| • HIV CARE TODAY|
HIV Care Today is a multi-author blog featuring people on the frontlines of HIV treatment, prevention and patient/client care. This blog serves as a platform for health care professionals to discuss the everyday challenges of their jobs, recent developments in their fields and issues relevant to the evolution of HIV/AIDS care.
New Viral Load Technologies: Potential for a Real-Time Virologic Mess
“We have told our patients that one of the goals of HIV antiretroviral therapy is to reduce the viral load to the lowest level possible. In other words, the goal is to get to ‘undetectable,'” Bethsheba Johnson, G.N.P.-B.C., A.A.H.I.V.S., writes. “But what happens when the lowest level of quantification changes for a patient that has been previously undetectable?”
How You Can Help Your Patients Who Are Running Out of HIV Treatment Options
Pipeline HIV medications such as dolutegravir and ibalizumab hold the tantalizing promise of new hope for patients with extensive HIV drug resistance, but neither is far enough along in development to warrant an expanded access program. How can you get your hands on these drugs if you have patients who quite literally need them now? Nelson Vergel, B.S.Ch.E., M.B.A., knows a way.
The HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project: Building Capacity to Improve Care for Mental Health and Substance Use
Amidst the intense focus on the physical health of our HIV-infected patients and clients, it is easy to lose sight of the significant mental health challenges these individuals often face. Enter the Spectrum project, which “aims to build the capacity of mental health workers to effectively address the complexities of mental health and substance use disorders experienced by individuals living with HIV/AIDS in our communities,” as David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., explains.
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• HIV NEWS & VIEWS
Paul Kawata: How Epidemiological Changes Will Affect U.S. HIV/AIDS Organizations
“Is the HIV/AIDS community ready for a potentially significant reallocation of resources? What do these numbers mean to your agency?” In a recent missive to HIV/AIDS service providers in the U.S., Paul Kawata, the executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council, continues his examination of how local organizations are likely to be impacted by major upcoming changes in HIV/AIDS funding.
HIV/AIDS Organization Spotlight: AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts
More than 30,000 HIV-infected people were living in Massachusetts at the end of 2009, far higher than the number a decade earlier. HIV/AIDS organizations increasingly struggle to provide services to that growing number of patients. We spoke with Rebecca Haag, the president and CEO of AIDS Action Committee, about what her organization — one of the largest HIV service providers in Massachusetts — does and the challenges it faces.
Mark S. King: Should AIDS Activists and Pharma Just Get Along?
“I’m having an identity crisis,” Mark S. King says. “Am I an AIDS activist, ready to question authority and demand high standards of service for those living with HIV/AIDS? Or am I a ‘resource’ for the pharmaceutical industry, so that they might craft more effective community programs that will lead AIDS patients ‘to care’?”
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• THE PATIENT PERSPECTIVE: FEATURED ON THEBODY.COM
Maria T. Mejia: Keys to a Good Doctor/Patient Relationship (Video)
“It’s like a marriage,” Maria T. Mejia says. “If there is no communication or respect, there will be a divorce!” She’s talking, of course, about the relationship between an HIV-infected person and his or her doctor. It’s easy to overlook how important it is that a patient educates him/herself and establish a solid partnership with his/her doctor. But as Maria explains in this video blog, it’s a critical component of good health care.
HIV-Infected Bikers Take the Ultimate Trek
If you doubt an HIV-infected person’s ability to stand up to the most grueling tests of a body’s strength and endurance, then Team4HIVHope has something to tell you. The group recently completed a 3,000-mile, 24-hour-a-day bicycle race across the U.S. In this blog entry, cyclist Steven Berveling recounts the journey — and the lessons it taught him, such as: “I learnt the hard way that I could not ride for about 2-1/2 hours after taking my [efavirenz-containing] HIV tablets.”
“Am I Undatable Because I’m HIV+?”
“How do I deal with HIV stigma and dating without giving up hope?” asks a reader of the HIV/AIDS newsletter Being Alive. Relationship therapist Joe Kort, Ph.D., responds with practical advice and some tough love: “Using one’s status as an excuse or feeling victimized by it is a recipe for poor self-esteem and bad dating experiences.”
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• HIV/STD TRANSMISSION
Brotherly Love: HIV Rate Skyrockets Among Philadelphia’s Black Men Who Have Sex With Men
In a recent report, Philadelphia’s AIDS office reported that HIV incidence among gay and bisexual men rose 29% from 2007 through 2009. Since African Americans make up nearly half of Philly’s population and HIV rates are higher among African Americans in general, this does not suggest that HIV-fighting efforts are moving infection rates in the right direction in the City of Brotherly Love.
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