Credibility Among Gay Men Gives Leverage to New York City’s New Chief of H.I.V. Prevention

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Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, who has taken H.I.V. treatment into sex clubs and bathhouses, will become the new head of New York City’s Bureau of H.I.V./AIDS Prevention and Control in September.
TODD HEISLER / THE NEW YORK TIMES
By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS
JULY 21, 2014
At the height of a meningitis outbreak last year among gay and bisexual men in New York City, Demetre Daskalakis, a wiry AIDS doctor and gay health activist, spent late nights and early mornings in the city’s sex clubs and bathhouses. There, he would strip off his leather jacket and, in his muscle T-shirt, talk the men around him into letting him inject them with meningitis vaccines.

Dr. Daskalakis was given the go-ahead and free vaccine by the city, after city officials found that their own efforts to infiltrate the clubs and house parties, where the meningitis was believed to be spreading, were mostly met with suspicion and hostility. The vaccination campaign ultimately reached at least 16,000 people and was credited with curbing an outbreak that some feared would become the next AIDS epidemic.

Now Dr. Daskalakis, 40, is about to become the consummate insider, as the city’s new $180,000-a-year assistant health commissioner in charge of the Bureau of H.I.V./AIDS Prevention and Control, starting in September.

In his new role, he and his colleagues at the health department hope that he will be able to leverage his acceptance among gay people, and history of taking H.I.V. treatment into the trenches, to reach a population that has not always trusted authority. They also hope he will be able to reach marginalized groups like young black and Latino men who have sex with men but who, for social or cultural reasons, do not identify as gay or bisexual.

“He understands the science, he’s a dedicated physician who has really been on the front lines of care, and he’s an activist and an advocate,” said Dr. Mary Bassett, the de Blasio administration’s health commissioner, who spent many years working on AIDS prevention in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Daskalakis takes over one of the largest bureaus within the health department, with 200 employees and a $200 million budget, at a critical moment in the history of the virus that causes AIDS. The department seemed to be signaling a new commitment to gay issues this year when it sent a delegation of about 50 people to the Gay Pride Parade for the first time in recent memory. (The free condoms and lubrication ran out after three blocks.)

Many top researchers believe that even without a cure or a vaccine, AIDS can be defeated within the next 10 years or so. Last month, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a plan to aggressively identify, track and treat people with H.I.V. infection with the aim of bringing AIDS in the state below epidemic levels by 2020.

For the first time since the early days of the epidemic in 1983, H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, fell off the list of top 10 causes of death in the city in 2012. The number of new annual H.I.V. diagnoses in New York City has fallen by more than 33 percent since 2003, to 3,141 in 2012, the last year for which data is available. There were about 115,000 people living with H.I.V. or AIDS in New York City at the end of 2012.

Dr. Daskalakis said he wanted to build on those successes by making more use of social media to reach gay and bisexual men who find partners through the Internet, and by making the drug Truvada available to prevent H.I.V. infection as well as to treat it, which the governor has also proposed to do.

He also said he would avoid the graphic scare campaigns used by the Bloomberg administration, like one television ad showing images of anal cancer and other effects of AIDS. One of his predecessors, Dr. Monica Sweeney, and Larry Kramer, the writer and AIDS activist, defended the scare tactics as a way of defeating complacency about unprotected sex, but some gay rights groups thought the ads needlessly stigmatized people with H.I.V.

While not disputing that the ads might have worked, Dr. Daskalakis said, “Life with H.I.V. or risk of H.I.V. — my personal perspective is that that’s scary enough.” (He is H.I.V.-negative.)

Dr. Daskalakis grew up outside Washington and graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine. He became interested in AIDS first as a student at Columbia, when he was touched by the AIDS memorial quilt, and then as a medical student at Bellevue Hospital Center, N.Y.U.’s teaching hospital, where he worked on the H.I.V. ward.

“I was on the cusp of seeing the devastation,” he said. “The bar is much higher now to make it better.”

Last year he was one of OUT magazine’s 100 most compelling people of the year. He made a reputation in 2006 as the founder of the “Men’s Sexual Health Project,” which entailed going into sex clubs and bathhouses to test men for H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases and to refer them to care.

