Anne Donnelly 415.558.8669x208 (o)
Important new tool in fighting AIDS, Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) may be up to 99% effective in preventing new infections
Friday, April 18, 2014 — Three leading California AIDS organizations – AIDS Project Los Angeles, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and Project Inform in San Francisco – today applauded California’s Medi-Cal program for easing access to a well-established AIDS medication that has been proven to prevent HIV infection in at risk individuals.
The action lifts a requirement that doctors complete an authorization request when prescribing PrEP for HIV negative individuals. PrEP is the brand drug Truvada, an AIDS drug manufactured by Gilead Sciences in Foster City, CA. The action is effective immediately and will be published in Medi-Cal’s June Provider Bulletin.
Many in the HIV/AIDS community consider PrEP a groundbreaking HIV prevention tool. The authorization request is considered an obstacle for both doctors and patients. With Medi-Cal’s action, doctors will now be able to prescribe the drug for men and women who test HIV negative and indicate that they are “at risk” of infection through HIV exposure.
“The Medi-Cal ruling is a game changer in HIV prevention,” said AIDS Project los angeles Executive Director Craig E. Thompson. “Appropriate access to PrEP through Medi-Cal provides us with another intervention – along with safer sex and condom use – to reduce the number of new HIV infections.”
“Medi-Cal’s action also brings an element of health equity to the program’s low-income beneficiaries,” Thompson said. “Private insurance plans have been covering PrEP for some time, often without prior authorization.”
“Project Inform and other organizations working directly with people at risk of acquiring HIV have conjectured that the slow uptake of PrEP may be more attributable to clinicians’ reluctance to provide sexual health services of this type than to patients’ lack of knowledge of PrEP or willingness to take it,” said Project Inform’s Executive Director Dana Van Gorder. “Lifting the TAR removes a potential obstacle that may have contributed to providers’ reluctance to prescribe PrEP.”
Research modeling shows Truvada may be up to 99 percent effective in preventing new infections, depending on adherence and whether the drug is used in conjunction with safer sex counseling, provision of condoms and other prevention services.
“By making it easier for people at-risk of HIV infection to get access to medicine that has been proven to prevent HIV infection, California has set an important precedent for the rest of the nation,” said L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings. “This collaboration between Medi-Cal and community advocates will move California closer to the comprehensive response that is needed to help end the HIV epidemic.”
The policy change resulted from discussions with Medi-Cal’s Pharmacy Policy Branch Chief, Mike Wofford, his staff and representatives from APLA, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and Project Inform. The discussions focused on provider knowledge of PrEP, possible side effects associated with long-term use of Truvada, and community acceptance of the intervention.
Previously, Medi-Cal patients asking for Truvada could have been asked to meet several conditions outlined in the TAR for “high risk” individuals. Some of these conditions could have required the provision of condoms and monthly HIV testing – not necessarily real world conditions.
“There is a reason the AIDS community is talking about ending the epidemic,” Thompson said. “We have three successful medical interventions to reduce new infections, including PrEP. What we need now is broad community and provider education on these interventions to increase acceptance and utilization.”
The three interventions include: PrEP for at risk HIV negative individuals, post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP for people who know or suspect they have been exposed to HIV, and HIV anti-retroviral treatment as prevention (TasP) for those living with HIV. (HIV/AIDS drugs can bring viral load – the amount of virus in the body – down to undetectable levels in people who are HIV positive, reducing the likelihood that they will be able to transmit the virus to sexual partners.)
Greater Palm Springs Pride announced the recipients of its 2014 Pride Honors Awards. The prestigious Pride Honors are presented annually to individuals in order to recognize the work they have put into raising awareness and furthering the causes of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and their allies. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on October 10, at the Hyatt Palm Springs.
The Community Grand Marshals recognized for their positive and lasting impact represent two generations of volunteerism and service in the community. Alexis Ortega is part of a new generation that’s dedicated to building a stronger and more vibrant community and Thomas Smith is recognized for 30 years of community service, leadership in the Leather community and as an award winning author.
Community Grand Marshal Thomas Smith is recognized for 30 years of community service which includes being active in projects to provide books for elementary students, organizing a prom for youth with disabilities and raising funds for student scholarships, the senior citizens center, and community musical concerts. He has been a high school mentor and advisory board member of the Palm Springs High School Business Academy and currently he is serving as president of the Rotary Club of Palm Springs.
Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert has announced the dates for Palm Springs Leather Pride 2014, which will be October 30 - November 2. It will be held the weekend before Palm Springs Gay Pride which had changed their dates to the second weekend in November, however they are still bookend weekends which allows people to celebrate 10 Days of Pride in sunny and warm Palm Springs.
2014 also marks the 20th Anniversary of Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert (PSLOD) and they are planning to keep the surprises coming with a new and even better weekend-long event that has become a centerpiece of the West Coast Leather scene that attracts attendees from all over the United States as well as Canada, the UK, Germany, France and Australia.
Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert http://www.pslod.org is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing a safe atmosphere for growth and support of the Leather Lifestyle while nourishing a sense of sister/brother hood and camaraderie within the organization and the community, and to raise funds for deserving projects, clubs, organizations, defense funds or charities which have given direct or indirect support to the Leather community or to the GLBT community at large.
Here is the IML Class of 2014 - Part III. Word has it that 53 men are competing this year. We started out with 40 of them, but since then we have received information from two more who will appear in the next section.
International Mr. Leather 2014 will be a great event, just as have preceded it. Plenty of vendors, the San Francisco and ONYX parties, eating almost anywhere in downtown Chicago, the roast of IML 2013 Andy Cross at the Leather Archives and Museum, Chicago Hellfire Club cocktail party, Bootblack contest and their big party, puppy mosh pits, who is hot in the Marriott Lobby and outside, numerous parties at Touché, muscled and hot Leathermen who will show us how comfortable in their own skin during Pecs and Personality, IML buses, the Top 20, Collaring and Covering ceremonies and plenty more will make this another memorable year.
los angeles Leather Pride Week was huge and what a production is was, with the main event at Circus Disco in Hollywood being the 15th Annual Mr. LA Leather Contest where Eagle LA Mr. Leather 2014 Eric Paul Leue was best in a field of 10 men vying for the opportunity to represent the City of the Angels at International Mr. Leather in Chicago.
The theme for LA Leather Pride 2014 was Brethern = Blood, Building the Bonds of Brotherhood.
There was a ton of events that started at the ONE Archives Foundation near the USC campus with a motorcycle ride that stopped at several popular Leather businesses while working their way to the Bullet Bar in North Hollywood, Chariots of Fire with the Mr. LA Leather contestants, Payasos LA and followers on Sunday morning, March 22 followed by Odyssey: The Road to Mr. LA Leather the opening party of LA Leather Pride hosted by Avatar Club los angeles put on Odyssey: The Road to Mr. LA Leather – the traditional kick off party to Mr. LA Leather Pride where the contestants for Mr. los angeles Leather 2014 drew their numbers. The Bullet has recently been remodeled and the back room behind the patio was converted to a VIP lounge.
The dynamic nature of Washington, DC’s urban redevelopment has allowed the landlord to grant the DC Eagle yet another extension of their lease at 639 New York Avenue NW. The DC Eagle will be staying at this location though January 2014. During the weekend of Mid-Atlantic Leather the DC Eagle will be testing out their first pop-up location which is at the other end of the DC Eagle's current block - 607 New York NW, the Fringe Building.
At a time where many established Leather, gear and biker bars are closing across the globe, the DC Eagle has viewed the challenge of a location move as an opportunity to create a stable home for the DC Eagle and a destination for all members of the community. If all goes to plan the new home will be at 3701 Benning Road NE with an anticipated settlement in February 2014. After renovations and improvements, the DC Eagle management anticipate an opening in late summer of 2014.
Mr. Pittsburgh Leather Fetish Joe Birdwell bested three other men when he won the Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather 2014 title at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Sunday afternoon, January 19 in front of a packed house. The runner-up was Thomas Idoux of Baltimore, MD.
The contest was part of the greater Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend produced by the Centaur Motorcycle Club.
Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather 1993 and Centaur MC member Frank Nowicki emceed and had the show over before 3:30 PM when the time allotted went up to 4 PM. It is rare for a contest to finish that early. This year's Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather contest did not have special entertainment as in past years, This helped move the show along.
Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather 2013 Bryce Caine was the head judge and joining him were International Mr. Leather 2013 Andy Cross, American Leatherwoman 2008 Joan Norry, Mr. DC Eagle 2009 John Harris, Mr. Atlanta Eagle 2010 Chandler Bearden, Mr. Philadelphia Leather 2007 John Loesch and Mr. Maryland Leather 2008 Kristopher DeBlase.
It was announced on stage at the Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street on Saturday night, March 1 that Mr. San Francisco Leather 2014 is Scott "Big Red" Farrell. The first runner-up was Mr. San Francisco Eagle Leather Gage Fisher and the second runner-up was Mr. Daddy’s Barbershop Leather. Six men competed.
Heading the judging panel was Mr. San Francisco Leather 2013 who was the fifth Mr. San Francisco Leather titleholder to win the International Mr. Leather title. The other four were IML 1979 David Kloss representing the Brig, IML 1981 Marty Kiker representing the Brig, IML 1985 Patrick Tone representing Chaps and IML 1992 Lenny Broberg.
