Links: Hate Crime to HIV/AIDS to Healthcare to Apple

Hundreds of members and supporters of Israel’s homosexual community have rallied in Tel Aviv a day after a masked gunman killed two people at a gay youth centre.


A new strain of the virus that causes AIDS has been discovered in a woman from the African nation of Cameroon. It differs from the three known strains of human immunodeficiency virus and appears to be closely related to a form of simian virus recently discovered in wild gorillas, researchers report in Monday’s edition of the journal Nature Medicine.


Confusing claims and outright distortions have animated the national debate over changes in the health care system. Opponents of proposals by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats falsely claim that government agents will force elderly people to discuss end-of-life wishes. Obama has played down the possibility that a health care overhaul would cause large numbers of people to change doctors and insurers.


How Apple can mess with your life

Links: Stimulus $ to Gay Cop Ban to Liberty College & More!

recovery.GOV vs recovery.ORG

Peru has announced that it will ban homosexuals from the police force for damaging the image of the institution.

A May 28 press release from Housing Works alerted the media that as many as 60 Canadians had been turned away from the U.S. border in spite of “stated U.S. policy that foreigners living with HIV would no longer be barred from entering the country.”

A survey of dozens of women who fled violence in Darfur found that a third of them reported or showed signs of rape, and revealed a widespread fear of sexual violence in their refugee camp in Chad, a human rights group reported Sunday.

Taking a semester off to travel and focus on writing isn’t that unusual for a student at Brown University. But instead of studying comparative literature in Europe, Kevin Roose decided to go to Lynchburg, Va., and enroll at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.

General Motors’ bondholders finished voting Saturday on the company’s plan to exchange their debt for an ownership stake as high as 25 percent in G.M., the final obstacle to an orderly bankruptcy for the ailing carmaker.

Tony Awards: Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre. My Dolly is nominated!

I am excited and pleased about the new administration launching The website has information ranging from treatment & care to research to prevention & education to funding opportunities to finding a testing center. Yes, the site has it all.

After eight years of Bush I forgot an administation can actually work to help the people of this fab country. Thank you, Obama!

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Quick Links from
Recent Funding Announcements
Treatment and Care Programs
Clinical Trials

Marie Howe in Honor of World AIDS Day

In honor of World AIDS Day:

The Last Time

The last time we had dinner together in a restaurant
with white tablecloths, he leaned forward

and took my hands in his hands and said,
I’m going to die soon. I want you to know that.

And I said, I think I do know.
And he said, What surprises me is that you don’t.

And I said, I do. And he said, What?
And I said, Know that you’re going to die.

And he said, No, I mean know that you are.

Marie Howe

Can a Bone-Marrow Transplant Halt HIV?

Can a Bone-Marrow Transplant Halt HIV?
By Eben Harrell / London Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a pathogen so wily and protean that researchers rarely talk about curing infected patients, focusing instead on treatment and prevention. But in an announcement that caused a flutter of excitement and a wave of prudent skepticism, Berlin-based hematologist Gero Huetter claimed on Thursday that he has cured an HIV infection in a 42-year-old man through a bone-marrow transplant.

The patient, a U.S. citizen living in Germany, was suffering from advanced leukemia and HIV two years ago when Huetter treated the cancer with a bone-marrow transplant at Berlin’s Charité hospital. As a side experiment, he inserted the bone marrow of a donor naturally resistant to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. (Researchers have long known that about 1% of Europeans carry a genetic mutation that makes their cells resistant to HIV infection.) Bone marrow produces the cells that HIV attacks. So, the thinking went, inserting marrow that produces HIV-resistant cells might endow the patient with a means to repel the infection. Twenty months after the transplant, Huetter says, the man shows no signs of carrying the virus. (See stories of people surviving with HIV.)

Is this a viable cure for HIV? Not by a long shot. Even Huetter says bone-marrow transplants, which kill about a third of patients, are so dangerous that “they can’t be justified ethically” in anything other than desperate situations like late-stage leukemia. Nor is it clear that Huetter’s claim to have cured his patient is yet justified. HIV has a frustrating ability to hide in hard-to-detect “reservoir” cells in various parts of the body. Current antiviral drugs, for example, can lower a patient’s “viral load” to the point that HIV is undetectable in his or her bloodstream. But as soon as such patients are taken off antivirals, the virus comes storming back.

Huetter’s patient has not received antivirals for two years and remains virus-free even in the known HIV hiding spots of brain and rectal tissue, according to Huetter’s tests. But many researchers remain skeptical about whether these tests have been thorough enough. Dr. Andrew Badley, director of the HIV and immunology research lab at the Mayo Clinic, told the Associated Press, “A lot more scrutiny from a lot of different biological samples would be required to say it’s not present.”

But there might be a glimmer of hope in the case. If the transplant does prove to have been a success and can be replicated, researchers say gene therapists might one day be able to re-engineer a patient’s cells to change their bone marrow the same way a transplant does, except without the dangers. Such a breakthrough, if it proves possible, would be “decades rather than years away,” according to Ade Fakoya, a London-based clinician and senior adviser to the nonprofit Aids Alliance. The treatment would also likely prove too expensive to implement in developing countries where HIV rates are highest, although some proponents of gene therapy say it could eventually be done cheaply through an injection, as with vaccines. (Read a TIME cover story on AIDS.)

