10/29/2014

Major HIV News: 'On-Demand' PrEP Study Appears Successful

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In major news in the fight against HIV, a second European study has concluded the "randomized" phase of its examination of the efficacy of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) due to the drug's high effectiveness at preventing HIV infection. All participants in this latest study--IPERGAY--including those who were previously receiving a placebo medication have now been given PrEP. What is perhaps most stunning about the new findings is that evidence seems to suggest that PrEP is effective not only when taken daily but when taken "on-demand", in other words, when sex is anticipated. AIDS Map reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511e381fe970c-300wiThe investigators of the IPERGAY trial, which has six sites in France and one in Canada, announced today a “Significant breakthrough in the fight against HIV and AIDS” because IPERGAY had successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of its PrEP regimen.

IPERGAY’s early closure is significant not only because it adds confirmation that PrEP can be highly effective, but because it was testing an innovative, intermittent (“on-demand”) PrEP regimen. In this study, participants did not take PrEP daily, but only when they anticipated having sex. The regimen involved taking two pills of Truvada (tenofovir + emtricitabine) in the 24-hour period before anticipated sex and then, if sex happened, two separate one-pill doses in the two days following sex. This extends the versatility of PrEP and provides an alternative regimen to daily dosing.

The results from the IPERGAY trial mirrors those of a recent British trial, PROUD, which concluded its first phase early as well. The reports from both trials are still preliminary, however:

As with PROUD, no actual effectiveness figure or other quantitative data [from IPERGAY] were released, pending full analysis of the figures. The full results should be available early in 2015.

The trial will continue in non-randomised form for at least a year, as will PROUD, because of the need to demonstrate that “on demand” PrEP can have long-term benefit and to gather data on safety.

Principal investigator Professor Jean-Michel Molina said, "The biomedical concept of on-demand PrEP at the time of sexual exposure, in a broader prevention framework, is validated. We owe this to all trial volunteers without whom we could never have achieved these results". He adds that “condoms remain the cornerstone of HIV prevention. Combining all prevention tools that have proved to be effective will certainly allow us to better control the HIV epidemic.”

Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, Director of ANRS, commented, "This is a major breakthrough in the fight against HIV. The results of the ANRS IPERGAY trial should change national and international recommendations for HIV prevention".

Posted Oct. 29,2014 at 2:17 PM EST by in AIDS/HIV, News, PrEP, Truvada | Permalink | Comments (12)


70,000 Attend Taiwan Pride 2014 - VIDEO

Taiwan Pride 2014

An estimated 70,000 people attended the LGBT Pride Parade in Taiwan on October 25th, reports Global Voices.

The number of people taking part was one of the largest since the parade was first held in 2003, making Taiwan Pride the biggest in Asia.

With this year’s theme ‘Walk in Queers’ Shoes,’ the event featured voices from marginalized LGBT groups including physically disabled people, HIV-positive people and sex workers.

A marriage equality bill was presented by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights in 2012. Although the proposed law passed the first reading in October 2013, the legislative process was suspended following a massive mobilization of opponents.

Gay rights activists this month began pushing legislators to resume implementation of the legislation. A public hearing for the bill was held on October 16.

Taiwan Pride 2014 Logo

Watch a video for Taiwan Pride 2014, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "70,000 Attend Taiwan Pride 2014 - VIDEO"

Posted Oct. 29,2014 at 1:55 PM EST by in China, Gay Marriage, Gay Pride, News, Taiwan, Video, YouTube | Permalink | Comments (6)


Nebraska University To Offer Same-Sex Spouse Health Benefits Despite Catholic Church Objections - VIDEO

President Rev. Timothy Lannon

Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, has announced that it will soon offer health benefits to employee’s same-sex spouses despite the objections of Catholic archbishop George J. Lucas, reports KETV7 ABC.

Creighton UniversityOutlining the decision in a letter sent Monday to trustees, President Rev. Timothy Lannon, said that although Creighton continues to support the Catholic Church's teaching about marriage, the university is taking this step to meet the needs of its employees and remain competitive with other universities that already offer similar benefits.

Lannon added that 21 of the 28 Jesuit universities in the U.S. already offer similar benefits.

The letter to trustees reads in part:

"Dear Trustees,

"This is to inform you that I have decided that Creighton University will extend healthcare benefits in 2015 to the same-sex spouses of our colleagues who have been legally wed in other states.

"I have notified Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha of my decision, acknowledging his disagreement and disapproval of such a decision based upon a previous conversation he and I had.

