New HIV Messaging Launches For National HIV Testing Day

BTL Staff

LANSING - AIDS Service Organizations including Michigan AIDS Coalition, Wellness and Lansing Area AIDS Network, The Red Project, Between The Lines and community activists launched a new online social media campaign this week to increase testing among gay and bisexual men as well as transgender women across the state.

With the moniker "The rEVOLUTION Has Begun," the campaign will focus on the revolutionary prevention science as well as the medicine that makes HIV a chronic, manageable disease. Transgender women and gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men account for nearly two-thirds of new HIV infections nationally and statewide.

"If you are negative, there are options to stay negative," Todd Heywood, a designer of the program who has been living with HIV since 2007, said. "If you are positive, you have options to live a long, healthy life and prevent transmitting the virus to anyone else. Facing the HIV epidemic requires a completely new vision, voice and strategy."

In May, the CDC announced new clinical guidance for medical providers to prescribe PrEP. Studies have shown that when PrEP is taken daily, it is 99 percent effective in prevention of HIV transmission for those who are HIV negative. That's more effective than any other option in the United States.

In the 2012 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Creating Change Conference in Atlanta, Gregory Millet, an employee of the CDC tasked to the White House Office of National AIDS Police, released HIV prevalence predictions. The numbers showed that the current cohort of 20-year-old men who have sex with men have a 10 percent HIV-positive prevalence already. Black men in the same demographic have 20 percent prevalence.

Once this group reaches 50 years of age, half of all gay and bisexual men will be infected with HIV, while 70 percent of the black community in the same demographic will be infected. Transgender women are 50 percent more likely to be HIV positive than any other group of women.

Changing The Game

Innovations in prevention options have the potential to change the game with HIV.

For those that are HIV-positive, treatment of a few combined anti-HIV drugs can reduce the viral load in that person's blood to less than 28 viral particles per milliliter of blood. This reduces the potential to transmit HIV by 96 percent.

The first step in utilizing this new science is to get tested. With just a pinprick of blood and a wait time of 20 minutes, people can know their HIV status.

"This is essential to the health and well-being of the LGBT community" BTL's own publisher Susan Horowitz said. "The science is sound and convincing. We can stop those prevalence predictions from becoming our reality. We can stop HIV's march through this community."

The new campaign will feature tweets, Facebook memes and videos to drive traffic to PrEP4ITNow.com. The site will host pages to explore why testing is important, what science has taught about HIV transmission and what works to prevent new transmissions.

In honor of National HIV Testing Day on June 27th, the Lansing Area AIDS Network will sponsor a series of fun activities in Old Town including Bingo at the Esquire Club, rEVOLUTION Trivia and performances of Lansing's own drag stars at Spiral Dance Club.

Free HIV testing on a walk-in basis will be available from 4 p.m. to midnight at 1310 Turner St. in Lansing. Participants will also have the option of seeing if PrEP may be a prevention option for them.

"Outside of Detroit, Ingham county has been the highest prevalence of HIV cases in the state of Michigan," Dwayne Riley, prevention manager at the Lansing Area AIDS Network, said. "But with the advent of prevention options like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a new understanding of HIV transmission and the science of caring for those already infected, we know that we can slow this virus down."

Join the rEvolution and get tested. Available testing sites can be found below. To find a location not listed here call the Michigan HIV/STD Hotline at 800-872-2437.

Testing Information

State HIV/STD Hotline

800-872-2437

Metro Detroit

Affirmations

290 W. Nine Mile, Ferndale

248-398-7105

http://www.goaffirmations.org

Every Monday and Wednesday from 6-9 p.m. MSM only. Provided by MAC.

Every Thursday from 5:30-8p.m. for everyone.

Every Saturday from 1-5 p.m. for everyone, including youth. Provided by AIDS Partnership Michigan.

Michigan AIDS Coalition (MAC)

429 Livernois St., Ferndale

248-545-1435

http://www.michiganaidscoalition.org

Call to make an appointment.

Flint

Flint Wellness National HIV Testing Day

311 E. Court St., Flint

http://www.prep4itnow.com/flint/

Syphilis and STI screenings also available.

June 27 from 12-6 p.m.

Flint Gay Pride in the Park

U of M Rink and Flint Riverbank

http://www.prep4itnow.com/flint/

STI screenings also available.

June 28 from 1-6 p.m.

Ann Arbor

S3 Safe Sex Store

1209 S. University, Ann Arbor

734-741-1434

http://www.s3safesexstore.com

Every Thursday from 5-8 p.m.

Lansing

The Lansing Area AIDS Network at Old Town Lansing

1310 Turner St., Lansing

517-394-3560 ext. 30

http://www.prep4itnow.com

Every Wednesday and Thursday from 6-8 p.m. and June 27 at 4 p.m.

West Michigan

Planned Parenthood

425 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids

616-774-7005

http://www.ppwnm.org

All Week for National HIV Testing Day

Rumors Night Club

69 Division Ave. S, Grand Rapids

616-454-8720

http://www.prep4itnow.com/grand-rapids/

June 26

Diversions Night Club

10 Fountain St. NW, Grand Rapids

616-451-2623

http://www.prep4itnow.com/grand-rapids/

June 28

Go to http://www.PrEP4ITNow.com to utilize what the site has to offer and get more information on how and where community members can get tested for HIV. The Lansing Area AIDS Network is located at 913 W. Holmes Road, Lansing Charter Township.
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Special Section: World AIDS Day
Study Finds Significant Racial Disparities For HIV Infection Among Black And White MSM

A study published in the journal The Lancet HIV reports that there is a significant disparity in HIV prevalence between black and white men who have sex with men. The study was published on Nov. 18 and found a startling 32 percent prevalence rate for black men who have sex with men, compared with only eight percent for white men who have sex with men.

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