Maryland-based gene therapy company claims it can eliminate HIV from people with disease

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

American Gene Technologies (AGT), a gene and cell therapeutics company based out of Rockville, Maryland, has filed an application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a new therapy which the company claims can eliminate HIV from people infected with the disease.

The treatment, which the company calls AGT103-T, is “a single-dose, lentiviral vector-based gene therapy” that is “a genetically-modified cell product made from a person’s own cells.”

Continue Reading >>

NIH launches $100 million effort to cure HIV, sickle cell

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
Comments: 0
ABOVE: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told the Blade a new initiative is aimed at taking gene research to a new level. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)  announced on Oct. 23 it is launching a $100 million initiative over the next four years to fund research to develop gene-based cures for HIV and sickle cell disease.

The NIH announcement says the initiative will work in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which will also invest $100 million toward gene research for an HIV and sickle cell disease cure.

Continue Reading >>

#LoveHandlin: Health and Compassion

By : Jerick Mediavilla
Comments: 0

“Bless you!” it’s the first reaction people say when someone sneezes, wishing them good health, assuming something could be off. The origin of this widespread tradition is somewhat unknown, but the true wish behind it is clear: We want everybody to look and feel healthy.

The scientific community has contributed widely to our perception of health, which not only encompasses physical traits, but also mental qualities and spiritual realms. I firmly believe that, whatever the reason we choose to wish someone good health, it is because our natural, primal need is to be compassionate towards others, and that is a trait many can perceive as corny.

Continue Reading >>

HIV-prevention drugs PrEP, PEP made available in California without prescription

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0
ABOVE: Single pills (brand name Truvada) containing two antiretroviral drugs, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxyl fumarate. Truvada is used for pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, a strategy in which healthy people routinely take antiretrovirals to reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV. (Photo from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), via Flickr)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) | Pharmacists in California will be able to dispense HIV prevention pills to patients without a doctor’s prescription after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Oct. 7 that supporters say will greatly reduce the spread of infection.

Advocates of Senate Bill 159 say California is the first state to authorize pre-exposure prophylaxis, also called PrEP, and post-exposure prophylaxis, known as PEP, without prescriptions. California is already considered a leader in AIDS prevention, they say.

Continue Reading >>

‘Queer Eye’ star Jonathan Van Ness reveals he is HIV-positive

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

Jonathan Van Ness, the hair guru and grooming expert on Netflix’s hugely successful “Queer Eye” reboot, revealed in a New York Times article Sept. 21 that he is HIV-positive.

The diagnosis is just one of many topics Van Ness discusses in his new memoir, “Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love.”

Continue Reading >>

Sen. Rick Scott blocked millions of dollars for HIV prevention when he was governor of Florida

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0
ABOVE: Then-Gov. Rick Scott speaking at CPACFL in Orlando in 2011. (Photo by Gage Skidmore, from Flickr)

Republican Sen. Rick Scott and his administration rejected $70 million in federal funds to address HIV in Florida while Scott was the state’s governor, according to an investigative report released by The Guardian on Sept. 11.

The Guardian states that between 2015-2017, Florida returned $54 million in grants to the federal government intended for combating HIV. This was “due to an apparently deliberate failure on the part of state health bosses to secure legislative permission to spend such desperately needed funds.”

Continue Reading >>

Anti-gay attitudes blamed for high HIV rates in Hong Kong

By : Staff Reports From THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
Comments: 0
Hong Kong. (Photo by Diliff; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

HONG KONG | HIV diagnosis rates in Hong Kong have climbed over the past decade, unlike in other places in the world where there has been a consistent decline in the numbers of new HIV cases, the South China Morning Post reports.

Between 2010-2016, the annual number of new HIV diagnoses in Hong Kong increased by nearly 80%, to a total of 692 new cases in 2016. By contrast, between 2010 and 2017, the annual rate of new HIV diagnoses declined by 14% in Asia and the Pacific as a whole, the Post reports.

Continue Reading >>

New music video released for Freddie Mercury’s birthday to spread AIDS awareness

By : Lora Korpar
Comments: 0
(Screenshot from YouTube.)

To celebrate what would have been LGBTQ musical icon Freddie Mercury’s 73rd birthday Sept. 5, Universal Music Group released a new music video for his song “Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow.”

Mercury found fame as the front man for the British rock band Queen. Though he died of AIDS in 1991, the singer’s legacy still looms large, especially after last year’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” — a biographical movie about his life and rise to fame. “Bohemian Rhapsody” was one of the biggest cinematic hits of 2018 earning more than $900 million at the worldwide box office and won four Oscars, including one for actor Rami Malek who portrayed Mercury in the film.

Continue Reading >>

Hope & Help announces move to new facilities

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0
ABOVE: Hope & Help’s Re-Start group marches in the Orlando AIDS Walk at Lake Eola in 2018. (Photo by Jake Stevens)

ORLANDO | The Hope & Help Center of Central Florida will be moving to a new location in Winter Park, the health organization announced in a press release Aug. 28.

“Due to increased demand of HIV-related services, the company is relocating to a larger facility,” the release reads. The new facility is located at 4122 Metric Drive, #800 in Winter Park. Hope & Help moved into their previous facility at 707 Mendham Blvd. in Orlando two years ago.

Continue Reading >>

AIDS group official resigns over group’s acceptance of drug company funds

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
Comments: 0

Kyle Murphy, the communications director for the national AIDS advocacy group AIDS United, released to a listserv of AIDS activists a letter informing AIDS United’s president and CEO and other officials and staff members that he was resigning from his job because the group accepts large sums of money from pharmaceutical companies.

Murphy states in his Aug. 9 letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Washington Blade, that AIDS United is among nearly all of the nation’s AIDS advocacy organizations that for years have worked for the interests of people with HIV/AIDS who accept money from drug companies.

Continue Reading >>

High Fidelity: Talking the talk

By : Miguel Fuller
Comments: 0

Not long before the beginning of Pride season I was asked to be the keynote speaker at the 36th Annual International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Service in Pinellas Park. I was nervous because I didn’t want to speak on a subject I wasn’t very versed in.

After having conversations with friends living with HIV and doing a lot of research, I sat down and wrote the speech that I shared from the heart. I shared the story about the first time I went for an HIV test. 

Continue Reading >>

CBP clarifies HIV family separation occurs on ‘case-by-case basis’

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
Comments: 0
ABOVE: U.S. Border Patrol Chief of Operations Brian Hastings discussing migration trends the agency encounters in March 2019. (Photo by Jaime Rodriguez Sr.)

A Trump administration official has clarified remarks in which he said the HIV status of a parent alone is sufficient to separate migrant families at the border, saying such separation isn’t based on HIV being a communicable disease and done on a case-by-case basis.

Brian Hastings, chief of law enforcement operations at U.S. Border Patrol, corrected his previous assertion HIV is a communicable disease in a statement to the Washington Blade.

Continue Reading >>