NMAC Take Action Now and Make A Difference!

stop_cuts.jpgIf Congress fails to act, automatic spending cuts known as “the Sequester” will take effect TOMORROW, March 1. According to estimates by the White House, these cuts could mean at least 424,000 fewer HIV tests will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. A separate analysis done by NMAC and amFAR estimated that more than 10,000 people could lose access to ADAP services.

Click to Tell Congress, Stop the Sequester! nmac.convio.net/stopthesequester

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Sequester will result in an automatic, across the board cut of 5.3% to most non-defense discretionary programs. Applying these cuts to domestic HIV/AIDS programming would provide negligible deficit reduction, but would devastate people living with HIV or AIDS in the United States. It would also damage our nation’s leadership in health research and limit our ability to reduce the rate of new HIV infections, improve access to care and address the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on communities of color.

According to estimates done by NMAC and amFAR, these cuts could mean at least:

  • 10,130 Americans living with HIV/AIDS will lose access to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which provides life-saving medication to low-income PLWHA. Recent research has shown that, in addition to saving and improving the lives of PLWHA, HIV treatment reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to an uninfected partner by 96 percent.

  • More than 6,760 people of color would lose access to ADAP services.

  • Under the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA), which provides housing and supportive assistance to PLWHA who are unable to afford housing, 1,360 fewer households would receive permanent housing and 1,870 fewer households would receive short-term assistance to prevent homelessness. Research demonstrates a direct relationship between improved housing status and reduced HIV risk behaviors.

  • 1,920 households that include at least one person of color would lose HOPWA housing services; 580 households that include at least one Hispanic person would lose housing services.

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which has been at the forefront of AIDS research for 30 years, would lose $163 million in AIDS research funding. 297 AIDS research grants would go unfunded, including 32 specifically funding AIDS vaccine research. It is estimated that AIDS research funded by the NIH has led to a gain of more than 14.4 million life-years globally since 1995.

  • Over $41.7 million would be cut from state and local HIV prevention efforts funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including efforts targeting young people and adults especially vulnerable to infection. Among other programs, prevention efforts support testing to help identify the 18 percent of Americans living with HIV who do not know they are infected.

The White House also recently released detailed estimates on the impact of these cuts for each state.
These cuts are bad for America, and bad for people living with HIV or AIDS. Congress must act to avoid the devastating impact that the Sequester will have, not only on our fight to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but on America’s vulnerable and impoverished communities. Tell Congress to stop the sequester today!!

HIV Health Reform Newsletter

Register for the Webinar: Make the ACA Private Insurance Expansion Work for People with HIV

This fall, people with HIV will be able to enroll in subsidized private insurance plans, called Qualified Health Plans (QHPs), through health insurance marketplaces (also called exchanges).
On this webinar, we’ll help you understand some critical components of the marketplace to get you ready to enroll yourself or clients: How will the tax subsidies work? How are the marketplaces structured, and who’s running them? How do HIV programs like ADAP fit in? What policies can states implement to make the marketplaces work for people with HIV?

Click here to register.
Our speakers include Amy Killelea of National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), and Claire McAndrew of Families USA. Anne Donnelly of Project Inform and Courtney Mulhern-Pearson of San Francisco AIDS Foundation will discuss some of the benefits and pitfalls of marketplace implementation in California.
Click here to register for the webinar on Thursday, March 14 at 12:30 p.m. PT / 1:30 MT / 2:30 CT / 3:30 E

Making a Difference: The No Shame about Being HIV-Positive Project

 

HIV  activist Kevin Maloney started “Rise Up to HIV” after being inspired by seeing an image of Chelsea Clinton holding a sign that  said, “No shame about being HIV-Positive” for the Global Fund’s Big Push  campaign. His vision was to mobilize people across the U.S. and around the  world in an effort to reduce HIV stigma and thus create an overall healthier  HIV/AIDS community.

Participants  submit photos along with their own personal stories and a simple statement  fighting stigma. Maloney has harnessed the power of social media to drive his  campaign and now the collection of photos and stories form a collection which can be seen in the Facebook album.

