Hope & Help to increase HIV awareness as Orlando among top areas with new diagnoses

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Members of Hope & Help’s staff at their Orlando offices. (Photo by Jeremy Williams)

ORLANDO | In the wake of the latest stats on HIV in the U.S., Hope & Help is looking to increase its visibility in the LGBTQ community. According to the latest numbers from AIDSVu, Central Florida ranks second in the U.S. for most new HIV diagnoses, only behind the Miami-Dade area.

The fact that the top two areas with the largest number of new cases are both in Florida is not surprising to Abby Silverman, operations director at Hope & Help.

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Dining Out For Life adds Central Florida, Space Coast LGBTQ organizations to list for 2020

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Dining Out For Life, an annual fundraiser for local HIV service organizations at locations around the world, announced June 6 that The LGBT+ Center and Project Response would be participating in the event in 2020.

“Central Florida will now be part of Dining Out For Life International because of the efforts put forth by The LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc. (The Center) and Project Response, Inc. of Melbourne,” the press release announced.

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Trump hails deal with Gilead for PrEP donation as ‘great news’

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump hailed on May 9 a deal with Gilead for the donation of PrEP for HIV prevention for the uninsured as “great news.”

Trump, who announced during his State of the Union address a plan to beat the HIV epidemic by 2030, took to Twitter to declare his pleasure the agreement with the drug manufacturer.

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Pakistani police holding doctor for allegedly spreading HIV

By : wire report
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KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) | Pakistani police say a court will allow a doctor with HIV and AIDS to remain in police custody for two more days to determine whether he knowingly spread HIV to over 150 people, mostly children, by using contaminated syringes.

Local police chief Wasim Raja Soomro said on May 6 that Dr. Muzaffar Ghangharo was detained last week, and has denied the charges.

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Gay Chechen man with HIV seeks asylum in US

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Washington Blade on April 23, 2019, interviewed a gay man from Chechnya who is seeking asylum in the U.S. The man asked the Blade not to publish his name or disclose his identity. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A gay man from Chechnya with HIV who asked the Washington Blade not to reveal his identity was leaving a gay bar in Moscow on May 13, 2018, when a group of six men approached him and attacked him. A video from a nearby surveillance camera that he saved to his cell phone shows one of the men punching him in the face.

“He hit me right in the eye,” the man told the Blade on April 23 during an emotional interview in Dupont Circle. “People were standing right here.”

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UK opens inquiry into tainted-blood scandal that killed 2400

By : wire report
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LONDON (AP) | A long-awaited inquiry opened April 30 in Britain into how contaminated blood was used to treat thousands of people in the 1970s and ’80s, killing at least 2,400.

Thousands of hospital patients — many of them hemophiliacs — were infected with HIV or Hepatitis C through tainted blood products, largely imported from the United States.

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Hope & Help moves annual Orlando AIDS Walk back to the a.m.

By : Amanda Espinosa
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ABOVE: QLatinx marches in the 2018 Orlando AIDS Walk at Lake Eola. (Photo by Maia Monet)

ORLANDO | The Hope & Help Center of Central Florida, Inc. is bringing the annual AIDS Walk back to the morning hours at Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando on April 27.

“This year, the event returns to the morning,” announced Hope & Help’s Executive Director Lisa Barr on Facebook. “With the community’s support, we will continue to work hard in reducing new HIV transmissions in our area. Every step we take around Lake Eola is a step towards progress.”

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Trump seeks $300 million to beat HIV by 2030 — but cuts global programs

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In the aftermath of President Trump’s State of the Union pledge to eliminate new HIV infections by 2030, his newly unveiled budget request for the U.S. government provides additional funds for domestic HIV/AIDS programs in contrast to earlier proposals that sought to cut those programs — but related international programs are facing cuts.

The fiscal year 2020 budget requests a $300 million increase in funds to combat HIV/AIDS, but also seeks to roll back Medicare and Medicaid — programs on which many people with HIV/AIDS rely — and continues the proposed steep cuts to U.S. initiatives seeking to fight the global epidemic.

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Second man seems to be free of AIDS virus after transplant

By : wire report
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SEATTLE | A London man appears to be free of the AIDS virus after a stem cell transplant, a second success after the “Berlin patient,” doctors reported.

The therapy had an early success with Timothy Ray Brown, a U.S. man treated in Germany who is 12 years post-transplant and still free of HIV. Until now, Brown is the only person thought to have been cured of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

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Weeks after 2030 HIV pledge, report shows US headway stalled

By : wire report
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NEW YORK (AP) | Three weeks after President Donald Trump announced a campaign to end the U.S. HIV epidemic by 2030, new government data show that progress against the disease stalled recently.

After declining for several years, the estimated number of new HIV infections held about steady from 2013 to 2016, the latest available data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Feb. 27.

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Fla. House advances bill to update state’s HIV criminalization law

By : Lauren Lee
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ABOVE: Fla. Rep. Nick Duran speaks before the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on HB 79. Photo courtesy MyFloridaHouse.gov

Tallahassee, Fla. | The Florida House’s Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted 10-3 to advance House Bill (HB) 79, also known as the Florida HIV Modernization Bill, on Feb. 22.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Nick Duran (D-Miami), would modify Florida’s existing HIV criminalization statutes which states that if a person knowingly transmits HIV or engages in intimate contact with another person knowing their HIV status is positive it is a third-degree felony with up to five years in prison.

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Trump’s call to end HIV epidemic falls on skeptical ears

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump took the opportunity of his second State of the Union address to call for an end to HIV transmission in the next 10 years — but that call was received with skepticism from advocates unhappy with his administration’s approach to the epidemic thus far.

Speaking Feb. 5 before a joint session of Congress, Trump talked about the United States having made “important strides” in combatting HIV/AIDS, but that the time has come to finish the job.

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