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Since graduating college in the late '80s, Monique Howard has been working in the HIV/AIDS field. From examining specimens in a lab to implementing HIV risk reduction programming at Beth Israel Hospital to earning a graduate degree in human sexuality, her work has been grounded in understanding how HIV/AIDS impacts women. Now, Howard is the executi…
 
In 1986, when Oliver W. Martin III was diagnosed with HIV, then called GRID, he wasn't alone. His younger brother, who was also same-gender-loving, was diagnosed at the same time. But for a decade, the two of them told almost no one. Only when effective HIV treatment became available did they share their diagnoses with their large, tightly-knit fam…
 
In 1993, as a 21-year old new mom, Shana Cozad could not have been less worried about HIV. "It was commonly referred to as a drug user's disease. It was commonly associated as a gay disease," she remembers; "The stigmas and the discrimination and the unsupportiveness attitudes all around the globe around this disease were peaked at an all-time cris…
 
After being hospitalized and close to death, Marvelyn Brown found out that she was HIV positive. She was 19 at the time. But she made a choice early on to speak out and educate her community about HIV instead of being silent. Since her diagnosis, Marvelyn has written a book, won an Emmy and been featured in countless magazines and television progra…
 
On Nov. 10, Egrifta (tesamorelin) became the first drug approved in the U.S. to treat unusual fat gain, or lipohypertrophy, in people with HIV. In our latest episode of This Month in HIV, we talk with noted HIV researcher Daniel Berger, M.D., about how Egrifta works, who should take it, and what else we know to date about the treatment of lipohyper…
 
For the past 20-plus years, Gary Paul Wright has dedicated his life to fighting the AIDS epidemic in New York City. Wright, one of the founders of the House of Latex, worked for Gay Men's Health Crisis and New York City's Department of Education before starting his own organization, the African American Office of Gay Concerns (AAOGC), in Newark, N.…
 
"The secret to my survival is that I want to live," says HIV/AIDS advocate, mother and long-term HIV survivor Michelle Lopez. Back in 1991, Michelle left behind a partner who beat her and, she would soon learn, knowingly put her at risk for HIV. With nothing but her infant daughter, Michelle set out to find help -- and help did come, in the form of…
 
"HIV was just something added on the plate that I had to learn how to deal with," says Jose Ramirez. Jose survived sexual abuse, a stint at a sadistic boarding school, visits to war-torn El Salvador and being kicked out of his father's house because he was gay -- all before his 17th birthday. At 17, he found out a much-older boyfriend had passed HI…
 
"I never expected to be this alive at this point," Gary said to himself on his 60th birthday last year. Diagnosed with HIV in 1992, Gary has survived the tragic loss of his partner, a bout with prostate cancer and a heart condition. In this edition of This Positive Life, Gary talks candidly about his health, his family, the challenges of dating, an…
 
Debbie Hagins, M.D., is a very busy woman: Her HIV/AIDS clinic serves nearly 1,000 people in Georgia. But that doesn't stop her from giving her cell phone number to her patients, and even going to their houses to make sure they take their HIV medications. Because many of her patients are struggling financially, this kind of dedication can make a hu…
 
When most people think of the island of Jamaica, they likely think of white-sand beaches, sunny skies and lilting accents. But as poet Kwame Dawes and MAC AIDS Fund Director Nancy Mahon explain in our latest edition of HIV Frontlines, Jamaica has deep underlying problems -- and HIV/AIDS is one of them.…
 
Bone disease is more common in HIV-positive people than in non-HIVers -- but many people don't even know they have it. In this in-depth interview, two top HIV researchers cover the basics of bone problems in HIVers: what causes them, how to find out whether you have them, and what you can do to keep your bones healthy.…
 
When indigenous New Zealander Marama Pala was diagnosed with HIV, she didn't have the option of telling her loved ones on her own terms. "Because we are such a tight-knit community ... news of my diagnosis spread like wildfire," she explains. In this interview, Marama talks about being an HIV/AIDS activist in her indigenous community -- as well as …
 
In New York, a new resource may help put an end to the confusion among emergency and general health care providers regarding HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) administration. The resource is a recently developed "widget" -- an easy-to-use, computer-based tool -- that advises health professionals on best practices for giving PEP. In this interview…
 
Looking for an expert summary of the latest revisions to the official U.S. HIV treatment guidelines? Check out this exclusive interview with David Wohl, M.D., a prominent HIV physician/researcher and a member of the expert panel responsible for revising the guidelines. In this concise summary with TheBody.com's editorial director, Dr. Wohl walks us…
 
