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.
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.
According 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.
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.
From the Gay Star News online…
Representatives of seven of the most popular gay dating websites and apps have collaborated with leading US AIDS 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.
From 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.
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.
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 .
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 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 . Click here to learn more about locating HIV testing near you. Please watch and share the “Facing AIDS for National HIV Testing Day” video.
From the Huffington Post…
by Victor Lopez
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.
The 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This 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
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
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 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.
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.
On Wednesday, October 24 there will be a free screening of “Gen Silent” at the Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Avenue in Pittsburgh. Refreshments will be served at 6 PM. The film starts at 6:30 PM. Gen Silent startlingly discovers how oppression in the years before Stonewall now affects older LGBT people with fear and isolation. For more about the film, go to stumaddux.com.
Watch the trailer:
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.
LEAD WITH LOVE follows four families’ experiences in learning that they have a gay or lesbian child. Created for parents who are working through this news themselves, this poignant and informative film shares real stories from parents and children, factual information from psychologists, educators, and clergy, and concrete guidance to help parents keep their children healthy and safe during this sometimes challenging time.
“Traditional methods of HIV prevention, like condom distribution, remain incredibly important,” says independent filmmaker Dave OʼBrien, 33, who wrote, directed and co-developed IN THE MOMENT, “Whatʼs missing among a younger generation of gay guys is any real discussion about HIV and safer sex. IN THE MOMENT is a sexy and entertaining way to capture their attention and stimulate dialogue regarding real-world sexual situations many gay men face today.”
IN THE MOMENT starts with an authentic, sexy and sometimes humorous web soap opera that explores the full range of factors that come into play in sexual decision making among young gay men. Issues like self-esteem, dating, relationships, age, body image, addiction and others are addressed as key factors in the lives of the characters. The episodes are broken into 3-5 minute “webisodes” that are easily accessible on most computers. The webisodes are a starting-place for discussion. Users create their own IN THE MOMENT profile on the site and use it to communicate on message boards and with other members.