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July-August 2003 - The Latest from Capitol Hill

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July-August 2003 - The Latest from Capitol Hill Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                                                                       July/August 2003



                     THE BIMONTHLY PUBLICATION OF
          “ We are diverse people living with HIV, united to promote self-empowerment
                and enhanced quality of life for HIV affected individuals through
                  advocacy, education, peer support, and treatment activism.”

         The Latest from Capitol Hill                                                                                   •
                                                                                                                              Georgia that currently have a sound ADAP.
                                                                                                                              refuse coverage for new anti-HIV treatment
                                                                 by Jeff Graham, Executive Director                           options, putting at risk the health and lives
                                                                                                                              of those who are dependent upon new medi-


A
        s I’ve mentioned in previous columns,        could actually result in great restrictions in terms                     cal advances.
        the struggles over the federal budget for    of both Medicaid eligibility and services cov-                     •     deny health care for the newly diagnosed
        the year 2004 are already underway. The      ered under the plan. History has taught us that                          and move current Medicaid recipients into
7% increase in domestic AIDS funding prom-           any restrictions on healthcare spending have a                           restrictive HMOs. Many Medicaid HMOs
ised by President Bush the day after his State of    negative impact on those most in need of con-                            have proven to be ineffective at providing
the Union address has not materialized. The          sistent specialty care, such as those living with                        quality care in states where they’ve already
president’s Global AIDS Initiative has now           HIV.                                                                     been put into place.
passed and will soon begin the long process of             In a recent letter co-signed by 37 senators
realization, and the recommended funding in-         as of June 9, New Mexico Senator Jeff Binga-                       Act Now to Save Medicaid
creases in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program          man (D) writes, “Since 1965, the federal gov-                      Call your state senators and urge them to not
(ADAP) are both exceptionally good news.             ernment has helped states pay for the basic health                 support the National Association of Governors’
However, neither one of them addresses the on-       care and long-term services low-income Ameri-                      Medicaid reform proposal. Georgia’s senators
going struggles to ensure that people living with    cans need. A cap on federal funding — whether                      need to hear from you today.
HIV in this country have access to the quality       in the form of an allotment, an allocation, or a                   •    Zell Miller (D) ................ (202) 224-3643
medical care and social services that have proven    block grant — would fundamentally undermine                        •    Saxby Chambliss (R) ...... (202) 224-3521
so successful in keeping people healthy and          that commitment. We are unwilling to allow
alive. Additionally, there are many policy           the federal government to walk away from                           Insure Our Future
changes being considered by Congress this year       Medicaid’s 43 million beneficiaries, the provid-                   Earlier this year, legislation was introduced al-
that could prove to be even more damaging to         ers that serve them and the urban and rural com-                   lowing for the creation of Association Health
the shaky healthcare infrastructure that we all      munities in which they live.”                                      Plans (AHP). This legislation was introduced
depend upon. This issue, I’ll be addressing two            AIDS advocates have reviewed the pro-                        to recognize that the majority of Americans are
very important issues that have been paid little     posed legislation and concluded that capped fed-                   employed by small businesses and that these
attention by the mainstream media.                   eral funding could lead states in financial crisis                 businesses are struggling under the weight of
                                                     to:                                                                increased health insurance premiums. While the
Medicaid Reform                                      •     limit prescription drug coverage and in-                     rationale for this legislation is certainly valid,
For the past several years, Georgia has worked             crease co-pays for prescription and doctors’                 the legislation itself would result in decreased
diligently to secure a waiver from the federal             visits. This past year, the Georgia legisla-                 coverage, while failing to guarantee that insur-
government allowing low-income people with                 ture has already implemented a 50% in-                       ance rates remain manageable.
HIV who have not yet progressed to an AIDS                 crease in the Medicaid prescription co-pay.                       The misnamed Small Business Health Fair-
diagnosis to quality for Medicaid. This effort,      •     reduce Medicaid eligibility and increase the                 ness Act introduced in the Senate (S 858) and
should it eventually be approved, has the poten-           burden on Ryan White-funded services and                     House (HR 1774) amends the regulation of self-
tial to dramatically increase the accessibility of         ADAP. The Ryan White CARE Act is al-                         insured plans, known as ERISA plans, to pro-
quality medical care in our state, especially for          ready looking at flat-funding in all titles,                 vide preemption of state insurance standards.
folks who live in more rural areas. Furthermore,           with the exception of ADAP. Furthermore,                     This legislation would turn back the clock on
over the last few sessions, Congress has intro-            the increases proposed for ADAP would be                     more than a decade of state-level healthcare re-
duced the Early Access to HIV Act (ETHA),                  helpful, but are not anticipated to eliminate                form efforts that have guaranteed individuals
which would accomplish these same goals on a               the current waiting lists and drug restric-                  access to appropriate medical care, increased
national level.                                            tions experienced by so many states and                      oversight of insurers, prevented companies from
      Unfortunately, if a new proposal from the            may not be enough to prevent the imple-
National Association of Governors comes to pass,           mentation of restrictions in states such as                                                    Continued on page 3
the promise of Medicaid reform may prove to
be hollow. The plan, expected to be introduced                                        In This Issue of Survival News
into Congress this summer, would provide states         T-Negative ................................................ 2   Treatment News ....................................... 8
greater leeway in how Medicaid dollars are used,        Positive Action! ........................................ 3     AIDS Treatment Initiatives .................... 9
but would place a cap on the amount of federal          Peer Counseling Perspectives ................ 4                 Chronicles .............................................. 10
funds that would be used for the Medicaid sys-          The Resource Train ................................. 5          Tales of Survival .................................... 14
tem. With the vast majority of states, including        Reaching Out! .......................................... 6      HIV & Me .............................................. 16
Georgia, looking at record budget deficits, this        Cruising with Lazarus ............................ 7            Classified Ads ........................................ 17


July/August 2003                                                                                                                                                                       1
                      T-Negative                        Still, the Stigma
                                                                                                            Eric L. Watts ............................. Editor
                  Eric L. Watts                                                                                                    Circulation: 3,300

—————————— TrekBearGA@aol.com                                                                                         Volunteers & Contributors


T
                                                                                                            Chris Companik .............................. Ernie Evangelista
       he original Star Trek television series,       of the individual and matters of the heart. Nev-      Bil Romain ............................................ David Salyer
       largely ignored by primetime audiences         ertheless, the defendant is ultimately found guilty
       during its original three-season run on        and then lobotomized to cure the illness. What        Please note our new address, effective June 15, 2003:
NBC from 1966 to 1969, found unprecedented            could have been a tender tale about self-discov-                    AIDS Survival Project
popularity in syndication during the ‘70s on its      ery, acceptance and tolerance turns out to be a            139 Ralph McGill Boulevard NE, Suite 201
journey to becoming both a successful commer-         story confirming that how society perceives you                       Atlanta, Georgia 30308-3339
                                                                                                            Phone ................................................. (404) 874-7926
cial franchise and a part of American pop cul-        is more important than how you perceive your-         Fax ..................................................... (404) 524-2462
ture. Decades before it became politically cor-       self, and again, gay fans hoping for a sensitive      TTY ................................................... (404) 524-0464
rect to celebrate diversity, Gene Roddenberry,        portrayal of a sexual minority are sorely disap-      Toll-Free ........................................ 1 (877) AIDS-444
Star Trek’s creator, had the audacity to feature      pointed.                                              Web Site ........................ www.aidssurvivalproject.org
two Americans, an Oriental, a Scotsman, a Rus-              Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which pre-          E-Mail ...................................... asp@mindspring.com
sian, a Swahili and even a green-blooded, pointy-     miered in 1993, made a couple of stabs at gay-
eared extraterrestrial in his multi-ethnic, inter-    friendly episodes with mixed success. Revisit-        Member of
racial and polynational cast — something un-          ing on numerous occasions the original Star
heard of in 1966 (compare, for example, the di-       Trek’s old “Mirror, Mirror” alternate universe
versity found on Gilligan’s Island). Even more        (1967) where Starfleet was a savage empire and        Survival News is produced and published by AIDS
                                                                                                            Survival Project (ASP), which is solely responsible
amazing, in an era when American television was       Spock sported a sexy goatee, Major Kira Nerys’
                                                                                                            for its content. If you have articles you would like to
largely dominated by toothless drivel, Star Trek      modern-day counterpart is a deliciously wicked        submit, please contact ASP during regular office hours
often explored contemporary issues such as ra-        and decidedly bisexual slave driver who runs          (Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).
cial prejudice, sexism, overpopulation and the        the space station with a cruel fist and cold heart.
horrors of war. But despite being lauded for its      These alternate universe episodes (“Crossover,”       PLEASE NOTE: News and resources included in this
                                                                                                            publication are for informational purposes only and do not
integrated cast and socially relevant stories, the    “Through the Looking Glass,” “Shattered Mir-          constitute any endorsement or recommendation of or for any
one topic even Star Trek dared not broach was         ror,” 1994-96) are the closest that any Trek se-      medical treatment or product by AIDS Survival Project. With
homosexuality.                                        ries has yet come to featuring an openly gay char-    regard to medical information, AIDS Survival Project recom-
                                                                                                            mends that any and all medical treatment you receive or
      Star Trek: The Next Generation, also cre-       acter, but they are ultimately unsatisfying be-       engage in be discussed thoroughly with a competent, licensed
ated by Roddenberry, premiered in 1987 in a           cause they simply reinforce the old cliché of the     and fully AIDS-informed medical practitioner — preferably
much more socially progressive decade and,            stereotypical “evil lesbian.”                         your personal physician. Opinions expressed in various ar-
during the course of its seven-season run, at-              No episode of any Trek series caught the        ticles of this publication are not necessarily those of AIDS
                                                                                                            Survival Project members. Any individual’s association with
tempted to address such issues as same-sex re-        media’s attention more so than Deep Space             AIDS Survival Project or mention of an individual’s name
lationships and genderism. But to the dismay          Nine’s fourth-season episode “Rejoined” (1995),       should not be considered an indication of that person’s health
of its gay fans, the series failed to handle either   in which Lieutenant Jadzia Dax, a member of           status. Please contact AIDS Survival Project for permission
                                                                                                            to duplicate any information contained within this publication.
subject satisfactorily.                               that same symbiont race which caused Dr. Bev-         Members can have their issues sent to them in a sealed
      In the fourth-season episode “The Host”         erly Crusher such anguish in “The Host,” meets        envelope by contacting our office to have this arranged.
(1991), Dr. Beverly Crusher becomes romanti-          the current female host body of the wife of one
cally involved with the male host body of a sym-      of her own earlier male host bodies. Despite                            Board of Directors
biont race (one lifeform living inside another in     both symbionts now having different host bod-                         Executive Committee
a symbiotic existence). When that host body is        ies, their mutual attraction has survived and (to     Eddie Young ........................................... President
                                                                                                            Susan Cornutt ................................. Vice-President
fatally injured, the large, genderless, sluglike      the delight of straight men everywhere) their love    Greg Jesse .............................................. Treasurer
creature that lives inside it is surgically trans-    is consummated in a passionate same-sex kiss          Joan F. Campitelli ................................... Secretary
ferred to a new, female host body. Although the       that caused the episode to be broadcast with a        Scott H’Doubler ......................... Member-at-Large
new host possesses all the same personality           viewer discretion disclaimer in Atlanta and pre-
traits, characteristics, memories and romantic in-    empted altogether in Birmingham. While not                       Board Members at Large
terests of the previous host — in effect: same        the first same-sex kiss on American television        Cindy Abel                       Barron Segar
person, different body — Dr. Crusher, horrified,      (L. A. Law did it in 1991 and Roseanne smooched       Michael Baker Jacqueline Muther Larry Sheldon
rejects her advances and terminates the relation-     Mariel Hemingway in 1994), it was a historic          Judi Clark                        Mark Tatro
ship. What could have been a tender tale about        first for Star Trek, on par with Captain Kirk’s
true love overcoming catastrophic difficulty turns    kissing the very black and very beautiful Lieu-                AIDS Survival Project Staff
                                                                                                            Jeff Graham ............................. Executive Director
out to be a story confirming that what you look       tenant Uhura in the 1968 episode, “Plato’s Step-      Jeff Smith ................................. Associate Director
like is more important than who you are, and          children” — American television’s first interra-      Greg Carraway ................... Development Director
gay fans hoping for a sensitive portrayal of a        cial kiss. But, predictably, the two women parted     Sarah Biel-Cunningham ........... THRIVE! Manager
same-sex relationship are sorely disappointed.        ways at the end of the episode, leaving Lt. Dax       Gerry Hoyt ............ Treatment Education Manager
      In the fifth-season episode “The Outcast”       distraught and brokenhearted.                         George Burgess ..... Treatment Education Assistant
(1992), Commander Will Riker becomes roman-                 Star Trek’s most recent incarnation, Enter-     Greg Smith ....... Positive Action Network Manager
tically involved with a member of a naturally         prise, recently took its own stab at what it surely   Mary Lynn Hemphill ... Peer Counseling Manager
androgynous race who belongs to a very small          must have believed was a sensitive portrayal of       Sheryl Johnson ..... Community Outreach Manager
                                                                                                            Rob Nixon ................... Communications Manager
and extremely ostracized minority that yearns         sexual discrimination — but just as it has so
to possess gender. After a brief tryst, the object    many times before, it completely missed the                            Share Project Staff
of Riker’s affection is captured and put on trial     mark. In the second-season episode “Stigma”           Chauncey Cherry ......................... Project Director
for crimes against nature, where it gives a mov-                                                            Webster Luke .......................... Research Associate
ing testimony about personal liberties, the rights                              Continued on page 16        Brenda Ward ............................ Research Assistant


