Health care experts have been informed of a US man contracting HIV despite being on PrEP. He’s thought to be the first man in California – and only the third in the US – to contract HIV while adhering to a daily PrEP regime.
PrEP is a medication that minimizes the chances of someone acquiring HIV, even if they do not use condoms.
News of the case was presented at the annual IDWeek conference in San Francisco, which concluded over the weekend. The conference is run by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
The man was HIV negative when he began taking PrEP in San Francisco in late 2016. He continued to diagnose HIV negative when testing at three, six and ten months. Blood tests also demonstrated he continued to take his medication consistently.
HIV positive after being on PrEP for a year
After just over a year on PrEP, he received an HIV positive diagnosis in early 2018. He was immediately placed on HIV drugs and has maintained a suppressed viral load since that time.
Doctors were able to accurately diagnose the exact strain of HIV he picked up. It’s one identified with people who have taken HIV medication in the past but no longer take it. It was then revealed that the patient’s main male partner was HIV positive but no longer taking medication.
The partner was tested and found to have a high viral load of the resistant strain. He has resumed taking medication.
Researchers say it was the fact the patient came into contact with a resistant strain that led to him acquiring the virus. They believe he stuck to his PrEP regime well. They could tell this from analyzing his hair, which he happened to grow long.
Dr. Robert Grant, of the University of California San Francisco, said, ‘[The patient’s] long hair allowed us to test by centimeters, which allowed us to go back and read drug levels from six months ago.’
Previous cases of men becoming HIV positive while on PrEP
There have been five previous reports on men acquiring HIV while on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). The first two occurred in Toronto and New York in 2016. In 2017, there were three more cases. One involved a man in North Carolina, one in Australia, and a fifth a man in Amsterdam.
The first four cases are believed to be due to the person on PrEP having sex with someone with a high viral load of a rare, resistant strain of HIV.
The fifth case is not believed to be linked to a drug-resistant strain of HIV. The Amsterdam man had an ‘unusually high number’ of sexual partners – averaging 50-70 a month – and several other sexual infections. Researchers have speculated he may have repeatedly exposed himself to HIV, which took a hold in his body after a slight dip in Truvada levels.
‘Greater than 99% effective’
Health experts say despite these rare cases, PrEP remains highly effective. The medication is taken by more than 350,000 people worldwide.
Dr. Grant said, ‘We know PrEP is greater than 99% effective. There are some cases where HIV will break through. We only have a handful of cases now, and next year, we’ll probably have a handful more. Fortunately, these cases are caught early, treated, and suppressed quickly. The person goes from taking one pill a day to one pill a day. The biggest difference is the stigma.’
Matthew Hodson, Chief Executive of HIV information organization NAM, agrees. 'We estimate that PrEP is more than 99% effective at preventing HIV. By comparison, a recent meta-analysis of the efficacy of condoms found that they prevented nine out of ten cases, this was a better result than previous analyses.
‘PrEP is still better than condoms at preventing HIV. PrEP failure makes the news. Condom failure doesn’t.
He said that in the UK, 93% of people diagnosed with HIV have suppressed the virus to a point where it cannot be passed on ‘in any circumstance.’ This is regardless of whether it’s a drug-resistant strain or not.
‘It’s vital to acknowledge that PrEP, just like other safer sex strategies isn’t 100% effective. It is also vital not to let isolated cases obscure how effective it is. PrEP has played a significant role in bringing down new HIV infections in London, Sydney, New York, San Francisco and other cities around the world.’
H/T: The Body Pro
Source: Hudson, David. California man on PrEP medication acquires HIV.9 October 2018. Gay Star News.
20-year old bodybuilder Ajay Holbrook has over 50K Instagram followers. Oh, heâs also trans.
Recently Holbrook was featured in Menâs Health, and he opens up about his experiences. He was 13 when he came out as trans after his mother taking him to hair appointments and making him wear dresses. âShe grabbed me, and she was like, âWhat are you doing, youâre a girl!â I looked at her like, âWhat are you talking about?ââ Holbrook recalls.
Holbrook admits it took time for his mother to accept him for who he is. It was while in high school that he started taking testosterone and at 18 he began documenting his fitness journey on YouTube and Instagram.
Heâs definitely worth look at! And we support you on your journey.
