Local AIDS agencies send staff members to International AIDS conference

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, center, with, from left, AIDS Arms’ Nadia Molina, Mychael Patterson, Whitney Hynes and Kali Eszlinger

J.P. Cano

Several HIV/AIDS agencies from North Texas sent delegations to the International AIDS Conference that is being held in Washington, D.C. this week.

This marks the first time the conference is being held in the U.S. A ban on travel to this country by people with HIV that began in 1987 under the Reagan administration was lifted in 2010 by the Obama administration.

AIDS Arms has a delegation of 15 HIV prevention, medical care and health navigation professionals and a volunteer at the conference. The conference has more than a week of activities, marches, trainings, research presentations and networking opportunities, with thousands of professionals and HIV-positive individuals from around the world who work in the HIV field.

AIDS Arms’ delegation includes Drs. Gene Voskuhl and John Martin, Physician Assistant Alem Bayyan, HIV/STD Prevention Director Darriane Martin and her team, Joi Anene, Alexander Ortega and Ashley Innes, and its prison re-entry Director Daron Kirven and his team, Lisa Waitmon-Moses, Mychael Patterson, Nadia Molina, Allison Boyd and Edward Jones. Whitney Hynes, AAI’s Substance Abuse Health Navigator, and volunteer, Kali Eszlinger, complete the team.

Don Maison from AIDS Services Dallas is attending the conference as is J.P. Cano from Resource Center Dallas.

Cano, coordinator at RCD’s Nelson-Tebedo Community Clinic, is one of 20 people from across the U.S. selected as a member of the AIDS 2012 Embajadores (Ambassadors) program, part of the “Mobilizing Latino/Hispanic Communities” initiative at the 19th International AIDS conference. The program identifies, mobilizes and supports the next generation of Latino/Hispanic leaders in the HIV/AIDS field.

The Afiya Center in South Dallas was selected to participate in the Global Village, which will be open to all conference participants. Women served by the organization will showcase their Living Positively Positive project, which focuses on improving health outcomes for women living with HIV/AIDS and those at greatest risk of becoming infected.

Executive Director Marsha Jones said, “The Afiya Center is extremely proud and honored that our activity was chosen to be part of theAIDS 2012 program.”

—  David Taffet

Pow! Bam! Methadone Man, Buprenorphine Babe take on HIV/AIDS misinformation, stigma

The XVII International AIDS Conference recently wrapped up in Vienna, after six days of seminars, workshops, speeches and more, all chock full of the latest statistics, scientific advances and more. You can go to the official International AIDS Conference Vienna website here for transcripts of speeches and reports that were presented.

But there was more than just science available at the conference, and blogger Mark S. King was there to report on those other aspects on his blog, “My Fabulous Disease,” where you can read his “AIDS 2010 for Dummies: An Entertaining Review.”

When you’re checking out King’s take on the conference, be sure to click the link to watch a webisode of “Methadone Man and Buprenorphine Babe,” an HIV-fighting duo in the vein of Batman and Robin who are fighting misinformation and stigma (in the form of Mr. Thought Control and Evil Mr. Stigma and others) to spread the word that methadone and buprenorphone maintenance program can help stop the spread of HIV by helping injection drug users kick their habits.

Methadone Man and Buprenorphine Babe were created by The Open Society Institute’s International Harm Reduction Development Program to “help raise awareness about the glaring lack of access to these life-saving drugs.” And they might make you smile in the process.

Here’s Episode One:

—  admin

‘Pro-family activist’ calls on Obama to close bathhouses to stop the spread of AIDS

Welcome to 1985. That’s what it seems like if you listen to “pro-family activist” Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality. LaBarbera is calling on President Obama to shut down the gay bathhouses to stop the spread of AIDS.

OneNewsNow, a “Christian” news media outlet, ran this story Wednesday on LaBarbera’s reaction to the International AIDS Conference held last week in Vienna, Austria:

Peter LaBarbera

“At last week’s International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, the Obama administration pledged the support of the U.S. in the global fight against AIDS. But one pro-family activist points out that an important aspect is missing from the undertaking.

“Both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made prerecorded speeches at the close of the conference, committing the nation’s dedication to fight the disease. However, one key factor seemed to be absent from the rhetoric, says a prominent pro-family activist.

“‘It’s not a big mystery about what helps cause AIDS, and yet one key portion — homosexual practice, homosexual sex — is just off the table,’ notes Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH). ‘And then we wonder why we can’t keep this disease in check.’

“He compares this issue to the Wizard of Oz or the emperor who has no clothes. ‘There’s a lot of talk about fighting AIDS, but they’re not really serious about one of the key causes, which is homosexual behavior,’ he laments.

“Instead, LaBarbera says, President Obama promotes it. He wishes the president would take serious action to combat the disease — like shutting down homosexual bathhouses.

“‘Bathhouses are places where men can go practice this dangerous sexual activity in secret,’ the AFTAH president explains. ‘They can bring it home. If they’re bisexual, they can bring it back to their wife or their girlfriend and be the conduit for AIDS into the heterosexual community.’

“Based on the fact that the Obama administration has avoided the issue, the pro-family activist concludes that it is politically incorrect to talk about the dangers of homosexual behavior.”

OK, so once I wiped the tears of hysterical laughter from my eyes, I read this again and realized just how NOT funny it really is. Not funny for so many, many reasons.

First of all, this guy is trying to take us back to the dark ages of the AIDS epidemic, when fear and misinformation ruled.

I mean, c’mon, “homosexual behavior” does not CAUSE AIDS. Yes, HIV can be transmitted through sexual contact, whether it be homosexual or heterosexual sexual contact. But there is a big difference in means of transmission and cause. AIDS is CAUSED by a virus. And guess what, that virus does not discriminate based on sexual orientation.

And the reason we can’t “keep this disease in check” is because of people like LaBarbera and his ilk who are spreading hate and lies and misinformation. I mean, how many men actually believe this guy and think they won’t get AIDS as long as they never have sex with another guy?! THAT’s what adds to the spread of the virus.

I just want to make sure that Ol’ Pete knows HIV is already spreading like wildfire through the hetero community, and has been for years, and it is because of people like him who spout this kind of shit instead of actually paying attention to science and fact and reality.

We need to stop letting LaBarbera and others of his ilk get away with their crap about “the dangers of homosexual behavior” and we need to start talking even more about the very real dangers of stupidity. And of hate. And of shame. And of lies. LaBarbera and others like him are so full of hatred or self-hate or whatever, that they are putting lives at risk with their stupidity. We can’t stop them from talking, but we do have to call them on their lies.

So hey, Pete. I’m calling bullshit. You want to hate LGBT people, that’s fine. That’s your right. But your stupidity on AIDS/HIV is putting lives at risk. So either learn the facts or shut the hell up.

—  admin