Justin's HIV Journal

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Justin's HIV Journal: Dab The AIDS Bear Project

I was asked to do a Dab the AIDS Bear Project video and I jumped at the chance. As most of you know I LOOOOOOVE THE BEARS. Grrrr.

But honestly there is a greater mission ahead and the idea to do this was awesome. I got the information below from the website http://www.dabtheaidsbearproject.com Please go take a look.


Back in 1981 when I had friends starting to die from AIDS, the hospitals wouldn't allow visitors into the patient's room unless you wore protective garments (gowns, masks etc.). GRID (what HIV was originally called) was considered reason to quarantine people with this new illness because they were afraid of this new disease and were not sure how the virus was passed. Because of this, people were usually close to death and had at least one opportunistic infection when they were diagnosed and hospitalized.

You could see even seasoned health care professional recoil in fear and not wanting to touch the patients. Even close friends were hesitant or scared to visit their friends in the hospital. Several friends and my first partner were dying without the comfort of human touch.

So I started buying Gund teddy bears and giving them to friends so they would not have to feel so alone, abandoned and afraid. That is how Dab the AIDS Bear was created.

I would personalize the bear to something I knew about them. From personal experience, nothing is worse than being in the hospital and being scared when you think you are going to die.

When people were admitted to the hospital then, they rarely made it outside of the hospital alive again. Even in the later 80s when the first HIV medications started becoming available, the medications only bought someone several months. Some longer, some shorter and most had debilitating side effects and greatly diminished quality of life. But there were no other options then to keep yourself alive. AIDS before 1996 for most was a death sentence.

When the red HIV/AIDS awareness ribbon became our symbol, I started adding a ribbon to the bears when I would give them as gifts to my friends dying due to this horrible virus. The universal appeal of bears brings smiles to even the sickest child or adult and are a symbol of strength and comfort for all ages.

In 1998, I designed another HIV awareness bear and massed produced it. The Dab the AIDS Bear was wholesaled in various specialty retail stores across the country. The reason I came out with another bear at that time was the funds to the AIDS organizations were being cut and services such as massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy, and nutrition counseling among others were canceled because of the government budget cuts to the Ryan White Act. Treatments that helped people with HIV/AIDS deal with the side effects from the medications and the illness itself were no longer available through public assistance programs.

Dab the AIDS Bear has met many young people under 25 that are already positive as we travel across the country doing HIV/AIDS awareness, education and prevention. Most of these exposures happened in high school or college age students. These young people represent all races, all economic backgrounds, all religious beliefs, all sexual orientations because NO ONE is immune. It's not like the virus is going to ask you questions before infecting you.

Dab the AIDS Bear has also met with many 50+ citizens who are now finding out they are HIV positive. Many did not get tested and find out until their immune systems are depleted and they have one or more opportunistic infections. Too many are DYING because they didn't know their status in time so they could begin HIV treatment.

According to doctor, if you are sexually active, you should be tested EVERY SIX MONTHS.

Dab the AIDS Bear is also an advocate for financially challenged Americans with HIV and AIDS who are placed on AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) waiting lists. He has held over 8000 American men, women and children as they lost their war with AIDS. An American man, woman or child should never have to die because they can not afford the life saving HIV medications. Too many Americans died before 1996 when HARTT treatment and protease inhibitors were released making it possible for most to live with this virus.

When did it become OK for Americans to die due to ignorance, lack of caring, or lack of government funding? We thought our great country, the leader of the free world, would be the first to make sure its own citizens would not be subjected to such a horrible fate. That we as Americans would be the one to show we take care of our own. Well they are being shown and they need your help.

Dab the AIDS Bear travels around the globe as it nears it's 30th birthday. You can find him at AIDS Walks, AIDS cycles, health fairs, public events, conferences, etc.

So stay tuned for an appearance of Dab the AIDS Bear in your area. We have our Ambassadors of Hope traveling the globe with Dab the AIDS Bear and taking pictures.

So walk up, say hello and have your picture taken with Dab the AIDS Bear and help prevent new HIV infections while helping those already infected.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab and Dab the AIDS Bear

Friday, June 12, 2009

Justin's HIV Journal Justin Tries To Quit Smoking

Justin B Smith from Justin's HIV Journal has been smoking since the age of 17. He is 29 years old so he has been smoking for about 12 years.

According to TheBody.com, people with HIV disease are more likely to smoke than healthy people. Smoking can interfere with normal lung function in healthy people. In people with HIV, smoking can make it more difficult to fight off serious infections. People with HIV disease are now living longer. Smoking and related problems can interfere with long term quality of life.

Smoking weakens the immune system. It can make it harder to fight off HIV-related infections. This is especially true for infections related to the lungs. Smoking can interfere with processing of medications by the liver. It can also worsen liver problems like hepatitis.

People with HIV who smoke are more likely to suffer complications from HIV medication than those who don't. For example, those who smoke are more likely to experience nausea and vomiting from taking HIV medications. Smoking increases the risk of some long-term side effects of HIV disease and treatment. These include osteoporosis . HIV treatment slightly increases the risk of heart attack, but smoking is the major controllable risk factor for heart attacks or strokes.
Recent studies found that quitting smoking reduced heart attack risk in HIV patients more than other factors such as changes in medications.

People with HIV disease who smoke are more likely to develop several opportunistic infections related to HIV. They are more likely to develop thrush, oral hairy leukoplakia (whitish mouth sores), bacterial pneumonia, pneumocystis pneumonia. For women, smoking can increase the risk and severity of infection with human papillomavirus, this increases the risk of cervical cancer.

A recent study found that smoking among people with HIV was linked to a higher rate of death. This was true for current smokers and ex-smokers; the greatest increase in the risk of death -- 60% -- was for cardiovascular (heart) disease and some cancers.

On a more personal note he is asking you guys to help him quit with your word of encouragement and prayer. Please feel free to comment on his blog, youtube, myspace or facebook pages.

Thank you for all your love and support

Justin B Smith
Justin's HIV Journal

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Justin's HIV Journal Pop Singer Faces HIV Charges

German Pop Star Nadja Bernaissa could face up to 10 years in jail for allegations that she infected 1 of the 3 sexual partners she had from the year 2004-2006 with the HIV virus. Supposedly the 26 year old did tell either of her partners that she was HIV Positive. The young lady in question was arrested on April 11th 2009 and released from custody later on that month. Updates will be presented as they become known to me. Last year her former lover filed charges against her and prosecutors have be investing this story since June of 2008.

Many of her fans are shocked and appalled by this. They split and some have even turned there backs on the songstress. According to the Time Magazine one fan wrote,"Stay Strong Nadja" while another wrote about her condemnation.

Benaissa Sings with the group called No Angels which is now the best selling girl group/band to come out of Germany. She also has a child who was born in 1999.


One hand you have a person who know she has HIV and continued not to tell her partner about it. Then on the other hand there is the other side. Why didn't he protect himself or even think about protecting himself. Was it because she was a star and he didn't think he would have to worry about it?