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DC Center, GWU partner in ‘PrEP’ HIV prevention program

$10,000 grant to encourage use of Truvada

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Truvada, Gilead, gay news, Washington Blade
Truvada, Gilead, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo courtesy of Gilead)

George Washington University’s School of Public Health has awarded the DC Center for the LGBT Community a $10,000 grant to provide HIV prevention activities associated with the use of the AIDS drug Truvada as a pre-exposure prophylaxis, or “PrEP” for members of the LGBT community who are HIV negative.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Center said the grant funds would be used in a “multi-pronged approach of awareness, research, and compliance in an effort to improve the lives of people living with and at risk for HIV in the District.”

Two officials with GWU’s Milken Institute School of Public Health were scheduled to present a $10,000 check to D.C. Center Board Chair Michael Fowler and Center Executive Director David Mariner at a ceremony at the Center’s offices at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 30.

The Center is located on the ground floor of the city’s Reeves Center municipal building at 14th and U Streets, N.W.

Fowler told the Blade that the Center will not serve as a dispensary for Truvada but instead will provide referrals to medical providers for those interested in going on PrEP. Fowler said the Center, among other things, would send reminders to those on the program to take the pill every day, provide educational seminars on PrEP, and develop a mobile app to help people find a PrEP provider at a location convenient to them.

The Gilead pharmaceutical company, which manufactures Truvada, received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2012 for the use of a doctor prescribed, one-pill-a-day regimen of Truvada as a pre-exposure prophylaxis to help uninfected people reduce their risk of HIV infection.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which promotes the use of Truvada as part of the PrEP program on its official government website, AIDS.gov, says the program is recommended for population groups considered at “high risk” for HIV infection. Men who have sex with men are among the groups considered at high risk for HIV, according to a write-up on the website.

However, critics of the PrEP program, including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the nation’s largest AIDS service providing group which has offices in D.C., point to studies showing that a significant percentage of people on the PrEP program have been non-compliant in taking their daily Pravda pill, placing them at risk for becoming infected with HIV. The group’s director, Michael Weinstein, has said promoting condom use among men who have sex with men is a more effective method of HIV prevention.

In a separate development, D.C. Center spokesperson Matt Corso said the Center’s first AmeriCorps staff person began work at the Center on April 28 and will be with the Center for at least a year.

Corso said the staffer, Eric Perez, will work on the Center’s LGBT military veterans support program. He said Perez is part of AmeriCorps’ Vetcorps program, which supports veterans.

“We are the first LGBT community center to ever receive a Vetcorps volunteer, and this is Vetcorps’ first time looking specifically at the issues LGBT veterans face,” Corso said.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ivayne Payten

    May 5, 2014 at 8:42 am

    It's great that this money has been made available, but I was hoping for more than $10,000 if I am honest. We definitely need to rise the awareness levels both in the States and around the world.

    For instance, there are countries in Africa that have a high percentage of HIV carriers and this is mainly due to extremely poor education, or none at all. For instance, I have friends on the website PositiveSingles that contracted HIV because at the time, they didn't even know what HIV was, let along how you contracted it.

    Then there are the ignorant bunch, which seem to be quite prevalent in the USA, who perceive those having an STD as less than human.

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Comings & Goings

Umana named associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

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Wolfgang Umana (Photo courtesy of Umana)

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Congratulations to Wolfgang Umana on being named an associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). He has been with them for more than five years and is currently its D.C. studio’s office manager. 

“I am honored to become GGN’s newest Associate,” Umana said.I have the glorious privilege of supporting GGN’s continuing dedication to progress, inclusion, social justice, sustainability, and beautification of the world we live in.”

Umana also works with NBR Computer Consulting as an LLC Computer Technician consultant. He has experience in social media, communications, outreach, and technical services, and provides a dynamic approach to the fast-changing world of technology. NBR Computer Consulting, LLC is a gay-owned business. 

Umana has also served as D.C. Army National Guard Director of Environmental Affairs and with EMS Consultation Services. 

He has his bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Public Policy, Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change, from George Mason University. 

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Capital Pride bids for D.C. to host World Pride 2025

International event draws thousands of visitors

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Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. D.C. organizers hope to host the event in 2025. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride, the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city.

The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.’s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

World Pride is licensed and administered by the international LGBTQ organization InterPride. The World Pride events themselves, which usually take place every other year, are organized by InterPride’s member organizations such as Capital Pride Alliance.

The Capital Pride announcement notes that World Pride “promotes visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) issues on a global level.” The announcement adds, “World Pride events include parades, marches, festivals and other cultural activities often enjoyed at Pride celebrations, along with other components such as a human rights conference and large-scale opening and closing ceremonies.”

The InterPride website says the deadline for submitting a bid for the 2025 World Pride has passed. It says D.C.’s Capital Pride and Kaohsiung Pride, located in the large Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung, are the only two remaining cities in competition for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said InterPride was expected to make its decision on which of the two cities to select sometime in November of this year.

“A recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the annual Capital Pride Celebrations, during normal years, result in approximately $371 million in positive economic impacts to the region, a number that may be doubled if the organization is awarded the prestigious event,” the Capital Pride statement says.

The 2021 World Pride took place earlier this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2019 World Pride was held in New York City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which many activists consider the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

InterPride says the 2023 World Pride will take place in Sydney, Australia.

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Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding

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What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

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