As a child of the ’90s who learned about HIV in elementary school (from a puppet, I believe), sometimes it’s difficult to imagine a world where HIV/AIDS was so misunderstood. There was once a time when people used the word “quarantine” when talking about this public health crisis. And it’s painful to remember that in my own lifetime, gay men and women — in New York City, of all places — were deeply in the closet because they feared for their lives. HBO has released its trailer for “The Normal Heart,” the Ryan Murphy-directed film based on the play by Larry Kramer, which tells the story of an activist (Mark Ruffalo) and a doctor (Julia Roberts) from 1981 until 1984 as they try to draw attention to a mysterious disease in New York City that seems to be targeting gay men. While the government ignores them — because who cares about gay men? — lives are being lost. The film debuts on May 25th on HBO. I’ll be watching. [YouTube]
Justine Sacco, the now-former communications executive at IAC, who lost her job for tweeting a racist AIDS joke just before flying to Africa, has finally issued an apology. She first sent the apology to the South African newspaper The Star, explaining she wanted her statement to reach South Africans first, and it was then shared with ABC News. Sacco’s full apology:
“Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet. There is an AIDS crisis taking place in this country, that we read about in America, but do not live with or face on a continuous basis. Unfortunately, it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed firsthand. Keep reading »
Welp, that was interesting. Late yesterday, I told you about Justine Sacco, the IAC Communications Executive who tweeted a racist joke about AIDS shortly before departing on her flight to somewhere in Africa. While Sacco was in the air and presumably did not have access to the internet (while some international flights have wi-fi, Sacco did not appear to be online for many hours), her tweet made Valleywag and before Sacco probably had a chance to finish an in-flight movie, #HasJustineLandedYet began to trend on the social network. Basically, my entire timeline (and I follow a wide variety of people) was riveted. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen go down online. It was really kind of astonishing. Keep reading »
Meet IAC Communications Director Justine Sacco! Or shall I say, probably soon-to-be-former IAC Communications Director, as I’m guessing Sacco is going to find out she’s in a whole mess of trouble when her international flight lands in Africa. See, Sacco tweeted this wildly offensive and racist ”joke” just before her flight earlier today. Likely unbeknownst to Sacco at this time, the tweet quickly made the rounds, landing her smug mug on Valleywag. After being contacted by multiple media outlets, IAC finally released a statement via email, writing:
This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC. Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.
Sounds like Sacco’s vacay is going to get off to a rough start. Sorry not sorry. [IB Times]
Another adult film actor has tested HIV-positive, making this anonymous person the fifth case in the industry this year. Filming has shut down for a third time since this summer as doctors trace the outbreak. The Free Speech Coalition, which is a trade group for the porn industry, announced the halt on filming on Friday.
“We are taking every precaution while we do research to determine if there’s been any threat to the performer pool,” said Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke. “We take the health of our performers very seriously, and felt that it was better to err on the side of caution while we determine whether anyone else may have been exposed.” All coworkers this anonymous person has come in contact with on and off set have been notified so they can be tested as well. Keep reading »
My college best friend and I coined the term “bipolar week.” It was used to describe a week filled with both overwhelmingly amazing events and truly terrible moments: winning a prestigious award and then getting dumped by your boyfriend, or perhaps acing a midterm and losing a childhood pet. When reflecting on this past week, in terms of LGBT rights, I could really only describe it as a week “having or relating to two poles or extremities.” The highs: two cases before the Supreme Court to treat gays and lesbians like, you know, actual people.
The low you ask? Well the low can be found in Kansas. It’s so ridiculous it might as well be a perverse Oz: a bill passed in the State Senate which has language that would quarantine those who are HIV-positive or have AIDS. I would insert a Judy Garland joke about being a gay icon, but this is really not a laughing matter. It’s completely f**ked! Keep reading »
Yesterday, doctors announced that they had, for the first time, cured a baby who was born with HIV, an incredible achievement that could lead to more aggressive treatments used on babies born with HIV and a reduction of the number of children living with the virus that causes AIDS. Dr. Deborah Persaud, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and lead author of the report on the baby, said, “It’s proof of principle that we can cure HIV infection if we can replicate this case.’’ Once the doctors’ report has been confirmed, the baby would be only the second documented case of an HIV patient being cured. (The first was a middle-aged man with leukemia named Timothy Brown, who received a bone-marrow transplant from a donor genetically resistant to H.I.V. infection.) Keep reading »
Clever use of Facebook Places, Finnish condom PSA! Too bad you had to resort to slut-shaming to do it. Twenty sexual partners might sound like a lot, but all you need is one roll in the hay with one person with HIV. The number of partners a person has really isn’t the point. (And FWIW, there’s also a male version of this PSA where the dude had 35 sexual partners. Point still holds true.) [Copyranter via Buzzfeed]
We like kittens, and glow-in-the-dark things, and also things that fight AIDS, so the fact that science (!) has managed to create a cat that is all of those things at once just warms our hearts. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, genetically engineered the glow-in-the-dark cats by modifying cat cells with those from expressed antiviral proteins taken from rhesus monkeys, which have been known to block HIV and feline AIDS. Preliminary results found that the genes did in fact provide protection against the virus. What’s more, the genetic protection — and the cool glow-in-the-dark side effect — was passable from mother cat to kitten. So, researchers are hoping that they’ll be able to help prevent feline AIDS in kitties, and can use some of that research to figure out ways to combat AIDS in humans, too. So, yup, science is way cool. [Live Science] Keep reading »
“Which has destroyed and ended the life of more people? Terrorism attack here in America or HIV/AIDS? In the last 20 years, 15 to 20 years, we’ve had maybe three terrorist attacks on our soil with a little over 5,000 people regrettably losing their lives. In the same time frame, there have been hundreds of thousands who have died because of having AIDS. So which one’s the biggest threat? And you know, every day our young people…they’re bombarded with ‘homosexuality is normal and natural. It’s something they have to deal with every day. Fortunately we don’t have to deal with a terrorist attack every day, and that’s what I mean. It’s more dangerous, and yes I think that it’s also more dangerous because it will tear down the moral fiber of this nation.”
— That’s Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern (R), who is quite a sensitive and thoughtful lady. You heard it here first, folks: the cast of “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” is more dangerous than al-Qaeda! Someone needs to inform Rep. Kern that lots of people who contract HIV are not gay. [Think Progress] Keep reading »