Putting LGBT on Caribbean Sexual Violence Agenda

The exclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) persons in the discussion and planning to address sexual violence, was brought into focus by United and Strong as the organization added its voice to a regional workshop staged in Saint Lucia by the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA).

The Caribbean Regional Gender Workshop on Sexual Violence in the Caribbean, Status and Needs Including in Humanitarian Situations, saw thirty-four government and NGO representatives from twelve countries attending. The three-day workshop reviewed a strategy, initiated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to reduce gender-based sexual violence and provide a framework for action and guidance in regional and in-country gender-related activities.

The three-day workshop heard country and NGO reports that detailed actions by national institutions and civil society organizations to address and prevent gender-based violence. Among the presentations however only Belize, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago included LGBT persons in national plans to combat sexual violence.

“I believe it is important to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons in programs dealing with gender-based and sexual violence” states Edma Pierre, who represented U&S along with Media Consultant Maria Fontenelle. She adds, “The fact that they are also victims is often ignored and they are treated with a lack of sensitivity within the system.”

United and Strong representatives took the opportunity to highlight the risks inherent in not considering LGBT when designing responses to sexual violence, particularly in disaster and humanitarian situations. They stressed that LGBT should be given consideration across the board from the design of training; selection of staff; services provided for at risk persons; how these services are advertised; the structure of facilities, including toilets; the policies that govern safe spaces for victims of abuse and the legal challenges that can affect all of these.

The legal barrier of the Buggery law was stated as one of the chief reasons that reports from Saint Lucia did not mention LGBT in plans to reduce gender-based sexual violence and in-country gender-related activities. The meeting included representatives from PROSAF, the Massade Boys Training Centre, Voluntary Women, Saint Lucia Planned Parenthood Association, Women’s Shelter, Saint Lucia Crisis Centre, Saint Lucia CARIMAN, Gender Relations, CAFRA Saint Lucia, Family Court and Human Services.

Representatives of PROSAF, the Women’s Shelter, Gender Relations, Family Court and Human Services took the opportunity to stress that their doors were open to every victim of sexual violence. However it was recognised that reluctance to openly identify as LGBT due to fears of stigma, and the reluctance on the part of men generally, and gay men in particular, to admit to being sexually violated was a deterrent in acquiring data that would support the need for inclusion of LGBT in national planning.

Funding was also touted as a constraint. “What is being done sometimes is limited by our resources both at the international level and at the national level”, notes UNFPA gender specialist Jewell Quallo Rosberg. She states however that there is determination to tackle the wide-ranging issue of gender-based violence, “by uniting and using all our resources, not just financial but community resources, and focussing on prevention rather than trying to address the problem after it happens.”

By the conclusion of the conference, at least one country rep, Elaine Henry-McQueen of Grenada, undertook to push for the consideration of the needs of LGBT in national policy planning. Saint Lucia based government and civil society representatives also committed to continue to work in partnership going forward. There was general-consensus among regional partners to advocate for greater collaboration between the community and government to address sexual and gender-based violence as highlighted during the workshop.

– END –

U&S’ Edma Pierre (seated – first left) and Maria Fontenelle (standing – far right), with participants at Caribbean Regional Gender Workshop on Sexual Violence in the Caribbean

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APA Applauds the Supreme Court Decisions Supporting the Rights of Same-Sex Couples

The American Psychiatric Association applauds two Supreme Court decisions issued today: striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA ); and effectively striking down California’s Proposition 8 which banned same sex marriage.

apa

APA President Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, noted that, “The APA has a long history of supporting freedom in sexual orientation and the rights of same sex couples. By withholding benefits or marriage rights from same sex couples the government unfairly stigmatizes an important part of the American population.”
Paul Appelbaum, MD, past president of the APA and member of the APA Council on Psychiatry and Law, stated, “APA has been involved as a friend of the court from the inception of litigation over the rights of same-sex couples.

Today’s decisions by the Supreme Court represent a landmark achievement of these efforts. However, litigation is likely to continue on the state level, since a majority of states still do not recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry.”
The court looked at the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act which defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. At issue was whether the federal government can deny benefits to legally married same-sex couples that it extends to other legally married couples. The case was brought by Edie Windsor, an 83-year-old woman from New York who was married to Thea Clara Spyer. After Spyer’s death in 2009, Windsor was denied an exemption of federal estate taxes that she would have received if the marriage had been recognized.
In a second case involving a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, the court looked at whether, or in what circumstances, a state can withhold marriage rights from same-sex couples.
APA joined amicus briefs in both cases in support of legal recognition of same sex marriages. Signed by a coalition of the nation’s top healthcare associations including the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others, the briefs noted that the scientific evidence strongly supports the conclusion that homosexuality is a normal expression of human sexuality; that most gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults do not experience their sexual orientation as a choice; that gay and lesbian people form stable, committed relationships that are equivalent to heterosexual relationships in essential respects; and that same-sex couples are no less fit than heterosexual parents to raise children and their children are no less psychologically healthy and well-adjusted than children of heterosexual parents.
Over the past several decades, APA has issued a number of position statements on antidiscrimination policies related to the LGBT community. APA’s 2005 position statement on same sex marriage stated that, “APA supports the legal recognition of same-sex marriage with all rights, benefits, and responsibilities conferred by civil marriage, and opposes restrictions to those same rights, benefits, and responsibilities.” Other positions include statements on homosexuality (1992, reaffirmed 2011) and civil rights (1973), adoption and co-parenting by same-sex couples (2002) and same sex unions (2004).
The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses including substance use disorders.

Visit the APA at http://www.psychiatry.org.

XXXTRRRAAA:

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Locally in the meantime Buggery challenge claimant Javed Jaghai gave another interview on CVM TV this time on the magazine program DIRECT hosted by Garfield Burford, prior to his appearance was anti gay activist Shirley Richards and Atheist/Activist Lloyd D’Agular. Javed’s case has been moved to October 4, 2013 as other religious groups have been allowed to join the suit he has filed in the Constitutional court.

also The US Supreme Court DOMA strike down has had many Jamaicans talking and a vox pop was done in Kingston and on Facebook by Nationwide radio as to how persons felt about same sex marriage overall and its possibility in Jamaica

Human Rights Watch on Combating Homophobia in Jamaica

The following is a press release from Human Rights Watch

(New York) – The Jamaican government should repeal the anti-buggery law and protect people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller of Jamaica.

The Jamaican media reported two homophobic incidents in June 2012 in which violence was threatened or used to injure innocent civilians, simply because they were suspected of being homosexual. On June 21, in Jones Town, Kingston, the police had to intervene  as an angry crowd gathered in front of a house where five homosexuals were staying as reported on CVMTV News (3:15-5:35 of the footage). “Homophobia is so bad that human rights defenders advocating the rights of LGBT people are not safe in Jamaica,” said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “Jamaica needs to act now on its international obligations to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” Jamaican nongovernmental organizations have pressed the Jamaican government for years to repeal the anti-buggery law and to pass anti-discrimination legislation to protect LGBT people.

