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HIV transmission rate among injection drug users increase

Ei Thinzar Kyaw
Doctors without Borders takes a blood sample from a HIV patient at Thaketa clinic. (Photo-Ei Thinzar Kyaw)

 

HIV transmission rate among injection drug addicts has increased to 18 per cent, according to the figures from National HIV/AIDS Eradication Plan.

Currently, Myanmar is facing narcotic problems such as opium growing, production and trading. In 2017, poppy growing dropped to 25 per cent and poppy production, to 14 per cent significantly.

Myanmar has set a goal of ending HIV/AIDS epidemic as a public health risk by 2030. Currently, Health Ministry has been implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan (2016-2020).

The National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan was drafted based on the successes of political pledges and the National Strategic Plan-2. The plan focused on geographical and regional populations and priority sectors in order to get big impacts.

The strategic plan aims to protect and promote human rights and gender equality of targeted groups and those who are suffering the consequences of HIV transmission, including those living with HIV, drug addicts, men who have sex with men, sex workers and their partners.

HIV/AIDS is one of priority diseases in the national health plan in Myanmar. In 2016, the Health Ministry spent US$ 15 million to give treatment to HIV patients including the purchase of ART and US$ one million to buy methadone.

Source: http://www.elevenmyanmar.com/local/14055

HIV-positive photographer pushes through PTSD and pain of losing daughter

‘I still have PTSD, I still have nightmares but it has lifted my depression,’ says photographer

Denise Wozniak holding her daughter Katie three weeks before her death. (Submitted by Denise Wozniak)

 

In 1994, everything was going picture perfect for Denise Wozniak.

Then her six-month-old daughter Katie was diagnosed with AIDS.

“It was an incredible shock,” Wozniak. “We were then tested and it was found out that I had HIV.”

Her husband, to whom she had been married four years at that point, was not infected with the virus.

Wozniak had apparently contracted the virus from a boyfriend before she was married.

“My daughter was given two years to live and she actually died three months later after the diagnosis,”  Wozniak told Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC’s The Early Edition.

Wozniak herself was given five years to live — a long time in those days, she said.

Medical advances in the late 1990s helped her get her symptoms under control.

Wozniak was first introduced to photography when a friend took her out to get a picture of a snowy owl on a cold winter day in Alberta. (Denise Wozniak)

Overcoming PTSD

But that wasn’t the end of Wozniak’s struggles. She was later diagnosed with chronic post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Wozniak now advocates for using creativity to overcome traumatic events and to cope with pain.

A friend introduced her to photography when they set out to get a picture of a snowy owl on a cold January day in Alberta. After that, Wozniak says she “started photographing anything.”

She recalled one instance of trying to snap a shot of a flitting hummingbird — even going so far as dressing like a flower to attract its attention, a tactic that didn’t work, she said laughing

“I just was bewitched by that hummingbird, I must have taken over 200 pictures of that hummingbird,” she said.

She gave a TEDx talk in White Rock this week about her experience using photography to pull herself out of a cycle of depression.

Wozniak estimates she took over 200 shots of the hummingbird before she got the one she wanted. (Denise Wozniak)

‘Lifted my depression’

Wozniak’s experience was supported by research conducted at Stanford University with veterans using photography to overcome their PTSD.

She phoned the researchers and found out that photographs, and other creative projects, are both an outlet of emotions and a way to explain the traumatic experience to others.

“I still have PTSD, I still have nightmares but it has lifted my depression,” Wozniak said. “When I don’t do — and I haven’t done photography for a few days now — I can feel a darkness coming over me again.”

Wozniak’s TEDx talk was part of a series on how creativity can be used to overcome traumatic events.

Author: Clare Hennig

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/hiv-positive-photographer-pushes-through-ptsd-with-photos-1.4685902

Pride Toronto Human Rights Panels

CBC Toronto is a proud sponsor of this year’s Pride Toronto Human Rights Panels. Join us for a series of conversations throughout the month. We will be tackling topics such as gender fluidity on-screen, LGBTIQ refugees and a number of panels will reflect this year’s Pride theme, “35 Years of AIDS Activism.”

