New York Governor Cuomo Announces Task Force To End AIDS Epidemic


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is following through on the promise he made last June to end the AIDS epidemic with the formation of a Task Force to help bring about that end. The Task Force will be supplemented by two advisory groups - The Public Official Advisory Group and The Public Awareness Ambassadors - in the near future and plan to bring the annual HIV infections down to a mere 750 per year by 2020.

The plan will doubtlessly become complex and more fully-detailed as the groups come into being, but for now the Task Force and advisory groups plan to combat AIDS and HIV infections by:

  1. Identifying people with HIV who remain undiagnosed and linking them to health care;
  2. Linking and retaining people diagnosed with HIV to health care and getting them on anti-HIV therapy to maximize HIV virus suppression so they remain healthy and prevent further transmission; and
  3. Providing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for high-risk people to keep them HIV negative.

The first meeting of the Task Force was held this past Tuesday with four more meetings planned for the future, all of which will be open to the public and can be watched online at

Pat Robertson Warns Viewer Traveling to Kenya: 'You've Got to Be Careful, the Towels Could Have AIDS' - VIDEO


Televangelist Pat Robertson, who in the past has warned viewers about gays wearing special rings to cut people and intentionally spread AIDS, has a new b.s. health warning for any viewer who might be traveling to Africa.

"You might get AIDS in Kenya, the people have AIDS, you've got to be careful, the towels can have AIDS."


Continue reading "Pat Robertson Warns Viewer Traveling to Kenya: 'You've Got to Be Careful, the Towels Could Have AIDS' - VIDEO" »

Notorious Big Brother Winner 'Evel Dick' Donato Comes Out as HIV Positive: VIDEO


In a new episode for Couples Therapy, volatile troublemaker and Big Brother 8 winner "Evel Dick" Donato revealed he is HIV positive - news he originally found out while competing as a returning player during the reality competition's 13th season back in 2011.

Big Brother fans will remember Donato leaving the game on Day 6 that season for undisclosed reasons. 

People reports:

Donato was competing on season 13 of Big Brother when producers called him into the house's Diary Room. "They told me that something was wrong with my blood test," he says. "They had done two HIV tests. One had come back positive and the other had come back negative." The show's doctor took more blood. Two hours later, Donato learned the life-changing news. "When they told me, I just went numb," he says. With little explanation, Donato left the show. "They had a car take me from CBS to my mother's house. She was the first person I told." 

"My biggest fear was telling my girlfriend," Donato continues. "We had this long discussion, and I figured she would freak out. But she was really understanding about the whole thing. She said, 'Whatever happens, we'll face it together.' She was tested and it came back negative. It was an incredible relief." 

Donato doesn't know how he contracted the disease, but he suspects that it happened during unprotected sex with a woman. "People are going to make assumptions about how I got it, and that's okay," he says. "People are afraid to come forward because they're afraid of the stigma of HIV. I'm not gay and I've never stuck a needle in my arm, but at this point, it doesn't matter. We create a stigma around the disease that makes it hard for people to publicly say they have it."

In the end, Donato said he decided to go public with his status becuase his platform as a reality-show villain could help him to encourage fans and viewers to be more aware of HIV, practice safe sex, and get tested. 

Check out a clip of Donato's interview on Couples Therapy, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Notorious Big Brother Winner 'Evel Dick' Donato Comes Out as HIV Positive: VIDEO" »

NYC Health Department Using Grindr & Scruff To Spread Word About PrEP

DaskalakisDr. Demetre Daskalakis, the New York City health department’s assistant commissioner for HIV/AIDS control and prevention, is using Grindr and Scruff to bring the city’s push for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to gay mens’ pockets. In addition to social networks like Facebook and Twitter the city is rolling out an expansive $500,000 ad campaign encouraging people to learn about and consider taking Truvada, the first PrEP drug to be approved by the FDA.