Maloney  was diagnosed with HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) three years ago and in that short  time, he has managed to overcome his addiction to methamphetamine, get a job  working at Community Access National Network, a non-profit service organization  serving people with both HIV and/or HCV, and become a well known activist.  Currently, funding for the “No Shame” project is purely out-of-pocket for  Maloney and he relies on volunteers for help.

Maloney  acknowledges that this is one of many anti-stigma campaigns but says there  can’t be enough education and awareness campaigns to tackle the issue. “I will  keep this campaign going for as long as possible, helping eradicate stigma one  picture and one story at a time,” he declares. “This campaign will carry on,  evolve and grow, and will help in bringing an end to this epidemic. We know  that stigma adds fuel to this epidemic, and I will keep on going until we see  the end of HIV/AIDS.”

Individuals  and organizations that want to join the campaign can do so in a variety of  ways:

  • On Facebook: Simply tag Rise       Up to HIV or send a message to the Rise Up to HIV page containing       your photo and a sentence or two about yourself, or a longer bio if you       have one, or links to any of your blogs, videos, etc., that you would like       them to feature. Visit the event page to see who else is participating,       and view the album of those who’ve submitted photos.
  • On Twitter: You can tweet an       image and a sentence to @RiseUpToHIV, and use the hashtag       #TeamNoShame.
  • If you are not on Facebook or       Twitter, you can email your photo to noshame@riseuptohiv.org,       and it will be placed in the album on Facebook.

In  Maloney’s words, “There is no greater feeling or power than being able to stand  up to your fears, not being held hostage by your diagnosis, being amongst  people who understand, and being knowledgeable or gaining greater understanding  of something you may have thought you had no control over but actually do. Rise  up to HIV and help end the stigma! Be part of #TeamNoShame.”

Thanks, Kevin Maloney, for making a difference!

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance to Stop Accepting Applications

 

It was announced by the Department of Health & Human  Services (HHS) on February 15 that no new applications for so-called “Pre-Existing  Condition Insurance Plans” will be accepted after March 2, 2013, almost a year  before other coverage is supposed to become available on the new insurance  exchanges on January 1, 2014.

One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was  to set up these interim “high risk pool” insurance plans for people who cannot  buy health insurance on the private market because of serious health  conditions, including HIV.  In Illinois,  the state opened the Illinois Pre-Existing Insurance Plan (IPXP) in August  2010. Approximately 100,000 people now have insurance though IPXP nationwide,  3,000 of them in Illinois.

“IPXP has been an important source of health care coverage  for people with HIV, including people on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program,  whose income climbs above 300% of the federal poverty level (about $35,000) but  who do not have health insurance on the job and cannot afford to pay for their  medications themselves,” explained Ann Fisher, Executive Director of the AIDS  Legal Council of Chicago. The state has been able to refer those individuals to  IPXP, and to help pay the IPXP premiums, so that they do not lose access to  their medications.

Fisher explained that IPXP was always meant to be a  temporary program, set to expire in January of 2014 when pre-existing  conditions are no longer supposed to prevent people from buying insurance.

“It appears that IPXP is a victim of its own success,” Fisher  said. “There was a limited pool of money available for the plans, and in order  to make sure they can continue to pay claims of current enrollees, they now  have to cut off future ones.”

The AIDS Legal Council is trying to get out the word about  the closing of enrollment, and encourages anyone who has been without insurance  for at least six months to quickly apply for IPXP. ALCC is available to answer  questions or assist with the enrollment process.  They can be reached at (312) 427-8990.

 

Positive Mind & Body Support Group Network

&

Midway Immunology & Research Center (MIRC)

 

Cordially invites you to an

Evening

Amongst Friends

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

\

Topic: Being HIV/AIDS Positive:

Your Rights & Responsibilities

6:00 – 6:30pm Cake, Coffee

6:3pm – 7:30pm Presentation

7:45pm – 8:30pm – Wrap Up!

