The two most important HIV-related stories you’ll read today. #HIV #AIDS
I’ve been collecting topics for the last few days to get a roundup together, but these two need to stand out on their own for obvious reasons. These stories will be lost in the sauce of everybody foaming at the mouth about the HRC endorsing President Obama’s reelection bid and I don’t want them to get missed. (I’ll be addressing that endorsement hysteria later over the weekend. My big project of site redesign starts tonight/tomorrow)
The Vatican to take on the issue of condoms and HIV in a conference this weekend:
The conference, which will focus on “the centrality of care” in preventing and treating HIV/AIDS, is sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, and is scheduled to include two dozen speakers from across the globe. One speaker will be Edward C. Green, former director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard School of Public Health, who in March 2009 defended Benedict’s statement that condoms actually “increase the problem” of AIDS in Africa. “Current empirical evidence supports” the pope, Green wrote in a widely discussed article. Another talk will address Catholic teaching on HIV/AIDS, a highly sensitive subject that Benedict touched on in a book-length interview published last November. While noting that condoms are not a “real or moral solution” to the AIDS epidemic, the pope said that their use by someone intending to prevent infection could “be a first step in the direction of a moralization” of sexuality. The Vatican’s doctrinal office later insisted that the pope’s words did not mark a change in Catholic moral teaching or “pastoral practice” against the use of condoms for AIDS prevention or contraception.
It goes without saying that I don’t believe for a second that “current empirical evidence supports” the Pope, or that the acceptance of condoms will actually make the HIV/AIDS epidemic worse. But I think it’s exceptionally important that they’re even coming to the table to have the discussion in the first place. I’m not holding my breath that Pope Benedict will have some magical epiphany and issue a papal endorsement of condoms come Monday morning, but you just never know right?
More than 8,300 low income people across the country cannot get their HIV meds.
The result: more than 8,300 people — a record number — are on waiting lists in 13 states to get antiretrovirals and other drugs used to treat HIV and AIDS or the side effects, mental health conditions or opportunistic infections. And that number probably understates the need, say advocates, who note that many states have simply eliminated waiting lists or reduced eligibility. “States that have changed their eligibility programs or don’t have a waiting list, or some states have disenrolled their patients, that’s a kind of silent crisis, I think,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, an advocacy group on gay issues. His state holds the second-highest number of patients on a waiting list: 1,520.
Here’s a state-by-state breakdown:
Alabama: 12 individuals Arkansas: 58 individuals Florida: 3,825 individuals Georgia: 1,515 individuals Idaho: 14 individuals Louisiana: 682 individuals** Montana: 26 individuals North Carolina: 235 individuals Ohio: 397 individuals South Carolina: 664 individuals Utah: 0 individuals*** Virginia: 668 individuals Wyoming: 4 individuals
Utah comes up as a zero because as of May 2011 they had begun a waiting list, although to date nobody has been added.
The worst aspect of this shortsightedness is that the vast majority of HIV positive people who have unrestricted access to their medications can keep their health in check. Without them however the clock starts ticking and it becomes harder and harder to stay healthy until eventual hospitalization is required for an opportunistic infection that the body can’t fight off. It’s far cheaper to pay fro meds than a hospital stay. Just sayin’…..
How does that knowledge make you feel? Hmmm…? Florida has almost 4000 people who can’t get their HIV meds. Almost 1/2 of the waiting list – in one of 50 states.