Showing posts with label HIV Status. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HIV Status. Show all posts

November 10, 2016

Scientists Have Developed New HIV (USB) Home Computer Test





Researchers have developed a screening test for HIV that uses a USB stick to process data in a move they say vastly improves upon conventional methods.

Typically, HIV screenings can take as long as three days to produce results. Scientists at Imperial College London and DNA Electronics say their novel solution is not only more accurate, but can provide a diagnostic in roughly 30 minutes with the help of a computer or handheld device.

The USB device works by using a drop of blood to create an electrical signal that can be read by a computer. The technology then measures the amount of the virus in the blood. Patients can also use it to monitor their own treatment. Researchers tested their new method in a study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

"Monitoring viral load is crucial to the success of HIV treatment," senior author Graham Cooke said in a press release. "At the moment, testing often requires costly and complex equipment that can take a couple of days to produce a result. We have taken the job done by this equipment, which is the size of a large photocopier, and shrunk it down to a USB chip."

During the study, the technology was used to test 991 blood samples with 95 percent accuracy. Results were produced in an average time of 20.8 minutes. Researchers say the ease of the test may have positive implications for Sub-Saharan Africa and other HIV hotspots where many conventional tests are often unavailable.

"This is a great example of how this new analysis technology has the potential to transform how patients with HIV are treated by providing a fast, accurate and portable solution," DNA Electronics founder Chris Toumazou said. "At DNAe we are already applying this highly adaptable technology to address significant global threats to health, where treatment is time-critical and needs to be right first time."

Scientists say the next step will be investigating how the USB device can be used to screen for other viral infections such as hepatitis.

November 1, 2016

Positive but Not Toxic



                                                                           





I came across a very interesting blog with a great posting written by Alexander Chaves. This is a subject that should be close to every gay, bi hearts in our world community. Those that not negative need to keep that in mind in order to keep it that way. It has never been easier to stay negative while having sex but the fact remain that everyone that has become positive has remain so. True in those undetectable that have been taking their meds as prescribed they wont need to have the conversion to positive of someone on their consciences. Still it is no picnic taking those meds everyday and at the same time still suffering from stigma from their community. This is where Alexander comes in:                
                                           

                                              




                                                     “Positive but not toxic waste"

My only commandment for life is one shared by Aleister Crowley — do as thou wilt, gents — with one exception: HIV-positive guys, stop getting those radiation tattoos, the kind they put on hazardous chemicals. We’re not toxic waste.

Here’s a story. I got a black star on the back of my neck three years ago, almost two months after one very bad day at the student health clinic. The days between the clinic and the tattoo parlor are dark and muddled and I do not remember much of them.

On the first day of school, I was fine. It was the start of my fourth year of what had been a tumultuous and largely rewarding undergrad. On the second day, I was not in class. A friend who knew I had gone that morning to get my STD test results left me forty panicked voicemails throughout the day. Later that evening, when I finally answered, I told him I had been shopping, which was true. I had wandered through the city making absurd purchases until it got cold. I asked him if I could come over.

Every night for the following week, I slept on a different friend’s couch, too scared of what I would do if left alone. Two months later, I went with two friends after class to get a tattoo.

Neither of them knew the real reason behind it, nor — I’m ashamed to say — did the tattoo artist. As it healed, I invented bullshit meanings for it to satisfy my friends. “I’m going to become a graffiti tag artist,” I lied. “The black star is my new symbol.” I posted a picture of it on Instagram on October 30, 2013.

For most of the three years since, my status was displayed on my Scruff and Grindr profiles but intentionally kept from Facebook. It was talked about in private messages with strangers but hidden in plain sight at Thanksgiving and Christmas. On these occasions, my mother frowned at my new ink — the next step, she reasoned, in my ongoing crusade to be as different from her and my father as possible.

My parents and the rest of my family saw the tattoo as something childish but harmless. They did not know that, for me at least, it was an indicator of something that led me to the darkest places, mentally and otherwise, I had ever been in my life.

My parents know HIV. As medical professionals, they saw countless AIDS patients at clinics in Zambia where my family lived for several years when I was little. As missionaries, my parents were driven by faith against staggering numbers. In 2014, 70% of all HIV-positive people in the world — about 25.8 million — lived in sub-Saharan Africa. As a general surgeon and gynecologist, respectively, my father and mother had seen the virus at its ugliest: emaciated babies, tiny skeletons wrapped in skin, washed by their mothers in tin buckets with filthy water. Years later, I would flip through the photos from our time there and see the grim similarities between present day Africa and American gay life in the 1980’s.

Places like Africa make the white, Western gay embracement of radiation symbols ugly. The symbols sing of outbreak and contagion — words that have real meaning in a place where people don’t have penicillin.

Last December, the same day my op-ed was published, I called my parents to tell them the secret I had kept from them for three years. On a sunny sidewalk in Los Angeles, I told them something that no parent wants to hear. They were both at work — I called my father first, then my mother. I feel cruel for doing it that way. I privately hoped that each of them left the office lounge or wherever they were and went outside to breathe for a minute. I made the decision to publish the article knowing I would post a link to it on my Facebook page, and if I put it on Facebook, a friend of theirs would eventually see it and call them. This was my way of telling them first.

The op-ed moved my HIV status beyond something only talked about for sex to something I could publicly write about for Plus magazine without using an alias. I did not mention my tattoo in the op-ed — in fact I have hardly thought about it since I got it.