The below information will be updated as more details are released:

Youth HIV Presentation

Sunday, June 10, 2018, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

The CBC Barbara Frum Atrium, 250 Front St. W, Toronto, ON, M5V 3G6

ADRIAN R. BETTS, Executive Director. ACDR

A gay man and long-term survivor, Adrian is the Executive Director of the AIDS Committee of Durham Region (ACDR).  Adrian began working in the HIV/AIDS sector in 1989 at the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation and over the years has worked at many HIV service organizations and other social justice services.  Adrian has recently been re-appointed to OACHA; the Ontario Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS to the Provincial Minister of Health.  He is a leader on HIV positive youth and transition issues and facilitated the creation of the Transition Accord for young PHAs transitioning from pediatric to adult HIV care. He is passable cowboy, a terrible surfer and an unapologetic geek who loves Marvel Comics, Star Trek and Doctor Who.

Pathways to Freedom: Struggle and Challenges for LGTBIQ Refugees Globally

Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 7:00 – 8:30 pm

The Munk School of Global Affairs, 1 Devonshire Pl., Toronto, ON, M5S 0A7

Panelists:

Ahmed Alaa Hussein Hussein, Egyptian activist – recently relocated to Canada
Erycom Desire Kizito, Ugandan activist, also recently relocated
Kimahli Powell, Executive Director, Rainbow Railroad

Trans and HIV

Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 7:00 – 8:30pm

The CBC Barbara Frum Atrium, 250 Front St. W, Toronto, ON, M5V 3G6

Description TBD

Ending Unjust HIV Criminalization: A Community Dialogue

Thursday, June 14, 2018, 6:00pm – 7:30pm

The Chelsea Hotel, 33 Gerard St. W, Toronto, ON, M5G 1Z4

Canada (and Ontario) have one of the highest levels of criminalizing people living with HIV in the world, but communities have been mobilizing to resist and the tide may be turning.  What has been achieved, and how?  What work still needs to be done? What lies ahead for resisting HIV criminalization in Ontario following the provincial election?  Join leading activists—people living with HIV, community organizations and human rights advocates—for a community dialogue about where the struggle goes from here. (For more, see www.aidslaw.ca).

In partnership with Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario, Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law and HIV Exposure

Non-conforming! Celebrating Fluidity On-screen and IRL

Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 5:00pm

TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W, Toronto, ON, M5V 3X5

Panelists: Join us for a celebration of gender non-conforming, trans, fluid and 2-spirit youth who are taking space online by creating radical, self-expressive film and media that builds community and challenges the limits of mainstream gender representation. Creators will share their work and join in a discussion that explores how they are developing their own content and platforms to make space for bigger, better and brighter expressions of multiple and complex identities in the media.

No one will be turned away for lack of funds! Need support getting a ticket, please reach out to: nextwave@tiff.net.

This event is co-presented between Pride Toronto and TIFF.

Living and Thriving with HIV

Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto, 2 Sussex Ave., Toronto, ON M5S 1J5

It is estimated that 60% of persons living with HIV belong to the LGBTQI2+ community, Living with HIV is no easy task especially for those that do not think it affects them. This panel will talk about the positive, the negative and the unknown around HIV, from a lived experience point of view. How important is U=U (undetectable=untransmittable), especially in regards to sexual health and HIV prevention? Lets this panel tell you. With U=U, we can end HIV/AIDS in Canada, so find out how.

Panelist: Trevor Stratton is a 53-year old member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation near Toronto, Canada with mixed English and Ojibwe heritage. Diagnosed with HIV in 1990, Trevor turned to his community and the Indigenous HIV and AIDS movement for support and became an activist, volunteer and consultant. He is now the Coordinator for the International Indigenous Working Group on HIV & AIDS (IIWGHA) for its host organization, the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN). Trevor is a board member of the Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+), the President of the board of 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations in Toronto and he is one of two North American delegates in the NGO Delegation on the Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).

Trevor was recently installed as the Interim Executive Director of the International Indigenous HIV & AIDS Community.

Jason Maclennan (Moderator): Jason has been involved in the HIV movement for approximately thirty years. Over the last few years he has met with various political leaders including the current sitting Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. He has participated in many presentations to organizations. Jason is very straight forward kind of person who has accomplished many things within the HIV sector. Jason recently educated the North Bay pride Committee to endorse the U=U Campaign and adopt the Ontario Accord GIPA/MIPA.

35 Years of AIDS Activism

Saturday, June 23, 2018, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto, 2 Sussex Ave., Toronto, ON M5S 1J5

Join us to hear about the real life exploits of a diverse group of activists, people of all ages and backgrounds, who have fought to get and keep HIV/AIDS in the public eye over the past 35 years. Panelists will talk about the early days of the struggle and more recent advocacy successes that would not have been possible without the voices of those whose lives have been touched by HIV: “Nothing about us without us!”.