Tom Freeman, 59 and Mauro Padovani, 46 who live outside of Ghent, Belgium come forward to talk about their brutal beating. It appears that a young, straight Bulgarian/Croatian couple moved into the neighborhood 4 years ago and when the first time they met they said, “We hate gays.”
Mauro said that that the straight couple harassed them repeatedly sometimes violently by throwing bricks at them. Mauro said they reported them to the police but the police seemed uninterested and did nothing.
“It’s been four years that they have been making our life hell. Tom was punched in the face two years ago, I was attacked just two months ago,” Mauro told Genova Today.
“In another incident, the woman, who lives above us, threw two bricks from her terrace onto ours, missing me by very little.”
“The police never did anything,” he added.
However, this past Monday which was Tom’s birthday, it became violent.
“We were going to a friend’s house to celebrate. We had just gotten into the car when our neighbor approached it and spat on the window,” Mauro said.
Tom tried to calm the male neighbor, but he was punched by the neighbor. Mauro got out of the car with a steering wheel lock, “but the boy snatched it from my hands and started hitting us.”
Tom suffered two crushed vertebrae, and Mauro sustained a concussion. What especially hurt is that Tom has Alzheimer’s disease. “It’s the thing that hurt me most,” he said. “To see him on the ground in tears. To beat a person like him is like beating a child.”
Mauro put images on Facebook in the hopes of awareness about violence. “I hope that no gay person, either here in Belgium or in Italy, should ever suffer a brutal assault like the one we have suffered,” he said.
Police have arrested the couple, the woman has been ordered to stay away from them, and the man involved is being held on assault with a hate crime enhancement charge and is awaiting trial.
The resident of Ghent has since organized a demonstration against anti-gay violence to show their support.
A study conducted by the University of Michigan and published in the American Journal of Men’s Health in July looked at 160 gay men and their experiences in relationships in three cities – Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago. The study focused on domestic abuse in gay relationships compared to heterosexual couples. The study found key factors remained the same in intimate partner violence, such as drug abuse and financial insecurity, internalized homophobia in gay and bisexual men and was a major factor in male-mail domestic abuse.
“Findings revealed that IPV was more common among partners who had experienced homophobic violence and who had traditionally hegemonic views of masculinity that they had difficulty negotiating, referred to as ‘struggling to be the alpha,'” the research indicated.
The study interviewed both members of the couple in separate settings, which allowed both to be open and express the degree to which they are subject to, and perpetrated, abuse in the relationship. Researchers separated the study into five sections: “physical and sexual,” including hitting partner and rape, “emotional,” such as criticizing choices and behavior, “controlling,” as in preventing seeing family or friends, “monitoring,” reading emails and text messages, and “HIV-related” lying about HIV status and intentional transmission of HIV. The couples were recruited to be “serodiscordant,” meaning that one partner is infected by HIV and the other one is not.
45.6% of couples reported some form of abuse with their partners. 33.6% reported emotional violence, one in five reported monitoring violence, 9.7% experienced physical violence and 6.8% reported controlling behavior.
Rob Stephenson the lead author and a professor of nursing and director of the Center of Sexuality and Health Disparity hopes the studies finding can help facilitate changes in doctors and how they perceive domestic abuse.
The lead author of the study, University of Michigan professor of nursing and director of the Center for Sexuality and Health Disparity Rob Stephenson, hopes that the findings will change doctors’ perception of domestic abuse. “If you just looked at physical and sexual violence in male couples, it’s about 25 to 30 percent, roughly the same as women.”
The research sampling is limited, it is consistent with previous studies on domestic violence between same-sex couples. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2013 found that the rates of abuse in same-sex relationships were similar to those in heterosexual couples. In a study conducted by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, just one year later found higher rates of domestic violence in same-sex couples compared to opposite-sex ones.
“There are external stressors, like discrimination and violence against gays, and there are internal stressors, such as internalized negative attitudes about homosexuality,” Richard Carroll, a psychologist and co-author of the Northwestern research.
A Belgian neurologist in a new study has found that the brain activity in transgender people is similar to that of cisgender people, more of their gender than their assigned sex at birth. Julie Bakker the led research at the University of Liege which included more than 160 MRI scans of transgender people who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria; the study involved children and teenagers. The study also included measuring brain microstructures using diffusion tensor imaging.