That changed after I watched some hot bareback porn recently. A group of guys were “pozzing” a sub, which means they were fucking him hard and bare with the intention of seroconverting him. I don’t know if the sub really was HIV-negative, or if the guys fucking him really were HIV-positive. The fantasy scenario was just that — a fantasy that, deep in that dark inner place where desire lives, was hot to watch. I had not been seeking HIV when I tested positive, but I had been group fucked by multiple guys and taken all their loads. (The news sent me into a dark depression that lasted half a year, but looking back I can ask myself, “What did I think would happen?”)

The video was a studio production, not amateur, so the likelihood that all the guys on camera were HIV-negative was pretty high, especially if the video was shot in California. I noticed that some of the men fucking the lucky cum dump had radiation tattoos on their arms.

The tattoos were so obvious that they might have been fake, pressed on minutes before shooting, but they did add a considerable touch of realism to the video, because many HIV-positive guys do get radiation symbols tattooed on their bodies. In modern gay symbology, it is almost exclusively associated with HIV and bareback sex. Even the website where I found the video was embellished  with radiation symbols, just in case a casual visitor missed the movie titles, all of which were variations of “gay pig bare fucks submissive cum slut no condoms.”

After jacking off, I thought about the black star on my neck, which honestly had been this close — this close — to being a radiation symbol.

I have met other poz guys that marked themselves with something different — a bear paw, a plus sign — after their diagnoses. Some of them knew the modern reality of HIV before they tested positive. Others, like me, didn’t know a thing, and believed it was still a death sentence. Either way, we were all there in some white, sterile clinic, faced with an understanding that our names and our bodies were irreparably marked by something that many people feared and many had died from.

That was a blow unlike any I have experienced in my life. I applaud the efforts made by HIV activists who do good work educating the masses and informing them that HIV has become significantly more manageable, and well-informed people know this to be true. But HIV still changes your life.

If you live in a good metro area or have good health care, the costly medication will reduce the once-deadly virus to little more than a chronic illness. But you will still face a lifetime of blood tests and checkups, pill bottles with printed labels, and a whole new list of words and numbers that suddenly have crucial meaning — “CD4 count,” “T cells,” “viral load,” “undetectable.” You are still faced with an identity shift.

I no longer fear stigma, and my sex life and relationships have dramatically improved in the years since I converted. I announce my status on every hookup profile I have, with this addendum: “If you have a problem with my status, block me.” I don’t waste time with uninformed people, and the guys I fuck have been hotter, kinkier, and more health cognizant as a result. One pill a day is my only reminder that I am different from my HIV-negative comrades, and it goes down every morning with my allergy meds and Vitamin C capsules without a thought.

When I talk to friends who are newly diagnosed, I see on their faces the same look I had, like a bus had suddenly run over my dog. A newly diagnosed friend told me recently that for the first few weeks he took multiple showers a day because he didn’t feel “clean.” Another friend said that he went to the gym like a maniac for a few months after, and over-scrubbed every weight machine for ten minutes with the sanitary spray. In the same way that I went shopping and refused to sleep alone — and started an unhealthy sex crusade in the weeks that followed — these guys are learning life again from the ground up.

When you test positive, you really have two options. You either choose to live or you don’t. The latter doesn’t necessarily mean suicide; many guys simply never recover, and drown themselves in bad addictions, bad sex, and severely toxic relationships, and die slowly over the course of years.

Whether done fast or slow, both are forms of self-destruction, and I came close to both. I got the tattoo the day I decided, after a long solo run the night before, that I wanted to live. It took me a month or two, but I decided that I was not going to take everything in my medicine cabinet with a full bottle of whiskey. I had to choose life when it and the alternative were very even choices.

I’ll be honest, some days I still fear getting back to that place. It would be so easy to go off the deep end. I could be addicted to hard drugs with every STD imaginable in a month and just not care. I live with that boundary, and consciously aim for a life above it. If I had chosen death, I would have never met the good and beautiful men that I have been privileged to love in the years since. All the good people yet to meet me would never get to do so, which is sad. I think I’m a pretty cool person to meet.

In the tattoo parlor, the “radiation symbol” was trashed for something simpler. I wanted the tattoo to mean more than HIV, which does not define me and never will. I wanted it to prompt a story that I would tell later. Now I can.

Mortality is a complex idea with few visual representations beyond grave stones and skulls, both of which portray destruction as something that comes at the end of the line. Few images portray mortality as something you carry, something you survive every day — so I made one. My dark passenger is in for a long and exciting ride.

— Beastly

December 31, 2015

Planned Parenthood: Not to disclose your HIV status as long is Technical Safe



                                                                       

A US guide to planned parenthood says HIV positive people do not have to disclose their status to partners if they choose not to.

The booklet, published by International Planned Parenthood Federation, advises that "young people living with HIV have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose their HIV status”.

“Sharing your HIV status is called disclosure. Your decision about whether to disclose may change with different people and situations. You have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose your HIV status,” it states.

The booklet has raised criticism in those US states where it is a legal requirement to disclose your HIV status to partners, since it seems to be advising people to break the law in this respect. It continues:

“Some countries have laws that say people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) about their status before having sex, even if they use condoms or only engage in sexual activity with a low risk of giving HIV to someone else. These laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.” 

In Queensland, it is an offense to “recklessly put someone else at risk of contracting a controlled notifiable condition”.

According to Queensland Positive People, “Given that a person must not “recklessly” transmit HIV, it means that a person does not have to disclose their HIV status as long as they practice safe sex.”

