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Entries in AIDS Conference (3)

Wednesday
Jul252012

Test a Condom, Win a Year’s Supply

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Want to be a condom tester and share your findings with the world?  You may want to hop on a plane to Brazil, where the non-profit group DKT International is hosting its fourth condom tester contest.

Participants log on to a DKT website where they note they used the group’s low-priced, Prudence brand condoms and share their experiences with the product.  The 100 best consumer stories will receive free condoms for a year.

DKT hopes nontraditional marketing efforts like the condom tester program will help counter cultural stigmas against using contraception.

“Contraception is more controversial than sex,” says Phil Harvey, founder and president of DKT International.

Those participating in the contest haven’t shied away from sharing some racy details, but if you want to read them, you’ll need to brush up on your Portuguese or use a translation tool.  [Click here to check out the site]

So far, more than 3,000 stories have been submitted from Brazil as well as other countries.  With the help of the program, DKT has sold more than one billion condoms in Brazil.

DKT markets and sells low-cost condoms in low-income countries with the help of donations from private organizations.

The group reports on the condom tester program this week at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., which it co-hosted with several other not-for-profit groups.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul252012

AIDS Conference Turns Focus to the Future

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After stirring up enthusiasm and hope that the end of the AIDS epidemic may finally be possible, scientists, policymakers and others at the International AIDS Conference on Tuesday turned their focus to the challenges -- and potential solutions -- that lie ahead in the fight against HIV.

There remain more than 50,000 new HIV infections each year in the United States, and new data from the HIV Prevention Trials Network presented this week showed that the rate of HIV among black gay men under age 30 is nearly 6 percent -- a rate as high as that in Sub-Saharan countries in Africa most affected by the virus.

"In the U.S., the burden of HIV is not shared equally by population or region," said assistant Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Dr. Howard Koh.

Addressing HIV-related health disparities is one of three overarching goals of the the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy, along with reducing new infections and increasing access to HIV care.  Such a strategic national approach is critical in addressing the HIV epidemic, Koh said.

Launched in 2010, the strategy outlines a list of specific goals, including decreasing the number of yearly HIV infections by 25 percent by the year 2015.

"We are making important progress," Koh said.  For example, he noted, among the more than 8,000 publicly funded community health centers in the United States there has been a 13 percent increase in people tested for HIV in the past year.

He also cited a national campaign to decrease HIV-related stigma, as well as nearly $80 million in new grants to expand HIV care announced by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius earlier this week.  New data, however, is not yet available to assess the impact of these initial steps.

As policymakers grappled with how best to stem the spread of HIV, scientists considered the progress in a search for an HIV cure.

"The field is quickly advancing," said AIDS researcher Dr. Javier Martinez-Picado, senior investigator at the IrsiC-aixa AIDS Research Institute in Spain.  Yet, Martinez-Picado said he foresees several more years of laboratory research to advance basic science knowledge before considering clinical trials.

But as the world waits for science to progress in research labs, doctors need to use the tools available now in the most efficient way possible, said Dr. Nelly Mugo of the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta Hospital in Kenya.

Mugo stressed that with the advent of a new set of proven prevention strategies -- antiretroviral therapy early in the course of disease, pre-exposure prophylaxis and voluntary male circumcision -- it is critical to tailor packages of HIV interventions to specific populations.

"The interventions and the things that work for men who have sex with men in Cambodia may be very different for heterosexual individuals in Africa," she said, adding that the world needs to "be ready to get rid of those policies and approaches that do not work," in order to "focus resources and efforts on what is proven and impactful."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul242012

Sex Workers, Drug Users, Protest Stigma During AIDS Conference

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A crimson wall made its way across Washington D.C., Tuesday as more than 1,000 sex workers, drug users and AIDS activists -- many of them carrying red umbrellas to fend off the rain -- marched toward the White House to protest the stigma associated with their activities, a stigma they believe contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Protesters held up signs reading "Fight AIDS! No More Drug War!" and "Stop the Witch Hunt against Sex Workers."

"Sex work is work," the group chanted, responding to demonstration leaders holding megaphones.

The demonstrators were calling for the decriminalization of drugs and sex work, which they argue would encourage people to practice safer sex.

The march was one of five protests that joined -- in front of the White House -- different groups affected by HIV and AIDS. The demonstrations coincided with the 19th International AIDS Conference, which is taking place in the nation's capital this week, the first time the U.S. has hosted it in 22 years. Until 2009, a U.S. travel ban denied visas to people who had HIV.

Most protesters delivered their message on posters and in chants, but a group of Canadian AIDS activists wore only underwear that bore the message, "I party, I bareback, I'm positive, I'm responsible."

"Bareback" refers to the practice of engaging in sex without condoms.

"People who are positive have sex," said activist Jessica Whitbread. "They should be able to negotiate the kind of sex they want to have. Putting the responsibility of prevention on them creates stigma, and only continues the spread of the disease."

Bryan Floury also opted for a more eye-catching display, wearing a hat littered with different condom brands while holding a sign reading, "Teach Condom Sense."

"Everybody likes looking at the guy in condoms," Floury joked, but later, on a more serious note, compared sex education to basic training.

"We need to train students like soldiers, train them to protect themselves," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio