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]
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 »
This piece originally appeared on Role/Reboot. Republished here with permission.
An email arrives from an old friend with the name of your ex-boyfriend in the subject line. In the body of the email, just this: “I’m totally shocked. When was the last time you talked to him?” You sigh, what now? Is he getting married? Having a baby? You head to Facebook, the one-stop shop for dirt on old flames. No wedding announcement, no ultrasound. Instead, there’s a video. Same crooked grin, same floppy hair, and this:
“This is a clip of me taking my first dose of Atripla, which is a combination antiretroviral drug. My name is Jake Earl, and on May 13, 2013 I was diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).”
There’s chaos in your brain for 30 seconds before you’re able to make some sense of what you’re seeing. Order descends and you start a convoluted march through a series of reactions: Self-preservation. Nostalgia. Anger. Fear. Curiosity. Admiration? 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 »
Researchers at the University of Washington have developed the technology to create the all-purpose condom of the future. This new kind of female condom, made of “electrospinning” micro-fibers, will protect against pregnancy, release anti-HIV medicine (or other STI preventatives), and then, get this … just dissolve over a period of days, or even minutes. Here’s how the researchers describe the “electrospinning” technology:
“Electrospinning uses an electric field to catapult a charged fluid jet through air to create very fine, nanometer-scale fibers. The fibers can be manipulated to control the material’s solubility, strength and even geometry. Because of this versatility, fibers may be better at delivering medicine than existing technologies such as gels, tablets, or pills.”
Holy amazing! I’m far from a scientist, but I think this means they load the fibers with spermicide, anti-retrovirals so that they release within you and then just breakdown in your body. In the scientific abstract that you can read here, the researchers working on this project say that they are hopeful that similar technology can “serve as an innovative platform for drug technology for drug delivery to the lower female reproductive tract.” Really exciting stuff. [io9]
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]
“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 »