Thursday, December 23, 2010 Kenya: Mobile Phones to the Rescue for HIV ...

She works at the Pumwani clinic to assist HIV-positive mothers. ... We talk to the ones who happen to be HIV positive, and we find out how long they have known their status and ...

Posted via email from Reggie Smith 770 by SocialNetGate

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

The > than AIDS photo shoot

Who knew that the events of this day would turn out to have the impact it is having in so many lives!! Dionne and I ate honored to be a part of his campaign.

Posted via email from Reggie Smith 770 by SocialNetGate

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Beutiful Gate of Heaven

As part of the Greater Than AIDS Campaign, my wife Dionne & I were extremely blessed to be the guest of the Beautiful Gate Outreach Center (BHOC) of Bethel AME church, in Wilmington Delaware on Sunday to share in their Greater Than AIDS program.  Their church is doing superlative work in the community regarding HIV.  They are a national example of what "the church" could be doing.

We were showered with love by the founder and driving force behind Beautiful Gate, Ms. Renee Beamon, LPN, her husband, Pastor Sylvester Beamon, the staff, minister, family and the congregation.  We were asked to share our story about how we have been living and loving together for the past 25 years in spite of my being diagnosed with HIV.  We were allowed to share, from the hallowed pulpit, our experience, strength and hope for all of us affected by HIV.  It may have been the first time a "hetero-magnetic" couple (+/-) has

 It was the 17th year that Renee has had speakers come in on the Sunday before Thanksgiving to share their stories and solutions regarding HIV.  The magnitude of that achievement pales in comparison to the many services that she and her ministry are providing to the Wilmington community.  Among other things, BGOC has tested over 1200 people in the community for HIV.  They were selected by the state of Delaware to be the first non-governmental agency to provide HIV testing.  Through, and more uniquely and importantly, at the church, they offer quality prevention, outreach and supportive HIV services.

It has been evident that the church is often maligned for their sub-par involvement in the fight against AIDS, and with good reasons.  It has been said that the church, especially in the African American communities, could be more engaged in a solutions based response.  Bethel AME is leading the way as an example of how love and compassion can be used to solve more of the unmet needs of families affected by HIV.  My wife Dionne and I experienced some of that healing in just the one day we were there!  We were enlightened and inspired to help other churches see what they could be doing if they were so inclined, and to not accept the hype that churches don't want to do it.

Ultimately, I think that every church wants to spread love.  Many are either afraid of the issue of HIV, or think they lack the information and/or resources to do anything about it.  It is our intention to help them understand how we are ALL affected by HIV in one way or another, and that the one thing that EVERY church can give IS love.  We are also, as a part of our W.A.R. Initiative, a part of a growing coalition of local and national organizations that are providing those services that families affected by HIV need.  Where would be a better place that the church to coalesce the effort to disseminate those services in all our communities across America?

Newly elected Delaware state senator Christopher Coons also spoke from the pulpit on Sunday.  He commented on the improbable nature of his election, how relatively unexpected it was he would even be running for senator not too long ago, and a poignant story regarding a teachable moment between he and his son.  The point of his story was to say that God will speak through people and bring us messages of how we can best serve Him.  It is just as improbable to me that I would have ended up in the pulpit of Bethel AME church.  The thing is, I got the message, and it is the same message that I am told Dr. King left us with..."At some point silence becomes betrayal".  Like I always say, "we need to be participating in our own salvation, or else we are most certainly being complicit in our own demise".

Posted via email from Reggie Smith 770 by SocialNetGate

World AIDS Day events Reggie & Dionne Smith

Wednesday, Dec. 1st, 2010 was World AIDS Day, and there were a plethora of events going on around the country.  Having had a keen eye on the metamorphosis of the day that was set aside to  focus on AIDS, it has been interesting, and a blessing, to see where we are today as opposed to where we started.

