Category Archives: HIV

An epidemic during a pandemic: 40 years since HIV

From NorthcentralPA.com

Williamsport, Pa — The Coronavirus pandemic is not the only virus which has upended the lives of countless millions.

On June 5, 1981, Americans heard the first rustlings of what soon became known as the AIDS epidemic. Few could have predicted the widespread havoc this new virus was about to have on the world.

It has been 40 years since an article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report stated five previously healthy, gay men in Los Angeles were suddenly very sick with a rare lung infection.

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Not long after this was published, there were reports of more gay men in hospitals who were diagnosed with Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia, Kaposi’s Sarcoma and other opportunistic infections.

The phrase “gay cancer” was printed the next month in a New York Times article, which set the tone across the nation that this virus only affected gay men.

In May 1982, the virus was called “Gay-Related Immune Deficiency” or “GRID”, which perpetuated the idea that it exclusively affected the gay community. As more doctors and scientists began learning about this virus, they discovered it also affected many heterosexual people, hemophiliacs, people using intravenous drugs and sex workers.

The term “AIDS” or “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome” became the official name of the virus in November 1982. Even though the name was changed, the stigma stayed the same. HIV stigma is still prevalent today despite the wealth of information available about the virus.

The early years were incredibly difficult for people who feared they would get sick or lose a loved one to AIDS-related illnesses. While people were fighting for their lives, former President Ronald Reagan remained silent. He did not publicly speak about AIDS until September 1985. During his years of inaction, thousands of people had been diagnosed with AIDS and had died.

“It has been four decades since the HIV epidemic began in the United States. June 5, 1981, marks the day the CDC published an article about 5 young gay men hospitalized with similar symptoms. Looking back on these last 40 years, there have been difficult times, but there have also been many scientific breakthroughs that changed everything for people living with HIV,” according to Megan Bloom, head of public relations for Aids Resource, which has offices in Williamsport and State College.

Continue reading on NorthcentralPA.com.

LIVING WITH HIV IN PENNSYLVANIA? WE NEED YOUR INPUT!

Individuals living with HIV in Pennsylvania are invited to share their opinions with the Department of Health in setting HIV funding, care, and prevention priorities in the state.

Priority Setting is a part of HIV Planning in Pennsylvania and offers a special chance for individuals living with HIV to have their opinions recorded. These responses help the state’s HIV Planning Group and Pennsylvania Department of Health Division of HIV Disease make decisions about HIV spending and planning for a 5-year cycle. Individuals living with HIV are invited to rank a list of Ryan White Part B services, based on their own needs and the kinds of services that they find important.

Due to extended HIV Planning deadlines, we are reopening this year’s Priority Setting Survey, and are looking for your response!

We ask for your responses by Wednesday, June 30th .

Complete the Pennsylvania Ryan White Priority Setting Survey at this link:  https://bit.ly/3dZf3Hk. 

Please direct any questions to Maura Bainbridge at stakeholders@stophiv.org or 412-383-1619.

How Does COVID-19 Affect People with HIV?

From HIV.gov

We are still learning about COVID-19 and how it affects people with HIV. This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and scientists are learning more every day.

Visit COVID-19 and HIV FAQs from CDC for the latest information.

Feeling sick? Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and can recover at home. If you think you have COVID-19 and have symptoms, get tested. It’s important to continue taking your HIV medicine as prescribed. This will help keep your immune system healthy. If you don’t have a health care provider, contact your nearest community health center or health department. If you experience severe symptoms, get emergency medical care immediately. Learn more about COVID-19 and what to do if you get sick.

Find out more on HIV.gov.

 

Register Now – 40 Years of Progress – It’s Time to End the HIV Epidemic: Webinar

From HIV.gov

On Tuesday, June 1, 2021, the HHS Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) invites stakeholders nationwide to a virtual webinar  commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first report of what would become known as AIDS. The webinar—40 Years of Progress: It’s Time to End the HIV Epidemic— hosted by OIDP, United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps Officers at PACE (Prevention through Active Community Engagement) Regions 4, 6, and 9 will take place from 12:00–3:30 p.m. (ET). The webinar is open to the public.

decorative banner saying 40 years of progress its time to end the H I V epidemic

Rachel L. Levine, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health, will offer remarks during the webinar.

Find out more.

