Video series tackles bareback reality of HIV prevention

From South Florida Gay News

One film student is showing a “fun, sexy and outrageously frank 21st-century sex-ed for gay adults.”

“PrEP is an HIV prevention strategy that deals with sex, namely bareback sex,” film student Chris Tipton-King told Queerty. “And I got tired of people tip-toeing around that fact.”

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis and reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90 percent. Truvada is the drug prescribed for the treatment.

Tipton-King wasn’t happy with depictions of PrEP, which he felt was too sanitized and “awkward.” So as one of his assignments for his master’s degree in cinema, he created “The PrEP Project.” It’s a four-part video series that shows a more realistic side to gay men, their sex lives and the use of PrEP. Each video is 5-minutes long.

Read the full article and watch the videos on South Florida Gay News.

Three reasons why language is important in media coverage of HIV

From the HRC… (by Diego Mora Bello, HRC Global Fellow)

Stigma and discrimination continue to be common barriers for people living with HIV. Fortunately, the media can play an important role in helping to remove these and other barriers. In my own survey of Latin American news articles mentioning HIV and AIDS, and in meeting with media professionals and advocates, I found that Latin American Media has room to improve its use of correct and destigmatizing language when talking about people living with HIV. Covering HIV both correctly and responsibly is important, because doing so is an essential part of raising awareness, debunking common myths, and giving voice to an already marginalized group of people.

The importance of using correct and responsible language in journalistic coverage of HIV inspired me to research this topic and share my findings. The ultimate goal of HIV in the Media is to report on this subject in a scientifically accurate and responsible way that inspires others to follow suit.

Based on my research, here are the top three reasons why language is important when covering HIV and AIDS in the media.

Read the full article on the HRC Website.

Web series explores what it means to be undetectable

From the Huffington Post

A new web series from Todd Flaherty is elevating the conversation surrounding what it means to have an undetectable HIV-positive status and helping to break down stigma for those living with HIV.

what is undetectableAccording to Tyler Curry, creator of The Needle Prick Project, “an HIV-positive person can achieve undetectable levels after undergoing antiretroviral therapy (ART). A level of a person’s HIV viral load is what causes them to be more or less likely to transmit the disease. An undetectable viral load reduces the likelihood of transmission by 96 percent.”

Many people, queer and straight alike, are still uneducated about what exactly undetectable means. Flaherty’s new web series, appropriately titled “Undetectable,” follows a fictional gay man after he finds out about his own HIV diagnosis and his subsequent journey.

The Huffington Post chatted with Flaherty this week about his new project.

University of Pittsburgh’s Dr. Ken Ho talks about PrEP

Dr. Ken Ho at Pitt

Dr. Ken Ho at Pitt

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to inform patients and health care providers of a new, anti-viral pill that they estimate can drastically reduce the risk of infection.  Here to tell us more about this treatment and discuss why it hasn’t been adopted by clinicians in the region are Dr. Ken Ho, an HIV specialist at the University of Pittsburgh and Jason Herring, director of programs and communications at the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force.

Listen to the broadcast on Essential Pittsburgh 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR station.

Positive men get naked in an effort to end ‘stigma’ of HIV status

From San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

With dating apps and other online socializations making it easier to voice opinions and judgments under the guise of a stop HIV stigmausername, revealing that you have HIV is an invitation for some to shame, bully even block you.

“It’s a regular occurrence on dating apps,” Paul, 29, told FS “Everything will be great until my status is disclosed and then bang…they block me. Although the way I see it is that it gets rid of all the shit guys. The ones who are worthy of me stick around regardless of my status.”

The international LGBT publication, FS Magazine, produced by GMFA: The gay men’s health charity recently released two YouTube videos of men reading mean texts in response to other app users finding out they have HIV.

Of course there are other cyber daters more educated and empathetic to carriers, the negativity expressed in the videos below only go to show how hurtful people can be even in 2015.

Some of the men in the video above decided to strip down to nothing for FS Magazines “HIV Stripped Bare” layout, showing that they are not ashamed of who they are and that it’s time to stop progressing the stigma.

Twenty-five year-old HIV positive model Sadiq says there are two main reasons why people are intolerant towards him.

“Stigma can come from two very different places: ignorance and maliciousness,” he said. “While ignorance is something that can be tackled, maliciousness I have absolutely no time for.”

