article.

Health Alert – Rates of STD infection still at record high

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently been reporting a record increase in cases of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea—after these diseases had been on the decline for several previous years. HIV infections continue to increase as well, especially among men who have sex with men (MSM).  Even worse, catching both HIV and one or more STDs can lead to particularly rapid and damaging health outcomes.

As a result, health experts across the country (including here at the Pitt Men’s Study) recommend that all sexually active men get a full screening for STD, especially HIV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Syphilis.

To find testing near you, go to the CDC’s testing locator and enter your zip code to find local free testing. The best way to protect your health is to get tested.

New app helps HIV-positive youth remember medication

From the Minnesota Daily

With widespread accessibility of mobile technology, researchers hope a new app may support the wellbeing of HIV-positive youth.

A study funded by the National Institutes for Health drew together faculty from across the country, including some from the University of Minnesota, to develop an app – called “Youth Thrive”. The app for mobile devices reminds HIV-positive youth to take their medications.

phone-app-for-hiv-pos-youthThe five-year study is in its earliest stages, and the team will spend the next year developing the app and getting feedback from youth before they launch it at the end of 2017, said Keith Horvath, community health and epidemiology professor at the University.

While the project officially started in July, Horvath said it took a few months to get moving. He said the NIH funded two other centers to research technology’s impact on slowing HIV’s spread.

The idea for the app stemmed from an earlier program for adult men living with HIV, he said.

The original app is already in the field and lets users talk to each other and access specific information about their situation. It also sends text message reminders to take medications.

“All of the studies use technology since we’re really a technology-based center,” Horvath said. “We’re trying to figure out how can we really leverage technologies for youth either who are living with HIV in the case of my study or youth who are at high risk for HIV.”

Read the full article online.

CDC sending out an SOS over soaring rates of STDs

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.

Read the full article.