Justin's HIV Journal

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Justin's HIV Journal: Gamma Mu Phi Fraternity, Inc

Come and find out about the men of Gamma Mu Phi Fraternity, Inc., the FIRST national professional fraternity for Black & Latino men such as you.
The men of GAMMA believe in 7 Cardinal Principles, which are:

Good Character

GAMMA currently has chapters based in the following cities across the country:
Richmond, VA (Alpha Chapter), Washington, D.C. (Beta Chapter), Houston, TX (Delta Chapter), Dallas, TX (Epsilon Chapter), Philadelphia, PA (Zeta Chapter), Atlanta, GA (Eta Chapter) & Little Rock, AZ (Lambda Chapter) &Richmond, VA (Alpha Chapter), Washington, D.C. (Beta Chapter), Houston, TX (Delta Chapter), Dallas, TX (Epsilon Chapter), Philadelphia, PA (Zeta Chapter), Atlanta, GA (Eta Chapter), Little Rock, AZ (Lambda Chapter) & New Orleans, LA (Kappa Chapter)
Let us explain some distinct differences between GAMMA and other fraternities geared to men of color such as Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, and other member organizations in the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).

First, NPHC organizations such as Alpha Phi Alpha & Kappa Alpha Psi are collegiate-based fraternities, and as such, chapters are established at various colleges and universities across the country and the globe.  GAMMA is a professional fraternity, and our chapters are city/metropolitan based.

Secondly, our membership is composed of professional men, who are mainly gay/bisexual men of color. GAMMA believes that there is a lack of unity among our community, and it is the mission of the Brothers of Gamma Mu Phi Fraternity Inc. to cultivate and restore it in our community.
Lastly, membership in NPHC based organizations does not prevent membership in GAMMA. In fact, some of our members are currently members of various NPHC organizations AKA "The Divine Nine". Membership in these organizations does not exclude you from membership in GAMMA.
Interested gentlemen should meet the following criteria: 18 yrs or older who have received a minimum of a high school diploma and are professional or working towards obtaining a professional career.  Interested gentlemen should also possess or have the ability and willingness to develop the qualities possessed by a Gamma Man.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Just*in Time HIV Advice Column Transgendered

Just*in Time HIV Advice Column Transgendered

Photo by Don Harris  © Don Harris Photographics, LLC. All rights reserved
Photo by Don Harris © Don Harris Photographics, LLC. All rights reserved
Hey Justin,How are you? I really enjoy your videos and I admire your strength. My issue is that I’m a twenty-one-year-old transgender female and I’m scared I may be positive. A couple months ago I got bumps on my left breast that turned into a scab; I scrubbed the scab off and my skin never healed. A couple days ago I had smaller bumps pop up (one turned into a scab) and the others are very tiny sores; I went to the urgent care clinic in my area and they didn’t even know what it really was. They labeled it dermatitis, so I let it go and, later, decided to get an HIV test. I was talking to my friend who was a nursing student and he said this condition normally occurs in people with HIV (I didn’t tell him it was me, though). I’m scared because if I am positive, then this isn’t something that I want anybody to know. I want it to be a secret until the day I die. I’m used to being the pretty girl and getting a lot of compliments and attention and I know a lot of people would feel as though I deserved it or wouldn’t look at me the same anymore. I can’t tell my mother or father as they are very uneducated about HIV—they think you can get HIV from sharing a pizza with a person who has it, so imagine how they would treat me? I had a former friend who has HIV but we no longer speak and I don’t know if I could trust him with this because he is very open about his own status. I know you’re a very busy person but, please, if you’re ever on-line, can you check on me every once in a while? You’re the only person I can talk to. —TG Sexy

I’m doing fine, but it sounds like you’re in need of some advice. We will have to address one problem at a time. Dermatitis is not caused by HIV. Dermatitis is simply inflammation of the skin; there are many things that can cause dermatitis. Some metals, fiberglass, rubber, perfumes, etc., can cause the inflammation. I know for a fact that I love wearing silver, but it is silver-plated material that makes me break out. Every time I wore a silver-plated chain around my neck, I needed cream prescribed by a doctor. Dermatitis can also be caused by outside irritants like bleach, soaps, detergents, and other cleaning supplies. It also can be caused by stress or a vitamin deficiency. Go see your doctor to get properly diagnosed and treated for dermatitis. I know you’re scared, but my motto is: Only worry about something when there is something to worry about. You must get tested. Now, I know that is hard to do but you must do it. If it’s negative you will be okay. If the test is positive, then the earlier you know, the better. The more time that goes by that you are untreated for HIV, the more you open yourself up to infections and other complications from the virus.

It sounds like people around you are ignorant about HIV. I suggest if you are HIV-positive you may want to find a group of people that is supportive because you will need them in your network. Be careful about whom you confide in, but you must find support in groups of like-minded people.
Again, if the test is positive, you might want to look at it as another chance at life. Think about the different ways HIV will make you focus on your health and happiness. You will find solace as long as you focus on the positive things you get from this very experience. Life doesn’t stop because you have HIV; you have to live on for you and all the transgender men and women out there who are HIV-positive. Be an example of a healthy, HIV-positive beautiful girl that you know and I know you are, inside and outside. You’re a wonderful transgender woman and fuck all the haters. Get up and get tested. Love you!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Justin's HIV Journal: Justin takes the OraQuick HIV In Home Test

At first when I learned of this test I was skeptical.  But if it is going to benefit people I figured I'd try it myself, even though I already know I'm HIV positive.  This test has made me think of how far we have come in HIV testing.  Before it was a blood test that you have to wait at least 2 weeks for .  Now it's a 20 minute test you can take at home. This test came into play about June/July of 2012.  It can be found online as well as your local drug stores including Walgreens, CVS, Sears, WalMart etc. 

According to the Huffington Post, in a trial conducted by test maker Orasure, OraQuick detected HIV in those carrying the virus only 92 percent of the time, but was 99.9 percent accurate in ruling out HIV in patients who are not carrying the disease.

That means the test could miss 1 in 12 HIV-infected people who use it, according to the FDA, but would incorrectly identify only one patient as having HIV for every 5,000 HIV-negative people tested.

I was wondering if someone found out that they were HIV positive what does the test tell them to do.  It states:

Call our 24/7 support center toll-free at 1-866-436-6527. Your call will be completely confidential. You will only be asked for a zip code or city in order to help you find what you need.

To locate organizations offering HIV/AIDS services, visit cdcnpin.org

You can also use the HIV Provider Directory at hivma.org

I took the test to see if it was fast and easy as many people say that it is.  Well in my opinion it is.

This test may also help the stigma of going out to get test when you can do it in the privacy of your own home.  But the important thing is that everyone get tested.  If you positive don't worry, always get a second opinion.  If the 2nd opinion still says you HIV positive STILL don't worry.  Your life is NOT over.  Get Support