2019: significant anniversary for HIV/AIDS

The virus is still very much around.

what is HIVBecause some folks seem to believe that HIV/AIDS is cured, some statistics:

In 2018 (the latest data available)…
37.9 million [32.7 million–44.0 million] people globally were living with HIV.
23.3 million [20.5 million–24.3 million] people were accessing antiretroviral therapy.
1.7 million [1.4 million–2.3 million] people became newly infected with HIV.
770 000 [570 000–1.1 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses.

In the United States, “approximately 1.1 million people… are living with HIV today. About 15 percent of them (1 in 7) are unaware they are infected. An estimated 38,700 Americans became newly infected with HIV in 2016.”

An article in US News notes that 2019 is a significant anniversary. “HIV and AIDS have been part of the world’s consciousness for 40 years now. In 1979 and 1980, doctors in Los Angeles and New York were suddenly reporting rare types of pneumonia, cancer, and other illnesses…

“Today, AIDS is fairly well controlled – in developed countries anyway. But the virus, which actually has been infecting humans since at least 1959, and perhaps since the late 1940s, according to the AIDS Institute, is still very much around.”

Why do nearly 1000 girls and young women contract HIV every day?

PrEP

A couple years back, there was a presentation at my church about Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP). It is “a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at very high risk of getting HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day.

“The pill (brand name Truvada)” – which is advertised on American television – “contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine). [They are] used in combination with other medicines to treat the disease. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.”

Here’s what the US budget in fighting HIV/AIDS has looked like in the past decade or so.

I was happy to get to “know” Ruth, an HIV survivor, who is nursing others in Sierra Leone with the disease.

From April 2018 in the NYT magazine: Those we lost to the AIDS epidemic. Someone posted on Facebook recently six actors we lost prematurely. I DO remember two of the performers, Merritt Butrick and Tom Villard.

And Pedro Zamora died 25 years ago, hours after Real World San Francisco ended. Yes, I did watch that season.

The Library of Congress will house the archives of the famous AIDS quilt

Music throwback: Red Hot + Blue

There were approximately 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2016.

From the Wikipedia: “Red Hot + Blue is the first in the series of compilation albums from the Red Hot Organization… It features contemporary pop performers reinterpreting several songs of Cole Porter, and the title of the album comes from Cole Porter’s musical Red, Hot and Blue.

“Released in 1990, it sold over a million copies worldwide and was heralded as one of the first major AIDS benefits in the music business. The accompanying ABC television special [which I watched at the time] featured music videos for the songs. The clips portrayed the societal effects of AIDS.”

Yes, a good cause, to be sure. But also great music. It made my list of the top 25 albums previous 25 years back in 2010.

Lest you think the AIDS crisis is over: According to UNAIDS:

“There were approximately 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2016. Of these, 2.1 million were children (under 16 years old).

“An estimated 1.8 million individuals worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2016 – about 5,000 new infections per day. This includes 160,000 children (under 16 years).”

Here are some US stats.

There were several followup albums to Red Hot + Blue. These are just the ones I own:

Red Hot + Dance (1992)- features three new songs by George Michael

No Alternative (1993) – alternative rock
Sexual Healing – Soul Asylum

Red Hot + Country (1994) – music from the classic country and rock genres performed by seasoned old and new country music artists, often together
Teach Your Children – Suzy Bogguss, Kathy Mattea, and Crosby, Stills and Nash
The T.B. is Whipping Me= Wilco and Syd Straw

Red Hot + Rio (1996) – a contemporary tribute to the Bossa nova sound, especially the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim
Use Your Head – Money Mark

Red Hot + Rhapsody (1998) – celebrating George Gershwin
Summertime – Bobby Womack and The Roots
A Foggy Day In London Town – David Bowie and Angelo Badalamenti

By George (& Ira): Red Hot on Gershwin (1998) – compilation of previous cuts

Red Hot + Riot: The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti (2002)
By Your Side – Sade

16 songs (plus two ringers) of the 20 songs from Red Hot + Blue HERE.

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.
Continue reading “HIV treatment options”

Cemetery angel

RuthCokerBurksThe First Presbyterian Church in Albany, NY is celebrating 20 years of being a More Light community, which means “seeking the full participation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry, and witness of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)”

For the service on June 5, our guest preacher, and leader in the adult education class, was Tony De La Rosa, the interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency for the denomination.

Tony admitted that he struggled with the recommended readings, or liturgy, for the date. Both 1 Kings 17:17-24 and Luke 7:11-17 involved women seeming to lose their children, only to have Elijah and Jesus, respectively, bring their sons back to life. How would this fit in with a More Light message?
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March rambling #1: wipe out cancer in a decade

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Louisville doctor says breakthrough treatment could wipe out cancer in a decade. Even better, one of the subjects in the story is my friend Eddie, the Renaissance Geek!

Keefknight Cartoon: Colon. One of my brothers-in-law died from colorectal cancer in 2002, at the age of 41.

Why I Left the Right: How Studying Religion Made Me a Liberal.

The White House Welcomes Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church. See this powerful documentary in full (60 minutes).

The Disappearing Soldier.

Kintsugi: The Art of Embracing Damage.
Continue reading “March rambling #1: wipe out cancer in a decade”