You can see the entire FS “HIV Stripped Bare” layout (NSFW) HERE.

 

Scruff makes it easier for users to advertise prevention preferences

From thebody.com

Last month, Scruff, the popular mobile hookup app, unveiled new profile options that will allow users to disclose their safer-sex practices more easily. The drop down menu presents three HIV prevention methods: condoms, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and treatment as prevention (TasP). Scruff users can select one of those options (PrEP or condoms orTasP), select a few combination options (PrEP and condoms or TasP and condoms) or choose to leave the field blank. prevention preferences on ScruffThe new feature has the potential to promote disclosure of HIV prevention practices upfront and facilitate connections between app users with similar approaches to stopping HIV transmission. Notably, it more easily allows individuals to indicate that they use only PrEP or TasP and choose not to use condoms.

New menu options that promote transparency and normalize disclosure of HIV prevention status are certainly welcome, and, with any luck, other mobile apps will follow Scruff’s lead. For many men who have sex with men (MSM), it is often unsafe to discuss our HIV prevention practices openly and with full honesty. We often feel the need to self-censor because our sex lives are already under such intense scrutiny. We dare not draw further attention to ourselves by saying that we do not use condoms 100% of the time. Hopefully, these new choices will help Scruff users make selections that are more in line with their actual prevention choices.

Read the full article on thebody.com.

Introducing #standOUTpgh

10933879_658281264281364_9173789996442469325_nThe #standOUTpgh campaign is a new media driven initiative to help prevent substance abuse and HIV and STDs as well as fight minority stigma among gay and bisexual youth of color and all that self identify as trans no matter their race or age.
#standOUTpgh seeks to change the conversation around subculture and different expressions by giving young minority gay and bisexual men and trans individuals a digital platform to share their stories of uniqueness and responsibility for the world to see!
We hope to engage all community organizations that care about and serve these individuals to participate in support by spreading the word to those who may wish to participate. By defeating stigma and promoting self worth, we can break down one of the largest barriers to getting tested for HIV and STDs, getting prevention messages, and living healthier and happier lives.
How can you help? Learn about the campaign and its corresponding awareness events at www.standout.hiv and follow our social media pages
and share as the pageant unfolds. That’s it! Find us at:
The #standOUTpgh campaign will culminate in 6 events held in celebration of uniqueness and responsibility built around relevant national awareness days. These events will feature HIV/STD testing and prevention counseling. Information on these events will be broadcast via social media and standout.hiv. They are as follows:
  • World AIDS Day: Dec 1, 2014.
  • National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Feb 7, 2015.
  • National Youth Violence Prevention Week: March 18-22.
  • National Youth HIV Awareness Day: April 10, 2015.
  • National Prevention Week: May 12-18, 2015.
  • National HIV Testing Day: June 15.
We hope you will join us in building a positive movement behind these communities and shining a spotlight on what makes them stand out!

Gay dating apps pledge to do more to combat HIV stigma and promote testing

From the Gay Star News online…

Representatives of seven of the most popular gay dating websites and apps have collaborated with leading US AIDScell phone organizations to discuss strategies to help promote HIV/STI testing and to reduce the stigma associated with HIV infection. The results of a San Francisco summit between representatives of the dating sites and health leaders – including San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research – have been published in a new report.

Across the US, around 20% of gay and bisexual men are estimated to be living with HIV, while some estimates indicate that 3 in 5 men now meet their partners online. The apps and websites that were able to attend the summit – which took place over two days in early September – included BarebackRT, Daddyhunt, Dudesnude, Gay.com, Grindr, PozPersonals, and SCRUFF. Three other apps were unable to attend the summit but have pledged their support.

Continue reading on Gay Star News.

‘A Day With HIV 2014’ addresses HIV stigma

logoFrom the Huffington Post

HIV stigma needs to be a thing of the past, and there’s an awesome way you can help change public perception.

For the fifth year in a row, Positively Aware and TPAN are sponsoring “A Day with HIV,” an HIV photo campaign. The initiative invites people from all around the world to take and submit a photo from their life at some point during the day on Sept. 9 in order to raise awareness about what it means to live in a world with HIV.

“A Day With HIV” provides a unique opportunity for individuals to make an impact through visual storytelling and contributing to breaking down stigma surrounding HIV.

