Trans Health Initiative
The Feminist Center is pleased to offer sensitive, friendly and affordable gynecological health care to gender variant and intersex individuals.
Our expanding program currently specializes in services to FTM, Transmasculine, and Intersex clients, offering annual…
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on Friday announced the appointment of veteran public health and AIDS physician Gregory Pappas as director of the city’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Disease and Tuberculosis Administration (HAHSTA).
Pappas, who is gay, has held a wide range of AIDS and public health-related positions over the past 25 years, including a post as adviser to U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher during the Clinton administration. He served as contributing author to the strategic plan for U.S. international emergency relief for AIDS in developing countries during the Bush administration.
In his most recent position as a global health consultant, he has served, among other things, as medical adviser to the Silver Spring, Md.-based National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA).
“I think this is the best appointment in the agency’s history,” said Frank Oldham, NAPWA’s executive director, who served as head of the D.C. AIDS office from 1993-1994, when it was called the Agency for HIV/AIDS.
“With his medical expertise and certainly his HIV/AIDS expertise, he understands the various populations – people of color, gay men of all colors, and the huge issue of AIDS among African-American women,” Oldham said. “This is a phenomenal appointment, and I really think we’re going to see a huge difference in saving lives from AIDS and a decrease in HIV infections in the District.”
Pappas, a longtime D.C. resident, served as an assistant to Dr. Mohammed Akter, Gray’s appointee as director of the Department of Health, when Akter served as the D.C. Commissioner of Public Health from 1991-1994.
Akter held that position during the administration of then-Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly and reported directly to Gray, who then headed the D.C. Department of Human Services. At the time, the human services department had jurisdiction over health issues.
HAHSTA is currently an arm of the Department of Health and its director reports to the DOH director.
Pappas will replace Dr. Nnemdi Kamanu Elias, who has served as acting director of HAHSTA since Mayor Adrian Fenty named her to the post last July. Fenty appointed Elias to the position after Dr. Shannon Hader, who held the director’s job for more than three years, abruptly resigned.
According to biographical information released by the mayor’s office, Pappas served recently as a consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development on mental health and HIV programs. He has also worked with the National Medical Association to improve African-American physicians’ ability to serve patients who are men who have sex with men.
His international heath work includes service as chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan. In his work with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Pappas designed monitoring and evaluation plans for anti-retroviral programs in nine African countries and countries in the Caribbean.
He received a degree in medicine and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Among the jobs he held upon moving to D.C. was the post of faculty member at Howard University Medical School.
Since the days of Jimmy Carter and Anita Bryant, Lyon-Martin Health Services has provided affordable health care to the Bay Area’s marginalized lesbian community. Now, 32 years after gay rights pioneers Phyllis Lyon (left) and partner Del Martin (right; who passed away in 2008) opened the center, the San Francisco institution is struggling to survive.
Lyon-Martin — which provides everything from cancer screenings to HIV care — is in the middle of an extreme cash shortage that puts it in risk of shutting down. The president of the center’s board of directors, Lauren Winter, tells The Advocate that the center needs $250,000 to keep their doors open, but, thankfully, recent donations have come in totaling over $200,000.
“Fundraising is going amazingly well,” Winter says. “We’re not out of the woods yet, but as far as clinic closure, things are looking better. We’re still taking appointments.”
Winter says the economy has done a number on the center’s finances, but she’s thankful that all sectors of San Francisco’s LGBT community have come out to help the center in its time of need.
“I guess the community loves us,” Winter says, noting that men, women, and transgender people have all opened their checkbooks for Lyon-Martin. “But it’s a wake-up call for all LGBT clinics. We have to work together and donate together to keep services like this around.”
On Tuesday, federal regulations regarding patients’ hospital visitation rights will go into effect. These new regulations require all hospitals participating in Medicaid and Medicare programs – virtually every hospital in the country – to permit patients to designate visitors of their choosing and prohibit discrimination in visitation based on a number of factors, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
Moved by the tragic story of an LGBT family – Janice Langbehn, Lisa Pond and their children – who were kept apart as Lisa lay dying in a Miami hospital, President Obama issued a presidential memorandum in April 2010 directing the Department of Health and Human Services to develop regulations protecting hospital visitation rights.
