Here To Inspire

TheGrammy-winning jazz and R&B singer Patti Austin — known for her duets with Michael Jackson and James Ingram —recently released Sound Advice, an album of covers that reworks material from artists like Depeche Mode, Frank Sinatra, and the Rolling Stones. Austin has long been a philanthropist, contributing to numerous causes,
including HIV (she lent her voice to an AIDS anthem that raised tens of thousands for the cause). On

December 03 2011 6:20 PM

December 02 2011 11:35 AM

This was a film that needed to be made, and it needed to be made by someone who’d lived through it.

December 01 2011 5:24 PM

President Barack Obama announced a new target Thursday of securing treatment for 6 million people by the end of 2013 and urged other countries to step up in the global fight against HIV, singling out China as one of the world’s economic powerhouses that has yet to adequately do so.

In remarks at a World AIDS Day event in Washington, D.C., Obama said the treatment goal over the next two years covers 2 million more people than originally proposed.

“Few could have imagined that we’d be talking about the real possibility of an AIDS-free generation,” the president said at the ONE Campaign and (RED)-hosted event
that included remarks via satellite from former presidents George W.
Bush and Bill Clinton.“ But that’s what we’re talking about. That’s why we’re here. And we arrived here because of all of you and your unwavering belief that we can — and we will — beat this disease.”

Within the United States, where 1.2 million people live with HIV, the president plans to direct the Department of Health and Human Services to increase funding for HIV and AIDS treatment by $50 million. Congressional approval is not required to allocate the funds, though Obama called for continued bipartisan support of HIV/AIDS funding.

“At a time when so much in Washington divides us, the fight against this disease has united us across parties and presidencies,” Obama said. “It has shown that we can do big things when Republicans and Democrats put their common humanity before politics.”

Obama specifically mentioned rising infection rates among gay men of color as well as disparate access to medical care among minority groups. “When new infections among young black gay men increase by nearly 50% in three years, we need to do more to show them that their lives matter,” he said. “When Latinos are dying sooner than other groups, when black women feel forgotten even though they account for most of the new cases among women, we need to do more.”

Of international support for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts, Obama called on countries that have pledged money to the Global Fund to honor their commitments. “And countries that haven’t made a pledge need to do so. That includes China and other major economies that are now able to step up as major donors.”

The president’s address follows one made last month on HIV by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the National Institutes of Health. Clinton called for increased voluntary male circumcision as well as more support for antiretroviral medication regimens among those infected — both of which contribute to an “ideal intervention that prevents people from being infected in the first place.”

Recent studies have shown that HIV-infected individuals taking antiretroviral drugs are substantially less likely to infect sexual partners. Debates on whether resources should favor either prevention or treatment are irrelevant to the modern-day battle against HIV, Clinton said.

As part of its global outreach, the United States has set a goal of providing antiretroviral treatment to 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women as well as funding 4.7 million voluntary male circumcisions in Africa over the next two years.

Moderated by CNN medical reporter Sanjay Gupta, the panel discussion at the World AIDS Day event, held at George Washington University, included Florida senator Marco Rubio, California congresswoman Barbara Lee, U2 lead singer Bono, Alicia Keys, and Kay Warren, wife of Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren. Warren’s ties to antigay Ugandan leaders have come under scrutiny in the past, though the American megachurch pastor has repudiated such connections.

After the jump, the president’s full remarks. 

December 01 2011 10:10 AM

As the world marks 30 years of HIV devastating lives, homes, and nations, the CEO of amfAR looks to make sure the virus doesn't reach age 40.

December 01 2011 4:00 AM

 The Ms. Plus America pageant celebrates plus-size women as beautiful contributors to society, and its newest winner is an HIV-positive woman who is taking that message of female unity even further.

December 01 2011 4:00 AM

1. Two major new drugs promise to make life easier for HIVers.
In January pharmacies began offering Egrifta, a daily injection that reduces the deep belly fat that surrounds organs like the liver and stomach as a side effect of anti-HIV drugs. Complera, which combines Edurant, Viread, and Emtriva in a single pill and is meant for first-time HIV medication users, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August.

2. Researchers discover breast-feeding is an option.

Many mothers prefer breast-feeding their infants to using formula, but that option is not always available to HIV-positive women. However, a study presented at March’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston found that giving infants a daily dose of nevirapine for the first six months of life halved their risk of contracting HIV from their mothers (compared with a shorter-term regimen), and among HIV-positive women with higher T-cell counts, there was a 75% reduction in transmission rates. Moreover, while mother-to-child HIV transmission is still possible through breast-feeding, another study indicated that antibodies found in breast milk, when isolated, can neutralize HIV and kill HIV-infected cells. While incorporated into breast milk, the antibodies do little to block the virus, because of IgG, another antibody, but scientists are evaluating how to enhance the HIV-combating antibodies.

3. A vaccine may have been found.
Scientists in Spain are testing an HIV vaccine that has proved more powerful than previous ones that have gone to trial. After a year of testing in humans, 95% of the 24 patients built an immune-system defense against the virus, and 85% of them sustained that for a year. Past vaccine trials had shown only 25% of those developed such a defense. The vaccine is specialized to protect against a subtype of HIV that is more prevalent in Europe, North America, and South America.

December 01 2011 4:00 AM

 The Queen

Africa’s Leila Lopes, recently crowned Miss Universe 2011, is a British-educated 25-year-old Angola native who says she cherishes inner strength over outer beauty. Hailing from the town of Benguela, Lopes is first woman from Angola — and only the fourth black woman — to be crowned Miss Universe. After winning the pageant, held in Brazil in September, the outspoken Lopes slammed racism and plastic surgery, telling reporters, “Any racist needs to seek help. It’s not normal in the 21st century to think in that way.”

She also pledged to expand her philanthropic missions — especially her involvement with HIV prevention, treatment, and visibility.

“I’ve worked with various social causes. I work with poor kids, I work in the fight against HIV,” she said to reporters after the competition. “I think now as Miss Universe I will be able to do much more.” Angola, specifically, needs Lopes’s help—the recently war-torn nation is very poor and antiretroviral medications are hard to come by for many.

Lopes told Time magazine she was up to the challenge: “I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family and I intend to follow these for the rest of my life.”

December 01 2011 4:00 AM

Representing iconic gay-heavy neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Manhattan, Congressman Jerrold Nadler was an early proponent of gay rights and fighting HIV.

November 30 2011 11:28 PM

November 30 2011 4:00 AM