AIDS 2015: 16 Million On HIV Treatment; New HIV Infections Falling

Carlos Santoscoy | On Top Magazine | November 26, 2015

A week before World AIDS Day, UNAIDS, the United Nations AIDS program. offered some encouraging news.

Estimates show that new HIV infections peaked in 2000 – and have since fallen by 35 percent – while AIDS-related deaths have fallen a startling 42 percent since a peak in 2004.

Additionally, roughly 15.8 million people are currently on HIV treatment. That’s a huge increase from the 2.2 million on treatment ten years ago.

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Transgender women living with HIV in Los Angeles County face an array of unmet legal needs

Transgender women living with HIV in Los Angeles County face an array of unmet legal needs

More than one-third of those surveyed reported being harassed or attacked in the past year, and 41 percent came into contact with the criminal justice system in the last five years.

Transgender women living with HIV in Los Angeles County face legal needs that have a significant impact on their access to resources such as income, health care and housing, but most do not receive any legal assistance, according to a new analysis by researchers at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

When provided a list of needs that could be addressed by legal assistance, all of the transgender women surveyed indicated that they had at least one legal need in the year prior to the survey, but more than two-thirds did not seek legal help. Of those women, one in four did not seek help because they could not afford it.

The study, titled “The Legal Needs of Transgender Women Living with HIV: Evaluating Access to Justice in Los Angeles,” analyzes the responses from transgender participants in a survey of almost 400 people living with HIV in Los Angeles County. Most of the respondents reported being low-income, unemployed and from communities of color. Of those respondents, 9 percent (34 individuals) identified as transgender women, and more than 70 percent of these women identified as Hispanic, Latina or of Spanish origin.

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Join Us

HIV Criminalization in California

Amira Hasenbush, Jim Kepner Law & Policy Fellow, and Ayako Miyashita, Director of the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project, will discuss four California laws that criminalize people living with HIV. These laws criminalize otherwise legal conduct or increase penalties for illegal conduct based on a person’s HIV status.

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015
12:20-1:30 p.m.
UCLA School of Law, Room 1430
Lunch will be served to those who RSVP.


New surgery could allow trans women to give birth within five years

A new surgery could allow trans women to give birth to children within five years.

Last week, it was announced that Cleveland Clinic is performing uterus transplant surgery on women who were born without a womb or whose uterus is diseased or malfunctioning.

And it appears that the day when a trans woman can give birth is closer than we might think.

‘My guess is five, 10 years away, maybe sooner,’ Dr. Karine Chung, director of the fertility preservation program at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, said according to Yahoo Health.

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LGBT People Face Barriers to Assistance for Intimate Partner Violence – Including a Lack of Research

LGBT People Face Barriers to Assistance for Intimate Partner Violence – Including a Lack of Research

A review of the existing research details how some LGBT populations disproportionately experience intimate partner violence and sexual abuse.

Intimate partner violence is more prevalent among certain LGBT populations, but current research is limited, according to a review of existing literature conducted by Taylor N.T. Brown and Jody L. Herman from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

More research on intimate partner violence among LGBT people would allow service providers and policymakers to better address challenges in assisting survivors.

Key findings of the report include:

  • According to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, bisexual women face a higher prevalence of lifetime experiences of intimate partner violence than heterosexual women. Lesbians and bisexual men seem more likely and gay men seem less likely to report ever having experienced IPV than heterosexual women and men, but these differences are not statistically significant.
  • In other studies using representative samples, bisexual women experience a higher range of lifetime IPV prevalence than women in the general population. The prevalence of IPV among lesbians, gay men and bisexual men seems as high as among women and men in the general population, respectively.
  • In studies using non-representative samples, the prevalence of IPV among lesbians, bisexual women, bisexual men and gay men seems as high as among women and men in the general population, respectively. These studies also find that between 31% and 50% of transgender people experience IPV in their lifetime.

The study, titled “Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Abuse among LGBT People,” reviews research on the prevalence of intimate partner violence and intimate partner sexual abuse among LGBT people, barriers to accessing assistance, and the quality of available help. The authors identified gaps in the research, including limited data from nationally representative samples, particularly for transgender people, and a limited amount of research evaluating programs designed to help LGBT survivors.

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Sexually Transmitted Disease Rates Reach Record High In U.S.

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">Human pap smear showing chlamydia in the vacuoles at 500x and stained with H&E.</span> National Cancer Institute via Getty ImagesHuman pap smear showing chlamydia in the vacuoles at 500x and stained with H&E.