Visit our Hospital Visitation Guide for information about these regulations and the upcoming changes.
In addition to working with the Obama administration on the hospital visitation issue, our annual Healthcare Equality Index surveys healthcare policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and their families.
For more information about the HEI, as well as resources for hospitals and LGBT patients, visit to www.hrc.org/hei.
North Carolina’s State Rep. Larry Brown wants to cut off funding for adults with HIV, because really, they’re just a bunch of homos who “caused it by the way they live.”
This man is adorable! Speaking to the Winston-Salem Journal about his hopes and dreams for the upcoming legislative session, Brown says he also wants to work on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. But yeah, he definitely won’t “condone spending taxpayers’ money” on helping people “living in perverted lifestyles.” Not that he specifically meant gays or anything! He means any adult who contracts HIV through sex or drugs. Because just like smokers who bring lung cancer upon themselves, people who contract HIV are the ones at fault.
Also: No more state funding for medical conditions like ulcers (stop stressing yourself out!), high blood pressure (stop eating so many burgers!), and diabetics (stop having bad genes!).
Scientists have an exciting breakthrough in the fight against AIDS. A pill already used to treat HIV infection turns out to be a powerful weapon in protecting healthy gay men from catching the virus, a global study found.
Daily doses of Truvada cut the risk of infection by 44 percent when given with condoms, counseling and other prevention services. Men who took their pills most faithfully had even more protection, up to 73 percent.
Researchers had feared the pills might give a false sense of security and make men less likely to use condoms or to limit their partners, but the opposite happened – risky sex declined.
“I am encouraged by this announcement of groundbreaking research on HIV prevention,” said a statement Tuesday from President Barack Obama. “While more work is needed, these kinds of studies could mark the beginning of a new era in HIV prevention.”
The results are “a major advance” that can help curb the epidemic in gay men, said Dr. Kevin Fenton, AIDS prevention chief at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But he warned they may not apply to people exposed to HIV through male-female sex, drug use or other ways. Studies in those groups are under way now.
The news came as UNAIDS announced that the global epidemic was slowing – new cases dropped nearly 20 percent over the last decade and about 33 million people are living with HIV now. Health officials credit part of the decline to wider condom use, and on Tuesday the Vatican said that using a condom is a lesser evil than infecting a sexual partner with HIV – further expanding what some see as Pope Benedict XVI’s softening stance on this issue.
“This is a great day in the fight against AIDS … a major milestone,” said a statement from Mitchell Warren, head of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, a nonprofit group that works on HIV prevention.
Because Truvada is already on the market, the CDC is rushing to develop guidelines for doctors using it for HIV prevention, and urged people to wait until those are ready.
“It’s not time for gay and bisexual men to throw out their condoms,” Fenton said. The pill “should never be seen as a first line of defense against HIV.”
As a practical matter, price could limit use. The pills cost from $5,000 to $14,000 a year in the United States, but only 39 cents a day in some poor countries where they are sold in generic form.
Whether insurers or government health programs should pay for them is one of the tough issues to be sorted out, and cost-effectiveness analyses should help, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“This is an exciting finding,” but it “is only one study in one specific study population,” so its impact on others is unknown, Fauci said.
His institute sponsored the study with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Results were reported at a news conference Tuesday and published online by the New England Journal of Medicine.
It is the third AIDS prevention victory in about a year. In September 2009, scientists announced that a vaccine they are now trying to improve had protected one in 3 people from getting HIV in a study in Thailand. In July, research in South Africa showed that a vaginal gel spiked with an AIDS drug could cut nearly in half a woman’s chances of getting HIV from an infected partner.
Gay and bisexual men account for nearly half of the more than 1 million Americans living with HIV. Worldwide, more than 7,000 new infections occur each day. Unlike in the U.S., only 5 to 10 percent of global cases involve sex between men.
“The condom is still the first line of defense,” because it also prevents other sexually spread diseases and unwanted pregnancies, said the study leader, Dr. Robert M. Grant of the Gladstone Institutes, a private foundation affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco.
But many men don’t or won’t use condoms all the time, so researchers have been testing other prevention tools.