"I asked the University Benefits Committee to consider benefits coverage for legally married same-sex couples. They were unanimous in supporting this change. The extension of benefits is not a statement of approval of same-sex marriages but rather an acknowledgement of our responsibility to serve the needs of faculty and staff who faithfully serve our students and patients every day.

"This decision not only reflects a commitment to our colleagues, but our ongoing commitment to health and wellness.

"I anticipate that we may receive some negative media attention for this decision. Nevertheless, I believe it was the right thing to do."

However, in a statement made on the same day, Lucas expressed his disappointment with the decision, arguing that it is in fact an approval of same-sex marriage.  He added:

“I am dismayed that the recommendation of the University Benefits Committee is thought to supersede divine law regarding marriage. There is no tension between Catholic teaching and social justice; both are grounded in the same truths about the nature of the human person, the complementarity of man and woman and the meaning of human life and love.

"When we experience tension in ensuring respect and just treatment for all persons, including those with same-sex attraction, we have a right to expect a Catholic university to help us see a just path forward, rooted in faith and founded on the rich Catholic intellectual tradition. Creighton has failed to fulfill this expectation in this expansion of benefits."

Last year, a ticket giveaway for Creighton University students to see Macklemore & Ryan Lewis was postponed following protests from the Omaha school's Catholic Student Organization over the rap duo's vocal support for marriage equality.

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Nebraska University To Offer Same-Sex Spouse Health Benefits Despite Catholic Church Objections - VIDEO"

Posted Oct. 29,2014 at 1:30 PM EST by in Education, Gay Marriage, Gay Marriage Quotes, Law - Gay, LGBT, Nebraska, News, News Clips, Omaha, Religion, Video | Permalink | Comments (11)


Anti-Gay Wingnut James Dobson Fears Same-Sex Marriage Will Cause U.S. To Slide Into 'Sodom And Gomorrah' Territory

JamesDobsonJames Dobson, Focus on the Family founder and generally unpleasant individual (see that time he linked gay marriage to the Sandy Hook school shooting), has taken to the pages of his October newsletter to warn Americans that they are sliding toward irreversible damnation. Dobson attacks various judicial leaders along the way, including Towleroad favorite Richard Posner, claiming that they "are leading us toward perdition." He makes his real point, though, by comparing the United States to the biblical cities of sin, Sodom and Gomorrah.

Right Wing Watch reports on the newsletter:

Modernists, libertarians and atheists today recognize no condemnation of sexual perversion in the Bible. However, this historical account illustrates how God views it. The outrageous behavior of the wicked men of Sodom and Gomorrah sealed their doom. Fire and brimstone fell from the sky on both cities and utterly destroyed them. Henceforth, men who commit homosexual acts have been called “Sodomites,” although that term has become politically offensive since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized and protected sexual perversion...

One thing is certain. God is the holy Sovereign Lord of all heaven and earth, and He will not be mocked. His justice will prevail when unrestrained lust, violence, perversion, and other forms of grievous sin have run their course...

Today, I have a continuing, unrelenting burden for today’s children and young adults who are being warped and twisted by those who would “fundamentally change” the world in which they are growing up. Everything we have known and valued is being swept away. 

Sorry, James. It seems the slippery slope toward Sodom that you so fear may only get slicker. 

Posted Oct. 29,2014 at 1:10 PM EST by in Focus on the Family, Gay Media, Gay Rights, Gay Stories, JAmes Dobson, News | Permalink | Comments (27)


Jon Stewart Looks At Democrats' 'POTUS-Partum' Depression As Mid-Terms Loom: VIDEO

STEWART

Jon Stewart is in Austin, Texas this week as part of his "Democalpyse 2014 - South by South Mess" and yesterday drew attention to the lengthy efforts Democrats are going to to avoid being associated with President Obama, who Stewart notes has become toxic in the current political climate. Referring to Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky and her refusal to answer whether or not she voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, Stewart points out her dodging the question "looks like a deposition from a murder trial." Stewart also rips into Scott Brown and his carpetbagging campaign (so ridiculous it hurts), underscoring that the Brown's race puts into stark relief just exactly where Democrats find themselves this election cycle:

"That's where the democrats are at, neck and neck with a Republican who admits he's not the best candidate running for the Senate in a state he's not from on an issue he ignored when he was a Senator from a different state."

Watch Stewart's on-point assessment, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

Continue reading "Jon Stewart Looks At Democrats' 'POTUS-Partum' Depression As Mid-Terms Loom: VIDEO"

Posted Oct. 29,2014 at 12:47 PM EST by in Jon Stewart, News | Permalink | Comments (4)


Yes, Nick Jonas Is (Sort of) Queerbaiting His Gay Fans. So What?