According to Section 76 of the Jamaican Offences Against the Person Act of 1864, a maximum sentence of 10 years can be issued for the committing the crime of buggery. Simpson-Miller made a courageous stand before she took office in January, speaking out against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and suggesting a review of Jamaica’s anti-buggery law, Human Rights Watch said. During the leadership debate she also indicated a willingness to review the country’s buggery laws. Homophobic threats, including death threats, caused one of the most outspoken campaigners for the rights of LGBT people, Maurice Tomlinson, to flee Jamaica in January.  He told Human Rights Watch and the Inter American Commission that he had asked police in Montego Bay to protect him, but that the police officer in charge responded by saying,  “I hate gays, they make me sick.” He fled to Canada, where he received two more death threats by email, in February and March.

Upon the request of the former assistant police commissioner, he returned briefly to Kingston for the investigation, but the police have not followed up with him. “It is a shame that such a prominent LGBT human rights defender has been compelled to seek safety elsewhere,” Dittrich said. “The government’s failure to comply with international human rights standards while public officials like the police officer in Montego Bay look the other way when hate crimes are committed leaves LGBT people vulnerable and unprotected in their daily lives.” In 2004 Human Rights Watch published a report about the treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS and the situation for LGBT people in Jamaica, “Hated to Death: Homophobia, Violence, and Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic.” The report, which documented a grim landscape of human rights abuses against LGBT people, was undertaken at the behest of local Jamaican advocacy organizations.

Since the Human Rights Watch report, attacks on homosexual people or people perceived as being homosexual or transgender appear to have remained commonplace, Human Rights Watch said. Jamaica is a party to a number of international human rights treaties, but does not live up to those standards, Human Rights Watch said. The Organization of American States (OAS), of which Jamaica is a member,  adopted five resolutions between 2008 and 2012 condemning “acts of violence and human rights violations perpetrated against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,” and urging states “to adopt the necessary measures to prevent, punish, and eradicate” discrimination. The protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is part of Jamaica’s binding obligations under international law and standards, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Jamaica ratified without reservations in 1975, affirms the equality of all people in articles 2 and 26.

Likewise, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the international body of experts that monitors compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which Jamaica acceded without reservation in 1991, has affirmed that all children are entitled to protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. “We call upon Prime Minister Simpson-Miller to act swiftly and to bring Jamaica’s laws and policies in line with international human rights standards, in particular as they relate to the rights of LGBT people,” Dittrich said. “We encourage the prime minister to publicly and unequivocally affirm that all Jamaicans, including LGBT people, will be equally protected by the law, the state, and all its institutions and that no discrimination will be tolerated.”

more audio

TVJ on the 25/07/12 carried the story in their Prime Time News feature

Thankfully HRW did not make the same mistake as the IACHR did by including the June 13th murders of the homeless men in the New Kingston area and also that of ‘Ronica who was also killed on the same day. Those murders were not homophobia related but more to do with inter/intra community issues and homelessness coupled with hypermasculine power differentials.

see the Jamaica Observer Vox pop on crimes towards homosexuals where some persons still do not believe there are homophobic murders.

also see: IACHR Condemns Murder of Two Gay Men in Jamaica …….. an open response

and listen more

also see:  Murder, Homelessness and fallouts ……………………………. which looks at the Trafalgar matter and the previous homeless MSM murder that took place sometime between May 23 and 24 this year as well, his mutilated body was found but this story did not get the coverage as the others except in the Star News on May 25 and is considered a homophobic murder for now.

Peace and tolerance

H

JFLAG’s needs to accept some responsibility for the Trafalgar Murders ….. homelessness not properly addressed

Calls on the PM to act despite her seemingly tolerant stance especially in today’s economic reality with austerity and political careers on the line are certainly going to be ignored, sorry but that is the reality in my view well crafted press releases and letters to the editor as the one in today’s Jamaica Observer without any serious interventions in the very community it says it represents is so evidencial of the lack of interest in addressing lgbt homelessness and displacement overall over the 14 year plus life of the J. Where are the residential/rehabilitation typed facilities for the homeless and displaced sections of the lgbt population that are urgently needed, why did we have to wait till a murder makes mainstream news to finally hear from JFLAG on such issues?  In as far as a timeline we saw this matter of homelessness during my more active times on the streets especially in the younger msm populations explode in 2007 and after due to a party dvd that went public thus exposing many persons who had to flee their communities to Kingston predominantly as the event took place in St Ann at the time, two persons were said to have lost their lives soon after due to the exposure.

The very title of the press release and subsequent letter GAYS SADDENED BY RECENT MURDERS, CALL ON PRIME MINISTER TO ACT suggests a kind of aloofness as if JFLAG is not a homosexual representative group, after all the use of the word “Gays” usually connotates a kind of contempt from homophobes or persons on some anti gay agenda or separatism, why use that in addressing this emotive matter? the section that described the group as “these people” is a bit troubling to me. No political party is going to take on that right now as was hinted to by a member of parliament (see PNP’s Damion Crawford says it’s highly unlikely buggery review will happen …….. it’s not important now he concludes) as far as I am concerned we will have to address our issues ourselves for now with all the access to resources we have especially in the programmatic arenas and again I ask where are the behaviour change experts in the field?

Police investigators at the crime scene on Trafalgar Road in St Andrew the morning of June 13th. – Norman Grindley

All this madness happening in pride month makes me wonder what is there to be proud of at this juncture of our history?

Here is the Observer letter that was published today:

Gays call on PM to listen to their cries

Dear Editor,

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is deeply saddened and concerned by the recent murders of gay men within the last three months. We, the community and allies, send our condolences to the loved ones, friends and families of these people.

We are concerned about the high levels of crime and violence across Jamaica. We condemn these and other grotesque murders of people, which continue to threaten peace, citizen security and justice in Jamaica.

Members of the LGBT community have reported to J-FLAG that eight gay men have been murdered within the last three months bringing to the fore the reality that despite progress towards greater tolerance, the LGBT community continues to be at great risk of violence.

Among the most recent attacks against the gay community was the savage killing of two young men. The men were apparently brutally murdered with blunt instruments in the vicinity of the intersection of Trafalgar Road and Lady Musgrave Road. People who are homeless frequented this area. Among them are young gay men who have been made homeless because of the continued intolerance of homosexuality in Jamaica.

While the motive for these latest senseless killings remains unclear, we expect that the government and police will thoroughly investigate all crimes, thereby mitigating their impact on all Jamaicans, regardless of socio-economic status, disability, health status, sexual orientation or gender identity. We stand ready to partner with the police to bring justice and respect to those whose right to life has been violated.

We also ask the Jamaican public and media to allow the police to conduct their investigations and resist the urge to judge the victims or the motive of their deaths. Let us instead recognise the inherent dignity of every person and respect that should be accorded to every living being while demanding the same justice for these men that we all deserve.

