Despite the fact that every drop of blood donated is tested for every disease including AIDS and other diseases the FDA has demonized and stigmatized gay men for decades.
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced it had officially eliminated SOME restrictions that had previously prohibited many blood donations by gay and bisexual men from giving blood.
In a news release, the agency said it will recommend a series of “individual risk-based questions” that will be the same for every blood donor, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender or sex. Those who have had anal sex with a new sexual partner, or more than one sexual partner, within the last three months would be asked to wait to donate blood.
With the updated guidelines, most gay and bisexual men who are in a monogamous relationship with a man will no longer have to refrain from sex in order to donate blood. With the EXCEPTION of anyone taking HIV medications — including people who are HIV negative who are taking medications called PrEP to prevent infection.
The original blood donation ban, which was implemented in the 1980s during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, prohibits men who have had sex with other men (MSM) from donating blood for 12 months after their last sexual encounter. In 2020, the ban was revised to reduce the deferral period to three months.
In the past the American Medical Association, the American Red Cross, and numerous other health organizations have called for the ban to be lifted entirely, as it is not based on scientific evidence but the FDA has always ignored them
For decades the FDA policy perpetuated a harmful stereotypes that stigmatize and discriminated against gay and bisexual men. . It implied that all are inherently diseased and dangerous, and reinforced the hate of anti-gay activist and the notion that gay men were they less worthy of donating blood than their heterosexual counterparts.
A federal judge in Texas (of course) on Thursday blocked the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare’s mandate that health insurance plans cover preventive care against HIV (PrEP), at no cost to patients.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor a Republican appointed by George Bush in Fort Worth, Texas, previously found that the PrEP mandate violated a federal religious freedom law and that other no-cost preventive care mandates were based on recommendations by an illegally appointed task force. Now the judge has now blocked the federal government from enforcing the mandates.
The legal challenge was brought by eight individuals and two businesses, all from Texas. They argued that the free PrEP requirement requires business owners and consumers to pay for services that “encourage homosexual behavior, prostitution, sexual promiscuity and intravenous drug use” despite their religious beliefs.
Judge Reed O’Connor, a Bush appointee for the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, ruled yesterday that paying for PrEP via the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. PrEP, when taken daily, prevents HIV infection.
“In the suit, a group of self-described Christian business owners and employees in Texas argue that the preventive care mandates violate their constitutional right to religious freedom by requiring companies and policyholders to pay for coverage that conflicts with their faith and personal values. The lawsuit was filed in 2020 by Austin attorney Jonathan Mitchell, the legal mind behind Texas’ civilly enforced six-week abortion ban. In the suit, Mitchell also challenges the entire framework through which the federal government decides what preventive services get covered.”
The lawsuit specifically addresses PrEP, but O’Connor’s ruling, which addresses how the federal government can decide what preventive care is covered in employer health care plans, may end up having much more wide-reaching consequences.
Facebook feeds have been inundated with misleading ads containing false information about HIV prevention and LGBT advocates, are saying that the tone-deaf tech giant’s refusal to remove the content is creating a public-health crisis.
The paid ads have been viewed millions of times in recent months, They’ve scared patients, potentially those who may be most at risk of contracting HIV, out of taking preventative drugs, known as PrEP, even though health officials and federal regulators have said they are safe.
The ads many of which have been purchased by personal-injury lawyers allege in lawsuits that HIV medications, such as Truvada, actually threaten patients with serious side effects. LGBT groups that work with Facebook say the ads are “false” and have urged Facebook for months to take them down— and Facebook refuses stating that the ads do not violate its policies.
“We value our work with LGBT groups and constantly seek their input,” said Facebook spokeswoman Devon Kearns said in a statement. “While these ads do not violate our ad policies nor have they been rated false by third-party fact-checkers, we’re always examining ways to improve and help these key groups better understand how we apply our policies.”
Demetre Daskalakis, the deputy commissioner for the Division of Disease Control at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said the ads, which he has seen on his own Facebook feed, threaten to undo years of work to promote a drug that can cut down on the transmission of HIV and potentially save lives.
“I still see patients,” Daskalakis said. “Four of my seven PrEP patients came in and said, ‘How could you be putting me on this medication that’s so unsafe? My Instagram ads say so.’”
Despite the fact that health officials and federal regulators have said that the HIV prevention drugs are safe personal-injury lawyers claiming to represent thousands of HIV patients say the data actually are on their side — and that they have a role in informing patients about the risks in medication.
“These Facebook ads provide a service to let them know there are options available for them now,” said Robert Jenner, the co-lead counsel in the consolidated lawsuit.
The Florida Department of Health has announced plans to offer PrEP for free throughout the state by the end of the year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 92 percent in people who are at high risk. This groundbreaking decision will ensure that more people have access to PrEP and help reduce new HIV infections.
“Florida providing free PrEP in all 67 of its local county health departments is significant because it provides those who are most at-risk for HIV, but are uninsured, another tool in their HIV prevention toolbox that they did not have before,” says Daniel Downer, Early Intervention Services Program Coordinator at Hope and Health Center of Central Florida. “It also shows that health officials understand the important role PrEP has in the response to HIV and AIDS in the State of Florida.” In Australia, institutions like the Riverside Clinic (www.riversideclinic.com.au) offer counselling for a wide range of issues that can affect one’s way of life.
According to the CDC, Southern states accounted for more than 50 percent of new HIV diagnoses in 2016. In 2016, Florida had the third-highest rate of new HIV infections in the country, with 28 out of 100,000 Floridians diagnosed with the virus. Discover addiction marketing for details about drug recovery.
