Posts tagged with "HIV"

illustration by Gabrielle Marchan for use by 360 Magazine

HRC Launches In-Home HIV Testing Kit

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, in partnership with Us Helping Us, launched the United States’ first national in-home HIV testing program centered around reaching communities disproportionately impacted by HIV—Black and Latinx gay, bisexual men and transgender women of color. Also, for the first time in its history, HRC will be providing a direct-to-door service to the LGBTQ+ community by pledging to administer a minimum of 5,000 free in-home testing kits for HIV over one year. 

In the lead up to Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on August 20, the in-home testing kits aim to empower people to learn their status and take control of their sexual health without having to visit a medical provider. Usually, HIV testing is done with a doctor, in a hospital, or at a community health clinic but due to lack of access to healthcare and HIV stigma, marginalized populations often do not receive testing.

“The continued prevalence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic requires innovative solutions—these in-home self-testing kits allow people to find out their result in the privacy of their own home, thereby reducing HIV stigma and fear,” said J. Maurice McCants-Pearsall, Human Rights Campaign Director of HIV & Health Equity. “This expanded partnership with community-based organizations presents a unique opportunity for The Human Rights Campaign to leverage its extensive reach to propel access to life-saving HIV testing for multiply marginalized communities.”

Supported by Gilead Sciences, the home-service fits under the umbrella of My Body, My Health, a comprehensive public education campaign that works toward building a generation free of HIV/AIDS. In addition to disseminating the 5,000 testing kits, the program will provide a referral to PrEP providers in the person’s area, and link HIV positive individuals to care via navigation services. The kits will include an OraQuick oral swab, condoms, lubricants, and a test information card. HRC has also created educational resources to complement the test kits, such as an instructional test video and an online service page that shows local HIV prevention and treatment services.

Along with the HIV in-home test kits, HRC Foundation has launched a community campaign that targets regions across the country that are the most affected by HIV/AIDS—those communities are New Orleans, LA, Miami, FL, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, Indianapolis, IN and Greenville, MS. This is a digital advocacy, public awareness campaign that seeks to educate and activate Black and Latinx communities through discussing the intersections of sexual health, race and queerness in order to break down long-lasting HIV stigma and fear.

“Us Helping Us, one of the oldest and largest HIV prevention, treatment and care agencies in the nation, is pleased to partner with HRC Foundation on this high-impact and critically important initiative to achieve the EHE targets,” said Dr. DeMarc Hickson, Us Helping Us Executive Director. “It is of equal importance to increase HIV testing in areas such as the Southeastern U.S., which has a long-standing history of oppression, white supremacy and HIV stigma. In addition, we envision a world free of stigma and where HIV testing is part of routine health care.”

Current data confirms that the availability of HIV self-tests in the United States would not only increase HIV awareness, but would also expand access to testing among communities who would not otherwise get an HIV test in traditional healthcare settings. Furthermore, it is recommended that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine healthcare and once every three months for gay and bisexual men.

Marginalized populations, including LGBTQ people, face both societal and economic barriers that prevent them from accessing healthcare and communities of color have been hit the hardest—1 in 2 Black gay and bisexual cisgender men and 1 in 4 Latinx gay and bisexual cisgender men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. According to a recent CDC study in seven United States cities, 42 percent of transgender women interviewed had HIV, with 62 percent of Black transgender women and 35 percent of Latinx transgender women already living with HIV.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 600,000 clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.

illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

DABABY, HOMOPHOBIA × CANCEL CULTURE

By: Andrew Shibuya

No one thought that the return to normalcy – or at least the path towards it – would be without hurdles. Indeed, the past six months have proven similarly difficult to the previous twelve, and the coming few seem to promise no respite. And so, in the now past and brief interlude in mask mandates and lockdowns in the United States, surely one would think that crowded events such as music festivals would be about celebrating reunion and unity.

Unfortunately, with the precedent of a certain performer at Rolling Loud, it is clear that unity was not the first thing on everyone’s mind. No one has made this more clear than rapper DaBaby. During his performance at the festival, the rapper is reported to have said several homophobic comments including, “If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cellphone lighter up,” as well as the peculiar, “Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d**k in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.”

Of course, the Internet had something to say, and the deserved virtual tirade against DaBaby began. Twitter users in particular took up arms against DaBaby’s comments, lambasting the rapper for what they deemed to be some mixture of idiocy and ignorance.

And while fools’ remarks should hardly be considered worth coverage alone, the following onslaught and festivals’ responses are worth discussing. In the past week, numerous notable festivals have pulled DaBaby from their lineups, including Lollapalooza, New York’s Governors Ball, and Day N Vegas. The festivals all shared similar messages to their social media channels regarding the change, citing the need for and value of inclusion and diversity. The former’s message read: “Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect. And love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight.” Read our coverage of Lollapalooza and its implications with COVID HERE.

