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SF Supervisor Scott Wiener Comes Out of the PrEP Closet: 'Each Morning, I Take a Pill Called Truvada'

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener decided to "come out of the PrEP closet" this week in order to educate the public and destigmatize 'pre-exposure prophylaxis', an HIV prevention strategy that reduces the risk of infection by the use of antiretroviral drugs. In a piece published Wednesday in the Huffington Post, Wiener says that he takes Truvada, the pharmaceutical produced by Gilead, daily.

WienerWrites Wiener:

I recently decided to be public about my use of PrEP in order to raise awareness about this relatively new tool for preventing HIV. It's important to encourage people at risk for HIV to talk to their medical providers about all the tools and methods available for preventing infection, including PrEP, and to choose the methods that are best for them.

As an elected official, disclosing this personal health decision was a hard but necessary choice. After all these years, we still see enormous stigma, shame, and judgment around HIV, and around sexuality in general. That is precisely why I decided to be public about my choice: to contribute to a larger dialogue about our community's health. I have the honor of representing a district that includes the Castro -- ground zero for the HIV epidemic. I represent a community that has been profoundly impacted by HIV, with a large number of HIV-positive people -- nearly one in four gay men in San Francisco is HIV-positive -- and an even larger number of people at risk of becoming positive. As an elected official in this role, I have an obligation to do everything in my power to support those living with HIV, increase public awareness about effective HIV prevention, and reduce stigma and shame.

Wiener notes that, like many in his generation, "I came of age associating sex with illness and death" yet he is bewildered by the fact that many young men and many he have known to be negative for decades still seroconvert.

"None of this is preordained. People don't need to continue to get infected, and we know that PrEP has the potential to help stop the epidemic in its tracks by ending new HIV infections," Wiener writes.

TruvadaWiener is introducing a resolution in San Francisco today hoping to begin a process that will allow PrEP to become more available, reports Josh Barro in the NYT:

On Thursday, the board will hold a hearing about increasing that number. David Campos, a supervisor who like Mr. Wiener is openly gay, will introduce a resolution directing the city’s health department to develop a plan by December that “addresses the educational and affordability issues” around Truvada. In particular, he and Mr. Wiener are focused on bringing down costs for people who would like to be on PrEP but can’t afford it.

PrEP is widely covered by health insurers, including Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid. Medi-Cal covers PrEP’s entire cost and many high-quality private plans cover most costs. Mr. Wiener pays just a $15 monthly co-payment under his city-provided health plan. But health plans with high deductibles may leave patients “covered” yet unable to afford their share of the cost of Truvada, whose list price is over $1,000 per month. The price is also forbidding for the uninsured; federally funded programs provide free medication to H.I.V.-positive people without insurance, but they do not cover PrEP.

Wiener told Barro: “A much larger segment of gay men should be taking a close look at PrEP...I hope that my being public about my use of PrEP can help people take a second look at it.”


Facebook Agrees To Meet With Drag Community Members Following 'Real Name' Controversy

Heklina_drag_queen_performing

In response to a planned protest at their headquarters, representatives from Facebook have agreed to meet with Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and David Campos, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, about Facebook’s recent crackdown on the use of drag names.

Hundreds of drag queens found their public Facebook profiles deactivated last week after Facebook began to enforce its rules stating that all users must attach their birth names to personal pages. While members of the drag community were not explicitly targeted by the crackdown, drag queens seems to have been disproportionately affected given their tendency to embody their personae as public figures.

“I’ve had this name for 20 years now,” San Francisco-based performer Heklina explained to Tech Crunch “I walk down the street and people say ‘Hi Heklina.’ People know me by my drag name.”

Heklina claimed that every single drag performer that she knew in the Bay Area had been affected by Facebook’s enforcement of the policy, robbing them of the ability to keep their drag lives separate from their personal ones.

“This is like in the 1950’s when drag queens would perform at the club and then had to quickly change into their boy clothes after to keep from getting harassed,” she said, citing the many queens that were effectively forced to out themselves.

Initially Facebook responded by suggesting that drag performers attach their aliases to profiles featuring their actual names or create fan pages for their characters as an alternative. Fan pages, says Heklina, often don’t really capture what all it means to be a drag fixture in a local community.

“While many drag queens are 'out' about who they are, not all drag queens have that luxury," San Francisco Boardmember Scott Weiner wrote in a Facebook post. "Preventing drag queens from using the names that actually define who they are also puts a number of people in the untenable position of having to choose between telling the world that they’re drag queens and abandoning Facebook for their drag personas.”


