Justin B. Terry-Smith has been involved in Gay and HIV Activism since 1999. He is a U.S. Air Force 9/11 Disabled Vet. Raised in Silver Spring, MD and he now lives in Laurel, MD with his husband Phil and son. He has worked for Gay orgs such as the National Black Justice Coalition, Human Rights Campaign, Equality Maryland, Us Helping Us, People Into Living Incorporated etc. He earned an AA in Communications, a BA in Political Science and is currently working on a Masters in Public Health.
HAPPY 5TH YEAR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY: The man that I'm so deeply in love with, who rises above the rest, who leads by example and dared to love me back. You are the one who keeps me motivated and helps me to fulfill my dreams, no matter how far fetched they are. He who gives me space, hugs, cuddles and kisses when I need it and deals with the heavy load that comes with being my husband. I love you forever and ever. Our love is eternal:
Some loves may come your way, And captivate your mind, And some loves may touch your heart, With words so sweet and kind.
But, your love has touched me deeper, More than you'll ever know, More than merely capturing my heart, You're etched upon my soul.
A love that will forever burn, Like an eternal flame, And long after we both are gone, Our love will always remain.
For our love is eternal, Forever, come what may, A love that can't be measured, Like the hours in a day.
And someday amongst the heavens, Written with stars across the sky, On the list of the greatest lovers, Will be the names of you and I.
According to the CDC (2014) Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or
PrEP, is a way for people who do not have HIV to help prevent HIV infection by
taking a pill every day. The pill
contains two medicines that are also used, in combination with other medicines,
to treat HIV. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use,
PrEP can help stop the virus from establishing a permanent infection.
In 2012 the Food and Drug Administration approved the HIV
prevention measure, but it is still not widely known. PrEP is a one pill a day named Truvada, which
is produced in California from Gilead Sciences. Severe and sometimes fatal lactic acidosis (a
buildup of lactic acid in the blood) and liver problems have occurred with
of lactic acidosis include unusual weakness or tiredness; unusual muscle pain
or cramps; fast or difficult breathing; stomach pain with vomiting, nausea,
feeling cold, especially in the arms and legs; dizziness or light-headedness;
fast and/or irregular heartbeat. Symptoms of liver problems include yellowing
of the skin or eyes, dark urine, pale stools, persistent loss of appetite,
nausea, and/or stomach pain.
BUT NOT TO WORRY: An insider has told me that researchers are
developing another 1 pill a day HIV prevention regime that is less harmful to
humans for consumption.
This is a great breakthrough. I’m very glad for this as long as we put
things into prospective. This discovery
can help us get to zero and can help the gay community combat HIV and hopefully
we will never be put down by HIV again.
"If something comes along that's better than
condoms, I'm all for it, but Truvada is not that," said Michael Weinstein,
President of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "Let's be honest: It's a
party drug." After his reaction to
the drug many people were in uproar and wanted him to resign as president of
AHF. "There's an element in the gay
community that espouses 'anything goes,' that is for sexual freedom and not
giving an inch," he said. "But demonizing me or AHF isn't going to
shut us up." I think I understand
what he was trying to say, but I don’t think it was the best way to put
The concerns that steam from this are that the gay
community will use this as an excuse to have more sex without condoms. I don’t think that will be the case but I do
understand his concern. The concern that
people will stop using condom and use Truvada is a big concern amongst doctors
as well. They have started to see people
the beginnings of people asking for a prescription for it. One major concern is that when using Truvada
for HIV prevention that people will forget about the things it doesn’t prevent
like, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Vaginitis, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
(PID), Human Papillomavirus (HPV) or Genital Warts, Hepatitis, Trichomonas
etc. I don’t say this to scare you but
reality is reality. #thetruth.
The World Health Organization (WHO) (2014) estimates,
that 35 million people around the world are infected with HIV and 1.1 of them
live in the United States (WHO, 2014).
There was a decline in Men, Women,
White, Black, Hispanic/Latino, heterosexual, Intravenous Drug Users (IDUs) and
most age groups, except young gay and bisexual men.
In 2006 the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention recommended that all Americans from the ages of 13 to 64 should
be tested for HIV because it should be a common as having one cholesterol
tested. In 2000 37% of the population
was tested and in 2010 that number increased to 45%. In the United States in the year 2002, 24 out
of 100,000 people were diagnosed with HIV and in 2011 that number decreased to 16
out of 100,000.
According to the Washington Blade (2014) the Washington DC
2014 Annual Epidemiology & Surveillance Report the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases in the District of Columbia
decreased to 680 in 2012, a decline of 42 percent from the 1,180 new cases
reported in 2008, that is an overall 42% decline. Men who Sex with Men (MSM) also saw a slight
decrease in the DC area. In 2008 in the
DC area there were 443 MSM diagnosed with HIV and in 2012 there were 313 MSM
diagnosed with HIV. Heterosexuals saw a
drop, in 2008 there were 335 heterosexual diagnosed with HIV compared to 215 in
the year 2012 (Washington Blade, 2014).
There were no baby born with HIV
compared to the 1 out of 10 babies with HIV were born in the DC area
And Intravenous Drug Users (IDUs)
diagnosed with HIV dropped 81%, which are primarily and directly contributed to
Needle Exchange Programs.
trialreach.com lauched the first in a series of ‘#TopVoices’ to honor the best bloggers and online resources for patients. Part of their mission is to provide support and help to patients when they are making critical decisions about their health. The people and sites they will be awarding their ‘Top Voices’ badge provide immense value; from providing practical advice to connecting patients with others who are going through the same journey.
The ‘#TopVoices’ awards was inspired, in part, by one of their very favorite bloggers, HIV activist Josh Robbins who founded I’m Still Josh. Josh has been helping them to choose the award nominees, starting this month with the HIV community.
TOP HIV Voices 2014 badge
They hope you find this useful and please let them know if there are any blogs or sites that you would like to nominate for a ‘#TopVoices’ award.
Over to Josh:
These “Top HIV Voices for 2014″ embody the passion that it requires to build a community from a fundamentally limited beginning— sharing a personal story or contributing in a small but grand way to the global conversation surrounding the HIV community, HIV activism and the reduction of new HIV infections; advocating for increased awareness, decreased stigma, and the chance eventually to an AIDS-free generation.
Josh Robbins, the founder of I’m Still Josh
As an HIV blogger myself and founder of “I’m Still Josh”, the blogs and digital HIV destinations below continue to inspire me, challenge me, encourage me and offer wisdom that words alone could never explain. In addition to this very short list, there are many more blogs and publications that inspire me and that I find great comfort.
Congratulations to the following TrialReach.com’s 2014 Top HIV Voices:
There are many things that I want to teach my son as he goes into adult hood. He is 17 years old and sorry to say for him that he has to grow up fast. He has to understand that when you're an adult that are thing that are expected of you. There is one thing that I wanted him to especially understand, which the consideration for what things people might hold dear. Growing up I don't think that he had that. December 27th was my birthday and as most of you know that is two days after Christmas. My family has always been respectful of that and I love them for it. I'm going to guess that after having a talk with my son about planning around that time he understood what I meant. He actually did something that was so creative and loving it surprised me and most of you know I'm almost never surprised, check out the video.