Piper Kerman to Speak at AIDS Education Month Event

Orange is the New Black memoirist Piper Kerman will speak at Philly's first End AIDS Conference. | Shutterstock.com

Orange is the New Black memoirist Piper Kerman will speak at Philly’s first End AIDS 2015 Conference. | Shutterstock.com

Philly HIV/AIDS nonprofit Philadelphia FIGHT has released the itinerary for its 21st annual AIDS Education Month (AEM). Taking place throughout June, the schedule includes all kinds of parties, panels and workshops geared toward increasing local awareness, and sharing up-to-date information about how to prevent and treat HIV.

The big news surrounding the monthlong event is the brand new End AIDS 2015 Conference, which effectively combines three AEM events: the HIV Prevention and Outreach Summit, the Prison Health Care and Reentry Summit, and the Faith Leaders and Community Summit. The conference will include 65 workshops and a plethora of speakers—perhaps the most notable of which is Piper Kerman, prison-reform activist and author of the memoir that birthed Netflix series Orange is the New Black.

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SeniorLAW Center to Honor LGBT/AIDS Activist David Fair in First-Ever “6 Over 60” Awards

David-FairYou’ve likely seen the lists recognizing the hard-earned (but usually warranted) accomplishments of young folks, whether its “30 under 30,” or the even more head-slapping “25 under 25,” but it’s not too often that we see similar lists recognizing the work of older folks. Maybe “60 under 60” seems like too daunting of a task, but SeniorLAW Center, a local nonprofit working to protect the legal rights and interests of the elderly, is making it simpler and giving it a shot in their brand new “6 Over 60” Awards.

The awards will be handed out next Thursday, May 14th, at a gala in the Crystal Tea Room of the Wanamaker Building. The honorees include a handful of senior go-getters who have done everything from advocate for kids and public education to serve on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and, in the interest of our readers, fight for the rights of the LGBT and AIDS communities. The fellow being honored in that latter category is David Fair (pictured).

Fair has been working since the 1970s to carve out a safe space for Philadelphia’s LGBT community, with a particular focus on HIV/AIDS victims and the homeless. He founded the Philadelphia Gay Cultural Festival in the 1970s, the Philadelphia Lesbian and Gay Task Force in the ’80s, and, in the early-’90s, We the People Living With AIDS/HIV. More on the impact of those groups and his other accomplishments from SeniorLAW:

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Top LGBT HIV/AIDS Resources in Philadelphia

The Attic Youth Center

255 South 16th Street
215-545-4331, atticyouthcenter.org
The Attic creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults within a safe and supportive community, and promotes the acceptance of LGBTQ youth in society. It “offers various support and educational groups that promote safer sex messages and practices. The Attic also offers free, confidential, HIV testing and access to safer sex supplies.”

AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania

1211 Chestnut Street, Suite 600
215-587-9377, aidslawpa.org
Founded in 1988, this nonprofit law firm provides free legal help to those with HIV/AIDS and those affected by the epidemic. AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania provides legal assistance with HIV/AIDS discrimination, health confidentiality, HIV testing protocols, housing, and more, with an emphasis on “breaking the physical and linguistic barriers that often impede access to legal services.”


1216 Arch Street, 6th Floor
215-981-0088, actionaids.org
ActionAIDS provides medical case management, HIV testing, prevention education, supportive housing, HIV treatment as prevention, and volunteer services so that no one in the Philadelphia region has to face AIDS alone.

Bebashi-Transition of Hope

1217 Spring Garden Street
215-769-3561, bebashi.org
Bebashi-Transition of Hope works to provide healthcare information, direct services, education, research and technical assistance to reduce and eliminate HIV/AIDS and other health disparities within the urban community of Philadelphia and its vicinity.

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Magazine Cover Printed With HIV+ Blood to Combat Stigma

A men’s magazine out of Germany called Vangardist has printed the cover of its latest issue with ink infused with HIV-positive blood. The point of their decision is to combat the stigma associated with the disease.

“If you’re holding the ‘infected’ print edition in your hands right now, you’ll get into contact with HIV like never before … It will make you reflect on HIV and you will think differently afterward. Because now the issue is in your hands,” writes Vangardist publisher and CEO Julian Wiehl in a forward to the special edition, the front of which is emblazoned with the words “This magazine has been printed with the blood of HIV+ people.”

Canoe has more:

resize_then_crop_753_422Vangardist printed 3,000 special edition copies with the blood donated by three HIV-positive people, but it assures readers that handling the magazine poses no risk of infection. …

“We believe that as a lifestyle magazine it is our responsibility to address the issues shaping society today,” publisher and CEO Julian Wiehl said in a press release.

“With 80% more confirmed cases of HIV being recorded in 2013 than 10 years previously, and an estimated 50% of HIV cases being detected late due to lack of testing caused by social stigma associated with the virus, this felt like a very relevant issue for us to focus on not just editorially but also from a broader communications standpoint,” Wiehl said.

The blood was donated by a 26-year-old gay man from Berlin, a recently diagnosed heterosexual man who wished to remain anonymous, and a 45-year-old mother who was infected 20 years ago by her then-husband who didn’t tell her he had HIV, CBS reported.

Pretty powerful message. Read the rest of Canoe’s piece here.