Join us to hear about the real life exploits of a diverse group of activists, people of all ages and backgrounds, who have fought to get and keep HIV/AIDS in the public eye over the past 35 years. Panelists will talk about the early days of the struggle and more recent advocacy successes that would not have been possible without the voices of those whose lives have been touched by HIV: “Nothing about us without us!”.

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/events/pridepanels-1.4683903

Canadian leader pledges reform of blood donation rules for gay men

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed his annoyance with the restrictions which currently limit gay Canadian men from donating blood.

Trudeau is commonly regarded as an ally and advocate for the LGBTQ community. While accepting a human rights award from the group Egale Canada at the Toronto Hilton, the Prime Minister told audience members that his ruling government was working on the issue.

Trudeau stated that they were “on it” but conceded that he was “upset” that “it’s not there yet.” Current limitations bar bisexual and gay men from donating blood, unless they have abstained from sex for one year.

Before a reform of the stricture in 2016, the waiting period of celibacy was five years.

In contrast, Pink News reported that similar U.K. laws “were relaxed last year, following advances in detection techniques and an increased understanding of HIV. Gay men will be allowed to give blood three months after having sex, rather than a year, as per the previous guidelines. Dr Gail Miflin, medical and research director at NHS Blood and Transplant said the change was based on the latest available medical and scientific evidence.”

According to the Canadian Press, Trudeau said “Our entire government is committed to full equality for the queer community. You have my word on that.”

Reports state that the Canadian Blood Services organization is working on redesigning their screening processes, including updates to how they gather and utilize their data. CBS pledged to act as a forum for discussion between advocacy groups and LGBTQ organizations.

Author:  Jason Rhode

Source: https://thegavoice.com/health/canadian-leader-pledges-reform-of-blood-donation-rules-for-gay-men/

One in every 5 deaths in young adults is opioid-related in the United States: Study

Proportion of deaths that are opioid-related has increased by nearly 300 percent in 15 years

IMAGE
IMAGE:  “DESPITE THE AMOUNT OF ATTENTION THAT HAS BEEN PLACED ON THIS PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE, WE ARE INCREASINGLY SEEING THE DEVASTATING IMPACT THAT EARLY LOSS OF LIFE FROM OPIOIDS IS HAVING… view more 

CREDIT: ST. MICHAEL’S HOSPITAL

TORONTO, June 1, 2018 – One out of every five deaths among young adults in the United States is related to opioids, suggests a study led by researchers in Canada.

The study, published today in JAMA Network Open and led by St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, ON, found that the percentage of deaths attributable to opioids in the U.S. increased by 292 per cent from 2001 to 2016, with one in every 65 deaths related to opioid use by 2016. This number varied by age group and sex. Men represented nearly 70 per cent of all opioid deaths by 2016, and the highest burden was among young adults aged 24 to 35 years. This study expands on research in Canadian populations.

“Despite the amount of attention that has been placed on this public health issue, we are increasingly seeing the devastating impact that early loss of life from opioids is having across the United States,” said Dr. Tara Gomes, a scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s. “In the absence of a multidisciplinary approach to this issue that combines access to treatment, harm reduction and education, this crisis will impact the U.S. for generations.”

Researchers reviewed all deaths in the U.S. between 2001 and 2016 using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WONDER Multiple Cause of Death Online Database. This record captures mortality and population estimates across the U.S. by age and sex. The most dramatic increase in illicit and prescribed opioid-related deaths was seen in those aged 24 to 35. By 2016, 20 per cent of all deaths in this age group were related to opioid use – up from only 4 per cent in 2001.

Dr. Gomes, who is also a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Ontario, and her team found that a total of 1,681,359 years of life were lost prematurely to opioid-related causes in 2016, which exceeds the years of life lost each year from hypertension, HIV/AIDS and pneumonia in the U.S.

“These numbers show us the dramatic impact of opioid-related harms across all demographics in the U.S.,” Dr. Gomes said. “We know this is not an isolated public health issue – it is one that spans across North America.”

Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-06/smh-oie053018.php

Young and HIV positive: Should I tell my parents?

