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Reposted from sfbob by FogCityJohn

I'll answer the question I posed in my title beyond the orange squiggle but first this:

As I do every year I'm posting this diary to ask you to support me on AIDS/LifeCycle, a charity bike ride that raises money for AIDS services provided by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Over the years I have raised nearly $94,000 for the SF AIDS Foundation; last year was my most successful ever; I raised $8,155. Not wishing to be overly exuberant I kept this year's goal to $7,500 thinking I should come close to that. But things haven't worked out quite as I expected them to. While donations can be received until the middle of July they don't really count in terms of the event's official goals unless they are in by May 29th, two days before the ride begins. And thus far I have raised only $4,454.75; I've managed to raise at least $5,000 every year since 2004 and I really don't want to fall short of that figure now so I guess one might say I'm starting to become a wee bit desperate.

Keep on reading and we'll get to why I keep going...and going...and going...

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Reposted from Virally Suppressed by FogCityJohn

In the coming weeks, roughly 17,500 of the brightest medical minds in America will don their gowns and mortarboards and be formally welcomed as the latest initiates into the fraternity of practicing physicians. The ceremonies celebrating the accomplishments of these young men and women will be many, but they will likely not be varied. Keynote speakers may differ and the university names on the diplomas may change, but most of our nation’s 141 accredited medical schools will follow a very similar script which includes—among other things—the recitation of the Hippocratic Oath, in which the newly minted doctors promise to uphold the ethical standards of their profession and do no harm to their patients.

However, while the Hippocratic Oath will be used to swear in the vast majority of American physicians, there will be a select few who will instead recite another oath—the Oath of Maimonides. A 12th century rabbi, philosopher and physician who lived and worked in North Africa, Maimonides is a man known as much for his Talmudic scholarship as his contributions to medicine, and it is this melding of the spiritual and the medical that imbues his oath with a sense of shared humanity and compassion that is lacking from its Hippocratic cousin. In its opening lines, the Oath of Maimonides proclaims:

“The eternal providence has appointed me to watch over the life and health of Thy creatures. May the love for my art actuate me at all time; may neither avarice nor miserliness, nor thirst for glory or for a great reputation engage my mind; for the enemies of truth and philanthropy could easily deceive me and make me forgetful of my lofty aim of doing good to Thy children.”

It would serve us well to keep the words of Maimonides in the back of our minds as we look at the most recent scandal involving the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and their polarizing president, Michael Weinstein. Last month, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation was thrust into an unwelcome spotlight when a lawsuit filed by 3 former AHF employees alleging that the company was violating the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute was made public. According to the suit, AHF handed out cash or other incentives to clients who tested positive and were successfully linked to care at an AHF facility, while also providing its employees with bonuses of between $50 and $100 for facilitating that linkage. These bonuses, the lawsuit argues, are in direct violation of federal law and were instituted in an attempt to game the system and fraudulently increase the amount of funding AHF received from Medicaid, Medicare and federal HIV/AIDS grant programs to the tune of $20 million a year since 2010.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein Gears Up For Another Round of Litigation, This Time Against Whistleblowers Within His Own Company
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Reposted from unapologeticliberal777 by FogCityJohn

Things are going from bad to worse in Scott County, Indiana as new HIV cases continue to soar amongst IV drug users in Scott County and Indiana Governor Mike Pence and the GOP controlled legislature bear the responsibility for all of this and need to get their heads out of the sand.

As many of you know, the legislature and governor in Indiana shut down the Scott County Planned Parenthood facility in 2013, and four others were shut down across the state as far back as 2011.  Each of the five clinics all provided HIV testing and information about HIV transmission, etc., but were closed in large part due to funding cuts to the state's public health infrastructure passed by the GOP controlled legislature and signed by Governor Mike Pence.  Those cuts came amid a national/local political campaign to demonize Planned Parenthood due to it providing contraception and abortion services at some of their clinics.  Sadly, the Scott County location did not provide abortion services but seems to have fallen victim to the war waged by irrational conservatives across the country and in Indiana.

As a result of these misguided steps taken by the legislature and governor, HIV rates have soared from the usual 5 cases per year to over a 120 this year and climbing:

There are now 120 confirmed H.I.V. cases and 10 preliminary positive cases tied to Scott County, the Indiana State Department of Health said on Friday. That is up from 106 the previous week.

Health officials who declared an epidemic last month have said that they expect the number of cases to rise as more people are tested. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent staff members to Indiana last month to help with testing, the Health Department said in a news release. The growing number of cases could put pressure on Gov. Mike Pence to extend the 30-day needle exchange program that he approved on

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Reposted from anotherdemocrat by FogCityJohn

I did this last year, but I think everyone is in need of some inspirational stuff, and I'm going to try to spread some good feelings around.

