German pop singer Nadja Benaissa was arrested Tuesday in Frankfurt, Germany, for allegedly having unprotected sex with three men without telling them she is HIV positive. One of the men has tested positive for the virus. In Germany, the law says that anyone convicted of knowingly infecting a person with HIV faces a prison sentence of between six months and 10 years for “grievous bodily harm.” If the victim dies, the sentence can be even greater — up to life imprisonment for manslaughter.
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March is National Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating by sharing a lady we admire each weekday. Since today is the last day of this awesome month, we’ll be going out with a bank, spotlight FIVE women who rock.
MARVELYN BROWN (1984- )
Marvelyn Brown probably never expected to make it to “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “The Tyra Banks Show.” Early in life, she may not have thought she was going to be featured in Newsweek, Ebony, and Fortune. No doubt she wishes she was featured worldwide for a different reason other than having HIV, but her strength to speak out is admirable.
What makes Brown an amazing woman is not all of the media attention. It’s not about having a book out called The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive. What makes her amazing is that on July 17, 2003, when she found out she was HIV positive at the age of 19, she immediately reached for her cell phone to notify all of her sexual partners. It’s difficult enough to digest that kind of news, but from her hospital bed she took responsibility for it. Keep reading »
“[The AIDS epidemic in Africa] is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems…. It is of great concern that the fabric of African life, its very source of hope and stability, is threatened by divorce, abortion, prostitution, human trafficking and a contraception mentality…. The traditional teaching of the church has proven to be the only failsafe way to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids.” — Pope Benedict XVI
While it’s to be expected that the Catholic Church continues to have a conservative outlook on abortion and premarital sex, the fact the Pope is still unwilling to get behind the use of contraception to stop the spread of AIDS surprises (and appalls) many — especially as he embarks on a tour of Sub-Saharan Africa, where 22 million (that’s 67%) of the global total of 32.9 million people with HIV live. Nearly three quarters of AIDS deaths in 2007 were in the region. I wasn’t raised Catholic, so this doesn’t have any impact on my faith in God or whatever, but I do wonder how Catholics feel when Church leaders still take such a conservative position on this vital issue. Readers please share in the comments! [Guardian U.K.] Keep reading »
Sexually-active people aged 50 and older face a greater risk of HIV infection, according to a study published by the World Health Organization. People in this age group are more likely to engage in unprotected sex than younger people — after all, after menopause, she can’t get pregnant! — plus erectile dysfunction drugs, like Viagra, are keeping their sex lives active. But despite all this, screening by doctors for HIV is less common for older people because it’s assumed they aren’t at risk. Also, the period of time between diagnosis and the onset of AIDS is shorter because age quickens the progression of the disease and doctors don’t consider HIV as a diagnosis. The WHO also found that older women seem to have a greater risk of contracting HIV if they have unprotected sex because the vaginal mucous membrane thins with age and can get tiny tears without proper lubrication. Keep reading »
Today, December 1, marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, the day when individuals and organizations from around the world work together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. In 1988, AIDS was causing more deaths in the United States than there were in the Vietnam War and an estimated five to 10 million people were infected worldwide, according to the World AIDS Campaign. However, government, media and society, in general, were not giving AIDS the attention it needed. World AIDS Day began in 1988 when health ministers around the world met and agreed that there should be a day when all would come together to show the importance of AIDS and demonstrate solidarity for the cause. Since then, many positive changes have been made in the fight against AIDS, however much more needs to be done. Leadership is the theme for 2007 and 2008 World AIDS Day because it encourages leaders at all levels of society to stop AIDS. And leadership highlights the discrepancies between what has been promised and what has actually been done to halt the spread of the disease. Governments have to make good on promises. Communities must encourage leadership of its members. And individuals must have access to treatment, know their rights, stamp out the stigma and discrimination associated with AIDS, and must know and engage in methods of prevention against spreading the disease. Keep reading »
Do you have a license to lay? Brooklyn-based STF(ree) is making private issued cards so your potential lovers can check the results of your last two AIDS/HIV tests. No lying, no guessing, no putting off the inevitable. All you have to do is fill out their enrollment form and ask your doctor to send your lab results to STF. Then you’ll be issued an ID card. Using your personal number on the card and a private password you provide, people you’ve selected can call up the information line 24/7 and find out the truth about the party in your pants. It’s a small price to pay for some piece of mind to go with that piece of ass! Maybe this would come in handy if they ever legalize prostitution… [Via Boinkology]
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Did you know that people with HIV who want to visit the U.S. or move to the U.S. from another country basically can’t? For about 20 years, there has been a ban making it really hard for people with the virus to enter the country, even for health conferences. They’ve been able to apply for special hard-to-get wavers for short visits, but they’ve had little chance of obtaining permanent residency. Now, Senators John Kerry and Gordon Smith are trying to repeal the ban, as well as pass legislation that would provide $50 million over the next five years to fight AIDS and other diseases in Africa and poor areas around the world. Basically, people with HIV would be treated the same as those with communicable diseases, and experts would determine eligibility for admission into the United States. [AP] Keep reading »
Playing a video on the prevention of HIV and other STDs for people while they’re waiting to be seen in an STD clinic can reduce the likelihood that they’ll get such an infection. In a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of more than 38,600 people, and the rate of STIs was under five percent for those who saw the video, while it was nearly six percent for those who hadn’t. Guys seemed most influenced (they are supposed to be very visual learners, aren’t they?), and were 13 percent less likely to develop an infection if they’d seen the video. Perhaps this worked because, unlike health class, where you can fall asleep or take the hall pass and wander around, these people were in STD clinics and were probably quite nervous about being tested and whatnot. Plus, the magazines in waiting rooms are generally crap and 16 months old. [Ivanhoe] Keep reading »