HIV Transmission Rates Have Fallen, But We Can’t Be Complacent

With government cuts forcing clinics to close or offer fewer appointments, we’ll have to work to uphold the hard-fought progress that has been made.

Photo: B Christopher / Alamy Stock Photo

Late last year, London sexual health clinic 56 Dean Street made the headlines. Statistics revealed that, over the course of three years, recent HIV infections among gay and bisexual men being treated at the clinic had fallen by around 90 percent. Similar reports showed that these rates were being echoed across London, the take-away being that transmission rates had dropped among the city’s LGBT+ community despite a series of clinic closures.

But now, new obstacles have been introduced. Gay Star News recently revealedthat 56 Dean Street’s Express service had slashed its number of bookable appointments from 350 per day to just 75.

An apologetic official statement was quickly released, alongside an explanation that London’s sexual health services are commissioned by Local Authorities rather than the NHS. These authorities have been instructing a shift towards online home testing. In response, 56 Dean Street has been “redesigned” to include a number of walk-in services (some of which are HIV-specific, others of which aren’t), as well as Hepatitis and HPV immunisations.

Despite these outlined services, the huge drop in check-up slots is worrying – HIV diagnosis is crucial to treatment, and the stereotypes which still linger mean that women and patients above 50 are often not advised to get tested. This has led to increased transmission rates among older people and the wider invisibility of women living with HIV, despite the fact that one in three UK patients are women. A recent campaign, “Invisible No More“, aimed to highlight this statistic, as well as others which show that almost half of these women live below the poverty line.

Funding is undeniably crucial, but these are likely problems which run deep. When VICE reached out to 56 Dean Street, the clinic was unable to offer more than the original press statement, which ends with an apology: “Demand for our services is significantly higher than the number of appointments we are funded to offer. We’re aware of some of the frustration that our users are experiencing. We are really sorry about this and want to reassure the community that we are doing all we can to maintain access to those who need us the most and are at the highest risk.”

These cuts are also impacting HIV+ people outside the UK; last year, the government was criticised for its decision to cut global HIV prevention spending by 22 percent, just as transmission rates were finally starting to drop.

It’s taken a while, but medical breakthroughs have spawned preventative drug PrEP, as well as PEP, a kind of HIV morning-after pill. Better still, ART (antiretroviral therapy) is now so effective that viral load can be suppressed to “undetectable”. Essentially, this means those living with HIV can’t transmit the virus, even through unprotected sex.

Victories like these have been hard-fought. The commissioning of last year’s landmark PrEP trial was prefaced by widespread anger driven by conservative commentators, most of whom foamed at the mouth and dubbed it a “lifestyle drug” enabling The Gays™ to fuck freely without consequence. This nasty, insidious claim rehashed homophobic stigma written across early discussions of the virus, and shows that these funding decisions aren’t just medical – they’re political.

Still, there is hope – testing at home has never been easier. Leading charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) have invested in a “self-test programme” (funded by Public Health England’s Innovation Fund) to get more people involved. But really, how likely are we to go through the online process? Most of us find it hard to tear ourselves away from Instagram long enough to order a food shop, let alone a home testing kit.

But Taku Mukiwa, THT’s Head of Social Marketing, argues that we need to feel galvanised and actually take action to protect ourselves against the risk of HIV: “One in eight people living with HIV in the UK remain undiagnosed, which means they’re not accessing the treatment they need to protect their immune system. If we’re to end the epidemic in this country, then tackling our rates of undiagnosed HIV is key.”

Mukiwa also points to the ease and variety of home testing kits, arguing that they’re being encouraged simply because they offer new options. “There are self-sampling kits and self-testing kits. With a self-sampling kit, you take a sample of blood, send it to a laboratory and they send you the results. With a self-testing kit, you test yourself at home and read your own results within a few minutes. We’re currently offering free HIV self-test kits via our website.”

Small steps like these might seem inconvenient, but if the government won’t fund appointments then we need to resist complacency and work to uphold the progress that has already been made. Even a few years ago, it would have seemed unthinkable that HIV would become treatable to the point that it couldn’t be transmitted even through unprotected sex. With the right medication, the virus is no longer a death sentence – the magnitude of this fact cannot be underestimated.

“We have seen significant funding cuts for HIV services over the last few years across the entire sector, which makes what we do even more challenging,” admits Mukiwa. “But last year we saw the biggest drop in new HIV diagnoses on record, and the first ever decline in new diagnoses amongst gay and bisexual men. This is a crucial time, and we must maintain momentum to end the epidemic in the UK. Now is not the time to be making cuts and jeopardising progress.”