December 24, 2015

Charlie Sheen Opens up Regards Costs of his HIV Diagnosis and How He’s Fighting it


                                                                         

Sheen, who revealed his diagnosis on the "Today" show in November, said he's doing well. 
"I’m really clear, really good, positively focused. It was such a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders when I made the announcement," Sheen told The Enquirer's Editor-in-Chief Dylan Howard. "I realized afterwards, I wish I had possibly done it sooner. As we’ll discuss, there were a lot of different elements in the mix that prevented me from doing that." 
Sheen previously told Matt Lauer during his "Today" interview that he was a victim of "shakedowns" and extorted for millions of dollars in order to keep his diagnosis a secret. 
And while the diagnosis lead to a lot of reflection, anger and denial for Sheen, he told The Enquirer that it didn't last long. 
"It was shortly afterwards -- I think it was the second day -- I said to my mom, 'This disease picked the wrong guy.' If anybody can fight this thing and discover a cure, it’s me. I will exhaust every resource available to me. I will sit with every expert. I will move forward until something’s revealed." 
Sheen, who currently said that he takes three pills a day (at a cost of about $4,000 a month) knows that his treatment is unaffordable for some, but hopes to find a way to lower the cost. And by talking about his diagnosis and researching every option possible, the 50-year-old actor told The Enquirer he wants to spread a message of hope. 
"If there’s a cure out there, I will find it and share it," said Sheen. "You have my word."
To read more of Sheen's interview, head here, or pick up the new issue of the National Enquirer on newsstands now.   msn.com
                                                                           -*-

Years of personal torment came to an end when Charlie Sheen confirmed his HIV diagnosis back in November. But in some ways, his battle was just beginning. After weeks of silence and alone time to regroup, Sheen spoke out for the first time about his new life living publicly with HIV to RADAR, unloading new revelations that will both stun and inspire his fans.



DYLAN HOWARD: I didn’t think we’d ever be talking again (after Radar reported you were HIV-positive).

CHARLIE SHEEN: I didn’t either, to be honest, but here we are. Anything’s possible.

DH: Anything is possible, indeed. It has been a number of weeks since your announcement. How is Charlie Sheen today?

CS: I’m really clear, really good, positively focused. It was such a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders when I made the announcement. I realized afterwards, I wish I had possibly done it sooner. As we’ll discuss, there were a lot of different elements in the mix that prevented me from doing that.

DH: Why do you wish you’d done it earlier?

CS: Because of how I felt afterwards.

PHOTOS: ‘Burn!’ Charlie Sheen’s Ex Torches Photos & Other Mementos To Exorcise Their Chaotic Past

DH: Did you not think you’d feel that way afterwards?

CS: I didn’t realize the weight I was carrying — until it was relieved.

DH: After your diagnosis, how would you characterize your emotional state?

CS: I was angry. I was in denial. I was in shock.

DH: Angry at who?

CS: Myself, the world. But that didn’t last long. It was shortly afterwards — I think it was the second day — I said to my mom, ‘This disease picked the wrong guy.’ If anybody can fight this thing and discover a cure, it’s me. I will exhaust every resource available to me. I will sit with every expert. I will move forward until something’s revealed.

DH: You mentioned your anger. Did you ever consider suicide?

CS: I didn’t, no, and I never considered it before the diagnosis. I’ve never been that guy. I’ve always said if somebody’s gonna kill themselves, they should jump off a building. It’s pretty sure-fire! Slashed wrists are usually just a cry for help.

PHOTOS: Inside Charlie Sheen’s HIV & AIDS Related Physical Deterioration

DH: How did you tell your dad Martin, and your mother, Janet, of the medical condition when you were first diagnosed?

CS: My mom was in the room with me so we heard it at the same exact time; we both dealt with it there.

DH: What was your immediate reaction?

CS: I thought I was going to wake up from a bad dream, but that wasn’t the case. Then I gave it some time. I told my father about a month later and he was shocked at first and sad, but ultimately, everyone’s come to a place of love and support and helping me stay and get healthier.

DH: Your mother didn’t tell your father for a month?

CS: I asked her to keep it between us for the time being. It was my condition and I had to decide how I was going to tell people.

DH: In terms of sharing your journey, how do you plan to educate yourself more about HIV so you can in turn educate others?

CS: I’m gonna continue to meet with the top experts in the field and continue to surround myself with bigger brains than mine. I’ll see where the future is headed with treatment. I am in a rare position to turn my diagnosis into a positive, and that began with telling my truth to Matt Lauer, and now I’m talking to you and The National ENQUIRER so that I can reach your audience with my story and continue to shine a light on this disease while brilliant scientists continue to search for a cure.

PHOTOS: ‘Burn!’ Charlie Sheen’s Ex Torches Photos & Other Mementos To Exorcise Their Chaotic Past

DH: Can this be a positive in your life?

CS: It already is. It makes me take pause and ponder the concept that perhaps everything that led up to this was to gain the spotlight of popularity to finally deliver a message that truly matters. I’m grateful for everything I’ve been able to do in life. I’ve made a lot of people laugh and see the world differently through me. Now, maybe it’s time to change the world.

DH: But there have been others who have come forward with HIV or AIDS. You obviously were afraid to come forward and, thus, keep it quiet.

CS: Well, I wouldn’t say I was afraid. But again, there was a privacy aspect of it. What I would say to others? If they’re living in fear or living in some shackled existence, take it to the next level and be free of that prison.

DH: What is it like for someone living with HIV today? What’s the medical regimen you have to go through on a day-to-day basis?

CS: I have to take three pills each day. The total cost is about $4,000 a month. I know that’s prohibitive to a lot of people’s economic scenarios. Perhaps in my research, and in my journey, we can help develop ways that make it affordable for all.