We call on the prime minister and the ministers of national security and labour and social security to listen to the cries and needs of members of our community who continue to be subjected to discrimination and violence, have nowhere to live and no food to eat because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

As we work collectively towards achieving Vision 2030, we invite all Jamaicans to embrace our common humanity and demonstrate respect for the lives of all people as we help make Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.

Dane Lewis

 

Executive Director, J-FLAG

 

PO Box 1152

 

Kingston 8

 

admin@jflag.org

ENDS

I hope that this murder is NOT paraded as a homophobic murder by the establishment as it is not as the alleged killer is also a member of the community. Intra and Inter community reasons are said to be the cause here with homelessness playing a major role.

Albeit the closure of the Safe House Pilot Project which was set up by a previous Executive Director of JFLAG’s parent Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, JASL still has a bad taste in many person’s mouths including the very men at the time who were made homeless again for reasons among which was the so called bad behaviour of the very men who were housed therein in 2010. JFLAG during the tumultuous time said or did nothing to stop the subtle eviction as one would have expected from any independent non aligned advocacy structure would have done on behalf of its representative groups that is claims to speak for. Fast forward to June 13 and all the mess and fallouts and even other deaths not so reported by the mainstream press in between as these two victims have recieved, it took this for JFLAG to finally talk about homelessness? while pretending to be so concerned about the group when bloggers, other activists, influentials and even other NGOs have been questioning over the years since the closure of the Safe House Project aforementioned where is the group during the struggles of the men to survive on their own despite their “bad behaviour?” especially the fact that the men were not far away from the offices of the organization whilst attacks, chases and beatings persisted with very little concern shown.

Let us also not forget: Rowdy gays banned by J-FLAG, JASL ………

Yes there is some truth that the men do call unto themselves uneeded heat as they can be loud and extraverted especially the effeminate members of the population which has led to some homo-negative press and homophobic violence but aren’t the two organizations above equipped with qualified behaviour change experts who ought to have at least understood anticedences when it comes to “bad behaviour hence leading to proper interventions?”

Why did we have to wait until two young promising lives are snuffed out before we see some media shenanigans from JFLAG? these two brothers were younger members of the displaced community who were alleged to be involved in commercial sex work as well. It smacks of a kind of opportunistic activity here by the J to use this issue as it has with other media episodes on LGBT life to present itself as concerned when the realities clearly indicate otherwise.

Why are most things just a press release or a set of letters to the editors and very little grass roots work to address inter and intra community issues?

Let us not forget the politics surrounding the two organizations named and the interior set up, it is important to note that they are all interlinked hence the description coined by some as the incestuous mess, could this be another reason why we can’t see any proper interventions to address homelessness separate and apart from the seemingly manufactured excuse that both groups do not have the resources to do that kind of work not to mention the apologists who are quick on the draw since these two murders and some question of accountability being brought into the subsequent discourse on social media and on the party scenes.

The other issue as well that the J has been getting some flack whether it knows it or not is the matter of gay for pay as alleged in another gruesome murder of a community member just a day before the Trafalgar matter where some have been asking where is the presence on the ground in knowing community members and or at least the cruising communities so as to identify and if not have preemptive workshops on how to negotiate sex with the hypermasculine DL segment of the MSM populations. Certainly JFLAG and other representative groups need to step up their game this is not the late nineties when the community was gullible and hid behind the body as it spoke on our behalf supposedly, things and times have changed drastically some for the better some for the worse and the representation needs to change with it while becoming really effective and not just a press release factory in what some say is a kind of intellectual duplicity.

JFLAG (and its affiliate Jamaica AIDS Support for LIFE) needs to accept some responsibility in the Trafalgar murders, simply put it has failed miserably in addressing homelessness and displacement especially in the last two plus years since the closure of the pilot Safe House Project, it kept disturbingly quiet when the ultimatum was issued and project was closed and the first of two civil disobedience actions by the men although it was clear the men in the shelter at the time would have been made homeless yet again coupled with new additions as more young msms become displaced hence homeless afterwards due to forced evictions and homophobia, not to mention the use of the very space that was the shelter to become the J’s present office. It cannot function independently of JASL or even the sister group Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition as the principals of these two groups have some connection to the J in some instances showing clear conflict of interest so matters that are deemed not important in their eyes at the time just simply do not get attended to, a fact known to many who have gone through the systems. The belief or perception also that the “bad behaving men” are somehow unworthy of any serious support is tacitly supported by the J it seems as they are silent as per usual on matters of homelessness except one sluggish radio interview in 2011 in radio Jamaica’s Beyond The Headlines where the group’s Executive Director then alongside the current ED of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life tried to paint a picture as if they tried other programs such as a gardening project to which the men barely responded, this suggests to me a mindset that the men must accept any little thing that is handed to them no matter how insignificant or paltry it may seem but the question comes again where are the behaviour change experts who know that this population needs more than just a handout or patchwork half house typed facilities without the proper basic psycho social support?

To suggest that it cares about the plight of persons despite socio economic status smacks on a kind of hypocrisy that exists overall in the LGBT community, we know fully well the elitism and classism that runs counter to all that is to be wholesome and these factors even affect how business is done, the vast majority of activists in its midst have never been exposed to the real life issues surrounding stigma and especially displacement/homelessness so they do not exert any willingness to engage such populations, as one community member said it recently near the murder site educated upper middle income folks speaking on behalf of ordinary people …………. this suggests a disconnect in my view, a problem that must be addressed if there is to be any movement in real grassroots work amongst the least of us.

Many persons including myself would love to support any properly thought through and laid out programs to address homelessness in particular but given just some of the challenges as hinted to above how can we get there without some serious paradigm shifts happening? ……………… while our brothers (and sisters as the case maybe) languish and suffer sometimes in silence, if this matter did not get the media spotlight we probably would not have heard a thing from the J, apart from the 8 persons tragically taken from us since this year some of which have made mainstream news there were two other murders in the New Kingston area as well at the other base where substance abusers and homeless persons also use, this was confirmed just days before the Trafalgar matter made news but was not highlighted in the press.

see more on that HERE: Homeless population continues to spiral ….. and Murder, Homelessness and fallouts …………….

Other community influentials have become weary as well due to all the issues surrounding the men over the years so they too have contributed to the aloofness towards to populations, the scholarship program started by some have since wained and the feeding programs have died in the water, the recent Green Gables troubles with the subsequent mobbing in front of the popular theatre and the added Chicken n Things incident has not helped any. The murder also of one of the private donors towards some support for those who want to return to some sort of schooling has greatly affected what little avenue was available to assist if not one member of the group.

So much to ponder on regarding our homeless populations and where to go, the ethical and moral considerations are not too far behind, if we are to be credible with all the letters, thesis, scholarships and impressionable radio interviews will all be for naught if we do not treat with balance the real marginalized amongst us, how can we ask for tolerance from the mainstream when we are so contemptuous of our lesser populations, we already have enough on our plates from the anti gay establishments then this towards our own?

here is a synopsis in audio:

Peace and tolerance

H

Rectal Formulation of Tenofovir Gel Found Safe and Acceptable in Early Phase Clinical Study

Follow-up study planned to further assess gel’s potential as a rectal microbicide to prevent HIV
March 5, 2012 – A gel formulation of the antiretroviral drug tenofovir designed specifically for rectal use was found safe and acceptable, according to a Phase I clinical study led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Microbicide Trials Network (MTN), and presented today at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI). The results of the study, which included HIV-negative men and women who used the gel rectally once a day for one week, serve as an important step toward the development and testing of arectal microbicide to prevent HIV from anal sex. 
Microbicides, products applied on the inside of the rectum or vagina, are being studied as an approach for preventing or reducing the sexual transmission of HIV. The majority of microbicide research has focused on products to prevent HIV through vaginal sex, yet the risk of becoming infected with HIV from unprotected anal sex may be 20 times greater than unprotected vaginal sex. Developed as a vaginal microbicide, tenofovir gel was reformulated with less glycerin, a common additive found in many gel-like products, in the hopes of making it more appropriate for rectal use. 
The study, known as MTN-007, began in October 2010 and enrolled 65 men and women at three sites – the University of Pittsburgh, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Fenway Health in Boston. It is a follow-up trial to an earlier study, RMP-02/MTN-006, which assessed the rectal use of the vaginal formulation of tenofovir gel. That study found the gel produced a significant antiviral effect when used in the rectum, but gastrointestinal side effects were problematic.
In MTN-007, study participants were randomly assigned to one of four study groups. Three of these groups were assigned to use one of the following products for a one-week period: a rectal formulation of tenofovir gel; a placebo gel containing no active ingredient; or a gel containing the spermicide nonoxynol-9. A fourth group did not use any gel but took part in all of the study-related procedures and tests, including physical and rectal exams.
Study results indicated no significant differences in side effects among the three gel groups. Eighty percent of participants reported only minor side effects related to the use of study products, while 18 percent reported moderate side effects. (Two study participants reported severe adverse events, but they were not deemed to be related to use of the study products.) Participants’ adherence to the use of their assigned study products was high, with 94 percent using the products daily as directed. When asked about the likelihood that they would use the gel in the future, 87 percent of the participants who used the rectal formulation of tenofovir gel indicated they would likely use the gel again, compared to 93 percent of the placebo gel group, and 63 percent of the nonoxynol-9 gel group. In addition to assessing safety and acceptability, researchers also conducted preliminary gene expression testing, and noted changes in the activation of some genes in the tenofovir gel group, which they are continuing to evaluate to understand more fully.
“These findings tell us that the ‘rectal-friendly’ version of tenofovir gel was much better tolerated than the vaginal formulation of the gel when used in the rectum,” said Ian McGowan, M.D., Ph.D., co-principal investigator of the MTN and professor of medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “We are very encouraged that the rectal gel was quite safe, and that most people who used it said they would be willing to use it in the future.”
As follow-up to MTN-007, researchers are now planning a Phase II, multi-site trial called MTN-017that will involve186 men who have sex with men and transgender women at clinical sites in Peru, South Africa, Thailand, and the U.S. Participants will cycle through three study regimens: rectal tenofovir gel used daily, rectal tenofovir gel used before and after anal sex, and daily use of the antiretroviral tablet Truvada®. MTN-017 will allow researchers to collect additional information about the gel’s safety and acceptability in the rectum, and compare it to the use of Truvada.                                         
In addition to Dr. McGowan, other authors of MTN-007 are Craig Hoesley, M.D., University of Alabama; Ross Cranston, M.D., University of Pittsburgh; Philip Andrew, FHI 360; Laura Janocko, Ph.D., MTN and Magee-Womens Research Institute; James Dai, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Alex Carballo-Dieguez, Ph.D., Columbia University; Ratiya Kunjara Na Ayudhya, BSMT, MTN; Jeanna Piper, M.D., Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Ken Mayer, M.D., Fenway Health.
MTN-007 is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Division of AIDS (DAIDS) and the National Institute of Mental Health, both components of the NIH. Tenofovir gel was developed by Gilead Sciences, Inc., of Foster City, Calif., which assigned the rights for tenofovir gel to CONRAD, of Arlington, Va ., and the International Partnership for Microbicides of Silver Spring, Md., in December 2006. 
The reduced glycerin formulation of tenofovir gel that was evaluated in MTN-007 is not the same formulation developed for vaginal use. The vaginal formulation of tenofovir gel was found safe and effective in reducing the risk of HIV in women who used it before and after vaginal sex in a study called CAPRISA 004. More recently, however, MTN researchers conducting the VOICE Studyclosed the tenofovir gel arm of the trial after a routine review of study data determined that the gel, while safe, was not effective in preventing HIV among the women in that study group, who were asked to apply it vaginally every day. In the meantime, a Phase III trial called FACTS 001 is currently evaluating the vaginal formulation of tenofovir gel using the same regimen as CAPRISA 004, with results expected in 2014. 

Patterson the wrong damage control agent at this time?

In light of the furor now on in earnest after the opinions expressed by Portia Simpson Miller successor to former People’s National Party leader and Prime Minister Percival James Patterson (PJ) in answering a question on her position on Bruce Golding’s Not In My Cabinet declaration and gays in the leadership debate all kinds of damage control methods have been employed so far to soften the rising tensions as she suggested that the buggery law be reviewed while disagreeing with Mr. Golding’s position. A press release first came from PNP central just hours after the interview and the public reaction.

(also see On Buggery and gays in cabinets with politics ………… some responses) 

The press release read:

PNP HAS GIVEN NO COMMITMENT TO REPEALING THE BUGGERY ACT

Kingston, December 22, 2011: The People’s National Party notes that following Tuesday’s leadership debate, some persons have been suggesting that PNP President Portia Simpson Miller, has given a commitment to “repealing” the Buggery Act. The PNP uses this opportunity to state clearly that Mrs. Simpson Miller gave no such commitment.
The PNP President said it was time that the Act be “reviewed” and all members of the House of Representatives provided with an opportunity to vote on the matter based on their conscience.
It would be expected that in such a vote, Members of Parliament on both sides of the House, would take into consideration the views of their constituents.The PNP President remains committed to her pledge to make appointments to a Cabinet led by her on the basis of competence.

Even in the LGBT community there is a split it seems on the position taken by the opposition leader in that some ask why did it take so long for her to express this publicly given the many opportunities over her life in politics and also given the labelling of the party as a “fish tank” over the years as well while others are in support mostly in blind it seems as they are too young to recall or even have experienced those years of convenient political grandstanding and playing to the gallery, mostly the religious right.

