Researchers from the Emory School of Public Health recently released an estimate: 12% of young black gay men in Atlanta become infected with HIV each year. In the cohort studied, a man who becomes sexually active at age 18 has a 60% chance of seroconverting by the time he’s 30. The most recent figures on the wider epidemic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—which makes its home in Atlanta— are almost as alarming. Over a two-year period new infections rose by about 12% among all men who have sex with men (MSM, a category that includes transgender women), and by 22% for young MSM. A gay man was thirty times likelier to become HIV-positive than a straight man. Though domestic data on transgender people are not strong enough to cite with confidence, international figures tell us of a significant rise in new cases of HIV among transgender women. Last month a prominent NIH researcher summarized long-term HIV incidence data to an audience at Columbia University: “Among MSM,” he said, “new HIV infections are out of control.” Click HERE for pdf.
Just a few years ago, prevention of the sexual transmission of HIV meant one thing: using a condom for intercourse. Today there are multiple means of HIV prevention, and they involve both people who are living with HIV and people who are HIV-negative. Treating people living with HIV has a prevention benefit: someone living with HIV who has an undetectable viral load is extremely unlikely to transmit HIV. And the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Truvada as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a pharmaceutical HIV prevention for HIV-negative people at risk.
To HIV activists and service providers from affected communities, CDC has often seemed eerily absent from this freshly challenging, rapidly changing prevention landscape. Communities have the right to benefit from the knowledge obtained through research on them. This is a fundamental principle of human subject research. Community members have been subjected to a huge amount of HIV-related research over the past thirty years. Now that this research has shown just how crucial TasP, PEP, and PrEP could be for lowering the number of new infections, this knowledge must be translated quickly into policies and programs that could help relieve our communities of the massive burden of disease into the foreseeable future. Toward this end, ACT UP NY and our community allies are asking CDC to change the way it conducts HIV prevention:
Sexually Frank HIV Prevention Messaging
Effective HIV prevention requires informational materials that deal frankly with sex and discuss the
realities of maintaining bodily health. When these materials ignore the human body, those who need to practice sexual health ignore it too. The 1987 Helms Amendment prohibits federal funding for materials that promote homosexual activity. To protect itself, CDC drafted content guidelines that prevent the agency from producing openly sexual materials and from funding the production of such materials by local health departments. In silencing itself and its partners, CDC has abandoned its mandate...
Media: Terry Roethlein, 347-449-2881
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
ACT UP Hastens Release of NYS DOH Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Guidelines
Calls for New York State to Allocate Funds for Public and Provider PrEP Education
NEW YORK CITY – JANUARY 21, 2014 – AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power/New York (ACT UP/NY) applauds the release by New York State’s Department of Health (NYS DOH) AIDS Institute of clinical guidelines for the use of Pre-Exposure Prohylaxis, or PrEP, to reduce HIV transmission. PrEP is a daily dose of the HIV medication Truvada that can prevent HIV infection if taken before exposure. The guidelines, which are available publicly at http://www.hivguidelines.org/clinical-guidelines/pre-exposure-prophylaxis/guidance-for-the-use-of-pre-exposure-prophylaxis-prep-to-prevent-hiv-transmission/, were released on January 14th due to pressure from ACT UP NY.
“While we’re glad to see the creation and availability of these guidelines by the AIDS Institute,” says ACT UP member Terry Roethlein, “the NYS DOH dragged its heels for months over their release, which was originally promised to us last fall. The fact that the guidelines are available at the beginning of 2014 at all is the direct result of consistent pressure and communication with the AIDS Institute by ACT UP and its numerous allies.”
Media: Terry Roethlein, ACT UP NY, 347-449-2881
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- March 5, 2014
ACT UP Protests Anti-Gay Laws at Ugandan Consulate in New York City
U.S. activists speak out against political scapegoating of Ugandan LGBTI community
Approximately 50 LGBTI activists protested outside the Ugandan Consulate on March 5 for over an hour decrying President Yoweri Museveni’s February 24th passage of three Draconian measures: the Anti-Homosexuality Law, Anti-Pornography Law, and Public Order Management Law.
Members of ACT UP New York, Queer Nation, Health GAP, LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, and the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) carried signs that read “Hate is the new colonialism, “Fight real issues not the people,” and “God loves Ugandan gays.” A twenty-foot long rainbow banner reading “Boycott homophobia” was draped along the gates outside the consulate as the group gave short speeches on human rights violations in Uganda and read emotional pleas from LGBT Ugandans who are in hiding, suffering beatings, and sometimes committing suicide because of oppression.
In Uganda, accused homosexuals can be sentenced to seven years to life in prison and those who "promote" homosexuality can be sentenced to seven years. Health care providers offering HIV services to homosexuals are at risk for imprisonment, creating a deadly effect on gay and bisexual men who are then cut off from HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
For Immediate Release:@actupny
Media: Brandon Cuicchi 646.284.2948
AIDS ACTIVISTS WANT NYC HEALTH COMMISSIONER TOM FARLEY BOOTED FROM OFFICE
Video of protest and “die-in”: <http://youtu.be/jlNFj-u6xSY>http://youtu.be/jlNFj-u6xSY
New York City, January 3, 2014 - On January 1, twenty activists from ACT UP NY (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) braved subfreezing temperatures to demand that Bill De Blasio prioritize HIV/AIDS prevention in his new administration. ACT UP has been trying to meet with De Blasio for months to address his disturbingly vague AIDS platform, but the group's requests have been ignored.
During Tom Farley’s four years as Health Commissioner, the NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene neglected infectious diseases like AIDS and Hepatitis in favor of policing soft-drink sizes and smoking. In the Daily News last week, Farley went so far as to tout the Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene’s success in prioritizing smoking and soda bans while minimizing the ongoing catastrophic effects of HIV/AIDS in the LGBT community.