Truvada pills

Gilead to make Truvada generic in 2020

Activists express doubt that prices will drop, call for government to collect on unpaid royalties. NEW YORK — Gilead, the makers of HIV and PrEP medication Truvada, said in an SEC filing that a generic version of the drug will be available in 2020. NBC OUT broke the story early Wednesday afternoon. “Gilead reached an agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals in 2014 to allow the early launch of a generic version of Truvada into the market in 2020, a year earlier than required,” wrote Douglas Brooks, Gilead’s executive director for community engagement, in an email shared with NBC News by the advocacy group PrEP4All. NBC OUT reported that generic Truvada in other countries costs as little as $70 a month, in the U.S. it can cost $1,600 to $2,000 a month.

New report shows police fail to serve transgender people

WASHINGTON — A new report from the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) has found that police departments across the country have not adopted policies to protect the rights of transgender people. The report, Failing to Protect and Serve, found systemic neglect by police nationwide to take proactive measures to prevent the mistreatment and misidentification of transgender people during arrests, witness interviews, search and seizure, and housing of transgender people. According to a press release from the NCTE, the report found, among the 25 largest police departments in the U.S., that:

No department explicitly requires regular training on transgender interaction policies for all members across rank. No department required for officers to respectfully record the name currently being used by the individual that is separate from the spaces used for legal names or aliases in Department forms.
No Department explicitly provides for transgender individuals to be transported along with individuals of the same gender identity. Only two departments explicitly prohibited sexual conduct between officers and those in their custody
Out of the sixteen departments with holding facilities, only four adequately address access to hormone medications. 
Out of the sixteen departments with holding facilities, 10 failed to provide specific guidance on housing placement for transgender individuals. 
A majority of departments (16 of 25) fail to provide search procedures for transgender individuals and/or require members to perform searches based on sex as assigned at birth or genitalia.


U.S. House could vote on Equality Act next week

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives could vote on the Equality Act next week, the Washington Blade reported Monday. A congressional aid told the newspaper that the official announcement will be on Friday. 

The Equality Act was reintroduced in March with 240 co-sponsors, including three Republicans. U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski was the only Illinois Democrat who wouldn’t sign on to co-sponsor the Equality Act. The act was also endorsed by the NAACP. The Blade reported that Republicans in the House have an opportunity to stop the bill with a motion to recommit, a legislative maneuver that forces a vote on an amendment the majority would otherwise not allow to come up.

Study find sexual orientation changes, develops well into adulthood


CHICAGO — A new study has found that “gay, bisexual, straight” don’t capture the full range of sexuality and that it can change over time. The study from the Journal of Sex Research analysed surveys from around 12,000 students, and found that substantial changes in attractions, partners, and sexual identity are common from late adolescence to the early 20s, and from the early 20s to the late 20s, indicating that sexual orientation development continues long past adolescence into adulthood. The results also show distinct development pathways for men and women, with women being more fluid over time. “Sexual orientation involves many aspects of life, such as who we feel attracted to, who we have sex with, and how we self-identify,” Christine Kaestle, a professor of developmental health at Virginia Tech and one of the researchers, told MedicalXpress. “Until recently, researchers have tended to focus on just one of these aspects, or dimensions, to measure and categorize people.

New study shows again effective HIV treatment can prevent transmission

LONDON — A new study published in British medical journal The Lancet has found that HIV treatment that suppresses the virus has effectively zero risk of transmission to a partner. The study was released on Thursday and is the latest to show that undetectable levels of HIV means untransmissible. The National Institutes of Health said in a report in January that overwhelming evidence has established that undetectable equals untransmittable. Researchers at the 22nd International AIDS Conference confirmed last year that the chance of any HIV-positive person with an undetectable viral load transmitting the virus to a sexual partner is scientifically equivalent to zero. Between Sept 15, 2010, and July 31, 2017, researchers followed almost 1,000 sero-discordant gay couples.


More orgs react to anti-LGBTQ ‘religious objection’ healthcare rule

CHICAGO — More organizations are denouncing the new Health and Human Services rule that would allow healthcare workers to refuse service with a “religious objection.” “Perhaps the most objectionable aspect of this rule is that it puts the personal beliefs of healthcare providers above their sworn duties to follow science, give all medically accurate information, and serve their patients,” said Magda Houlberg, MD, Chief Clinical Officer at Howard Brown Health in Chicago. “Despite the rule, medical providers who defy their oath and license should face sanctions, including the loss of license, at the state level.”

The health center said in a statement on Thursday that the rule restricts patients’ ability to make their own choices about their own health and would harm the most marginalized in the community. Lambda Legal also blasted the new rule in a press release sent out Thursday afternoon. “This so-called Conscience Rule is nothing more or less than a government-sanctioned attack on LGBTQ people and on women seeking reproductive health care,” Lambda Legal Interim CEO Richard Burns said.

‘Religious objection’ rule for healthcare providers now in effect

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday finalized a “conscience” rule that would allow healthcare providers and organizations to refuse to provide types of care because of “religious objections.” The rule follows a 2017 executive order from the Trump administration to protect religious liberty. A press release from HHS stated “the final rule fulfills President Trump’s promise to promote and protect the fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious liberty.” The new rule comes from the establishment of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within HHS’s Office for Civil Rights, the press released claimed. It protects anyone who refuses to provide services related to provide, participate in, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for, services such as abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide or others.


Fair and Equal Housing Act aims to add LGBTQ protections for housing

WASHINGTON — The Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2019 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 30. According to a press release, act would include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected characteristics under the Fair Housing Act which currently mandates non-discrimination for housing on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability. Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield), Susan W. Brooks (R-Indiana), Jennifer Wexton (D-Virginia), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) introduced the bill. “No American should face discrimination finding a home because of who they are or who they love,”  Schneider said in the press release. “Yet the majority of states still have no laws prohibiting housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lambda Legal asks court for relief of all same-sex couples denied Social Security benefits

TUCSON — Lambda Legal asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to provide relief to all surviving same-sex spouses denied equal access to social security survivor’s benefits, including through certification of a class action, on Tuesday.  

“Our clients and many others who were in loving, long-term, and committed relationships – in some cases for more than 40 years – have been denied equal access to these critical survivor’s benefits, paid for through a lifetime of work, based on circumstances wholly beyond their control,” Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn said in a press release.  “The government considers them legal strangers here, rather than widows and widowers, even if they married as soon as they were able to do so.”

Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit in November on behalf of a now 66-year-old gay man seeking spousal survivor’s benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), which imposes a nine-month marriage requirement even where same-sex couples were not able to be married for nine months because of discriminatory marriage laws. The legal advocacy group filed the motion for class certification in Ely v. Berryhill, the lawsuit it filed against SSA on behalf of Michael Ely, who married his partner of 43 years, James Taylor, immediately after Arizona’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples was struck down in 2014. Taylor died of cancer six months later. When Ely contacted SSA to begin the process of applying for survivor benefits, he was told that he did not qualify. “It was such a shock, to be told your relationship of 43 years means nothing,” Ely said in the press release.