2                                                                                                                                    SURVIVAL NEWS
                                                                Positive                        New to Georgia,
 The LiveWell Fund                                              Action!                           Not New to
  Unique individuals and businesses
  who know that life is precious and
                                                            Greg Smith                            Advocacy
                                        ————— gsmith@aidssurvivalproject.org
 worthy of unusual gifts...prolonging

                                        Y
  and enhancing people’s lives with           ou gain strength, courage and confidence        mous testing sites were in their embryonic stage
                                              by every experience in which you look fear      and we had to develop policy, operations manu-
   significant donations to support           in the face. You should do the thing you        als, and be politically involved. In retrospect,
  education and information access      think you cannot do.     — ELEANOR ROOSEVELT          that was the real beginning of my official HIV/
                                                                                              AIDS advocacy career. I have since been advo-
 programs at AIDS Survival Project.           Hello! My name is Greg Smith, and I am          cating on the local, state and federal levels, co-
                                        the new Positive Action Network Program Man-          ordinating Lobby Day efforts, organizing suc-
                                        ager here at AIDS Survival Project. I recently        cessful grassroots local states of emergency, rep-
  Gold LiveWell Sponsors                relocated here from Los Angeles, California and       resenting community organizations during leg-
                                        have very quickly fallen in love with the beauti-     islative visits, developing strategic plans and
     ($5,000 - $9,999)                  ful state of Georgia. I would like to first ac-       analyzing legislation.
            Anonymous                   knowledge the fantastic staff here at ASP... they           This has been a very challenging journey
           Pride Medical                have made me feel so welcome.                         over the years. In the early days of AIDS advo-
                                              I have been an advocate all my life. My         cacy, it was not about a balanced budget; it was
                                        passion to advocate began very early as a kid         about getting care for a despised. I was told
                                        growing up in the housing projects in Watts, liv-     very early in the epidemic, “Don’t you worry
 Silver LiveWell Sponsors               ing in the ’hood. I was always an advocate for        about the budget. They get paid to do that. You
     ($2,500 - $4,999)                  the ones who were picked on and made fun of,          make sure your issue is included in the budget.”
        Lee Anisman, M.D.               even when it was not popular.                         We are at this time about to get involved in the
                                              I have been involved in the HIV/AIDS com-       process of how the dollars flow to your commu-
  The James M. & Ruth E. Wilder         munity since 1985. I originally got involved as       nity, holding your elected officials accountable.
            Foundation                  a volunteer with the Minority AIDS Project when       They are not doing you a favor by talking with
                                        “gay cancer” was the street language. I remem-        you. That is their job. Our job is to educate and
                                        ber the first time my partner mentioned it to me,     inform them about the needs of our community.
 Bronze LiveWell Sponsors               terrified and curious as to what was going on. I
                                        started volunteering at MAP and of course, he
                                                                                              The time has come for us to advocate for addi-
                                                                                              tional funding, formula parity, women and chil-
     ($1,000 - $2,499)                  was not too pleased. Since then, I have been at       dren, MSM and continued and improved care
              Joel Black                the bedside of many friends over these last 18        for all infected and affected by this disease.
                                        years. There have been so many, it is hard to               Our very own Executive Director, Jeff Gra-
           Lora Bohannon                remember everyone’s names. So many, and so            ham, still has the passion to advocate on all lev-
           Martha Brewer                young.                                                els for HIV/AIDS disparities. I am excited about
                                              Over the years, I implemented a host of pro-    working with the team here at AIDS Survival
            Kenneth Britt               grams, services and grassroots events, but the        Project and look forward to meeting a lot of folks
          Joan F. Campitelli            one I will always remember the most is our            here in the beautiful state of Georgia. A resi-
                                        anonymous testing program, one of the first in        dent Georgian informed me when I first got here,
   Bill Crawford & Lisa Swenson         the state of California. The hurdles appeared to      when someone gives you directions in Georgia
            Richard Glass               be very large, but so were the hearts of the people   and they say it’s just up the road, it’s really about
            Deby Glidden                involved who did not know what quitting or giv-       20 minutes away.
                                        ing up looked or felt like. We just pushed until            Once again, I look forward to meeting folks
    Jeff Graham & Peter Stinner         they gave in. I remember the day I was in the         who are committed to the HIV/AIDS advocacy
             Jeanne Gura                office when Magic Johnson made his HIV sta-           issues so that we may generate the resources and
                                        tus public. Everything changed from that day          healthy policy we need to service our very di-
           Scott H’Doubler              forward. This was during the time when anony-         verse communities.
               Roy Hill
                                                “Capitol Hill”... continued from page 1
       Richard Hudson, M.D.             charging higher premiums for sicker people and        in a pool of potential applicants, while leaving
              Don King                  allowed for external review of denied claims.         higher-risk or higher-cost individuals out. Such
                                        Additional consumer protections that would be         a process could actually make the insurance situ-
             Susan Levy                 eliminated here in Georgia are access to clinical     ation worse for as many as four in five workers
         Jesse R. Peel, M.D.            trials for cancer, transitional care when your pro-   through either increased premiums or restrictions
                                        vider leaves the insurance plan, the coverage of      on coverage.
          Dr. David Reznik              certain essential non-formulary prescription
  Larry Sheldon & Len Greenough         drugs and coverage for treatment of substance         Act Now to Insure Our Future
                                        abuse and alcoholism.                                      Call your state representative and ask him
         Dr. Tom Sparkman                     The Congressional Budget Office issued a        or her to oppose HR 1774. Call your state sena-
             Mark Tatro                 report on this legislation and found that any cost    tors and ask that they oppose S 858.
                                        savings to employers would come either through             As always, if you do not know who your
 Marty Thompson & Dr. David Morris      cutting benefits or “cherry picking.” Cherry pick-    representative is or how to contact them, give
            Edward Young                ing is a term that describes the process where        us a call at AIDS Survival Project or visit our
                                        insurers work to attract the healthiest members       web site.

July/August 2003                                                                                                                                3
                Peer Counseling
                 Perspectives                          Guiding Productive Conversations
                     Mary Lynn
                   Hemphill, LMSW
——— mlhemphill@aidssurvivalproject.org



L
      iving well with HIV demands constant re- avoiding the use of the word “should,” peer coun-         to them on an emotional level. Reflective lis-
      assessment of choices, many of which lead selors move toward the creation of an atmosphere         tening in this case opens up a much more sig-
      to conscious behavior changes. In the May/ where someone can discuss the possibility of            nificant conversation than would occur if the peer
June 2003 issue of Survival News, I wrote about making change without receiving a message to             counselor merely gave the names of physicians
a practical way to understand the process of push against. ASP’s Counseling Skills Build-                to the caller.
changing health-related behaviors. When we can ing Training focuses on learning four techniques                Summaries let a caller know the peer coun-
understand where we or our loved ones are in that help people talk freely about change and               selor is listening carefully and assure both people
relationship to making change, we can be more devise a plan that is their own in order to pro-           that they are communicating clearly. A thought-
helpful, supportive and patient.                    ceed with change. These techniques come from         ful summary can keep both people considering
      Our peer counselors use a model called the a counseling approach called motivational in-           the conversation long after it’s over. The person
Stages of Change Theory, attributed to Proch- terviewing, commonly used in the harm reduc-               seeking resources had the opportunity to clarify
haska, DiClemente and Norcross. It is commonly tion model of treating substance abuse.                   that they got what they needed and they may
applied by social scientists in the development          Motivational interviewing respects the per-     feel empowered to make behavior-related
of programs that encourage individual behavior son who comes seeking new information so they             changes because they received the right tool at
changes to improve health. You don’t need to can cope with a life problem. It uses four con-             the right time. The peer counselor feels com-
be a social scientist, however, to appreciate the versational techniques: Open-ended questions,          fortable that they were understood and that they
benefit of understanding where someone is in Affirmations, Reflective listening and Summa-               satisfied the caller’s true goal in reaching out.
the process of intentional change. Is there any- ries. Together, these create OARS — helpful                   Motivational interviewing was developed
one who has not felt frustration with a friend for keeping things flowing!                               for therapeutic purposes, but its elements are
who is oblivious to signs of dangerous drinking          Open-ended questions are answered with          founded in compassion, respect, good will and
or substance use, or with a parent or partner who more than “yes” or “no.” They are questions            teamwork. It allows both parties in a conversa-
refuses to take                                                                    such as, “Can you     tion to maintain dignity, learn about another
their medication                                                                   tell me about your    person’s perspective, share information and dif-
as it is pre-
                                When people who smoke are                          partner ’s      re-   fuse resistance and unproductive confrontation.
scribed? When                     willing to stand outside in                      sponse to your di-    Taking advantage of this style of conversation
people        who                 the cold and rain in order                       agnosis?”        or   has the potential to allow each of us to be more
smoke are willing                                                                  “Since you’ve         understanding partners, parents, friends and co-
to stand outside
                                     to have their nicotine,                       known you’re          workers as we strive to make healthy choices
in the cold and                     what in the world can a                        HIV+ for six          and lead healthier lives.
rain in order to                   friend say to move them                         years, what has
have their nico-                                                                   changed to make
tine, what in the
                                 toward smoking cessation?                         you want to start
world can a friend                                                                 taking medica-
say to move them toward smoking cessation? tions?” They carry no judgement and anticipate
The Stages of Change Theory breaks down the no certain answer, but they allow the peer coun-
process of behavior change into steps that range selor to begin to understand the other person’s
from Precontemplation (no commitment to be- perspective, concerns and reason to seek more
havior change) to Maintenance (a change has information or support.
been instituted consistently for greater than six        Affirmations are comments from the peer
months). It also identifies a stage called Recy- counselor indicating support for certain behav-
cling that occurs when a previous undesirable iors. They often relate to past attempts to make
behavior is resumed.                                change, courage to undertake a difficult task or
      It has been found that people take similar simply acknowledge the complexity of decision-
steps toward change regardless of what health making. Essentially, affirmations verbalize re-
habit they are trying to alter, whether it’s sub- spect for someone’s strengths that can be used
stance use, medication adherence, dieting, start- to move toward the goal of change.
ing an exercise program or smoking cessation.            Reflexive listening requires care and pa-                     AIDS
Peer counselors can offer the most productive tience. It allows the peer counselor to comment
referrals and support when they understand on what they hear someone saying through their
where someone is in the cycle of change. Tools words or their observed emotions. For example,
                                                                                                                     SURVIVAL
for risk reduction can then be suggested that will when a caller requests a referral to a new physi-
be the most fitting at that particular time for the cian and complains about their current one, the
                                                                                                                     PROJECT
consumer.                                           peer counselor may listen carefully, then respond,
      The way a peer counselor converses with a “So, you were not told why your doctor changed
caller can have a significant impact on motiva- your medications and you’d like to be more of a
tion to make healthy choices. It is normal hu- partner in your care?” That question may clarify
man behavior to have some conflicting feelings whether the caller wants to know more about
about changing our habits. A common response resistance testing, advocacy or selecting a phy-
when told what we should do is often to argue sician, while it may also encourage the caller to
with, ignore or withdraw from the advisor. By discuss what the change in medications meant

4                                                                                                                          SURVIVAL NEWS
                  The Resource
                      Train                                      Club Drugs and Their Effects
                     Sarah Biel-
                  Cunningham, MSW
—————— sbiel@aidssurvivalproject.org



