What's New at CHEST?

RSS

Study at CHEST for Women of TRANS Experience: T-Talk

T-Talk is a peer-led intervention that was developed in response to the acute health prevention needs of our community of transgender women in New York City. Peer Health Navigators, who are members of the community, will facilitate the individual and group sessions to guide our participants through the process of learning more about common psychosocial health issues. Our participants will take part in seven sessions aimed at reducing sexual health risks, substance use, and internalized stigma. Peer Health Navigators will work along participants to develop coping skills, and to achieve their goals of gaining access to professional medical care, social support, and other critical services.

The T-Talk team and CHEST invites you to “Gia Padilla: La Asesina de la Guajira” at Harlem United.  Learn how to dance “Guajira” with Gia Padilla Live from Puerto Rico!

The T-Talk team and CHEST invites you to “Gia Padilla: La Asesina de la Guajira” at Harlem United.

Learn how to dance “Guajira” with Gia Padilla Live from Puerto Rico!

NYC Anti-Violence Project’s Community Heroes Award Ceremony
Today Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm

NYC Anti-Violence Project’s Community Heroes Award Ceremony

Today Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm

CHEST Spotlight: Gay and Bisexual Men’s Use of the Internet: Research from the 1990s through 2013

image

CHEST faculty affiliate Dr. Christian Grov is featured in the Annual Review of Sex Research published by The Journal of Sex Research with an article about gay and bisexual men’s use of the internet from the 90’s to today. From logging on via dial-up modem on a desktop computer to geo-social-sexual networking via handheld devices, Dr. Grov documents the historical and cultural shifts in how gay and bisexual men have used the Internet for sexuality.

The article is available for free until August. Click here to download!

An Open letter to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) President, Michael Weinstein

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 28, 2014

Contact:             Dr. Jeffrey Parsons

Director of the Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training
Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Public Health at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY)

Email:                    jparsons@chestnyc.org 

April 28, 2014

Dear Mr. Weinstein:

We, the research team at The Hunter College Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training (CHEST) are deeply concerned about your recent inflammatory remarks about HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), calling Truvada a “party drug” and “ineffective” in preventing HIV transmission.  We know that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), as the largest HIV/AIDS services organization in the United States with a $300 million dollar budget, provides services to a diverse range of patients and clients. People who are at risk for HIV and who are HIV-positive often experience barriers due to intersecting factors in accessing HIV services. The AHF staff and Board are also quite diverse in their experiences and approaches to HIV work and in all likelihood, there are staff and volunteers at AHF that do not agree with your position on PrEP.  Your position on PrEP ignores the data on its effectiveness  and further fuels stigma around sexual behavior and HIV, especially amongst communities that are most at risk for HIV infection – young men of color who have sex with men and serodiscordant couples.  The AHF should represent the needs of all people at risk for or living with HIV/AIDS rather than catering only to those who engage in particular behaviors deemed “appropriate” (especially considering they are likely at less risk for HIV in the first place and thus in less need of the AHF’s services).

Mr. Weinstein, your position on PrEP is out of touch with the realities of HIV prevention.  PrEP is the most promising biomedical intervention to date for preventing new HIV infections in high-risk populations and is designed to provide protection against existing levels of HIV risk. In fact, there is no evidence that the use of PrEP will increase risk behaviors. Research suggests that a majority of people struggle to use condoms 100% of the time, and PrEP would provide an added layer of protection in the face of their existing risk. Men already engaged in bareback sex deserve and need an effective HIV prevention method – condoms should not be the only tool that people have to protect themselves from HIV infection.  There are also contributing factors that impact decisions around condom use, such as using substances and engaging in high risk sexual behavior.  Shaming non-mainstream sexual practices along with fueling stigma can potentially increase their risk and the difficulty of providing prevention for people engaged in such practices. 

Over the past couple of weeks, leading experts and activists working in the field of HIV prevention have spoken out against your position on PrEP, yet you continue to stand by your statements.  There is a significant amount of misinformation and confusion about PrEP – misleading information about its effectiveness, side effects, and health insurance coverage, to name a few, that can contribute to the relatively small numbers of people who are currently on PrEP.  As professionals working in HIV prevention and care, we need to focus on the realities of the HIV epidemic and work to make PrEP more widely available to those individuals who are at most risk for HIV infection. Further, we must focus on understanding and addressing barriers to PrEP uptake, factors that contribute to difficulties with PrEP adherence (e.g., drug use), issues with dissemination of accurate information regarding PrEP to community members and service providers, and the continued stigma that is associated with the sexual practices that put individuals at risk for HIV.  The continuation of the HIV epidemic both nationally and globally requires a shift in the HIV prevention paradigm, and it is clear that the position you have taken on behalf of AHF is dangerous, stigmatizing, and out of touch with such paradigm-shifting approaches to prevention.

Signed,

the CHEST Research Team

Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training (CHEST)

Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY)

Contact: Dr. Jeffrey Parsons – jparsons@chestnyc.org

 

CHEST’s mission is to conduct research to identify and promote strategies that prevent the spread of HIV and improve the lives of people living with HIV. We have been advocating for and working with the LGBT community since 1996.

 

# # #