These festival changes seemed to have induced an apology from DaBaby, who, at first, was reluctant to apologize or recognize any wrongdoing. In response to the first wave of criticism, the rapper responded on his Instagram Story, stating, “What I do at a live show is for the audience at the live show. It’ll never translate correctly to somebody looking at a little five, six-second clip from their goddamn crib on their phone. Because, regardless of what y’all motherfuckers are talking about and how the internet twisted up my motherfucking words, me and all my fans at the show, the gay ones and the straight ones, we turned the fuck up.”

This was just the first response of many, with each becoming increasingly apologetic as more of his shows were cancelled. The most recent of his apologies, which many on Twitter have dubbed “DaApology,” reads: “I want to apologize to the LGBTQ+ community for the hurtful and triggering comments I made. Again, I apologize for my misinformed comments about HIV/AIDS and I knew education on this is important.” And while some fans online deemed his response to be acceptable, many did not see it as adequate.

Celebrities similarly took to Twitter and other social media platforms to offer their two cents on the situation. Many decried DaBaby’s words, such as his recent collaborator Dua Lipa, who claims to be incredibly taken aback by this side of DaBaby. Other big names in the music industry such as singer-songwriter Elton John and pop legend Madonna have similarly criticized the ignorance and inaccuracy of DaBaby’s comments on HIV and AIDS. Most recently, Miley Cyrus has shared on social media that she has reached out to DaBaby to “learn from each other” in the wake of this incident.

And still, some rappers and other industry names have come to DaBaby’s defense. Some, like rapper NLE Choppa, insist that this is just a slight hiccup in DaBaby’s career, with NLE Choppa recently tweeting, “Dababy Gone Come Out Bigger Than Ever While Y’all Tryna Down Play The Man.” Rapper T.I. similarly called for more equality and fair treatment for DaBaby, seeming to suggest the praise Lil Nas X has recently received. In an Instagram comment, T.I. wrote, “If Lil Nas X can kick his s**t in peace… so should DaBaby.”

DaBaby’s comments come after a recent onslaught of homophobic vitriol directed toward Nas X this past summer. Following the release of the rapper’s successful singles “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” and “Industry Baby” and brazen accompanying videos, many – both fans and other rappers – took to Twitter. And while many people did support Nas X as T.I. seems to allude to, the openly gay rapper received far from unanimous praise.

In addition to spurring an inundation of homophobic sentiment online from quotidian users, Nas X proved to be similarly divisive amongst other rappers in the hip hop industry. While some voiced their support and praised the rapper’s bravery and bold works, some were similarly quick to voice their disproval. Many condemned the rapper for what seemed to them to be brazen lewdness, though many Twitter users thinly veiled homophobia.

The discourse over “cancelling” is rather interesting in light of so much present discussion over the actual existence of cancel culture and its implications. Especially in the music industry, where the effects of “cancelling” someone seem to be diminished – Chris Brown still plays on the radio, Dr. Luke still produces number-one hits, and most recently “cancelled” country singer Morgan Wallen has seen his popularity grow tremendously despite this year’s earlier controversy. This is in contrast with the film industry, where, although far from free from offenders, certain players have been blackballed far more effectively and efficiently.

Surely, all those people could be an argument against the existence of cancel culture. The consequences to their actions seem to have faded as quickly as people’s memories of their wrongdoings. And so, as to the question of whether or not DaBaby has been “cancelled” is unclear. The action against him – at least at the level of cancelling his headlining performances and shows – has so far managed to induce at least a single apology from the rapper. And while what lies in store for DaBaby remains unclear, one certainty remains – the Internet has at least some power to affect change in the real world.

Woman at Computer by Mina Tocalini for 360 Magazine

UVA’s DNA Discovery

Scientists have identified a group of drugs that may help stop a leading cause of vision loss after making an unexpected discovery that overturns a fundamental belief about DNA.

The drugs, known as Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors, or NRTIs, are commonly used to treat HIV. The new discovery suggests that they may be useful against dry macular degeneration as well, even though a virus does not cause that sight-stealing condition.

A review of four different health insurance databases suggests that people taking these drugs have a significantly reduced risk of developing dry macular degeneration, a condition that affects millions of Americans.

“We are extremely excited that the reduced risk was reproduced in all the databases, each with millions of patients,” said Jayakrishna Ambati, MD, a top macular degeneration researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. “This finding provides real hope in developing the first treatment for this blinding disease.”

Targeting Macular Degeneration

The new discovery comes from Ambati; Fred H. Gage, PhD, of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies; and collaborators around the world. The work rewrites our understanding of DNA, revealing for the first time that it can be manufactured in the cytoplasm of our cells, outside the cell nucleus that is home to our genetic material.