Author: Jake Hall

Source: https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/kzk7y3/hiv-transmission-rates-have-fallen-but-we-cant-be-complacent

Continuous Medicaid Coverage Essential for People Living With HIV

The strongest association with viral suppression after Medicaid gap was viral suppression before Medicaid gap.
The strongest association with viral suppression after Medicaid gap was viral suppression before Medicaid gap.

Implementing initiatives to maintain Medicaid enrollment and expedite re-enrollment and having alternate resources available during gap times may be important to ensure continuous antiretroviral therapy (ART) to optimize HIV outcomes, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

Medicaid disenrollment is common among adults in the general population, occurring in more than half of enrolled adults within 2 years of enrollment. There is limited research examining the clinical effect of gaps in healthcare coverage, especially lapses in Medicaid among people with HIV.

This study evaluated the effect of gaps in Medicaid enrollment on viral suppression within the HIV Research Network (HIVRN) by examining viral suppression before and after a gap in Medicaid enrollment.

Researchers used a dataset that captured Medicaid enrollment information and HIVRN clinical data. The primary objectives were to identify and describe characteristics of individuals who had a gap in Medicaid enrollment and evaluate characteristics associated with unsuppressed HIV-1 RNAat the end of a gap, which may suggest failure to access another source of coverage for antiretroviral therapy during the Medicaid gap.

A total of 5836 patients were included. The majority of participants were male (67%), black (58%), age 25 to 50 years, and from New York (57%). For each month of each year, it was determined whether each individual was enrolled or not enrolled using the personal summary Medicaid Analytic Extract file. A patient was counted as enrolled for an entire month if there were at least 10 days of coverage within that month. Of those with a gap (n=3362), 57% had 1 gap, 29% had 2 gaps, 10% had 3 gaps, and 4% had 4+ gaps.

Results suggested that male gender (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.79) and younger than 50 years in age (P <.05) were associated with having a gap among all patients. Additionally, white patients were more likely to have a gap in Medicaid than Hispanic patients (aOR 0.70). Individuals enrolled in HIVRN after 2006, representing a shorter overall duration of HIV care, were less likely to have a gap compared with those who enrolled earlier (aOR 0.45).

Information about pregap and postgap viral suppression was available for approximately 25% of those who had Medicaid coverage gaps. Of those, 25.8% did not have viral suppression either pregap or postgap, while 53.7% had viral suppression both pregap and postgap, which may be the result of accessing other sources of antiretroviral therapy coverage. The strongest association with postgap viral suppression was pregap viral suppression (aOR 15.76).

Overall, study authors concluded that “active engagement in case management and decreased burden for Medicaid enrollment can help ensure continuous Medicaid coverage for [people with HIV].”

Author: 

Source: https://www.infectiousdiseaseadvisor.com/hivaids/continuous-medicaid-coverage-essential-for-people-with-hiv/article/768923/

Gay man refused tattoo because he’s HIV-positive

A gay man says he was refused service at one of the UK’s biggest tattoo studios – because he is HIV-positive.

George Westwood, a 19-year-old Sociology student at the University of Birmingham had gone to the Vida Loca studio in Bolton, Greater Manchester, to get a tattoo representing his journey with HIV.

The student told the business about his HIV status as a courtesy after paying his deposit, only for them to refuse to serve him because of it.

Although his tattooist apologised, she said that her manager would not let her carry out the procedure – and that he would have to collect his deposit back.

Westwood told PinkNews: “I rang them and told them about my status and the tattoo artist said she wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to do it, so she would speak to her boss.

“I received a phone call [on May 26] to say, ‘No, we can’t do it.’ I wasn’t offered any explanation and [told] that I should just go and collect my deposit.”

The 19-year-old student was left shocked and upset at the refusal.

George Westwood was diagnosed in February (Credit: George Westwood)

“I was just expecting a ‘thanks for letting us know,’ I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. But I got a completely different response to what I expected.

“It did upset me, it did shock me – I nearly cried at work.”

He added: “I feel like I’ve made so much progress in such a short space of time, and it feels like all that progress has been thrown back in my face.”

Westwood says that the incident has highlighted why he wants to raise awareness around the condition.

He said: “It’s something so trivial – it just doesn’t need to happen.