I don't know about you, but I've certainly had better years. But I've been trying to think about helping others who need it, as a way of getting out of my own space. I do the Hill Country Ride for AIDS every year, because the agencies it benefits help people out every day. They have a food bank, for people who really need it - and people with AIDS have to be very mindful about nutrition, about the timing, and what they eat.... so there are people who counsel about that. There's legal assistance, medical subsidies, volunteers to drive people to appointments..... Just help, that their clients really need.

So I was thinking about why. Why help? What do I get out of it? I did some searching, and the results of my quest are below the squiggly thing. Of course, if you want to skip the inspirational quotes, the video & the U2 song, you could donate at my Hill Country Ride page now.

Oh - and a picture. Here's a picture from the year I was top fundraiser (not gonna happen this year, I'm very late getting started this year), but anyway:

top fundraiser photo P1010207.jpg

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Reposted from Laura Clawson by FogCityJohn
Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov. Mike Pence declared a public health emergency in Scott County, Indiana, last week after 79 people tested positive for HIV linked to intravenous drug use. Funny story about that:
Scott County, Indiana, the center of an exploding HIV outbreak, has been without an HIV testing center since early 2013, when the sole provider -- a Planned Parenthood clinic -- was forced to close its doors. The clinic did not offer abortion services.

The Scott County clinic and four other Planned Parenthood facilities in the state, all of which provided HIV testing and information, have shuttered since 2011, in large part due to funding cuts to the state's public health infrastructure.

In 2011, Mike Pence was in the House of Representatives, so he wasn't directly responsible for Planned Parenthood cuts made at the state level. But in 2011, Pence pushed an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood through the House, as part of the wave of Republican attacks on Planned Parenthood that also closed that Scott County clinic, leaving the area without an HIV testing center.

Amendments to defund Planned Parenthood are exactly the sort of thing that made Pence a darling of the far right, a governor, and, to hear some people talk, a plausible presidential candidate. So while he's now taking action to set up a needle exchange to stem the HIV outbreak—despite his general opposition to needle exchanges—the fact is that this outbreak is a direct result of the kind of policies that Mike Pence embraces.


Sun Mar 29, 2015 at 09:16 AM PDT

HIV Positive? Poor? Just Die.

by LaFeminista

Reposted from LaFeminista by FogCityJohn

How we perceive others determines how they perceive us. I suggest that you watch the video below. It can also be found here It may not be available in the US, see further down

The defence used to prevent a drug that was cheap to produce being distributed widely opened up a whole can of worms.

To sell it cheaply would hurt future research and prevent new drugs being developed for those that could afford them.

That poor people were too ignorant to use them properly and hence destroy the drugs effectiveness.

Racism, entitlement and privilege were visibly apparent.

When you look how the US and the "West"defended patent law for the corporations you can understand how resentment built up alongside the death toll. The impression is also given that the US government is controlled by and for the corporations, an impression that is also held by many of us in the "West".

My own view is that yes patents are important, but when they involve mass death there must be another way to compensate for the research that went into the product to release the product to those that need it. To wilfully prevent this happening is a crime against humanity.

I suggest watching the video, it's Sunday, so there is time.

Just a thought

If you cannot see the video, then this might help to describe what it is about

What appealed to you about this particular story and the wider subject?

Initially it was really just shock and disgust that so many millions of lives could be so callously and I would say brutally set aside, with very little attention paid to the fact and no one called to account. Then it seemed absolutely incredible to me that there was no book or film on the subject, aside from some contemporary news pieces. Later, once I started delving more deeply into it, I was immensely moved and inspired by the people who played key roles in breaking the blockade of AIDS drugs into Africa, and it struck me that the example of their passion, bravery and determination could potentially ignite a spark in all kinds of people inclined to work for change, in whatever area, but who might doubt their power to actually make a difference. And finally, when it became clear to me that the story was being lost, swept under the rug and forgotten, that there was a very real threat no lessons would be taken from this unimaginable atrocity and that the drug industry and major Western governments were actively working to shut down future production of low-cost generic medicine in the global south, something which will almost certainly lead to horrific, unnecessary loss of life in rich countries as well as poor, it seemed to me that there was no option but to try and do something to get this story out there.

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Reposted from inclusiveheart by FogCityJohn

What does a rightwing Republican Governor do when he is faced with an HIV crisis?

He turns to…

Science and Liberal policies, of course. Probably belatedly but none the less that's where he goes for solutions to curtailing the crisis.

Our "good friend", Governor Mike Pence, is not just dealing with the fallout from the Indiana Legislature's horrible discrimination bill this week, he's also dealing with a major HIV health crisis in Southern Indiana.

