NEWS -- 2007.12.01.Saturday
- World AIDS Day
Matthew Shepard's birthday. He would be 31 today.
Matthew Wayne Shepard (December 1, 1976 - October 12, 1998)
1) Clarification -- The ManKind Project
2) The AIDS fight is far from over
3) Estimate of AIDS Cases In U.S. Rises
4) Global AIDS estimates revised downward
5) China disputes cyber crime report
On Wednesday 28 November 2007, I forward Wayne Besen's statement which included reference to The ManKind Project. That information was misleading. Here is a clarification from Joe Kort.
The Mankind Project's Position Statement on Reparative Therapy
The ManKind Project
Position Statement on Reparative Therapy
The ManKind Project adopts the following position statement:
1.. We affirm that all men are welcome on our trainings and in our communities.
2.. We create trainings and circles in which all men are welcome to discover the deepest truths. We welcome men of all sexual orientations: gay, straight, and bisexual, including those who identify as having unwanted same sex attraction, to do their own work as they define it, to respect the identity and value of others, and to take responsibility for the impact their words and behaviors on others.
3.. We support each man in pursuing his path to deeper authenticity. We do not provide therapy nor endorse any particular therapy, including reparative therapy. Any group or organization that states or implies otherwise does so without our permission.
4.. We do not, and will not, attempt to change a man's sexual orientation.
5.. We stand firm in support of gay and bisexual men. We support men who believe that homosexuality is a normal part of the spectrum of human sexuality and of mature masculinity.
6.. We will not tolerate proselytizing for any religion or belief, organizing training staff into groups that exclude others, guiding men's processes in a predetermined direction, or grooming men for the training.
We will not tolerate discrimination on our trainings or in our communities. We support our training and community leaders in identifying and challenging discriminatory language and behavior.
Mankind Project's New Warrior Adventure: The Best Program for all Men!
Over one-third of former American football players had sexual relations with men, study says
All this, and much, much more is at Joe Kort's blogspot http://straightguise.blogspot.com/
World AIDS Day
San Francisco Chronicle
The AIDS fight is far from over
Friday, November 30, 2007
Put the smartest scientific minds in a computer lab. Give them all the time and money in the world to design the perfect organism. It's doubtful they could come up with a tougher, more wily creation than the virus that causes AIDS.
Ponder its track record: Decades after it terrorized American cities, HIV was largely quelled through prevention, awareness and life-extending drugs. The national infection rate has steadied at 40,000 new cases for years.
But the bug is back and in ways that make it as troubling as ever. In the recent past, the new cases were mostly found among needle users, a definably small (and politically unappealing) group. That's why this country has pretty much gone to sleep on a topic that once produced Hollywood movies, books and endless strategizing.
Now, HIV is heading back for a return engagement if the indicators are right. This time, the scourge needs to be finished off once and for all.
One report in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds infection rates rising among gay men, the group that first encountered HIV and battled back. Why the relapse? According to the health experts who wrote the report, the danger of HIV and AIDS is "not as frightening as it was," thanks to drugs that can forestall a full-blown case. Successful medicine invites complacency, it seems.
The second dose of bad news is a study breaking down HIV rates in Washington, D.C. The highest percentage of infected residents there are heterosexuals, not needle users or gay men. Though the nation's capital has a notably lousy health system, HIV has taken full advantage and broken out of its familiar boundaries. It's now behaving as it does in sub-Saharan Africa: reaching into the lives across the board: pregnant moms, men, women and families.
Decades into the AIDS plague, the answers are ready if the will can be found. Education and prevention - including wider testing - should be adopted to catch infection early. Also, a ban on federal money for needle exchange programs should be lifted. All three leading Democratic presidential contenders now favor allowing federal money for such needle swaps, a sign that a once-touchy idea is a now a so-what notion. On the GOP side, no one is railing against needle giveaways.
This Saturday marks the 20th World AIDS Day, one of those calendar markings that sounds contrived. But with the deadly - and avoidable - numbers heading in new directions, it's a moment to mark. The fight is nowhere near over.
This article appeared on page B - 10 of the San Francisco Chronicle
The Washington Post
Estimate of AIDS Cases In U.S. Rises
New Test Places the Rate Of Infection 50 Percent Higher
By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 1, 2007; A01
New government estimates of the number of Americans who become infected with the AIDS virus each year are 50 percent higher than previous calculations suggested, sources said yesterday.
