Michael Johnson, a.k.a. Tiger Mandingo, was found guilty Thursday in St. Charles, Missouri, on five counts pertaining to his HIV status: One count of recklessly infecting a partner with HIV, one count of attempting to recklessly infect a partner with HIV, and three counts of recklessly exposing partners to HIV.
When I talk about my downtown life as a kid, people ask how old I am. Growing up in New York City in the 70s was more like being an urchin of the 30s than a silver spoon of the 80s. I'm more likely to share recollections with a 70-year old—playing stoop, jumping off the piers—than to wax fondly upon the boy bands, cocaine, and angular sports cars of Ronald Reagan's second term.
This month, Tim Murphy wrote in New York magazine, "This summer—on social media, on Fire Island, at the Christopher Street pier, and in certain cohorts around the country—what many gay men are talking about among themselves is Truvada." That's been my experience too, that the debate over using the drug as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) against HIV has only intensified during the first half of this year.
For the first time ever, researchers have successfully eliminated HIV from infected human cells. "This is one important step on the path toward a permanent cure for AIDS," said Kamel Khalili, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Temple University, where the discovery was made.
"I want people to understand why they're able to take [PrEP] right now. It's on the backs of people who have died and suffered." - A source in New York's cover story about Truvada, "Sex Without Fear." The story comes days after the WHO encouraged men who have sex with men to consider taking antiretroviral drugs.
In 2014, a story about AIDS in San Francisco in 1985 is as relevant as ever. Though it shares subject matter, Chris Mason Johnson's Test is the virtual antithesis of Ryan Murphy and Larry Kramer's survey of the early plague years, The Normal Heart, which aired last month on HBO. Test is smaller in scale, more intimate, virtually free of melodrama, and features characters whose relationship to AIDS is not that they are dying from it, but that they are living in fear of it.
The C.D.C. made a statement in support of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis in the form of the pill Truvada) on Wednesday. The institute recommends PrEP for people "at substantial risk for HIV," including men who have sex with men without condoms, HIV negative people in serodiscordant couples, and intravenous drug users.
On Thursday this week, it was confirmed that an H.I.V.-positive woman transmitted the virus to another female sex partner in what is the first reported case of the virus being transmitted between female partners. Health officials claim it is "exceedingly rare" but advise that precautions should be taken nonetheless.
A newly published study found no transmission of HIV from positive people on antiretroviral drug therapy (with resulting "undetectable" viral loads) to their negative partners. That's huge. This piece on the study states, "No transmissions is not the same as zero chance of transmission." Pretty fucking low, regardless.
When I'm single, I don't bareback on purpose usually. I practice safe sex often enough to consider myself "always safe," even though that's not quite true. While the overwhelming majority of times that I've had casual anal sex, I've had the wherewithal and self control to stop and put on the condom I've already made sure is within my reach, there have been times when pre-sex teasing has led to penetration. I've slipped. There are times when a few condom-free strokes don't seem like they'd hurt anyone and we were both down so… I've given in to requests of full-on bare sex to orgasm on occasion, depending how hot and convincing the invitation was and how turned on I already was. It's always the exception, though. "That's not me," I tell myself during and especially after.
President Obama announced a $100 million dollar HIV research initiative earlier today at the National Institutes of Health, saying, "The United States should be at the forefront of new discoveries into how to put HIV into long-term remission without requiring lifelong therapies, or better yet, eliminate it completely."
Last month, Cameron Bay, who is not the woman pictured above, became the first of three U.S.-based adult performers to test positive for HIV. Before Bay came forth publicly, the Daily Mail dashed off an August 22 article about the porn industry shutting down in response to the affected actress's results and illustrated the story with a sultry photo of the above woman, soft-core webcam entrepreneur Danni Ashe. This was a major error for a few reasons: 1) Ashe never tested positive for HIV; 2) Ashe has apparently left the modeling business (the above photo is from 2000); 3) Ashe also never did hardcore porn.