Saturday, Sept 24th: Boston Student Health Activist Summit

14333777_863641610432695_6382319670311940394_nThe annual Student Activism Summit returns September 24th to the BU School of Medicine. Hosted by Boston Student Health Activist Community (BSHAC), students and young professionals from across Boston will gather to discuss important social justice issues that impact the health of our communities and learn ways they can integrate that work into professional and civic life.

 

 

Saturday at 11:30 AM – 5:30 PM                                                                                                                                             Boston University School of Medicine                                                                                                                             72 E Concord St, Boston, Massachusetts 02118

It is FREE and OPEN to the public. Please RSVP at:

https://docs.google.com/a/bu.edu/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfACd-nZAzsbXV0NLtbaD8be1B-WEDCdZ67I8pIvTEts0FHUA/viewform

or

https://www.facebook.com/events/1731801350414328/

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This Friday It’s National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day! So Get Tested or Volunteer.

ImageFrom our friends at Hispanic Black Gay Coalition Boston: 

This Friday is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) is an HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative for Black people in the United States and across the Diaspora. There are four specific focal points: Get Educated, Get Tested, Get Involved, and Get Treated!

Support these focal points this Friday at the Union Methodist Church in the South End by getting free sexual health counseling, a confidential rapid HIV test, or get involved by volunteering/spreading the word about NBHAAD. A $10 gift cards available to those who get tested.

PLEDGE to support NBHAAD by doing one of the following:

1. Schedule a sexual health counseling session and/or get a confidential rapid HIV-test. Drop-In anytime on Friday or call 617-487-4242 to set an appointment.

2. Volunteer at Friday’s testing event (anytime between 10-5 pm) or  volunteer next Saturday, Feb. 15th, as we host another testing event at the Mattapan Library. We need support setting up and passing out information in the community in Mattapan.

3. Help raise awareness by inviting your friends to take the pledge or share information on Friday’s event through social media.

Friday: Fire In The Blood film screening + Q&A session.

FIRE IN THE BLOOD

An intricate tale of medicine, monopoly and malice.

ArtsEmerson || The Bright Family Screening Room at The Paramount Center
Friday, January 31st, 7pm

ArtsEmerson
The Bright Family Screening Room at The Paramount Center
559 Washington Street, Boston
 
Screening + Q&A Discussion with:
·  Brook Baker – Senior Policy Analyst Health GAP; Alternate NGOs Board Member UNITAID; Human Rights and the Global Economy Affiliate Professor at Northeastern U. School of Law
·  Suerie Moon – Board Member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF); Co-Director of the Project on Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Harvard-Kennedy School for Business
·  Marguerite Thorp Basilico  – Policy Analyst at Health GAP, member of ACT UP Boston, member of the AMSA AIDS Advocacy Network, Gerald Foster Scholar at Harvard Medical School
  
**Other Boston screenings over the weekend: 1/31-2/2**
 
Directed by Dylan Mohan Gray
★★★★  – CRITIC’S CHOICE 
– THE TIMES OF LONDON
 “Fiercely committed. Compellingly argued. An imperative exposé.” – Andrew Schenker, TIME OUT, NY
 
“Urgent topic.  Illuminating content.  Moving message.” – Miriam Bale, NEW YORK TIMES
“Powerful. Extremely moving. A shocking account of international trade terrorism.” – David Rooney, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Featuring: Bill Clinton, Desmond Tutu, James Love, Zackie Achmat, Peter Mugyenyi, Yusuf Hamied, Edwin Cameron, Eric Goemaere, Joseph Stiglitz, Noor Jehan Majid, Denis Broun, Suniti Solomon, Nomvuselolo Kalolo and others.

A shocking exposé of how pharmaceutical companies use patent law to keep profits unconscionably high even at the expense of peoples’ lives, and a plea for universal access to affordable, life-saving generic medicines.  An intricate tale of “medicine, monopoly and malice”, FIRE IN THE BLOOD tells the story of how Western pharmaceutical companies and governments aggressively blocked access to affordable AIDS drugs for the countries of Africa and the global south in the years after 1996 – causing ten million or more unnecessary deaths.  It is also the inspiring story of the improbable group of people who decided to fight back.  Shot on four continents and including contributions from global figures such as President Bill Clinton, Bishop Desmond Tutu and economist Joseph Stiglitz, FIRE IN THE BLOOD is the never-before-told true story of the remarkable coalition which came together to stop ‘the Crime of the Century’ and save millions of lives.

Official Sites: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

PARTICIPANT BIOS

·    Professor Brook Baker is a law professor at Northeastern University and an honorary research fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natl in Durban South Africa.  Professor Baker is a policy analyst for Health GAP (Global Access Project) and is actively engaged in campaigns for universal access to treatment, prevention, and care for people living with HIV/AIDS, especially expanded and improved medical treatment. He has written and consulted extensively on intellectual property rights, trade, and access to medicines, including with the African Union, ASEAN, Venezuela, CARICOM, Thailand, UK DfID, the World Health Organization, the Millennium Development Goals Project, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Open Society Institute, UNDP, UNITAID, the Medicines Patent Pool, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, and others. He also serves as an NGOs delegation alternate board member for UNITAID.
·    Dr. Moon’s work focuses on the intersection of global governance and public health. Her recent research has examined the trade and investment regimes, intellectual property rules, policies to enhance innovation & access to medicines in low- and middle-income countries, global health financing, and the functioning of the global health system.
·    Marguerite Basilico is a second-year student at Harvard Medical School, a member of ACT UP Boston, and a member of the American Medical Student Association’s AIDS Advocacy Network. She graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Social Studies, writing her senior thesis on community advocacy and health access in Malawi. She was a Truman Scholar and is currently a Gerald Foster Scholar at HMS. Marguerite also works with Health GAP (Global Access Project) as a policy analyst and formerly worked for the Student Global AIDS Campaign and Partners In Health.