LINDSEY TANNER | Huffington Post | November 18, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) — A U.S. sexually transmitted diseases epidemic is increasing and the most common infection, chlamydia, has risen to record levels, government officials say.

Reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis all increased in 2014. Chlamydia cases had dipped in 2013, but last year’s total of more than 1.4 million — or 456 cases per 100,000 — was the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The chlamydia rate was up almost 3 percent from 2013, the CDC reported Tuesday.

Sexually transmitted diseases are among more than 70 diseases that are reportable to the CDC, including measles, chickenpox and tuberculosis. Flu is reported differently, by hospitalizations.

“America’s worsening STD epidemic is a clear call for better diagnosis, treatment, and prevention,” said the CDC’s Dr. Jonathan Mermin.

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Alcoholism drug can “wake up” dormant HIV to be killed, study finds

Kate Kelland | Reuters | Yahoo News | November 16, 2015

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists seeking a cure for the AIDS virus have made an unexpected discovery with a drug designed to combat alcoholism which they say could be a critical part of a strategy to “wake up” and then kill dormant HIV hiding in the body.

The drug, branded as Antabuse but also sold as a generic called disulfiram, was given to 30 HIV positive patients in America and Australia who were already taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) AIDS drugs.

At the highest given dose, there was evidence that “dormant HIV was activated”, the researchers said in a study published in The Lancet HIV journal on Monday, and with no adverse effects.

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Hillary Clinton Calls For Rescheduling Cannabis

NORML | November 12, 2015

Orangeburg, SC: Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for amending the federal classification of cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II during a campaign stop this weekend.

Fellow Democrat presidential candidate Martin O’Malley had previously said that, if elected, he would move cannabis to Schedule II via executive order. Republican candidate Rand Paul (KY) is the co-sponsor of Senate legislation to reclassify the substance. Last week, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation, “The Ending Federal Prohibition Act of 2015,” to remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act altogether.

In her remarks, Clinton alleged that scientists “haven’t done any research” on the safety and potential therapeutic efficacy. However, a keyword search on National Library of Medicine database yields thousands of scientific papers specific to cannabis and its effects. The findings of a recent review of FDA-approved clinical trials assessing the safety and therapeutic efficacy of herbal cannabis in various patient populations reported, “Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.”

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Williams Institute Scholars Provide Legal Analyses to Obama Administration Regarding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Healthcare

Williams Institute Scholars Provide Legal Analyses to Obama Administration Regarding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Healthcare

Yesterday, Williams Institute scholars—joined by over 40 professors of law, public policy, and public health—submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that provides the agency with detailed legal analyses in support of protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in healthcare.

Currently, HHS is in the process of issuing regulations implementing the principal non-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act, which does not explicitly prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in healthcare. However, the statute prohibits sex discrimination.

The 31-page letter—authored by Adam P. Romero, our Senior Counsel and Arnold D. Kassoy Scholar of Law—concludes that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are forms of sex discrimination. The letter also recommends that HHS require healthcare providers to collect data relevant to LGBT people, and limit religious exemptions to those already provided elsewhere in federal law.

Read the Letter

Veterans drop hundreds of empty pill bottles in front of the White House

Perry Stein | The Washington Post | November 10, 2015

A couple dozen servicemen and women marched to the White House this Veterans Day and dumped a large box of empty pill containers, calling on the president and other federal officials to make medical marijuana accessible to veterans.

“Here’s what the over-medication of our veterans looks like,” they said as they spilled the canisters onto the floor. “We don’t want it.”

The veterans and protesters — affiliated with various veteran and marijuana advocacy organizations — argued that Veterans Affairs hospitals are over-medicating veterans, prescribing them a large number of psychoactive medications to treat PTSD.  They marched from McPherson Square to the Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters, then to the White House, some smoking joints along the way, which is illegal in D.C.

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300 Veterans, Some With PTSD, Are on Death Row: Report

| NBC News | November 9, 2015

During Courtney Lockhart’s capital murder trial, the jury heard testimony that he had returned from a bloody 16-month deployment to Ramadi, Iraq, a changed man.

His sweet nature was replaced by anger and paranoia, his ex-fiancee said. He hid in the closet at night, started living out of his car, drank too much and once put a gun to his own head.

The defense argued he was suffering from untreated PTSD and that he wasn’t in his right mind when he abducted, robbed and fatally shot college student Lauren Burk in 2008.

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