News & Discussions

"A Strategy for Targeting Most At-Risk Ends Up Not Targeting Anyone"

This blog caught my attention because of the title "Garbage In Garbage Out Strategy Found Fit for its Purpose." It is a highly-critical piece about how UNAIDS is using Modes of Transmission models to estimate HIV-infections, and the criticism is that this way of estimating infection can be both absurd as well as stigmatizing.  

It's a...

HIV-Testing and Prevention: A Mindful Practice

About a decade ago, I was working much more closely with the faith community promoting HIV-testing.  This was in a community that, as a whole, had a far-lower incidence rate of HIV than the national numbers.  I always felt that the social change needed to overcome the cultural stigma was to change the paradigm of who should be tested from "them" to "us", and "us" starts in our own backyard, so that was my starting point.  I also felt that stigma has two...

PrEP: Beyond the Headlines

This past week, the Centers for Disease Control announced new recommendations in the effort to slow and stop the HIV pandemic.  The guidelines are simply that, if you are at high-risk for contracting HIV, you should take Truvada regularly as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

This is welcome news.  The more tools we have to stop the spread of HIV, the better.  And each new advancement is a new opportunity to expand the conversation in the broader community about all the tools we have to prevent the...

Uganda: Should funding shift from HIV/AIDS to building prisons?

Much has been written the past few months about the concerns that using global funding for HIV/AIDS prevention in places like Uganda that are moving to criminalize homosexuality is a waste of money.  What is fiscally responsible?  What is the moral thing to do?  What influence should funders have on national policies?  Can this influence be based on cultural norms? Should public health outcomes be the guide? For what it's worth, Uganda is going the wrong...

Exporting HIV but not the Programs

This past weekend, I had the privilege of being a part of a community block party in Landover, MD.  The party was sponsored by the Whole Man Foundation and Raw Nation Community Church.  There was music, games and activities for kids, and food.  There were health tables (heart and diabetes screening, HIV-testing done by Heart to Hand, Inc., and Mosaic Initiative's table of information about testing and...

Words come back to haunt

About 10 years ago, while I was working at Canticle Ministries in Wheaton, IL, we organized a visit with Senator Dick Durbin.  He had been one of the prominent guests at Wheaton College when Bono energized the community to "do something" about HIV/AIDS in Africa.  My purpose in organizing a meeting with Sen. Durbin was to make the plea that Illinois could be a national and global leader in and a model for stopping the HIV pandemic. Simply put, I asked him if he would sign on to a statewide effort to get...

Activist vs. Activist

Michael Weinstein, CEO and President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), has come under fire recently for comments where he called Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis a "party drug". The reaction has been that his comments only serve to stigmatize people who are trying to protect themselves from HIV.  So now there is a...

HIghlighting Prevention Tools can be Blinding

A few years ago, male circumcision was being touted as a vital tool to stopping the spread of HIV. For a while, it was receiving a lot of global attention and press (more recently replaced by Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis as the HIV/AIDS media darling of the day for prevention).  Now comes data indicating that...

Franklin Graham, Bono, anti-gay laws, silence and Uganda

U2 lead singer Bono, more than perhaps any other individual, built the bridge that allowed socially-conservative, often Evangelical Christian groups here in the US to join the global AIDS movement.  Starting with his rally at Wheaton College in December, 2002 and continuing for the next dozen years, he has routinely made it comfortable for many to address HIV/AIDS by focusing on women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. 

His glaring light on this issue (now joined by such...

One Study: Two Messages

"No one with an undetectable viral load, gay or heterosexual, transmits HIV in first two years of PARTNER study", read one headline. "Having and HIV-positive partner with an undetectable viral load protects gay men to at least 96%" reads another. Both of these, from a public health perspective, are fantastic...