Food pantry to remain closed another week

Resource-Center

Color rooms being rebuilt into food pantry

The Resource Center Food Pantry will remain closed at least another week.

Spokesperson Rafael McDonnell said in what center officials had hoped would be a final inspection on Wednesday, April 20, there were a few minor issues remaining. He said those have already been corrected, but the soonest an inspector can schedule another visit is Wednesday, April 27.

“We understand what a burden this has been on our clients,” McDonnell said. “We’re working as quickly as we can and we’ll have an update next week.”

He said the issues were minor, but without the green light from the city, the pantry can’t open.

The food pantry on Denton Drive closed sooner than Resource Center expected. That property is being torn down for redevelopment. The new food pantry is located in the old “color rooms” at the main location at 2701 Reagan St. Resource Center’s headquarters is moving in May to a new building being completed on Cedar Springs at Inwood Road.

If the food pantry gets its permit on April 27, it should be open on May 2.

 

—  David Taffet

Food pantry awaiting inspection to reopen

Resource-Center

Food pantry space under construction last month

The Resource Center Food Pantry is awaiting one final inspection before it can reopen.

The pantryhas  moved from its Denton Drive location to the main Resource Center building at 2701 Reagan St. but hasn’t opened yet as it waits for its final city permit to operate.

“Once we get our permit, we can get the freezer hooked up,” Resource Center spokesman Rafael McDonnell said.

That involved adding  220-current outlets, and that means extra inspections.

McDonnell said dry goods are out and ready for distribution.

If the space does pass inspection tomorrow (Wednesday, April 20), the pantry should reopen for business on Monday, April 25.

The hot meals program, which takes place in the building next door to the main space, has continued serving meals uninterrupted. The center lost its space on Denton Drive sooner than it expected.

—  David Taffet

No Tie packs em in at Frontiers of Flight Museum

About 1,500 people attended No Tie Dinner at the Frontiers of Flight Museum on Saturday (April 9). The event benefits AIDS Services Dallas that provides housing for underprivileged people living with AIDS.

Angel and Marie Reyes served as honorary chairs. Marie is one of the new Real Housewives of Dallas that premieres on Bravo tonight (April 11) at 9 p.m. (Central Time).

—  David Taffet

No Tie Dinner needs volunteers

NTD cupcakes

No Tie Dinner cupcakes

No Tie Dinner needs volunteers this Saturday, April 9 at 7 p.m. at Frontiers of Flight Museum, 6911 Lemmon Avenue, according to Development Associate Alex Sanchez. The dessert party and silent auction benefits AIDS Services Dallas.

To volunteer to work the floor of the silent auction and for other positions during the event, contact Henrietta Martin at 214-941-0523.

—  David Taffet

Researchers edit HIV genes out of immune cells

Kamel Khalili

Kamel Khalili, a lead researcher in the study.

Temple University researchers have successfully edited HIV cells out of a patient’s infected immune cells, according to study results published in Nature Scientific Reports.

The researchers used the gene editing tool known as CRISPR/Cas9 to clear out the entire HIV-1 genome from a patient’s infected immune cells in a petri dish, they said.

“Not only did this remove the viral DNA, it did so permanently. What’s more, because this microscopic genetic system remained within the cell, it staved off further infections when particles of HIV-1 tried to sneak their way back in from unedited cells,” according to Gizmodo.

While the virus was not removed, the “technique successfully lowered the viral load in the patient’s extracted cells.”

“[These findings] demonstrate the effectiveness of our gene editing system in eliminating HIV from the DNA of CD4 T-cells and, by introducing mutations into the viral genome, permanently inactivating its replication,” Temple geneticist Kamel Khalili said in a statement. “Further, they show that the system can protect cells from re-infection and that the technology is safe for the cells, with no toxic effects.”

—  James Russell

Clinton, Sanders respond to 2016 presidential HIV/AIDS questionnaire

Bernie Sanders and Hillary ClintonIn February, a coalition of more than 50 AIDS and HIV service organizations, including AIDS Arms and Houston’s Legacy Community Health, sent a survey to presidential candidates from both parties to assess their stances on HIV/AIDS policies and initiatives. Candidates were question on their positions on HIV stigmatization laws, research funding and needle exchange policies.

Of the five candidates still in the race, only the two Democrats — former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — have responded.

In general both support policies supported by HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention advocates. But when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of policy, Clinton shines.

