Thirty years ago, a mysterious sickness began killing people slowly. The first reported case of what is now known as HIV/AIDS, is hard to pinpoint, according to Fiercebiotechresearch.com.
Breakthroughs in genetics, drug delivery, vaccines, computer modeling and other disparate disciplines are all converging onto their target. Even recent vaccine failures have opened up new avenues of inquiry."This is a pivotal moment in HIV vaccine research," Alan Bernstein, executive director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, recently told Reuters. "The last five years have been the richest period in HIV vaccine research since the epidemic began. The question...now is how do we build on these scientific advances?" He added that cross-border and cross-discipline collaboration among scientists was crucial.
Much work still needs to be done to rid the world of this modern-day plague that has cost so many lives, but it seems to be with renewed focus, AIDS research is moving forward. With antiretroviral combination drugs as treatment and possibly prevention, and a reinvigorated vaccine search, it is possible that HIV/AIDS could eventually go the way of smallpox into the dustbin of history.
While medical advances have been made over the last three decades, the social stigmas still exist. According to The Body.com, an AIDS/HIV resource website, in the 1980s, the CDC identified the "4H" groups people most likely to contract HIV and AIDS.
"I don't know if you remember that the CDC had identified people at risk as the 'four Hs,' " says Jean Claude Compas, M.D., a Haitian family-practice physician in Brooklyn, N.Y. "It stood for "Haitians, hemophiliacs, homosexuals and heroin addicts."
When, in 1983, the CDC recommended banning the "4H" groups from donating blood, it cast a social stigma over the Haitian community.
"Scientifically, it didn't make any sense," Dr. Compas says of the ban. Despite New York City health officials lifting Haitians from its own 4H high-risk group in 1983, federal agencies continued to bar them from blood drives for eight more years.
On April 20, 1990, when the U.S. ban was up for review, about 70,000 Haitian New Yorkers marched across the Brooklyn Bridge into lower Manhattan to protest what Dr. Compas calls the "terrible stigma" that was demonizing Haitian blood.
"The protest was very important for us," says Dr. Compas, who was a key organizer of the march. Today, he finds, "the stigma of AIDS is less, but still there," so the task of educating his community about prevention and treatment remains urgent.
Here in Mecklenburg County, County Commissioner Bill James makes no attempts to show tolerance for people with HIV or who have lost a loved one to the disease. Nearly two years ago, he angered the community and fellow commissioner Vilma Leake by calling her son a "homo" and then released a statement to the media that furthered his disdain of same-sex benefits.
"In justifying her position last night in public she used her son's 'lifestyle' and his death from HIV-AIDS to justify voting for benefits to allow individuals to use tax dollars to engage in the same behavior that resulted in her son's death."
"It is akin to someone whose son is an alcoholic and died from the disease, using his death from drinking as justification to have the taxpayers pay for more booze."
"Her position was that her 'faith' demanded that she do this to support her son and his 'lifestyle' which she acknowledges killed him."
"In doing so, it is legitimate to ask her what 'lifestyle' and in particular whether her son was a homosexual.
Charlotte lost the Metrolina AIDS Project in 2009, an organization that provided free testing and other services. The local LGBT newspaper Q-Notes provided a timeline of the group's demise.
MAP has served thousands of Charlotte-area patients with HIV. Despite their legacy of good work, the organization also has a history riddled with internal struggles, financial difficulties and an uneasiness with public LGBT-affirmation.
Fall 1985 During the height of the AIDS crisis, six gay men make the decision to form an AIDS service organization to meet the needs of Charlotte area individuals contracting HIV.
July 16, 1986 MAPs articles of incorporation are filed with the North Carolina Secretary of State.
Aug. 1990 Chaired by MAP board president Sister Mary Thomas Burke, the organizations Program Review Panel rejects a gay-themed HIV prevention and condom-use advertisement. Depicting two young men draped in an American flag, a federal judge involved in a lawsuit over other local Program Review Panels said it was difficult to explain why MAP rejected the seemingly innocent ad.
July 8, 1991 MAPs board of directors votes no confidence in openly gay executive director John Conley and asks him to resign after he publicly acknowledged his sexual orientation at an AIDS Quilt exhibit in Charlotte. In a later interview with Q-Notes, Conley claims he was told not to use the word gay in a MAP newsletter. Following Conleys ouster, three MAP staffers and four volunteers also leave the organization.
1993 A routine United Way review and audit reveal serious internal problems and financial difficulties for MAP, including deficiencies in policy and procedure, inadequate documentation and record-keeping of Ryan White CARE Act-funded programs and services and inappropriate coordinate of care. At the time, funding from the Regional HIV/AIDS Consortium is put on hold.