The scans were then compared to individuals of comparable age who were not diagnosed with gender dysphoria. The study did find that transgender boys’ brain activity resembled cisgender boys’ and girls’ resembled cisgender girls’. It is believed that the technique could be used to assist transgender children at an earlier age.
“Although more research is needed, we now have evidence that sexual differentiation of the brain differs in young people with GD, as they show functional brain characteristics that are typical of their desired gender,” said Bakker. Furthermore, she stated: “We will then be better equipped to support these young people, instead of just sending them to a psychiatrist and hoping that their distress will disappear spontaneously.”
The results of the study were presented at the European Society of Endocrinology’s yearly meeting and appear to be in line with previous neurological studies that showed transgender adults appear to have similar brain structures to cisgender people of their gender.
The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology recently published a Danish study that found people with HIV have an increased risk of developing certain types of skin cancer. There are three types of cancer that can affect the skin:
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC): the most common form of skin cancer, mainly caused by excess exposure to the sun or other ultraviolet light sources and most common in fair-skinned people. These cancers start in the lower level of the skin.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): similar to BCC but starting in the upper layer of the skin.
Malignant melanoma (MM): a less common but more aggressive type of skin cancer, caused by sun exposure and ultraviolet light.
Researchers examined those with HIV and found that they are twice as likely to develop BCC, five times likely to develop SCC. To researched compared 4,280 participants to the general Danish Population (21,399 controls). “This unique study design using high-quality, population-based nationwide data enabled us to address potential confounding by skin type and family-related sun behavior, and to provide data on skin cancer risk in HIV-infected patients from more northern parts of the world,” said researchers in a report by NAM AIDSmap.
“The increased risk of BCC was restricted to patients reporting MSM [men who have sex with men] as the route of HIV. There seemed to be an association between immunosuppression and SCC-risk for [HIV-positive] patients. The risk of MM was not increased when compared with the background population, but [the] low number of MM cases makes definitive conclusion difficult.”
Because of advancements in antiretroviral therapy people with HIV are living longer healthier lives and AIDS-related cancers (Kaposi Sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma) have decreased since the 1990s. However, the rates of other malignancies no typically associated with HIV-related issues are increasing.
The research is unclear if HIV can be attributed to increased risks of skin cancer. Skin cancer is mostly caused by exposure to the sun or ultraviolet light, but a suppressed immune my increase the risk. “One could argue that the increased risk of BCC might be driven primarily by sun exposure or sunbed use in youth/adulthood not accounted for by the sibling model since previous data suggest that [HIV-positive] MSM might have increased recreational UV-exposure,” suggest the authors.
Most skin cancers are treated by surgery with a good prognosis after treatment. The key is to get regular check-ups and if cancer is present have it treated in an early state.
Watching porn all of the time might cause the brain to literally rewire itself. Triggering the brain to produce chemicals and form new nerve pathways, leading to lasting changes to your brain. Several studies have shown that frequently viewing pornography causes the brain to be less active and smaller in some areas.
Can porn change your brain? Studies have shown a correlation between consumption and less active and smaller brains. It's important to understand that your brain is continually's changing throughout your lifetime and is constantly rewiring itself and producing new nerve connection. The brain is made up of about 100 billion unique nerves called neurons, which carry electrical signals back and forth between parts of your brain and your body.
Look at it this way. Neuronal pathways are like many trails in the woods. Each time you use the trail it gets wider and more permanent. So, when messages travel down a neuronal pathway, it gets stronger. Our brains is a very hungry organ, while it's only 2% of your body weight, it eats up 20% of our energy and oxygen. Within the brain, there is fierce competition between brain pathways and the ones that don't get used enough most likely get replaced. Like that old saying "either use it or lose it" or "only the strong survive."
That’s where porn comes in.
Porn creates new, and long-lasting pathways within the brain. It is so ferocious that most activity can compete with it, including sex with someone real. It's no joke that porn can and will overpower the brains' natural ability to have real sex! Why is that? "porn creates the perfect conditions and triggers the release of the right chemicals to make lasting changes in the brain," explains Dr. Norman Doidge, a researcher at Columbia University.
