A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘hiv/aids

[PHOTO] On a sky that was a Derek Jarman blue

Yesterday was a glorious spring day in Toronto. I was out early in the morning to do my laundry, and was walking around my neighbourhood. The warmth was glorious, as was the return of life, but the sky stood out. It was perfect, cloudless, what I called on Instagram and Twitter a “Derek Jarman blue”.

Sky of Derek Jarman blue #toronto #dlws #weather #spring #blue #derekjarman #Derek Jarman’s last film was the 1993 Blue, completed as he was dying of HIV/AIDS. Visually, the film was a constant blue, “International Klein Blue”, a manifestation on film the deterioration of filmmaker Jarman’s sight worn away by cytomegalovirus.

The words, spoken by actors including Jarman himself and the later-famous Tilda Swinton, are beautiful poetry, preserved at the website of the Queer Cultural Centre.

Blue Bottle buzzing
Lazy days
The sky blue butterfly
Sways on the cornflower
Lost in the warmth
Of the blue heat haze
Singing the blues
Quiet and slowly

Blue of my heart
Blue of my dreams
Slow blue love
Of delphinium days

Blue is the universal love in which man bathes – it is the terrestrial paradise.

Jarman has appeared on A Bit More Detail before: he manifested in a 2006 post looking at a poetic passage from Terry Eagleton’s script for Jarman’s Wittgenstein; a 2009 celebration of the video for Annie Lennox’s “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye”, to which he contributed; a somewhat silly 2010 meditation on a photo that did not quite turn out; a <ahref=”https://abitmoredetail.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/photo-purchased-at-word-on-the-street-toronto/”&gt;2014 celebration of a Derek Jarman biography I bought at Word on the Street. (The Ke$ha book also photographed there was extra, free.)

I like the poetry of Jarman, his art. His life is also a wonderful example of struggle and survival despite everything. Yesterday morning, his blue mattered particularly to me. It was a hard winter, and I’m glad to be rid of it, and more glad to have proof of it.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 16, 2015 at 7:17 pm

[LINK] “Largest HIV outbreak in Indiana history hits tiny community”

The Toronto Star‘s Jennifer Yang describes a terrible epidemic of HIV in the United States, a drug-borne pandemic in Indiana’s Scott County aggravated by public policy and poor public health.

Since December, 89 cases have been reported in Scott County, a region that typically sees five HIV cases a year. Most are in Austin, a crumbling city of about 4,300 located near the Kentucky border.

The crisis has triggered a state of emergency and urgent response measures, including a temporary needle exchange program, which is normally illegal under Indiana state law. But as public health officials scramble to contain the outbreak, a troubling question looms: how could this have happened?

Investigators say the HIV outbreak was caused by another epidemic that has long plagued Scott County: drug addiction. “One hundred per cent of cases have reported IV drug use so far,” Dr. Jerome Adams, Indiana’s health commissioner, told the Star.

While unsafe sex has helped spread the virus, Adams believes this is the “largest or first outbreak of its kind solely related to prescription drug abuse.” In Austin, where public parks are littered with syringes, police are pointing the finger at Opana, the area’s “drug of choice,” a prescription painkiller that can be crushed and injected. In 2012, Reuters reported that Opana was the “new scourge of America,” gaining popularity after the painkiller OxyContin was changed to become more difficult to abuse.

Scott County is one of Indiana’s poorest areas and 17 per cent of people live in poverty, with a median household income of $43,650. “Austin has historically been a poor community,” said Cpl. Carey Huls, a public information officer with Indiana State Police. “Over time, because of joblessness, the drugs crept in.”

Written by Randy McDonald

April 8, 2015 at 10:21 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that a study of Epsilon Eridani’s debris disk hints at the existence of planets.
  • Inkfish notes that global warming is harming the nutritional value of rainforest leaves.
  • Joe. My. God. quotes Larry Kramer being an alarmist.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines the Ted Cruz candidacy.
  • Marginal Revolution reports on a study suggesting the continuing underrepresentation of women on television and in the movies.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a report on the changing religious demographics of the United States.
  • Torontoist notes that the Scarborough rapid transit line is getting a makeover.
  • Window on Eurasia observes that irredentism is popular among Russians.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO takes a look at the reasons for the failure of the Toronto Sushi Festival, a failure that included the blog’s own misrepresentation of the event’s success.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly argues that, in our media-saturated environment, paying attention to everything is exhausting.
  • Centauri Dreams and D-Brief react to Dawn’s arrival at Ceres.
  • The Crux notes that Enceladus’ seas appear to be driven by tectonic activity, suggesting they may support life.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze looks at the remarkably eccentric orbit of exoplanet HD 8673Ab, links to a paper suggesting that hot Jupiters disrupt their planetary systems as they migrate inwards, and suggests that planetary systems discovered by Kepler with only one or two planets are the remnants of much denser systems.
  • The Dragon’s Tales and The Power and the Money discuss the idea of military unity in the European Union.
  • A Fistful of Euros compares the recent trajectories of Greece and Iceland following their
  • Joe. My. God. notes an Irish bishop who made an odd comparison of gay people to people with Down’s syndrome.
  • Language Hat notes that the Parisian journals of Russian exiles from the Soviet Union are online and notes the South Arabian language of the Yemeni island of Socotra.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers if rudeness can be a firing offense.
  • Marginal Revolution criticizes the Greek government, and argues that Krugman’s criticism of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is misfounded.
  • The Planetary Society Blog calls for a return to Venus.
  • Otto Pohl observes that just over 62 years after his death, Stalin remains a popular figure in Russia.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes worsening American-Venezuelan relations and argues that Venezuela’s PetroCaribe scheme hasn’t achieved its geopolitical goals.
  • Registan considers the controversy surrounding the disappearance of Vladimir Putin.
  • Peter Rukavina notes how, by tweaking an inexpensive Raspberry Pi computer, he can detect aircraft incoming to Charlottetown.
  • Spacing Toronto notes gendered violence on mass transit.
  • Towleroad observes the conviction of a California man on charges of intentionally trying to infect others with HIV.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers the legal issues surrounding an Indian state’s ban on beef, by comparison to California’s horse meat ban.
  • Window on Eurasia notes one Russian’s call to partition Ukraine, observes Russian irredentism towards the Baltics, considers the consequences of Russia’s statements about Crimea, looks at Hungarian irredentism towards western Ukraine, argues that a new Yalta is impossible, and compares the position of Vladimir Putin to that of Khrushchev afte the humiliating Cuban Missile Crisis.