Event Sites

 FACEBOOK

 Join the event for Q&A info & updates: http://on.fb.me/19ysYwS

TWITTER
· BOSTON: #Sundance Documentary on access to meds & healthcare @fitbmovie +Q&A discussion at @ArtsEmerson1/31 7PM: http://bit.ly/1eaRkL2

·  BOSTON: #Sundance Documentary on access to meds & healthcare @fitbmovie +Q&A discussion at @ArtsEmerson1/31 7PM: http://on.fb.me/19ysYwS

·  BOSTON: #Sundance Documentary on access to meds & healthcare @fitbmovie +Q&A discussion at @ArtsEmerson 1/

 

This Tuesday: Tax Day Action!

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Join ACT UP with a coalition of other groups to demonstrate on Tax Day!

Tuesday, April 16th, 11:00 AM

Tip O’Neill Building, 10 Causeway Street, Boston

We’re paying our taxes yet services are being drastically cut for people with HIV!

Budget cutters in Washington have already slashed HIV/AIDS programs, Meals on Wheels, Head Start, Housing, Education, Fuel Assistance, Unemployment, Health Programs. Now the President wants to cut even more vital programs.

Treatment as Prevention Breakthrough #2: KwaZulu-Natal Study Big Leap Forward

220px-KwaZulu-Natal_2001_population_density_map.svg (1)

Commnunity-Wide TasP in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: It works in Africa, it can work here.

Community-Wide Treatment as Prevention. 
A newly published study finds that as more HIV infected members of a community members are put on treatment, fewer people become infected with the virus within that community. The community “treatment as prevention” study was published this week in the prestigious journal Science.

Researchers from the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies used HIV surveillance data collected in KwaZulu-Natal, a poor rural area of South Africa where about one out of three have HIV. Over time, about 20,000 individuals among 228,000 area residents were put on HIV treatment.

The study found that for each percentage point increase for those in the province on HIV treatment, there was a significant decrease in HIV transmission community-wide.

When HIV treatment coverage reached 20 percent of the infected population, there was a 22 percent decline in HIV infections said study researcher Frank Tanser, PhD, of the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies in South Africa. “In communities where HIV treatment achieved 30 percent, the individuals’ HIV acquisition was 38 percent less likely.”

Conversely, in areas where access to HIV treatment coverage was low there were no such reductions in new infections.

The results have implications for HIV at-risk communities well beyond AIDS ravaged Africa. Here in the United States, greater HIV treatment access should achieve the same “Treatment as Prevention” reductions of new transmissions in those affected communities.

“These findings are extremely important,” said Paul De Lay, deputy executive director, Programme, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.

“The results give clear evidence that HIV incidence is reduced as a result of high coverage of antiretroviral therapy,” added Dr. Tanser.

The research also confirms the results of the study that proved the concept of Treatment as Prevention or TasP. Declared the 2011 breakthrough of the year by the Journal Science, the New England Journal of Medicine study found that effectively treating HIV infection provides an HIV prevention bonus of reducing the spread of the virus for couples where one partner in HIV infected and the other is not. The groundbreaking study, known as HPTN 052, found that if an HIV-positive person stays on antirviral therapy, the risk of transmitting the virus to their uninfected sexual partner can be reduced by 96 percent. 

Followup studies to HPTN 052 have found that Treatment as Prevention, if implemented on a world wide scale, would not only be cost-effective, it could save global health programs money over the long term.

Commenting on those findings, Dr. Rochelle Walensky of the Harvard Center for AIDS Research said that regardless of the country, TasP is a triple winner: “HIV-infected patients do better, their partners are protected and it is very cost-effective.”

Along with the study measuring the community-wide benefit of TasP, Science published another KwaZulu-Natal study showing that providing antiviral therapy increased overall life expectancy by more than ten years.

Myron Cohen, who headed the original HTPN 052 TasP study, called the KwaZulu-Natal studies terrifically important.

Cohen told NPR, “I think this is a home run, by any nature, and it’s teaching us something. You know, you don’t have to treat everybody in order to see a community benefit.”

The studies noted above demonstrate how Treatment as Prevention will be invaluable tool for ending the epidemic in community hot-spots, whether they be in Africa, or urban and rural North America.

A Must Know (All): The HIV Continuum of Care

Stages-of-CareFig1Key Graphics: CDC Analysis Showing Proportion of People Engaged in the Five Main Stages of HIV Care

The ‬CDC has been updating data on the Continuum of Care (see link above).‭ ‬It shows, that among other things, only a quarter of all Americans with HIV have their virus under control.‭ ‬Alarmingly that means that in those with HIV there is a lot of virus floating around that can be transmitted to others. ‬That is because about 20% of those with the virus don’t know they are infected. Meanwhile, 60% of HIV infected youth don’t know they have HIV!

CDC Director Dr.‭ ‬Thomas Frieden recently stated the obvious:‭ “‬Despite progress,‭ ‬most people living with HIV in America today are not getting the treatment they need,‭” ‬said the director.‭ “‬Well under half of the people in every group who need treatment are receiving it.‭ ‬We need to change this reality so that far more people living with HIV are able to stay healthy and reduce their chance of spreading the virus to others.‭”

That means getting people tested for the virus and if they are infected, getting them on treatment.