Rob Noble of the British AIDS charity Avert says recent setbacks for research into an AIDS vaccine, along with multiple false hopes in the search for a cure, have caused many in the HIV activism community to view Huetter’s experiment warily. For many AIDS activists, bone-marrow transplantation is a loaded procedure that evokes a traumatic past: before antivirals were widely introduced in the 1990s, it was one of the aggressive and often fatal procedures doctors tried in their desperate effort to halt the epidemic; some of these transplants even used marrow harvested from baboons.

In light of that pessimism about curing HIV in patients, Huetter’s announcement was barely discussed at a major international HIV conference in Glasgow today, according to Fakoya, who was attending the event. He said greater attention was paid to more prosaic methods of defense, such as early identification and testing programs. “I’m in the conservative camp — I don’t think there will be a cure,” he says. “But if you look at antiviral treatment, data was provided at this conference confirming that you can live 30 years on [antiviral-drug] therapy, especially if it’s initiated soon after infection. We are getting to a stage where HIV can be managed as a chronic illness. Now, that’s not great, but I have a feeling it’s the best we can do for the foreseeable future.”
(taken from Time)

Other Articles:
A Doctor, a Mutation and a Potential Cure for AIDS ~ Wall Street Journal
Bone marrow ‘cures HIV patient’ ~ BBC News
Bone marrow transplant suppresses AIDS in patient ~ Reuters

McCain/Palin Vs. Obama/Biden ~ HIV/AIDS

ALL information is from the GMHC:

GMHC Releases New Report Today ~ 9/4/08

New York City — Vice Presidential nominees Sarah Palin and Joseph Biden have sharply divergent records on HIV/AIDS, according to a report released today, “McCain-Palin vs. Obama-Biden on HIV/AIDS Issues,” by Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), the country’s oldest HIV/AIDS organization. Palin is a staunch opponent of sex education and a supporter of abstinence-only-until-marriage. Her position on other HIV/AIDS policy issues is unknown. Senator Biden supports comprehensive sex education as well as syringe exchange to reduce HIV/AIDS transmission among intravenous drug users. Most recently, Biden helped craft a reauthorization of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief that repealed the statutory entry ban for people living with HIV/AIDS. It also promotes prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM), along with research on HIV incidence among MSM. While Biden supports civil unions, Palin opposes domestic partner health-insurance benefits for state workers in same-sex relationships

“Senator Biden has shown leadership by supporting civil rights for people living with HIV and evidence-based prevention to fight the epidemic globally,” said Robert Bank, Chief Operating Officer of GMHC. “We know little about Governor Palin’s positions on HIV/AIDS, except that she supports abstinence-only programming, which is full of anti-gay and sexist content, as well as dangerous misinformation about contraception and AIDS.”

“We look forward to learning more about Governor Palin’s positions in the weeks ahead. We will send her a survey asking her about her positions on a wide range of domestic and global HIV/AIDS issues, as we have sent Senator McCain twice. Thus far, the contrast between Joe Biden’s courageous leadership on HIV/AIDS and Sarah Palin’s lack thereof is striking,” added Robert Bank.

Click here for a print ready version of the report.

**PLEASE share the link to this report with everyone you know!**

World AIDS Day 2007

Today is World AIDS Day.

Take a moment to think about all of the people who are battling HIV/AIDS. Take a moment to think about all the people who lost the battle. (Click here and/or here for pictures of the AIDS Quilt.)

What are you doing for the cause? Don’t you want to help in the battle? Find a way to be assistance in your community.
Prove to yourself that you love yourself by using protection. Respect your sexual partner: use protection. Growing up I remember hearing the slogan “Friends don’t let friends drink and drive” over and over. Yes, it is a true statement and so is friends don’t let friends unprotected sex. When I was in high school there were a few times when I gave out condoms to friends who were sexually active, and I sold condoms for a quarter each to the people I didn’t like.

AIDS Quilt — 1 of 2

Ok. I feel worse than yesterday, but no time to whine about. This entry contains some of the pictures I took while viewing the AIDS Quilt; I have more pictures that I will post later. I don’t know if I can accurately describe all the thoughts and emotions I experienced as I viewed the quilt; however, I know the first emotion that hit me was an overwhelming sadness. The short life spans seemed to leap from the quilt as if they were in 3-D, so many people were robbed of long lives and dealt exit cards in their 40s. Chris, who always adds rational to my emotional, reminded me to look at the years these people were born, which was typically the 50s, 60s, and 70s. He reminded me of the progress that have been made in the medical field, but it was hard for me to concentrate on what he was saying. I mean, I know that these days in pharmacy school and med school HIV/AIDS is taught as a manageable diseases instead of as a death sentence.

But even though there has been much progress, there is still so much more progress that must be made. There are so many people we need to remember.