Until the mid-1990s in the U.S., packing on a few extra pounds seemed like a good thing: It helped protect a person against the dangers of wasting and HIV's destructive effects on the immune system. But today, for people on potent HIV treatment, those extra pounds may no longer help -- in fact, they may reduce the immune benefits of HIV meds, a new…
 
The U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy got Enrique Franco discharged from the Army. It also, oddly, was the reason he found out he was HIV positive. As Franco explains in this moving interview, diagnosis turned his life upside down, but he's now standing tall. "This is my body, this is my life," he says. "I'm not going to stop living. I…
 
In 1987, Sherri Lewis, who had been the singer in a popular New York City rock band and had appeared on national TV, decided to settle down and get married. But a few months before the wedding, she learned she was HIV positive. She was crushed by the test results. Her fiance, it turned out, was HIV negative. "We were told we couldn't kiss. We were …
 
Last fall, newspapers around the world featured headlines about the case of a 42-year-old, HIV-positive man who was living in Berlin. Or, at least, he used to be HIV positive. He also had leukemia -- before a risky stem cell transplant not only treated the leukemia, but also made the man the first (and thus far only) person ever to be cured of his …
 
Abbott Laboratories: F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd.: D. Boehringer Ingelheim: D+. If the nine major HIV drug companies were in school, most would probably be in detention, according to a new "report card" issued by the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC). ATAC graded the drug companies in five different categories, including fair pricing and their …
 
Justin B. Smith may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own blog and Web site, and he's even on YouTube. And who can blame him? Only 29, he already has an incredible story to tell. Justin admits he used to live "a very dangerous life," but since his diagnosis three years ago, the former heavy drinker and drug use…
 
"Yes, babies are pretty, but they grow up to have sex ... and to potentially expose themselves to HIV," says HIV advocate Kai Chandler. Part of Chandler's work at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia involves getting preteens and teens tested for HIV, as well as talking to them about some pretty heavy issues -- sexual risk, partner negotiation a…
 
We had a short break from the panic over swine flu (H1N1). But as this year's flu season approaches in the U.S. and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, fear appears to be ramping up again. Even many experts are wondering just how bad this winter will be. Have we learned anything new about swine flu since the global outbreak began in April, about w…
 
"I can't say that I've fully processed my HIV diagnosis because it has affected me in different ways at different stages of my life," says Sarah, who has been living with HIV her entire life. Growing up in the 1980s in a small, conservative, religious community, Sarah faced all the burdens of being an HIV-positive kid in an ignorant world. In the l…
 
Does HIV really exist? And if it does exist, can it cause harm? They're ridiculous questions, of course: If you're reading this, there's a 99.9 percent chance you agree that HIV does exist and it can cause harm. Yet there are a small group of people who remain willfully oblivious to the facts about HIV. They call themselves "AIDS dissidents." We in…
 
When Jimmy Mack discovered he was HIV positive, it was 1987, and an HIV diagnosis was essentially a death sentence. So instead of going to a doctor for treatment, he dived into a different kind of medicine: cocaine and alcohol. His journey out of addiction was difficult, but Jimmy has now been clean and sober for more than 15 years -- and he's got …
 
"I have to have an army of people helping me educate," says Vanessa Austin, HIV services outreach coordinator at Harlem Hospital Center in New York City. For Austin, the key to reaching the most people with her HIV advocacy work is training people to become "information warriors" who then spread messages about HIV prevention and testing to their pe…
 
As a swine flu virus appears to make its way across the world, so has misinformation and confusion about what the virus is and what sort of threat it poses, particularly for people with weakened immune systems or some people living with HIV. To help us fill in that knowledge gap, we've asked Dr. Joel Gallant for some insights. Dr. Gallant is a prof…
 
When we finally turn the tide against HIV among African Americans, it'll be thanks to people like Audria Russell. She's the HIV program coordinator at the nonprofit organization Women in Need in New York City. She's in charge of a support group that educates and empowers girls between the ages of 10 and 13.…
 
Body shape changes are among the most frustrating complications of HIV and HIV medications. Whether it's the gradual sinking of their cheeks or the sudden swelling in their midsection, some people with HIV have been largely forced to just grin and bear these problems, since there are few treatments available (and those that are available can be exp…
 
As a 17-year veteran of the Chicago police department and the mother of eight children, Lois Crenshaw knows how to roll with the punches. That may be why, despite being shocked by an HIV diagnosis at the age of 55 after she'd been raped, Lois has become a leader and a role model for older women with HIV.…
 
Since he was diagnosed in 2007, 23-year-old Ahmad has had many ups and downs. But as he explains in the latest episode of TheBody.com's This Positive Life podcast series, Ahmad feels many of those life changes have been for the better. Being gay and HIV positive is frowned upon in many Hispanic and Muslim communities, and Ahmad faces unique challen…
 
