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Last night, members of the HIV/AIDS action advocacy group ACT UP protested outside the Waldorf Astoria, where the Human Rights Campaign was holding its annual New York fundraising gala. Here’s why they were there, according to ACT UP:

HRC has created an LGBT equality index to score the Fortune 500 companies, but there’s no mention of HIV and the thousands of LGBT people with HIV in the workplace. We demand that HRC include several criteria to evaluate companies on their treatment of employees living with HIV, as well as their contributions to organizations and causes relate to reducing the incidence of HIV among LGBT Americans, particularly among the young. For over 30 years, too many have been fired, harassed, outed and discriminated against at work for having HIV. Also at this gala, many of the corporations that HRC will honor actively work against the interests of middle-class and poor Americans, including people with HIV. ACT UP denounces this frequent practice of ‘“pinkwashing” whereby corporations with policies and practices that undermine the people’s well-being are given positive publicity in exchange for maintaining LGBT-friendly (or just equal) workplaces. This is short-sighted and divisive. We demand that HRC develop other criteria that takes into account the impact of companies’ policies on every American, not just LGBT Americans.

Whoa. (photos via Benjamin Heim Shepard, story via Joe. My. God.)

NANCY REAGAN TURNED DOWN ROCK HUDSON’S DYING PLEA FOR AIDS TREATMENT

The First Lady and then President Ronald Reagan turned down a 1985 request for White House intervention in helping the famed actor get treatment from a leading French hospital. Hudson would die later that year.


Related: A dangerous and costly culture of right wing homophobia - Ronald Reagan’s shameful AIDS legacy

New smartphone dongle diagnoses HIV in just 15 minutes

A cheap new device that can be attached to a smartphone can reportedly diagnose cases of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and syphilis – and, amazingly enough, the test only takes 15 minutes to complete.

Developed by researchers at Columbia University, the new phone attachment is being heralded as a potentially transformative breakthrough, due in no small part to its low cost. While the typical diagnostic machinery used to detect HIV and syphilis costs more than $18,000, the new mobile “dongle” costs a mere $34 to manufacture.

Only one hospital in the world can offer necessary medical treatment to save life of Rock Hudson or at least alleviate his illness,” Olson wrote. Although the commanding officer had denied Hudson admission to the French military hospital initially, Olson wrote that they believed “a request from the White House … would change his mind.”

First Lady Nancy Reagan turned down the request.
—  Nancy Reagan Turned Down Rock Hudson’s Plea For Help Nine Weeks Before He Died - BuzzFeed News

For those too young to know his name, Rock Hudson was a legend of cinema and later television. He was one of the first most famous men to have died from AIDS in the 1980s.

Mrs. Reagan, was the mouth piece for the Just Say No campaign, full throated support of prohibition of mind altering chemicals and a start of the steady erosion of Fourth Amendment protections.

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Your smartphone just got smarter.

A device invented by biomedical engineers at Columbia University turns a smartphone into a lab that can test human blood for the virus that causes AIDS or the bacteria that cause syphilis.

The researchers got the idea for the device when examining the costs and the logistical difficulties of getting equipment for HIV testing to rural areas or developing countries.

Learn more about the device here.

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Researchers believe that they might have a developed a vaccine to treat HIV, but the virus continues to mutate. Will we ever find a cure?

anonymous asked:

what do you think of the conspiracy theory that the government is holding back a lot of cures for things like cancer and aids?

I’d believe it. There’s too much money to be made in the medical industrial complex for the treatments of both cancer and AIDS. A cure would cost big pharma billions of dollars. It really wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if these cures exist and the government is withholding them since big pharma keeps lining their pockets.

-academicfeminist

How being a racist blew up Justine Sacco's life

Racism is not a mistake. Tweeting “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” is not like tweeting a typo —which is a mistake. Tweeting that is the result of racist beliefs and the audacity to laugh at and belittle victims of a horrible disease. 

Justine’s Sacco’s life didn’t go downhill because of a silly mistake or a new-form “reflexive critique of white privilege”. She thought it was funny to insinuate that only blacks contract AIDS and to suggest that Africa is just AIDS ridden,. There’s just so much wrong with her beliefs that it would be insane to somehow try to paint her as the victim, unless you’re the New York Times.

Sometimes online shaming goes to far, that’s evident and obvious. What’s also obvious is that this woman offended a large number of people with her RACIST tweet, which is what inspired the firestorm. They weren’t tweeting, retweeting and screenshotting her tweet to feel powerful. What she inspired and what was the common feeling among everyone who saw the tweet was disgust. Her tweet was racist and disgusting and led to her losing her job. No one forced Justine Sacco to tweet “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

And that’s the vital point here: she wasn’t forced to tweet that. She made that horrible joke of her own free will, in a public forum, about a large and voluminous people and continent, about AIDS — a disease that cause 1.3 million deaths a year. Then she had the audacity to claim that her account, followed by 170-odd people, was hacked —adding insult to injury in one of the worst ways, by insulting the intelligence of her victims. 