The buildup of a certain type of DNA in the cytoplasm, Alu, contributes to macular degeneration, the researchers found. This buildup appears to kill off an important layer of cells that nourishes the retina’s visual cells.

Based on this discovery, the researchers decided to look at drugs that block the production of this DNA, to see if they might help prevent vision loss. They analyzed multiple U.S. health insurance databases – encompassing more than 100 million patients over two decades – and found that people taking NRTIs were almost 40% less likely to develop dry macular degeneration.

The researchers are urging further study to determine if these drugs or safer derivatives known as Kamuvudines, both of which block a key inflammatory pathway, could help prevent vision loss from dry macular degeneration.

“A clinical trial of these inflammasome-inhibiting drugs is now warranted,” said Ambati, the founding director of UVA’s Center for Advanced Vision Science. “It’s also fascinating how uncovering the intricate biology of genetics and combining it with big data archeology can propel insights into new medicines.”

Ambati, of UVA’s Department of Ophthalmology, previously determined that NRTIs may help prevent diabetes as well.

Findings Published

The researchers have published their findings in the scientific journal PNAS. The research team consisted of Shinichi Fukuda, Akhil Varshney, Benjamin J. Fowler, Shao-bin Wang, Siddharth Narendran, Kameshwari Ambati, Tetsuhiro Yasuma, Joseph Magagnoli, Hannah Leung, Shuichiro Hirahara, Yosuke Nagasaka, Reo Yasuma, Ivana Apicella, Felipe Pereira, Ryan D. Makin, Eamonn Magner, Xinan Liu, Jian Sun, Mo Wang, Kirstie Baker, Kenneth M. Marion, Xiwen Huang, Elmira Baghdasaryan, Meenakshi Ambati, Vidya L. Ambati, Akshat Pandey, Lekha Pandya, Tammy Cummings, Daipayan Banerjee, Peirong Huang, Praveen Yerramothu, Genrich V. Tolstonog, Ulrike Held, Jennifer A. Erwin, Apua C.M. Paquola, Joseph R. Herdy, Yuichiro Ogura, Hiroko Terasaki, Tetsuro Oshika, Shaban Darwish, Ramendra K. Singh, Saghar Mozaffari, Deepak Bhattarai, Kyung Bo Kim, James W. Hardin, Charles L. Bennett, David R. Hinton, Timothy E. Hanson, Christian Röver, Keykavous Parang, Nagaraj Kerur, Jinze Liu, Brian C. Werner, S. Scott Sutton, Srinivas R. Sadda, Gerald G. Schumann, Bradley D. Gelfand, Fred H. Gage and Jayakrishna Ambati.

Jayakrishna Ambati is a co-founder of Inflammasome Therapeutics, iVeena Holdings, iVeena Delivery Systems and DiceRx; a full list of the authors’ disclosures is included in the paper.

The research was supported by UVA’s Strategic Investment Fund, the National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award, the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute and many other generous contributors. A full list is included in the paper.

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog.

Isabelle Fries makes a brief splash inside 360 MAGAZINE

ISABELLE FRIES

At 22 years old, Isabelle Fries has started to make a name for herself in the music industry. Not only is she gifted in her art, she has an extremely large heart.

Born in Sydney, but raised in Denver, Colorado, Fries found her inclination for singing at a young age. “I knew I wanted music to be a part of my life since I was about 7, but as I got older I was able to recognize that it is a labor of love for me,” she expressed. “I have never searched for fame through my music.” 

Not long after, she discovered her heart had room for another love, philanthropy. At just 15 years old, Fries became the first youth board member and youth leader for the Global Livingston Institute (GLI) an NGO in Uganda who’s mission is to educate students & community leaders on innovative approaches to international development and empower awareness, collaboration, conversations and personal growth. 

Through working with this organization, Isabelle travelled to Uganda to teach, perform and empower. In 2017, Fries performed in front of 20,000 people in Uganda at the annual iKnow HIV Awareness Concert Series along with other musicians from around the world, using music to breakdown barriers, bring people together and provide free medical testing and awareness for HIV for over 8,500 Ugandans.  

“I became a part of GLI when I was 15 and fully threw myself into their mission and their work. It is what opened my eyes to one of my passions I am now pursuing in international education. They really focus on young voices and drawing on perspectives from all types of individuals which is why I was asked to be on the board at such a young age. GLI is truly one of the most important things in my life so I could not be more thankful to be a part of it.” 

This wasn’t the only organization Fries carried out philanthropic work with. She volunteered in Haiti with The Road to Hope, an International Affairs Intern with Creative Visions in Malibu, California and a community worker with CEPIA in Costa Rica.