LA Times: "Rural Indiana struggles as 'epicenter of the HIV outbreak'"

Governor Mike Pence in the face of this health crisis has had to resort to "liberal" (gahh!) policies in order to try to curtail the problem:

On Thursday, Gov. Mike Pence authorized a short-term exchange to fight the spread of HIV, an exception to Indiana’s conservative anti-drug policy that bars needle-exchange programs that trade dirty needles for uncontaminated ones.


In addition to the needle exchange, the order sets up a command center to coordinate HIV and substance-abuse treatments, according to the state. The state is also establishing a public awareness program to explain safe sex and needle disposal and a hotline to get HIV testing and treatment.

The number of cases is expected to increase. Health officials say they are trying to contact as many as 100 people tied to those with confirmed HIV infections.

Apparently prayer isn't enough to stem this tide.

Time Magazine: How an HIV Outbreak Hit the Heartland

Indiana Governor Mike Pence on Thursday declared a public health emergency in a rural Indiana county after 79 cases of HIV were confirmed there in the last several months.


In this area of the state, there’s relatively weak public health infrastructure to prevent the infection from spreading.


“The system isn’t working and isn’t strong enough from a public health perspective,” Meyerson says.

The CDC has been called in to help…

NBC Chicago: Indiana Calls in CDC to Help with HIV Outbreak
A medical team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will arrive in Scott County on Monday to help state staff with follow-up contacts of HIV-positive individuals and data analysis, the agency said.

Follow us: @nbcchicago on Twitter | nbcchicago on Facebook

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Reposted from anotherdemocrat by anotherdemocrat

Hi. If you look at my timeline, you'll see I do a lot of diaries about the  Hill Country Ride for AIDS. I haven't done as many of these this year as I'd like, I've been a bit distracted. But I have a commitment to raise at least $2,000 for the Ride. If you want to cut to the chase, here's my Hill Country Ride for AIDS page, but I hope you'll come with me below the squiggly thing for a good story. And of course music.

Oh - and a picture. Here's a picture from the year I was top fundraiser, with the amazingly wonderful David Smith, who was the director that year :

top fundraiser photo P1010207.jpg

A word about David. His 50th birthday was yesterday, and his FB timeline was filled with greetings, as it should be. But they were different than the usual "happy birthday". Almost to a person, we all posted messages about what a blessing David is, how lucky we are to have him in our lives, and how the wold is so, so much better because he is here.

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Reposted from anotherdemocrat by anotherdemocrat

My birthday is Sunday, and it is time to start training for the Hill Country Ride for AIDS, which will be in April. And fundraising for it, too. So for my 50th birthday -- can I get the Kossack community to donate to my 15th Ride? How many $50 donations can I get? There will be music & stuff below the fancy longhorns, but if you want to skip that part & just donate, here's my Hill Country Ride page

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Reposted from james321 by Denise Oliver Velez

Aetna is being sued by Consumer Watchdog, a California advocacy group, for discriminating -- likely in pursuit of lower costs and more profits for Wall Street shareholders -- against HIV patients.

A consumer group has sued the health insurer Aetna, claiming that it discriminated against patients with H.I.V. when it required them to obtain medications exclusively through its own mail-order pharmacy.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in San Diego by the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, argues that Aetna’s policy violates the new federal health care law, which prohibits insurers from discriminating against people based on medical condition.

The company’s new policy, which takes effect Jan. 1 and applies to people who have purchased individual coverage, also raises the out-of-pocket amount that patients must pay for their treatments, potentially doubling it in some cases, according to the suit.

Mandating mail-order pharmacy use can be incredibly problematic for those individuals -- the poor -- without a reliable address or for those who wish to keep their condition private from roommates or neighbors. (But, for Aetna, requiring the use of its own mail-order pharmacy means more profits for the multi-billion dollar corporation whose CEO earns about $90,000 a day according to Physicians for a National Health Program.)
The [federal Health and Human Services] department said that requiring consumers to use mail-order pharmacies could discriminate against people without a fixed address, or those who wished to keep their conditions confidential from neighbors or co-workers who might see the packages. The department has not said whether it will go forward with the proposed rule.

Insurers and pharmacy-benefit managers for years have been prodding consumers with chronic medical conditions to obtain their drugs through mail-order pharmacies.

Besides serving as an added revenue stream, mail-order pharmacies keep down costs as well as premiums, the industry claims. Compared to a neighborhood pharmacy, specialty mail-order pharmacies can also keep better track of the needs of patients with serious medical conditions, the industry says.

Worse, however, than Aetna profiting from inconveniencing HIV patients is the fact that mandating mail-order pharmacy use can, obviously, endanger the health of patients when drugs are inevitably delayed or "lost in the mail." This is particularly dangerous for HIV patients.
But patient advocates say that the restriction of patients to mail-order programs has been particularly onerous for people with H.I.V. Often, they have close relationships with local pharmacists, some of whom specialize in treating people with the virus and are aware of the long list of additional medications that many patients must take.