PHOTOS: Charlie Sheen’s Expertise Of Hiring Prostitutes, Hiding Porn, Drug Meltdowns & More In Jon Cryer’s New Book

DH: Did you ever seek stem-cell treatments to mitigate the effects of HIV? If so, where?

CS: I’ve done stem cells on two bum shoulders that have been chronic for years, and I was not really blown away by the results. I didn’t see it as a real hopeful treatment program for something this systemic.

DH: If you could summarize how you are today, Charlie, how would you describe it?

CS: Sober, focused, hopeful, vigilant and, um, poetic!

DH: And glad this interview is over!

December 10, 2015

10 HIV Clinical Wins for 2015 and a tool box for good Sex


                                                                             



We can’t leave the year without again reviewing the latest developments in HIV for 2015 which has been a watershed year in that we have brought to light all the tools available for a person to stay HIV negative and an HIV+ to have normal sex without medical stigma. Up to now HIV men were not supposed to have sex according to many opinions including some HIV+ themselves. It is clear now that unless you live under a rock, you can stay negative and if you are Poz  you can start normalizing your sexual life and if anyone does not agree they can just not have sex. If the clinical positive person is refused for stigma soon it will be seen as ignorance and not shame. The one that wants to but runs away when the truth is presented to him would have to deal with themselves  of why the truth is bad and lies or not knowing is better. We should be smart and educated and try to live a full life which includes a healthy sex life, which includes not putting someone at risk including yourself.  It is clear now you don’t have to. Know the tools and use them!
Adam Gonzalez
                                                   
  
Who can complain about exciting, newer medications and novel ways to use them to treat HIV and hepatitis C (HCV), or new data that shed light on old issues such as the optimal timing of HIV therapy or the role of HIV in aging?
However, we can certainly do without the depressing news of an HIV and HCV outbreak in southern Indiana that was both predictable and preventable, or that the bold expansion of health care insurance is under attack by many who would rather score a victory against their political opponents than on behalf of the people they were elected to represent.
What is most interesting about the past year's events is how our wonderful capacity for invention and innovation is matched by our incredible and frustrating ability to screw things up.
So here are both the commendable and the concerning: my top 10 stories from 2015.
Table of Contents
David Alain Wohl, M.D., is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina and site leader of the University of North Carolina AIDS Clinical Trials Unit at Chapel Hill. 

September 14, 2015

Man on Grindr - 'Oh you have HIV... I'm not ready for that kind of complication in my life'.

Tom Knight, a 28-year-old events manager and producer from London, has been HIV positive since 2013.
NullPicture: Facebook
He was chatting to a man on Grindr, the dating app, last week and revealed he was HIV positive.
Here's how their conversation went down:
His response raises an important point. 
In no way are flared jeans acceptable in this day and age.
HIV positive
(Photos: Getty)
No seriously, while the anonymous man was well within his rights to state his concerns, his response is symptomatic of the routine rejection HIV positive people face on the basis of their condition.
Knight told Buzzfeed:
It’s a kick in the teeth. Every time it’s a kick in the teeth. It’s not easy telling people I’m positive. You worry about what they’re thinking about you.
Nowadays, treatment is also far more effective than it used to be - HIV is more likely to get passed on if the HIV positive partner has what’s called ‘a high viral load’, which treatment can lower, reducing the risk of passing on HIV.
As Knight added:
People like him don’t have any knowledge about HIV and don’t know what 'undetectable' means [an undetectable viral load occurs when medication suppresses the virus to such low levels it doesn’t show up on lab tests], and don’t realise that it means you can’t pass the virus on.
HIV is spread through contact with blood (including menstrual blood and any blood in saliva, urine, and feces), semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk, and fluids around the brain, spinal cord, joints and a developing fetus.
HIV is not spread through contact with sweat, tears, saliva, feces or urine.
You cannot get HIV by touching or hugging someone who is HIV positive or by kissing someone living with HIV.
Every sexual act with someone who is HIV positive, oral, anal or vaginal, has an element of risk of transmission of HIV, but condoms remain the most effective barrier, as well as dental dams and latex gloves.
In addition, if a condom splits or you forget to use one – a HIV negative partner can take PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), which helps prevent transmission of HIV. It needs to be taken within 3 days, but better within 24 hours.
For more information visit the NHS website.
Null
(H/T Buzzfeed)

July 17, 2015

He Gets 30.5 yrs for non disclosure}} As a result some will not test but will transmit by saying “Im clean’{{



                                                                            
 Michael Johnson sentenced to 30.5 yrs.


In 2015 some states are still at 1985 as it comes to HIV. It’s hard to believe that this judge will not be knowledgeable about the risks in having unprotected sex and keeping safe and what is the real reason this once promising life is being destroyed and thrown away.  If the judge and District Attorney where looking for a severe sentence, harsher than if he had committed murder they certainly chose the unbalanced non justice choice.

The reason I use the ’no justice word’ is because you can’t have justice when you destroy a life for not disclosing his HIV status. If he would have had any other disease that was not transmitted non sexually but through touching or just close contact  i.e.: Ebola;  He would not been prosecuted at all. 

I have heard of no prosecutions from the Ebola epidemic even when cases were brought to the U.S.
The point Im making is because this case has to do with sex and HIV being a decease connected with a certain community, getting a scape goat to make everyone clean from HIV (like if that was possible!) they destroy a life by giving him a sentence that makes no sense in view of the crime committed. 