The weird part in all of this is that the NYT is pitying someone who could have avoided all of this with a little bit of common sense. This also applies to all of the other “victims” that they use as examples. The old Arab proverb states that “the mouth should have three gatekeepers. Is it true? Is it kind? And is it necessary?”. If they can’t abide by that, as many of us admittedly do not, then actually use your brain and think “is this insensitive?”. 

Dressing up as a Boston marathon victim is insensitive and disgusting. Flipping the bird and pretending to scream next to a sign that asks for silence and respect for the war dead is insensitive and disgusting. Tweeting that you’re going to Africa and that you hope that you don’t get AIDS, before stating that you’re just joking, you’re white therefore somehow you can’t get AIDS, is insensitive and disgusting. At its best, these are all mistakes of lack of awareness and basic human decency, at their worst, their incredibly mean-spirited, disrespectful and in Sacco’s case, racist. 

Rather than throwing rose petals at her feet, ask why so many people were upset at the tweet. Yes, things can go overboard on Twitter but there’s always smoke to the fire. Maybe it is because her tweet was extremely incendiary and hurtful that people were offended by it. She wasn’t making a bad joke, she was being disrespectful to victims of AIDS, blacks and Africa. It’s actually an accomplishment that she managed to offend so many different groups of people with one tweet. But nonetheless, you don’t get to do things like that and play the victim. It’s not fair to the people that she’s belittling and laughing at. 

Her job wasn’t “taken” from her. She created an account on a social media platform that has millions of members of her own free will, logged in of her own free will and tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” of her own free will. She made it public when she didn’t have to. There’s no minority report police yet to police thoughts but once she put it in the swamp known as Twitter, it was bound to get passed around more than love notes in middle school classrooms. The retweets weren’t because people have personal vendettas against her, it was because it was unbelievable how someone could be so crass and disgusting. She build the pyre and set the fire to her own life, all the audience did was help her pour the gasoline.

Justine Sacco is not the victim and as harsh as it sounds, there’s no reason to highlight a suffering racist. She was offered a job immediately after the incident, a chance that most normal people would never get, because of her damaging actions. It’s amazing how privilege works. She was able to move to a different country to continue her P.R career and build her life up again. There are millions with AIDS who never get that chance at life, millions that she thought it was perfectly suitable to laugh at; real human beings who are dying as victims of a horrible disease, sufferers of an incurable plague, while Justine Sacco gets to cry and move on. She’s not a victim, she’s an insensitive racist who was upset that the world accepted her as what she revealed herself to be. 

Most people have no idea who actually suffers from HIV and AIDS 

Whatever happened to HIV/AIDS?

From the dearth of media attention, the global epidemic that terrified the world in the 1980s and 1990s, seems to have gone away. In America, the changing tide in public opinion about the LGBT community means that HIV/AIDS is no longer used to social shame a community, although the association still taints some conversations — most recently, the debate about whether the Food and Drug Administration would lift its lifetime ban on blood donations by men who sleep with men. The ensuing debate not only perpetuated harmful stereotypes about queer men, but also revealed a problematic key point about the disease: most people have no idea who suffers from it. 

Contrary to public opinion, HIV/AIDS is not a disease that only affects white, affluent men like those featured in this year’s Golden Globe-nominated The Normal Heart.

Scientists Announce Anti-HIV Agent so Powerful it can Work as a Vaccine

This sounds, frankly, just amazing. I don’t know if their approach is more widely applicable, but this sounds almost too good to be true. Maybe it’s because so many people have suffered from HIV for so long that we just get used to it, but I really hope this study is as effective as it sounds.

RCS Highlights:

The study shows that the new drug candidate blocks every strain of HIV-1, HIV-2 and SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus) that has been isolated from humans or rhesus macaques, including the hardest-to-stop variants. It also protects against much-higher doses of virus than occur in most human transmission and does so for at least eight months after injection….

With this knowledge, Farzan and his team developed the new drug candidate so that it binds to two sites on the surface of the virus simultaneously, preventing entry of HIV into the host cell…

The team also leveraged preexisting technology in designing a delivery vehicle — an engineered adeno-associated virus, a small, relatively innocuous virus that causes no disease. Once injected into muscle tissue, like HIV itself, the vehicle turns those cells into “factories” that could produce enough of the new protective protein to last for years, perhaps decades, Farzan said…

"This is the culmination of more than a decade’s worth of work on the biochemistry of how HIV enters cells," Farzan said. "When we did our original work on CCR5, people thought it was interesting, but no one saw the therapeutic potential. That potential is starting to be realized."

Visit RealCleverScience.tumblr for more awe-inspiring science stories, news, and musings.

"I am the only one in this class willing to make the hard choices. It’s an unpopular idea, but it’s the best and most efficient solution available. We have consistently failed to create a cure for HIV, and the only realistic approach left is to eradicate all persons infected. I’m serious. We kill every last person who has HIV, all the way back to the source, and completely destroy their remains until HIV itself is made extinct. It’s the only reasonable solution."

(What do I even tag this as??)

-Third-Year Biochemistry Major, submitted by

—  the-butts-foundation.tumblr.com