For more than a decade, epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have pegged the number of new HIV infections each year at 40,000. They now believe it is between 55,000 and 60,000.
The higher estimate is the product of a new method of testing blood samples that can identify those who were infected within the previous five months. With a way to distinguish recent infections from long-standing ones, epidemiologists can then estimate how many new infections are appearing nationwide each month or year.
The higher estimate is based on data from 19 states and large cities that have been extrapolated to the nation as a whole.
The CDC has not announced the new estimate, but two people in direct contact with the scientists preparing it confirmed it yesterday.
What is uncertain is whether the American HIV epidemic is growing or is simply larger than anyone thought. It will take two more years of using the more accurate method of estimation to spot a trend and answer that question.
"The likelihood is that this bigger number represents a clearer picture of what has been there for the past few years. But we won't know for sure for a while," said Walt Senterfitt, an epidemiologist who is the chairman of the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), a New York-based activist organization.
There is evidence, however, that at least some of the higher number may reflect an uptick in infections in recent years. Information from 33 states with the most precise form of reporting showed a 13 percent increase in HIV infections in homosexual men from 2001 to 2005.
Ironically, the news comes less than two weeks after UNAIDS, the United Nations agency responsible for charting the course of the global epidemic, drastically reduced its estimate of the number of people living with the disease worldwide from 40 million to 33 million. The reason was the same: Crude methods of counting were replaced by better ones.
"People in the United States are under the impression that this is more of an international than a domestic issue," said Rowena Johnston, vice president for research at amfAR, an AIDS research foundation. "Yet these new CDC numbers are telling us that not only does this continue to be a serious problem, it is actually a larger one than we suspected."
A study describing the new U.S. estimate is under review at a scientific journal, Thomas W. Skinner, a CDC spokesman, said last night.
"We have to wait until this paper comes out, until it has gone through peer review, before we know what the new estimates look like," he said.
Rumors have circulated for weeks in newsletters and blogs that CDC, the federal government's principal epidemiology agency, was preparing a dramatic upward revision of HIV incidence. The Washington Blade, a gay-oriented newspaper, reported rumors of the new estimates two weeks ago.
The CDC has reported the figure of 40,000 new infections each year for more than a decade, citing it as evidence that the epidemic in this country is stable. But while widely quoted, that number has never been adequately explained or justified, in the eyes of many epidemiologists.
"There was skepticism about the validity of how that estimate was reached," said Rochelle Walensky, an infectious diseases physician and mathematical modeler at Harvard Medical School.
Some activists also were skeptical about it.
"It just doesn't seem plausible to me that it would be the same year after year," said Mark Harrington, executive director of Treatment Action Group, an AIDS activist think tank in New York.
Few doubt, however, that accurately counting new HIV infections is unusually difficult. About one-quarter of people infected with the virus do not know they are. The infection is largely "silent" for a decade in most people, and a substantial number go for testing only as they develop the symptoms of AIDS, the late stage of the illness.
Only recently has CDC put intense pressure on state and city health departments to report by name everyone who tests positive for HIV. Previously, health departments had to report only the people who had progressed to AIDS.
Counting only AIDS cases was an acceptable substitute for counting new infections in the era when AIDS treatment did not significantly prolong life. But with the arrival of combinations of potent antiretroviral drugs in 1995, AIDS patients began living years longer, making the estimates increasingly less accurate.
The new system in which health departments record individuals who have just tested positive for the first time will eventually provide a much clearer picture of the epidemic. However, some people oppose it, arguing that it will keep the potentially infected from coming in to be tested.
"There are so many barriers to testing and reporting," Harrington said. "We are grasping in the dark, as far as I am concerned, about the real size and shape of the epidemic."
The 19 states and cities that contributed the data for the new estimate include New York City, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas, Florida, and several Southern and Midwestern states.
The new method of estimating HIV incidence makes use of the observation that a person who is recently infected with HIV and whose immune system has just begun to make antibodies against the virus shows a weaker reaction in the standard AIDS blood test than those whose immune systems have been making antibodies for years.
By altering the test-tube conditions, scientists can identify those who react weakly -- and with them, the percentage of a batch of HIV tests that come from people newly infected.
The method is called the STAHRS method, for serological testing algorithm for recent HIV seroconversion.
Bay Area Reporter [ lgbt ]
November 29, 2007
Global AIDS estimates revised downward
by Bob Roehr
Estimates of the number of people living with HIV throughout the world have been lowered from roughly 40 million to 33 million, according to figures released by UNAIDS in its annual report released last week. The correction did not come as a surprise to either supporters or critics of the agency.