“People need to think about and realise how much progress we [HIV-positive people] have made. It’s not what people think it is, and it’s definitely not what it used to be and people living with it do lead healthy normal lives.”

Now, Westwood hopes that talking about his illness will challenge the misconceptions around it and wants to emphasise that the condition cannot be passed on if effectively treated.

In response to a complaint made by Westwood, Vida Loca tattoo studio said: “We have to take into consideration the risks involved with blood transfer as we are using needles that have to be disposed of.”

“In the last month alone, we’ve had accidents where tattooists have caught themselves with used needles, so we have to think about the risk involved and as careful as hygienic as we are accidents still happen. Hope this explains why we cannot go ahead with this tattoo,” the response, which PinkNews has seen, continued.

However, Dr Michael Brady, medical director at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “There’s absolutely no reason to treat someone living with HIV who wants a tattoo any differently. Although HIV can be transmitted through shared needles, there are no documented cases of HIV transmission due to tattooing.

Tattoo enthusiasts at 2013 Sydney Tattoo Body Art Expo (Getty)

“Any reputable tattoo parlour should already be taking precautions to protect their customers against infections, including using fully sterilised equipment and single-use, disposable needles.”

According to the health section of its website, this is the procedure that the studio complies with.

Under the 2010 Equalities Act, it could be illegal in some cases for a business to not serve someone with HIV under the same terms as someone without the disease.

In an email statement to PinkNews, Daniel Watson, owner of the Vida Loca tattoo shop, said: “It’s the artist’s choice who they do or don’t tattoo, and in this circumstance I fully support her decision.

“There are many factors which led her to this decision. One of them mainly being we are not covered by our insurance to tattoo someone with HIV. Then the risk of her catching herself with the needle during or after the procedure. Or another member of the staff that cleans down the station catching themselves with the infected needle.

“There is also risk for the customer receiving the tattoo. If their immune system is low due to the treatment they will be receiving the chance of infection would also be very high. Why risk all this just so one person could get a tattoo.”

Westwood was diagnosed with the disease in February, after being referred to a clinic when a self-testing kit came back positive.

“But I’ve come out of it a stronger person, now I’m just trying to raise awareness and educate people.“It’s been quite an emotional journey quite challenging,” he said.

“Even in the gay community there’s a massive taboo about HIV, we don’t talk about it, we don’t touch it.”

However, Westwood says he is still going to get a tattoo. It will be a line tattoo of a sunrise over the sea to signify new horizons and the journey he has been on with HIV.

In March, PinkNews reported of a HIV-positive man who was refused service at a dentist’s practice in the East Midlands.

The man launched a funding appeal to take legal action against the practise.

The practice apologised and has since changed its policy on treating HIV-positive patients.

Stigma against the illness is common, with the Terence Higgins Trust estimating that one in five Brits would not wear a red ribbon on World AIDS Day, due to fear others would think negatively of them.

Source: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/05/29/gay-man-refused-tattoo-because-hes-hiv-positive/

Elton John Aids Foundation Seeks Letters of Intent for HIV/AIDS Projects

The Elton John Aids Foundation is accepting Letters of Intent from organizations working with people who are most affected by HIV in the Americas, defined as the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central or South America.

Grants will be awarded to organizations working to improve the health of people living with HIV or at risk or otherwise affected by HIV; uphold the rights of people living with and affected by HIV; address the social and economic needs of people living with and affected by HIV; and/or strengthen the skills and strategies of organizations and activists addressing HIV.

First-time applicants are invited to apply for grants of between $20,000 and $100,000 in the first year. EJAF will also consider requests of up to $300,000  from organizations with a national focus or working in multiple countries and that have a proven ability to implement large-scale programs.

Priority will be given to organizations that are led by and based in the communities being served; advocate for improved government health policies and funding; are piloting or scaling innovative programs to promote health and rights; can show a history of activism, creativity, and urgency in working to address and curtail the HIV epidemic; and are grounded in evidence about where and among whom HIV infections are happening and evidence about the best interventions to help people avoid infection or, if HIV-positive, to live healthy lives.

LOIs must be received no later than June 30. Upon review, selected organizations will be invited to submit a full proposal.

For complete program guidelines, an FAQ, and application procedures, see the EJAF website.

Source: https://philanthropynewsdigest.org/rfps/rfp8856-elton-john-aids-foundation-seeks-letters-of-intent-for-hiv-aids-projects