“It’s in my dharma,” he said, of working with the bathhouses and sex clubs, where he is on a first-name basis as “Dr. Demetre.”

But, he added, they are a waning factor in gay life.

“The other big bathhouse we have no control over is the Internet,” which presents novel problems because “obviously you can’t test virtually.”

He is on the board of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, one of the best-known activist groups, and on the antiviral advisory committee for the United States Food and Drug Administration.

“This couldn’t come at a more interesting time,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, a group based in New York City that advocates H.I.V. prevention. “There’s been this drumbeat about ending the epidemic, but there is nothing guaranteed. If you can’t do it in New York City, you can’t do it in New York State.”

Dr. Daskalakis, now medical director of ambulatory H.I.V. services at Mount Sinai Hospital, does not follow the mold of the staid, doctor-knows-best public health official. In an interview the other day in his new city office in Long Island City, Queens, he looked conservative in a buttoned-up suit and neatly trimmed beard. But on his Facebook page, alongside his wedding pictures are photos of his body tattoos as well as one in which he and his husband, Michael Macneal, a fitness instructor, are dressed in drag — Dr. Daskalakis wearing a brassy red wig — and flipping their middle fingers.

The photograph, Dr. Daskalakis said Monday, was taken at a charity event for AIDS. If it is provocative, that is only fitting, he said. “H.I.V. is a risqué disease and I don’t really apologize for my lifestyle,” he said. “We raised a fair amount of money for the AIDS Walk because of this. People live their lives in social media. It makes it more visible.”

Call for child sex offenders to be banned from travel

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Hundreds of child sex offenders are flying abroad to prey on children without fear of prosecution because Australian laws designed to stop them are failing, an investigation by The Sunday Times has revealed.
And Bali – WA’s favourite holiday getaway – is now overwhelmingly the No.1 destination for pedophiles, according to new figures.
Australian Federal Police statistics show that one quarter of offenders on the Australian National Child Offender Register who travelled overseas visited Denpasar. That’s nearly double the second most visited location, Singapore.
However, the AFP concede that the whereabouts of our holidaying paedophiles once they step off the plane are not being properly tracked.
Only one offender has been charged since highly touted law reforms were introduced in 2010 that were meant to clamp down on child sex tourism. This has prompted a call for convicted pedophiles to be banned from travelling overseas.
Bernadette McMenamin, the chief executive of Australia’s leading international child protection charity Child Wise, said sex offenders should not be allowed to travel if the Government could not guarantee that they would be monitored.
“If we can’t track them, then they are too much of a danger to be allowed overseas,” she said.
“We can’t just leave it up to local authorities, like the Indonesian police, because they’re not specialised in dealing with sexual offenders. Someone can enter Denpasar and disappear into the wilderness.
“You can have all the laws in the world but they won’t work if people are too afraid to go to the police because of bribery or being ashamed.”
In April 2010, the Government trumpeted stronger child sex tourism laws that would allow offenders caught overseas to be prosecuted under Australian law.
However, the University of Queensland’s School of Political Science and International Studies lecturer Melissa Curley said legal issues, such as the difficulty of obtaining reliable evidence from overseas authorities or collecting witness testimonies, made bringing a case in the Australian courts “very challenging”.
A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the Government was prepared to consider what could be done to improve the laws or further work that could be done with other governments.

TOP TEN TOURISM DESTINATIONS FOR CHILD SEX OFFENDERS
Denpasar
Singapore
Bangkok
Kuala Lumpur
Auckland
Nadi
Hong Kong
Manila
Dubai
Wellington

IN a remote Balinese village an hour’s drive from Denpasar, an entire generation of the town’s males has been destroyed by an evil pedophile.

For the first time, villagers have spoken about the deep emotional scars inflicted by a German tourist who molested at least 10 of the village’s 50 young boys six years ago.

Some of the children were as young as nine.

The tourist ingratiated himself with the close-knit community through gifts and money. He bought the boys bicycles, played soccer with them and ate with their parents.

Once he had gained their trust, he started taking them on road trips to see the beach. It was during these excursions that he forced the boys to watch pornography. He later abused them.