Isabelle still wanted to do more for Eastern African communities. She founded the “Bulamu Raise Your Voice Community Foundation (BCF)” and was able to draw on inspiration from one of her other life-long devotions: swimming. 

For twelve years, she swam competitively breaking records, winning State Championships and being a leader on her teams until complications from several autoimmune disorders forced her out of the water. This was never a part of her plan, but she was able to alter her life’s path and kept pushing through

“It is not something that I let control my life or hold me back from living. I take care of myself in every way I can and find strength in what I am able to do and learn new ways to improve my way of life,” she expressed. 

One of Fries’ missions with both GLI and BCF is to raise awareness for water safety on Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda by teaching swimming to prevent drownings. By working closely with GLI and the headmaster of the Kazi Primary School, Fries has been able to carry out this initiative, as well as implementing academic, music and sports curriculum.  

She said that the community of Lake Bunyonyi changed her life by seeing how they are such powerful and driven people. “I don’t go for my own benefit or to be a ‘white savior’ ,” she asserted. “When I work in Uganda, I give the individuals I work with support and resources and they truly do the rest.”

Isabelle was fortunate enough to meet one of her long time role models, Michael Phelps. Fostering a relationship with someone who has shaped her life in so many ways in and out of the water has been such a blessing, says Fries. This lead to her working with the Michael Phelps Foudation (MPF), where she took the opportunity to become certified in their “IM Water Safety Program” which is implemented in The Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

When given the opportunity again to combine her music and philanthropy through the MPF, she couldn’t resist. Isabelle was asked to open for country singer, Eric Church, at a MPF benefit concert in Chicago at the iconic Arcada Theater. “Swimming is an incredibly big part of my life as I was a serious competitive swimmer from the ages of 5 to 18, therefor having the chance to combine my music with my love and passion for swimming and water safety was very special and meaningful.” 

Now a recent graduate of The University of Southern California, Fries splits her time living between Denver and Los Angeles, continuing to pursue her passions: music and philanthropy, while working in Denver at a non-profit dedicated to mentoring students. Isabelle holds a degree in International Relations with minors in Spanish as well as  Non-Profits, Philanthropy and Volunteerism. 

While studying at USC, Isabelle was fortunate enough to catch the eye of Grammy-winning, multi-platinum producer/mixer Rob Chiarelli, who she’s fostered an incredibly close relationship with. 

She began releasing music signed with Chiarelli’s label Streetlamp records this year, already finding a widespread and loyal audience across all music platforms using her rich, soulful vocal that could be compared to the sound of Lauren Daigle or Adele. She recently released her 6th single, a raw piano ballad called “All We Had. When people listen to her music, Fries always wants to make them truly feel – whatever that feeling may be. Through channeling lyrics with her songwriters from her own life experiences, the emotions she is able to elicit are special to her. 

While the music may be interpreted differently for each unique individual, her raw style is something she hopes help guide those listeners on whatever journey they want to take. “I’ve always said, I love music because it lets you feel something you didn’t think you could.”

This is definitely something she mirrors artistically with one of her musical inspirations, Amy Winehouse. Growing up performing jazz music, Fries describes this genre as a big part of her musical identity, so she was instantly drawn to Winehouse’s style which she catalogs as “authentic, raw and groundbreaking. Amy created music unapologetically.”

But Fries’ number one music icon is Sir Elton John. “His music was always around me when I was growing up. My parents loved all music from that time and exposed me to it at a very young age which is one of the reasons it is the type of music I love the most. 

However, Elton John’s music was different for me, it felt like poetry and real emotion. His sound and songs are like stories that you never want to end. When I began to listen to him more I realized this is the type of music I want to sing and be a part of.” 

Feeling very blessed to have found such a supportive team, guiding her in finally being able to put her own original songs out there into the world, she is excited to evolve using her music to help create change, perform live again, and continue to build upon her body of work. While she’s away in the studio recording, we’ll be out here patiently waiting for more music, while she continues to use her voice to make the world a better place. 

Ted Allen illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 magazine.

Ted Allen × Subaru

Subaru of America, the famed brand and subsidiary of the Subaru Corporation of Japan, is hosting an event to fundraise for the HIV/AIDS community across the nation. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced dramatic changes to all lives and brought devastating challenges to the restaurant community, as well as to the healthcare organizations who support people in need. Subaru’s annual restaurant-based fundraiser, Dining Out For Life hosted by Subaru, sends crucially needed funds to HIV/AIDS organizations in cities across North America. This aide represents Subaru’s commitment to extending beyond the automobile realm to be an active and ethical member of communities.