C
         lub drugs, popular for years at all night    increase in potency of a recreational drug, be-          There is an important distinction between the
         clubs and dance parties in the city, are     cause of a drug interaction, has potential for caus-     effects of a low to moderate dose of this drug
         becoming more mainstream. Classified         ing serious harm and even death.                         and a high dosage, which could lead to serious,
as club drugs are Ecstasy (methylenedioxymeth-                                                                 negative side effects. Because everyone’s body
amphetamine), ketamine, LSD (lysergic acid di-        Ecstasy (“X,” “E,” “MDMA”)                               metabolizes drugs differently, there is a fine line
ethylamide), GHB (gamma hydroxy butyrate),            3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or                    between the “right” dosage and too high a dose.
Rohypnol and methamphetamine. The availabil-          MDMA, is a synthetic psychoactive drug with              This uncertainty creates a very dangerous drug,
ity of these club drugs is increasing in nearly       both stimulant (amphetamine-like) and halluci-           even without the additional effects due to drug
every city across the nation, including Atlanta.      nogenic (LSD-like) properties. The pleasurable           interactions. GHB is even more dangerous in
According to the Office of National Drug Con-         effects sought by individuals include a relaxed          combination with protease inhibitors. The com-
trol Policy, all of the club drugs are prevalent in   upbeat mood, reduced anxiety, increased sensi-           bination of these two drugs can lead to a five to
Atlanta, with methamphetamine the second most         tivity to others and a high energy level that can        tenfold increase in GHB potency within the body.
widely used drug in the community behind co-          be sustained for many hours. Ecstasy is not
caine. Ecstasy, GHB and ketamine are also             physically addictive; however, the drug often            Ketamine (“K,” “Special K,” “Vitamin
widely popular in Atlanta and have been identi-       takes on great importance in people’s lives, and         K,” “Super Acid”)
fied as growing in popularity over the past year.     some people become rather compulsive in the              Ketamine, or ketamine hydrochloride, is a non-
      Research has shown that the use of club         use of ecstasy, which borders on addiction. One          barbiturate, rapid-acting dissociative anesthetic
drugs can cause serious health problems, espe-        problem that occurs when MDMA is taken too               which separates perception from sensation.
cially when used in combination with other            frequently is the loss of its ability to elevate one’s   Ketamine is a liquid, and the most potent ways
drugs. A drug interaction can occur when two          mood by permanently damaging serotonin neu-              of using it are by injecting it intramuscularly or
or more drugs are taken during the same period        rons, causing individuals to feel more depressed         intravenously. It can also be made into a tablet
of time, altering the effects of the drugs, poten-    than usual. To gain relief from these feelings of        or a powder by evaporating the liquid and re-
tially causing serious harm. The following is a       depression, these individuals attempt to attain          ducing it to a fine white powder that can be
list of the club drugs most popular in the At-        the euphoria of MDMA with increased doses,               smoked or snorted. Since ketamine is specifi-
lanta area, with information about these drugs’       which could potentially lead to a drug overdose.         cally an anesthetic, its greatest effect is the abil-
effects on the body and potential drug interac-             When taken while on a drug regimen for             ity to stop the user from feeling pain, which could
tion side effects with HIV medications.               HIV, MDMA can have potentially harmful in-               lead the user to inadvertently cause injury to him
                                                      teractions with protease inhibitors. Some HIV            or herself. Ketamine can cause psychological
Methamphetamine (“speed,” “meth”)                     medications slow down the liver enzyme that              dependence because the dissociation from one’s
Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant that        metabolizes MDMA. This causes the dose of                consciousness experienced with this drug is a
strongly activates certain systems in the brain.      MDMA to increase in potency because of the               way to self-medicate and escape from the prob-
Methamphetamine is closely related chemically         length of time the body needs to process the drug        lems experienced during one’s everyday con-
to amphetamine, but the central nervous system        due to the decrease in liver enzymes available           scious life.
effects are greater because it is synthetic. Many     for metabolism. This increase in recreational                  Ketamine directly effects one’s liver
individuals begin using methamphetamine be-           drug potency increases the potential for drug            through the metabolizing process. When com-
cause of the initial heightened physical and men-     overdose.                                                bined with protease inhibitors, this recreational
tal performance. The drug alters mood in dif-                                                                  drug can lead to a “chemical hepatitis,” which
ferent ways, depending on how it is                   Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate (“GHB,”                           is an inflammation of the liver, causing jaun-
taken. Immediately after smoking or intravenous       “Liquid X,” “Grievous Bodily Harm”)                      dice. Although further studies are needed to
injection, the user experiences an intense “rush”     Gamma hydroxy butyrate is a depressant which             determine the long-term effects this drug com-
or “flash” that lasts only a few minutes and is       quickly affects the central nervous system. It is        bination has on the liver, it is important to rec-
described as extremely pleasurable. Snorting          usually seen as a colorless, odorless liquid with        ognize that damage is being done to the liver
or ingesting orally produces euphoria — a high,       a salty taste, but can also be found in powder           which could potentially lead to liver failure.
but not an intense rush. In all forms, the drug       and capsule forms. GHB is used to obtain a                     Drug interactions are serious and it is the
stimulates the central nervous system, with ef-       euphoric, sedated state of being. The feeling of         intent of this article to educate about the pos-
fects lasting anywhere from four to 24 hours.         relaxation and calmness are felt with a low to           sible side effects of club drugs and the effects of
Methamphetamine has a high potential for abuse        moderate dose and is experienced 10 minutes to           the interactions between club drugs and HIV
and dependency because of the effects after the       an hour after ingestion. However, negative ef-           medication. This information is meant for edu-
drug begins to wear off. Individuals often feel       fects can occur with too large a dose. People            cational purposes only. It neither endorses nor
tired, lethargic and depressed after a metham-        experience nausea, drowsiness, respiratory dis-          encourages the use of recreational drugs. Noth-
phetamine “high” and desire more to obtain the        tress, dizziness, seizures and amnesia. Poison-          ing contained here should be regarded in any
pleasurable euphoria.                                 ings and deaths resulting from ingestion of the          way as a substitute for medical advice from a
      When methamphetamine is taken with pro-         drug have been well documented. Overdoses                qualified physician or other health care provider
tease inhibitors, there is an expected increase in    often occur because the withdrawal effects, in-          who is familiar with all of the details of your
the potency of the recreational drug of two to        cluding sweating, insomnia, muscular cramping,           situation. There are several resources available
three times. With this increase in potency comes      tremors and anxiety, cause individuals to take           to provide more information about club drugs
the increased likelihood of an overdose. Accord-      more GHB in a shorter period of time, not wait-          and their effects on your body and your HIV
ing to Project Inform, research shows that Norvir     ing for the previous dose to metabolize out of           medication. Please visit AIDS Survival Project’s
is predicted to have the greatest increase of po-     the body.                                                Treatment Resource Center during regular busi-
tency on this recreational drug. However, any               GHB has very serious effects on the body.          ness hours or call us at (404) 874-7926.

July/August 2003                                                                                                                                                5
                  Reaching Out!                               Housing Assistance Programs
                Sheryl Johnson
———— sjohnson@aidssurvivalproject.org



S
       everal months ago, I talked about housing          Support Services and Housing Coordinator        will work with most mental health diagnoses;
       and highlighted several organizations in           will make a determination of the client’s       however, there is a major emphasis on medical
       the Atlanta metropolitan area that are             eligibility and those accepted into the         adherence       and    case    management
doing great work. I want to revisit the housing           program are expected to attend a budget         responsibilities.
issue and focus on additional programs because            class offered through AID Gwinnett.
the need for adequate housing as a fundamental                                                                  Our Common Welfare
human right cannot be emphasized strongly                  Cobb County Board of Health                          4319 Memorial Dr, Ste N
enough. If you or someone you know is an                   1650 County Services Pkwy                            Decatur GA 30032
individual that is newly infected with HIV or              Marietta GA 30008                                    OCW runs a residential program for their
AIDS, you are likely to be facing a number of              (770) 514-2300                                 clients who are HIV+ and working to overcome
new concerns and issues related to dealing with            The Cobb County Board of Health HOPWA          substance abuse. A full intake completed by
this life-threatening illness. AIDS Survival         program works collaboratively with local             staff members is required, and clients are
Project has peer counselors on board that are        community housing providers to support a             expected to come in ready for treatment and in
very knowledgeable about the types of issues         coordinated system of housing assistance to          possession of a current clean drug screen.
you may be facing, as well as the resources          eligible clients. The Cobb program staff             Clients must also be at risk of becoming
available in the community and in our                believes that a client’s home life and housing       homeless and have low income as well as
Treatment Resource Center.                           are tied to their medical condition. Clients who     current results of a TB screening. The facility
      Housing is an issue that impacts us on a       are in unstable housing or who have housing-         is for adult men and women. These are shared
daily basis and can affect the status of one’s       related troubles often do not optimally benefit      living quarters, but separated according to
medical care, emotional support, financial           from their medical therapy. The ultimate             gender.
stability and general sense of well-being. Ask       program goal is to support a client’s overall
anyone who works in the social services field        wellness and medical condition by addressing              Welcome House
and they will tell you safe, decent and affordable   the client’s fundamental life issues in the               234 Memorial Dr SW
housing must remain a part of our common             housing arena.                                            Atlanta GA 30303
response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. With this               The program consists of two case managers           In order to qualify for this housing
thought in mind, I want to share with you some       who work to help clients retain their current        program, clients must make at least $7,500
information about a few diverse organizations        housing situation and/or find suitable housing.      and no more than $19,050 for market-rate
that are making housing opportunities available      They work hand-in-hand with medical providers        apartment units. There are also shelter units
to qualified individuals in our area.                to ensure the client’s needs are being addressed,    available at a lesser rate of income. In order
                                                     with particular regard to their home situation.      to qualify, applications are completed and
     AID Gwinnett, Inc.                              They assist the client with life skills and          submitted by referring agencies. Clients
     725 Scenic Hwy                                  planning issues, employment and other social         must be gainfully employed for at least three
     Lawrenceville GA 30346-0884                     service concerns. The case managers also             months and have maintained six months free
     (770) 962-8396                                  collaborate with another HOPWA-funded                of substance abuse.
     AID Gwinnett sponsors a housing program         community-based organization that provides
for persons challenged with HIV/AIDS in              short-term rental and utility assistance. The
Rockdale, Newton and Gwinnett counties. The          staff verifies program eligibility and assists the           Common Ground
program offers assistance through:                   clients with completing assistance applications.                 1053 Juniper Street
                                                     When a client has housing needs and funding                       Atlanta GA 30309
•    Housing Referrals. The Director of              is not available, the case managers work with
     Housing and Support Services maintains          other community resources to develop a plan to         Daily Group Session
     and offers a housing resource directory for     address that client’s needs. The Cobb HOPWA             ............................. 11:00 a.m. - Noon
     the areas of Rockdale, Newton and               program primarily serves clients in the                              with lunch following
     Gwinnett counties. Persons can contact          surrounding community; however, eligible
     the office to receive income eligibility        clients from other areas are served as well.           Tuesdays ........................... 1:00 p.m.
     limits and affordable housing information.                                                                   Group Psychotherapy
•    Housing Assistance. Clients of AID                   National AIDS Education & Services for                  with Dr. Jennifer Smith
     Gwinnett can obtain monies for emergency                   Minorities
     assistance (such as help with rent or                2001 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Ste 602            Thursdays ......................... 2:00 p.m.
     mortgage payments) in order to maintain              Atlanta GA 30315                                  LaGender Group for Transgendered
     housing. However, all clients are subject            (404) 753-2900                                          and those interested.
     to program guidelines of eligibility.                NAESM runs a transitional home for
•    Rental Assistance Program. AID                  qualified individuals that requires a centralized      Fridays ......... 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
     Gwinnett clients can access this program        housing intake with complete medical                      Individual Counseling Sessions
     by contacting their case managers. The          information including proof of HIV and income                   by Dr. Lewis Myers
     program is designed for those persons           status. Clients need a current drug screen as
     experiencing financial hardships or a           well as a letter of support from a housing agency.           For further information, call
     transition period while waiting for             The review process includes a psychosocial                        Michael Brunson
     approval of Section 8 status or initiation      evaluation and clients must have three months                      (404) 874-6425
     of payment of disability benefits. The          free from substance abuse. The organization

6                                                                                                                           SURVIVAL NEWS
                                                         H I V IEWPOINTS
                  Cruising with
                    Lazarus                                    Compassion vs. Conservatism
                  David Salyer
——————— cubscout@mindspring.com



