Apple releases red iPhone, donates proceeds to HIV/AIDS programs

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) — Apple is cutting prices on two iPad models and introducing red iPhones, but the company held back on updating its higher-end iPad Pro tablets.

A much-speculated 10.5-inch iPad Pro didn’t materialize, nor did new versions of existing sizes in the Pro lineup, which is aimed at businesses and creative professionals. The new devices are mostly refreshes of existing models. Apple unveiled them through press releases Tuesday rather than a staged event, as it typically does for bigger product releases.

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After 2 years, Florida court defines sexual intercourse

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) It took two years and three dictionaries, but the Florida Supreme Court finally determined Thursday that “sexual intercourse” isn’t just between a man and a woman.

The question arose during a case in which a man was charged with a third-degree felony for failing to reveal to his male partner that he was HIV-positive. His lawyer argued before the state’s high court in February 2015 that Florida laws were so narrowly defined that “sexual intercourse” didn’t apply to sexual activity between same-sex partners or any activity beyond traditional sex.

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21 LGBT groups urge Senate to rigorously question Gorsuch

By : Chris Johnson of the Washingston Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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A total of 21 LGBT groups who oppose the confirmation of U.S. Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court are calling for rigorous questions for the nominee during his confirmation hearing.

In an eight-page letter sent to Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) of the Senate Judiciary Committee, LGBT groups underscore the need to “demand complete answers” from Gorsuch because it’s the only way to “reveal the extent to which his nomination jeopardizes rights and liberties that many Americans believe are secure.”

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GOP health plan’s ‘devastating’ impact on those with HIV

By : Chris Johnson of the Washingston Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with the American Health Care Act continues to worry advocates seeking to ensure access to health care for LGBT people and people with HIV — a concern that a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office has validated.

According to CBO, 14 million people would lose insurance coverage in 2018 if the American Health Care Act were to become law as a result of the elimination of the individual mandate under Obamacare. But that number would climb to 21 million in 2020, then to 24 million in 2026 following repeal of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. In 2026, CBO estimates 52 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.

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Revised US tally: HIV infections fell 18 percent in 6 years

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP)- New calculations to better track HIV infections confirm that the U.S. is seeing a strong and steady decline.

The number of new cases has been falling for years. But health officials wanted a clearer picture of how the epidemic was behaving. They count people when they were diagnosed with the AIDS virus, not when they actually contracted it, which can be months or years earlier.

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California considers update to antiquated HIV laws

By : Wire Report
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SAN FRANCISCO — Legislation slated to be introduced this week would update California’s laws criminalizing HIV, which were adopted during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, so that a person could not be prosecuted for intentionally transmitting the virus if their sex partner tested negative for HIV, the Bay Area Reporter reports.

Under current law, HIV-positive persons may be prosecuted for engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse with the specific intent to transmit HIV even if no actual transmission of the virus occurs. If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to eight years in prison.

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Report: PrEP fails gay Canadian who contracts HIV

By : Staff Reports from the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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NEW YORK — Doctors report that a gay Canadian man contracted HIV even though he had been taking daily medication to ward off infection, HealthDay News reports.

Based on a genetic analysis of the virus, it was determined that the 43-year-old Toronto resident was infected with a strain of HIV that had become resistant to the anti-HIV drug Truvada, said report author Dr. David Knox. He is a doctor with the Maple Leaf Medical Clinic in Toronto, HealthDay reports in an article that ran in U.S. News & World Report.

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Activist seeks to become first LGBT member of Honduran congress

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of National Gay Media Association
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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — A prominent Honduran activist would become the first openly LGBT person elected to the country’s Congress if he wins his campaign this year.

Erick Martínez, who is the coordinator of the Diversity Movement in Resistance’s Human Rights Committee, is one of 23 candidates from the Liberty and Refoundation and Anti-Corruption Parties, a left-leaning coalition that opposes President Juan Orlando Hernández’s ruling National Party, who are on the ballot in the Francisco Morazán Department in which Tegucigalpa is located. The five candidates who win the most votes in the March 12 primaries will advance to the general election that will take place in November.

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Lawmakers pushing for expanded medical marijuana

By : Wire Report
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ATLANTA (AP)- Georgia lawmakers, citizens, and advocates are continuing to push for expanded access to medical marijuana.

The Medical Cannabis Working Group met at the state capitol Wednesday to discuss the bill and hear public testimony.

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Florida dispensaries aim to ‘normalize’ medical marijuana

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Vials of cannabis-laced sprays, lotions and tinctures line display shelves a few steps from handbags specially designed to tote marijuana products.

A stylish kitchenette and table is on the opposite side of this Surterra Wellness Center medical marijuana showroom, space used to host educational sessions on the merits of the drug — something legal only under very strict circumstances in Florida until Amendment 2 took effect last week.

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An EPIC Taking: Joy Winheim now manages the largest HIV/AIDS service provider in the Tampa Bay area as EPIC’s executive director

By : Jeremy Williams
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Sometimes being remarkable can be bittersweet. Francis House announced this year that they would be merging with AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) under the umbrella of Empath Health. This new organization, Empath Partners in Care (EPIC), would be headed by Francis House’s previous executive director Joy Winheim.

“When we were first approached [by ASAP], we thought there is no way we’re doing this, we don’t need to do it,” Winheim says. “We had plenty of grant money. We’re doing well you know, we have 800 clients. We’re not having any issues so why would we think about this.”

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A toast and a stumble through 2016, the year we will never forget

By : Billy Manes and Jeremy Williams
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We could go on and on about our gripes with the letter “P” this year, generally circulating around two terms: “Pulse” and “Politics.” So, indeed, that’s what we’ll do. Though we may have seen some wonderful developments in the year that God forgot, for the most part, many of us are grabbing at straws, trying to make sense of how it is that we descended so deeply, that we became the eye of the target of absolute terror.

Some may say that 2016 was the backlash for all of the gifts we were given by 2015, most notably marriage equality in both state and nation. Others might opine that there is something else going on here with the media, with conspiracies, with a new Cold War. We can’t be certain, but we certainly have each other’s backs, as has been proven by the many acts of kindness that rose up to meet the beast of an election year gone awry and a local community cut to its core. We are not a weak people; we have seen trouble before. But this year owns a special place in our hearts, one we hope that heals over without forgetting those who suffered and those who commandeered offenses that none of us could have been prepared for.

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