In the beginning, the day of remembrance held much sadness and reverence. There was a lot more memorializing, and a certain sense of fear and resignation because the proliferation of the virus was decimating our communities, while terrorizing mostly everyone.  The simple act of having sex was causing trauma, and there was an unfounded fear of even coming into physical contact with anyone carrying the virus.  Things have changed a great deal as we have had years of experience to draw from.  Some of the fear has abated, but the stigma is still very much a part of the problem.

It would be unreasonable, in my opinion, to not be grateful for the many pharmaceutical advances, but one of the downsides of those gains are the increasingly lax attitude of some people who feel that you can just "take a pill" and be alright.  The diseases caused by HIV are more manageable now, but HIV is certainly not for sissies.  There is a discipline needed to maintain some modicum of normalcy that does not often get discussed by those of us who are host to the virus.  Not everyone, by the way, is blessed enough to have the option of taking medications due to their costs here in the U.S.

Never the less, stigma still pervades in more ways than one.  When stigma is coupled with the pre and post traumatic emotional disorders that affect the wellness of all of us who are affected, HIV still is winning the war, and it is showing the kind of resolve that continues to indicate it will not stop until we are extinct.  Now, nobody is gonna get out of this thing alive, but if you don't stand for something...and besides, what is more worth fighting for than salvation?  In order for us to be emancipated from the bondage of self, it is important to identify the enemy and use the weapons we have to wage the battle. 

The love of God, family and friends has saved and encouraged me.  I am responsible for spreading that love to all those who would receive it.  World AIDS Day presents another opportunity to do so.  After 25 years of personal, intimate experience as a host for HIV, one day will never be enough to share all I would like, but I am grateful to have another day!  I give thanks, honor and love to all those spirits and beings who have either passed on as a result of exposure to, or are living with HIV.  We stand on your spirits and fight on in your memory.

I was on NPR Wednesday Dec. 1st with Michel Martin on 'Tell Me More"  one of my favorite shows.  Then my wife Dionne and I were on Professor Michael Eric Dyson's NPR show the same day discussing how we negotiate in a "hetero-magnetic" relationship, where one person is HIV+, and the other HIV-.  Michael is a brother I admire greatly and we are honored to have been on his show as well.  Dionne and I are participated in panel discussions during the International Conference on HIV Stigma in Washington D.C. on Wednesday as well.  You can find us online, on buses and billboards as part of the "Greater Than AIDS" campaign too (  Kudos to all of the advocates, activist and soldiers that are willing to participate in our own salvation, so that we are not complicit in our own demise.

Posted via email from Reggie Smith 770 by SocialNetGate

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Prevalence and Correlates of Sexual Behavior and Risk Management Among HIV-Positive Adults over 50"

  "Prevalence and Correlates of Sexual Behavior and Risk Management Among HIV-Positive Adults over 50"

The study authors "examined the prevalence and correlates of sexual behavior, sexual risk and behavioral risk reduction strategies among a diverse sample of HIV-positive adults over age 50."

A total of 914 HIV-positive adults age 50 and older (640 males, 264 females, 10 transgender) living in New York City completed individually conducted surveys.

Study results showed more than half of participants reported sexual activity in the previous three months, and one-third of sexually active participants reported unprotected vaginal or anal sex in that time period. Though there was no difference by physical health status, sexually active participants were more likely to be younger and male. A range of risk-management strategies was reported, including 100 percent condom use (49 percent of sexually active participants), serosorting (17 percent) and strategic positioning (4 percent). Strategy prevalence differed by gender/sexual identity subgroups. Multivariate modeling found unprotected sex was significantly associated with recent substance use and loneliness.

"Older HIV-positive adults are sexually active, and engage in both high-risk and risk-management behaviors," the investigators concluded. "Loneliness emerged as the dominant risk factor in this sample. Findings provide meaningful implications for HIV prevention interventions targeting this population."

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Vol. 37; No. 10: P. 615-620    (10..10):: Sarit A. Golub; Julia C. Tomassilli; David W. Pantalone; Mark Brennan; Stephen E. Karpiak; Jeffrey T. Parsons

Posted via email from Reggie Smith 770 by SocialNetGate