C
         ompassion? Good. Conservatism? Com-         that can be usefully and consistently applied        •    Big Brother Is Watching Your Grant Ap-
         plex. Conservatism used to have some        when addressing social ills and societal inequali-        plications – Scientists and researchers who
         thing to do with preserving or restoring    ties. It’s just two words slapped together by an          study HIV and other sexually transmitted
what was once good. Unfortunately, the con-          administration lacking imagination, but stink-            diseases have been warned by federal
cept of conservatism has been hijacked and mu-       ing drunk on power.                                       health officials at the National Institutes of
tilated by lots of truculent politicians and reli-         How has the Bush administration’s com-              Health (NIH) that their grant applications
gious fanatics who like to invoke the name of        passionate conservatism affected HIV and AIDS             are now subject to heightened scrutiny. The
Jesus when they’re doing all sorts of things that    programs, prevention, research and people liv-            New York Times reports that congressional
aren’t very Christlike.                              ing with the virus in America? Here are some              and Department of Health and Human Ser-
      Remember “compassionate conservatism”?         examples:                                                 vices staffers have begun meddling in the
It was the vague ideology advocated by George                                                                  application process, looking for politically
W. Bush during his 2000 presidential campaign.       •    Presidential Advisory Council on HIV                 sensitive terminology — sex workers, men
And not a new idea at all — Bush and his han-             and AIDS (PACHA) – Members and the                   who have sex with men, anal sex, needle
dlers lifted the concept from a 1992 book, The            chair are supposed to be selected by the             exchange, abortion, condom effectiveness,
Tragedy of American Compassion, written by                United States Department of Health and               transgender. The federal financing of medi-
Marvin Olasky. A University of Texas journal-             Human Services Secretary from authorities            cal research has traditionally been free from
ism professor and senior fellow at the Acton In-          with particular expertise in or knowledge            political influence and has ultimately led
stitute for the Study of Religion and Liberty,            of matters concerning HIV and AIDS.                  to significant breakthroughs in understand-
Olasky hopes “that our nation will adopt bibli-           Bushies have attempted to stack this 35-             ing transmission, treatment and prevention
cal principles in fighting poverty and many other         member council with pro-abstinence, con-             of sexually transmitted diseases. Govern-
social ills, and that many people will be trans-          dom-hating, homophobic religious activists           ment oversight can be a very good thing,
formed personally in the process.” Translation:           with no background in epidemiology or sci-           but this is politically motivated harassment
I think your life would be a whole lot better if          ence. PACHA is a freak show of fringe ide-           and intimidation that encroaches upon the
you became a born-again Christian like me!                ology, not science or sound judgment. There          objectivity and scientific integrity of present
      As catchphrases go, “compassionate con-             is no value in an advisory council deliber-          and future research.
servatism” is awfully clumsy. And not nearly as           ately populated by abstinence-obsessed fa-
fun to say as, “You ARE the weakest link…                 natics who publicly reject science-based             That’s the short list. Since Bush was ap-
goodbye!” It also feels like a feeble reprise of a        safer sex education. PACHA is officially        pointed president, he and his administration have
theme from Bush’s own father’s 1988 presiden-             irrelevant.                                     recommended funding cuts for the Ryan White
tial campaign — the one where the elder Bush         •    That Giant Sucking Sound at the CDC –           CARE Act, drafted HIV initiatives without any
declared that the Republicans’ goal was a “kinder         In late 2002, the Centers for Disease Con-      input from the CDC, launched investigative au-
and gentler nation.” Anyway, the Bush currently           trol and Prevention (CDC) stealthily altered    dits of AIDS service organizations that utilize
inhabiting our White House would like you all             all government fact sheets and web site         explicit language in their prevention efforts, de-
to know that, “Government cannot solve every              pages originally promoting condoms as           emphasized condom education in favor of absti-
problem, but it can encourage people and com-             “highly effective” in preventing HIV and        nence-only rhetoric, ignored calls for compre-
munities to help themselves and to help one an-           other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).     hensive sexual education from every US Sur-
other. Often, the truest kind of compassion is to         The new fact sheets offer toned-down lan-       geon General of the past twenty years (includ-
help citizens build lives of their own. I call my         guage on the efficacy of condoms for dis-       ing Bush’s own appointee) and underfunded the
philosophy and approach ‘compassionate con-               ease prevention and no longer describe spe-     AIDS Drug Assistance Program (causing 14
servatism.’ It is compassionate to actively help          cific steps maximizing a condom’s effec-        states to close enrollment and limit access to
our fellow citizens in need. It is conservative to        tiveness. Gone, too, are details about dif-     antiretroviral treatments).
insist on responsibility and on results. And with         ferent types of condoms and any reference            So this is compassionate conservatism.
this hopeful approach, we can make a real dif-            to studies showing that condom education        Funny… it looks like unilateral abandonment
ference in people’s lives.”                               does not promote earlier sexual activity        of science and community-based HIV preven-
      What is compassionate conservatism? Tax             among young people. Lots of folks saw the       tion and treatment efforts in favor of politically
cuts that disproportionately favor millionaires.          changes as part of a campaign to censor         and ideologically driven policies serving only the
Deregulation that results in consumer abuse and           HIV/AIDS prevention information that con-       fanatical personal whims of a bunch of squea-
fraud. Legislation that promotes environmental            flicts with the abstinence-only approach fa-    mish, scheming, power-sucking zealots unfamil-
degradation. Restrictions on civil liberties. De-         vored by the Bush administration. Dr.           iar with compassion or what it means to be a
claring war. Unbridled defense spending. Fail-            David Fleming, a CDC deputy director,           public servant.
ure to support national health reform. Provid-            defended the agency’s changes, saying,
ing government grants to faith-based organiza-            “This fact sheet is designed to be as scien-    David Salyer is an HIV-positive journalist and
tions, even when those organizations actively             tifically accurate as possible. We specifi-     AIDS educator living in Atlanta, Georgia. He
promote a specific religion and beliefs, further          cally tried not to nuance it in the direction   leads safer sex presentations for men and has
blurring the distinction between church and state.        of either encouraging or discouraging use       facilitated workshops for people infected or af-
Compassionate conservatism is clearly NOT a               of condoms.” And then his pants caught          fected by HIV since 1994. Reach him by e-mail
well-reasoned, principled political philosophy            fire.                                           at cubscout@mindspring.com.



July/August 2003                                                                                                                                           7
                                               THE TREATMENT PAGES
                     Treatment
                       News                                    Understanding and Avoiding
                   Gerry Hoyt                                       West Nile Virus
—————— ghoyt@aidssurvivalproject.org



A
         s I begin my new position as program infected by feeding on the blood of a bird, which
         manager of Treatment Education, I find carries the virus. There is no evidence to sug-          Stop West Nile in Fulton Task
         myself sorting, packing and preparing to gest that WN virus can be spread from person to
move to our new space at 139 Ralph McGill Bou- person. In other words, you cannot get WN vi-
                                                                                                         Force (SWIFT) West Nile Vi-
levard. Some seven years ago, when I was train- rus by kissing or touching an infected person or         rus Homeowner Checklist
ing to be a volunteer peer counselor, I remem- a health care working who has been treating               1. Reduce the number of mosquito bites you
ber saying to then-peer counseling program man- someone with WN virus.                                      receive.
ager Lesley Brogan, “I can’t be a peer counselor                                                         2. Remove all standing water in the area in
because I can’t learn all of the information in What are the symptoms of WN virus                           which you live.
the Treatment Resource Center. There is just infection?
                                                                                                         3. Complete the following checklist:
too much to learn and retain.” Her wise com-             Within three to 15 days following the bite
ment back to me made me realize that no one of an infected mosquito, symptoms can begin.
can know everything there is to know about HIV. However, most people infected with WN virus              Protect Yourself
She said, “You don’t have to know all the infor- show no symptoms or only mild flu-like symp-            • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and
mation, Gerry. You just have to know where to toms such as fever, headache and body aches                  socks
find it.” This is still true today. In fact, not a before fully recovering.                              • Use insect repellent containing DEET (N,
day goes by that I don’t find some new bit of            In some individuals, particularly the eld-        N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), being careful
information that I didn’t know the day before.     erly, the very young, and those with suppressed
                                                                                                           to read manufacturer’s instructions and
      One of the binders that caught my eye as I immune systems, infection with WN virus can
was packing this week was the binder on West result in serious illness, such as meningitis or              avoiding using these products with in-
Nile Virus. I want to take a look at this virus encephalitis. Symptoms of these conditions                 fants or pregnant women
that we have                                                                        could include        • Make sure doors and windows have tight-
heard about in the                                                                  rapid onset of se-     fitting screens in good repair
news and which I                   You will not get sick                            vere headache,
knew very little                  or die from West Nile                             high fever, stiff    Eliminate Standing Water that
about until pull-                                                                   neck, vomiting,
ing the binder.                  virus infection just be-                           drowsiness, con-     Collects on Your Property
The following is                                                                    fusion, muscle       • Dispose of tin cans, old tires, bottles, jars,
                                   cause you are HIV+.                                                     buckets, drums, ceramic pots and other
information taken                                                                   weakness and
from       Canada                                                                   loss of conscious-     containers, or make sure that they con-
Population and Public Health as well as SWIFT ness (coma). Those experiencing a sudden on-                 tain no standing water
(the Stop West Nile in Fulton Task Force).         set of these symptoms should seek immediate           • Clean clogged gutters and/or slope to
                                                   medical attention. In some people with serious          downspouts
What is West Nile virus?                           illness, death may occur. However, it is impor-
                                                                                                         • Change the water in birdbaths at least
      West Nile (WN) virus is a mosquito-borne tant to remember that you will not get sick or
virus. Mosquitoes transmit the virus after be- die from WN virus infection just because you                twice weekly
coming infected by feeding on the blood of birds are HIV+.                                               • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools,
which carry the virus. According to the Canada                                                             outdoor spas, saunas and hot tubs. If not
Population and Health Branch, most people in- How is WN virus treated?                                     in use, keep them empty and covered
fected with WN virus show no symptoms or only            Although there is no specific treatment,        • Change water and scrub containers/vases
mild, flu-like symptoms. In rare cases, WN vi- medication or cure, many of the symptoms and                holding plants twice weekly
rus can cause meningitis (inflammation of the complications of the disease can be treated. Most          • Empty pet’s watering pan daily
lining of the brain and spinal cord) or encepha- people infected with WN virus recover. There            • Repair leaky pipes and faucets
litis (inflammation of the brain). The elderly, is no vaccine for WN virus at this time.
                                                                                                         • Use larvicide where standing water can-
the very young and those with suppressed im-
mune systems are most at risk for severe illness. Other answers to questions regarding                     not be removed or fill holes
The virus is named after the West Nile Province risks involved with WN virus infection                   • Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito-
of Uganda, where it was first isolated in 1937. •        Even in areas where mosquitoes carry the          eating fish
Outbreaks of WN virus have occurred in sev-              virus, less than 1% of those mosquitoes are     • Remind neighbors to eliminate breeding
eral countries, including Egypt, Israel, South Af-       likely to be infected. However, avoiding          sites on their property
rica and parts of Asia and Europe. Recent out-           exposure to mosquito bites will reduce the      • When in doubt, dump it out!
breaks outside of the northeastern United States         risk of infection further.
have occurred in France and Israel in 2000, Rus- •       There is no documented evidence that a          Contact your local Board of Health for the
sia in 1999 and Romania in 1996 and 1997.                pregnancy is at risk due to WN virus infec-
                                                                                                         telephone number for dead bird pick-up or
                                                         tion.
How is WN virus spread?                            •     There is no documented evidence that WN         for further information in your county con-
      WN virus is spread to humans by the bite           virus can be transmitted by mosquitoes from     cerning WN virus.
of an infected mosquito. A mosquito becomes              one person to another.

8                                                                                                                        SURVIVAL NEWS
                                        THE TREATMENT PAGES
                                                                                       139 Ralph McGill Boulevard NE, Suite 305
                                                                                                   Atlanta, Georgia 30308-3311
                                                                                                         Phone: (404) 659-AIDS
                                                                                                       Toll-Free: (888) 874-4845
                                                                                                             Fax: (404) 659-2438
                                                                                                 E-Mail: info@aidstreatment.org
                                                                                                Web Site: www.aidstreatment.org



                            FYI: Answering Your Questions

F
       rom “Dear Doctor” to “Ask the Expert” columns in news-      sules (three to four grams per day may be a good recom-
       letters, magazines and on the Internet, asking for ad-      mendation), ground flaxseeds or flaxseed oil.
       vice and learning from other people’s situations is a            In addition to the diet, one of the most effective defenses
great way to gain treatment information. To that end, ATI          against high cholesterol is aerobic exercise like fast walk-
staff thought it would be helpful to share with you some ques-     ing, running, bicycling or swimming. These activities are
tions we were recently asked and our responses. Of course,         particularly useful for lowering LDL (the bad cholesterol) and
we have to include some “fine print.” Our answers are based        raising HDL (the good cholesterol). Try to work up to exer-
solely on the information provided in the question. Our an-        cising for 20 to 30 minutes per day, three to five times a
swers are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any condi-       week, for best results. Be sure to ask your doctor first to
tion. That said, we hope this question-and-answer format           make sure this kind of exercise is safe for you.
provides you with helpful information.
                                                                   C. K. Asks: Last year, my doctor started me on my first HIV
Jim Asks: I switched medications at the beginning of this          regimen. I was prescribed Trizivir (AZT + 3TC + Ziagen). I
year and my cholesterol started creeping up. The doctor            have never missed a dose, but my viral load has now gone
said it was the protease inhibitor — the first PI I’ve taken.      from undetectable to 85,000. My doctor did a genotype re-
My total cholesterol is now at about 225, and my LDL is            sistance test, and I am resistant to all three medications.
about 160. My doctor said if I can’t lower it naturally, I will    I’ve now been switched to a new regimen. If I was perfectly
have to take a prescription cholesterol-lowering medication.       adherent to the Trizivir, why did that regimen fail?
I eat healthily, for the most part. What else can I do to lower
my cholesterol so I don’t have to take another medication?         Guy Pujol Answers: A host of factors can contribute to
                                                                   drug resistance. Unfortunately, your experience with Trizivir
Kelly Williams, RD, LD, Answers: Often there are small             is not unique. In fact, on March 10, 2003, the National Insti-
changes that can be made — even to a good diet — to lower          tutes of Health issued a Notice to Physicians regarding the
cholesterol and triglycerides (fats in the blood). The obvi-       interim results of a clinical trail involving Trizivir. The ACTG
ous changes are lowering fat and saturated fat by eliminat-        Protocol A5095 compared three different regimens: (1)
ing most fried foods and snack/convenience foods. How-             Combivir plus Sustiva, (2) Trizivir plus Sustiva, and (3)
ever, many people don’t realize that simple carbohydrates          Trizivir. A review of the study by the National Institute of
(simple sugars) can raise your triglycerides. Simple carbo-        Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Data and Safety
hydrates are found in sweet or sugary foods, as well as white      Monitoring Board (DSMB) found Trizivir alone to be inferior
breads, pastas and other foods made from white flour. So-          to the other two regimens and, as a result, discontinued that
das and juices are also high in simple sugars. Additionally,       one arm of the three-arm study. The DSMB found that pa-
you probably need to increase the amount of fiber in your          tients in the Trizivir arm “experienced virologic failure ear-
diet. Fiber is found in whole grains, oats, oatmeal and fresh      lier and more frequently” than patients in the other two arms
fruits and vegetables. It may be difficult for you to get enough   of the study. Virologic failure occurred in 21% of the group
fiber in your diet, so you may also need a fiber supplement.       receiving Trizivir after 32 weeks, and a post-review analysis
Remember to drink plenty of water when you’re increasing           concluded that an additional 7% risked virologic failure over
fiber.                                                             the next three months if that arm had continued.
     Essential fatty acids (EFAs), like omega-3 and -6 fatty            I should point out that all of the participants in A5095
acids, can also help lower cholesterol. EFAs are found natu-       were treatment-naïve, like yourself. Trizivir is a good com-
rally in fish, nuts and seeds. A good recommendation is to         bination of three HIV medications in one pill, but as this study
eat grilled or baked fish three to four times a week. There        reveals — as well as your own experience — it may not be
are also EFA supplements available such as fish oil cap-           strong enough to be used alone, even as a first-line therapy.



July/August 2003                                                                                                                9
                                                            easily transmitted. Overall, 61%, or 349, of the 573          houses and sex clubs, where it currently offers the
                        Chronicles                          men interviewed had heard of the spermicide. Just             slower HIV test to patrons. The tests are conducted
                         from the CDC NPIN                  more than half of the 349 had heard that it might not         in private rooms at the sites and are administered by
                       for AIDS, STDs and TB                protect against HIV. Of the men who knew about N-             health professionals. In the Seattle area, gay men
                            Compiled by
                                                            9, 83% had used it, of which 67% had used it for anal         make up 2% of the population but 85% of the AIDS
                     Ernie Evangelista                      intercourse in the previous year. Of those who used           cases diagnosed between 1983 and 2000, according
                                                            it during anal sex, 41% did so without using a con-           to public health statistics.
Many Think AIDS Vaccine Here, But Kept Secret.              dom because they thought it would protect them
A full 20% of American adults mistakenly believe that       against HIV transmission, the study, “Rectal Use of           Study Links Alcohol Intake to HIV Progression.
a vaccine for HIV/AIDS already exists but is being          Nonoxynol-9 Among Gay Men Who Have Sex with                   HIV-infected patients who are drinkers tend to have
kept from the public, according to a new government         Men,” reported in the April 11th issue of the journal         higher levels of the virus in their blood and lower CD4
study. Ignorance of the slow rate of progress in the        AIDS (2003;17(6):905-909). “So even though they               counts than similar patients who do not drink, accord-
development of an AIDS vaccine is rampant among             were hearing the message, it wasn’t translating into          ing to a preliminary study. However, this was seen
US citizens, the survey finds, and is especially high       behavioral change,” said lead author Dr. Gordon               only in patients taking antiretroviral drugs, which sug-
among black and Hispanic populations, which have            Mansergh, a senior behavioral scientist at the CDC.           gests that drinkers may be less likely than nondrink-
been hit hardest by the disease. The survey of 3,500        The study aimed to evenly sample races, ages, edu-            ers to take their medication consistently, according to
individuals was conducted by the National Institute         cation and income. Twenty-nine percent were Latino,           lead author Dr. Jeffrey H. Samet. “Alcohol is a factor
of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. NIAID Director          28% were African-American, 28% were Caucasian,                associated with poor adherence,” Samet said. How-
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said his agency plans to boost         and 15% were Other. The ages ranged from 18 to                ever, he stressed that the findings only offered “sug-
education efforts “to help correct misconceptions and       67, and 50% were HIV–, 38% were HIV+, and 12%                 gestive evidence that alcohol plays a role in outcomes
advance public understanding of ongoing and future          had an unknown status. Of those interviewed, Afri-            of people with HIV.” “Attention to the alcohol con-
HIV vaccine research.” According to the survey, 84%         can-Americans were more likely to say they would              sumption in HIV patients is important for both physi-
of Americans rate HIV/AIDS vaccine research as ei-          use N-9 during anal intercourse. Those with unknown           cians and patients,” said Samet, who is at Boston
ther “extremely” or “very” important. This number is        HIV status and Latinos were less likely to have heard         University. In the current study, researchers looked
even higher among minority populations at highest           of N-9 and therefore more likely to have unknowingly          at 349 HIV-infected patients with a history of alcohol
risk for HIV, with 96% of black Americans and 94%           used it, said Mansergh. Although gay men’s under-             problems. They found that patients taking antiretro-
of Hispanics agreeing that the quest for a vaccine is       standing may have changed since the study was con-            viral drugs who were moderate or problem drinkers
of paramount importance. However, many also be-             ducted, the results demonstrate that public health            had higher levels of HIV in their blood and lower CD4
lieve that a vaccine already exists but is being kept       officials should be more targeted with their messages,        counts, a sign of immune function. “Although our re-
“secret” from patients and the general public. One in       particularly when the message changes, Mansergh               sults suggest that alcohol use in conjunction with
five Americans subscribe to this view, with the num-        said.                                                         highly active antiretroviral therapy may result in more
ber rising to 28% and 48% of Hispanic and African-                                                                        rapid HIV disease progression... the underlying na-
American respondents, respectively. Among other             Portable HIV Test Draws Praise and Concern. A                 ture of this association remains unclear,” write Samet
survey findings:                                            rapid and portable HIV test that health officials in          and colleagues. One major limitation of the study is
•      42% of those interviewed did not know that vac-      Seattle began using on Friday, May 30, began raising          that it only looked at patients’ viral load and CD4 count
       cines require any testing on human volunteers        concern about how to help people who may soon                 on a single day. Such a snapshot is not nearly as
       before being made available to the public.           learn, in a public setting, that they have HIV. The           good as following patients over time while monitoring
•      Nearly a third erroneously believed that prospec-    local health department plans to use the new test,            adherence to medication and alcohol consumption,
       tive vaccines could cause HIV in human test          which can yield results in less than a half-hour, in gay      explained Samet. Future studies will need to follow
       subjects, while 44% were unsure about such           bathhouses and sex clubs. “Traditionally, people have         patients over time to see whether or not alcohol is
       dangers. Such misconceptions could hamper            found their results out in clinical settings or from people   associated with adverse HIV outcomes, he noted. The
       recruitment of volunteers for clinical trials, ex-   who can provide immediate emotional support or con-           full report is published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Ex-
       perts say.                                           nection to outreach services,” said Fred Swanson,             perimental Research (2003;27:862-867).
“HIV vaccine research is our best hope, along with          executive director for Gay City Health Project, a lead-
other prevention and treatment efforts, to slow the         ing gay men’s health organization. The portability and        American Academic Causes Uproar at Conference
spread of HIV,” Fauci stressed in a NIAID statement.        speed of the new test, Swanson said, raise the pros-          on AIDS and Islam. About 20 delegates, mostly Mus-
Promising vaccine studies are underway in over 60           pect of people finding out they are HIV+ in locations         lim scholars, stormed out of an international AIDS
research centers in the United States alone, with more      where they are less likely to receive an immediate            conference Tuesday, May 20, in Kuala Lumpur, Ma-
than 12,000 individuals participating in trials world-      connection to counseling and other services. Local            laysia, after an American academic suggested that
wide, according to NIAID.                                   health officials, however, believe they can combine           some Islamic teachings worsen the spread of the dis-
                                                            rapid results with effective counseling, even at clubs        ease, participants said Wednesday, May 21. The
Gay Men Not Heeding Warnings About Spermi-                  and bathhouses. Washington state law requires that            delegates accused Amina Wadud, an associate pro-
cide. A considerable percentage of men who have             counseling be provided before and after an HIV test           fessor of Islamic studies at the Commonwealth Uni-
sex with men do not know that the spermicide                is administered. But the law is not specific as to pre-       versity in Virginia, of blasphemy and demanded she
nonoxynol-9 offers no protection against HIV infec-         cisely what form the counseling should take. And,             be expelled from the conference for her comments.
tion and could even enhance transmission, accord-           said Paul Feldman of Seattle’s Lifelong AIDS Alliance,        In her paper to the Second International Muslim Lead-
ing to a recently released study. In the fall of 2001,      “the rules certainly didn’t contemplate rapid testing.”       ers’ Consultation on HIV/AIDS, Wadud said “Islam
researchers from the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Pre-        Feldman said the old test provided time for people to         and Muslims exacerbate the spread of AIDS and... a
vention interviewed 573 homosexual and bisexual             comprehend counseling information and the possibil-           traditional Islamic theological response can never cure
men in the streets of the San Francisco Bay area,           ity of a positive result. “Are recipients of positive test    AIDS.” She said Muslim women are bound by Islam
aiming to see if the men had absorbed warnings is-          results going to be able to internalize the information       to comply with their husband’s desire for sex, and
sued since 2000 by the CDC and the World Health             they’ve received around the test when they don’t have         can be punished if they do not. This included women
Organization that N-9 should not be used during anal        any time to mull the information over?” he asked. The         who know their husbands are HIV+, Wadud said in
intercourse. Studies have shown that N-9, a spermi-         health department has drafted protocols for using the         her paper. Some delegates tried to interrupt Wadud
cide contained in some condoms and lubricants, of-          new rapid HIV test and planned to begin a trial run on        during her presentation and demanded a right of re-
fers no STD protection and destroys the protective          May 30 at an undisclosed Seattle location. If that
lining of the rectum, which could allow HIV to be more      goes well, the department will move the test into bath-                                 Continued on next page


