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Thursday, June 09, 2016

HEALTH NEWS: HIV Edition

An Interview with Benjamin "Ben" Ryan: HIV Science Reporter and Stripper!
When Benjamin “Ben” Ryan began taking dance classes ten years ago, the personal venture was a complete whim. After all, he was in his late twenties at the time – ancient for a beginning dancer – and by his own admission, was “just awful” for the first few years of classes. And nothing about his vocation as a writer specializing in the science of HIV suggested that Gene Kelly was trapped inside. Cue the victorious final production number of your favorite musical. Not only did Ben get better – a whole lot better – he was cast in the spectacular HIV fundraiser Broadway Bares seven years ago and each year since, hoofing alongside actual Broadway dancers. Performers can also raise money through the event’s “Stripathon” page, through which Ben has raised more than $80,000 for beneficiary Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (you can visit Ben’s stripathon page here and add to that impressive tally). Oh, and Ben Ryan has done all of this while wearing very, very little on stage. Continue reading... (Positivelite.com)


Florida Leads States in New HIV Infections
Florida is in the top three states with the highest number of new HIV infections diagnosed among children, and is the #4 state with the highest HIV infection case rates. The Florida Department of Health breaks down the numbers further, reporting that of the 2014 new diagnoses, 15 were among children younger than 13 years old and 80% were males. County-wise, Miami Dade was tops in new HIV cases, followed by Broward, Orange, Hillsborough and Palm Beach. The soar in new HIV cases is startling when considered alongside the news that Florida Governor Rick Scott and the state’s top health officer, Dr. John Armstrong, have cut Department of Health personnel over the next four years, which has in turn shrunk the size of county health departments. That’s according to the Miami Herald, which contacted Armstrong about the startling HIV rates. Armstrong responded with a statement that staff reductions do not impact “the surveillance, education, prevention, counseling, testing, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS patients,” and that Florida is spending a record $34 million on HIV and AIDS prevention this year thanks to a federal grant. Continue reading...(South Florida Gay News)


In Small Cities, Men Who Have Sex with Men Less Likely to Get Tested for HIV
In small cities, men who have sex with men are more likely to remain closeted, and therefore less likely to be tested for HIV, according to a study from UBC Okanagan. Men who have sex with men is a broad term used to refer to men who engage in sexual activity with the same sex but do not necessarily identify as gay. These findings come as little surprise to Ciro Panessa, director of chronic diseases for Northern Health. He has identified a number of challenges for people living with HIV in rural and northern communities, including fear. "There's certainly still discrimination and stigma around HIV, for people living with HIV. And so one of the impetuses is to… normalize HIV testing." Continue reading... (CBC)


AIDS: The Truth About Patient Zero
“Patient Zero” — a promiscuous gay Canadian flight attendant — had spread AIDS from coast to coast. The story sparked sensational media coverage, drove a book onto the bestseller lists, pushed the “gay disease” onto mainstream America’s radar screen and helped jump-start an activist movement, all of which eventually focused more money and scientific brainpower on an epidemic that had already killed tens of thousands. It was also wrong — intentionally creating a scapegoat to publicize And the Band Played On , Randy Shilts’ authoritative chronicle of the early years of AIDS. The book mentioned the case on just a dozen or so of its 630 pages. “We lowered ourselves to yellow journalism. My publicist told me, ‘Sex, death, glamour, and, best of all, he is a foreigner, that would be the icing on the cake,’” said Shilts’ editor, Michael Denneny, in an interview. “That was the only way we could get them to pay attention.” Continue reading... (Our Queer History)


Denmark Shows First Clear Evidence of the Success of Treatment as Prevention in Gay Men in a High Income Country 
A study by the University of California, Los Angeles, and Copenhagen University Hospital provides the first unambiguous evidence of a link between high rates of viral suppression in gay men and falling HIV incidence (the proportion of men who catch HIV each year). The researchers say that HIV incidence among gay men, at a rate of 0.14% a year or one in 700 gay men infected annually, is now so low that it approaches the one per 1000 annual incidence rate that the World Health Organization has set as the threshold for eventually eliminating the HIV epidemic. Continue reading... (Positivelite.com)

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