This year, in an effort to extend its “A Day With HIV” virtual photo sharing initiative, Positively Aware and TPAN are working in partnership with Let’s Stop HIV Together, an HIV awareness and anti-stigma effort of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“With parallel goals aimed at raising general HIV awareness and addressing the often-associated stigma, it was really a natural fit for these two campaigns to join forces,” Jeff Berry, Editor of Positively Aware, said in a statement. “By coming together, we are building an even larger community of support and ensuring that we reach each and every corner of society, particularly those people who may not have otherwise experienced the power of the virtual campaign.”

For more information on where to submit your pictures head here. Participants are encouraged to take their photo on Sept. 9 and submit it to Positively Aware by Sept. 12.

Check out a slideshow of images from last year’s “A Day With HIV” on the Huffington Post.

Hornet Gay Social Network launches ap to locate HIV testing and services

hornetFrom the Washington Blade

The Hornet Gay Social Network has launched a feature that will help users locate HIV testing services and learn more about PrEP and other topics, the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News reports. The app’s creators have partnered with aids.gov to power the feature, which was used about 30,000 times its first day, the article said. Hornet is a gay-owned location-based dating and social network.

The gay community has made progress in reducing HIV infection rates, but new trends among young people show that HIV rates are increasing once again, 132.5 percent from 2001-2011—a much higher increase than older gay men and a significant contrast with the drop among the general population. Studies show that public concern about HIV has decreased, yet the number of people living with HIV in the U.S. exceeds 1.1 million and continues to increase, the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News article said.

In a news release, Hornet said that in order to end the epidemic, help is needed to promote HIV services in ways that are far-reaching and lasting. Traditional advertising does not reach all users in need of health services. Sophisticated geo-specific resources are powerful. Within the Hornet app, social network members can use the tool to find the 10 closest HIV locations. The widget is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is available for free, the article said.

Start talking and stop HIV

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched their latest communication campaign under its Act Against AIDS initiative – Start Talking. Stop HIV. This new national HIV prevention campaign is the result of input from more than 500 gay and bisexual men from various racial and ethnic groups, ages, and geographic areas across the United States. The campaign was created by and for gay and bisexual men to promote open communication about a range of HIV prevention strategies for sexual partners.

Start Talking. Stop HIV. features messages that engage, inspire, and spark conversations between sexual partners and provides gay and bisexual men with practical tools and tips for talking about important HIV prevention topics like:

  • HIV testing and their HIV status,
  • Condoms and engaging in lower-risk sexual behaviors,
  • Medicines that prevent and treat HIV, including the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and antiretroviral therapy (ART).

More than thirty years after the first diagnosis of AIDS in the United States, gay and bisexual men continue to be the population most severely affected by HIV nationwide, due to a number of complex factors.

Research shows that communication between sexual partners is associated with reduced risk behavior and increased HIV testing and HIV status disclosure; however, many gay and bisexual men may still find it difficult to talk openly with their sexual partners about HIV prevention.

A dedicated campaign website and Facebook Page  provide conversation starters and accurate information to inform these life-saving conversations.

Black voices: leveraging digital tools to reach and engage Black gay men

From AIDS.gov

More Americans than ever before have access to Internet-enabled technologies and are participating in online social networking platforms. This trend is particularly notable among women, African-Americans, and Latinos and provides hope that effective use of new social technologies could reshape how we reach, engage, and mobilize vulnerable populations such as Black gay men (BGM) and other men who have sex with men (MSM) who are disproportionately impacted by the domestic HIV epidemic. For example, recent data from the The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project indicate that while the digital divide persists as it relates to Internet access, African-Americans use mobile devices at the same rate as their peers and lead the way in participation in social media such as Twitter.

There is little data available about how BGM/MSM are using social technologies. So, last year, as part of ongoing efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of BGM/MSM, The National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition (NBGMAC) launched a national survey to learn about the online communication habits of Black gay men. The survey’s goals are to better understand how BGM/MSM use the Internet to communicate and receive national health policy and advocacy information. The data gathered from this survey will contribute to our understanding of how to effectively leverage the Internet for outreach and engagement around health information and national policy issues of importance to BGM/MSM across the nation.

Preliminary survey data highlight the importance of social networking platforms like Facebook in connecting with communities of Black gay men and sharing health policy and advocacy information. The data also reflect a notable level of interest in biomedical HIV prevention tools like Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Findings like these point to the growing importance of making information available about HIV prevention in a way that meets the needs of the populations most impacted the epidemic. If you are a Black gay, bisexual or same-gender loving man, please take a moment to complete the brief survey and share with your networks. If not, please also consider sharing with any colleagues, friends or loved ones who may be willing to participate and help us to shed light on the communication, health information, and policy and advocacy needs of this underserved community.