"There's not a lot of doctors who can say, 'I've done thousands of HIV [blood] tests with my hands in dark sex clubs,' " Daskalakis, who describes himself as a ‘gay health warrior,’ said to Newsday. "I have done that."

Part of the city’s plan is to target young black and latino men, a population that public health officials have identified as being disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. The push to spread awareness is one of three key components to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “Bending the Curve” initiative meant to eradicate new HIV infections in the state by 2020.

Backlash from PrEP opponents have followed as the city began rolling out advertisements extolling the drug as a means of combating the virus.

Weinstein"The first order of business in medical ethics is 'do no harm,' and what the New York City Health Department's doing is doing harm,” said Michael Weinstein [pictured], president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “There are people who are going to take this drug intermittently, who are going to think they're protected, who are going to not be protected.”

Daskalakis admits that PrEP is far from being a silver bullet to stemming the HIV/AIDS health crisis. Rather than zeroing in on the ways in which PrEP isn’t a complete solution, however, he’s bullish on the idea of PrEP as part of a holistic public health approach.

"Could there be an increased rate of STIs? Yeah. Absolutely. Ultimately PrEP is a harm-reduction approach, not a harm-elimination approach. We're not going to say we love it, but at least we have something for you."

The AIDS Activist Project Photography Book Needs Your Support To Become A Reality


Bill Bytsura (below right), a photographer and AIDS activist who became passionate about the cause after losing his partner, Randy Northup, is in the process of creating and producing a coffee table style book of photography and needs your support. Bytsura founded the AIDS activist project in 1989 after attending meeings of ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), and now his work has come full circle.

BillBytsuraBytsura's kickstarter page reads:

While Bytsura documented the many theatrical and angry street demonstrations created by ACT UP, he also felt the world needed to see the private, more contemplative, sides of his brave comrades. Then, perhaps they would not be demonized and their important work ignored. 

One day, while sitting through another highly emotional meeting, Bytsura had an idea: He would create a series of portraits of activists — not in the streets, where they were protesting in anger, but in more intimate settings where their humanity shone through.the AIDS activist project was born. 

The project began with sessions in Bytsura’s East Village photo studio. It grew quickly, sending the photographer to cities around America where other ACT UP chapters thrived. Eventually, Bill went abroad, intent on capturing the full diversity of the movement by photographing ACT UP members in other countries. The cities and countries included: New York City, Atlanta, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, San Juan, Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris. 

Bytsura and a professional team have selected 65 images for the book, which will be printed in a limited edition issue of 1500 copies. Though his work was borne out of anger, frustration, and grief, the photographs reveal a group of people full of life and energy. 

Consider donating and helping to make this important book a reality. Head over to Bytsura's kickstarter page and check out the informational video along with some of the imagery to be displayed in the book.

CDC Study Reveals Half of Gay, Bi Men with HIV Are Not Receiving Necessary Treatment


A disturbing new study issued by the Center for Disease Control finds half of gay and bisexual men with HIV go untreated, with nearly one in five men who have sex with men (MSMs) being unaware that they're infected.

NBC News reports:

Nearly 600,000 U.S. gay and bisexual men have HIV, the CDC says, and they make up more than half the Americans with the virus even though they account for just 2 percent of the population. CDC’s Sonia Singh and colleagues looked at a large national HIV survey and found that while 77 percent of gay men diagnosed with HIV have some sort of care available to them, only half were actually getting that care and just under half had been prescribed the drug cocktails recommended for just about everyone with HIV. Younger men and blacks were less likely than older, white men to be getting good treatment.

Added Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention:

“It’s unacceptable that treatment, one of our most powerful tools for protecting people’s health and preventing new HIV infections, is reaching only a fraction of gay men who need it. A top prevention priority at CDC is making sure every gay man with HIV knows his status and receives ongoing medical care – otherwise, we will never tackle the HIV epidemic in the country.”

For more info on the study, visit the CDC website HERE

Last week, the CDC lauched a video campaign encouraging people living with HIV to seek treatment. 


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