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Florida HIV/AIDS Organization Makes People Over 40 Pay For 'Free' Fundraiser

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Impulse Group South Florida, a community outreach group dedicated to spreading HIV awareness and education, has come under fire for age discrimination at one of its recent social functions. A massive pool party was thrown in Miami meant to spread word about the recently renovated Vagabond Hotel, a local landmark. Entrance into the highly publicized pool party was free to the public under the age of 40, but those 41 and above quickly realize that there would be a $50 cover fee if they wanted to join in the festivities. For a party that was being hashtagged on Instagram and Twitter with #JudgmentIsDirty, many felt as if judgment, and ageism, were in full effect.

“I’m amazed at the invite I just received – free admission up to 40 years of age and $50 over 40,” Ed Stevens, a would-be party goer said to South Florida Gay News. “In addition to whether this is even legal, it’s a shocking and blatant attempt to exclude mature people and another instance of how people in our community should know better, given the discrimination and judgements we face in the mainstream world. And I was looking forward to going back to this beautifully restored landmark.”

Since the pool party, disgruntled members of Miami’s gay community have taken to Impulse’s Facebook page expressing their concerns that the organization is more interested in throwing parties that cater to the young rather than addressing the health needs of the community as a whole.

“The primary strategy is to organically establish a following of socially active, young gay men through engagement at large, organized events, such as Evolution, which occurred in Miami on April 18,” Impulse responded in a press release yesterday. “The purpose of events like Evolution is to create a lively, fun atmosphere where these men can interact while simultaneously being exposed to information about HIV in a non-judgmental environment.”

Tiered pricing for community events like Evolution is common enough, with logic suggesting that younger, less economically established people would benefit from discounted tickets. That being said, it’s not hard to see why people interpreted two age-based tiers as somewhat problematic.


Judge Denies Abused Transgender Inmate Ashley Diamond's Transfer Plea: VIDEO

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Abused trans Georgia inmate Ashley Diamond has been denied a request to be transferred to a lower-security prison for her own safety, reports the New York Times.

Earlier this month it was reported that Diamond has been denied access to her hormones, assaulted and raped at least seven times by other inmates. She filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) in February after years of unsuccessfully trying to convince officials to provide her proper medical treatment and protection.

In a federal court appearance yesterday, Diamond said that she has come to blame herself for being a victim.

Addressing Judge Marc T. Treadwell, she said:

“If I wasn’t so feminine, maybe if I didn’t talk the way I talked or move the way I moved, I would be less of a victim that way. I also feel a little less human because when I did report things, the very people I wanted help from, Your Honor, would tell me things like, ‘You brought this on yourself.’”

The hearing only addressed Diamond’s transfer request. Allegations that corrections authorities had failed to protect her from serious harm were not considered.

Treadwell said that the state had made a persuasive argument that Diamond had been transferred to Georgia State as a “positive” reaction to her lawsuit. She is housed in the system’s smallest unit which offers supported living for rape victims and for inmates with special mental health needs.

However, Diamond said she had been sexually harassed and forced to pay protection money since her arrival. She added that when she declined to be put in protective custody, prison officials coerced her into signing affidavits saying she was doing well, a claim which has been denied.

It was also stated that the prison’s psychologist did not appear in court because he had told Diamond he could lose his job if he testified “truthfully.” Treadwell admitted that this gave him cause for “lingering concerns.”

Earlier this month, Elton John and Michael Stipe issued a joint statement calling on the GDC to ensure Diamond's safety and provide her with hormone therapy.

Watch a Southern Poverty Law Center report on Diamond, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Judge Denies Abused Transgender Inmate Ashley Diamond's Transfer Plea: VIDEO" »


5 Things Every Guy Should Know About Their Junk: VIDEO

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As gay men, we usually pride ourselves on having a deep intimate knowledge about the male body. Being men logically holds that we’d know a thing or two about the ins and outs of our own physiology, right? The thing is, though, men are notoriously bad about dealing with basic health needs and a lot of what we assume to be true about our bodies is based on false assumptions.

Take morning wood, for example. Most guys would be quick to attribute their early morning erections to pressure from a heavy bladder. According to a number of doctors that Buzzfeed consulted for this handy video, however, the real reason we wake up a little stiffer than usual is much more complicated.

Find out the origin of morning wood and four other “Things Men Should Know About Their Bodies” AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "5 Things Every Guy Should Know About Their Junk: VIDEO" »


FDA Approves New Pill Combo Treatment For HIV Patients

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 6.15.05 AMThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new tool in the fight against HIV with a two once-daily, fixed dose combination of pills utilizing previously approved single drugs Evotaz and Prezcobix reports hivplusmag.com. The combination of the protease inhibitor darunavir and boosting agent cobicistat, which raises the level of other antiretroviral drugs in the bloodstream, is what creates Prezcobix. Karen Tashima, a professor of medicine in infectious diseases with Brown University and one of the key lead investigators in a study that led to Prezcobix’s approval, explained the relevance of this new development.