To complete the survey, click here or copy and paste the survey’s URL into your Internet browser: http://svy.mk/15KFMwc .

Facebook chats help minority men get tested for HIV

From opb.org online…

It didn’t take long for people to figure out that Facebook could be a great place to connect with other people dealing with the same health problems. But public health officials have moved cautiously, lest their efforts backfire. Do you really want to “like” STDs?

But there is now evidence the social media approach can help, even when the health condition is sensitive. Facebook can play a role in persuading people at high risk of HIV/AIDS to use a home HIV test kit, a study finds.

To reach young gay Latino and African-American men, researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine and School of Public health at the UCLA trained men in the same demographic as peer leaders, giving them information on how HIV spreads. That’s a time-honored public health technique. They also created a comparison group, with peer leaders trained to share general health information.

The peer leaders then tried to communicate on Facebook with men who had volunteered to participate in a study. Because there are no best practices for using social media to communicate health information, the peer leaders had to make it up as they went along. First, they tried a friendly message and then some social chat, with messages tailored to the participants’ interests. Then they invited participants to join either a closed Facebook group with information on HIV prevention, or if they were in the control group, on general health.

For their part, the participants, who were recruited through Facebook and community organizations, were told to use Facebook as they normally would. Most interacted with the peer leaders, a fact that the study authors say reflects the fact that African-Americans and Latinos are more likely to use social networking sites than the general population.

Read the full article here.

Facing AIDS theme of National HIV Testing Day

From AIDS.gov

Facing AIDS is a digital photo sharing initiative with the goal of reducing HIV-related stigma and promoting HIV testing. Many AIDS.gov blog readers have contributed personal messages to the Facing AIDS photo gallery, most recently in recognition of World AIDS Day (December 1, 2012 – visit the gallery to see the inspiring messages collected over the five years of the initiative). Many of your Facing AIDS messages highlight the importance of confronting stigma and echo the theme of National HIV Testing Day: Take the Test. Take Control. That consistency made it easy for our team to re-purpose the photos into the newest video in our Facing AIDS series. To learn how participate in Facing AIDS, read this blog post. To watch other videos in the Facing AIDS series, please use this playlist Exit Disclaimer. Click here to learn more about locating HIV testing near you. Please watch and share the “Facing AIDS for National HIV Testing Day” video.

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.

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

New tool can assist adults in obtaining recommended vaccines

From AIDS.gov:HealthMapVaccineFinder-300x162

While we hear a lot about the importance of getting a flu shot, there are many other vaccines that are recommended for adults. Starting this month, it will be easier to find all of the vaccinations you need. The HealthMap Vaccine Finder Exit Disclaimer is a free online service that helps you locate nearby vaccine providers (such as pharmacies and health clinics) by entering your address or ZIP Code.

In addition to the flu vaccine, the HealthMap Vaccine Finder (previously called the HealthMap Flu Vaccine Finder) now includes locations that provide 10 other vaccines, allowing you to search for providers who offer the following vaccines: hepatitis A; hepatitis B; HPV (human papillomavirus); MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella); varicella (chickenpox); Td (tetanus and diphtheria); Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis); meningococcal; pneumococcal; and zoster (shingles). This builds on the success of the HealthMap Flu Finder, which lists more than 50,000 locations across the country that offer flu vaccinations. Over 125,000 consumers have used the HealthMap Vaccine Finder since August 2012.

To read more, or to find vaccines near you, go to AIDS.gov.

MTV airs HIV positive youth special

From the Associated Press:

MTV is airing a special next week with profiles of three young people who have the HIV infection, amid worries that some people are taking the condition too casually.

The special, “I’m Positive,” is scheduled to air Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Drew Pinsky, who is one of the show’s producers, said that if it does well, he hopes it can become a regular series.

In three decades, infection with the virus that causes AIDS has gone from a virtual death sentence to a chronic condition that can be controlled with early detection and a drug regimen. But even if it doesn’t develop into full-blown AIDS, there’s still some doubt about the long-term health implications of living with HIV and the drugs designed to keep control of it, Pinsky said.

Read the full article on the AP Website.