2020 hopefuls highlight Medicare for All, PrEP in plans to combat HIV/AIDS

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE, L-R: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, Ind.) Washington Blade file photos by Michael Key.

The reinvigoration of the White House Office of HIV/AIDS, access to generic PrEP and the award of cash gifts for HIV/AIDS innovations as opposed to U.S. patents were just three ideas 2020 hopefuls articulated in responses to a survey conducted by HIV/AIDS advocacy groups.

The candidates expressed those ideas in a survey conducted by AIDS United, which composed its questions in conjunction with a coalition of HIV/AIDS groups and made the responses public Monday.

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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
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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.

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Gays down, straights up in latest Aussie HIV figures

By : Staff Reports from The washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: (Scanning electromicrograph by NIAID via Flickr)

KENSINGTON, Australia | HIV infection rates for gay men in Australia are down sharply — 30% in five years, HIV Plus Mag reports, citing the Kirby Institute’s 2018 HIV Surveillance Report.

“It’s the lowest number we’ve seen in 18 years,” said Rebecca Guy, head professor of the institute’s Surveillance, Evaluation and Research program, in a report in The Sydney Morning Herald. Guy attributed the drop to the increase of PrEP use, regular testing and treatment efforts. PrEP is highly effective at making HIV transmission nearly impossible.

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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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Cuba begins distributing PrEP through pilot program

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Cuban government has begun to distribute PrEP through a pilot program that began last month.

Granma, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, last week reported 28 people in Cárdenas, a city in Matanzas province that is roughly 90 miles east of Havana, have received PrEP since the program began on March 6.

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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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Fit for Print: A commercial revolution

By : Steve Blanchard
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I hate Big Pharma advertisements. So much so that I try to entertain myself when they interrupt my favorite shows. I have this annoying habit of making light of the commercial names of these products. Eucrisa? Latuda?

They sound like contestants on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

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Start the conversation: transgender people

By : Jeremy Williams
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How often should you see your primary care physician? What health screenings, evaluations and/or vaccinations should you have? Should you be on any medications? Don’t ask us! We aren’t real doctors, we only occasionally play one on TV.

Just like every fingerprint, snowflake and social media opinion; each person’s individual health concerns are varied and different. That’s why the only effective healthy game plan for you is one that is constructed between you and your doctor.

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Start the conversation: Gay/Bisexual men

By : Jeremy Williams
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Share this story:

How often should you see your primary care physician? What health screenings, evaluations and/or vaccinations should you have? Should you be on any medications? Don’t ask us! We aren’t real doctors, we only occasionally play one on TV.

Just like every fingerprint, snowflake and social media opinion; each person’s individual health concerns are varied and different. That’s why the only effective healthy game plan for you is one that is constructed between you and your doctor.

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WatermarkOnline’s Top News Headlines of 2018

By : Watermark Staff
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WatermarkOnline.com had its largest number of visitors in 2018. Hundreds of thousands of readers came to the website throughout the year for the stories that impacted the LGBTQ community in Central Florida, Tampa Bay and across the country.

Below, we have complied the top five headlines from each of our LGBTQ news sections: Central Florida News, Tampa Bay News, State News and Nation & World News. The sections top headlines are based on the number of clicks on each story.

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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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Metro Wellness, CAN Community Health open Clearwater Health Center

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Rose Addison, Vilma M. Vega, Priya Rajkumar and Caroline White-Smith open Metro and CAN’s Clearwater location Aug. 30. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

Metro Wellness & Community Centers and CAN Community Health leadership gathered Aug. 30 to introduce the community to their Clearwater Health Center and its team.

“I’m the Medical Director at this office and I’m really blessed to be here and to be able to provide care,” Dr. Vilma M. Vega shared at the opening. “I am blessed to see this. We’re here for all patients, whether insured or not insured; they are all treated exactly the same.”

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