AIDS drugs already are used to prevent infection in health care workers accidentally exposed to HIV, and in babies whose pregnant mothers are on the medication. Taking these drugs before exposure to the virus may keep it from taking hold, just as taking malaria pills in advance can prevent that disease when someone is bitten by an infected mosquito.
The strategy showed great promise in monkey studies using tenofovir (brand name Viread) and emtricitabine, or FTC (Emtriva), sold in combination as Truvada by California-based Gilead Sciences Inc.
The company donated Truvada for the study, which involved about 2,500 men at high risk of HIV infection in Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand and the United States (San Francisco and Boston). The foreign sites were chosen because of high rates of HIV infection and diverse populations.
More than 40 percent of participants had taken money for sex at least once. At the start of the study, they had 18 partners on average; that dropped to around 6 by the end.
The men were given either Truvada or dummy pills. All had monthly visits to get HIV testing, more pills and counseling. Every six months, they were tested for other sexually spread diseases and treated as needed.
After a median followup of just over a year, there were 64 HIV infections among the 1,248 men on dummy pills, and only 36 among the 1,251 on Truvada.
Among men who took their pills at least half the time, determined through interviews and pill counts, the risk of infection fell by 50 percent. For those who took pills on 90 percent or more days, risk fell 73 percent. Tests of drug levels in the blood confirmed that more consistent pill-taking gave better protection.
The treatment was safe. Side effects were similar in both groups except for nausea, which was more common in the drug group for the first month but not after that. Unintended weight loss also was more common in the drug group, but it occurred in very few. Further study is needed on possible long-term risks.
All participants will get a chance to take Truvada in an 18-month extension of the study. Researchers want to see whether men will take the pill more faithfully if they know it helps, and whether that provides better protection. About 20,000 people are enrolled in other studies testing Truvada or its component drugs around the world.
The government also will review all ongoing prevention studies, such as those of vaccines or anti-AIDS gels, and consider whether any people currently assigned to get dummy medicines should now get Truvada since it has proved effective in gay men.
Gilead also will discuss with public health and regulatory agencies the possibility and wisdom of seeking approval to market Truvada for prevention. The company has made no decision on that, said Dr. Howard Jaffe, president of Gilead Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm. Doctors can prescribe it for this purpose now if patients are willing to pay for it, and some already do.
Some people have speculated that could expose Gilead to new liability concerns, if someone took the pill and then sued if it did not protect against infection.
“The potential for having an intervention like this that has never been broadly available before raises new questions. It is something we would have to discuss internally and externally,” Jaffe said.
Until the CDC’s detailed advice is available, the agency said gay and bisexual men should:
-Use condoms consistently and correctly.
-Get tested to know their HIV status and that of their partners, and get tested and treated for syphilis, gonorrhea and other infections that raise the risk of HIV.
-Get counseling to reduce drug use and risky sex.
-Reduce their number of sexual partners.
CDC advice: http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom
AIDS information: http://www.aidsinfo.nih.gov
Pill study: http://www.iprexnews.com
Prevention efforts: http://www.avac.org
ACTION ALERT!! Life-saving Queer Clinic Needs Help!
Howard Brown Health Center, the ONLY sliding scale queer health clinic, is in dire need of funds. This Chicago based health center provides accessible health and community services for over 36,000 queer and trans folks from all over the Midwest every year, including trans health care WITHOUT Gender Identity Disorder…
Chicago’s Howard Brown Health Center, an LGBT-focused clinic that serves many people with HIV or AIDS, is making an emergency appeal for funds.
The center needs to raise $500,000 in the next 50 days to continue providing services, officials said at a press conference Thursday, Windy City Times reports.
The funding shortfall at Howard Brown, which has operated for 36 years, is linked to mishandling of a federal grant by the previous management team. The center brought in new management this past summer, and it has asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s Office of Inspector General to investigate the situation surrounding the grant.
Read more here.
In light of new research and the growing economic crisis going on in the the UK at the moment, the leading HIV and sexual health charity, The Terrence Higgins Trust is reopening it’s national Hardship Fund for people living with HIV on low incomes.
The previous hardship fund, was another HIV charity crusade, but was closed in March this year following THT and Crusaid’s merger. However, they are going to re-launch the fund in spring 2011. Before the start date, a full strategic and complete review will be undertaken to ensure the new fund works as efficiently as possible for its beneficiaries.
Sir Nick Partridge, Chief Executive of THT, said: “In the current economic climate, it is vital that people living with HIV receive the support that they need. Research tells us nearly one in three people with HIV have ongoing problems getting enough money to live on, which has clear implications for how they manage their condition. For years the Hardship Fund has been an important resource, making a real difference to the lives of people with HIV, and THT is fully committed to preserving its legacy. We are working hard to get the national fund fully operational by next spring, and in the meantime we hope our interim fund will continue to help those who need it most.”
People living with HIV who are in financial difficulty can contact THT Direct on 0845 12 21 200, to receive advice on what assistance may be available in their area.
At HIV Plus we are dedicated to helping our readers lead their fullest life possible by giving them tips, tools, and personal stories that motivate them to make the best of their friendships and relationships, work and leisure time, health care, and overall sense of well-being. By helping our readers seek out their most rewarding and fulfilling experiences and to improve their outlook in everything that they do — to live out their lives above and beyond their positive serostatus — they get the wholistic effect of our Health + Spirit + Culture + Life focus
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Samurai swords, angel wings and stethoscopes were among the props No H8 Campaign supporters brought to a photo shoot fundraiser for AIDS Walk L.A. Sunday afternoon.
No H8 Campaign is a photographic silent protest against Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage. Jeff Parshley and celebrity photographer Adam Bouska created the No H8 campaign. The two joined forces again on Sunday in an effort to raise funds for No H8’s AIDS Walk Los Angeles team expected to participate in the Oct. 17 event.
About 300 supporters including adults, children and pets lined up inside Hollywood’s United Methodist Church to have their photograph taken.
AIDS Walk Los Angeles, in its 26th year, will kick-off in West Hollywood Park. Registration to participate in the event is still open. For more information on AIDS Walk L.A. please visit http://aidswalk.net.
41,027 persons are dead and
71,176 persons diagnosed with AIDS in the US.
After years of negligent silence, President Ronald Reagan finally uses the word “AIDS” in public. He sided with his Education Secretary William Bennett and other conservatives who said the Government should not provide sex education information.
Amid the rash of gay students taking their own lives this past month, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill today allowing youth between the ages of 12 and 17 to access mental health services without their parents consent. The only catch is the child must be deemed mature enough by mental health professional “to participate intelligently in the services or when the youth would present a danger of serious physical or mental harm to self or others without the services.”
I think we can all agree that this is certainly a step in the right direction. Maybe this will also provide help for those students with parents who are convinced their children can be “cured” and have the “gay prayed away.” I’m not sure if I would have taken advantage of something of this nature as a kid, but it’s nice to see that it’s going to be out there.
I think that this is a great thing don’t get me wrong but what i don’t understand is why something like this needs to be signed. It just doesn’t make any sense. We need permission to seek help when it’s needed? The truth of the matter being so many youth don’t want to seek help or don’t think its worth it. So thanks to Arnold but I honestly think its for sure, because there are so many who aren’t going to seek professional help.
Yesterday Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California signed SB 543, Mental Health Services for At-Risk Youth, into law. The bill that allows kids ages 12 to 17 to receive mental health services without their parents’ consent. This is considered especially important for LGBT youth in California as many fear abuse or being kicked out of their homes if they come out. Parents have also refused allowing children to receive mental health care in some cases and now it will be up to the child’s discretion.
Schwarzenegger also signed AB 2199, Repeal of Discriminatory Code; AB 2700, Separation Equity Act; and AB 2055, Unemployment Benefits Equality bills into law.
These measured are aimed at preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity. AB 2199 repeals of a section of the California Welfare and Institutions code that instructs the State Department of Mental Health to conduct research into the “causes and cures of homosexuality.” AB 2700 amends the state’s family code, allowing for couples who first registered as domestic partners and who legally married thereafter to dissolve both contracts through a single, uniform procedure, rather than having to file separately to dissolve each individually. Last, but not least, AB 2055 amends the Unemployment Insurance Code, to provide the same unemployment benefits that married couples couples get to imminent domestic partners.
Perhaps there is progress being made?