Chopped! host Ted Allen joins with Subaru of America, Inc. in their continuing support for Dining Out For Life, and invites the public to join Allen and guests on Instagram Live on Thursday, September 24, 8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT, for a spicy, clean-food, cooking demonstration. The event will also be hosted by New York-based, award-winning Chef Ric Orlando, as well as conversation with Designer/HIV Activist Mondo Guerra, and actor/author, Pam Grier.

To join the event, go to @Subaru_USA. The nearly 3,000 restaurants that participate in Dining Out For Life need support now more than ever. On September 24, dining out and take-out events will be happening in several cities across the country: Oakland, California; Birmingham, Alabama; Chicago, Illinois; Louisville, Kentucky; Alaska; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Seattle, Washington. Many more regions will hold in-person and virtual events in October and through December. Visit your community’s page on diningoutforlife to find participating restaurants and to support your community. Another way an individual can help is to reach out to the HIV/AIDS Service Organization that produces Dining Out For Life in your community to see how one can help the people they serve during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, with support from Subaru of America, Inc., more than $4.2 million dollars was raised from a single day of dining in 60 cities coast to coast, the most funds raised since the event began in 1991. “A commitment to caring for the people in our communities is integral to our Subaru Love Promise, and our longstanding partnership with Dining Out for Life is a shining example of the importance of supporting causes that matter,” said Alan Bethke, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Subaru of America, Inc. “We are proud to help raise awareness and funds to fight against HIV/AIDS and benefit those who are impacted in our local communities.”

Funds raised through a city’s Dining Out For Life event stay in that region to provide HIV care, prevention, education, testing, counseling and other essential services to people living with or impacted by HIV/AIDS. This event, hosted by Subaru, truly represents the best of both worlds in supporting local communities in more ways than one.

Disability illustration for 360 MAGAZINE

What Qualifies You for Social Security Disability Benefits?

To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must have a qualifying disability and have worked in jobs that required you to pay into the Social Security system. If you meet these requirements and your doctor says you won’t be able to work for one year or longer, you may be able to receive benefits until you can work again—if that ever happens. 

So which conditions qualify you for disability benefits? Read this and see if your diagnosis is on the list. If it’s not, don’t worry, your condition may still be qualifying. 

  • Asthma
  • Anxiety 
  • Autism
  • Back injuries
  • Blindness
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Coronary artery disease
  • COPD
  • Deafness
  • Disorders of bone marrow failure
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart failure
  • Hemolytic anemias
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Irritable bowel disorder
  • Intellectual disorder
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lupus
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome

Any disease, injury, or disorder that prevents you from working for at least 12 months could potentially be a qualifying condition, depending on the severity. You’ll need to discuss your condition with a Social Security caseworker to determine whether or not you qualify. 

There are certain conditions that will automatically qualify you for benefits so you can begin receiving payments right away without having to go through the approval process first. These include early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gherig’s disease, stage IV or inflammatory breast cancer, cancer of the pancreas or gallbladder, and several other cancers.

How to Apply

If you want the Social Security disability process to run smoothly and efficiently, there are some things you need to know before your first appointment. To get the process started immediately, come prepared. Bring your Social Security number and those of your spouse and children, your W-2 information from the past year, and discharge papers if you were in the military.

The first thing you’ll need to do after you’ve gathered your information is to fill out a Social Security Disability report form. You can download this from their website and fill it out in advance. This form will ask you for information like your doctors’ contact details, the medications you’re taking, your past jobs, and any claims you’ve filed.

The next step in the process is to schedule your appointment with the Social Security Administration. You can make your appointment over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213 or schedule your appointment online. 

Another thing you can do to speed up the application process is to get a copy of your medical records from your physician in advance. Once you’ve requested your record, your doctor has 30 days to get it to you. Many doctors will turn it around faster than that, but it’s still smart to request it at least 30 days ahead of your appointment. 

You can download this Disability Starter Kit to learn more about what to expect throughout the process. This helpful guide contains information, a worksheet, and a checklist that’ll help you prepare.

If Your Benefits Are Denied

According to the Social Security Disability lawyers at Bader Scott, in many cases the initial claim will be denied by Claims Examiners, who often make mistakes due to a lack of experience. With an attorney’s help, you may be able to successfully appeal so your application for benefits can be settled on favorable terms. 

You can apply for an appeal hearing on the Social Security website, but be forewarned, you’re going to be waiting for this hearing for a long time. On average, the wait time for an appeal will be twelve months or longer. If your appeal goes well and your benefits are approved, you’ll get retroactive benefits either in payments or a lump sum. 

You will have 60 days after you receive the notice of denial to file your claim. If you are denied, you should get on this right away. Your benefits may depend on it.

