Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Trekking and Trending to the Next Level

Will Truvada help young black gay men avoid HIV?

by A. Florido ( International Center for Journalist)

A clinic in the historically African-American neighborhood of Baldwin Hills has launched a program to give patients easier access to Truvada, a once-a-day pill shown to drastically reduce the risk of
contracting HIV.
Doctors and staff at the Gleicher/Chen Health Center, run by the nonprofit AIDS Project Los Angeles, say the drug known as Truvada could become a key part of the effort to reduce new HIV infections among young black gay and bisexual men, who have the county’s highest rate of new infections.

Vallerie Wagner, the clinic’s chief operating officer, said it considers the drug "an important tool in the overall HIV prevention tool kit."

But despite its proven effectiveness at preventing the transmission of HIV, the drug has not been universally embraced. Indeed, since it was approved by the FDA as a preventive pill more than two years ago, Truvada has been slow to catch on among doctors and patients. Some advocates are concerned that the drug could actually put users at greater risk, because they might use it incorrectly or because it could encourage more unprotected sex.

The clinic has rolled its program out in a way meant to address these concerns, though its doctors say they recognize the challenges they’ll face in ensuring their patients use the pill safely.
Truvada works by maintaining a reservoir of the drug in the body so that someone who is exposed to HIV can quickly fight it off before it establishes itself in the system. The strategy is known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, and has been shown to be more than 90 percent effective.
But the concerns stem from the fact that taking the pill daily is seen as critical, at the same time that it is intended for people at high risk for HIV, many of whom may be less likely to adhere to the strict regimen.

Young black gay men, for example, have the highest rate of HIV. About one-third of black gay men
in L.A. County are estimated to have the virus. They are also at highest risk for infection, and yet are least likely to get tested for the virus, or to get into or remain in treatment after contracting it.
That reality raises serious questions as to whether many of these men will adhere to Truvada’s daily regimen, said Greg Wilson, who provides support to young black gay men at the nonprofit Reach L.A. Many of his clients have troubled backgrounds and are low income, and some are homeless.
"Going from that, to saying, 'OK, now starting today every single day at the same time if possible, you take this one pill?' And expect them to not mess up? That’s a level of responsibility that they have not ever had to deal with," Wilson said.

This is compounded by the fact that some of his clients on Truvada have said they’re less likely to use condoms. Wilson said they’ve been lulled into a false sense of security because they see the pill as a magic bullet as opposed to a backup plan. He wants Truvada to come with lots of education about its safe use.

These concerns have also led the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the nation’s largest HIV treatment provider, to oppose Truvada.

"The CDC indications say you should use Truvada with condoms, but in real life that's not what's happening," said Michael Weinstein, the foundation's president.

This lack of knowledge about Truvada is something that Dr. Christian Nakayama, the APLA clinic’s HIV specialist, has seen himself.

"Most people will come in saying something along the lines of, I heard there’s a pill I can take to not get HIV," Takayama said. "Well, yes. But it’s not that simple." ( access the entire item at www.scpr.org )
Tailgate with HRC Arkansas

HRC Arkansas has hit the ground running and will have its face in the place as the University of Arkansas takes on Ole’ Miss. Join us on Saturday, November 22 on the campus of the University of Arkansas at the NCAA Champions Gazebo in the Gardens as we "Call the Hogs" and share stories and hot dogs to celebrate each other and prepare for a great game!
HRC's presence at the game will continue to raise awareness about the organization's presence in the state and educate the community about the human and material resources on hand to help advance the cause of equality across Arkansas. Tailgate and Game Time will be announced soon. Make sure and follow us on
Facebook for more details and times.
The BYB Shout out Spotlight
This weeks "Bad Young Brother" is none other than J'ahmad Kelly who is rapidly crafting his "Internet rising star," using his You Tube channel " The Gaze" and Facebook page to engage and entice viewers to watch.  In our "blink" society, Kelly's unique twist and often times side splitting take on the days news cycle or either what's trending culturally, can be quite entertaining. His online show postings are well done with good lighting and sound. It also appears that he is not only having fun doing the shots but has put some considerable thought into presentation and marketing his brand to the Generation X or Y set. 
Among his latest send ups or mash up is a great piece on a recent COGIC Convocation where a young man is "delivered" from his homosexuality. I need not say more, because Mr. Kelly's video rebuttal speaks volumes and so much more than I even want to put into words. COP 24/7 is posting this piece because it became somewhat of a sensation being viewed some 3,795 times and counting. We could certainly use some of that type of traffic noise around here.  

Kelly is based in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and appears to want to be a man of mystery and aloofness. On a side note, COP 24/7 is proud to see eager young folks taking to new media to message their voices and perceptions about the world around them. We encourage it and will highlight others that are nominated or their work calls for attention.

All we can say is, if you want "fame," you better be ready for everybody to be all up in your business and more.

In the meantime, Ladies and Gents and all who haven't decided, J'ahmad Kelly is our BYB for the week. Check out his video below and subscribe to his You Tube channel.

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