HIV Testing Training March 9-11 Bozeman

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Bozeman Registration Information

(1/2 day) HIV/STD/HCV Update,

(1/2 day) OraQuick Rapid Test &

(2 days) HIV CTRS Training

(Counseling Testing and Referral Services)

March 9th – March 11th, 2015

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. each day

C’mon Inn 406-587-3555

Room Block:  DPHHS HIV Training

Bozeman, Montana

Register for the CTRS Conference by March 4th!!!

Register Here:

https://aetcnec.virtualforum.com/pifidform.cfm?erid=45460&sc=936088&aetccode=11

Interchange Schedule!

With a lineup that’s sure to rock, Interchange brings human dignity center stage to Bozeman, Montana. Here’s the fantastic schedule:

Interchange_FB_event

Wednesday, June 26th:

  • Women’s Voices for The Earth Presents “Unacceptable Levels”- Emerson Cultural Center 7:30pm, free

Thursday, June 27th:

  • Interchange Pre-Party 10pm-1am, BAR IX

Friday, June 28th:

  • Interchange Summit 5pm
  • Cocktails and Jazz (Leigh Lounge, MSU) 6:30-8pm
  • Electra Sexton’s Summer Meltdown! (MSU Ballroom) 8-10pm
  • Zebra Afterparty with the B-Side Players- $6 at the door
  • Konfadense at Plonk! -free entry

Saturday, June 29th

  • Interchange Parade (Main Street) 11am-Noon
  • Rally and festival at the Bozeman Public Library 12:15pm
  • “Racism & Human Trafficking” Library Community Room, 1:15pm
  • “Scripture & Science & Sex- Oh, My!”, Library Community Room 2:45pm
  • Interchange Festival- featuring Chiddy Bang and SOL, Lindley Park 5-10pm
  • Official After-Party featuring Ana Sia & Anavox, Zebra $12 at the door
  • Ampathy at Plonk!- free entry

Sunday June 30th

  • Kiki Garden Party- Soroptomist Park (catered by the Nova Cafe!) 9:30-11am

HIV testing will also be available throughout the weekend, provided by AIDS Outreach and Yellowstone AIDS Project. For more info, just click the Interchange logo above…. It’s gonna be awesome!

Latex & Lace 2013

..is tomorrow at the SUB at 8:30 pm!

And it’s FREE!  Click on the link below for the way cool poster.

2013 Latex and Lace

AIDSOutreachlogo2AIDS Outreach is also offering free HIV testing from 4-8pm right at the SUB!

See you there!

Specifics: Obamacare and HIV

click for more info

From Think Progress By Tara Culp-Ressler

new brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that President Obama’s health care reform represents a significant step forward for Americans with HIV, helping to expand health insurance to many HIV-positive individuals who would be “otherwise unable to access affordable and stable health care coverage.” Representing hugely important tactics to continue addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic, several of Obamacare’s provisions will have a directly positive impact on the estimated 1.1 million Americans who live with the HIV virus:

  • Obamacare will prevent insurance companies from denying HIV-positive Americans coverage simply based on their HIV status. The health care reform law prohibits insurance companies from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions, including HIV. Before Obamacare, Americans living with HIV often struggled to find insurance companies willing to take them on — according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, just 13 percent of HIV-positive individuals were covered under private insurance in 2010.
  • Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid program helps low-income Americans with HIV who otherwise wouldn’t qualify for coverage. Over 40 percent of HIV-positive Americans accessed their health insurance through the Medicaid program in 2010, and expanding Medicaid even further will extend additional coverage to this community. Furthermore, under Obamacare, HIV-positive individuals do not have to have to be diagnosed with AIDS as a precursor to qualifying for Medicaid coverage. Although this was an old eligibility requirement for the program, the health reform law ensures the states that accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will not have to impose this restriction on Americans living with the HIV virus.
  • HIV-positive Americans will no longer reach limits on the amount of treatment their insurance companies are willing to cover. Obamacare eliminates lifetime coverage caps and phases out annual limits, which will help all Americans with chronic conditions — including the Americans who rely on treatment for HIV infections — continue to be able to afford the care they need without reaching an arbitrary cut-off set by their insurance companies.
  • HIV testing will likely be covered under Obamacare. This year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is expected to recommend routine HIV screenings as a part of regular preventative care, similar to a routine blood pressure test. Since the health reform law requires insurers to cover the preventive services recommended by the Preventative Services Task Force, a new standard for HIV testing could ensure that it becomes a standard part of annual check-ups. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that about 20 percentof the total population of Americans who are infected with HIV don’t know they have the virus, so regular tests that don’t incur an out-of-pocket expense could help encourage more Americans to learn their status.
  • Since Obamacare helps close the prescription drug coverage gap for Medicare beneficiaries, HIV-positive individuals will be more likely to afford their drug treatments for the virus. By closing the “donut hole,” or the gap in coverage for expensive prescription drugs under the Medicare program, Obamacare will help ensure that older Americans living with HIV aren’t unable to afford any of the 26 antiretroviral drug treatments that can be used to combat HIV infections. Twelve percent of Americans with HIV relied on Medicare for their health coverage in 2010, and that number may rise significantly as the population of HIV-positive Americans continues to age.
  • Obamacare increases resources for HIV research and prevention. The health care reform law allocates $10 billion over ten years for a new fund that focuses on prevention, wellness, and public health activities. In 2010, $30 million from that fund was awarded to the Centers for Disease Control for HIV prevention activities, including new investments in HIV surveillance and testing among high-risk populations.

