Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Mid-Week Triple Play

New Black Gay Men's Support Group Forming

A new Black Gay Men's Support Group is being tentatively structured as "Tongues Untied" and is planning its debut October 10, 2012 at 401 North Maple Street, in North Little Rock. Under the guidance of The Living Affected Corporation in conjunction with ADH's newest sub-grantee, Strilite, the venture will be designed to further support efforts to " HIV prevention message" within the same gender loving community and beyond. Member Desmond Pruitt stated, "I think that this is truly needed in our area and I'm very interested in how it will take off. I believe that we need places to share our thoughts and challenges especially before crisis situations set in." The new group will have both an open forum and topical format based around a 90 minute frame or as the group decides. Chief Operating Officer, Cornelius Mabin emphasized that this project was always apart of the Strilite vision. From its inception, the members viewed having such a group would be vital to their mission to "provide peer to peer mentoring, support and prevention education against maladies such as HIV in our community." Furthermore, " it's become imperative that as we deal with individuals holistically, we must wholeheartedly support their vision of "reaching our present to change our future." As planning is completed, times will be confirmed and announced on all the organizations digital platforms. COP 24/7 high fives this effort to fufill a need within the same gender loving community and will be sharing updates as they are avialable.

White House Releases National HIV/AIDS Strategy Progress Update

In this conversation from AIDS 2012, Dr. Ron Valdiserri, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases and Director of the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, speaks with Mr. Terrance Moore, Director of Policy and Health Equity at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD Exit Disclaimer). They discussed the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS among African American gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and efforts underway at the national and state levels to address this disparity. They touch on efforts to increase HIV testing among this population, including CDC’s new Testing Makes Us Stronger campaign which Mr. Moore advised on, the importance of improving linkage to and retention in care among this population, and the domestic and global struggles to address and reduce stigma which undercuts these efforts.

Watch their brief conversation below. Then, in the Comments section below, share your ideas for improving HIV prevention, care and treatment for Black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.

You can also read more on this important topic in our post AIDS 2012: HIV in Gay and Bisexual Men.

Woman Alleges Boyfriend Tried to Give Her HIV On Purpose
A woman has her ex-boyfriend arrested, she says, because he tried to give her HIV on purpose.
Arkansas is one of the first states to make it a crime to knowingly attempt to transmit HIV.
It will be up to a jury to decide if a man should spend up to 30 years in jail for his alleged actions.
"He spent time with me and my kids, it was all going great," said Rebecca Williams.
Earlier this year, Rebecca Williams began what she thought was a great relationship with a fellow tenant at this Little Rock apartment complex. Things were going so well, the two even got engaged.

Williams never thought her partner had HIV because she says he never told her.
"He kept telling me he was totally clean and so I went and got my yearly done and then he confessed it all." said Williams.
After months of an intimate relationship Williams learned Eric Hopkins had been lying to her. Now, she's had him arrested and charged for knowingly trying to infect her with HIV.
In fact, Williams says he finally admitted to her he wanted an HIV-positive wife, so he wouldn't die alone.
"He would preach the word of God, telling me he blessed me with HIV, that it wasn't a curse, it was a blessing," Williams said.
Williams immediately filed a police report. Now, she is waiting to take the case to trial in September.

"It is a very serious crime," said Prosecutor Larry Jegley. Jegley says he can't comment on this particular case but says cases like this are very rare.
Since 2007, only 27 people in the state have been arrested for the crime and 10 convicted.
Jegley says they simply have to prove the person who knew there infected, tried to transmit the disease without informing their partner.
Jegley says it doesn't even matter if the partner actually contracted HIV.
"It's like an assault, shooting at someone and you didn't hit and kill them, well you could have, same thing," Jegley said.

Williams is so grateful she's testing negative. She says Hopkins is mentally sick and needs help. still, she's seeking justice. To others, she says simply: beware of who you sleep with.
"Don't trust anybody, do your research," said Williams.
This case is set for a hearing next month. Hopkins is still in jail and Williams has an order saying he can't contact her.
Prosecutor Larry Jegley says he's handled about ten of these cases, all but one ended in conviction here.

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