Joseph rides his Harley Davidson motorcycle as often as he can. Harley riders don't often discuss living with HIV, Joseph says -- though he guesses that others are infected, since he says there are some in the Harley community who use injection drugs. Diagnosed in 1995, Joseph has a supportive family and friends, and says he's currently experiencin…
 
On Nov. 3, 2008, the U.S. government updated its Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-1-Infected Adults and Adolescents. These guidelines were last updated on Jan. 29, 2008. We asked Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H., to provide a summary of the changes. Dr. Gallant is not only one of the top clinicians and researchers in the United Stat…
 
"By the time I got on Project Runway ... I was so comfortable being HIV positive and being open about it ... that I didn't really even think twice," says Jack Mackenroth, a former cast member of the Bravo network's fashion-design reality show. The fact that Jack has been living with HIV since 1990 is old news to Project Runway fans -- Jack was 100 …
 
Damaries Cruz is an optimist. "When I was diagnosed [in 1991 -- five years before the era of effective HIV treatment truly began] I had to find a way to turn this horrible thing, this negative thing, into a positive," she recalls. "I had a choice: I could sit there and cry and let this thing eat me alive, or I could just celebrate my life and beat …
 
Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H., is not only a widely respected HIV clinician and researcher: He's also an online HIV expert, spending some of his free time answering questions about the virus. He's been doing this since the early days of the Internet. He's so good at it that he's just had a book published that pools together some of the most important …
 
TheBody.com interviewed Dr. Cal Cohen, one of the lead researchers who investigated TMC114 (darunavir, Prezista) in clinical trials, to get his take on some of the key questions surrounding this new HIV medication: Why should we be so excited about TMC114? What side effects can it cause? How is it likely to change the way HIVers with multidrug resi…
 
Shelley Singer was diagnosed with HIV in 1997, she had no idea she was even at risk. Yet she had thrush and a CD4 count of just 54 -- as well as a family and an HIV-negative husband that she needed to explain all this to. Her deeply moving recollection of how she disclosed is only part of Shelley's story, however; the 49-year-old long-term HIV surv…
 
"It was a very eerie, depressing, anxiety-provoking period," recalls Anthony Fauci, M.D. "The very darkest years of my professional career." Dr. Fauci is recounting the early 1980s, when, as an infectious disease doc working for the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Maryland, he watched helplessly as people showed up at his hospital with a myst…
 
When Gil Robertson's brother Jeffrey tested positive in 1982, their family defied the norms of the time and immediately surrounded Jeffrey with love and support. Inspired by his family's experience, Robertson began gathering stories from dozens of African Americans about how HIV had altered their lives. The result is Not in My Family: AIDS in the A…
 
When Mark King was 20, he moved to West Hollywood. It was the early 1980s, and King was set on pursuing his acting career and soaking up the gay scene. He never expected to find himself in the middle of the darkest time in the U.S. HIV epidemic, caring for close friends as they became sick and died, while struggling with his own diagnosis. In this …
 
Tony Miles, Ph.D., is a psychologist and long-time HIV educator. Since 2000, he has been building an extraordinary digital library of first-person stories from people living with HIV. The collection, called The Positive Project, now includes interviews with more than 100 HIV-positive people from all walks of life. The interviews cover a wide range …
 
In this podcast, we'll take a look back at the top HIV medical stories of 2007.Every day a barrage of HIV research is published and presented around the world. Even if you were to read all the journal articles and research meeting coverage related to HIV, how should you evaluate the importance of individual studies? That's when it helps to know som…
 
The past year has brought so many new drug approvals that even some HIV experts are scratching their heads as they try to figure out how all of these meds work and how they can best be used to treat people with HIV. Today, we're going to look at one of the new classes, or types, of HIV medications. Called CCR5 inhibitors, this drug class attacks HI…
 
Five years ago, at the age of 23, Kali Lindsey was numb with shock. "The day after I got my positive diagnosis, I was back at work, pretending like nothing had ever happened," he says. "I closed off from everybody." Three years passed before Kali was able to tell his family or friends about his HIV status. Today, however, Kali works to improve HIV …
 
How do you survive 27 years of active heroin addiction? George Burgess has been through it all and survived with a fighting, optimistic spirit. "I look at AIDS as an acronym: Always In Divine Service; Always In Divine Space," Burgess says. "I like being of service." George has been of service since his HIV diagnosis in April 1995. A father of four,…
 
On Jan. 29, 2008, the U.S. government released the second part of its new HIV treatment guidelines. This second section contains antiretroviral recommendations. We asked Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H., to provide a summary of the changes. Dr. Gallant is not only one of the top clinicians and researchers in the United States, he's also a guidelines pane…
 
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