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The Interplay is a special biweekly series exploring the intersections of sex, pop culture, and current events.

BY CHARLES PULLIAM-MOORE

Last week, Flaunt magazine published its highly anticipated profile of Nick Jonas. The conversation was everything that the pre-release photos of Jonas promised it would be. It was prosaic. It was splashy. Mostly though--it was sexy, or rather, it was about sex. There are songs on the eponymously titled Nick Jonas that the 22 year-old singer wants you to be getting down to. With one hand resting on his proverbial “sword,” Jonas frankly endorsed the idea of you having sex to his new album.  

Like many Disney Channel stars before him, Jonas grew up in the public spotlight. His image, like his music, is maturing as he reorients himself towards a different demographic. Purity rings may have worked to sell albums to pre-teen girls, but Jonas circa 2014 is obviously going for a new market. There’s a big difference between signing autographs during a mall tour and pseudo-stripping your way through the gay NYC club circuit. Make no mistake: Nick Jonas is undoubtedly queerbaiting his gay fans. He’d be a fool not to.

 

In 2013 LGBT buying power was projected to peak at about $830 billion dollars, a figure that Jonas’s representation, Island Records, is certainly aware of. In an interview with Pride Source, Jonas chafed at the idea that he was using his Apollo’s belt to drum up gay interest in his music.

Selfie_jonas"I think it's unfortunate that some people have to find a negative in every situation," he explained in response to allegations of queerbaiting. "Clearly my heart is in the right place, and more than anything, if they just looked at my life and my gay friends and the authentic nature of where my heart is, they'd just see that they're kind of ignorant."

“The nature of where we are today is, we're in a time where we need to make strides and step forward as a society and embrace all people from all different walks of life. When you're trying to make a bold statement like that, some people aren't gonna fall in line with that. And that's OK. You gotta stay on your own path.”

Like any savvy business person, Jonas is quick to point out that he loves his gay fans despite his being straight and he’s totally cool with the fact that a large number of men find him attractive. 

Queerbaiting, in its traditional, insidious usage refers to the practice in which content creators position themselves as being a part of the “queer community” through strategic artifice. Katy Perry may have actually enjoyed kissing a woman at some point in her life and Nicki Minaj has been known to sign a breast or two after a concert. 

Neither of these performers has come out as being queer, opting instead to flirt with the ideas of both implicit and explicit bisexuality or lesbianism. Katy and Nicki love their gay fans too, but their histories of fauxmosexuality are egregious in a way that Nick Jonas’s isn’t. Jonas is queerbaiting only in the sense that he’s being an attractive man in public and inviting gay men to hand over their cash as tribute to his abdominal muscles. 

The harms associated with queerbaiting manifest themselves most clearly within the context of television, where long character-arcs, plotlines, and fanbases commingle in a heady mix of storytelling, ratings, and advertising. In a lengthy analysis of the BBC’s Sherlock and TNT’s Rizzoli and Isles, Autostraddle’s Rose Bridges explains how the two shows have a history of poking fun at canonical homosexual subtext. In doing so, she reasons, the shows’ writers turn characters’ implied queerness into the butt of lazy jokes that alienate queer audiences:

Friend 1.1"Indeed, the idea behind “no homo” is both that homosexuality is little more than a gag, and also that it’s deviant and wrong some way – “of course we’re not gay, how could you even think that” is the underlying assumption behind the joke.

When it’s that deliberate as in the cases of Sherlock or Rizzoli & Isles, there is a distinct feeling that the creators are playing with LGBTQ – and invested-in-LGBTQ-relationships (since the core of the “Johnlock” fanbase is slash-fanfiction-writing straight women) – dollars, but don’t care enough about us that they’d risk actually offending homophobes with explicit queer representation."

Friend2The closest musical equivalent to Bridges’s model for queerbaiting are the members of One Direction. Search for “X kissing Y,” where X and Y are the first names of any two members of the band. You’re guaranteed to find thousands of results--gossip articles, videos, fanfiction, etc.--feverishly speculating about the boys’ sexuality. Are they gay? Who knows? More importantly: who cares?

At its core, queerbaiting is tied in the increasingly less factual idea that there aren’t enough LGBT figures in the media. Nick Jonas isn’t the bait dangling from the tip of a musical hook. Rather, he’s a male pop star working in the age of “peak hot guy.” Explicit male sexuality is a cultural commodity, and if Nick Jonas is to be successful, then Nick Jonas is going to have to give the public its pound of flesh.

Posted Oct. 29,2014 at 12:25 PM EST by in Music, Nick Jonas, One Direction, Sherlock, Shirtless, Television, The Interplay | Permalink | Comments (17)


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