Similar to the previous days when PJ Patterson was constantly fingered as being a gay man in secret and his own denial of same in the nineties when he was Prime Minister the perception still exists. Last evening in a Hairdresser/barber shop I frequent as the news was being read on Television Jamaica (TVJ) and his video clip was played warning persons not to allow the Jamaica Labour Party to win the reactions just by observation was curious to me as persons surmised that he was trying to defend Portia in a roundabout way given the “battyman issue” it may not be a reflection of the entire nation in response to Portia’ s position on buggery now (whether she is true to her word or not is yet to be seen) but some say she is trying to win gay votes, even persons in orange t-shirts who were either on their way or coming from a PNP event expressed some concern, one woman who was getting her nails done said she does not want battyman around her but she also lamented that gays run the world and we are going to have to give in some how, a sentiment by the way was seconded by other patrons and even my own barber as he trimmed my hair while leaving me unattended for several minutes to express his view said that he suspects many of the persons including a certain newcomer to representational politics who is a flaming as they come (my words) but he sided with Portia on the privacy issue as long as it doesn’t impose on others, the common man’s views I say must NOT be overlooked.  He postured that PJ should be silent now as it may appear as the PNP may really be “freeing up faggot” as everybody knows he is gay but that sooner or later we have to “free up de ting.”

Patterson

Mr. Patterson was speaking at a rally for the PNP on a campaign tour in Portmore – The Gleaner reported: DECLARING THAT Thursday’s general election is crucial for the future of the country, former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has warned against giving the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) a second term.

Speaking at a People’s National Party (PNP) mass meeting in Portmore, St Catherine, Thursday night, Patterson criticised the handling of the economy by the JLP and said the country must change course from the Labour Party.

Pointing for example at the Global Competitiveness Index which ranks Jamaica 142 out of one 142 countries in terms of its macroeconomy, Patterson said it contradicts the Government’s claim that it has done a good job at managing the economy.

“They dare to say they have managed the economy when it is shrinking, when we are more indebted, more people are below the poverty line …,” Patterson said.

He then proceeded to lecture the receptive band of Comrades on the components of the macroeconomy and how it impacted their daily lives. Concluding his presentation, Mr Patterson declared that it was time for the JLP to go.

“We don’t need in this country at this time, leaders who are delusional or who are trying to hoodwink the people, whether deliberately or unintentionally, and that is one of the reasons why I believe that ‘Sister P’ (Portia Simpson Miller) must return to the helm of leadership in this country,” Patterson said.

The report was however silent on the gay issue as far as he said anything on it. We must not simply forget the track record of the persons in the PNP which is clearly political expediency and hypocrisy at the highest level,  the former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson one year at a People’s National Party (PNP) conference in Kingston declared that not under his watch would there ever be the repealing of laws as it relates to homosexuality. Mr. Patterson again raised eyebrows when on a live radio programme he saw it fit to declare his sexuality to the nation. “My credentials as a life-long heterosexual person are impeccable,” Mr. Patterson said. “Anybody who tries to say otherwise is not just smearing but is engaging in vulgar abuse.” Now his coming from left field in this campaign while ignoring the present clear and present danger for the opposition in wining the election is so lame. The PNP has always had a larger LGBT majority support and as it turns out the ruling JLP has sought to capitalise on the arguments by mounting the homophobic horse. Vaz has clearly stated his position, Daryl Vaz, did not mince words as he made it clear that he did not support the views of Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller, who suggested that the buggery law should be reviewed.

Simpson Miller, who was responding to a question during Tuesday’s national leadership debate, also said she would judge her cabinet on merit and not on their sexual preference. However, Vaz, who was addressing party supporters at a mass meeting in Annotto Bay, St Mary last night, said he was prepared to make his stance public even before the debate reaches Parliament.

“Since I am going back to Parliament I am going to talk about it and I don’t want to be taken out of context,” he said.

“People of Portland ask me to tell you say we don’t buy pool in a cash pot and since it is going to be a debate in Parliament I am going to say God created Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve,” he said.

Now another JLP stalwart has lashed out, Clive Mullings Armed with a Bible, a stone-faced Mullings urged scores of Labourites at a mass meeting in Montego Bay’s historic Sam Sharpe Square on Thursday night to unite against the repealing of such a law. “We must understand that for a nation to be blessed, for a nation to grow, we cannot depart from God’s words. No nation, no nation that seeks to move away from God’s words can succeed,” he declared.

Quoting scriptures, Mullings pointed the large gathering to Genesis Chapter 19: verse 24, citing the reason why “the Lord poured down sulphur and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Mullings, an attorney, urged the horn-blowing supporters on Thursday to take a stance, arguing that the United Kingdom’s position is contrary to what we have learnt and know under the word of God.

“We are no longer a colony of Britain, so if that’s the way they want to go, let them go, but let us not depart from God’s word,” he argued.

He told the jubilant supporters that next Thursday’s general election should not be viewed only as it relates to the creation of jobs.

“We must understand carefully that the choices we make must not be only as it relates to employment, it should also be regarding the moral direction of your country and the future for your children,” the JLP candidate argued.

“So Labourites, Jamaicans, when we go out to vote think seriously about the direction of your country. I implore you to understand that while we are here at this point before general election, don’t misunderstand what we are facing. It is not just the economy, it is in regard to the future of the country for our children and you must now decide whether you want a nation that will be overtaken by those who have punitive lifestyles or whether you are serious about building our country.”

Earlier this week during a mass meeting in Annotto Bay, St Mary, JLP candidate for West Portland Daryl Vaz also criticised the opposition leader for suggesting that a future PNP government will review the buggery law.Several other speakers, including JLP deputy leader Desmond McKenzie, also blasted Simpson Miller for her stance on the buggery law during Thursday night’s meeting.

The PNP all in all has a credibility problem in my view why again has it taken so long for their leaders to finally come forward despite the hints more pronounced than ever of who is gay and who isn’t with all kinds of ads and pictures floating around in the ongoing social network war for votes. PJ maybe the wrong man at this time to speak, the full party in an endorsed statement needs to speak on the issue and definitively but with some powerful dissenters in the mix such as A. J. Nicholson former Attorney General who is on record for his anti gay position, I do not see how that is possible. I still say it is a dance with the growing and more vocal gay community and the pressure from the UK and now the US from the PNP with that question neatly planted in what many describe as a rehearsed leadership debate., even Dionne Jackson Miller, All Angles host, the woman who posed the million dollar question has been lambasted as a lesbian decoy to plant the issue as a platform item. With the PNP suffer because of this latest bump on the road ?

The letters and opinion pieces come flying now from all angles, yet when other important issues arise these persons are silent.

Hypocrisy all over I say…………..

Peace and tolerance

H

FDA ASKED TO APPROVE NEW HIV PREVENTION METHOD, PRE-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS (PrEP)

 

For Immediate Release                          Contact

December 15, 2011                                  Mark Aurigemma; 646-270-9451mark@aucomm.net

                        Pedro Goicochea; 415-490-8350pgoicochea@gladstone.ucsf.edu                                                                                                      

 

FDA ASKED TO APPROVE NEW HIV PREVENTION METHOD, PRE-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS (PrEP)

 

An application from Gilead Sciences, Inc. has been filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration toapprove an HIV antiretroviral therapy to reduce the risk of HIV infection among uninfected men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexual women and men. The application to approve the new HIV prevention method called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is based partly on data from the Global iPrEx study, the first human efficacy study to prove that PrEP reduces HIV infection risk inpeople (http://www.iprexnews.com).

