First Friday competition for attention

MAYBE I’ll have time to rush over the half-dozen blocks to the Cathedral.

dec2I have a conflict December 2 on First Friday. Our choir will be singing at First Presbyterian Church, at the corner of State and Willett Streets in Albany, music we’ve been rehearsing for some weeks.

In the very same time frame – 6 to 8 p.m. – I’ve only recently discovered that “City School District of Albany students of all ages will take part in an art exhibit and holiday concert. The events will take place at the Cathedral of All Saints, located at 62 South Swan St. (behind the New York State Education building).”

I’m less interested in the school musical performance than the artwork since the Daughter has at least one piece in the exhibit, which I have not seen. MAYBE, when our concert ends, I’ll have time to rush over the half-dozen blocks to the Cathedral.

HIV treatment options

“From 2002 to 2012, expanded access to HIV treatment averted 4.2 million deaths globally and contributed to a 58% reduction in new HIV infections.”

hiv-treatments-2Back in January 2016, I helped organize a workshop at my church, “Ending the Epidemic in NYS: HIV/AIDS Treatment in 2015: What Congregations Need to Know!”

It was designed to, among other things, increase awareness of the Blueprint to Ending the Epidemic in NYS by 2020; and learn how HIV treatment, such as PEP and PrEP, have impacted HIV prevention and treatment efforts.

PEP is post-exposure prophylaxis, “taking antiretroviral medicines (ART) after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected. PEP should be used only in emergency situations and must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV.”

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) “is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. A combination of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine), sold under the name Truvada® (pronounced tru vá duh), is approved for daily use as PrEP to help prevent an HIV-negative person from getting HIV from a sexual or injection-drug-using partner who’s positive.”

Since then, I’ve been on the email list, seeing the progress of the NYS Department of Health’s effort. There is an Ending the Epidemic website in New York.

At the global AIDS conference in July 2016 in South Africa, it was noted that 15 million people have received “access to life-saving HIV treatment by 2015. Additionally, UNAIDS estimates that from 2002 to 2012, expanded access to HIV treatment averted 4.2 million deaths globally and contributed to a 58% reduction in new HIV infections. However…more than 60% of people living with HIV remain without antiretroviral therapy.”

I was interested to read in Wired recently, To Build A Viable HIV Vaccine, Start from the Molecule Up:

“Someday, vaccines might bat the [HIV] virus out of your system without you ever knowing you’d been exposed. If successful, such a vaccine would effectively cure AIDS. Someday, maybe. So scientists are working on it. Like yesterday: Researchers published results to a promising study on primates infected with SIV, a monkey version of HIV. The study, published in Nature, used a special drug to awaken the virus, which made it easier for their novel vaccine to detect and snuff it out.”

Here’s the 2015 HIV Surveillance Report. HIV/AIDS continues to be one of those issues that weighs on my heart.