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AIDS Expert Fired for Testifying Gay Sex Is Harmful to Publi

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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 10:34 am    Post subject: AIDS Expert Fired for Testifying Gay Sex Is Harmful to Publi  Reply with quote

AIDS Expert Fired for Testifying Gay Sex Is Harmful to Public Health

He's a pioneer in the realm of clinical infectious diseases in the Caribbean. And now he's under fire for testifying that homosexual intercourse is dangerous to those who practice it—and to public health in general.

Professor Brendan Bain, a practicing Christian who serves to treat AIDS patients, was the director of the regional coordinating unit of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, until his anti-gay sex comments caught up with him.

Bain was fired in the wake of fallout related to his testimony on behalf of a group of churches working to keep Belize's sodomy law in place in 2012. It took two years, but now he's paying the price for his beliefs.

Bain's testimony was based on his research, which shows the relative risk of contracting HIV is significantly higher among men who have sex with other men (MSM) in Belize than in the general population. His research concludes the same truth in several other countries for which data is available, including countries that have repealed the law that criminalizes anal sex and countries where the law still applies.

"The issue in question arose about two years ago in a high-profile case in Belize in which Caleb Orozco, a gay man in Belize, challenged the constitutionality of an 1861 law that criminalizes men having sex with men," the university said in a statement.

"Professor Brendan Bain provided a statement on behalf of a group of churches seeking to retain the 1861 law," the statement continues. "Many authorities familiar with the brief presented believe that professor Bain's testimony supported arguments for retention of the law, thereby contributing to the continued criminalization and stigmatization of MSM. This opinion is shared by the lesbian, gay and other groups who are served by CHART.

"The majority of HIV and public health experts believe that criminalizing men having sex with men and discriminating against them violates their human rights, puts them at even higher risk, reduces their access to services, forces the HIV epidemic underground thereby increasing the HIV risk.  These are the positions advocated by the UN, UNAIDS, WHO, PAHO, the international human rights communities and PANCAP (The Pan Caribbean Partnership against AIDS), which is the organization leading the regional response to the HIV epidemic.

"While the university recognizes the right of professor Bain to provide expert testimony in the manner he did, it has become increasingly evident that Professor Bain has lost the confidence and support of a significant sector of the community which the CHART program is expected to reach, including the loss of his leadership status in PANCAP, thereby undermining the ability of this program, to effectively deliver on its mandate. It is for this reason that the University of the West Indies has decided to terminate the contract of Professor Bain as Director of the Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) of the Caribbean HIV/Training (CHART) Network."

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Baby That Was 'Cured' Of HIV Wasn't

Bad news today from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease: the so-called “Mississippi Baby,” which newspaper headlines in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal declared “cured” last March, now has detectable HIV.

“Certainly, this is a disappointing turn of events for this young child, the medical staff involved in the child’s care, and the HIV/AIDS research community,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci in a press release. “Scientifically, this development reminds us that we still have much more to learn about the intricacies of HIV infection and where the virus hides in the body. The [National Institutes of Health remain] committed to moving forward with research on a cure for HIV infection.”

The child, now 4, was originally treated with antiretroviral drugs which were then stopped. When the child was again located by researchers, the child had no detectable HIV. But a recent checkup gave a positive HIV test result, and treatment with antiretroviral drugs was started.

“It’s obviously disappointing news,” says Daniel Kuritzkes, Chief of Infectious Diseases At Brigham & Woman’s Hospital.  ”There was great optimism and enthusiasm when the case was first brought to life-a-year-and-a-half ago. What it really tells us is how extraordinarily challenging it is to be able to say with any certainty that somebody who once had HIV infection has actually been definitively cured of the virus. We need better tests for knowing if the virus is still there and able to come back.”

On the bright side, Kuritzkes said, the baby did go for years without detectable levels of HIV. It may be possible to induce a state of durable remission, as in cancer, perhaps by combining drugs that kill the virus with new therapies that prime the immune system to attack it.

What about new studies that were planned on infants to try and replicate this cure? Kuritzkes is participating in one, at the Brigham and in Botswana, and he says there is no need to make any changes now because the first step is finding children who may be infected and treating them — only later will doctors need to make the decision of whether to take them off their medicines to see if they are in remission or cured. That won’t happen for several years.

“I think there is plenty of time to be able to absorb this new information and think carefully about the next steps should be,” says Kuritzskes. ” We’ve got time we can figure this out and see if there are better tests we might be able to use further down the road before we decide to stop treatment in another child. We shouldn’t rush to make absolute decisions that this shouldn’t be done again or that this is off the table – we have the luxury of being able to sit back and wait and see.”

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WHO warns HIV 'exploding' among gay men, urges preventive drugs


"We are seeing exploding epidemics," warned Gottfried Hirnschall, who heads WHO's HIV department. Infection rates are rising again among men who have sex with men -- the group at the epicentre of AIDS pandemic when it first emerged 33 years ago, he told reporters in Geneva.  


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