Dec. 1993 MAP treasurer Stephen OShields is arrested and charged with embezzling nearly $118,000 from the organization.
Sept. 1994 Stephen OShields is sentenced to six months in jail and ordered to repay the money he embezzled from MAP.
Oct. 1996 Infighting and disagreements among staff result in the resignation of MAP Executive director Barbara Rein and the termination or resignation of a half-dozen other employees including three department directors.
Feb. 2008 Carolina Celebration, a primarily gay mens philanthropic organization, announces it will quit contributing to MAP amidst concerns the AIDS organization is mismanaging funds and moving away from serving the gay community. Carolina Celebration had contributed tens of thousands of dollars to MAP each year.
Jan. 2009 MAP comes close to closure when it is revealed the organizations Ryan White CARE Act funding is put on hold pending a routine review. MAP officials say the funding hold stemmed partly from organizational problems surrounding the opening of MAPs Metrolina Care Network Clinic and a failure to get approval for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.
August 2009 MAP announces that Dr. Jose Diaz will become executive director and that the Health Resources and Services Administration has approved a recovery plan for the organization, which will aim to restructure the groups service delivery toward a clinical care approach.
Fall 2009 Disagreements among staff and financial problems lead to staff resignations, lay offs and the decision to shutter MAPs doors.
According to the 2010 Mecklenburg County Health Department Community Report, the county has a 16.6-percent HIV rate, nearly 7 percent higher than the statewide rate of 10.1 percent.
I bet Steve Jobs never thought of this use of the iPod.
The web site for Ohmibod immediately tells you:
OhMiBod® is not endorsed by Apple, Inc.
John Edwards fell for it. Now two more powerful men are being watched as their lives are ruined by outside booty and sexual assault allegations.
Time magazine asked: "What makes powerful men do bad things." Well, apparently, it starts with a "P" and ends with a "Y."
When her husband Dominique Strauss-Kahn was preparing to run for President of France five years ago, Anne Sinclair told a Paris newspaper that she was "rather proud" of his reputation as a ladies' man, a chaud lapin (hot rabbit) nicknamed the Great Seducer.
"It's important," she said, "for a man in politics to be able to seduce."
Maybe it was pride that inspired French politicians and International Monetary Fund officials to look the other way as the rumors about "DSK" piled up, from the young journalist who says Strauss-Kahn tried to rip off her clothes when she went to interview him, to the female lawmaker who describes being groped and pawed and vowed never to be in a room alone with him again, to the economist who argued in a letter to IMF investigators that "I fear that this man has a problem that, perhaps, made him unfit to lead an institution where women work under his command." Maybe it was the moral laziness and social coziness that impel elites to protect their own. Maybe it was a belief that he alone could save the global economy. Maybe nothing short of jail is disqualifying for certain men in certain circles.
But in any event, the arrest of Strauss-Kahn in New York City for allegedly trying to rape a hotel maid has ignited a fierce debate over sex, law, power and privilege. And it is only just beginning. The night of Strauss-Kahn's arraignment, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted that the reason his wife Maria Shriver walked out earlier this year was the discovery that he had fathered a child more than a decade ago with a former member of the household staff. The two cases are far apart: only one man was hauled off to jail. But both suggest an abuse of power and a betrayal of trust. And both involve men whose long-standing reputations for behaving badly toward women did not derail their rise to power. Which raises the question: How can it be, in this ostensibly enlightened age, when men and women live and work as peers and are schooled regularly in what conduct is acceptable and what is actionable, that anyone with so little judgment, so little honor, could rise to such heights?
In a world of HIV/AIDS and a resurgence of syphilis, you'd think people would know how to share their status with a potential lover. Sadly, we don't. It's hard to tell someone that you have a STD, especially if you're really into the other person. But it is irresponsible not to do so.
An article from Your Tango, addresses this heart-wrenching decision:
Perhaps the most difficult part about living with an STI like herpes or genital warts is that no matter how safe your sexual activity, there will always remain a risk of transmission. As such, YourTango Expert and relationship counselor Dr. Erica Goodstone urges that, "your only ethical and fair choice is to be open and honest with a partner with whom you want to share sexual intimacy."
Disclosing early is important. "Just don't make it one of the first conversations you have," Veronica Monet cautions. "You don't want to communicate that your STI status is the single most important thing there is to learn about you, because it is not. If you think it is, then you need to readjust your attitude."
When a person has a sexually transmitted disease, people dont rally around them like they do cancer patients. Many people feel guilty and isolated. Pam knows that feeling and she didnt want others in Charlotte to feel that way. Thats why she started the Charlotte H Club in 2005.
The group is basically a social and support group for anybody that has been diagnosed with Herpes and HPV, she said. About 1 in 4 adults have genital herpes and one in two adults have some strain of the HPV virus.
Joining the club is private and Pam said the website is password protected. There is such a social stigma against the viruses.
When Pam moved to Charlotte from Florida, she created the group because she didnt know anyone in the area and there was an active group in her hometown.
By word of mouth and Google searches, the group has about 1,000 members. Monthly, Pam said, the members get together for dinner and socials. Of course, all 1,000 members dont show up.
The Charlotte H club allows people to talk about handling their disease and it gives the members a chance to date. Pam said some members have become more than friends as a result of the group. And members who date someone that doesnt have herpes or HPV, they get to talk about their fears of telling their potential partner that they have the STD.
In 2007, Sallie Saxon was dubbed the "South Park Madam" when her multimillion dollar prostitution ring came crashing down. Saxton spent two years in prison, but she's back this time, however, she's not selling flesh, she's all about Jesus. On her website www.salliesaxon.com, she says:
While in prison the Lord created an amazing opportunity to mentor inmates. I would go to the chapel daily and waited for the Lord to send those in need of prayer. Before long there was a waiting list of hurt women seeking prayer. I talked with each individually about their life, mistakes, families, future plans and especially where they were spiritually. All of these women had one thing in common; abortion and the inability to forgive themselves. Not until they accepted the Lord Jesus Christ experiencing forgiveness could they forgive themselves. How blessed I have been to see many hardened women become Christians and baptized in prison. I continue to share passionately the unconditional love, forgiveness and hope only the Lord Jesus Christ can give all of us.
Kudos to Saxon for finding her salvation, but why has she decided to use her second chance to pester other women?
Saxon was featured in The Charlotte Observer protesting outside of an abortion clinic.
"It is very unsettling out here," Saxon conceded.
Yes, she said, some of her prostitutes had abortions.
No, she didn't help them.
Yes, she condoned it.
"I felt," she said, "like it was a woman's choice."
She said God changed her mind.
God or a prison sentence. It's great to see a madam given a second chance, but it's kind of hypocritical for her to jump in the way of a woman's right to choose. Most of these protesters are lining up to adopt the babies they "save" from abortion.
Abortion is a decision best made between a woman and her doctor, her family and her faith, said Melissa Reed of Planned Parenthood Health Systems, which runs a health center in Charlotte where a woman can get an abortion.
"It's unconscionable," Reed said about the protests by anti-abortionists. "They don't know the reason a woman took that step. They don't know if that woman was raped, or if she had wanted a pregnancy that went wrong. Women should be able to access those services without fear, intimidation and harassment."
And speaking of fear, many in this city are still afraid that Saxon will reveal the contents of her little black book. Rumors have run rampant for years about the names of the men who used the service.
But Saxon isn't talking about that, according to The Observer. But, things could always change. We'll wait.
If you live in Charlotte, count yourself lucky for a mild winter. I'm sure you're yelling at the screen reminding me how cold it's been, and that we even had some snow. But you're forgetting that we don't live in the Northeast. Sadly, winter in all it's grayness and icy coldness isn't going away anytime soon, despite what that groundhog may say. Thursday, the forecast calls for snow in the late evening.
That snow, although we aren't expecting more than a light dusting in the Q.C., is the reason why your wintertime love life is a big blah!
Just 8 percent of Americans reported that winter weather left them feeling sexy.
But some people who took part in the Associated Press poll feel another way about winter loving.
Given the choice between grabbing an extra blanket or cozying up with someone special when it's cold, most people choose snuggling over a Snuggie.
And some folks take things a whole lot further: 15 percent of Americans who were cooped up by the weather reported having more sex than usual. (Two-thirds reported no romantic uptick while trapped inside, and 15 percent reported having less sex than usual.)
It's almost that time of the year again time for Valentine's Day. Red hearts and roses are lining the aisles of your favorite stores. Even some adult shops have gotten in the V-Day mood putting out the best and tastiest lubes.
But if you're single or just recently dumped (or got dumped) you probably don't give a damn about the lovey-dovey side of St. Valentine's Day. Obviously the good people at Leather and Lace Southend feel your pain. So, if you want to spend Feb. 12 (the Saturday before Valentine's Day, which falls on a Monday this year) doing something other than burning your ex's picture, you should take one of those pictures and head to the South Boulevard strip club.