 

The PrEP drug is a single-tablet once-daily combination of emtricitabine (FTC 200 mg) and tenofovir (TDF 300 mg), marketed under the brand name Truvada®. The iPrEx study found that MSM who were prescribed a single daily FTC/TDF tablet experienced an average of44% fewer HIV infections than those who received a placebo pill. Among a study sub-set those who took the tablet frequently enough for drug to be detected in their bodies, the rate of protection against HIVinfection was more than 90%. All participants in the iPrEx study received condoms and comprehensive HIV prevention support. The HIV prevention benefits of PrEP were in addition to the benefits obtained from other prevention methods.

 

iPrEx study results were first reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in November, 2010 (http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa1011205).

 

Data supporting the use of PrEP to reduce HIV infection risk in heterosexual men and women were provided by the Partners PrEP study, which involved 4758 HIV serodiscordant couples (couples in which one partner is HIV-infected and the other is not) at nine trial sites in Kenya and Uganda. Both the iPrEx and Partners PrEP studies found that PrEP is safe, with very low levels of sideeffects and limited risk of HIV drug resistance.

 

“With 2.6 million new HIV infections occurring each year, and fewer than half of people with HIV receiving treatment, the world needs new and effective HIV prevention strategies,” said iPrEx Protocol Chair Robert Grant, MD, MPH of the Gladstone Institutes and the University of California at San Francisco. “Men who have sex with men have borne an enormous burden in this epidemic, and have also beenconsistently at the head of efforts to help reverse it. The 2,499 men and transgender women who participated in the iPrEx study Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, South Africa, Thailand and the United States have made an historic contribution to the effort to help end this epidemic.”

 

“The data are clearly strong enough to warrant FDA approval of Truvada for HIV prevention,” said Dana Van Gorder, Executive Director of the AIDS advocacy group Project Inform. “The decision about whether to approve Truvada for prevention should be made with compassion, based on science rather than ideology, and without judgment regarding the behaviors of people at risk for HIV. We firmly believe in the right of people at risk of becoming infected with HIV to choose PrEP, which has been shown to be effective when used with condoms, as an additional method of HIV prevention.”

An Open Label Extension of the iPrEx study (iPrEx OLE; http://www.iprexole.com/index.html) is currently underway at 11 clinical trials sites in the United States, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, South Africa and Thailand. iPrEx OLE is designed to provide additional information about the safety of PrEP and the behavior of people taking PrEP over a longer term.

 

The iPrEx study was sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) through a grant to the Gladstone Institutes, a non-profit independent research organization affiliated with the University of California at San Francisco. Additional support for iPrEx was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

# # #

 

Mark Aurigemma
212.600.1960 (office)
646.270.9451 (mobile)


Not Ready For Gays ……. Gay Marriage smoke screen reintroduced ……………. political dodging

Jamaica is making positive steps towards securing and meeting its human-rights and civil-rights obligations says new Prime Minister Holness.

Why is the new Prime Minister made to look as if he is resorting to The Gay Marriage smoke screen as his predecessor did, did we ever ask for gay marriage rights in Jamaica? I don’t think so, when we can’t even get pass just being seen as citizens of this country? is the Gleaner glibly adding this issue of gay marriage to murk the waters? Is the new Prime Minister stalling for time? See the Gleaner’s headline first and the other materials and decide for yourselves:

Not Ready For Gays

Jamaica Gleaner Company

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

Despite renewed pressure from Britain for Jamaica to repeal its anti-buggery law, Prime Minister Andrew Holness says it will be up to Jamaicans to signal such a desire.

Holness, who described himself as a “liberal in many things” and “a fiscal conservative on the economic side”, said the Government recognises that homosexuality offends many Jamaicans.

“What the international community must be aware of in the Jamaican context is that we are a democracy, and this democracy is opening up more; people are talking; there are discussions, and I think they should support the evolving discussion. Over time, our democracy will settle at a position,” Holness said, in an interview with The Sunday Gleaner.

Last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to withhold aid from governments that did not repeal existing laws that criminalise homosexuality.

un request

On Friday, gay-rights group Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (JFLAG) claimed that Jamaica has been requested by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee to take specific actions to protect and promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jamaicans and to report on the steps taken by next year.

“The committee has requested that the Government take steps to amend the buggery law and provide protection for LGBT persons and human-rights defenders. Specifically, they recommended that the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms be reviewed to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, and provide an update in one year,” a release from JFLAG said.

For his part, Holness stressed that Jamaica has done much to protect individual rights and liberty.

He said governments have to pay attention to defending human rights and protecting civil rights.

While conceding that the country needs to do more in the area of human rights – for example, including that of protecting children, Holness said Jamaica has been honouring its obligations under international conventions.

He told The Sunday Gleaner that civil-rights provisions in the Constitution continue to be a work in progress.

“We spent almost 12 years debating what those civil rights should be, and those civil rights are now enshrined in a Charter of Rights,” Holness said.

“And so, Jamaica is making positive steps to securing and meeting its human-rights and civil-rights obligations. Jamaica will continue (to do so) as it is a good global citizen, to meet these obligations.

“We pay attention, as we are global citizens, to what people have said, including what our own people are saying, and it is a conversation that is evolving,” he added.

consider public impact

Holness argued that while it is important to protect the liberty of the person and the private space of the individual, the law must take into consideration the public impact of behaviours.

“People’s private actions have public effect. In the Jamaican context, there is a public effect and governments have to pay close attention to that,” he said.

Jamaica’s Charter of Rights, which was passed by Parliament this year, does not recognise same-sex marriages.

When the Charter of Rights was being debated, then Prime Minister Bruce Golding made it clear his administration was not in support of gay marriages.

“There is the possibility that, some time in the future, Parliament could pass a law that says same-sex unions are legal, but it won’t be done in this Parliament – not as long as I sit here,” Golding said.

“I make no apology in saying decisively and emphatically that the Government of Jamaica remains irrevocably opposed to the recognition, legitimisation or acceptance of same-sex marriages or same-sex unions,” Golding declared.

The former prime minister, who had declared he would not appoint gays to his Cabinet, said that while he accepts that Government “should not interfere in what two consenting adults choose to do within their own protected privacy, I will not accept that homosexuality must be accepted as a legitimate form of behaviour or the equivalent of marriage”.
daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com

ENDS

My two cents continued


The particular tranche of aid that maybe affected is a bilateral one known as general support,the aid was vital as it was used to rehabilitation programs for deportees who are helped to rejoin society, training and support. National Security Minister Dwight Nelson said on a radio interview that if aid was cut Jamaica could not afford to run such a program at this time.