Cases of miscarriage of justice affect us all, more so than HIV. We all have a responsibility to take care of our bodies and take not extraordinary protections but everyday very known and familiar protections when having sex with someone other than your monogamous partner. With the exception of rape, everyone involved made a choice. If he is convicted of any crime but murder, over 30 years is going way overboard. This young guy had everything stocked against him in the criminal system of his state. First he is black, yes black because being white helps you in not getting prosecuted for the same offense and if convicted with some exceptions, is not going to be life. Then he was carrying a disease that in everyday life people accommodate in their life’s because they have learn how is transmitted and more importantly how one can protect one self against it. A disease connected with gays, loose moral values and intravenous drug users. 30 years the judge and prosecuted most’ve thought, who is going to miss him? Im sure if you met the judge he would tell you he was protecting society. Then ask him why he has given 25 years for murder? How miss carriage of justice protects society?

Even if we concede, which we don’t that this sentenced young man got up one day and said Im going to infect some people, one need to take the circumstances into sentencing. Was it a rape?(was not), was this a habitual offender? He had sex with six guys in six months, what are the result of his actions as it applies to the victims? Did they acquire the disease, did they already were positive? Were they also promiscuous? This are just a few samples some of the questions which I don’t know because that would only be on the trial transcripts but it illustrates that a case is not as simple as who shot the victim? What you know is that he did not play ball by  pleading out, he went to trial, so the judge throws the book at him? 30 years is not throwing the book at him but beating him with it to death.

I don’t like guys that go around without being tested so they can plead that they didn’t know they were positive thus avoiding prosecution. The guy in question here knew. That blood test made him a felon trying to commit murder. A blood test instituted for people to know and get meds which if done correctly will make the HIV’er chances of transmitting very, very low (95-99.9%, if undetectable for more than a few months). With cases like this, besides ruining a promising young life of this college kid, it makes others be discourage to know their status based on legal reasoning. Sending this guy with a harsh sentence is not going to deter someone like him to not have sex but what it will make   many guys not want to know their status and thus transmitting the disease to many. They will transmit the disease and not get help which will help them become less likely to transmit and less likely that they will progress and their  HIV will become AIDS.


                                                                              -*-
Members of the medical and legal community joined HIV activists in expressing outrage at the 30½ year sentence imposed on a Black Missour

Members of the medical and legal community joined HIV activists in expressing outrage at the 30½ year sentence imposed on a Black Missouri college student and star wrestler following his conviction under the state law that makes it a felony for people diagnosed with HIV to have sexual contact without documenting they disclosed their HIV status.  Members of the medical and legal community joined HIV activists in expressing outrage at the 30½ year sentence imposed on a Black Missouri college student and star wrestler following his conviction under the state law that makes it a felony for people diagnosed with HIV to have sexual contact without documenting they disclosed their HIV status.  

The student, Michael Johnson, faced complaints lodged by six men who claimed that they had sex with Mr. Johnson and did not know he had HIV. The sentence imposed on Mr. Johnson is equivalent to that issued in a serious homicide case.

St. Charles County Circuit Judge Jon Cunningham, who sentenced Mr. Johnson yesterday, told him he had committed "very severe" crimes. Mr. Johnson was given 30 years on the felony conviction of recklessly transmitting HIV without disclosure, and a total of 30½ years on the four lesser convictions of recklessly exposing another to HIV without disclosure. The judge ordered that the sentences run concurrently, for an effective prison sentence of 30½ years. 

·       MICHAEL JOHNSON’S IMPRISONMENT WILL NOT SLOW THE SPREAD OF HIV.

Dr. Jeffrey Birnbaum, a nationally-recognized adolescent HIV expert, and founder and director of the Health and Education Alternatives for Teens (HEAT), a treatment and prevention center for adolescents and young adults, expressed sadness and concern at the outcome of Mr. Johnson’s case. Dr. Birnbaum stressed, “HIV criminal laws have no positive impact on the spread of HIV.  Sentencing people living with HIV to prison for having sex will, based on decades of HIV clinical experience, only drive people away from health centers where they can learn their HIV status and get the medical care they need.”

·       IMPRISONMENT POINTLESSLY DEVASTATES A PROMISING YOUNG MAN’S LIFE.

Kimber Mallet, a former professor of Michael’s, states: “Michael was a kind, hard-working student who overcame a learning disability to enter college and become a promising athlete. His sentence is tragic and likely will cost him his future, with no benefit to Missouri taxpayers who pay for this severe form of punishment. I am hopeful that the appeal of his sentence will produce a more just outcome."

·       MISSOURI’S HIV LAW AND PUNISHMENT IS IRRATIONAL AND GROSSLY UNFAIR.

Mayo Schreiber, Deputy Director of The Center for HIV Law and Policy and a long-time criminal defense attorney, pointed out, “The criminal statute that Michael Johnson was convicted of violating was originally passed in 1988, at a time when HIV was considered a ‘death sentence.’  Today, with proper treatment, HIV is a chronic, manageable disease and those with HIV can expect to live a full, healthy life. Yet violation of the Missouri law is a class A felony, with a sentencing range of 10-30 years or life imprisonment. Other class A felonies include murder or child abandonment resulting in death.  Punishing Michael Johnson as if he is a murderer because state officials have failed to address a severely outdated, irrational criminal law is not only fundamentally unfair, it is barbaric.”

·       THE STATE OF MISSOURI IS PLAYING BAIT AND SWITCH WITH ITS CITIZENS.

