Restaurant list announced for ‘Dinner with Friends’ fundraiser

PEORIA — Central Illinois Friends, an HIV/AIDS service organization in Central Illinois, has released the restaurant list for their annual “Dinner with Friends” fundraiser. Throughout September, people will eat at different restaurants with a portion of the bills going to support services for people living with HIV in the area. The restaurants are:

Wednesday, Sept. 4 – 6p-9p Country BBQ
Thursday, Sept. 5 – 6p-9p Ulrich’s Rebellion Room
Friday, Sept.

Lambda Legal to district court: Rescinding job offer due to HIV status is discrimination

LAFAYETTE, La. — Last week, Lambda Legal urged a federal district court judge to find that a parish sheriff violated theAmericans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when he withdrew a job offer to a person with HIV. Lambda Legal said in a press release that Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal rescinded a job offer for William “Liam” Pierce to serve as a sheriff’s deputy after learning that Pierce was a person living with HIV. While U.S. District Court Judge Michael Juneau denied the motion because the Sheriff had not yet been deposed and some facts remain in dispute, he also expressed skepticism regarding the Sheriff’s prospects for proving the legality of the office’s conduct. The case now proceeds to trial, scheduled for January 6, 2020.

Truvada pills

Prtizker signs Youth PrEP Bill into law

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Youth PrEP Bill into law on Wednesday. The new law allows Illinois youth 12 years old and older to obtain preventative health care services for STDs or substance use disorder without getting parental permission, including pre-exposure prophylaxis PrEP). 

The bill was sponsored by State Rep. Lamont Robinson (D-Chicago) in the House and State Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago) in the Senate. and supported by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. “Young people don’t wait to have sex until they’re 18, and HIV doesn’t wait either. This legislation will help ensure young people under the age of 18 have easy access to an incredibly effective and safe HIV prevention tool,” said Jim Pickett, AFC’s Senior Director of Prevention Advocacy and Gay Men’s Health, in a statement on Wednesday.

Bill would give Illinois youth access to PrEP

SPRINGFIELD — A bill waiting for Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signature would give Illinois teens as young as 12 access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). NPR Illinois reported that the bill was sponsored by State Rep. Lamont Robinson Jr. (D-Chicago). It would allow youth to get access to PrEP without needing a parent’s or guardian’s permission. From NPR Illinois:
“Unfortunately, within our youth in the black and brown community, we’re seeing an increase in HIV rates, and so this bill saves lives essentially,” Robinson says. “It is a safety net.”

Illinois HIV Care Connect Region 4 HIV Community Engagement Meeting in Collinsville

COLLINSVILLE — Illinois HIV Care Connect will be holding a community engagement meeting in Collinsville on Wednesday, Aug. 25. 

From the Facebook event:
The St. Clair County Health Department (SCCHD) and the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA) invite you to join us from 10 am to 2 pm on August 28, 2019 at the DoubleTree Hotel Collinsville, 1000 Eastport Plaza Dr., Collinsville, IL, 62234 for the Region 4 HIV Community Engagement Meeting! The community engagement meeting is open to consumers, HIV/STD providers, Illinois HIV Integrated Planning Council (IHIPC) members, social service agencies, and other community members. The community engagement meeting will include a presentation about HIV rates and services in the Metro East area (Region 4) and also an interactive discussion on the needs for HIV care and prevention services in the Metro East area (Region 4).

Truvada pills

Chicago youth survey finds PrEP use doesn’t lead to more STIs

MEXICO CITY — A survey of young gay and bisexual men and transgender women in Chicago, a portion of whom were on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), has found no direct relationship between starting PrEP and any increase in subsequent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). AIDSmap reported that the survey did find that people had more condomless sex, but it did not lead to more STIs. From AIDSmap:
Ethan Morgan of Chicago’s Northwestern University and Center for AIDS Research told the 10th International AIDS Society Conference in HIV Science (IAS 2019) is Mexico City that data were collected as part of RADAR, a cohort study of young men who have sex with men and transgender women aged between 16 and 29. 

A total of 744 young people who attended six or more study visits were followed out of a total cohort of 1100. During the study period, a third of participants started PrEP (32.9%). (The fact that this was only 21% in the pre-conference abstract submitted a few months ago shows evidence of a rapid expansion in PrEP use.) About a third were also diagnosed with a rectal STI: 17% with rectal gonorrhoea and 23% with rectal chlamydia (some with both).

Illinois HIV Action Alliance seeks responses for survey on HIV laws

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois HIV Action Alliance (IHAA) is looking for people to participate in an anonymous survey about awareness of Illinois HIV laws. In a post on the Illinois HIV Care Connect blog, the IHAA wants to  understand what people know about Illinois laws regarding HIV and how that affects them. IHAA will use this information to inform advocacy efforts, including building educational materials and outreach activities centered on the voices of people living with HIV and HIV-negative individuals who are at risk. You can take the survey here.

Military experts, medical associations and HIV advocates oppose Trump DOD’s discharge policy for HIV-positive airmen

Image by skeeze from PixabayNEW YORK — Military leaders, medical associations, public health groups, and HIV advocates joined three friend-of-the court briefs filed today in support of a federal lawsuit challenging the Pentagon’s discriminatory policies, which prevent service members living with HIV from deploying to most locations outside the United States. These deployment restrictions recently resulted in decisions to discharge a number of Airmen.  The briefs being filed today in Roe and Voe v Shanahan before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit urge the court to uphold a preliminary injunction preventing the Air Force from discharging service members with HIV. “Given the assessment of military experts and the advances in HIV treatment, the Pentagon’s policy of refusing to deploy—and now to discharge—HIV-positive servicemembers who honorably serve our country is utterly discriminatory, outdated and unnecessary,” said Scott Schoettes, HIV Project Director and Counsel at Lambda Legal. “As the world’s largest employer with 2.5 million employees, it is outrageous that the Department of Defense has a harmful and unlawful policy that perpetrates stigma, jeopardizes public health, and dishonors servicemembers.”  

In the lawsuit, Lambda Legal and the Modern Military Association of America (OutServe-SLDN) represent two active duty airmen, identified anonymously as Roe and Voe, who served their country honorably for years until they were discharged in 2018 for being HIV-positive.. The briefs argue that the Pentagon’s categorical exclusion and discharge of HIV-service members is outdated, irrational and discriminatory given the strides in HIV medicine that allow people living with HIV to suppress HIV to undetectable levels, return to health, and lead full lives. The briefs further argue that the Pentagon’s policies lacks scientific support and justification, enact real world harms, and undermine broader public health—debunking erroneous claims by the government.