The Florida Department of Health began rolling out a statewide PrEP initiative in October, though 16 county health departments have been providing PrEP services for the past year, says Mara Gambineri, a spokesperson for the department.. “Ensuring PrEP to those at highest risk for HIV infection, regardless of their ability to pay, is one of the four key components of the agency’s plan to eliminate HIV transmission and reduce HIV-related deaths,”
Michael Weinstein, the outspoken president of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation and his organization is still standing alone and stubbornly campaigning against PrEP and Truvada the daily medication that has been shown to greatly reduce the risk of contracting H.I.V. The mystery is why l Weinsteinand the AHF is so against a clinically proven prevention drug and why they continue to battle against alone.
“There’s no large controversy; there is one loud voice,” said Charles King, the president of the H.I.V. nonprofit Housing Works and a co-chairman of an anti-H.I.V. task force appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York. Mr. King called the A.H.F. ad “a direct attack on New York State’s efforts to end AIDS as an epidemic.” The growing pro-PrEP chorus includes government bodies like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; various state and local health departments, including in New York and San Francisco; and most H.I.V.-related nonprofits that have taken a stance. Mr. Cuomo has made PrEP one of three planks in his anti-AIDS plan.
Mr. Weinstein’s vociferous opposition to PrEP has made him perhaps the most hated man in the AIDS business. “I consider him a menace to H.I.V. prevention,” said Peter Staley, a veteran activist who also serves on the Cuomo task force. James Loduca, the vice president for public affairs at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, compared him to a “climate-change denialist.” For his part, Mr. Weinstein insists he’s not really alone. He says “a majority” of H.I.V. experts he speaks with privately agree with his view that PrEP is an ineffective public health intervention, but they do not want to talk publicly.
or his part, Mr. Weinstein insists he’s not really alone. He says “a majority” of H.I.V. experts he speaks with privately agree with his view that PrEP is an ineffective public health intervention, but they do not want to talk publicly.
“I think that people are intimidated,” he said in an interview. “When they see how mercilessly anyone who speaks out on this is attacked, I think it has a chilling effect.” He attributes the chill to AIDS activists in thrall to Gilead, Truvada’s manufacturer, which provides support for AIDS nonprofits.
Herein lies the problem. Weinstein is on the record stating that Truvada works and there are some whispers in the community that Weinstein and AHF’s attack on Truveda is nothing more than retaliation against Gilead from pulling funding from the organization. Or is it nothing more than Weinstein’s vested interest in protecting his position in the HIV-prevention community. In either case is that really worth people’s lives? Because that is going to be the cost if the ludicrous and self-glorifying campaign he is running, almost entirely on his own is successful.
The Center for Disease Control last week announced new guidelines for people considered to be at high risk for contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a way for people who do not have HIV to prevent the infection by taking a pill every day. The pill (current brand name Truvada) contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine) that are used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. 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.
The new guidelines say that the use of the PrEP regimen should be considered by the following groups:
* Anyone involved in an ongoing relationship with a person who is already infected with HIV;
* Any gay or bisexual man who has had sex without a condom or who has been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection within the past six months, and is not in a mutually monogamous relationship with someone who recently tested HIV-negative;
* A heterosexual person who does not always use condoms when having sex with people who might be at high risk for HIV (injection drug users or bisexual male partners whose HIV status is unknown) and is also not involved with an HIV-negative person in a mutually monogamous relationship;
* Anyone who has abused injected, illicit drugs over the past six months, shared needles or other equipment tied to injected drug abuse, or been in a drug abuse treatment program.
But there has been some reluctance in the past to prescribe Truvada—and patients’ reluctance to request it—that stems from a bitter fight over the treatment. Critics have questioned PrEP’s safety, efficacy, and cost, and have accused the government of colluding with the drug manufacturer at the expense of public health. Regan Hofmann, the former editor-in-chief of Poz, a magazine for people living with AIDS, called PrEP a “profit-driven sex toy for rich Westerners.” Michael Weinstein, the head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (A.H.F.), the world’s largest AIDS organization and the primary-care provider for more than two hundred thousand patients around the world, predicted a public-health catastrophe. “The applause for this approach shows just how disposable we consider the lives of gay men,” he wrote. Also earlier this month Weinstien drew outrage from within the gay community and AIDS activists by stating “Let’s be honest: It’s a party drug.”
Eric Paul Leue, who currently holds the title of Mr. Los Angeles Leather, and is the face of the “Test Your Limits” HIV testing campaign aimed at the leather/kink community, which has been partially funded by AHF lashed out at Weinstein for his remarks, which he called a “disgraceful and uneducated attack on our LGBT community,” and called upon him publicly to apologize, saying:
“I speak out against Weinstein’s ignorant form of speech that is attacking our LGBT community and those that are aware. With his figure of speech he compares a FDA approved medical treatment (that can [save] life) with actual illegal drugs like cocaine, [ecstasy], heroin, meth and GHB to which we have just recently lost some of our friends.
He disgraces those that are actively seeking protection, awareness and knowledge by literally calling them drug addicts.”
“The CDC guidance is perhaps the single greatest HIV prevention intervention since the recommendation to use condoms was adopted in the late 80s. It can and should revolutionize the way we see and talk about HIV. There are naysayers but they simply do not have the science to back up their claims. They have fears — and that’s all they have. We should not resolve to allowing fear to continue to run HIV prevention options.”
You can read and learn more about the Center for Disease Control’s Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Guidance by clicking HERE.