PHOTOS: Community Leaders Remember AIDS Victims at Ceremony in LOVE Park

G Philly and I were honored to be included in an event hosted by ActionAIDS yesterday, where community leaders gathered to read aloud 5,000 names of local people (and a few celebrities like Rock Hudson and Liberace), who lost their lives to AIDS. Among those speaking were ActionAIDS Executive Director Kevin Burns, ACLU of PA Executive Director Reggie Shuford, William Way Executive Director Christopher Bartlett. and WXPN host DJ Robert Drake.

A group of about 30 spectators showed up to listen to the touching tribute, despite the fact that it fell on a day winter just so happened to return to Philly. (It was so cold!) We toughed it out though, and I feel comfortable speaking for everyone else when I say we’re damn glad we did. Check out photos from the event below:

The event took place exactly a week from ActionAIDS annual fundraiser Dining Out for Life. If you haven’t made your reservations yet, now’s the time. Check out the full list of restaurants here, and be sure to stop by the Gayborhood, along Locust between 13th and Broad streets, from 11 am to 2:30 pm on April 30th for the DOFL Food Truck roundup.

Here Are the 200 Restaurants and Food Trucks Participating in Dining Out for Life 2015

Ben Franklin DOFLActionAIDS‘s 25th annual Dining Out for Life (DOFL) takes place in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley on April 30th, with nearly 200 restaurants and food trucks in the region taking part. If you’re new to the game, this is how it works: On that evening participating restaurants will donate 33 percent of every check to a variety of regional HIV/AIDS service organizations, including ActionAIDS, AIDS Delaware, and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania. DOFL is one of my favorite ways to donate, because it’s such an easy, fun, and delicious way to give to a worthy cause.

Like last year, DOFL will be closing off a block at a yet-to-be-announced location to host a lunchtime food festival of sorts with the participating food trucks. Stay tuned for more information on that.

You can find the complete list of local restaurants participating below, divided into neighborhood/region. Look for your favorite spot, and fire up OpenTable to make reservations. Tables fill up fast.

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GALAEI Gets a New Home in North Philly

GALAEI's new home at 149 West Susquehanna Avenue.

GALAEI’s new home at 149 West Susquehanna Avenue. | Photo from Google Street View.

Later this spring, GALAEI, the only organization for Philly (and all of Pennsylvania)’s gay and lesbian Latino community, will move from its digs on Chestnut Street in the Gayborhood to a new space in North Philadelphia. The new location was the former home of the Norris Square Civic Association and, according to Executive Director Elicia Gonzales, it will situate them in an area that will allow them to reach more of the nonprofit’s constituents.

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New Studies Show PrEP “Extraordinarily Effective” in HIV Prevention



The Human Rights Campaign is speaking out about early results of two new studies that show using Truvada for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is “proving extraordinarily effective in reducing the risk of contracting HIV.”

Findings for the studies were released at the 2015 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle. The first, called The PROUD Study, “assesses the effect the use of PrEP has on the frequency with which men have sex, how often they use condoms, and whether they contract other sexually-transmitted infections.” The other, called the IPERGAY Study “examines whether Truvada is still effective as a preventative when taken “on demand,” which is defined as taking the pill two to 24 hours before sexual intercourse and again after, as opposed to daily.” The results:

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Coming Soon to A Smart Phone Near You: HIV Testing?

Via Shutterstock.

Via Shutterstock.

Need STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing? In the future, there’ll be an app for that, or that’s the goal of Samuel Sia, a Columbia researcher who developed a $34 smart phone attachment that can test for HIV and syphilis. And guess what? The device worked almost as well as a $18,450 piece of testing equipment. Read more »

PHILANTHROPY FRIDAY: Kevin Burns Talks ActionAIDS and the Opening of the West Annex Clinic

Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week, Kevin Burns tells us about ActionAIDS‘ first HIV primary care clinic, which opened earlier this month, and other ways the local nonprofit is making sure no one in Philadelphia has to face AIDS alone.

Ken Burns, executive director of ActionAIDS.

Kevin Burns, executive director of ActionAIDS.

Who are you? I’m Kevin Burns, executive director of ActionAIDS.

When was ActionAIDS founded? In 1986, at a time when governmental and philanthropic support for HIV/AIDS services was nearly non-existent. A group of 84 committed volunteers came together in Philadelphia and formed a community of care for their partners, family and friends with AIDS. ActionAIDS was the result, with a mission statement that read simply: “ActionAIDS believes that no one should face AIDS alone.”

What’s ActionAIDS’s shining moment, to date?: The opening of our West Annex Clinic earlier this month. After many months of planning, we’re excited to have launched our first HIV primary care clinic, in partnership with the Family Practice and Counseling Network. This clinical service will be coordinated closely with our medical case management services, also provided at the West Annex and focused on our clients at high-risk to be lost to care. Our medical case management services are highly effective in retaining clients in care, and the West Annex Clinic will increase our ability to do that. The initial effect of case management services is particularly dramatic: Average viral load drops 76 percent during the first six months.

One-sentence mission statement? ActionAIDS is committed to creating an AIDS-free generation through a combination of proven strategies, including medical case management, HIV testing, prevention education, supportive housing, HIV treatment as prevention, and volunteer services.

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