AUTHOR: Cheryl Roy

Kidrobot × Keith Haring

Continuing the celebration of inspirational artists of the 20th century, Kidrobot in collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation brings art to life with the first collectible 3-inch tall Dunny mini figure series featuring the work of Keith Haring. Each of the 12 Dunnys in this Kidrobot x Keith Haring Dunny Series features one of Keith Haring’s iconic art pieces from his short but impactful career. 

The series is now available at select Kidrobot retailer stores and for order online at Kidrobot.com.

Each blind boxed figure retails for $11.99 each.

ABOUT KEITH HARING

Keith Haring was an iconic pop artist and graffiti artist inspired by the New York City street culture of the 1980s. Inspired by the originality and spontaneity of spray-paint graffiti Haring began producing chalk drawings on blank NYC Subway advertisement boards. As his career progressed his art spread to other mediums and he rose to the top of the art world with mass appeal. Haring continued to create public art with the intention of making art accessible to all, which resonates with the mission of Kidrobot.

Haring was involved in numerous charities and causes and hosted drawing workshops for kids around the world. After being diagnosed with AIDS in 1988, he founded the Keith Haring Foundation. His later works leading up to his death in 1990 contained political and societal statements that encapsulate the era. His art has since become iconic and remains relevant to this day.

“Doin’ My Drugs” x Film Premiere

Landmark Doin’ My Drugs Documentary Commemorates “Zero Discrimination Day”

With Swiss Premiere Screening as Initiative of UN Information Service

Danish Pop Star Screens his Documentary 1 March 2020, Following Film’s
2019 World AIDS Day Screening in China and CPH:DOX* World Premiere

WHO: Film subject, recording artist and AIDS activist Thomas Muchimba Buttenschøn; Doin’ My Drugs Documentary director Tyler Q Rosen; Kevin Osborne, Executive Director, the International AIDS Society; Charlotte Sector, Multimedia Communications Manager, United Nations (ONU) UNAIDS

WHAT: Swiss Premiere Screening of Doin’ My Drugs film in Geneva followed by discussion: HIV: 40 years Later, Discrimination Still Kills, with panelists Buttenschøn, Rosen, and Osborne; Charlotte Sector, moderator.

WHEN: Doin’ My Drugs Screening: 1 March 2020, 11:00h

WHERE: Cinéma CINÉRAMA EMPIRE, Rue de Carouge 72-74 Geneva. Phone: +86.10.5798.9798. Admission Free; all ages.

MORE: Doin’ My Drugs is the story of musician Thomas Muchimba Buttenschøn—born HIV-positive in 1985—and his crusade to use his music to wipe out AIDS in his native Zambia and beyond. Doin’ My Drugs aims to raise awareness about the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zambia — a country of 17 million people where more than 1.2 million are HIV-positive or have the disease. Zambia’s situation is mirrored throughout the developing world.

A father to two young children, Buttenschøn has kept his HIV in check and his family virus-free, by “doin’ his drugs.” He recognized that his native Zambia remains trapped in a horrific and senseless AIDS crisis. While a significant percentage of the population there is infected with HIV, many antiretroviral drug treatment programs that keep the virus dormant—“a near-zero viral load” as Buttenschøn says—are widely available through government programs for free.

Buttenschøn has recorded a full studio album in LA and Lusaka, Zambia with 16-time Grammyâ-winning producer, Thom Russo Jr. That album is titled Doin’ My Drugs and will become the official motion picture soundtrack. He debuted a new single, Keep On Talking, on his China tour.

Buttenschøn has also set up a foundation, the Muchimba Music Foundation, to help his supporters, collaborators and himself on their journeys. His goal is to test upwards of 100,000 Zambians by expanding his foundation’s Test-for-Ticket concert series into a country-wide tour of Zambia. The Muchimba Music Foundation’s initial concert in Lusaka tested 10,802 people and enrolled those who tested positive into patient care treatment programs. MMF is currently fundraising to meet his goal. The Muchimba Music Foundation is planning to produce a second major concert on World AIDS Day this year, Dec.1: Zed Me Free 2. Zed Me Free and joining UNAIDS is Muchimba’s latest move to acquire more partners with a goal to reduce HIV infection in Zambia and beyond.

UNAIDS, the United Nations Information Service Geneva and the
International AIDS Society organized this screening to commemorate Zero Discrimination Day.

Founded in 1988, the IAS is the world’s largest association of HIV professionals, with members in more than 170 countries. Working with its members, the IAS advocates and drives urgent action to reduce the impact of HIV. The IAS is also the steward of the world’s most prestigious HIV conferences: the International AIDS Conference, the IAS Conference on HIV Science, and the HIV Research for Prevention Conference.

The team’s choice of Buttenschøn and his film—a former judge on the country’s wildly popular Denmark’s Got Talent (Danmark Har Talnet) is reflective of his and his family’s personal experience with HIV/AIDS, his renown in the country and the world premiere of the film based on his life and work that premiered in Copenhagen as a highlight of the prestigious CPH:DOX* music program, one of the world’s foremost documentary film and music festivals.

