With AIDS, Time to Get Beyond Blame. Criminal laws related to exposure to or transmission of HIV are on the books in 32 American states, and in many other countries. In January, Darrin Chiacchia was charged with knowingly exposing a partner to HIV without warning him beforehand. He faces up to 30 years in prison. The high profile case has drawn criticism of the laws from those who believe they discourage testing, increase stigma, and intentional infections are sensational but rare and difficult to prove. Others have argued the laws do little to protect vulnerable populations and are bad legal policy. In the sensational but rare category: Nushawn Williams, who completed his sentence last week but remains incarcerated.
"In May, 2002, Jerome Mitchell, a 17-year old college freshman from rural South Carolina, learned he had contracted HIV. The news, of course, was devastating, but Mitchell believed that he had one thing going for him: On his own initiative, in anticipation of his first year in college, he had purchased his own health insurance. Shortly after his diagnosis, however, his insurance company, Fortis [now Assurant Health], revoked his policy. Mitchell was told that without further treatment his HIV would become full-blown AIDS within a year or two and he would most likely die within two years after that." [more inside]
Eileen Myles on ACT UP-New York in Artforum Myles' review of an ACT UP NY art retrospective at Harvard's Carpenter Center is a thoughtful essay in its own right. A more straight(?)-forward review of that exhibition from Frieze Magazine. And, for good measure, "The ACT UP Oral History Project is a collection of interviews with surviving members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, New York." The Oral History Project is on special display at the Carpenter Center.
Petition against Anti-Gay Bill Delivered to Ugandan Parliament. Fierce debate continues in Uganda over the Bahati Bill, a controversial anti-homosexual law currently under consideration by the Ugandan government (prev). [more inside]
Luna Commons is a database of sixteen free digital image collections built using Luna Imaging's Insight software. And there's a lot of cool stuff, well over a hundred thousand images all available for download in good resolution. Here are some of the collections featured: Pratt Institute Fashion Plate Collection, The Farber Gravestones Collection, Maps of Africa, Cornell Political Americana Collection and the The Estate Collection of art by HIV+ artists. The advanced search allows you to search across all collection, for example seeing everything across all collections about animals or New York or your birthyear. Whatever you look for, it's gonna bring up a boatload of interesting images.
All you need is love - from 156 countries, all at the same time. Join in the chorus; each video leads to a 5-cent donation from Starbucks to the RED Global Fund for AIDS in Africa.
Anyone who was moved by Zelda Rubinstein's performance as the eccentric medium in "Poltergeist" will be dismayed to hear that she is seriously ailing. What you may not be aware of is her role, first in Los Angeles (way back in 1984), and later internationally, in gay rights and AIDS education advocacy. [more inside]
The Ugandan government is considering a law that would criminalize homosexuality, advocacy for gay rights, or even failing to report homosexuals to the govenment. And death for HIV+ gays. And who is behind this? An American group with purported ties to the administration called the Family. [more inside]
Tuesday, December 1, 2009 is the 21st annual World AIDS Day An estimated 33.4 million people worldwide worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS. Take a moment today to think about those you've lost, those who are still living with the disease, and how you can prevent yourself or others from becoming infected. [more inside]
San Francisco's Bay Area Reporter, together with the GLBT Historical Society, are making available all of the gay newspaper's AIDS obituaries in an on-line searchable database. The database, to be unveiled on December 1, 2009, World AIDS Day, contains the obituaries for about 10,000 people. [more inside]
A new HIV vaccine is showing promising results, reducing the risk of contracting the virus by 32 percent. While further tests are still needed, the vaccine is a combination failed HIV vaccines AIDSVAX and ALVAC, based on the Canary Pox virus. The study itself faced criticism from the outset.
The Circumcision v. HIV debate rages on. [previously and previously-er and previously-er still] The debate has been rekindled due to new findings. It is expected to be one of the main topics during the CDC's National HIV Prevention Conference this week, as the CDC is considering endorsing routine circumcision. The American Academy of Pediatrics is also considering revising their circumcision policy, thus making it covered under Medicaid. Naturally, there is a lot of criticism of the evidence. In related news, it appears that there is a modicum of the so-called 'Birthers' who believe Obama's citizenship can be proven by his penis.
After one performer tested positive this week, 16 previously unpublicized cases of HIV in the porn industry have emerged. Last time this happened, government officials called it an outbreak and porn production grinded to a halt for two months.
Live Hope Love — Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica.
