Monthly Archives: November 2011

TRUTH & CONSEQUENCE: Testimonials on Living with HIV

In commemoration of World AIDS Day, GRIOT Circle honors the lives of loving, inspirational and courageous souls who transitioned too soon, by passing forward the wisdom they imparted from their battle with HIV and AIDS.   Here, in their own words, we share an excerpt from the oral history project Without the Burden of this Secret The conversations on HIV/AIDS in the POC LGBT elder community today, bear many common threads to the sentiments and experiences in these interviews which occurred 20 years ago in New York City.

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LOUIS GRANT  ::  OPEN & OUT

I have lost a lot of friends to AIDS.  Too often I have thought that some unnecessarily allowed themselves to succumb to the disease.  They did not fight, they were not positive [minded] they accepted the diagnosis as a statement of impeding doom.  It seems to me that we black folk have moved slower in acknowledging the impact of this disease on our community.  Our people are suffering and dying because too often we are afraid to come out to our family…to our friends at a time when we need them most.  I think it’s very important to be out in terms of being a homosexual man and as a person with AIDS.  I’m out in every context: in my home, in my work situation.  I think carrying the burden of this secret, as so many of us do, when one has AIDS it just contributes to the illness.  It dos not make sense at this point in one’s life, when one needs to grasp all the life preserves one can, to not be open and out.  For me it’s another effective survival tool.”

Louis Grant

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JOE LONG  ::  SURVIVING DEMON DOCTORS

I was diagnosed with the HIV virus in 1989.  I was tested when I discovered a parotid cyst in my right cheek.  I was putting all kinds of solutions and compresses on it and it wouldn’t go down.  I finally decided to get to a doctor at New York Ear Nose and Throat.  The first thing he said to me was, “This is typical of gay fellas, why don’t you go take the test?”  Swollen glands and parotid cysts were nothing unusual, so I said I didn’t want to take the [AIDS] Test, I didn’t think that that was necessary, I wanted to see what we could do about the swelling, but he insisted.  So I did.  When I came back ten days later he told me my results were positive and to go get on AZT—as simple as that.  I asked if there was something he could do about the cyst.  He said that, I needed to find somebody who could put me on AZT.  He conferred with his partner and just left it like that. [Were they caucasian doctors?] A Jewish doctor and an East Indian doctor.  There was no pre- nor post-test counseling.  And when I asked for my records so that I could follow-up on the cyst, they directed me to the records department and said that I could take them to any doctor I’d like.  They didn’t offer to treat me any further.  So I was like in the street.”

Joe Long

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CDC Releases HIV Infection Study

Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans living with HIV do not have their infection under control, according to a Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The authors say the low percentage is because 1 in 5 people with HIV do not realize they are infected and, of those who are
aware, only 51 percent receive ongoing medical care and treatment.

Of the nearly 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, only an estimated 28 percent have a suppressed viral load (defined as viral load less than 200 copies of the blood-borne virus per milliliter
of blood)–meaning that the virus is under control and at a level that helps keep them healthy and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others.

However, of those living with HIV who are in ongoing care and on antiretroviral treatment, 77 percent have suppressed levels of the virus.  Effective HIV treatment and care benefit infected individuals by improving their health, and are also important for HIV prevention.  Results from a recent study of heterosexual couples from the National Institutes of Health showed that consistently taking antiretroviral therapy, in combination with safer behaviors, can reduce the risk of spreading HIV by approximately 96 percent.

Men who have sex with men (MSM), the population most severely affected by HIV in the United States, are least likely to know they are infected and less likely to receive prevention counseling (39 percent, compared with 50 percent of men who have sex with women and women who have sex with men).

Study authors underscore that improvements are needed at each stage in the overall process of treatment and care. That means increasing the number of infected Americans who are tested, linked to care, remain in care, receive prevention counseling and are successfully treated – all to achieve viral suppression.