LaTrischa Miles, member of the Missouri AIDS Task Force, founder of GRACE of Greater Kansas City, a faith-based organization for women affected by HIV/AIDS, and Co-Founder of Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN-USA), stated: "The state of Missouri spends significant resources encouraging its citizens to be tested for HIV. The state then prosecutes people who test positive for HIV and are unable to prove that they disclosed this to their sexual partners. That just doesn’t make sense.” 

Lauren Fanning, an outreach specialist for CHLP’s Positive Justice Project, which seeks to reform HIV criminal laws in the U.S., pointed out, “State and local health officials stood by silently while the prosecutor used ignorance about HIV to persuade a jury that Michael Johnson’s HIV is effectively a deadly weapon. How do you think this double-talk affects people’s comfort with getting tested?”

The Positive Justice Project (PJP), a project of CHLP, is a national coalition of organizations and individuals, including those living with HIV, those accused or prosecuted, medical and public health professionals, law enforcement, community organizers, advocates, attorneys, sex workers, social scientists and others working to end HIV criminalization in the United States. To join or to get more information about PJP, contact Community Outreach Specialist Stephen Williams at swilliams@hivlawandpolicy.org.

For more information regarding the Missouri AIDS Task Force and local organizing around HIV criminal laws, contact moaidstaskforce@gmail.com, or contact Lauren Fanning, Senior Community Outreach Specialist for criminal law modernization efforts at lfanning@hivlawandpolicy.org.

Links
Guidance for People Living with HIV Who Are At Risk of, or Are Facing, Criminal Prosecution for HIV Nondisclosure or Exposure, C, Ending and Defending Against HIV Criminalization: State and Federal Laws and Prosecutions, Vol.1, The Center for HIV Law and Pol, This is How We Win: A Toolkit for Community Advocates, Ending and Defending Against HIV Criminalization, A Manual for Advocates,, Guiding Principles for Eliminating Disease-Specific Criminal Laws, Positive Justice Project Steering Committee (2015)

 Catherine Hanssens Founder/Executive Director

May 13, 2015

Mandingo with HIV, Denial and Prosecution



 Everyone was dying to have sex with Johnson(mandingo).
Black or white who doesn’t like sex with a youth with a sculptured man’s body
“I am more into white guys, but I like black guys,” the student told BuzzFeed. He connected with Tiger because he was “gorgeous, he had great legs, and he was well-endowed.”
The student at Lindenwood University in the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles quickly recognized that in real life, Tiger Mandingo was also a student at his school: Michael Johnson, a recent transfer student on Lindenwood’s wrestling team. They hooked up later that month in Johnson’s dorm room, where, the student said, Johnson told him he was “clean.” He gave Johnson a blow job.
Johnson invited him to go out sometime, but the student got busy and “didn’t have time for that.” They didn’t hook up again until early October.

This time, they had anal sex without a condom. “I let him come in me,” the student said. He wanted bareback sex, he said, because Johnson was “huge,” “only my third black guy,” and — as he said Johnson told him yet again — “clean.”
The student said he has barebacked with multiple “friends and ex-boyfriends,” situations in which “we trusted each other. I mean, I don’t just let anybody do it.” Yet he also said he had bareback sex “with people I barely knew.” In those cases, he said, “I knew they were clean,” sometimes just “by looking at them.”

The student’s nonchalance changed when he described a call he got from Johnson a few days after their second hookup: “He calls me and he said, ‘I found out I have a disease.’ And I asked, ‘Is there a cure?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know.’ And I was like, ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’ I got pissed. I had asked him several times, and he’d said he was clean, and I trusted him! And I got mad at him, and then he got mad at me for getting mad, and then he said, ‘I gotta go.’”

That same day, Oct. 10, Johnson was pulled out of his class and led away in handcuffs by the St. Charles police. He was later charged with one count of “recklessly infecting another with HIV” and four counts of “attempting to recklessly infect another with HIV,” felonies in the state of Missouri.
Johnson has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer, public defender Heather Donovan, allowed BuzzFeed to interview Johnson in jail with her present, under the condition that he not answer questions about his case. Asked later to respond to a detailed list of points raised in this article, including whether Johnson always disclosed his HIV status or ever had intercourse without a condom after learning he had HIV, Donovan wrote that “neither Michael and I feel comfortable answering [BuzzFeed’s questions] at this time since his case is still pending.”

News of Johnson’s arrest, coupled with reports of more than 30 videotaped sexual encounters on Johnson’s laptop, rocked St. Charles and lit up local broadcasts and international headlines. It’s been erroneously reported that Johnson has also been charged for making the tapes, but he hasn’t. The videos, like the sex acts themselves, might have been consensual. Julie Vomund, spokeswoman for St. Charles Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar, wrote to BuzzFeed that the “St. Charles County Cyber Crime Unit is still working to fully review the videos to identify the people involved and at this time we have not determined if those on the video gave their consent to be filmed… there is still the possibility in the future to amend charges with additional counts.”

Lindenwood University urged anyone who’d had “intimate contact” with Johnson to get tested for HIV, and many did. The student Johnson had sex with went to St. Louis Effort for AIDS for an HIV test, which came back negative, as did subsequent tests. He didn’t press charges himself. Still, he said, “he infected someone with HIV. Without medication, that person could get AIDS, so he’s slowly killing someone. It’s a form of murder, in a sense. I hate to say it, since he’s a nice guy.”
With few exceptions, judgments around the internet concurred: Johnson was a predatory “monster” who was intentionally “spreading HIV/AIDS.” A typical comment on Instagram proclaimed him the “Worst type of homosexual: a strong one with HIV.” Overtly racist blogs, like Chimpmania.com, labeled him an “HIV Positive Buck.”