Intended Consequences. It is estimated that 20,000 children were born as the result of rape during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide that claimed the lives of over 800,000 Tutsis. Many of these women also contracted HIV/AIDS as a result. Not only do the mothers have to live with memories of this incredibly horrible event, but they along with their children are shunned by other Tutsi survivors. [more inside]
"If you’re ever looking for a warning sign that you’re on the wrong side of an argument, suing Medecins Sans Frontieres is probably a pretty good clue." Science journalist and blogger Ben Goldacre has released the missing chapter of his book, Bad Science, telling the story of Matthias Rath, vitamins and the AIDS crisis in South Africa. [Previously. Also.]
According to Senior Harvard AIDS Prevention Researcher Dr. Edward Green, condoms not only are not helping to prevent the AIDS crisis, but are actually making the problem worse.
Professor Luc Montagnier, 2008 Nobel Prize Laureate for Medicine, is no stranger to controversy. Recently, he has been touting his approval for the ignominiously debunked "water memory" theories of the late French immunologist Dr. Jacques Benveniste. This is not altogether surprising, given that Montagnier has filed a patent application for a method for characterising "biologically active biochemical elements" based on Benveniste's more outlandish theories. But there's more... [more inside]
What if we could rid the world of AIDS? The notion might sound like fantasy: HIV infection has no cure and no vaccine, after all. Yet there is a way to completely wipe it out - at least in theory. What's more, it would take only existing medical technology to do the job.[more inside]
Yet more AIDS woo in Africa. First, Thabo Mbeki's AIDS policy lead to an estimated 300 000 additional deaths in South Africa. Now, magic water peddler Jeremy Sherr proposes testing homeopathic remedies for AIDS with two groups, one group on ARV and one on homeopathy, as "Placebo treatment is considered unethical in AIDS" (note: archived link from here via here) . [more inside]
Out of Africa. As award-winning Globe and Mail Africa correspondent Stephanie Nolen bids farewell to a place she's come to love, she reflects on how it has changed, and how it changed her. [more inside]
Eight Magnum photographers portray people in nine countries around the world before and four months after they began antiretroviral treatment for AIDS.
AIDS Orphans in Kenya: a disturbing video report about the lives of Kenyan children forced to live on the street after their parents die of AIDS. The Kibera Slum where the disease spreads like fire and the incredible follow-up story, all submitted to raise awareness about poverty.
Luc Montagnier, Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Harald zur Hausen take the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discoveries of the AIDS virus and HPV, respectively. Take that Gallo.
Vitamin purveyor Matthias Rath^ has dropped his libel case against Ben Goldacre^ and the Guardian. Goldacre's take. [more inside]
New Scientist reports today that inhabitants of the former Roman Empire have much lower levels of a gene variant that protects against the virus that causes AIDS - CCR5-Delta32 to be exact. Previously, this genetic mutation had been attributed to the spread of the Black Death.
Remember the heterosexual AIDS pandemic? There isn't one outside of Africa. Actually, there never was. Well, at least not for straight people.
The plague is over, lets party. Article by Elizabeth Pisani describing the troubling consequences of a gay scene in a world where HIV is treatable and AIDS is avoidable.
His Excellency Alhagi Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, President of the Gambia and American Biographical Institute 2000 Millennium Medal of Honour, has reportedly called for the murder of all homosexuals. But it's all good, because he can cure AIDS (or so he says).
In 1974 - or 1976, depending who you ask - Armistead Maupin began writing "an extended love letter to a magical San Francisco” in the form of a serialized, fictional drama published originally in the Pacific Sun, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner, originally called "The Serial" which then became collectively known as Tales of The City. It is a suprisingly beautiful, deep, emotional, cosmopolitan and lasting tale about life in San Francisco in the turbulent, heady days of the 1970s and 1980s. Widely credited with and cherished for helping spread a little of the openess, tolerance and acceptance that San Francisco is now famous for. It then became a series of books - Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City, Babycakes, Significant Others, Sure of You - and lastly, the spin-off tale of Michael Tolliver Lives. Almost exactly twenty years after first publishing, it then became an excellent miniseries from the United Kingdom's Channel 4, which aired in the United States on PBS, but not without protest or limitations. [more inside]
Maybe it's time to give up. Last year's failed clinical trial for Merck's HIV vaccine (which once appeared so promising) led many to claim that AIDS vaccine research is in crisis. According to an unprecedented poll conducted by The Independent most scientists involved in AIDS research believe that a vaccine against HIV is further away than ever and some have admitted that effective immunisation against the virus may never be possible. [more inside]
"Some Florida teens believe drinking Mountain Dew or smoking marijuana will prevent pregnancy and that swallowing a capful of bleach will prevent HIV/AIDS."* As a result, lawmakers are pushing "for an overhaul of sex education in the state. State lawmakers said the myths are spreading because of Florida's abstinence-only sex education"* "On Tuesday, a bill that would 'require a more comprehensive approach' to sex education narrowly won approval from a state Senate committee."*
No-small-news-filter: House Votes to Continue and Expand President's Global Effort Against AIDS. [more inside]
Mixed With Love: The Musical World Of Walter Gibbons: "This tale begins with a skinny white DJ mixing between the breaks of obscure Motown records with the ambidextrous intensity of an octopus on speed. It closes with the same man, sick with Aids and all but blind, fumbling for gospel records as he spins up eternal hope in a fading dusk. In between, Walter Gibbons transformed the art of DJing and marked out the future co-ordinates of remixology." [more inside]
Manipur, which has a population of 2,388,634, has the highest rate of HIV in the country, which is also the reason why it has the most number of NGOs working in the area. However, what is disturbing is that a day or two ago, one of these NGOs bribed a group of children into getting their blood tested, so that they could increase their chances of garnering more funds.
Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children Statistical Review "reports on how well the world is doing in meeting its commitments for the world’s children. This UNICEF special edition analyses progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in four priority areas for children: promoting healthy lives, providing a quality education, combating HIV and AIDS, and protecting against abuse, exploitation and violence." [more inside]
Austin Gutwein first became aware of the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS from a pen pal in Africa.“‘My pen pal [2006 video - 2:48]*...was the first one to open my eyes to the world outside of my own backyard,’ Austin says. One of the harsh realities that struck a chord with Austin was the fact that many kids become orphaned as a result of a parent contracting HIV. ‘I started to think about what it would be like if I lost my parents,’ says Austin. ‘I just felt called to help.’...On World AIDS Day [December 1] 2004, at age 10, Austin shot 2,057 free throws to represent the number of children who would be orphaned because of AIDS during that school day....Austin approached individuals in his community to sponsor his endeavor. That year [he] raised $3,000, which he gave to World Vision to be used to help eight orphans in Africa.” Three years later his non-profit, Hoops of Hope, raised $100,000 [2007 video - 2:32] which was used to build a residential school in Zambia for those orphaned -- and many infected -- by HIV/AIDS. Next year's goal -- to build a hospital. [more inside]
Long before storied 'Patient Zero' Gaëtan Dugas [previously] scientists now believe that HIV/AIDS "invaded the United States in about 1969 from Haiti, carried most likely by a single infected immigrant who set the stage for it to sweep the world in a tragic epidemic." A new study to be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that researchers conducted a genetic analysis of stored blood samples from early AIDS patients and now believe that HIV first entered the United States in the 1960s -- and not the 1980s. Other "studies suggest the virus first entered the human population in about 1930 in central Africa, probably when people slaughtered infected chimpanzees for meat."
The elderly are staying sexually active [WaPo], and this is a good thing. Although there is a sex-education gap among America's seniors. Play it safe, old folks!
How to Market a Deadly Disease: Ten provocative examples of AIDS awareness campaigns from around the world. Here are some more [YouTube]. NSFW. Via. [Previously/related: 1, 2]
In the past, various possible treatments and methods have been suspected of helping combat AIDS, which have later been proven correct. Other, less reputable treatments have also been claimed to work, the likes of which descend towards malpractice, pseudoscience and criminal negligence. But in a turnabout, the olive oil element of South Africa's controversial treatment, deemed to be "Africa's Solution", actually helps as well.
Have More Sex! I'll get less AIDS! University of Rochester professor, Slate columnist and pop-economist du jour Steven Landsburg argues in his newest book, More Sex is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics, that those among us who take few sexual partners would better serve the greater good by being more promiscuous. So, who's chaste, condom-equipped and free tonight?
Andy Fraser, the man who wrote and played on 'All Right Now,' one of the great swaggering rock songs, talks about his music, sexuality and living with AIDS in this exhaustive interview
Whether you think they're good PSA's or not, these French Aids Awareness ads are wonderful.
(Definitely NSFW, Single Link, Wired Blog, Animated walrus, cowboy and squid sex)
(Definitely NSFW, Single Link, Wired Blog, Animated walrus, cowboy and squid sex)
An absolutely terrifying new anti-AIDS campaign has been introduced in France. Not safe for work or arachnophobes.
Three million long-haul truckers traverse India's 8,000-kilometer highway network for months at a time. According to studies, more than two-thirds of those men are having frequent unprotected sex, and it's a big problem. Seena Taan Ke is a campaign that's underway to create AIDS/HIV awareness among the truckers, featuring Bollywood celebrities as well as Hollywood celebrity Richard Gere. It's a good thing for a good cause. Well, up until Richard got a little frisky onstage and planted some kisses on Big Brother winner/Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty. Crowds of Indians are now burning effigies of both Gere and Shetty in protest. "Such a public display is not part of Indian tradition." said the spokesman for Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata. Well, so much for AIDS awareness for truckers.