For more information on new statistics on viral suppression click here–>  Vital Signs Study.

No one in NY or NJ should go hungry this holiday season

Do you know where you’ll be eating your Thanksgiving dinner? Chances are, there’s a senior in New York or New Jersey who doesn’t know if they’ll be eating dinner at all on Thanksgiving – or the days that follow.

There are nearly 9 million older Americans who wake up in the morning and don’t know if they’ll get enough to eat. You can change that.

This Thanksgiving, make twice the difference to help a senior in BROOKLYN who’s struggling to find their next meal. Every penny you give will go directly to hunger relief organizations in New York and New Jersey.

Make your tax-deductible donation by November 22 and your gift will be MATCHED – up to $100,000!

With your support, we can reach older Americans who won’t get the nutrients they need without a helping hand.

Through our targeted, community-based programs, AARP Foundation will use 100% of your donation to help with local food assistance programs. Senior hunger is a threat close to home and your gift today will make a difference for real people struggling just around the corner from you.

Right now, hungry seniors in New York and New Jersey need your help. Will you step up to lend them a hand? Every donation you give today will be matched by Met Life Foundation, dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000!

Give older Americans facing hunger a reason to be hopeful this Thanksgiving by making your urgent tax-deductible donation to AARP Foundation.

Thank you for helping seniors facing hunger, and standing with us as we help seniors facing other challenges, such as housing, income and isolation.

Sincerely,
Jo Ann Jenkins
President, AARP Foundation

AGING IN AMERICA 2012 CONFERENCE

Aging in America, the 2012 annual conference of the American Society on Aging is the largest multidisciplinary aging conference in the country.  It is recognized as the leading platform for sharing knowledge, perspectives, best practices and replicable models that help participants enhance their skills and be more effective in their work with older adults.  There’s no better professional development opportunity for the people and organizations whose missions support quality of life and care for elders.

Who:  American Society on Aging
When:  March 28 – April 1, 2012
Where:  Washington, D.C.

For more details just click here–> www.asaging.org/aia12

Giving Thanks for a Divine Group Dinner

GRIOT Circle hosted it’s Thanksgiving Luncheon  on Thursday, November 17th at our 25 Flatbush Ave location.  Members enjoyed scrumptious fried and baked Turkey, and traditional fixings of mashed potatoes, gravy, candied yam, mac-n-cheese, collard greens, ham, hot soup, and for desert, an array of homemade apple and pumpkin pies, chocolate nut cakes, and a large assortment of cupcakes.  Maxine who, took on Thanksgiving dinner as her project, did it up in a big way to honor our members and to make sure that we all were able to enjoy a terrific Thanksgiving meal together.

GRIOT Circle would like to thank Siri Pharmacy for co-sponsoring the luncheon, and all those members who made donations, WE THANK YOU!

JOIN GRIOT DAY-TRIP to ATLANTIC CITY on Dec. 6

TICKETS $40   PURCHASE DEADLINE: NOV. 22 

BUS PICK-UP at Bklyn YWCA at 30 THIRD AVE. at 7 am, Tuesday Dec. 6

ANY QUESTIONS PLEASE CONTACT:

MAXINE IRBY:  347-623-7686  

SANDIE GREEN:  646-578-9004 

ROBERT WALDRON:   718-246-2775

How to Protect Yourself from Cold and Flu Viruses

By Dr. Mercola

Cold and flu season are right around the corner, and with it we can expect lots of advertisements for flu vaccines.

I’ve written extensively on the dangers of flu vaccines before, and the fact that they simply do not work—according to the scientific evidence.

So here’s a timely review of what you can do to protect yourself and your family from colds and any type of flu this season, and in years to come.

What Causes Colds and Influenzas?

Both colds and various influenzas are caused by a wide variety of viruses (not bacteria).

While the two ailments typically affect your respiratory tract, there are some differences between them.