10                                                                                                                                            SURVIVAL NEWS
ply, which organizers did not give, the national news       short of the estimated $5 billion needed next year to       EU Expands Indication for Gilead HIV Drug. On
agency, Bernama, reported. About 20 delegates then          make a difference. “The Global Fund is facing a des-        Tuesday, May 27, Gilead Science announced it has
walked out in protest and later issued a statement.         perate shortage of money,” said Jeffrey Sachs, an           received authorization from the European Union to
“Her vicious and venomous attack to Islam is un-            AIDS expert and leading Columbia University econo-          expand the indication of its HIV drug Viread in all 15
founded and unsubstantiated,” the statement said.           mist. Thompson said he plans to take up the short-          EU states. With the expansion, Viread is approved
“Amina Wadud’s blasphemy against the Holy Quran             age with the fund’s board when they meet Thursday,          for use in combination with other drugs to prevent the
and Islam are an echo of an unethical anti-Islam            June 5. He also plans to invite corporate executives        duplication of HIV in patients initiating antiretroviral
agenda to demonize Islam.” After the walkout, about         to join him in Africa as part of his fundraising efforts.   therapy as well as in previously treated patients. The
50 delegates signed a petition supporting Wadud’s           In addition, Thompson said he probably would not            EU’s Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products
right to make the comments. Wadud told reporters at         stay on as health secretary if Bush is re-elected and       and the Scientific Committee of the European Medi-
the conference she stood by her comments. “My               will instead pursue opportunities in the private sector.    cines Evaluation Agency gave the marketing authori-
paper just states opinions that are different from oth-                                                                 zation based on a 49-week study of 600 treatment-
ers and perhaps they take exception to that,” Bernama       AIDS Assistance Plan Promotes US Food. Within               naïve HIV-infected patients, Gilead said.
quoted Wadud as saying. Marina Mahathir, chair of           the $15 billion AIDS program that became law this
the Malaysian AIDS Council, which organized the five-       week is a provision urging developing nations receiv-       Rise of HIV in Russia Is Quickening, Official Says.
day conference, rejected the protestors’ call to expel      ing help to accept US food aid, including products          At least a half-million Russians now are infected with
Wadud. “We invited her, it will not be nice to expel        derived from genetically modified crops. The little-        HIV and the true number could range as high as 1.5
her, it will send the wrong signal to other speakers,”      noticed part of the law is a non-binding recommenda-        million, or more than 1% of the overall population,
said Marina, the daughter of Prime Minister Mahathir        tion; it represents the latest US response to a deci-       Russia’s top government AIDS expert offered in a
Mohamad. “AIDS is a difficult issue, when you couple        sion by the European Union to close its markets to          harrowing assessment of the disease’s spread. More
it with Islam, it makes it even more contentious,” she      genetically modified foods. That ban has made some          ominous yet, foreign experts now say that 1 in every
said.                                                       African nations hesitant about such food. Less than         25 Russians could be infected in as few as five years,
                                                            a week ago, President Bush charged that the Euro-           according to a report by Vadim V. Pokrovsky of the
Thompson Urges Nations to Match US Commit-                  peans’ stance on genetically modified food is perpetu-      Russian Center for AIDS Prevention and Treatment.
ment to Fight AIDS. Health and Human Services               ating African hunger. The provision was the work of         US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell raised public
Secretary Tommy Thompson said Tuesday, June 3,              Rep. Frank Ballance (D-NC), whose district includes         concerns about the spread of AIDS in Russia during
that the United States is pressing other countries to       corn farms. A spokesperson for the congressman              a May 15 visit to Moscow, and UN experts have re-
follow its example and increase funding for global AIDS     said Ballance was concerned that people with AIDS           peatedly warned that the country could face a catas-
programs. Thompson also brushed aside criticism             might not obtain vital nourishment without US food          trophe should HIV begin to spread beyond the group
from AIDS advocates who say the United States               aid. An administration official said the White House        most often infected, IV drug users, to the general popu-
should do more. “We are active players, we are go-          had not played a role but added, “We agree with that        lation. Pokrovsky said that while reports of new in-
ing to continue to be active players, and we want other     principle.”                                                 fections among drug users have tapered off, that is
members of the world community also to shoulder                                                                         only because HIV/AIDS has begun to saturate the
the burden,” Thompson told reporters on the eve of          US Peace Corps Promises 1,000 More Workers to               population of addicts who share needles. Pokrovsky
his first board meeting as chair of the Global Fund to      Fight AIDS. As part of the $15 billion AIDS plan signed     said the rate of sexual HIV transmission is growing.
Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Thompson              by President Bush on Tuesday, May 27, the US Peace          “While in 2001 we knew exactly that 4% got the in-
went on to acknowledge the European Commission              Corps will add 1,000 workers to the current 2,100 who       fection through sexual intercourse, in 2002 almost
for making good on last year’s pledge to supply the         are fighting HIV/AIDS around the globe. “Peace Corps        12% got infected sexually,” added Pokrovsky. As a
fund with 60 million euros (roughly US$70.5 million)        volunteers are making an impact at the local level,         result, a third of new HIV cases were recorded among
and its decision to add another 375 million euros           and by committing an additional 1,000 volunteers,           women last year, up from a quarter in 2001, and the
(roughly US$440.8 million) over the next five years.        Peace Corps will be able to enhance a number of             number of babies born to HIV+ women at least
The United States will contribute $350 million to the       programs and expand HIV/AIDS projects in current            doubled between 2001 and 2002. An unfettered
Global Fund out of the $3 billion Bush pledged next         Peace Corps countries,” said Program Director Gaddi         spread of AIDS poses unusually severe threats to
year for AIDS. Congress has authorized up to $1             Vasquez. “Also, more educational material, written          Russia because of the country’s skewed demograph-
billion for the fund on the condition that the US contri-   in local languages, will be developed for volunteers        ics. Russia’s population is inexorably falling and the
bution not exceed one third of the total given by other     to use in their communities.” Since 1961, the Peace         country will likely face a labor shortage in future de-
countries. Thompson noted that the United States            Corps has sent US volunteers around the world to            cades due to already high mortality rates among work-
has contributed nearly half of the amount now in the        work on development projects in fields such as edu-
fund. AIDS advocates, however, say the money falls          cation, health, business and agriculture.                                             Continued on next page



      ASP’s Treatment Education Program Presents:
      Tuesday, July 15, 2003                                    Saturday, July 26, 2003                                     Saturday, August 16, 2003
    Serostim Lunch & Learn                                  Nelson Virgil and Dr. Tony Mills                                The 7th Annual Women’s
  “Benefits of Human Growth Hormone”                         “Lipodistrophy, Lipoatrophy and                                  HIV Healing Retreat
        12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.                                   General Wellness Issues”                                        8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
    139 Ralph McGill Boulevard                              Time and place to be announced...                                All Saint’s Episcopal Church
    3rd Floor Conference Room                                         call for details                                       634 West Peachtree Street
             Sponsored by Serono                                 Sponsored by Abbott Laboratories                         Sponsored by Roche Pharmaceuticals

                        All of these events are free of charge; however, PREREGISTATION IS NECESSARY.
                                             Call (404) 874-7926 for further information.


July/August 2003                                                                                                                                                           11
ing-age men. This shortage should accelerate as             numerous porn palaces in Pat Pong, the seamy heart           Geneva in May and was agreed to by UNAIDS Direc-
young Russian men — who predominantly comprise              of the city. In the past few years, AIDS has become          tor Peter Piot, Keyuraphan said in a statement. The
HIV cases — drop out of the work force due to matu-         the leading cause of death in Thailand, in part fueled       summit will form part of the 15th International AIDS
ration into AIDS.                                           by the growing meth epidemic. “It has turned our             Conference in October next year. Thailand had ear-
                                                            world upside down,” said the Rev. “Father Joe” Maier,        lier been chosen to host that conference to highlight
HIV Increasing in Australia. Australia’s HIV infec-         a Seattle-area priest who has worked with slum kids          the extent of the crisis in Asia Pacific, where infection
tion rate is increasing, with the latest figures showing    in Bangkok for the past thirty-three years. “Some-           rates are rapidly rising. “It is the first time that there
worrying trends in the nation’s three most populous         thing like being afraid of AIDS just doesn’t come into       will be a meeting at the level of presidents and prime
states. Last year, 700 Australians, mainly gay and          your mind when you’re in that state. Plus, some ad-          ministers as part of the conference,” Sudarat said.
bisexual men, were infected with HIV. Records show          dicts need to sell sex to pay the bills,” added Maier.       “It will help develop joint cooperation in solving prob-
new HIV infections rose by 7% in Victoria and 20%           Six years ago, meth was just an oddity here, but now         lems related to AIDS.” About 20,000 academicians
in Queensland in 2002. Bill Whittaker, president of         an estimated 800 million meth pills are sold yearly in       and other experts are expected to attend the main
the top national AIDS body, the Australian Federation       Thailand — about 13 for every one of the country’s           conference.
of AIDS Organizations (AFAO), said final figures for        60 million residents. According to the UN Interna-
New South Wales had not been confirmed but were             tional Narcotics Control Board, Southeast Asia is now        Southwest China Province Set to Lift AIDS Mar-
understood to show an increase of between 3% and            host to 70% of the world’s methamphetamine trade.            riage Ban. People with HIV/AIDS should find it easier
8%. Tasmania also saw a small increase in its infec-        A telling sign of the region’s meth problem is the drug’s    to marry under legislative changes being considered
tion rates. Whittaker said the overall rise in infec-       reach into communist Laos, which has very strict drug        by southwest China’s Sichuan Province. The Minis-
tions, together with the fact that Victoria has now re-     laws and has historically managed to keep out the            try of Health issued specific regulations on the man-
corded its third consecutive yearly increase, should        worst drugs. On a dark street corner in the capital          agement of HIV/AIDS patients in 1998. Under the
set alarm bells ringing. “For some reason Victoria          city of Vientiane, a young man forks over 20,000 kip         health ministry regulations, HIV/AIDS patients may
began this trend... now we’ve got two other states          ($2) for one pill, which he plans to use for a “boom-        marry but they have to meet strict conditions. Local
showing similar figures,” he said. “These states make       boom girl.” “Aren’t you worried about AIDS?” he was          Sichuan laws, which took effect in 1995, do not allow
up almost 90% of the national HIV/AIDS caseload,            asked. “What AIDS? I live forever,” he stated.               HIV/AIDS patients to register marriages with the civil
so it’s pretty hard to escape the fact that we’ve got a                                                                  affairs department. Sources with the Sichuan People’s
trend going on here.” The Australian figures reflect        Spread of AIDS in Asia’s Militaries a Threat to Se-          Congress said the planned revision of the laws also
similar patterns overseas, with infections increasing       curity. HIV is increasing among Asian military per-          aims to encourage the public to do more to control
in Canada, the United States and Europe. It is diffi-       sonnel and could threaten regional security if infec-        and prevent STDs and HIV/AIDS. The changes, which
cult to pinpoint the reason for the infection rate in-      tions rise to levels seen in Africa, a Honolulu-based        have already been considered once by local legisla-
crease, but Whittaker suggested as factors a rise in        US consultant said Friday, May 16. Asian soldiers            tors, will undergo a second round of deliberations in
unsafe sex, declines in regular testing and a flagging      spreading the disease while serving abroad as inter-         July or September before they go to a vote, said con-
of the national effort against AIDS. An increasing vi-      national peacekeepers also put wider security at risk,       gress sources.
ral load in the community, mainly because people with       said Gerard Bradford, director of the Center of Excel-
AIDS are living longer than ever before, has also been      lence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian As-            Cambodia Turns to Soap Opera in Fight Against
identified by HIV/AIDS analysts. AFAO, which is push-       sistance, headquartered at Tripler Army Medical Cen-         AIDS. In its latest efforts to contain HIV, Cambodia
ing for a radical shake-up of the National AIDS Strat-      ter. “Aside from the pandemic and the health prob-           has launched a soap opera with an AIDS theme. Fol-
egy, said the latest figures highlighted the urgent need    lems and all the tragedy and loss of life that HIV/AIDS      lowing a condom campaign targeting Cambodia’s sex
for the federal government to act on the policy review      has created... it presents a real threat to the stability    industry, AIDS campaigners are shifting their focus to
it commissioned last year.                                  of the region,” Bradford said. The 13th Asia-Pacific         families, trying to prevent the many thousands of hus-
                                                            Military Medicine Conference in Bangkok May 11-16            bands who regularly visit prostitutes from passing HIV
Australian-Developed HIV Vaccine Trial An-                  brought together hundreds of delegates from about            on to their wives. The 12 episodes follow a young
nounced. In Sydney, on Wednesday, June 4, the               two dozen countries to discuss medical issues facing         couple that is driven apart because the man, Khieu,
Australian-Thai HIV Vaccine Consortium announced            armed forces in countries across the region. The Thai        is too poor to marry. Mom, his girlfriend, is lured to
that recruitment of volunteers has begun for the first      Royal Army has been particularly successful in com-          Phnom Penh under false pretenses; she ends up
clinical trials of a new Australian-developed HIV vac-      bating the spread of HIV/AIDS in its ranks through           working in a brothel, where she becomes the mis-
cine. The trial, to take place at Sydney’s St. Vincent’s    prevention efforts, he said, but “it’s clear there are       tress of a rich businessman. A year later, Mom and
Hospital, will involve 24 HIV– volunteers. “We will be      other parts of Asia that are significantly affected.”        Khieu are reunited — and when it becomes clear she
able to undertake a range of sophisticated laboratory       “Other countries are seeing it rise dramatically. It’s       has AIDS, he takes her back to the countryside and
tests to determine if the vaccines stimulate the hu-        intravenous drug use as well as sexual activity,” he         nurses her until she dies. The series airs on several
man immune system to produce anti-HIV responses,”           said. Bradford declined to say which countries or            national channels, and each episode is followed by a
said principal investigator Dr. Tony Kelleher of the Uni-   peacekeeping forces were most affected by the fatal          talk show on AIDS and sex.
versity of New South Wales. The vaccine is based            illness. But he said Cambodia, India and Vietnam
on “prime and boost” technology, which combines             are “working the problem.” Bradford said his organi-         Viacom and BBC Join Forces in War on AIDS. Fol-
modified HIV DNA with a fowl pox virus. Results are         zation, which works with several international aid agen-     lowing months of talks, Viacom — the world’s largest
expected by the end of the year. The trial is funded        cies, attended the conference to start a regional dis-       media group — and BBC World Service are joining to
by a grant from the US National Institutes of Health        cussion to determine the extent of the problem and           launch the first pan-African radio campaign aimed at
and the Australian government.                              urge aggressive action to stop it. “I think all the trends   fighting HIV/AIDS. Reflecting growing alarm over the
                                                            are for increased incidence, and the idea is to try to       AIDS pandemic in Africa, the project will produce anti-
Southeast Asia Is Reeling from Combo of Meth,               mitigate that increase as quickly and aggressively as        AIDS radio messages in seven language services in
AIDS. Similar to a trend in the United States, the          we can,” Bradford added.                                     Africa, where the World Service has 60 million regu-
mixture of methamphetamine and sex has led to an                                                                         lar listeners. Viacom, the media company behind CBS
alarming increase in HIV/AIDS in Southeast Asia.            Thailand to Host Leaders Summit on AIDS: Health              Television, Paramount Pictures and MTV, approached
Labs throughout the region are churning out meth —          Ministry. Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan an-             the BBC because of its huge reach in Africa. “When
called “yaa-baa,” or “crazy drug” in English, eclipsing     nounced that Thailand will host a world leaders’ sum-        we decided to explore this project in Africa, where
opium as Southeast Asia’s most devastating narcot-          mit on AIDS in a bid to boost international coopera-         radio is the most powerful medium, it was obvious to
ics problem. And getting “crazy drug” in cities like        tion in dealing with the disease. The proposal was
Bangkok is as easy as walking into almost any of the        raised at a World Health Organization meeting in                                        Continued on next page