The November 20 report, in advance of World AIDS Day, is a compilation of information provided by national governments. The decrease in estimated infections reflects better gathering of data rather than a change in the epidemic itself.
India saw its estimate of infection cut by more than half, to 2.5 million, in a study that initially was released in July. It was the greatest single contributor to the decline and when combined with five sub-Saharan African countries - Angola, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe - they accounted for 70 percent of the change.
New infections worldwide are now estimated to be 2.5 million a year, a decrease of about 40 percent from the figure last year. The calculation reflects changes in the assumption of life expectancy from nine to 11 years for persons not receiving antiretroviral therapy. It is based upon new, not yet published data from several countries. If more people among the total number are living longer with the infection, then fewer of them have been infected recently.
The reduced number of both new and total infections makes the tasks of prevention and treatment more manageable, though still daunting.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 40,000 new HIV infections occur in the U.S. each year. That estimate has remained the same since it was first put forward in 1994. Many people believe the number of new infections is higher, perhaps by as much as 50 percent. Some people anticipate that the agency will release new estimates at its big HIV prevention conference in Atlanta, December 2-5.
"Reliable public health data are the essential foundation for an effective response to HIV/AIDS," said Kevin De Cock, director of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization. "While these new estimates are of better quality than those of the past, we need to continue investing more in all countries and all aspects of strategic information relating to health."
"For the first time, we are seeing a decline in global AIDS deaths," De Cock said. Much of that is because prices for drugs in the developing world have been slashed, and programs such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund have provided support to deliver that treatment.
Project Inform's Martin Delaney said, "The new numbers are good news for several reasons from a human perspective, but they're bad news politically. The right wing bloggers and commentators are already going nuts with it, arguing that the UN inflated the numbers for funding purposes, while the denialists are screaming 'we told you so, there's no such thing as an AIDS epidemic in Africa, it's just poverty and malnutrition.'"
There are many, many columns on World AIDS Day.
Search google or yahoo.
China disputes cyber crime report
By JORDAN ROBERTSON,
AP Technology WriterThu Nov 29, 6:25 PM ET
The Chinese government on Thursday disputed a report labeling it the world's most aggressive offender in probing for holes in other nations' Internet security and encouraging a looming global cyber showdown.
The report, issued Thursday by Santa Clara-based security software vendor McAfee Inc., said government-affiliated hackers in China are at the forefront of a brewing "cyber Cold War" still in its infancy.
Within two decades, according to McAfee, the scuffle could erupt into a worldwide conflict involving hundreds of countries attacking one another's online networks with sophisticated software.
McAfee said about 120 countries are developing cyber attack strategies and most are merely testing them to determine the risks involved in certain tactics - though devastating international attacks could come one day.
Based on McAfee research and input from security experts with NATO, the FBI and other intelligence outfits, the report said hackers in China are believed responsible for four out of five major cyber attacks on government targets in 2007.
The biggest intrusions appear to have targeted a Pentagon computer network and government agencies in Germany, India and Australia and New Zealand.
"The Chinese have publicly stated that they are pursuing activities in cyber espionage ... they speak of technology being a large part of war in the future," the McAfee report read.
McAfee said that in 2007, there were more attacks reported on critical national infrastructure than ever before. Targets included financial markets, utilities and air traffic control machinery, and the attacks were believed to have been launched by governments or government-allied groups.
Another large attack occurred in April, when severe and well coordinated cyber attacks struck Estonia's banks, government institutions and media outlets. Estonian officials have claimed the attacks originated in Russia. Russian authorities have denied any involvement.
China has steadfastly denied it is engaged in any cyber crime and said its networks too have been targeted.
"China has also been attacked by hackers of some countries, so the Chinese government attaches great importance to and participates in the international law enforcement cooperation in this area," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a briefing Thursday.
Liu refused to reveal which countries were targeting China.
The McAfee report also detailed the growing threat to Web surfers from increasingly sophisticated techniques to steal personal information online and install malicious code on victims' computers to herd them into networks of compromised machines that pump out spam or fire off attacks.
The report also examined the market for newly discovered - and unpatched - software flaws. The existence of that market has blurred the line between legal and illegal sales.
Jay comment ---
One would think that the President of the United States would be interested in fighting this sort of warfare. But apparently he is not. More fun to play with guns and bullets. And far more lucrative for him and his buddies. Investments come first.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]