His perverse acts reached their height when he brought a prostitute to the village and encouraged the boys to perform sex acts on her the same acts they had seen on his computer.

He was only stopped when another traveller saw him with one of the boys in his car.

He was arrested, but served just six months in jail before being released to go home.

Local aid workers told The Sunday Times that he had bribed Indonesian authorities to soften his sentence.

He also bought the silence of the victims’ families by giving them about $1000 each.

Six years later, his victims remain traumatised by their ordeal.

Until now, they have been denied help or counselling because the community’s elders believed it was in the children’s best interests to just forget the incidents.

The Sunday Times joined the Children’s Protection and Studies Center on its first visit to the village to offer counselling to the boys.

One of the boys, a 15-year-old, said: “I can’t forget. It feels like it happened yesterday. The only time I forget is when I’m busy. But when I stop I think about it again and I get sad.”

The 15-year-old said he wanted to finish school quickly so he could leave the village and its painful memories.

Another boy, aged 16, said he felt guilty for the shame he had brought to his family.

One boy, also aged 16, said he felt uncomfortable at times around his girlfriend.

He wanted to explain why, but his feelings got “stuck in his throat” when he tried to talk to her.

When asked to draw a picture of how he saw himself the boy drew himself without hands. Hands, he said, reminded him of how he was molested.

Mia you’re always complaining just accept what you have and be happy!

My friends know I do advocacy work for the dis and otherwise abled community, they knew it when they friended me, yet lately people have unfriended me because “I’m always fighting a battle” well look up advocacy and it will tell you “one who fights for those who cannot?
Honestly these people are as bad as those who meet a guy with a alcohol problem who screws around and think that magically the moment he says “I do” they can change him.
If you friend someone with wheels under their ass expect a lot of posts about the disabled, if you friend someone gay expect to read posts relevant to gay rights and if they’re both…well you get the idea.
Yes were lucky to be alive, those of us who ended up in a chair from an accident or horrible event for the most part have the worst days of their lives behind them It just takes a while to realize that, sometimes even those who seemingly have it together have bad days Ella calls mine Mia days.
So to the uneducated imagine your busy lifestyle getting up at 5 am getting ready for work getting the kids ready for school then a couple hours on public transport or in traffic then anywhere from 8-12 hours at work then the trip home then house work kids dinner laundry all the stuff other wise known as life. So now either
number 1 -Imagine that but before all that you help you’re wheelchair using partner get up shower get dressed get in their chair take medication and then the rest of your day begins, then when you come home you have the family screaming and you have a person who relies on you for everything in some cases even wiping their ass or changing a colostomy bag or adult diaper and ask yourself could you do it? And before you say ”what about home care?” this is America home of the free.. free to be broke and over charged and under serviced the average version of home care is the wife husband or another family member.
Now number- 2 You wake up get into your chair get yourself ready, get your family ready go to work run a house all from a wheelchair, and on regular basis have your benefits cut because someone thinks paraplegia is a temporary booboo or you lose your job because you only get two sick days a year and you’ve had three surgeries and two sleep studies this year. ?
Could you handle it? hope you never find out that’s where advocacy comes in. Sometimes the only way that person gets home help is if we name and shame the people saying no in the press. Sometimes the only way that airline doesn’t get to throw the service dog off or make the disabled person crawl to their seat is when their picture and name goes viral.
So yes I make no apologies for regularly storming the bastille on my social media pages or in the posts of this blog. While we have a congress of good ol boys whose version of social welfare is going back to the jim crowe days, or believe that “slaves had it good” or that women who are raped should have the baby or that their body has a magical device so they can’t get pregnant when their raped or that the world was made in seven days and is 6,000 years old someone has to stand on the outside of the zoo making sure their mental poison doesn’t make life for the disabled or that matter any of us any harder than it already is.
It’s not just me there are a network of us allover the world ,paul caune in british Colombia never stops the fight, and then there are the real heroes, those parents who just fight like hell for their children or the spouses who give up everything for the one they love.
So before you dump someone next time or tell them they need to chill look around you, you might need a friend who never gives up no matter what and you may have just unfriended that very person. So instead of saying “dial it down” why not stop and sit a while and find out what the ruckus is actually about ,who knows it may effect you and the ones you love.