The forming and conditions of strong neuronal pathways are called "flow". This is a satisfying state of focused attention. So when you're in the flow, it gets so deep that nothing else seems to matter. Your focus is on what you doing, and you lose track of time, everything sees to disappears, and you need more and more porn to create the process of "flow." So, your sitting in front of your computer (or on your phone) looking at porn. You become so absorbed in porn that nothing else can compete for your attention, not even going to sleep. This is the perfect condition for you to form new neuronal pathways, and that's what your brain is doing. Every time you click from movie to movie trying to find that perfect scene, you are reinforcing the pathways that are created in the brain.
Like any addictive behavior or substance, porn activates a part of your brain called the reward center, and this will trigger the release of a so-called cocktail of several chemicals that gives you a temporary buzz. One of the main components of that cocktail is a protein called DeltaFosB.
DeltaFosB is extremely important for learning any kind of new skill, is can also lead to compulsive/addictive behaviors, more so in adolescents. It is also referred to as "the molecular switch for addiction," once it builds up, it starts to switch on genes that create long-term craving, wanting you to grave porn more and more. Once released, DeltaFosB isn't going to go away anytime soon, it can remain around for weeks or months, which is why when you watch porn repeatedly you develop strong cravings long after you have stopped.
There is good news, neuroplasticity works in both directions. If you don't reinforce the porn pathways, they will over time disappear, so the pathways for porn can be replaced with something else.
There is a reason why the porn industry is so successful, and why they have overloaded the internet with porn, if you are addicted, you're going to continue to watch.
Lewis, M. (2017). Addiction And The Brain: Development, Not Disease. Neuroethics. 1-12. Doi:10.1007/S12152-016-9293-4; Hall, P., (2014). Sex Addiction—An Extraordinarily Contentious Problem. Sexual And Relationship Therapy, 29(1) 68-75. Doi:10.1080/14681994.2013.861898
Hilton, D.L, & Watts, C. (2011). Pornography Addiction: A Neuroscience Perspective, Surgical Neurology International 2, 19. Doi:10.4103/2152-7806.76977
Meerkerk, G.J., Van Den Eijnden, R.J., & Garretsen, H.F. (2006). Predicting Compulsive Internet Use: It’s All About Sex!, CyberPsychology And Behavior, 9(1), 95-103. Doi:10.1089/Cpb.2006.9.95; See Also Korkeila, J., Kaarlas, S., Jaaskelainen, M, Vahlberg, T., Taiminen, T. (2010). Attached To The Web—Harmful Use Of The Internet And Its Correlates. European Psychiatry 25(4) 236-241. Doi: 10.1016/J.Eurpsy.2009.02.008 (Finding “Adult Entertainment” To Be The Most Common Reason For Compulsive Internet Use.)
Holden, C. (2001). Behavioral Addictions: Do They Exist? Science 294(5544), 980. Doi: 10.1126/Science.294.5544.980
Voon, V., Et Al. (2014). Neural Correlates Of Sexual Cue Reactivity In Individuals With And Without Compulsive Sexual Behaviors, PLoS ONE, 9(7), E102419. Doi:10.1371/Journal.Pone.0102419; Olsen, C. M., (2011). Natural Rewards, Neuroplasticity, And Non-Drug Addictions. Neuropharmacology, 61, 1109-1122. Doi:10.1016/J.Neuropharm.2011.03.010; Nestler, E. J. (2005). Is There A Common Molecular Pathway For Addiction? Nature Neuroscience 9, 11: 1445–1449. Doi:10.1038/Nn1578
Grindr is trying to handle the negative publicity over sharing users' HIV data. The popular hookup app has announced plans to remind users to get tested for HIV and has offered free advertising to clinics and LGBT centers that provide free testing.
HIV is still considered a global epidemic, there has been a rise in sexually transmitted infections that can be tracked to the uses of PreP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a drug taken once a day and when property used is almost 100% effective in preventing HIV transmission. Doctor's still caution patients to use condoms while on PreP, however, many gay men treat it as license to throw caution to the wind and just have bareback sex.
A stark report completed by the University of California of Los Angeles (UCLA) found a direct link between the use of PreP and a drastic increase in STI's. To make matters worse most gay men believe that STI's and HIV can be easily cured. For example, herpes cannot be treated with antibiotics, and some infections are now developing resistance to antibiotics, such as "super gonorrhea," or multidrug-resistant gonorrhea.