If you're wondering, "Sally, why would I take a picture of my ex to the strip club?" You should know that on Feb. 12, Leather and Lace is hosting a "Love on The Rocks" party. And your entry is free if you show up with a picture of you and that ex. There will be food and drink specials as well as prizes.
How do you keep from turning to a box of overpriced chocolate when you're heart broken on Valentine's Day?
Plotting revenge is fun.
Ordering take out and watching movies like Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct have their place, especially if you think about your ex being Michael Douglas.
Or, you could get together with some of your single friends and have the best time of your life. No need to keep crying over bitter chocolate.
There was a time when women went to college to get an education and a husband or at least that's the story told to many in their youth. These days, if you listen to young people talk, marriage is the farthest thing from their minds.
A new study blames hooking up, the act of having sex with no strings. For young women who have been using their prowess in bed in hopes of starting a relationship, prepare to be disappointed.
In an era when marriage is often far from the minds of young Americans, the book provides a fuller understanding of why that is, how the place of sex in romantic relationships has shifted and what that means for young adults. The outlook for relationship security, he claims, is more grim than ever.
"There have been many changes in romantic and sexual behavior over the past 30 years," says Regnerus. "One is that the 'price of sex' among unmarried Americans has dipped to an all-time low."
Regnerus and Uecker describe the "price of sex" as the cost to men of romance, status, stability and commitment that men exchange for access to sex in a relationship. They argue that despite women's successes, contemporary relationships are becoming more male-centered than ever, with men gaining access to sex earlier and more often, yet providing fewer and later commitments than a generation ago.
What this study doesn't point out, like a lot of these studies, is that women want the pleasures of sex and don't want to marry everyone who gives them an orgasm. While it's true, at least if you listen to your single friends, that sex is better when a woman has an emotional connection to her partner, not every 18-24 year old is looking for Mr. Right, right now.
Far too often, men profit from telling women they're going to be lonely for the rest of their lives. Take comedian Steve Harvey, for example. He's made millions off his book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Why? Because women buy into the theory that we all are supposed to have a knight in shining armor. Maybe if women stop waiting for some Batman to come and save them and just live, love wouldn't have to be studied so much.
A few months ago, a study said fat men offered the most pleasure when it came to love making.
Now, The Better Sex Network is offering tips for overweight lovers.
The desire to have sex and be intimate doesnt stop if you are overweight. The desire is there just the same. However sometimes it can be difficult to find sex positions that work with both of your bodies, especially if youre both larger individuals. Though your options may be a bit more limited, there are still several positions that shouldnt be too difficult for you to accomplish. Added to that are some position aids that you can find around your house to help you achieve these positions, or modify others to fit your body and sexuality.
Doggy style can also be easily modified in a couple different ways to help you achieve it, if its difficult for you. Firstly, if its difficult for the female and shes overweight you can place a couple pillows under her stomach. This will assist and alleviate the weight of her stomach pulling on her back. This will also lessen or stop the movements of her belly, which can be awkward.
Missionary can also be modified into cowgirl position; him on his back, her on top. Cowgirl position is a great option because it gives him a break, which is a good thing especially if he has knee or back problems. Also, it allows her to be in control. While this could be awkward if she has a larger, loose stomach; by simply leaning forward and putting her hands on the bed to either side of his head this will allow her stomach to rest on him which can make things easier and less awkward for her. This too will allow her to thrust at will and achieve a penetration position that she desires.
A last position that could help guys with larger stomachs is reverse cowgirl. With him laying on his back and her straddled on him but facing his feet, this leaves room for his stomach to not be in the way. This can also give her a feeling of control similar to what men feel in doggy style. This sex position can also offer room for both individuals if the each has larger stomachs as they will not be getting in each others way.
Of course, it takes more than comfortable positions to ensure that your sex life is satisfying. You have to be comfortable with yourself, small or larger, and your partner needs to appreciate your body, spirit and mind.
When it snows in Charlotte, the city shuts down. We don't like the cold in the Queen City, but when it's cold outside you should be heating things up at home. Snow can be the backdrop for a romantic and grown-up snow day.
The fireplace: Light a fire and place a blanket near the fireplace (if you have one) for you and your companion to relax on. Have your favorite beverage chilled. (And since you're so Charlotte, you have cheese and bread, so make sandwiches.) Turn all the lights off and play some soft music in the background while watching the snow fall.
Have a snow ball fight: There's nothing better than tapping into your inner child. While you and your mate toss snowballs at each other, make sure you have a warming station inside, complete with hot chocolate, whipped cream and warm robes because you have to get out of those wet clothes.
Just stay inside: Movie day on the sofa ... in the nude.
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