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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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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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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Even with PrEP, HIV rates still a concern for gays

By : Staff Reports OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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DUBLIN | Men with same-sex sexual partners are 28 times more likely to contract HIV than their heterosexual counterparts despite a radical reduction in new infections among gay men in Western countries, according to a U.N. report released this week, the Independent, an Irish newspaper, reports.

The overall annual number of new HIV infections dropped from a high of 3.4 million in 1996 to 1.8 million last year, according to UNAIDS, which coordinates the organization’s global response to HIV/AIDS.

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Walgreens to offer free rapid HIV test for National HIV Testing Day

By : Kathy Ruiz
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ORLANDO | First observed in 1995, National HIV Testing Day is held every June 27 to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as well as to encourage people to get tested, know their status and get linked to treatment and care.

Walgreens is partnering with the Orange County Department of Health to offer free rapid HIV testing and information about prevention options including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP — the HIV prevention pill.

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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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Key New Mexico clinic in HIV treatment to expand research

By : wire report
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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Southwest CARE Center, a once-tiny New Mexico clinic at the forefront of HIV/AIDS research since its founding in 1996, is seeking to expand its research program.

The center’s director of research, Tamara Flys, said this week Southwest CARE of Santa Fe is looking for partnerships to delve into geriatric, pediatric, diabetes and primary-care research, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

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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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