 

MC900434723[1]rib 

                       

 

Location

 

Midway Immunology & Research Center (MIRC)

356 East Midway Road

Fort Pierce, FL  34982

772-464-9746

For additional details regarding this meeting you may also contact:

Positive Mind & Body Support Group Network

“A Positive Life is a Sound Mind & Body”

 

 (772) 563-2503 – (772)453-1067

www.positivemindbody.wordpress.com

Project Response – 772-464-0420

Despite wealth of HIV info, youths still get infected

LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) — The average monthly cost of an HIV treatment program can range from $2,000 to $5,000 a month, most of that spent on medications.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are roughly 50,000 new HIV cases in the U.S. every year. In 2009, young Americans accounted for 39 percent of all new infections.
The Southern Nevada Health District reports that 222 HIV cases were identified here last year. That’s a statistic that this case manager takes issue with.
“It’s uncalled for that people are still being infected in this day and age,” said JeKeissa Mosley of Aid for AIDS in Nevada.
She says when it comes to HIV awareness, NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, who revealed his illness in 1991, has been a blessing and a curse.
“I think with the medication and how healthy he has been able to stay, people don’t take it serious anymore,” Mosley said.
Zack Chamberlain, who has HIV, is here to say it’s serious.
“Do you want to take medication every day and be reminded at 9:30 all the time? Pay attention to what the consequences could be,” he said.
According to the CDC, the estimated life expectancy from the point of diagnosis is about 32 years. The average cost to HIV patients over a lifetime is estimated at more than $500,000.

By Kim Wagner

 

Immune system protein in semen boosts HIV spread in female genital tissue

DHHS, NIH News


                For Immediate Release         Friday, February 8, 2013       
          Contact: Robert Bock   301-496-5133

NIH study suggests virus uses protein to spread

An immune system protein normally  found in semen appears to enhance the spread of HIV to tissue from the uterine  cervix, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

The protein interleukin 7 (IL-7)  belongs to a family of proteins that regulate the immune response. IL-7 is  present in normal semen, and occurs at especially high levels in the semen of  men with HIV.

The researchers developed a culture system of small pieces of tissue from  the cervix and used this system to simulate male-to-female transmission of HIV,  which causes AIDS. They observed the spread of the virus in cervical tissue  under controlled laboratory conditions. In the presence of IL-7 at  levels typically found in semen of men with HIV, the virus spreads to the  tissue more readily than it spreads to tissue not treated with IL-7.

According to the study authors,  the finding raises the possibility that IL-7, alone or in combination with  other molecules, can foster male-to-female transmission of HIV. Similarly, they  note, it’s possible that the level of IL-7 in semen may determine how  infectious a particular HIV-positive male is for a female sexual partner.   Also, researchers may one day be able to prevent or delay the spread of HIV by  blocking seminal IL-7.

The major targets for HIV  infection are T cells, a type of immune cell that normally marshal the body’s  defenses against disease-causing organisms.  Generally, when these cells  become infected with HIV, they quickly die before the virus can produce a large  number of copies of itself.  However, the researchers found that in  isolated pieces of cervical tissue, HIV-infected T cells  in the presence of IL-7 live longer and so continued to produce the  virus.  IL-7 also stimulated uninfected T cells to divide thus increasing their  number. These new T-cells would provide additional targets for the virus,  potentially increasing its spread.

Researchers have long known that  biological interactions that take place in the laboratory may not always occur  in the more complex environment of a living organism.  For this reason,  Dr. Margolis noted that additional studies would be needed to confirm what he  and his coworkers observed in the laboratory.

“These experiments show us again  how vicious HIV is,” said senior author Leonid Margolis, Ph.D., head of the  Section on Intercellular Interactions at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National  Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), where the research was  conducted.  “The virus is able to commandeer an immune protein for its own  benefit.”

The paper was co-authored by  Andrea Introini, Christophe Vanpouille, Ph.D., Andrea Lisco, M.D., Ph.D.,  Jean-Charles Grivel, Ph.D., and Leonid Margolis, Ph.D., all of the NICHD.   Mr. Introini also is a Ph.D student at the University of Milan, Italy.
Their findings appear in PLOS Pathogens.

Based on their results with IL-7,  Dr. Margolis said, his team plans to investigate whether other immune system  proteins present in semen are involved in HIV transmission.

About the Eunice  Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development  (NICHD):  The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal,  child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and  medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s website at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers  and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH  is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and  translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments,  and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH  and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.