The only question more important than how Johnson became both a media flashpoint and morality tale is why. The nasty racial tone the story took is not surprising, given Johnson’s charged nickname, his white sex partners, and research in Tennessee that shows the law punishes black men more often (and more severely) for HIV-related sex crimes than it does white men.
Clearly, failing to tell one’s sexual partners that one has HIV is irresponsible and unethical. But even if that’s what Johnson did, he is hardly the only one keeping such information to himself. A 2004 article published in the medical journal Topics in HIV Medicine reviewed 15 studies on disclosure conducted over a dozen years in the United States. It found a wild variation in how often HIV-positive people disclose their status to partners, ranging from as much as 89% of the time to as little as 42%. A 2012 study published by AIDS Care found that 69% of HIV-positive gay men disclose their status to their sexual partners.

Then, too, many people with HIV simply don’t know they have the virus. In 2011, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that among young gay and bisexual men aged 18 to 24 who were infected with HIV, less than half knew that they had it. Johnson’s partners also carry responsibility, because relying on someone to say they are “clean” is a foolhardy strategy to avoid contracting the virus.

This is a message that a college — a place full of young and sexually experimenting students — needs to drive home, repeatedly. Yet, while Lindenwood University facilitated HIV testing, it conducted little education on how to avoid getting the AIDS virus in the first place.
Indeed, the community around Johnson — his sexual partners, many of his fellow students, and his university — turned a blind eye to HIV until it had the perfect scapegoat: a gay, hypersexual, black wrestler with learning disabilities who went by the nickname Tiger Mandingo.
But up until his status became known in a very dramatic way, Johnson’s body had been quite popular, for a myriad of uses, in that very community. As Carolyn Guild, the prevention director of St. Louis Effort for AIDS, put it, “Everyone wanted a piece of him, until he had HIV.”

In a small visitation room at the St. Charles County Department of Corrections, Johnson walked in wearing an orange jumpsuit but no handcuffs. He had a broad smile and an easy, gregarious manner. In person, he didn’t seem like the predator portrayed in the news.
But after seeing his own mugshot in the media, even Johnson admitted, “If I didn’t know that person, I knew I would be very shocked and scared.”
His mother, Tracy Johnson, told BuzzFeed, “This is not what his childhood friends, his brothers — the people who had a hand in raising him — wanted for him.”
Johnson was born in 1991 in Indianapolis. He is the youngest of his single mother’s five sons. He didn’t know his father. Both Johnson and his mother said that he has dyslexia and was enrolled in special education.

Johnson knew from a young age that his best shot for success was via his athletic body. While he flirted with other sports, he liked wrestling partially, he said, because unlike “a team sport, you can’t point the finger at another person … you can only point the finger at yourself.”
Sports was also an arena where his learning disabilities wouldn’t matter. By high school, Johnson dreamed of parlaying his successful wrestling career not just into a ticket to college, but to the Olympics and professional wrestling.

“I always identified as gay,” Johnson said, but “my mom wasn’t ready,” and she urged him to stay in the closet. (Johnson’s mother stressed to BuzzFeed that she was “afraid for him” if he were to tell people he was gay when he was “too young.”) Johnson added that his Christian “faith made me want to fight to be straight.”
And Johnson said he “wasn’t sure whether I would be accepted in the wrestling community” if he came out, given all the grinding and pinning of sweaty teen boys eager to prove their masculinity.
That’s because prosecutors have in their possession what they consider a smoking gun: On Jan. 7, 2013, Johnson signed a form like this one from the state of Missouri, acknowledging that he had been diagnosed with HIV. From this date forward, any time he had sex with someone without disclosing his HIV status, he would have been committing a felony.

But his mother, Tracy Johnson, said, “No one told him, ‘Before you sign this legal document, you need to get counsel. This is a legal document, and if you go against this legal document, you can be incarcerated,’ and be given years in the penitentiary if he is dishonest about his medical situation.”
Johnson’s defense could well come down to a case of “he said, he said,” as his mother put it, with “Tiger Mandingo” on trial against a bunch of white college students as to whether he said he was positive before they had sex. Johnson’s attorney wouldn’t comment on this, but his mother said he told her, “‘Mama, I told people I was HIV [positive] … and they wanted me anyway, because of who I am.’ So in a way he feels kind of used.”

It’s not a promising position for a semi-literate, poor defendant represented by a public defender. Johnson’s defense will be all the harder because, while the state has a signed statement from him, he doesn’t have signed statements from any of his sex partners saying they knew he was HIV positive.
This may sound preposterous, but it’s not unheard of in the era of laws that criminalize failing to inform sex partners that one has HIV. Aaron Laxton, a social worker and HIV activist in St. Louis who has the virus himself, said he knows positive people who do make such records. Some will ask their partners to sign a disclosure form like this one before they have sex; others, Laxton said, “will whip out their phone and record video of their partner” giving consent.
Laxton said he personally doesn’t need to take such steps. For one, “my status is well-known,” given that he’s totally open and has made a couple hundred YouTube videos about it. But Laxton bluntly admits that he has has a safeguard Johnson doesn’t.
“I’m white.”