Common symptoms of a ‘regular cold’ include runny nose, congestion, cough, and sore throat. The symptoms of the flu tend to be far more severe, as the influenza viruses are capable of causing severe lung infection, pneumonia and even respiratory failure. They also tend to affect your joints—hence that allover achy feeling.

The most common way these viruses are spread is via hand-to-hand contact. For instance, someone with a cold blows their nose then shakes your hand or touches surfaces that you also touch. However, the key to remember is that just being exposed to a cold virus does not mean that you’re destined to catch a cold.

If your immune system is operating at its peak, it should actually be quite easy for you to fend off the virus without ever getting sick. Ditto for flu viruses. If your immune system is impaired, on the other hand, they can easily take hold in your body. So, it’s important to understand that the reason you catch a cold or flu is because your immune system is impaired. It’s not an inevitable event based on exposure alone.

To read full article, just click here –> How to Stay Protected Against Cold and Flu Viruses.

GRIOT Supports QEJ Vigil for Elder Yvonne McNeal

On October 2nd, Yvonne McNeal, 57, a POC elder, community member and resident at the New Providence Women’s Shelter in midtown Manhattan was [allegedly]  murdered by NYPD outside of her shelter.  A regular at Queers for Economic Justice events and support groups, Yvonne was an elder and a kind, reserved member of our community.  She walked with a cane and marched with us at Pride this past June.  Yvonne was also a reliable source for other LGBT people at New Providence.  NYPD [allegedly] shot Yvonne five times.

In response to this violence, QEJ is partnering with New Providence to hold a vigil and silent march in Yvonne’s honor outside of the shelter. The vigil will be on Friday, November 18 from 5 – 7 pm at New Providence Women’s Shelter, 225 East 45th Street.

You can lend support by: Attending on behalf of your organization or yourself.  Volunteering to prepare dinner for people attending the vigil by going to QEJ’s office on Nov. 18th at 2pm.  Just call 212.564.3608 or email carlos1@q4cj.org or jay@q4ej.org.

Thanks for your support especially in these times of violence.  QEJ is very shocked and saddened by this brutal act, we are not silenced–we will continue to organize around low-income, working class queer issues in New York, and will not be stopped by police brutality.  Your love is what inspires us; your support is what empowers us.

Amber Holibaugh, Interim Exec. Dir

Queers for Economic Justice

HOW MEDICARE FAILS THE ELDERLY (nytimes.com)

By Jane Gross

(Published Oct. 15, 2011)

HERE is the dirty little secret of health care in America for the elderly, the one group we all assume has universal coverage thanks to the 1965 Medicare law: what Medicare paid for then is no longer what recipients need or want today.

No one then envisioned the stunning advances in medicine that now keep people alive into advanced old age, often with unintended and unwelcome consequences. Indeed, scientific reports have showed the dangers, not merely the pointlessness and expense, of much of the care Medicare is providing.

Of course, some may actually want everything medical science has to offer. But overwhelmingly, I’ve concluded in a decade of studying America’s elderly, it is fee-for-service doctors and Big Pharma who stand to gain the most, and adult children, with too much emotion and too little information, driving those decisions.

In the last year alone, and this list is far from complete, here is what researchers have found both useless and harmful, according to leading medical journals:

• Feeding tubes, which can cause infections, nausea and vomiting, rarely prolong life. People with dementia often react with agitation, including pulling out the tubes, and then are either sedated or restrained.

• Abdominal and gall bladder surgery and joint replacements, for those who rank poorly on a scale that measures frailty, lead to complications, repeat hospital stays and placement in nursing homes.

• Tight glycemic control for Type 2 diabetes, present in 1 of 4 people over 65, often requires 8 to 10 years before it helps prevent blindness, kidney disease or amputations. Without enough time to reap the benefits, the elderly endure needless dietary limits and needle sticks.

TO READ FULL ESSAY CLICK HERE –> How Medicare Fails the Elderly – NYTimes.com.