Friday, November 30, 2012

A Fruitcake, Another Military Lip Dub & OraQuick, Among Other Things

HIV/AIDS. The World Health Organization established World AIDS Day in 1988 and it's been observed on December 1st ever since. It's been more than 30 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States. HIV is still a reality for more than a million Americans, including me; I've lived with the virus for nineteen and a half years now.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in every five people living with HIV in the U.S. doesn't even know it. And that's a big part of the reason why there are about 50,000 new infections every year. For decades you basically had two options when it came to HIV testing: ask your doctor to give you the test or find an organization or clinic that provided the service. For years a debate raged over whether or not it was a good idea to make test kits available for consumers on drugstore shelves. In July of this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finally approved an in-home test and it became available at retailers nationwide and online last October. It's called OraQuick and it's the same test that's been used by health care providers for over a decade already. The single-use test is administered with an oral swab and gives results in 20 to 40 minutes.

How does it work? By detecting antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in oral fluid.

How accurate is OraQuick? Not 100%. In trials, it detected HIV in those carrying the virus 92% of the time; it was 99.9% accurate in ruling out HIV in patients who are not carrying the virus.

What does that mean? According to the FDA, it means the test could miss 1 in 12 HIV-infected people who use it, but would incorrectly identify only one patient as having HIV in 5,000 HIV-negative people tested.

What causes an inaccurate reading? If a person takes the test too close to the moment of infection rather than after three to six months (which experts say is the approximate time HIV takes to appear in the human body).

How much does it cost? Approximately $40. (In contrast, a home pregnancy test is less than $20.)

Home testing could be a game-changer. It's no stretch to imagine one particular unadvertised use for OraQuick -- to screen potential sexual partners.

Check out the OraQuick how-to video below...




Stigma.  One of the worst things about living with HIV is the stigma. People always be judgin'...

Yup, that sums it up for me. Thanks to The Stigma Project for this graphic.

Clean. Pet peeve alert. Over the years I've seen my fair share of personal ads on gay dating/hook up and chat sites. Nothing turns me off more quickly than those guys who insist that they are "clean" and DDF (drug and disease-free). And it's always punctuated with UB2 (meaning, obviously, you be, too). It's simply impossible not to draw the conclusion that Mr. Clean thinks people with HIV are dirty. He obviously doesn't care how it looks or sounds and he's probably just too lazy or ignorant to say something a lot less obnoxious and dismissive, like, I am HIV-negative and I am only interested in dating someone of the same status. That, frankly, would be honest and direct -- something I could appreciate -- and it doesn't make those of us living with HIV feel like filthy lepers. Worse, my experience of these guys who say they're clean is that they are sexually active but claiming to be HIV-negative based on a test result from some point in their not-too-recent history, like 2003. And they're always insulted if you ask them if they've been screened for any other sexually transmitted diseases, like herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, HPV, Hepatitis A or B and chlamydia. Their unfamiliarity with the real risks of sex is often breathtaking. So, ultimately, when a man describes himself as "clean," it translates as not very bright and kind of a dick.

I just happened to stumble across a YouTube video that addresses this subject astutely and with wit. Here's the description: A random hookup between two gay robots who met online leads to a conversation on sexual activity and risk. (Warning, it's not safe for work.)


OMG. Here it is, the very last lip dub parody of Carly Rae Jepsen's worldwide hit single "Call Me Maybe" for 2012. Maybe. This was made by a bunch of U.S. military guys stationed in Afghanistan. It's a tribute to the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders. I'm a sucker for these military lip dubs and this one is populated by some seriously sexy dudes with a pretty good sense of humor about the whole endeavor. (My favorite moments are 0:47 and 1:53. Swoon.) Enjoy.



Fraudcasting. Let's check in again with former Fox News host Glenn Beck, the paranoid, prone-to-tears, prevaricator who was fired from the network last year because of declining ratings and a lack of advertiser support... instead of being fired for the fact that he's an unhinged, lying human fruitcake. Don't worry, he's landed on his feet. Beck started a subscription-based internet streaming/satellite TV network called TheBlaze. According to The Wall Street Journal, the network has topped 300,000 subscriptions as of September 2012. He typically delivers the crazy from a set designed to look like the Oval Office of the White House, but in this clip he just needs the biggest blackboard in the history of mankind and a box of colored chalk to tell us what's wrong with the world... sort of.  I'll give him this much, his handwriting is admirable.




Tunes. Lots of new music is getting released just in time to stuff those stockings (or your iPods). Have a look/listen...

MIKA - "Underwater." Earlier this year, to no one's surprise, British singer/songwriter MIKA announced that he was gay after years of refusing to label himself. "Underwater" is from his latest album, The Origin of Love, and it's a sweet love song that's been given a gorgeous video treatment.




will.i.am & Britney Spears - "Scream & Shout." Here's a collaboration I'd be willing to bet no one wanted. But it exists, so I might as well show it to you. Ms. Spears is here mostly to remind everyone that she is, in fact, "Britney, bitch." And will.i.am's lyrics are as banal as usual. By the time he proclaims "It goes on and on" around the 3 minute mark, you'll probably agree with him.




Turbonegro - "I Got a Knife." They're a Norwegian rock band that describes their sound as "deathpunk." Don't let that scare you. The sound is lean, mean, gruff and no-nonsense. However, they've deliberately cultivated a goofy, tongue-in-cheek image for their stage performances and videos.

Turbonegro. That's lead singer Tony Sylvester front and center with the tattooed belly.

"I Got a Knife" is an ode to their favorite sharp object. And this is my favorite video of the week. Because these guys are such cut ups.




Peace out,
David