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Thomas Muchimba Buttenschøn, Doin’ My Drugs, International AIDS Society, Vaughn Lowery, 360 Magazine,

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ROLLS-ROYCE REVEALS RED PHANTOM

ROLLS-ROYCE REVEALS RED PHANTOM COMMISSION WITH MICKALENE THOMAS

Auction to Benefit (RED)’s Fight Against AIDS

  • The House of Rolls-Royce marks 115 years of luxury with spectacular Red Phantom commission to benefit the global AIDS charity (RED)’s fight against AIDS.  
  • Rolls-Royce partners with acclaimed contemporary artist Mickalene Thomas who will create a custom artwork and livery wrap for the winning bidder
  • Exclusive December 4 – 13, 2019 online with global auction partner RM Sotheby’s
  • One of a kind, 2020 Red Phantom revealed during celebration at One Thousand Museum during Art Basel in Miami Beach

The House of Rolls Royce today revealed images of a Bespoke 2020 Red Phantom, commissioned to benefit (RED), the global charity and its fight to end AIDS.  First sketches of the red-themed creation were revealed by the world’s leading luxury manufacturer seven months ago at the Sotheby’s Galleries in New York City. On Wednesday evening, December 4, The Red Phantom Bespoke Commission will be unveiled at a gala event at the One Thousand Museum in Miami as RM Sotheby’s launches an exclusive online auction to run through December 13, 2019.   Proceeds above the cost of the item* will benefit (RED)’s fight to end AIDS.

The winning collector will have the unique opportunity to collaborate with one of the world’s most respected contemporary artists, Mickalene Thomas, to create a work of art in the form of a custom wrap for the exterior of the car. Thomas will also create an original artwork inspired by the Red Phantom for the collector. When the digital hammer falls, the ultimate bidder will be the proud owner of the Red Phantom, a personalized work and design by Ms. Thomas and the honor of having supported (RED) in its mission. 

“It is an honor and privilege to present this one of a kind commission created by the more than 2,000 men and women in Goodwood, Home of Rolls-Royce,” said Martin Fritsches, President and CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Americas. “Everyone on our team is deeply inspired by this world-class commission, and equally by the importance of the cause it was created to support – (RED)’s fight to end AIDS.  We are proud to partner with Mickalene Thomas, RM Sotheby’s and our other partners to achieve an outstanding result from this auction.”

“We’re so grateful to Rolls Royce for donating profits from the Red Phantom to the fight to end AIDS.  We need all forces mobilized against this pandemic which is the leading cause of death among young women. We also want to thank Mickalene Thomas for her creative genius, as well as our partners Bank of America and Netjets for their support of this auction to help the Global Fund wipe AIDS off the planet.” Said Jennifer Lotito, Chief Operations Officer, (RED)

The exterior wears a newly developed Bespoke color finish of Crystal over Magma Red with tiny particles of crystal captured in the final layers of finish creating a luxurious luminescence. The handcrafted Bespoke leather interior in Brilliant Arctic White is offset by bright Mugello Red highlights overseen by the iconic and colorful Mugello Red ‘Shooting Starlight Headliner.’ Housed within a single-piece glass fascia and extending across the instrument panel, the Gallery design, ‘Red Regatta Sails’ is constructed of Bespoke Mugello Red leather.  

This Red Phantom is waiting for a home to benefit (RED)’s fight to end AIDS.

About (RED)® 

(RED) was  founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver  to engage businesses and people in the fight against AIDS. (RED) partners with the world’s most iconic brands that contribute proceeds from (RED)-branded goods and services to the Global Fund. (RED) Partners include: AirAsia, Alessi, Amazon, Andaz, Apple, Bank of America, Beats by Dr. Dre, Belvedere, Calm, Claro, Dannon, Durex, eos, Fatboy USA, Girl Skateboards, Johnson & Johnson, MCM, Montblanc, Mophie, quip, Salesforce, SAP, Starbucks, Telcel, Vespa, Vilebrequin and Wanderlust.

To date, (RED) has generated more than $600 million for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to support HIV/AIDS grants in Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia. 100 percent of that money goes to work on the ground – no overhead is taken. Global Fund grants that (RED) supports have impacted over 140 million people with prevention, treatment, counseling, HIV testing and care services. For more information, please see www.red.org

The Global Fund is a partnership designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. As an international organization, the Global Fund mobilizes and invests more than US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in more than 100 countries. In partnership with governments, civil society, technical agencies, the private sector and people affected by the diseases, we are challenging barriers and embracing innovation.