Let us also not forget we got some $327 million debt relief earlier this year.

This issue has not been properly ventilated from day one, I still contend that the UK Prime Minister never named the countries although implied he was suggesting but one would imagine it would be the African states as they have been far more active in as far as anti gay legislation and subtle support of violence sanctioned by their complicity. We could have been more cautious before coming down on it. Also the suggestion by some American rights activists such as Truth Wins Out and In The Life Media who say Christian right movements and conservatives are supporting financially the religious anti gay lobbyists in Uganda in particular in the push for that country’s anti gay bill presented being debated in their parliament.

also see:  Intersections of Church and State where the connections are shown in a documentary on the issue

No Jamaican government and indeed the opposition are going to support this political dynamite that can make or break the life of a politician given the emotional sentiments of many ill-informed Jamaicans on the ground coupled with the dangerous down low community who in a desperate attempt to remain so join the public anti gay throng and their sentiments. The opposition by the way (People’s National Party PNP) has a far more larger LGBT support than the JLP does and even though they conveniently sided the ruling JLP on the invented gay marriage trope thrown in the Charter of Rights debate in 2009/10 has been extremely silent on this issue since it broke.

Here is former Prime Minister Bruce Golding on his feet in October 2009 on gay marriage during The Charter of Rights Debate:

also see:  Gay Marriage – An Invented Issue by the christian right movement

here is my two cents further in audio: On The UK Aid Removal and Holness’s Response …….. 06.11.11  –

and an archived discussion on the issue on nationwide with the PM in October 2009 declaring his opposition to supposed Gay Marriage –

Nationwide on the PMs speech on same sex marriage October 14, 2009

also see more from my sister blogs:

Why the British PM can wield a big ‘homosexuality’ stick (Observer) …… smoke in the room buggery vs homosexuality confusion

Reactions continue to come in on the UK’s stance on AID to anti gay laws hosting nations

PNP: Homosexuality, death penalty serious issues ……….. Dealing with cultural diversity a major task for the PNP

Ghana refuses to grant gays’ rights despite aid threat

CVM TV’s Live @ 7 on the UK AID Withdrawal threat & responses …….

from the BBC

 Cameron threat to dock some UK aid to anti-gay nations

 

and a press release from 

Government to Report on the state of “Buggery” Laws in 2012

here is a sense of some of the amounts we have recieved over the years 1968 – 2008 more HERE

nov 7, 2011 –  a letter in reponse to the Gleaner piece was published in the same paper as penned by AIDSFREEWORLD consultant and lawyer Maurice Tomlinson in a sense welcoming the PM’s stance ….. Liberate Gays

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In the lead story of The Sunday Gleaner of November 6, 2011 titled ‘Not ready for gays’, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said, “People’s private actions have public effect. In the Jamaican context, there is a public effect, and governments have to pay close attention to that.”

This is a most rational and commendable acknowledgment by the new PM. Pity he didn’t, or wasn’t allowed to, expound on the public effect of continued criminalisation of private, consensual, adult male same-sex intimacy.

In this regard, I would like to highlight that many heterosexual women have approached me urging that I increase the level of advocacy around decriminalisation of adult male same-sex intimacy, simply because they are not sure who they are in bed with.

If gay men (estimated at seven to 10 per cent of the population) were able to engage in their own sexual relations unmolested by the law, they would be less likely to expose their female partners (and resulting children) to untold physical and psychological harm.

Failure to decriminalise homosexual activity is condemning the Jamaican public to many more years of unnecessary misery.

MAURICE TOMLINSON

maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com

I have a major issue with this as it smacks on a tacit support that HIV is gay disease and the links in the bisexual population which also smacks of biphobia from the adovcacy structure that is more pro gay than bi or transgender concerned. Here is my audio response as well – Liberate Gays Letter by Tomlinson Biphobia by default 07.11.11

Peace and tolerance

H

Scripps Research scientists reveal surprising picture of how powerful antibody neutralizes HIV

PGT 128

Caption: This is the PGT 128 antibody in action.

Credit: Image courtesy of the Wilson lab, The Scripps Research Institute

Usage Restrictions: None

LA JOLLA, CA, October 13, 2011 – Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have uncovered the surprising details of how a powerful anti-HIV antibody grabs hold of the virus. The findings, published in Science Express on October 13, 2011, highlight a major vulnerability of HIV and suggest a new target for vaccine development.

“What’s unexpected and unique about this antibody is that it not only attaches to the sugar coating of the virus but also reaches through to grab part of the virus’s envelope protein,” said the report’s co-senior author Dennis Burton, a professor at The Scripps Research Institute and scientific director of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative’s (IAVI) Neutralizing Antibody Center, based on the Scripps Research La Jolla campus.

“We can now start to think about constructing mimics of these viral structures to use in candidate vaccines,” said co-senior author Ian Wilson, who is Hansen Professor of Structural Biology and member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at Scripps Research.

Other institutions in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and the Netherlands contributed to the research as part of an ongoing global HIV vaccine development effort.

Getting a Better Grip on HIV

Researchers from the current team recently isolated the new antibody and 16 others from the blood of HIV-infected volunteers, in work they reported online in the journal Nature on August 17, 2011. Since the 1990s, Burton, Wilson, and other researchers have been searching for such “broadly neutralizing” antibodies against HIV—antibodies that work against many of the various strains of the fast-mutating virus—and by now have found more than a dozen. PGT 128, the antibody described in the new report, can neutralize about 70 percent of globally circulating HIV strains by blocking their ability to infect cells. It also can do so much more potently—in other words, in smaller concentrations of antibody molecules—than any previously reported broadly neutralizing anti-HIV antibody.

The new report illuminates why PGT 128 is so effective at neutralizing HIV. Using the Wilson lab’s expertise in X-ray crystallography, Robert Pejchal, a research associate in the Wilson lab, determined the structure of PGT 128 joined to its binding site on molecular mockups of the virus, designed in part by Robyn Stanfield and Pejchal in the Wilson group and Bill Schief, now an IAVI principal scientist and associate professor at Scripps Research, and his group. With these structural data, and by experimentally mutating and altering the viral target site, they could see that PGT 128 works in part by binding to glycans on the viral surface.

Thickets of these sugars normally surround HIV’s envelope protein, gp120, largely shielding it from attack by the immune system. Nevertheless, PGT 128 manages to bind to two closely spaced glycans, and at the same time reaches through the rest of the “glycan shield” to take hold of a small part of structure on gp120 known as the V3 loop. This penetration of the glycan shield by PGT 128 was also visualized by electron microscopy with a trimeric form of the gp120/gp41 envelope protein of HIV-1 by Reza Kayat and Andrew Ward of Scripps Research; this revealed that the PGT 128 epitope appears to be readily accessible on the virus.