So if Grindr is interested in the health of the LGBT community then shouldn't they focus on STI's as a whole and not just HIV? The plain fact remains that while people will get tested for HIV and community centers many gay and bi men still define 'disease" in terms of HIV, while the STI's issue just remains in the background.
But issues with Grindr don't just stop there (along with other hook-up apps), as most of these apps pride themselves on shirtless (sometimes nude) photos men, might contribute to high rates of depression, body sysmorphia, and eating disorders to 3.6 million users (Grindr).There are a few professional studies that have been conducted to offer analysis and the effects of gay social media sites on mental health. But since most funding goes to HIV research very little finds it's way to other LGBT public issues. Grindr could in effect pressure medial professionals to study LGBT health on a broader scope.
With millions of users worldwide, Grinder has positioned itself to broaden the framework of LGBT health and address issues that might never receive attention.
SO, will Grindr step up to the plate and open honest dialog about STI's within the LGBT community or will the app just ignore it?
Grindr has been sharing 3.6 million daily active users' HIV statues along with other highly sensitive information with at least two outside companies. According to reports they have been sending this information to Applimize and Localytics; the information being shared was personal information (including your HIV status), along with your last tested dates.
The information was send with you GPS's data, email and phone ID; this was uncovered by Antoine Pultier a researcher at the nonprofit SINTF. “The HIV status is linked to all the other information. That’s the main issue,” Pultier told BuzzFeed News. “I think this is the incompetence of some developers that just send everything, including HIV status.” James Krellenstein, a member of ACT UP New York, calls the whole thing “an extremely, extremely egregious breach of basic standards.” Further more “Grindr is a relatively unique place for openness about HIV status,” he says. “To then have that data shared with third parties that you weren’t explicitly notified about, and having that possibly threaten your health or safety–that is an extremely, extremely egregious breach of basic standards that we wouldn’t expect from a company that likes to brand itself as a supporter of the queer community.”
But wait it gets better; Grindr has also been sharing your "tribes", sexualities, ethnicties, and relationship statues to third-party advertising companies. To make matters worse the information was send via "plain text" that can easily be hacked.
“When you combine this with an app like Grindr that is primarily aimed at people who may be at risk–especially depending on the country they live in or depending on how homophobic the local populace is–this is an especially bad practice that can put their user safety at risk,” Cooper Quintin, a senior staff technologist and security researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says.
Grindr released a statement stating that the reason they are sharing your health information is to improve their app. “No Grindr user information is sold to third parties,” the company says. “We pay these software vendors to utilize their services.”
The fact that Grindr is selling the information is a issue, but they are making the information available to third party companies that is a major issue. “Even if Grindr has a good contract with the third parties saying they can’t do anything with that info,” he says, “that’s still another place that that highly sensitive health information is located.” Quintin stated, and a bigger issue is “If somebody with malicious intent wanted to get that information, now instead of there being one place for that–which is Grindr–there are three places for that information to potentially become public.”
STILL WANT TO USE GRINDR?
Karl Schmid an entertainment reporter for ABC's affiliate station in Los Angeles over the weekend came out as HIV-positive in a Facebook post that has gone viral.
Hi. I’m a 37 year old HIV+ man who has been poz for almost ten years. I work in television. And on the side of the camera where, for better or worse it’s considered “taboo” for people ‘like me’ to be ‘like me’. For 10 years I’ve struggled with ‘do I or don’t I’? For ten years the stigma and industry professionals have said, ‘don’t! It’ll ruin you’.
Schmid decided to ignore the advice and is proud of who he is and doesn't see a reason to feel ashamed or to even hide his status. “I’m me. I’m just like you. I have a big heart and I want to be loved and accepted,” he writes. “So here’s what I say, stand tall, and stand proud. You can’t make everybody happy but you can make you happy.”
He concludes the heartfelt post with a few words of encouragement for other HIV-positive people:
Love me or hate me, that’s up to you. But, for anyone who has ever doubted themselves because of those scary three letters and one symbol, let me tell you this, you are somebody who matters. Your feelings, your thoughts, your emotions count. And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I’m Karl Schmid, and I’m an HIV-positive man!
The support has been overwhelming and he appears to be humbled. He wrote on Twitter: “Today has been insanely overwhelming. I had NO idea that me sharing something would have such an impact. For those of you who dm’d with your stories THANK YOU.”