12                                                                                                                                           SURVIVAL NEWS
turn to the BBC,” said Carl Folta, senior vice presi-        Kuti once said. Ransome-Kuti is survived by his wife,        Foundation, the McGregor Foundation and other foun-
dent at the media giant. Viacom has been seeking             Sonia, two sons and a daughter.                              dations. It is modeled after the San Francisco-based
an international partner since launching a far-reach-                                                                     project Standing Against Global Exploitation, which
ing AIDS campaign in the United States this year,            Caribbean Leaders Want More Nations to Get US                has helped 800 women exit sex work. Celia William-
jointly funded by the Kaiser Foundation. Under the           AIDS Relief. Caribbean leaders are pushing Con-              son, an assistant professor at the University of
World Service project, initial production and running        gress to expand President Bush’s $15 billion AIDS            Toledo’s social work department, has researched
costs will be funded by the Kaiser Foundation. The           relief plan to include more nations, saying broader          street prostitution in various cities. The longer women
campaign will include 30- to 60-second educational           help is needed to stop the spread of the epidemic.           are in prostitution, the harder it is to leave — espe-
radio spots at peak listening hours and longer ques-         “Whatever happens in one specific corner of the re-          cially since many women have cut ties with their fami-
tion-and-answer segments on World Service’s Post-            gion will have an impact in other places,” said Rafael       lies, she said. Because it is fast-paced and pays
mark Africa program. According to Roy Head, direc-           Mazin, acting chief of the HIV/AIDS unit at the Pan          “every day you are willing to work,” the life of a pros-
tor of health at World Service Trust, the charity linked     American Health Organization. “To be effective means         titute can be exciting at first, Williamson said. But
to the BBC, “The BBC has been doing educational              [HIV]... needs to be prevented and contained in all          this seduction wears thin as women become de-
programming in many parts of the world; what’s dif-          places.” The current plan targets Haiti and Guyana,          pressed or are abused. New Choices provides ser-
ferent about this is it’s the first time the World Service   plus 12 African nations. A proposal to extend funding        vices such as life skills training, recreational and cul-
has done a campaign.” In addition, Viacom could              to 14 more countries could reach the US Senate as            tural activities, educational workshops, mentoring and
also work with the BBC on AIDS initiatives in the Car-       early as next week. “This is a regional crisis in our        counseling. Many of the women with whom Alterna-
ibbean, which has the second-highest infection rate          own hemisphere,” said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, (D-          tives for Girls works are recruited through its street
in the world, said Folta. The media group is drawing         Conn.), who has championed the measure. “It de-              outreach. Volunteers offer condoms, food and sup-
up plans for a European AIDS awareness campaign              serves to be given the same serious attention that is        port. Deena Policicchio, director of the outreach and
as well, following research suggesting the media is          being given to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan          education services department which includes New
one of the most effective tools for changing health          Africa. If we’re not careful, we are going to lose a         Choices, said the program has reached some 1,500
care behavior.                                               generation of young people in the Caribbean.” As             female sex workers in Detroit, though only a handful
                                                             many as 500,000 people in this region of 38 million          come to the three-times-weekly meetings. Most of
Religious Leaders Call for Halt to Condom Distri-            live with HIV. In some cities, more than one in eight        the women are poor and in their 30s. Many women
bution in Malawi Despite AIDS Pandemic. A group              people are infected; the disease has left more than          who commit to the program eventually drop out. Be-
of religious leaders in Malawi decided Monday, May           80,000 children orphaned. Haiti, where more than             cause many of the women lack phones or permanent
26, to lobby the government to halt condom distribu-         one in 17 people ages 15 to 49 are HIV-infected, and         addresses, staying in touch can be tough. Visit
tion, despite the AIDS pandemic that has hit the coun-       Guyana, a poor nation on the Caribbean coast of              www.alternativesforgirls.org for more information.
try. The religious leaders said that the teachings of        South America where the prevalence is 2.7%, are
Christianity and Islam, the main religions of Malawi,        widely considered the region’s worst-hit countries. But      Deluge Puts Events and Residents to the Test. De-
do not support the use of condoms. A joint task force        infection rates in nations as disparate as the Baha-         spite a steady rain, an estimated 4,000 walkers, run-
of government and religious leaders was established          mas, Belize, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago are
two years ago to deal with the country’s AIDS crisis.        all at least 2% and climbing. “We realize that high                                       Continued on page 17
Geoffrey Elliott Matonga, spokesperson for the group’s       prevalence rates can overwhelm our health care ca-
religious leaders, said they would lobby the govern-         pacity, destabilize our economies and increase mi-
ment to ban the promotion of condoms through ad-             gration flow — which could pose a real security risk
                                                                                                                            Enjoy delicious nights out to benefit
vertisements on radio, television, newspapers and            for the US due to the proximity of the Caribbean,”                  AIDS Survival Project
posters. He said the task force would also lobby to          ambassadors from the Pan-Caribbean Partnership
discourage donors from funding condom promotional            Against HIV/AIDS, a coalition of 16 nations, wrote in
                                                                                                                                   at Atlanta’s hottest new eaterie
campaigns. Matonga called on the government to               a recent letter to President Bush. “Without a regional
make HIV testing and premarital counseling manda-
tory, and he noted that the Christian Bible and the
                                                             approach to the Caribbean AIDS crisis, we fear that
                                                             AIDS will lower life expectancy, increase the number
                                                                                                                                                               Every
Islamic Quran preach abstinence and monogamy as
ways of preventing the spread of the disease. At least
                                                             of AIDS orphans, further threaten our already fragile
                                                             economies, increase migration flow out of the region
                                                                                                                                                              Sunday
14% of Malawi’s 11 million people have HIV.                  and increase the threat to the US.”                                                               Night!
Nigerian AIDS Campaigner, ‘Hero of Public Health’            Bill Gates to Give $1 Million to Brazil’s AIDS Pro-
and Brother of Afrobeat Legend, Dead at 75.                  gram. Microsoft founder Bill Gates will donate $1
Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, 75, an outspoken former Ni-            million to Brazil’s fight against AIDS, the Bill & Melinda                      May 11 – July 27
gerian health minister, influential AIDS campaigner          Gates Foundation announced on Wednesday, May                              4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
and brother of the late African music superstar Fela,        28. The donation, in the form of the Gates Prize for              20% of your food bill will go to
died Sunday, June 1, in a London hotel while on a            2003 World Health, was presented on Thursday, May                   AIDS Survival Project
business trip. A post-mortem examination was being           29, to Dr. Paulo R. Teixeira, head of the Brazilian AIDS
performed to ascertain the cause of death. As minis-         program. Teixeira said the money will be disbursed
                                                                                                                                             Cut out this ad or make
ter of health from 1986 to 1992, Ransome-Kuti used           among several centers that treat AIDS and care for                      a copy and give it to your server
his influence to seek radically increased funding from       AIDS orphans.
African governments for cost-effective primary health                                                                                           Come back every week
services to improve the lives of millions of impover-        Detroit Program Helps Women Exit Sex Work. De-                                    for the same great offer!
ished Africans. After Fela — the flamboyant founder          troit-based Alternatives for Girls’ New Choices Project                   Thank you to all the folks at
of the jazzy Afrobeat musical genre — died in 1997,          helps women exit prostitution and other forms of sex               Front Page News & Tijuana Garage
Ransome-Kuti famously revealed that AIDS caused              work, like exotic dancing. Program administrators say                          353 Moreland Avenue
his brother’s death. He was the first well-known Ni-         getting out of prostitution can be a challenge for ca-
                                                                                                                                     Great Mexican food and drink
gerian to flout strong taboos against acknowledging          reer prostitutes, many of whom have criminal pasts
                                                                                                                                              in a fun atmosphere
the sickness. Ransome-Kuti and his nephew, Fela’s            and little professional work history. In its current form,
award-winning musician son Femi Kuti, both “felt a           the project was launched in January 2003. It is funded                        Ample free parking in the
personal need to break the silence about AIDS,” Femi         in part through the Michigan AIDS Fund, the Skillman                          building and adjacent lots


July/August 2003                                                                                                                                                             13
                                                           H I V IEWPOINTS
                         Tales of
                         Survival                                         Living in Spite of It All
                     Bil Romain
—————————— bilandwill@msn.com
Editor’s Note: “Tales of Survival” is a new fea-       doctors assigned to me found out I was HIV+           life was the better adventure. By the beginning
ture open to anyone with a personal success story      and hadn’t been put on meds yet. Without noti-        of August, I was eating every snack food out there
to tell about living with HIV. I’m proud to inau-      fying my doctor, they put me on AZT and Epivir,       — M&Ms, apple chips, candy, potato chips, car-
gurate this column with the inspiring story of         and also put about 20 more bags of fluid in me.       rot and celery sticks, anything that my lover could
my dear friend Bil’s amazing recovery. Send            I am six feet tall and weighed a whopping 98          put in a Ziplock bag and lay on my nightstand.
your tale of survival to TrekBearGA@aol.com.           pounds.                                               By the beginning of September, I had shed the
                                                             I never sued over the fact that they never      adult diapers, was getting around in a wheel-


I
     t was in April of 1997 that my life changed       consulted my doctor before putting me on the          chair when we went out of the house, and while
     forever. Because of a case of shingles my         AZT and Epivir — what would have been the             I was in the house, I was up out of bed more and
     lover had the previous summer and my own          use? I was already dying. After about four days,      more. The best news was that the bloated swell-
failing health, my lover and I got tested for HIV.     they sent me home, health still declining. Even       ing was going down. This meant that whatever
Both of us proved positive. Although I was             the notable doctors were stumped at what was          part of my liver that had lived through my ex-
HIV+, it didn’t explain what was wrong with            causing my illness. Once home in the middle of        cessive drinking over the years was coming back
me. It was something that went beyond HIV —            June, my doctor took me off the AZT and Epivir.       to life. It was around then that I started cooking
I was tired all of the time and doing the least        The following week, I was bedridden and wear-         the worst-looking concoction of meat, dairy and
little thing, like tending to the yard or just walk-   ing adult diapers. I had lost all of my body hair     raw vegetables that this world has ever seen. I
ing around the mall, put me completely out of          and was swelling to staggering proportions.           ate this... mess that I mixed together with lots of
breath.                                                Going through the DT’s, allergic to meat and all      mayonnaise spooned into pita bread. I must have
       We live in Orlando, Florida, and we’re for-     dairy and totally dependent on my lover, the end      lived on that... mess for over a month. By the
tunate enough to have a few well-funded, well-         was inevitable. By the end of June and without        beginning of November, I was almost totally out
staffed and helpful HIV and AIDS organizations         my knowledge, my doctor told my lover that I          of bed, had all but ditched the wheelchair for a
here. I needed these organizations. To shed a          had less than six weeks to live, and before I died,   cane, and the swelling was completely gone.
little light on myself, let me stop and tell you       the poison from my own system would go to my                Just before Christmas of that year, I walked
that I am a house husband. My lover works as           brain and drive me nuts.                              into my doctor’s office without my cane, stand-
he has for years and years and I take care of the            Now that’s a scary thought.                     ing tall, dressed to the nines with a gift for him
yard, the house, cooking, laundry, the budget,               The end was so close, my lover called all       in my hand. He had tears in his eyes; I had tears
grocery shopping... you get the idea. I’m a house      my friends and family to inform them there            in my eyes. It was a big moment in both of our
husband. Being a house husband, I have no in-          would be a service soon. July came and I was so       lives. By the beginning of 1998, I was put on a
surance and with no insurance, there are very          swollen with fluid from my own body, my legs          cocktail of Viracept, Zerit and Epivir, along with
few doctors that would even look at me, much           and stomach were beyond huge. My wedding              Oxandrin and some vitamins. Being put on the
less take me as a client. Orlando is also fortu-       ring had long been taken off and my navel had         three-combo cocktail was something my doctor
nate enough to have one of the best health care        flattened out evenly on my monstrous gut. I
clinics in the state. I needed these organizations     couldn’t even sit up and get out of bed without                               Continued on next page
and the health care clinic. I took all of the nec-     help. My liver had not been working for about
essary steps, got on Medicaid, set up appoint-         2½ months by then and I had been in and out of
ments and started seeing a doctor. At first, even      it for a while.
he was stumped at my now rapidly declining                   My lover continued to work because he
health. My stats weren’t that bad: CD4 (T-cell)        couldn’t sit at home and watch me die. He took
was over 400 and my viral load was under a thou-       care of me when he came home. He told me
sand. My color was good and my eyes were clear,        later that every morning, he worried if it was
but still, I could barely walk.                        that morning that he would wake to find that I
       I can now look back on myself at that time      had slipped away during the night. His job was
and admit that I was a lush. I drank, and I drank      great to him, telling him to take the time he
                                                                                                                    We will pick up your
a lot. A whole lot. And, I had done so for a           needed, but he just couldn’t. Finally, after blow-
number of years. A long number of years. My            ing up at me out of anger at me for not trying to              unwanted clothes,
drink of choice? Beer! Cheap beer! My color            find the strength to help myself, he calmed down,
might have been good and my big ol’ eyes might         looked me in the eye and told me to decide. Go                furniture and other
have been clear, but my poor old worn-out liver        or stay — doing both wasn’t working. He was
                                                                                                                      items and donate a
had simply had enough. All of my tiredness and         giving me a choice.
physical exhaustion was due to my liver shut-                I had a choice. The door was there, and I          portion of the proceeds to
ting down. I was going through complete cir-           knew what was on the other side of it. I had
rhosis of the liver. By the time my doctor found       been to the vast, empty calmness more than once.        AIDS Survival Project!
the root of the problem, it was too late. At the       I knew what it was like on both sides. I had a
beginning of June 1997, I almost died of dehy-         choice. I wasn’t being pulled and I didn’t see a
dration. My lover rushed me to the hospital            white light — no long-dead relatives beckoning          Best Buy Thrift Store
where, in the ER, before they could even get me        me, no Voice of God. I am one of those rare,
into a room, they put eight bags of fluid in me        privileged people out there who, along with fate,              Call (404) 361-2352
just to stabilize me. While in the hospital, the       made his own choice. Mine was life. Living

14                                                                                                                             SURVIVAL NEWS
                                                                                                                H I V IEWPOINTS
was unsure of. He didn’t know if my liver, bat-                                                             at. We even managed to take a bus down to              ing, complaining and moping about it isn’t go-
tered by years of cheap beer, could take any more                                                           Pompeii for a day. Now that’s a place: a fully         ing to cure it. I laugh, I smile and I don’t think
battering by meds intended to stave off the HIV.                                                            functioning city with sidewalks, fast food res-        how bad my life is with this, because it isn’t.
This was also a big moment. Through the next                                                                taurants, temples and so much more. We saw             Instead, I think, “I don’t know how long I have,
month, my liver held steady, the meds were                                                                  the rock beaches of Naples and bought the best         but I’m going to make the best of what I have
working and my numbers started to rise and fall                                                             pastries mankind has ever made in Sorento. We          while I have it.” Almost dying taught me just
appropriately.                                                                                              took nine rolls of film and had the time of our        how much we all take for granted, which is life
     So what have I done with my life since then?                                                           lives. When we got back, I finished writing my         and living it. Going to Rome taught me some-
In February 2001, I started writing my first book,                                                          book and am now in the exciting and exhaust-           thing, too. We are all connected and not so dif-
The Shamesamson Manor: The Tale of the Simple                                                               ing process of getting it out to publishers. Like      ferent, after all. It also taught me that dreams
Crown. It’s a young adult adventure set in Ire-                                                             all writers, I’m 150% sure it will get picked up       really do come true. I don’t worry about the
land, chock full of sprites, brownies, humans                                                               and published.                                         future and how much time I have left. None of
good and bad, pigs, a 400-year old manor house,                                                                   Now, in 2003, I’m soon to start Book Two         us knows that, and besides, I’m having too much
a leprechaun or two, a flock of Easter chickens                                                             of The Shamesamson Manor, There Once Was               fun living in the now of my life.
and a 17,000-year old elf. In May 2002, my lover                                                            Atlantis. Life — and the choice I made, and                 I stopped drinking in 1997 and haven’t
and I decided to take the trip of a lifetime: we                                                            still make, to live it — was the right choice. It      looked back. I didn’t need AA or any other self-
went to Rome, Italy, for five days. We stayed in                                                            sounds so clichéd, but life really is so short —       help group — my demon was exorcised by al-
a five-star hotel just outside the city, caught the                                                         trust me!                                              most dying. My lover, Bill Dockery, and I have
bus into Rome and walked around the city for                                                                      The really important question: How’s my          been together for over 16 years, and we plan to
four solid days, seeing everything. The Coli-                                                               HIV? My CD4 (T-cells) are over a thousand              spend another 16 or more years living our lives
seum is so much more massive than any movie                                                                 and my viral load is zero. What miracle things         together. If my story helps even one person with
could ever show. We walked where Julius Cae-                                                                do I do? I take my meds and I live my life. It’s       HIV to not give up, to go for your dreams and
sar walked in the Forum, saw the Vatican City                                                               that simple. Yeah, there are days when I feel          really life your life to its fullest, then everything
and the Sistene Chapel, ate pizza and devoured                                                              like hell, but I go on and I go on without a big ol’   I’ve gone through will have been worth it.
more Italian pastries than you can shake a noodle                                                           HIV chip on my shoulder. I have it and whin-                And I still love apple chips.

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July/August 2003                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       15
                                                           H I V IEWPOINTS
            “Stigma”... continued from page 2
(2003), Vulcan Sub-Commander T’Pol is diag-            call for more information about HIV/AIDS.             than for its debilitating symptoms and incurabil-
nosed with “Pa’nar Syndrome,” a deadly and in-         “Stigma” was part of UPN’s night-long partner-        ity. “Stigma” could have been a compelling story
curable disease that can only be transmitted dur-      ship with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Founda-          about facing adversity in spite of infection, not
ing a mind-meld (a practice first demonstrated         tion for a media campaign to educate people           because of it. Instead, UPN and its parent, Para-
by Spock in the 1966 first-season Star Trek epi-       about HIV/AIDS. While I would like to com-            mount Pictures, once again chose to slap Star
sode “Dagger of the Mind”). Only a small mi-           mend UPN and series creators/executive produc-        Trek’s gay fans in the face with a story that por-
nority of Vulcans have the ability to initiate a       ers/scriptwriters Rick Berman and Brannon             trays mind-melders not as an important and valu-
mind-meld (although anyone can be a passive            Braga for tackling these difficult issues, the epi-   able segment of Vulcan society, but as an unde-
recipient), a practice considered                                                                                            sirable, unnatural minority vic-
unnatural, and those who possess                                                                                             timized by prejudice and bigotry.
and use that ability are (in what                       ‘Stigma’ could have been a                                           The message is abundantly clear.
we always thought was a society                        compelling story about facing                                                With current television se-
devoted to pure logic) persecuted                                                                                            ries like Will & Grace, Six Feet
and ostracized. Not every mind-                          adversity in spite of [HIV]                                         Under and Queer as Folk featur-
meld results in an “infection,” but                                                                                          ing leading gay characters and lit-
T’Pol, the victim of a telepathic
                                                        infection, not because of it.                                        erally dozens of other programs
rape, does develop the disease.                                                                                              including gay supporting charac-
Fearing the loss of her rank and position aboard       sode simply reinforces and perpetuates the            ters — to say nothing of the obligatory token
the Enterprise, T’Pol at first (illogically) refuses   “stigma” of HIV/AIDS as a “gay disease” (while        gay member of virtually every new “reality” se-
to seek medical treatment, but once her secret is      simultaneously contradicting 37 years of Trek         ries — Star Trek is long overdue to include at
predictably exposed, she is forced to confront         lore by spinning Vulcan mind-melds as a bad           least one prominent gay character in its lead cast,
the (surprising) bigotry and prejudice of her su-      thing). T’Pol didn’t come down with some Vul-         with accompanying storylines that are sensitive,
periors in Vulcan society.                             can form of cancer, or diabetes, or smallpox, or      inclusive and non-prejudicial.
     Just in case anyone missed the heavy-             tuberculosis — not some infectious disease that
handed, almost brutal analogy, a short public          is terrible on its own merits but politically in-         “Stigma” repeats on UPN on Wednesday,
service announcement at the end of the episode         nocuous in its transmission — no, she gets a          June 25 at 8:00 p.m. and, in Atlanta, on WUPA
bludgeoned the viewer with phone numbers to            disease reviled more for who gets it and how          Channel 69 on Saturday, June 28 at 7:00 p.m.




16                                                                                                                             SURVIVAL NEWS
        “Chronicles”... continued from page 13
ners and volunteers participated in the 18th annual        18th annual AIDS Walk fundraiser May 18 in New           million HIV/AIDS grant program announced Wednes-
Boston AIDS Walk & 5K Run on June 1. Wearing               York City, drawing about 40,000 participants and rais-   day, May 21, by the Pfizer Foundation could help cur-
ponchos or holding umbrellas, participants covered         ing an estimated $4.8 million. The walk’s attendance     tail the epidemic among minorities in the South, com-
an abbreviated 3½-mile route to raise money for the        was down from last year’s 42,000, but up consider-       munity groups said. The three-year program — to be
fight against HIV/AIDS. “The weather is bad, but our       ably from the 35,000 who turned out in 2000. This        allocated in grants of about $50,000 a year to roughly
spirits are high,” said Mimi Rittenburg, 69, walking for   year’s fundraising efforts place 2003 among the AIDS     20 groups — follows a report last month highlighting
the 13th consecutive time in honor of her son, who         Walk’s best years. In the past two years, GMHC           the heavy burden of AIDS in the South, especially
died of AIDS complications at age 28. Organizers           raised $4.7 million and $4.3 million, respectively.      among African-Americans. “Comprehensive HIV/
said last year’s event drew about 12,000 walkers and       GMHC spokesperson Noel Alicea said the group             AIDS prevention programs focused on communities
700 runners and raised nearly $1.4 million. Organiz-       managed to keep the donations high this year de-         most at risk are our best defense against this deadly
ers, who were still tallying this year’s take, said they   spite the sluggish economy by working hard to recruit    disease,” said Hank McKinnell, CEO of Pfizer. The
were not disappointed with this year’s attendance.         volunteers and also by working in a variety of ways      South represents one third of the nation’s residents
“The turnout is a testimony to how important the is-       with major corporate sponsors, which both contribute     but 40% of people with AIDS and 46% of new AIDS
sue is in the hearts and minds of so many,” said           money and encourage employees to participate. Ac-        cases, according to the recent report by the Southern
Rebecca Haag, executive director of the AIDS Action        tor Hal Sparks was among the celebrities participat-     AIDS Coalition. Blacks make up one-fifth of the people
Committee of Massachusetts.                                ing this year.                                           in the region but half of those with the disease, the
                                                                                                                    report said. In metro Atlanta, blacks account for 29%
40,000 March Against AIDS. Under nearly perfect            Grants Set to Boost AIDS Fight in South. A $3            of the population and 75% of those with AIDS.
weather conditions, Gay Men’s Health Crisis held its

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July/August 2003                                                                                                                                                     17
     JULY 2003
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