Said Tashima:

"This approval gives physicians the option of a Darunavir-based, fixed-dose combination tablet to treat adults living with the HIV-1 infection, which can help reduce the number of pills in their overall treatment regimen. Additional options remain an important medical priority to meet the diverse needs of those living with and managing this disease."

Evotaz assists in boosting Prezcobix's effectiveness, performing well in a 602-patient clinical trial with sustained effectiveness and safety over a 48-week period. Although a functional cure for the infectious disease is still being researched, several preventative and new treatment methods are steadily developing including a new discovery of a rarely occurring antibody produced within the body of HIV positive people, called 3BNC117, that reduces viral loads without the help of antiretroviral drugs. Early tests have shown that a single injection of the antibody into positive patients' (those who don't produce the rare antibody) dramatically decreased their viral loads and remained low for 28 days.


London 'Gay Conversion Therapy' Convention Cancelled Following Public Outcry: VIDEO

Mike Carducci

A “gay conversion” conference in London, England has been cancelled following public outcry, reports London 24.

The Seventh Day Adventist Church “Holy Sexuality Conference" was set to include speakers Mike Carducci, Wayne Blakely and Danielle Harrison, who all claim to have been “cured” of their homosexuality.

A petition against the conference on Change.org was signed by more than 40,000 people.

Church in Britain cancels 'gay conversion' conference following online petition on @UKChange http://t.co/CZLnQvaLel via @mashable

— Brie Rogers Lowery (@brie_rl) April 14, 2015

PxBSLTYHntNiesg-800x450-noPadIn a statement, the church said:

“The Adventist Church recognises that the individuals invited to speak at the Holy Sexuality Conference have compelling life stories to share but equally appreciate that there are those who take a different point of view.

“We are disappointed that in a society that values freedom of speech and divergence of opinion that there are those whose wish it is to silence individuals who hold a different point of view to their own.

“We do not believe that the potential disruptions that were being planned for this event would have been beneficial either to the participants or to our friends in the LGBT community.

“As such, a decision has been made to cancel the event which had been locally organised by a group of members in the South London area.”

U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said “if anything needs curing, it is the outdated belief that being gay is wrong or something to be ashamed of.”

Watch Carducci on his "addiction" to homosexuality, AFTER THE JUMP...

Last week, President Obama announced his support for  a "We the People" petition urging the government to "Enact Leelah's Law to Ban All LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy" after it reached more than 120,000 signatures.

Continue reading "London 'Gay Conversion Therapy' Convention Cancelled Following Public Outcry: VIDEO" »


Single Experimental Antibody Treatment Suppresses HIV Viral Load For 28 Days

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One of the most promising developments in the search for a more lasting treatment to manage HIV appears to have come from within the human body itself. 3BNC117 is a rarely occurring antibody produced in the bloodstreams of HIV-positive people. Antibody production is the immune system’s natural response to viral and biological infection. Unlike most HIV antibodies, though, 3BNC117 has proven to be highly effective at reducing patients’ viral loads without the assistance of antiretroviral drugs.

Human test trials to analyze how the rare antibody interacts with both HIV positive and negative people are underway and their preliminary results have been fascinating. The bloodwork from HIV positive participants showed that their viral loads decreased dramatically and remained low for 28 days from a single injection of 3BNC117. HIV-negative participants reported negligible side effects. While the dosage of antibodies lowered the overall amount of HIV within test subjects’ bodies, it’s important to point out that the treatment wasn’t able to fully suppress or wipe out the virus.

The real promise of the drug lies in how long it lasts and how quickly it propagates throughout a person’s system. Normally antibodies take a fair amount of time to develop and spread throughout a person’s bloodstream to fight foreign bodies like viruses. The time between an initial infection and when a body begins producing antibodies is why, for example, some HIV tests are only effective two to three months after a person is initially exposed to the virus. While antibodies can help fight off viruses HIV is known for being highly mutable, adapting to challenges incredibly quickly. Giving people high dosages of 3BNC117 cuts out the waiting time and appears to rob the virus of the chance to change its physical structure.

Still, this particular use of the antibody holds immense promise. In primae trials it was shown to be somewhat effective at preventing HIV infection in non HIV-positive test subjects. Additionally 3BNC117 could be incorporated into other HIV therapies in order to boost their efficacy and lower the frequency with which they have to be taken.

(h/t The Verge)


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