About RED Phantom

This very special Red Phantom has been designed to benefit (RED)’s fight to end AIDS.  Proceeds above the cost of the item* will benefit the global charity. 

The commission design, by the world-renowned Bespoke Design Collective in Goodwood, England, Home of Rolls-Royce stands alone as a natural authority. Designers have carried the powerful Red theme throughout the design in subtle and luxurious style. This Red Phantom makes a statement, especially upon its regal arrival.

The exterior wears a Bespoke color finish of Crystal over Magma Red. Tiny particles of crystal have been captured in the final layers of finish give it a luxurious luminescence. Recently created by the Rolls-Royce design engineers, the finish is comprised of five layers, each hand-polished for more than five hours. The vehicle’s wood veneers were expertly selected and finished by hand with six coats of lacquer to ensure a perfect finish. 

The handcrafted Bespoke leather interior and appointments throughout are created from 9 hides of hand-selected and drum-dyed leather with a color scheme of stunning Arctic White with Mugello Red highlights. And overhead the new owner will enjoy a newly designed icon of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, a Mugello Red Shooting Starlight Headliner with 1,600 fiber optic wires extending the entire length of the interior ceiling. 

The new Phantom introduced a Bespoke opportunity previously unseen in luxury motoring to showcase a new level of interior artistry and craftsmanship. Housed within a single-piece glass fascia and extending across the instrument panel, the Gallery delivers visual and emotional elements that are unique to Phantom. The Gallery is constructed of Bespoke Mugello Red leather design entitled ‘Regatta Sails’ assembled in a clean room environment. This commission features custom treadplates commemorating the 115th Anniversary of the world’s premier name in luxury

About Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas (b. 1971, Camden, New Jersey) is best known for her elaborate paintings composed of rhinestones, acrylic and enamel. She makes paintings, collages, photography, video, and installations that draw on art history and popular culture to create a contemporary vision of female sexuality, beauty, and power. Blurring the distinction between object and subject, concrete and abstract, real and imaginary, Thomas constructs complex portraits, landscapes, and interiors in order to examine how identity, gender, and sense-of-self are informed by the ways women are represented in art and popular culture.

Mickalene Thomas’s work is held in the permanent collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Hammer Museum, and Smithsonian American Art Museum, among many others. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. For more information, visit www.mickalenethomas.com

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Youth Against AIDS

Youth Against AIDS and AXA announce a collaboration to build a prevention platform for the young generation

On occasion of World AIDS Day 2019 Youth Against AIDS (YAA) and AXA announced a collaboration to support YAA´s efforts to create a comprehensive sexual health and prevention platform for the young generation.

Digital tools and technical innovations are creating new opportunities in the fight against sexually transmitted diseases. This is especially true for prevention amongst young people. YAA and AXA use the advantages of the omnipresence of smartphones and growing demand of digital services to reach young people regardless of location or time. The platform, called FAQ YOU, includes a chatbot to answer the most common and pressing questions about sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases (FAQs) 24/7. The beta version of the chatbot will be launched in the US. Further tools will be integrated into the platform which will give  young users guidance to services like conducting HIV tests, finding an STI clinic or condom dispensers or getting in touch with medical services via tele medicine. The platform aims to complement personal counseling services, which are often unavailable for young people, at at later stage.

“Today, we see many silos in the sexual health sector. It remains a challenge for our generation to access credible content, get the right answers on demand and to access youth-friendly services. We want to change this by creating a digital one-stop-shop solution for all needs on sexual health and  education that meet the needs of our young target group. We believe that we need more innovation in prevention and FAQ YOU will be our answer to push these topics and to make a difference in the life of young people. We are grateful for the commitment of AXA that enables us to use modern technologies to help our generation to live healthier lives.”

Daniel Nagel, CEO Youth against AIDS 

“The partnership with Youth Against AIDS is very exciting for AXA – with this initiative we support YAA to evolve from a communication and awareness channel for youth to a digital source of health related content and services on sexual health and other taboo topics. We bring our expertise in emerging technologies and data while remaining true to our commitment to health and disease prevention.”

– Astrid Stange, Chief Operating Officer AXA Group




Youth Against AIDS Head of Product Anna Konopka and Astrid Stange, Chief Operating Officer AXA Group.
 

About Youth against AIDS (YAA)

Youth Against AIDS is an international youth-focused NGO. 

YAA develops innovative sexual health information and dialogue services for young people. To achieve their goals, the young team finds new paths to old challenges: unconventional and courageous. YAA networks with partners who play a role in the lives of  the young target group and implement innovative formats with them – both online and locally. This ensures that YAA  is present in the everyday life of young people. The organisation’s offers are open to everyone, easy to understand and always available.

What is important to us: respectful interaction without fear of contact – with oneself and others. We create awareness without fear.