National Gay Men’s HIV Testing Awareness Day

(click for more info)

Gay Men Are Flunking The Test

Also published on Bilerico.com

Yesterday, I posted an article about  a press release by the Journal Of The American Medical Association:

“…all adult patients, regardless of CD4 cell count, should be offered antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to an article in the July 25 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on HIV/AIDS. Other new recommendations include changes in therapeutic options and modifications in the timing and choice of ART for patients with an opportunistic illness such as tuberculosis.”

This follows the “treatment as prevention” model, based on the scientific research that people with HIV on antiretroviral therapy- with an undetectable viral load- are 96% less likely to pass on the virus.
us-statistics-2.jpgThis seems to be very good news. If you have HIV, you should find out early, get on meds and you’ll have a better chance of living a longer healthier life.

So what’s the problem? The problem is twofold:

  1. People at risk aren’t being tested: 20-25% of all HIV-infected people don’t know they have it.
  2. People at risk are still not being tested: Gay and Bisexual men of all races are the most severely affected by HIV

That’s not a typo- they’re basically the same reason, but there’s a difference. Any guesses?

Hint: It’s probably why most gay men won’t even read this article.

20-25% of all people with HIV don’t know they have it. Why not?

Here’s my take: Denial is one of the strongest mechanisms in the human psyche. It is fed by lack of information, by avoidance and by a strong desire for an alternative reality. If you’ve had unprotected sex, you’ve probably engaged in the process of denial. You’ve probably downplayed the risk, probably lied to yourself a little. You may have even gone over and over it in your mind, seizing every opportunity to deny the possibility of trouble.

“He looked okay”; “He didn’t seem sick”; “He pulled out”; “He would have told me if he had HIV”, etc, etc, and etc.

Well, we all know where that goes…. As individuals, we’re not facing facts. If we were, we’d be getting tested.

us-statistics-1.jpgGay and Bi men of all races are the most severely affected by HIV. Of course. We know that. Don’t we?

Again, denial applies. Gay and Bi men aren’t talking about HIV anymore. Our friends aren’t dying, so there’s no reason to be concerned. People with HIV aren’t out- aren’t well-known in our communities. Why? I was once told “You don’t need to harp about HIV all the time- it’s not that big of a deal.” Except that it is.

HIV has complicated my life in ways many people can’t believe. I am on catastrophic health insurance through the state- almost three times as expensive as my partner’s insurance. I get assistance for my meds- which cost about $25,000 a year- but (crazily), I can’t make more than $30,300 and still qualify for the program. I have joint pain, sleep issues, battles with depression, fatigue and a body that is aging at several times the normal rate– most probably due to inflammation- the hallmark of HIV disease. And yet, if I talk about this to friends or family, I’m seen as a whiner or someone trying unnecessarily to worry people I care about. It’s the “shut up- at least you’re not dying” defense. I know several HIV+ people who haven’t told anyone of their status, mostly because it’s “uncomfortable”.

No shit.

As a community, we’re not facing facts. If we were, we’d be talking to our friends about the importance of maintaining our health. We’d be talking about the hard reality of HIV.

But we’re not. Denial still holds sway, both individually and as a community. We’re lying to ourselves- we’re lying to each other- and infection rates stay the same.

We have a chance to change this trend. But only if everyone with HIV starts treatment, gets into care. This recommendation of the AMA may help with that. But it’s not up to doctors, nurses and social workers, it’s up to us.

We’re being tested, both as individuals and as a community. The problem is, we’re flunking.

Because we’re not showing up.

(Images source)

HIV Testing At Montana Pride

In keeping with the relevance of Montana Pride- and as a precursor to HIV Testing Awareness Day June 27th, free, anonymous HIV testing will be offered Friday and Saturday during Montana Pride in the MSU Strand Union Building, just look for these signs: