EPIC seeks to raise awareness, rehome couture creations

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Empath Partners in Care (EPIC) is seeking a permanent home for a collection of five dresses made from condoms and other materials to raise awareness about the nonprofit’s work with HIV and AIDS throughout Tampa Bay.

The creations were featured at Balance Tampa Bay’s fourth annual masquerade ball Aug. 4, which raised $16,000 for EPIC. Conceptualized by artist and event chair Ryan Young, each design represents emotions an individual receiving HIV or AIDS care might feel while working with the organization.

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Central Missouri sees spike in HIV diagnoses

By : wire report
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) | Missouri is seeing a dramatic uptick in HIV diagnoses, a trend that is mostly concentrated in the central part of the state, according to health experts.

New HIV diagnoses in Missouri increased by more than 10 percent between 2013 and 2016, which is the most recent state data available. But the increase was much steeper in the 40 central counties that the state considers part of the Central HIV Care Region, with new HIV diagnoses climbing by nearly 170 percent during that same period, the Columbia Missourian reported.



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Young black MSM face pernicious HIV rates

By : Washington Blade Staff, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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CHICAGO — Young black men who have sex with men (MSM) are 16 times more likely to contract HIV than their white peers despite more frequent testing for HIV and being less likely to have unsafe sex, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study, MedicalXPress reports.

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A look back at The LGBT+ Center of Central Florida as told from some of its executive directors

By : Watermark Staff
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The LGBT+ Center of Central Florida has seen a number of name changes in its several decades as the beacon of Orlando’s LGBTQ community. Throughout its years, The Center has also changed locations, starting with its first brick-and-mortar building on Mills Ave. in 1987. After bouncing to a few different locations on Colonial Dr., it settled in at its current location at 946 N. Mills Ave. in 2000.

Since finding its permanent home, The Center has had some renovations and expansions; adding more safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to have gatherings, meetings and parties, or just a comfy chair to sit and have a little quiet time. The Center is many things to many people.

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George H.W. Bush ‘unsupportive’ on gay rights, HIV/AIDS

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Following the death of former President George H.W. Bush at age 94, the nation remembers him for his civil tone in contrast to President Trump and for helping bring the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union to a peaceful conclusion — but his legacy on LGBT rights and failure to confront the raging HIV/AIDS epidemic at the time remain a stain on his overall record.

Gay former Rep. Barney Frank, whose 32-year tenure in Congress included the George H.W. Bush administration from 1989 to 1992, told the Washington Blade in an interview Saturday the late former president “was bad” on LGBT rights and “wouldn’t do anything” to advance them.

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Metro Wellness observes 30th World AIDS Day with extensive testing, educational campaign

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA BAY | Metro Wellness and Community Centers will observe the 30th annual World AIDS Day Nov. 29-Dec. 7 with “Let’s Talk,” a campaign featuring educational and testing opportunities across Tampa Bay.

Metro has provided free HIV testing and treatment, along with prevention and education, for over 25 years. World AIDS Day, the first ever global health day, has been held annually on Dec. 1 since 1988. It provides a worldwide opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.

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Gay man sentenced for deliberately spreading HIV

By : Staff Reports OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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EDINBURGH, Scotland | A Scottish hairdresser whom police said deliberately tried to infect 10 men with HIV has been jailed for at least 12 years, The Scotsman reports.

Daryll Rowe became the first man in the country to be found guilty of intentionally setting out to spread the virus after meeting men on Grindr. Branded “grotesque” and a “sociopath” by his victims, the 27-year-old was convicted this month of 10 charges: five of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and five of attempting to do so, The Scotsman reports.

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Activists warn of hidden provision in insurance plans for HIV drugs

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Officials with organizations representing people with HIV and other chronic illnesses are urging patients who rely on drug manufacturers’ co-pay assistance contributions to help lower the cost of their prescription medication to be extra careful if they decide to select a new health insurance plan.

In a press conference on Wednesday, officials with the AIDS Institute, the Arthritis Foundation, and the National Organization for Rare Disorders warned that a growing number of insurers are refusing to allow co-payment assistance coupons provided by drug manufacturers from counting toward patients’ annual deductibles.

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Parenting desires unchanged by HIV status

By : Staff Reports OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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LONDON | Approximately 40 percent of HIV-positive adults starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the United States would like to have children in the future, a proportion that remained unchanged after two years of follow-up, investigators report in Open Forum Infectious Diseases. The findings were published in the journal AIDSmap.

There was no significant difference in the proportion of women, men who have sex with women (MSW) and men who have sex with men (MSM) who said they would like to have children. Younger people and black MSM were more likely to want to have children, AIDSmap reports.

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Bliss CARES announces new program to assist hardship patients

By : Jaime Donelson
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ORLANDO l Bliss CARES announced a new eligibility card program to help patients experiencing financial hardships or individuals without insurance.

The eligibility card will allow the holder access to free healthcare services related to HIV, Hepatitis and STDs for one year. Services will include clinic visits, lab tests, mental health care counseling, vaccines, co-pays, medicine and care management.

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Prison officer sentenced for sexually assaulting inmates

By : wire report
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JUNEAU, Wis. (AP) |  A former correctional officer who is HIV-positive has been was sentenced to 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting several inmates at the state prison in Fox Lake.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports 34-year-old Alex Wouts, of Poy Sippi, was sentenced Friday.

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Denmark to revise blood donation laws in 2019

By : Staff Reports OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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COPENHAGEN |  Sexually active gay men in Denmark will be able to donate blood in 2019, the Copenhagen Post reports, citing the country’s health minister.

The new rules mean gay men will be able to donate blood if they haven’t had sex with a man within a quarantine period of four months. The quarantine period is voided if the donor is in a relationship with one partner.

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