Social Workers Helping Older Adults with HIV Survey

From the Professional Association of Social Workers

The HIV Age Positively: A Social Work Response Initiative seeks to address the unique challenges experienced by individuals aging with HIV & AIDS.  As we strive to identify and enhance social work practices especially to address the unique challenges experienced by those aging with HIV/AIDS, we would like to know more about your experiences, thoughts, and needs as a social work or allied professional working with aging adults living with HIV and/or AIDS.

P A S W H A logoWe invite you to complete and share the online Social Workers Helping Older Adults with HIV Survey. The survey will remain open until Thursday, June 3, 2021. To thank you for your participation, we will be including you in a drawing for a free membership to PASWHA and a conference registration to the National Conference on Social Work and HIV and AIDS.

Additionally, at the end of the survey, you will also be invited to participate in the Client Survey, which will aid us to learn directly about the needs of aging adults living with HIV and/or AIDS.

If you have any questions about the initiative or the survey, please contact Rusty Bennett via email (rusty@collaborative-solutions.net) or phone (205-939-0411) Rusty Bennett.

Take the survey here.

National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day May 19th

May 19 is National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a day devoted to eliminating HIV stigma in API communities. Learn more about the impact of HIV on these populations online at https://bit.ly/3gfhsPG and https://bit.ly/3djLa4q. ‘

May 19 is National Asian and Pacific Islander H I V AIDS Awareness Day If you’re looking for testing resources, you can go to https://gettested.cdc.gov and search by zip code to find local testing clinics. Pennsylvania residents can also go to www.getmyHIVtest.com and order a free HIV test kit through the mail.

STD Clinics Contribute to Ending the HIV Epidemic in the United States

From HIV.gov

STD clinics play a key role in HIV diagnosis, prevention, care, and treatment.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes this role and in August 2020 awarded $3 million to seven jurisdictions to scale up HIV services in eight STD clinics through funding announcement PS20-2010: Integrated HIV Programs for Health Departments to Support Ending the HIV Epidemic in the United States (EHE).

Having a sexually transmitted infection (STI) can increase theEnding the H I V epidemic chances of getting or transmitting HIV, because having an STI may make HIV transmission easier. Additionally, the same behaviors and circumstances that place people at risk for STIs also can place them at risk for HIV.

STD clinics are important healthcare settings for people who may not otherwise have access to healthcare services, including those who are uninsured or seek confidential services. They serve people who are not engaged in HIV prevention programs or the primary healthcare system for STD and HIV prevention and care.3 For example, in 2018, an analysis of CDC-funded HIV tests found STD clinics provided more than one-third of all HIV tests conducted among healthcare settings and identified approximately 20% of all people newly diagnosed with HIV in these settings.

Read the full article on HIV.gov.

HHS Prohibitions on Sex Discrimination in Line with Supreme Court Decision

From HIV.gov...

The Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Office for Civil Rights will interpret and enforce Section 1557 and Title IX’s prohibitions on discrimination based on sex to include: (1) discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in covered health programs or activities. The update was made in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County and subsequent court decisions.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. That’s why today HHS announced it will act on related reports of discrimination,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences. It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone – including LGBTQ people – should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.”

Discrimination in health care impacts health outcomes. Research shows that one quarter of LGBTQ people who faced discrimination postponed or avoided receiving needed medical care for fear of further discrimination.

Read the full article on HIV.gov.

Living with HIV in Pennsylvania? We need your input!

All individuals living with HIV in Pennsylvania are invited to share their opinions in this Priority Setting Survey!

Human Crowd Forming H I V Text On White Background Priority Setting is a part of HIV Planning in Pennsylvania and offers a special chance for individuals living with HIV to have their opinions recorded. These responses help the state’s HIV Planning Group and Pennsylvania Department of Health Division of HIV Disease make decisions about HIV spending and planning for a 5-year cycle. Individuals living with HIV are invited to rank a list of Ryan White Part B services, based on their own needs and the kinds of services that they find important.

Due to extended HIV Planning deadlines, we are reopening this year’s Priority Setting Survey, and are looking for your response!

We ask for your responses by Wednesday, June 30th .

Complete the Pennsylvania Ryan White Priority Setting Survey at this link:  https://bit.ly/3dZf3Hk. 

Please direct any questions to Maura Bainbridge at stakeholders@stophiv.org or 412-383-1619.