“Both of these glycans appear in most HIV strains, which helps explain why PGT 128 is so broadly neutralizing,” said Katie J. Doores, a research associate in the Burton lab who was one of the report’s lead authors. PGT 128 also engages V3 by its backbone structure, which doesn’t vary as much as other parts of the virus because it is required for infection.

PGT 128’s extreme potency is harder to explain. The antibody binds to gp120 in a way that presumably disrupts its ability to lock onto human cells and infect them. Yet it doesn’t bind to gp120 many times more tightly than other anti-HIV antibodies. The team’s analysis hints that PGT 128 may be extraordinarily potent because it also binds two separate gp120 molecules, thus tying up not one but two cell-infecting structures. Other mechanisms may also be at work.

Toward an AIDS Vaccine

Researchers hope to use the knowledge of these antibodies’ binding sites on HIV to develop vaccines that stimulate a long-term—perhaps lifetime—protective antibody response against those same vulnerable sites.

“We’ll probably need multiple targets on the virus for a successful vaccine, but certainly PGT 128 shows us a very good target,” said Burton.

Intriguingly, the basic motif of PGT 128’s target may mark a general vulnerability for HIV. “Other research is also starting to suggest that you can grab onto two glycans and a beta strand and get very potent and broad neutralizing antibodies against HIV,” Wilson said.

 

###

 

In addition to Pejchal, Doores, and Khayat, Laura M. Walker of Scripps Research and Po-Ssu Huang of University of Washington at Seattle were co-first authors of the study, “A potent and broad neutralizing antibody recognizes and penetrates the HIV glycan shield.” Along with Wilson, Burton, and Ward, additional contributors were Sheng-Kai Wang, Chi-Huey Wong, Robyn L. Stanfield, Jean-Philippe Julien, Alejandra Ramos, Ryan McBride, and James C. Paulson of Scripps Research, and Pascal Poignard, and William R. Schief of Scripps Research, IAVI and University of Washington at Seattle; Max Crispin and Christopher N. Scanlan of the University of Oxford; Rafael Depetris and John P. Moore of Weill Medical College of Cornell University; Umesh Katpally, Andre Marozsan, Albert Cupo, and William C. Olson of Progenics Pharmaceuticals; Sebastien Maloveste of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health; Yan Liu and Ten Feizi of Imperial College, London; Yukishige Ito of the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Japan; and Cassandra Ogohara of University of Washington at Seattle.

The research was supported by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the UK Research Councils, the Ragon Institute, and other organizations.

Contact: Mika Ono
mikaono@scripps.edu
858-784-2052
Scripps Research Institute

J-FLAG Responds to Police’s Assertion About Gays & Organised Crimes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kingston, Jamaica —July 12, 2011

J-FLAG notes with great concern the assertion made by Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey, on TVJ’s Prime Time News on Monday, July 11, 2011, that young homosexual men are the main perpetrators of organised crimes in Jamaica.

While J-FLAG is concerned about increasing levels of crime across the island, we question this statement and its validity and caution the police from using stereotypes, such as dress and material lifestyle in their pronouncements regarding perpetrators. This is an irresponsible and incendiary pronouncement, coming from a senior police office. Furthermore, this broad brushing feeds directly into assumptions about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons, an already marginalized and vulnerable group, and perpetuates social prejudice, inequality, harassment and violence.

Like all Jamaicans, J-FLAG is concerned about the high levels of crime and violence that exists in our country with organised crime being a major problem facing Jamaica over the last fifteen years. Furthermore, based on reports by the police, criminologists and other experts, Jamaican organised criminals function through gangs whose activities exploit the human condition, utilise extortion and protection rackets, supply illegal goods, and attempt to maneuver and camouflage their ill-gotten funds. This is a feature of a broader societal problem and limiting this to gays appears to diminish the intensity of the problem.

Given that organised crime threatens citizen safety and security and undermines democracy, retards economic development and can contribute to government instability, J-FLAG strongly believes that improving general awareness is critical to Jamaicans understanding their role in combating the various threats and reducing the harms they cause. While we fully understand that an individual’s sexual orientation does not absolve them from being involved in any type of crime, this type of profiling does more harm than good to an already stigmatized, disadvantaged and marginalized community.

J-FLAG also calls on SSP Bailey to furnish more information on the research to which he alluded so that the public can be much clearer on the parameters around which this “research” was conducted and can determine for themselves the validity of the findings shared.

J-FLAG fully supports the efforts of the Government and police to arrest all crimes and mitigate its impact on Jamaicans. We stand ready to partner with the police to reduce the incidence of crime. We invite SSP Fitz Bailey and his team to meet with us to share the types of organized crimes perpetrated by homosexuals, in order that we can support the effort of the police.

ENDS

there is talk since that maybe Superintendent Bailey’s comments were edited as he meant to say that the homosexuals were involved in the infamous lotto scam but when one listen to the television clip the reporter actually specified that he didn’t specify what type of crime under the organized crime umbrella the homosexuals were in. This sounds like some damage control attempt here to tackle JFLAG’s pretty worded press release from the conveyor belt.


He was speaking at a handing over ceremony of the newly refurbished Organised crime investigations office. Just when the community was in a way settled or settling from problems with the security forces and a seeming cordial relations now reached, sadly the reality is there are some in the LGBT community who may be involved in illegal activities and that may put an ugly face to the community in the eyes of the police and by extension the public but to simply label generally gays as criminals I am not so sure the other non gay underworld bosses are going to take kindly to this assertion.

As for the J’s press release it’s far too wordy and leaves some doubt in my mind as well on the last paragraph where they said:

“J-FLAG fully supports the efforts of the Government and police to arrest all crimes and mitigate its impact on Jamaicans. We stand ready to partner with the police to reduce the incidence of crime. We invite SSP Fitz Bailey and his team to meet with us to share the types of organized crimes perpetrated by homosexuals, in order that we can support the effort of the police.”

I was expecting the word “alleged’ in “crimes perpetrated by homosexuals” how does Mr. Bailey know the men involved are gay? and is it JFLAG’s business to be helping agents of the state to out persons? One wonders if this is a sellout too as this sounds like they will point out if needed these alleged gay or bisexual men. Very disturbing posturings from the J here.

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon

Observer cartoonist Clovis weighed in with this some what damning piece, I am not aware that the JFJ Jamaicans for Justice were opposed or expressed any such opposition to the issues as expressed by SSP Bailey. Sadly this is what many maybe thinking now as well as profiling and stereotyping has always been an issue with associated the vilified effeminacy in males which is also not only a part of Jamaica’s homophobia but also a stinging effemophobia within the LGBT body politic.

This matter is not dying anytime soon it seems

UPDATE July 14

JCF apologises for ‘gay crime’ statement

Apology Accepted JCF but some questions on several fronts still linger …

Peace and tolerance

H

UPDATE July 26.07.11

Jamaica Observer Cartoonist Clovis has been doing some mixed pieces incorporating effeminacy with machosim or machismo and the recent murders possibly suggesting gay culture in the underground or underworld as well. The toons have been receiving mixed reactions from the LGBT body politic.