Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Knowing your status is the best way to protect your health…and residents of Pennsylvania can get a free in-home HIV test kit from our website www.getmyHIVtest.com. Tests come in the mail, in an unmarked package and you get the results in 20 minutes!
The theme for NWGHAAD 2023 is: Prevention and Testing at Every Age. Care and Treatment at Every Stage.The Office Of Women’s Health (OWH) continues this theme to reemphasize the need to further prevention efforts and ensure equity in HIV care and treatment. It also reinforces the first 3 goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), that focus on the prevention of new HIV infections, improving HIV-related health outcomes of people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related disparities. NWGHAAD focuses efforts on three of the target populations outlined in the NHAS; Black women, transgender women, and youth aged 13-24 years.
Research published in AIDS and Behavior show that parents in an intervention group with gay or bisexual sons can employ effective communication tactics, specifically about condoms and HIV, and other parenting behaviors to help keep their children healthy.
The study is the first to show evidence of positive effects in a randomized controlled trial with the parents of gay or bisexual sons, according to the authors. They added that these results are important because approximately 80% of all HIV infections among teens are from the gay and bisexual population. There were very few previous public health interventions seeking to lower the HIV risk among this group, according to the study.
“By focusing on the parents, this study shows we might be able to reduce HIV risk among gay and bisexual male youth,” said David Huebner, professor of Prevention and Community Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, in a press release. “Parents represent an untapped yet promising resource in preventing HIV infection and improving sexual health among this underserved population.”
Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Wolf (D) just signed a new law that makes it a felony to pass on a communicable disease when they “should have known” that they had it, the HIV Justice Network reported.
Opponents of the law worry it will be used to punish people with HIV or other STDs who unknowingly transmit it to sexual partners. Such HIV criminalization laws have disproportionately been used to target Black men and other men of color.
The law, known as HB 103, punishes people with up to 7 years in prison and $15,000 in fines for “expelling” saliva, blood, or another bodily fluid onto a police officer.
“As a person living with HIV who was born and raised in Pennsylvania, the passing of HB 103 serves as a reminder that as we get closer to ending the HIV epidemic, we have a long way to go to end HIV stigma and the criminalization of people living with HIV,” said Louie Ortiz-Fonseca, Director of LGBTQ Health & Rights with Advocates for Youth.
[…] An analysis of national 2017 data found that 45% of people living with HIV report some form of disability—and that mobility disabilities were the most common. Fully one in four people reported them. And that’s among all adults living with HIV. At middle age, men with HIV walked more slowly, and continued to decline faster, than their HIV-negative peers.
By their 50s, Black men living with HIV were nearly three times likelier than white folks with the virus to have a mobility disability. These racial disparities were seen only in people living with HIV, not among the HIV-negative population. And the proportion of people with mobility disabilities rose significantly as people reached 65 or older. For women living with HIV, mobility was lower than it was for men with the virus.
Slow walking, limited movement and difficulty standing from a sitting position are three of the criteria required for a diagnosis of frailty, a condition of aging that can make it harder for people to recover from episodic illnesses. The good news is that mobility aids can keep people moving, which is associated with better overall health as one ages.
[…] The proportion of older people living with HIV has been increasing, and 55% of people included in this survey were over age 50. People ages 40 to 49 accounted for 19% of respondents, those ages 30 to 39 for 18% and those ages 18 to 29 for 8%.
This report confirms that HIV disproportionately affects Black and Latino Americans, underlining the importance of targeted care and outreach for these groups. In this analysis, 42% of people with diagnosed HIV were Black, 29% were white, 24% were Latino and 6% were another race or ethnicity. When accounting for their share of the total population, Black Americans are 3.4 times more likely, and Latinos are 1.3 times more likely, to be diagnosed with HIV.
People with diagnosed HIV were more likely than the population at large to face socioeconomic challenges that can make it more difficult to maintain good health, including poverty, unemployment and homelessness.
This plan guides all activities related to HIV prevention and care in Pennsylvania. Feedback will help the Division of HIV Disease most effectively plan for the ongoing needs of all people served in Pennsylvania.
According to a 2020 CDC report, out of more than 30,000 new cases of HIV infection in the United States, Black and Latinx populations bear the brunt of being most at risk, accounting for two-thirds (20,000) of the new infections. The reason (the CDC also reports) is due to institutionalized health disparities among those groups. In other words, Black and Latinx people face higher levels of discrimination when seeking health care.
Knowing your HIV status is the first step in preventing the spread of the virus. People who test positive can obtain treatment that keeps the virus in check, and therefore makes it next to impossible to spread to others.
To obtain a free HIV self-test kit, go to www.getmyHIVtest.com. Taking care of your health is part of taking care of your community.
HPCP gets a fair amount of comments on our social media platforms about why are there more ads for HIV testing in Pennsylvania. We’ve also been hearing a lot about unscientific, unfounded connections between COVID vaccines and HIV. The *real* connection to the need for more testing and COVID is that people stopped getting tested for HIV during the COVID crisis. Now HPCP is helping to make up for lost ground. As reported by Contagion Live, the pandemic disrupted testing among vulnerable populations (see below). As a result, HPCP, in partnership with Penn State University, is offering free HIV self-test kits to anyone who resides in Pennsylvania, you can find out more and get a FREE HIV self-test kit in the mail at www.getmyHIVtest.com.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted HIV testing and new diagnoses among vulnerable populations, according to a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC investigators analyzed data from national data collection systems in order to compare the numbers of HIV tests performed and HIV infections diagnosed in the US. in the years prior to (2019) and during (2020) the COVID-19 pandemic. The study authors noted that due to the pandemic, health care systems were disrupted including HIV testing and the redirection of some public health departments from sexual health services towards COVID-19 services.
Individuals with HIV who began taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the early stages of infection achieved a lengthy period of HIV suppression without ART after receiving two broadly neutralizing anti-HIV antibodies (bNAbs), according to a small study published today in the journal Nature . The findings suggest that combination bNAb therapy might offer a future alternative to daily ART for people living with HIV. […]
The purpose of the study was to see if treatment with the bNAbs could suppress HIV in the absence of ART. None of the seven participants who received the bNAb treatment had to restart ART before 28 weeks post-infusion compared to six of the seven participants who received placebo.
Saturday, April 10, marks National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) 2021. Traditionally, it’s a “day to educate the public about the impact of HIV and AIDS on young people,” according to the nonprofit Advocates for Youth, which spearheads NYHAAD.
The group adds, “The day also highlights the HIV prevention, treatment and care campaigns of young people in the U.S.”
This year, the HIV awareness day also includes a call to action. Youth advocates want you to help them convince Congress to pass the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act. “REPEAL” stands for: “Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal” HIV Discrimination.
The REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act aims to modernize HIV crime laws, such as those that set harsh sentences for people with HIV who allegedly don’t disclose their status before sex—even if they’re undetectable and HIV was not transmitted. (To read a collection of POZ articles about such laws and efforts to change them, click #Criminalization.)
You can support Advocates for Youth’s call to action by filling out an online form that will generate a letter to send to members of Congress.