Embarrassing Typos Mar Otherwise Sparkling Roll-Out of LGBT 'Rainbow Honor Walk' in SF: VIDEO

Wilde

Yesterday, in San Francisco's Castro District, organizers unveiled the first bronze sidewalk plaques dedicated to LGBT heroes in the Rainbow Honor Walk, a queer take on Hollywood Boulevard's "Walk of Fame" meant to honor those "self-expressed LGBT individuals, now deceased, who made significant contributions in their fields."

The first 20 honorees are Jane Addams, James Baldwin, George Choy, Federico Garcia Lorca, Allen Ginsberg, Keith Haring, Harry Hay, Sylvester James, Christine Jorgensen, Frida Kahlo, Del Martin, Yukio Mishima, Bayard Rustin, Randy Shilts, Gertrude Stein, Alan Turing, Tom Waddell, Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams, and Virginia Woolf.

JorgensenThe unveiling was marred by some unfortunate typos which immediately made their way to social media. Oscar Wilde's plaque celebrated the writer's "bitting" wit while trans pioneer Christine Jorgensen was described as "trangendered". More than $100,000 in donations which paid for the plaques will cover the cost of corrections, reports KGO.

According to Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin, who was there to help unveil the Virginia Woolf plaque (see below) with his husband Chris Turner and their dog Philo, the plaques with errors will be auctioned off to benefit the Honor Walk campaign and replaced.

Other attendees included Senator Mark Leno and SF Supervisor Scott Wiener, as well as activist and veteran Dan Choi.

The Walk has been in development for years:

The idea for the project had a dual genesis. In 1994, Perry suggested the idea and received media attention and the support of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. However, the overwhelming priorities of the AIDS/HIV pandemic put the project, and its fundraising goals, on hiatus. In 2009, Lindenauer, unaware of the earlier effort, envisioned the Rainbow Honor Walk. Lindenauer and Perry joined forces, put together a volunteer committee of community leaders and received the unanimous support of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

“These are just the first 20 of what we hope will be hundreds of names,” says Lindenauer, noting the Walk stretches from Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy on 19th Street at Diamond down to Castro. On Castro Street — the LGBT community’s “Main Street” – the walk will continue up to Market Street with additional wings along 18th Street. On Market Street, San Francisco’s main thoroughfare, the Walk will continue to the LGBT Center at Octavia Boulevard.

Check out a big Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter gallery of the roll-out and all the sidewalk plaques as well as some local news coverage from KGO, AFTER THE JUMP....

 

Continue reading "Embarrassing Typos Mar Otherwise Sparkling Roll-Out of LGBT 'Rainbow Honor Walk' in SF: VIDEO" »


Dan Choi Running for City College of San Francisco Board Spot

Choi

Lt. Dan Choi, who was for many years the public face of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal movement, has announced a candidacy for the City College of San Francisco Board.

Choi2Via campaign website:

Now, Dan has decided to channel his energies towards revitalizing the City College of San Francisco. As a dedicated student throughout his schooling, he has a passion for learning and education. Dan wants to see that all CCSF students have access to an enriching education as to provide them with the tools they need to achieve their goals both inside and outside of the classroom. Aware of the structural and economic issues facing the CCSF educational system, Dan is driven to be a part of the solution.

Choi has largely stayed away from the spotlight following his trial last year stemming from a DADT protest at the White House in 2010. 

[via joe.my.god]


Hot Cop Of Castro Gets Wet For Charity: VIDEO

Chris Kohrs ice

Remember how we told you last week that Chris Kohrs, aka The Hot Cop of Castro, would be joining in on the ice water challenge? Officer Kohrs followed through with the event and doffed his shirt to raise money for the Officer Down Memorial Fund. The SF Examiner compiled a slideshow of the event, while YouTube user Nathan Tatterson caught it all on video to share with the world, so you can watch Officer Kohrs get all soakin' wet AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Hot Cop Of Castro Gets Wet For Charity: VIDEO" »


Hot Cop Of Castro Is About To Get Wet: PHOTO

Cop

(image facebook)

This Monday, two fantastic things will be coming your way: the Hot Cop of Castro Street and the Chilin' 4 Charity ice water challenge. This Monday, August 18th Officer Chris Kohrs will be wearing not-very-much as he prepares to be doused with ice to raise money for the Officer Down Memorial Fund. Rather than a quiet demonstration with a friend and an iPhone, this will be a full-on event at The Café, with tickets available online. Money raised from the ticket sales will all be going directly to the Fund, and each ticket buyer will be given a raffle ticket for a chance to win the honor of being the one to upend the bucket of ice, while the top three donors will help Officer Kohrs prepare...whatever that means.

Stand by for us to have no small amount of photos and videos of the event come Tuesday. If you are unable to make it to the event but still wish to donate to ODMF, you can find their website here.


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