Refilling medications through the mail breaks that bond, advocates say, and also increases the risk that patients will miss a dose if a refill is not delivered on time. Missing even a small number of doses can lead to a resurgence of the virus.

So, to be clear, Aetna -- and other insurers accused of discrimination in the past -- are certainly aware that missing a dose of an important drug can lead to resurgence of the virus, but they still insist that patients use mailorder pharmacies -- just to send a few more bucks to their shareholders.

But, wait, there's more. Aetna has also -- it appears -- switched HIV patients from paying a co-pay to co-insurance -- leading to dramatically-increased out-of-pocket costs for their drugs.

But the lawsuit asserts that the new policy raises the out-of-pocket costs of the drugs. Previously, Aetna members had to pay $20 to $70 per prescription for H.I.V. drugs. Now they will be asked to pay 20 percent of the cost of the drug, up to $150, the lawsuit said.
Insurers in other states have also been blasted for discriminating against HIV patients, including an Aetna-owned subsidiary (Coventry) in Florida.
Two groups, the AIDS Institute and the National Health Law Program, filed a complaint on Thursday with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights, saying the insurers had violated a provision in the new health care law that prohibits discriminating against consumers because of their medical conditions. They said the insurers had subjected people infected with H.I.V. to restrictions on medications that most patients take daily to keep the virus in check.

“This practice has no rational reason other than to drive people with H.I.V. and AIDS away from their plans,” Wayne Turner, a staff lawyer with the National Health Law Program, said in a conference call with reporters.

The complaint asserts that the four insurers — CoventryOne, Cigna, Humana and Preferred Medical Plan — placed H.I.V. drugs on the highest payment tier for midlevel, or silver, plans on the federal health insurance exchange in Florida.

This discrimination against HIV patients is a uniquely-American perversion of socially-just health care delivery.

In countries like England, France, and Italy -- ones with highly-regulated, government health care systems -- those who face the worst medical problems -- diabetes, HIV, AIDS, Cancer -- actually pay the least for health care. For example, while healthy patients pay minimal co-pays for drugs in England and Italy, those with cancer, HIV or diabetes pay nothing -- ZERO -- for drugs. You know, operating under the assumption that getting really, really sick for a really long time is problematic enough.

We could have that solidarity principle, too, but only if we fire the big-profit insurers -- like Aetna -- and replace them with single-payer, Medicare-for-all.

Reposted from RfrancisR by FogCityJohn

Is HIV a scientific hoax? It is just as much a scientific hoax as climate change. There are those who swear both are hoaxes and that the real truth is being covered up by a scientific community that has become monolithic, and is not open to new ideas or creative thinking. Yet, only one of these claims gets mainstream media attention. No wonder! Only one has a trillion dollar global industry behind it. And that is global warming denial. Thank God for public health that someone in the Republican corporate coalition didn't stand a chance of losing a few bucks if HIV prevention methods were adopted.

Below is an article I cross-posted from my blog Vocal Progressives.

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Reposted from Steven Payne by MBNYC

Faithful Word Baptist Church Pastor Steven Anderson of Tempe, Arizona is no stranger to spewing awful things in the name of the Lord. In 2009, Anderson made a media splash when he delivered a sermon during which he prayed for President Obama's death. Just this past March, he went on a tirade over women who so much as dared utter an amen in church, telling his lady-congregants that their place was subserviently in the home. He has also had some choice words for Jewish people, declaring that "Christ-rejecting jews are children of the devil".

So, yeah, this guy is an Asshole for Jesus. So why bother writing about him? Because he is a dangerous Asshole for Jesus.

Moved by the Christmas spirit, Anderson laid out his final solution for all those homos spreading the AIDS — execute them all, preferably before the day Christians celebrate the birth of that blessed little baby, Hallelujah!

Turn to Leviticus 20:13 because I actually discovered the cure for AIDS. Now this is the cure for AIDS.

And you know, everybody's talking about "Let's have an AIDS-free world by 2020. Look, we can have an AIDS-free world by Christmas. Okay, it wouldn't be totally AIDS-free, but we'd be like 90-some% AIDS-free by Christmas. Okay, here's what the bible says in Leviticus 20:13.

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

And that, my friend, is the cure for AIDS. It was right there in the Bible all along — and they’re out spending billions of dollars in research and testing. It’s curable — right there. Because if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant.

Truly a man of God's loving peace, this one.

I am accustomed to hearing and reading all sorts of viciousness directed at me and my community, but this goes beyond your typical, everyday sort of hate. This rhetoric is potentially deadly. Many of his congregants and the people who tune into his YouTube videos are just looking for a call to do violence against the LGBT community. This man is providing it, and he must be called out and held accountable for it.

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