News & Discussions

Wasteful Spending, Myopic Vision

I recently came across two different reports about prevention/testing efforts that, despite large amounts of funding, make little-to-no difference in slowing the pandemic. These two studies took place oceans apart from each other and are examples, to me, of how the real problem is the rigidity of the "AIDS, Inc." system that seeks to tweek things while keeping the institutions mainly in-tact. It is a system that resists whole-sale change and truly innovative ideas. Instead, it maintains a myopic vision...

Wasteful Spending, Myopic Vision

I recently came across two different reports about prevention/testing efforts that, despite large amounts of funding, make little-to-no difference in slowing the pandemic. These two studies took place oceans apart from each other and are examples, to me, of how the real problem is the rigidity of the "AIDS, Inc." system that seeks to tweek things while keeping the institutions mainly in-tact. It is a system that resists whole-sale change and truly innovative ideas. Instead, it maintains a myopic vision...

$600K Study: Will Rapid Home-tests Reduce HIV-Infection

A study is underway to see if use of rapid home-tests for HIV are a viable option for condom-use with regards to lowering HIV-transmission rates. The study will enroll 300 participants - all MSM, primarily of color - who admittedly to not regularly use condoms, so the idea is to see if self-testing will impact HIV-transmission.

As someone who has been...

Religion, Dogma and HIV-Testing

I was recently having a conversation with an ethics and communications professor from a Christian college. We had been informal colleagues about a decade ago, and developed deep admiration for each other despite some differences of opinions and beliefs about gay rights. What I always admired about Ken was that he never shut down conversations. He had me come and speak to his classes a few times, always being honest about his beliefs but really encouraging others to find their own way and connecting back to their own...

Scaling UP Accessibility to HIV Self-Tests

British-based organizations and some global partners are embarking on a two year project to expand access to HIV self-tests in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia, according to this just-released announcement.  Accoring to the announcement, "these pilots will generate crucial information about how to distribute self-test products effectively, ethically and efficiently...

Public Health Discourse about Self-Testing

Last week, the DC HIV Prevention Planning Group (HPPG) finally got around to a healthy discussion about HIV Self-Test kits, the pros and cons, and potential uses in moving forward.  

From the get-go, it was pretty clear that there was a steep learning-curve we had to get on, which in itself was a bit disturbing as the committee is made up of people working in the field of HIV. But better late than never, I suppose. Here are some of the highlights: 

  • It seems pretty clear...

The Problem with Free Testing

I am in the process of exploring how to offer on-line counseling/consultation sessions for people who want to use the option of self-testing but still would like to have some supports. One of the questions I posed to some peers is about whether to charge a nominal fee or not. One comment was to not offer free counseling, but to instead offer free information and materials on blogs, websites and in articles. The point was that when we start offering things for free, people will expect things for free. This has had me...

Ebola has Global Health Community Rethinking Strategy

The still-emerging Ebola saga has many in the global health arena re-thinking how aid is spent on health-related issues in Africa. Basically, leaders are thinking about how wise it is to pour boatloads of money into disease-specific causes rather than investing in developing integrated healthcare infrastructures that have a more holistic view of community health. "This is going to have to be a...

HIV, Ebola, Inequality and the fallacy of Geography

Sojourners' president Jim Wallis wrote a piece recently calling ebola an "inequality crisis." In his essay, he draws a line of inequality between the global north and global south.  

By drawing this geographical line, Wallis is repeating an error that shows we have yet to learn from our experiences in trying to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic. By looking at the economic inequality...

Self-Testing: Channeling Nancy Reagan

When it comes to HIV self-testing, increasingly it seems that many in the public health and HIV/AIDS advocacy world are moving away from the bold harm-reduction, act-up world and are instead channeling Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" attitude. I've already alluded to the fact that self-testing is nowhere to be found on many of the HIV/AIDS organizations that promote and educate about testing. More recently, while attending an urban HIV Prevention planning meeting, one of the heads of the public...