Joining Andy were Mr. LA Leather 2013 Justin Emerick, Mr. Bolt Leather 2013 Robert Brooks, Mr. Santa Clara County Leather 2012 Thib Guichard-Callin, Ms San Francisco Leather 2013 Val Langmuir and Judge Emeritus Garry "Marlena" McLain.
The emcees were Mr. San Francisco Leather 2013 Darren Bondy and International Mr. Leather 198 Mike Pereyra.
As Mr. Legion of Sin, Scott Farrell is a muscled redhead who is Mr. September on the 2014 Bare Chest Calendar. Big Red is a member of BaGG (Bondage a Go Go) and is the secretary of the San Francisco Bay Area Leather Alliance. He will compete at International Mr. Leather in Chicago in May.
VT-TLJ: Is your contestant run sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization?
LJD: Not applicable
VT-TLJ: Tell me about your favorite charity.
LJD: My Charity is The Pinnacle Foundation. The Pinnacle Foundation was established to provide scholarships to lesbian, gay, transsexual, queer, intersex and bisexual youth who are marginalized or disadvantaged. Their aim is to help young LGBTIQs who can face a tough time coming out to their families, friends and schools, with some finding themselves without the money and support needed to keep up their studies.
Financial and health difficulties have contributed to the planned closing of the first and only dungeon to be open in the Inland Empire (Redlands, CA). It was announced by the management of the club that the official closing will be the end of September, 2013. However, there is the possibility of the club staying open if there is an interest by an organization or individual to take it over. The owners of the club are hoping that someone will come forward that can provide the financial backing needed to keep a club such as Le Fleur de Lis open and operating.
Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2014 is Greg Menzel of Minneapolis, MN.
Twin Cities Leather and Latte presented the Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2014 Contest held the weekend of February 14-16 at The Saloon in downtown Minneapolis.
The weekend included a Kink U event on Saturday hosted by the Titans of the Midwest and Victory Party by DJMF.
The judges were Leathrati.com contributor Tynan Fox, International Leather Sir 2012 Jack Duke, Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2011 Daniel Henniger, Mr. Leatherman of Color 2011 Onyx Rod, Atons of Minneapolis President Andrew Bertke, and Saloon General Manager Tim Balfanz. The tallymaster was Mr. DC Eagle 2011 Michael Kramer and the den daddy was Bud Ingram-Lile.
The contestants were Tim Holden, Cody Marino and Greg Menzel.
Event Sponsors included The Saloon, TCL&L, Lavender Media, CLAW Nation, UberLube, Oxballs, and Little Pig Design.
Greg Menzel will compete at IML in Chicago, IL in May.
CLAW XIV will be held April 24-27 at the Sheraton Airport Hotel in Leather-friendly Cleveland, Ohio. Shuttle buses will meet every CLAW air-travel attendee — day or night — for their one-minute ride to the lobby door.
Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend (CLAW) has seen a growth rate of about 15 percent each of the past several years. CLAW’s biggest Vendor Mart will feature more than 25 merchants, including CLAW sponsors Leatherwerks, Mr. S Leather, Leatherman NYC, Torso, and Stompers Boots; three Recon Reflex dungeon parties in the warehouse attached to FLEX Spas in downtown Cleveland; and more than 40 skills workshops and other educational offerings, including 25 Years Later, a discussion featuring Guy Baldwin and Brian Dawson, the renowned and groundbreaking Leather titleholders who were International Mr. Leather and International Mr. Drummer, respectively, in 1989.
Empire MC will be celebrating their 50th Annual Holiday Party and Toy Drive at Rockbar NYC on Saturday, December 7 from 6:30 to 9:30 PM by lowering the cost of the event and going back to our roots, making this more of a social party than a sit-down dinner. Only $25 in advance, or $30 at the door.
Complimentary soft drinks all night, compliments of Rockbar NYC; complimentary "rockshot" or beer for all guests, fantastic door prizes, coat check, plenty of light fare and appetizers all night.
Remember to bring a new, unwrapped gift or toy suitable for a child or teenager to benefit Leake and Watts Services.
On Saturday, January 11, Sir Greg Slaven was chosen Mr. 501 Eagle contest at the 501 Eagle, 501 North College Avenue, Indianapolis, IN. The runner-up was Michael Fetter.
Due to the effect of weather earlier in the week, the judging panel was reduced to three people. They were Tom Vester who is co-owner of the 501 Eagle, Ron Clemons from Cincinnati Ohio and part of Scorpius Leather Cincinnati, and International Ms Olympus Leather 2013 Robyn Fisher. Others helping with the contest were emcee Jerry Roseberry, tally master Pup Spaz, judges' boy Pup Spike, and contestant handler Jamie McKim.
The contestants were, in order of appearance, Sir Greg Slaven, Michael Fetters, Tom Fleetwood and Greg Otto.
Sir Greg Slaven will compete at International Mr. Leather (IML) in May. Greg is International Mr. Olympus Leather 2012.