On the issue of ending HIV criminalization laws, here’s Clinton’s take:

As President, I will work with advocates, HIV and AIDS organizations, and Congress to review and reform outdated and stigmatizing HIV criminalization laws — and I will call on states to do the sameI will continue to aggressively enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act and other civil rights laws to fight HIV-related discrimination. And I will ensure that my Administration releases the latest facts about HIV transmission and risk behaviors to counter unnecessary laws and work to educate prosecutors about the latest science of HIV to reduce unnecessary charges against people with HIV that are not scientifically valid. 

Here’s Sanders’ take:

We should continue and expand the policies that are working. The United States has clearly come a long way in its attitudes towards sexual orientation, gender identity, and health status, but there is still a long way to go. We must ensure that health providers, social services, law enforcement, and all other entities have proper resources and training to handle the varying needs of the community they serve. Schools must be giving students age-appropriate, comprehensive sex education. I echo the Strategy’s recommendation that all Americans should have access to scientifically-accurate information regarding HIV infection. For starters, I would direct FDA to update its blood donation policy. The recent update was a step in the right direction, but a blanket one-year ban is still not supported by science. I have joined other Members in asking FDA to implement a risk-based policy for all donors.

Click here to read Clinton’s complete response. Click here to read Sanders’ complete response.

For what it’s worth, the coalition is still happy to receive responses from remaining GOP candidates Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, businessman Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. In absence of a response, however, the coalition reviewed campaign literature, speeches or other positions of the candidates but found no information directly related to HIV/AIDS issues addressed in the survey.

—  James Russell

New study: PrEP could prevent 168,000 new HIV infections

CDC HIV impactThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new research on Wednesday, Feb. 24, showing that reaching the National HIV/AIDS Strategy targets for HIV testing and treatment and expanding the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) could prevent 185,000 new HIV infections in the U.S. by 2020, a 70 percent reduction in new infections.

The study estimates that, between 2015 and 2020:

Reaching the nation’s goal of ensuring 90 percent of people living with HIV are diagnosed, and 80 percent of people diagnosed achieve viral suppression could prevent 168,000 new HIV infections

By also increasing the use of PrEP, a daily anti-HIV pill, among people who are uninfected but at high risk, an additional 17,000 infections could be prevented

If HIV testing and treatment remained the same, expanded use of PrEP among high-risk populations alone could prevent more than 48,000 new infections.

—  David Taffet

Syringe Access Fund announces $2.6 million in grants

Screen shot 2016-02-16 at 4.26.11 PMOfficials with the Syringe Access Fund announced today (Tuesday, Feb. 16), that the agency in January awarded 58 grants, totaling $2.6 million over the next two years, that are focused on policy and implementation support for syringe exchange programs.

Two of the grants are going to Texas agencies: Austin Harm Reduction Coalition in San Marcos and Border AIDS Partnership in El Paso.

According to statistics provided by the Syringe Access Fund, infected needles result in 3,000-5,000 new cases of HIV and approximately 10,000 new cases of hepatitis C each year in the U.S. Scientific evidence has shown that syringe exchange programs significantly reduce transmission of HIV, hepatitis C and other blood-borne illnesses without promoting drug use, the Syringe Access Fund officials say.

The grants come about a month after President Obama signed new legislation removing the federal ban on needle exchange programs. That legislation, which the president signed in December, was passed in the wake of the largest HIV outbreak in Indiana’s history last year, in which more than 188 people were newly infected, mainly through injecting drugs with dirty needles.

CDC officials have estimated the lifetime treatment costs associated with the Scott County outbreak may exceed $100 million.

The Syringe Access Fund, the largest private grant-making collaborative supporting syringe exchange programs, was founded in 2004 and is supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, (the now closed) Irene Diamond Fund, Levi Strauss Foundation, Open Society Foundations and AIDS United. Syringe Access Fund has distributed nearly $18 million through 347 grants to 161 organizations in 32 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

—  Tammye Nash

amfAR GRAPHICS: HIV among gay black men

After our story Good news, bad news: HIV diagnoses decreasing among African-Americans, but black gay men still 3 times more likely to be infected as white gay men ran, amfAR sent us these graphics depicting the severity of HIV infection among gay black men. HIV disproportionately affects this community across the south.

Web

 

Web

 

Web

 

—  David Taffet

National Black HIV Awareness Day

Turner.Phillip

Phillip Turner

Sunday is National Black HIV Awareness Day. Look for our stories in this week’s paper, but here’s the testing information for the weekend:

• Abounding Prosperity will hold a testing and fish fry event from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6 at Abounding Prosperity, 2311 MLK Blvd.

• Turner and other AHF staff will be testing for HIV and other STDs from 3-6 p.m. at Out of the Closet, 3920 Cedar Springs Road. AIDS Walk South Dallas director Antoine Wiley will speak. Chips, dip and margaritas will be served.

—  David Taffet