Russia blames the Ukraine, the Ukraine blames Russia, the media talks about terrorism but what about the people?

This morning Putin is screaming nyet we didn’t do it, the Ukranian primeminister is saying he did seperatists are being blamed the media is more interested in what type of rocket.
Meanwhile 100 souls who dedicated their lives to a cure for aids were on that plane who screams for them? 27 of my fellow aussies died 80 children 3 babies all were gone in a rocket strike but noone is talking about them.
Noone is claiming or denying or screaming how dare you, because it seems they are not media worthy but they were someones babies, someones wives,someones husbands and sons and daughters.
Who comforts the families? who screams how dare you? yesterday there was a 7 hour nonstop coverage ,today Rachel ray is back on, seems burgers trump bodies.
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More than 100 AIDS activists killed in Malaysia Airlines plane crash

Around 100 AIDS activists are reported to have died

Around 100 people due to attend an HIV/AIDS conference in Australia were onboard the doomed flight MH17 when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine, according to reports.
The plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was a connecting flight for many people heading to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, which was due to start this weekend.
Organisers confirmed to the Sydney Morning Herald that expected conference attendees were among those thought to have died in the crash, with the newspaper reporting that ‘about 100′ attendees were among the 298 onboard the flight.
International AIDS Society spokesperson Michael Kessler said: “A number of colleagues and friends en route to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were on board the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight that has crashed over Ukraine.”
“At this incredibly sad and sensitive time the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy.”
Renowned Dutch HIV researcher Dr Joep Lang, AIDS campaigner Pim de Kuijer, and WHO member Glenn Thomas are among those reported to have been onboard. Tributes to the researchers have been paid across the internet.

Terrence Higgins Trust tweeted: “Stunned by reports that #AIDS2014 delegates inc leading researcher Joep Lange were on #MH17. Terrible news for #HIV community.”

The National AIDS Trust added: “Reports Joep Lange died in Malaysian plane crash today, with other scientists on way to @AIDS_conference. Desperately sad news.”

The plane was carrying 173 Dutch nationals, 27 Australians, 44 Malaysians (including 15 crew), 12 Indonesians and nine Britons.
Ukraine has set up a no-fly zone following the incident, and international investigators are currently looking into the cause of the crash.

Dying Darwin mum in a wheelchair denied disability pension and told to use superannuation for medical expenses ” Hey mr Abbot this is disgusting”

Candice Clark, 22, was diagnosed with bone cancer four years ago
She has less than a year to live and is now paralysed from the waist down
The mother-of-two has been denied the Disability Support Pension and a Health Care Card to pay for her ongoing medical costs
She was told to use her superannuation but wants to leave it for her daughters

Candice Clark was denied financial assistance from the government despite having terminal cancer
A Darwin mother-of-two who was told by doctors she has less than one year to live, has been refused financial assistance from the government.
Candice Clark was left in a wheelchair in April this year after a tumour on her spine paralysed her from the waist down.
The 22-year-old was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a bone cancer, four years ago but continued to work as a car detailer in Palmerston until earlier this year.
In October, doctors told the young mother that she had less than a year to live and Ms Clark was forced to leave her job as her health continued to deteriorate.
She then approached the government and attempted to apply for the Disability Support Pension, but was ultimately told she was not eligible.
‘Bloody unbelievable, I have worked most of [daughter] Enjay’s life when I could just stay at home on [Centrelink], have worked the last four years, three years full time while I’ve had cancer when I could have been on disability,’ Ms Clark wrote on her Facebook page.
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The mother-of-two (centre) pictured with family members, was paralysed from the waist down in April from a tumour on her spine

‘Now that I’m paralysed waist down and a cripple I’m not eligible for anything because of Steven, are you serious mate? Have to wait for my super.’
‘Should have just lied like everyone else…’

Instead, Ms Clark was told she would have to rely on her Superannuation to pay for her medical costs, including her pain killers and a catheter, as her husband Steven’s income was considered too high to meet the criteria.
She was also denied access to a Health Care Card or a Pension Card.