A few words from the Publisher:   When a guy is diagnosed the first thing that happens to him is denial. Acceptance should follow but how long it takes no body knows, is different on every person. On Michael Johnson it didn’t come right away. He asked the guy that gave it to him which is like asking the wind, if he was ok.  Now being diagnosed himself others would asked Michael and he would give them the same answer that was given to him; At least this is what  some of his sex partners say. The silliest thing is asking another guy if he is ok after you drop your pants. It happened to me and the answer was no. I trusted a condom and the word of this ex partner and if you were to ask all those thousand upon thousands that have contracted HIV they would say the same thing. I asked. Who did you asked? A guy that is in shock and in denial about such a private thing? Guys that are hot and are pursued it becomes an extra challenged. Even now that we have so much information and we have chemical ways to stay safe not just rubbers, still guys are asking and they will always get the same answer. To be rejected by a sex partner particularly if we know we are not going to transmit anything because of the information we poses: Prep, Undetectable viral load with adherence to anti retro viral drugs, which we know will keep our partner safe still when the moment comes to tell, is so hard! We expect the answer to be me too or is ok but we know that besides those two answers lays a rejection which can come with  a “take care man” to we have to get together sometime.

I am not about to absorb the HIV person from the responsibility to tell, but how stupid can the other person be? But the danger does not really come from guys that have been tested and have come to know they are HIV.  The danger comes from guys that don’t get tested or get tested once and think that is it for life.  Many guys don’t get tested at all because they know what happens to them in a way of responsibility if they are found positive. Meanwhile while not being tested they can always say and they do,  “I don’t have it.” So a don’t know I have not been tested becomes  a “I don’t have it.” Those are the truths but the worse truth is when the criminal system intervenes because that makes the person who has not been tested someone who will not get tested. Why get tested and have the responsibility to tell or “I will go to jail for the rest of my life. “ To the HIV’r be warn and play it safe and to the one that thinks he is negative asking wont help. Getting informed of how safely you can have sex with anybody is smart and will keep you safe. There are many couples sexually active and one of the partners is HIV. It’s no mystery and is not something that will take anything from your sex lives.


A Felony for HIV Non-disclosure 10-30yrs


  
 Michael Johnson
Photo credit: The Counter Narrative Project

A former college student and wrestler who was arrested in 2013 for not disclosing his HIV status to his sexual partners will go to trial on Monday, May 11. 

Michael Johnson, 23, is charged with one count of attempting to “recklessly infect another with HIV” and four counts of attempting to “recklessly risk infection of another with HIV,” all felonies in the state of Missouri. Johnson was a student and star wrestler at Lindenwood University when he was arrested in October 2013. He is currently in the St. Charles County Jail and faces life in prison.
Johnson is being represented by St. Charles County public defender Heather Donovan, who declined to comment on the case.
Advocates for those living with HIV are calling into question the Missouri law that Johnson is being charged under – referring to it as an “HIV criminalization law.”
“This is a public health issue – not a criminal issue,” said Andrea Sears, communications consultant for the Center for HIV Law & Policy in New York. “Any sexually-active person living with HIV living in Missouri could be in Johnson’s position – in jail, his life completely derailed if not destroyed.”
Under Missouri law, if individuals with HIV are accused of not disclosing their status to their sexual partners, their only defense is to be able to prove disclosure. Verbal consent is often how people “negotiate sex,” but verbal disclosure is hard to prove, said Erise Williams, president and CEO of Williams and Associates, Inc., a nonprofit community-based organization in St. Louis that addresses minority health disparities and offers HIV screenings and resources.
It is not typical practice anywhere for sexual partners to sign documents or get audio or video recording of disclosure before having sex, he said.
“The burden of proof is on the person with HIV,” Williams said. “We shouldn’t be criminalizing anyone because they have a disease.”
Williams also said the law makes it more difficult for his organization to do their work because criminalizing HIV discourages people from getting tested. As long as individuals don’t know they have HIV, they can’t be prosecuted. But once they get tested, they could end up in jail for having sex – even if they are having protected sex and receiving clinical treatment, which greatly lowers the risk of transmission, he said.
Williams said the law – and stigma that it reinforces in the African-American community – especially hinders their program called Blacks Assisting Blacks Against AIDS.
“It encourages the epidemic,” he said. “HIV criminalization laws ignore the research around how people get infected. They are at odds with public health strategy to address HIV. With the treatment we have now, they can live for a long time. Treatment is prevention. That helps decrease infection rates in communities.”
According to police reports, Johnson tested positive for HIV on January 7, 2013. The initial alleged incident that precipitated his arrest occurred on January 26, 2013 in Johnson’s dorm room.
The incident was reported to police on May 29, 2013. Police first interviewed Johnson on October 7, 2013, and he was arrested three days later.
Johnson was charged with two Class A felonies and four Class B felonies, based on statements by six witnesses, two of whom have tested positive for HIV. At least three of the six complaining witnesses are white and two are African-American. So far Johnson has refused to accept any plea bargain. Bail was set at $100,000 cash.
Under Missouri law, a Class A felony alone is punishable by a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years or life in prison.
Akil Patterson, a wrestling fan who befriended Johnson, said Johnson is a good person, man of faith and hard worker. He has exchanged letters with Johnson from jail and said it’s clear from their correspondences that Johnson has a learning disability.
This could be critical, because on January 7, 2013, Johnson signed the standard Missouri form that explains to individuals who have tested positive that it is a felony not to disclose their HIV status. 
“If you look in the document, it’s written in legal format,” Patterson said. “I have two degrees, and I don’t understand it.”
Patterson said there are many other sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis, that do not have specific laws surrounding them. He believes lawmakers singled out HIV because it’s associated with homosexuality and people of color. And he fears that Johnson will not get a fair trial in majority-white St. Charles County.
He urged the court to look at the root of the issue.
“Two consulting adults had sex, and that happened,” he said. “If you have unprotected sex, there are consequences.”
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