[LINK] “Most HIV Infections Come From Undiagnosed or Untreated People: Study”

U.S. News and World Report is one news source of many sharing news of a recent study suggesting that the overwhelming majority of HIV transissions in the United States–nearly 92%–are a consequence of untreated people passing the virus on.

If an American becomes infected with HIV, chances are he or she contracted the virus from someone who didn’t know they were infected or wasn’t getting proper treatment.

That’s the message of a new U.S. study, which found that undiagnosed and untreated people with HIV may be responsible for more than nine out of 10 new infections.

The findings “highlight the community-wide prevention benefits of expanding HIV diagnosis and treatment in the United States,” a team led by Dr. Jacek Skarbinski, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in the report.

Looking at 2009 data, Skarbinski’s team said that about 45,000 new cases of HIV were transmitted that year, adding to the total of more than 1.1 million Americans who were already living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Using national databases, the investigators estimated that more than 18 percent of that total remained undiagnosed, while another 45 percent were aware of their status but were not getting medical care.

Only about one-quarter of HIV-infected Americans had managed to get their viral status under control by using the current standard of care known as antiretroviral therapy, the researchers found. These drugs can lower an HIV patient’s viral load to undetectable levels.

Science Daily goes into greater detail and links to the study.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 25, 2015 at 11:31 pm

Posted in Science

Tagged with , , , ,

[LINK] “Scientists announce anti-HIV agent so powerful it can work in a vaccine”

Science Daily shares the good news.

When HIV infects a cell, it targets the CD4 lymphocyte, an integral part of the body’s immune system. HIV fuses with the cell and inserts its own genetic material — in this case, single-stranded RNA — and transforms the host cell into a HIV manufacturing site.

The new study builds on previous discoveries by the Farzan laboratory, which show that a co-receptor called CCR5 contains unusual modifications in its critical HIV-binding region, and that proteins based on this region can be used to prevent infection.

With this knowledge, Farzan and his team developed the new drug candidate so that it binds to two sites on the surface of the virus simultaneously, preventing entry of HIV into the host cell.

“When antibodies try to mimic the receptor, they touch a lot of other parts of the viral envelope that HIV can change with ease,” said TSRI Research Associate Matthew Gardner, the first author of the study with Lisa M. Kattenhorn of Harvard Medical School. “We’ve developed a direct mimic of the receptors without providing many avenues that the virus can use to escape, so we catch every virus thus far.”

The team also leveraged preexisting technology in designing a delivery vehicle — an engineered adeno-associated virus, a small, relatively innocuous virus that causes no disease. Once injected into muscle tissue, like HIV itself, the vehicle turns those cells into “factories” that could produce enough of the new protective protein to last for years, perhaps decades, Farzan said.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 19, 2015 at 10:42 pm

Posted in Science

Tagged with , , , , ,

[LINK] “Inequality Fuels HIV Epidemic in the Caribbean”

The Inter Press Service’s Desmond Brown describes the current state of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean is one of the most heavily affected regions in the world, with adult HIV prevalence about one percent higher than in any other region outside sub-Saharan Africa.

The HIV pandemic in the Caribbean is fuelled by a range of social and economic inequalities and is sustained by high levels of stigma, discrimination against the most at-risk and marginalised populations and persistent gender inequality, violence and homophobia.

HIV in the Caribbean is mostly concentrated in and around networks of men who have sex with men. Social stigma, however, has kept the epidemic among men who have sex with men hidden and unacknowledged. There is also a notable burden of infection among injecting drug users, sex workers and the clients of sex workers.

The main mode of transmission in the Caribbean is unprotected heterosexual intercourse – paid or otherwise. Sex between men is also thought to be a significant factor in several countries, although due to social stigma, this is mainly denied.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 11, 2015 at 10:55 pm


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