The 22-year-old was told to use her superannuation for her medical costs, but she argues she would prefer to leave the money for her two young daughters (pictured)

However Ms Clark told NT News that her family’s financial circumstances had changed since the last financial year and she now thinks she is eligible for government support, preferring to leave her superannuation money for her daughters once she’s gone.
‘Enjay heard me talking to Steven crying and came in and said “it’s OK mum, I’ll quit after school care”,’ Ms Clark wrote on Facebook.
‘My pain killers are like $70-$80 a fortnight and all the [things] I need for my catheter is like $70-$80 a fortnight. I get $600 a year to help with the catheter.’
Ms Clark is currently working through her Bucket List which included marrying her partner of seven years and an extended family trip to the Gold Coast.

Minnesota not carrying out disability reforms, court monitor says

The monitor for a 2011 settlement have found that the state’s effort has been beset by bureaucratic inertia and missed deadlines.

Nearly three years after a landmark court settlement required Minnesota to revamp its services for thousands of residents with disabilities, federal authorities have found that the state’s effort has been beset by bureaucratic inertia and missed deadlines.

County social workers across Minnesota have yet to be trained on how to provide individual support for disabled people moving out of institutions and into their own homes or communities, as required by the settlement. Many county workers are not even aware of the settlement and its mandates, a federal official monitoring the settlement has concluded.

In one case cited by the monitor, a 24-year-old man who moved to a group home for people with disabilities found that the staff kept his shoes locked in a closet along with those of other residents, and he had to ask when he wanted to wear them. Many other aspects of the man’s life, including snack times, family visits and even use of plastic utensils, also were restricted by staff, the court monitor found.

For some people with disabilities, the monitor wrote, such services “are more life-wasting than life-fulfilling.”

Disney has empolyed sex offenders for the past decade ! seems the rides aren’t the most dangerous thing at disney

35 Disney Employees Arrested On Child Sex Charges In Less Than 10 Years
Reposted from The Huffington Post | By Andy Campbell
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At least 35 Disney employees in and around Florida have been arrested and accused of sex crimes involving children since 2006, CNN reports as part of a six-month investigation. So far, 32 of those cases have resulted in convictions.

“Wherever you find children, you’ll find sexual predators that want to be there,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. The report reveals an urgent problem plaguing our theme parks.

One of the men whose case is still pending is 49-year-old Robert Kingsolver of Orlando. Kingsolver worked as a ride repair manager at Magic Kingdom until he was accused of attempting to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex in Lake County. His arrest was one of 22 in a February sting operation conducted by the Lake County Sheriff’s Cyber Crime Unit, according to WESH.

“My life is ruined,” Kingsolver told CNN at his home, where he’s on house arrest. “My family’s life is ruined. My kids’ life is ruined. I’ve devastated my parents because of bad judgment.”

Kingsolver, who pleaded not guilty, is just one of dozens of Disney and Universal Studios employees charged in stings recorded in the investigation. Other employees arrested over possession of child pornography or arranging to meet minors for sex include security guards, a costumer, a tour guide, a gift shop employee and maintenance workers.

During that same sting in February, 32-year-old Patrick Holgerson — then a character actor with Disney — was accused of sending nude photos to someone he thought was a 13-year-old boy. When he arrived to meet the boy, he was greeted by police, CNN reports. Holgerson also faces charges for failing to disclose his HIV status to a sexual partner.

Tyler Edge, another Disney employee, allegedly brought a knife and condoms to the sting operation. Joel Torres, 32, who listed his employer as Walt Disney World, allegedly brought condoms to a home where he thought he was meeting a 14-year-old.

Patrick Holgerson, Joel Torres and Robert Kingsolver

Earlier this month, a sting in Central Florida led to 16 arrests, including a Universal Studios employee and two Disney workers, 26-year-old Zachary Spencer and Allen Treaster, 40.

Disney maintains that it has “extensive measures in place” to thwart child predators before they’re employed, including background checks and computer monitoring. The Disney theme park in Florida has about 70,000 employees.

“The numbers reported by CNN represent one one-hundredth of 1 percent of the 300,000 people we have employed during this time period,” spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said. “We continue to work closely with law enforcement and organizations, like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as we constantly strengthen our efforts.”

Still, the charges are widespread and egregious