Tampa VA’s pride program spotlights aging LGBTQ vets

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | The James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital will hold its annual pride event June 27 to highlight the intricacies of caring for aging LGBTQ veterans.

The event is organized by the hospital’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion in conjunction with its LGBTQSA special emphasis program. According to the hospital, the latter exists “to identify and address barriers, stereotypes and other related issues in the workplace,” to “foster allies, increase awareness of health care issues” and to “advocate for a caring, respectful and welcoming environment for our LGBT veterans, family members and employees.”

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HIV groups urge states to investigate reduced coverage of AIDS drugs

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Carl Schmid, deputy director of the AIDS Institute, said state officials have begun to respond to the HIV coalition’s concerns. (Photo courtesy of Schmid)

A coalition of 60 HIV organizations from across the country is calling on insurance commissioners and attorneys general in all 50 states and D.C. to investigate a practice they say is being adopted by health insurers that’s resulting in excessively high out-of-pocket costs for AIDS and Hepatitis C drugs.

In a May 16 letter to all state insurance commissioners and attorneys general, the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership, of which the 60 HIV groups are members, said health insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers, known as PBMs, have begun refusing to allow drug manufacturers’ co-pay assistance contributions from counting toward the patients’ insurance deductible.

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Keeping It Real: No, it’s not over yet

By : Nathan Bruemmer
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So, how many days until summer vacation? After spring break all across this nation, this is one “critical” question most middle and high school students would probably get right. While kids beam with pride when they recite the exact number of days, parents across this nation fall back into shock and awe that another school year is about to end.

Why aren’t we asking our youth a truly critical question—Do you know about HIV and AIDS? April 10th is National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day. This year we celebrate the fifth annual observance of a day created to educate about the impacts of HIV and AIDS on youth.  According to the CDC, 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses were in young people aged 13-24 years, but only 10 percent of high school students have ever been tested for HIV. That means there is a significant gap between those who have it and those who know they have it. Without knowledge, you cannot prevent transmission. But where do our youth get their education on HIV and AIDS?

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The other side of life: I, You, We: Living with AIDS

By : Jason Leclerc
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As American art museums go, New York’s Whitney (the old one, on the Upper East Side, before they moved it to the High Line) is the top of my list. In April 2013, I visited for a book launch event in Chelsea and then trekked northward to pass five hours wandering exhibits of contemporary art.

While there, I consumed an exquisite curation called I, You, We: Art & AIDS. I uncontrollably and openly sobbed as I walked through a room with photos by David Wojnarowicz and paintings by Hugh Steers. I stared into the hollow, sepia-tinged eyes of gay men gasping their last breaths under the oppression of a disease that disproportionately affected vibrant souls of gay men in the years when I was in elementary school.

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Florida Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith recognized by The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation

By : Jeremy Williams
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WASHINGTON | Florida Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) was awarded the Legislative Leadership Award at The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation’s AIDSWatch in D.C., according to a press release issued March 27.

Smith was selected for his HIV advocacy and, more specifically, for his part in helping to convince Publix Supermarkets to cover the HIV preventative drug known as PrEP for their employees.

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2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Out of the Closet

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA BAY’S FAVORITE NEW LGBTQ BUSINESS

It’s hard to miss Out of the Closet Thrift Store’s St. Pete location, with its sea foam-colored facade and bright pink exterior. But even more obvious than its paint job is the organization’s dedication to the community it serves.

Each of its 21 locations across the country offers gently used clothing and wares, but unlike some thrift shops, it serves a greater purpose—benefiting the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Beside the shirt that catches your eye or the couch that’s perfect for your den is a pharmacy, and the location offers a safe space to get a free and private HIV test.

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Impulse Group goes viral with HIV-prevention video featuring drag queens

By : Jeremy Williams
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Impulse Group is getting the word out about HIV prevention methods with a new video featuring the fictitious reality show Real Dragwives of Prevention and starring some of the biggest names in drag.

“With all the prevention options available today, the Real Dragwives of Prevention are here to help you make the choice that’s right for you,” the video’s message reads.

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Healthy Relationships

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Join Bros in Convo as we discuss developing skills to cope with HIV and other relationship-related stressors in risky sexual situations. This session will highlight decision-making skills for self-disclosing, developing & maintaining safer sex practices, as well as how to foster healthy relationships. Light refreshments will be served.

UPDATE: Publix to begin covering HIV preventative drug PrEP for employees

By : Jeremy Williams
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UPDATE:

After meeting with state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, Publix announced they would begin allowing PrEP to be covered for their employees under their prescription benefits.

The company took to Twitter saying:

Publix appreciates the concerns shared by our associates and customers. We offer generous health coverage to our eligible full-time and part-time associates at an affordable premium and are committed to the health and well-being of our associates and their families.

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Court orders return of gay immigrant to U.S. after Christmas nightmare deportation

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Michael Young with his spouse and gay asylum seeker Carlos Bringas-Rodriguez. Photo courtesy of Immigrant Defenders Law Center.

A gay Mexican immigrant who sought asylum in the United States, but was deported over the recent Christmas holiday despite a court order in his favor, was retrieved Tuesday after a nearly one-month ordeal in which the Trump administration ignored rulings on his behalf.

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Usage remains low for pill that can prevent HIV infection

By : wire report
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NEW YORK (AP) — From gritty neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles to clinics in Kenya and Brazil, health workers are trying to popularize a pill that has proven highly effective in preventing HIV but which — in their view — remains woefully underused.

Marketed in the United States as Truvada, and sometimes available abroad in generic versions, the pill has been shown to reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90 percent if taken daily. Yet worldwide, only about a dozen countries have aggressive, government-backed programs to promote the pill. In the U.S., there are problems related to Truvada’s high cost, lingering skepticism among some doctors and low usage rates among black gays and bisexuals who have the highest rates of HIV infection.

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Hope & Help to take an evening stroll around Lake Eola for the annual Orlando AIDS Walk

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Hope & Help Center of Central Florida returns with their annual AIDS Walk on Feb. 3 at the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando.

Hope & Help moved the event, typically held in the morning, to an evening time last year which proved a huge success, according to Joshua J. Myers, Hope & Help’s community developmental director.

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