Archive for June, 2009

Scientists develop new ‘weapon’ in HIV fight

Posted in The Fierceness on June 23, 2009 by jackmax2

New treatment opens path to possible cure

By Amy Minsky, Canwest News ServiceJune 22, 2009


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Scientists have found a new way to fight — and possibly eradicate — HIV, according to a study released Sunday by a team of Canadian and American researchers.

“For 15 years we haven’t had a clue,” said Dr. Rafick-Pierre Sekaly. “But now, we do. Now there’s a whole new perspective of how to get rid of HIV,” said the Universite de Montreal professor and director of the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida.

The new “weapon” will combine antiretroviral therapy, the current treatment for HIV/AIDS, with a new one the researchers are calling an intelligent targeted chemotherapy.

When doctors started using antiretrovirals to block the virus in the mid-’90s, they were able to transform a patient with HIV from someone who was going to die within the next five years to someone who could live up to and more than 20 years with the infection, said Sekaly.

But the virus was only diminished, never eliminated; patients were condemned to take medication for the rest of their lives.

“The minute the patient stops taking the therapy the virus is reborn,” said Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy, associate professor of hematology at McGill University in Montreal.

“Then, the immune system is destroyed and the patient becomes sick again.”

Patients become reinfected because the HIV in their system feeds from a reservoir contained within a cell. The reservoir, Sekaly said, acts as a sanctuary for the virus.

For reasons unknown until now, these sanctuaries were unaffected by antiretroviral therapy.

The researchers discovered the virus inside the reservoir is unlike the typical HIV virus. Whereas viruses successfully controlled with antiretroviral therapy divide, the virus contained inside the reservoir is dormant. This renders it impermeable to therapies.

“So, if the cell lives, the virus lives,” said Sekaly. “But if you zap the reservoir with a chemo, there is no more virus to allow it to come back.”

Routy said a separate study — conducted in the United States and released in late May — confirmed that increasing the dose and potency of antiretroviral drugs doesn’t affect the level of virus hiding inside the reservoir.

Though there are limits to the success of antiretroviral therapy, Routy and Sekaly say the new treatment’s success will be contingent on a patient’s positive response to antiretroviral therapy.

If a patient shows success with current treatments, then the new treatment can target the cells, killing the remaining ones, and “the patient will remain virus-free for a long time or forever,” said Routy.

Some HIV-positive patients do not respond to antiretroviral therapy. For those patients, zapping the cell will not likely yield significant results.

However, Routy said antiretroviral therapy has successfully blocked the virus in 85 per cent of people in hospitals and large clinics in Canada, indicating they would be good candidates for the new treatment to eradicate HIV.

Article here.


Jeromy Dunn from POZitively speaking. Open letter to readers

Posted in The Fierceness on June 17, 2009 by jackmax2

This is an open letter from Jeromy Dunn, a host on the POZIAM radio show, from his blog POZitively Speaking.


To my dear family, friends and to anyone else who reads this blog,

It should be no surprise to any one that this country is in economic dire straights. The auto industry is bankrupt, the financial industry is facing losses it hasn’t seen since the Great Depression, and the United States has close to a 10% unemployment rate. And with these, states are facing tremendous budget deficits. You see, most states are not allowed to carry a deficit, and by law each state must have a balanced budget.

In order for states to balance their budgets, law makers have to make increasingly difficult decisions. California is facing a $24 billion deficit and law makers are looking at slashing HIV/AIDS funding by $80 million the state will also lose $88 million in federal and an estimated $234 million in private matching funds according to Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. In the face of budget shortfalls, the North Carolina legislature is proposing to eliminate the HIV Medicaid Case Management program. This program provides crucial support to people living with HIV, helping them access medical care, medications, and the support services needed to live healthier lives.

With infection rates nearing 60,000 new cases every year and approximately 1.5 million living with HIV or AIDS today, we cannot allow these services to trimmed or cut completely out of the budgets. In this time of budgetary crisis, we all must accept the fact that we have to make sacrifices; however, this is a sacrifice that we cannot make.

You may be thinking that these cuts will never effect you; you are wrong. Dead wrong. Because I am HIV positive these cuts directly effect me, my partner, and my family. Anyone who is living with HIV today is at risk of losing their benefits which they have relied on for years and because some who are living with HIV/AIDS are unable to work and cannot afford private insurance on their own. Some have no family or their families have cut them out of their [families’] lives.

HIV/AIDS is not just a virus that feeds on healthy CD4 (TCells) to replicate, it also leads to depression and other mental / emotional health needs. HIV/AIDS is still a killer. HIV/AIDS when left untreated will usually lead to a person’s death within around 3-5 years of diagnosis. When HIV is treated with the right combination of medicines a person can live virtually a ‘normal’ and healthy life.

No one deserves this disease, I certainly never asked for it. I never wanted this. I never wanted to see what the news of my diagnosis did to my family and friends. So I am asking you today not to allow me to become another HIV related death statistic, nor should we allow anyone else to suffer the same fate neither.

So, please help those are not able to help themselves with a compassionate heart. Or if you wish not to help a stranger then help me; it could be my life you are saving.

Thank you for reading this,

Jeromy A. Dunn, HIV positive since 2005

An end to HIV?

Posted in The Fierceness on June 17, 2009 by jackmax2

NOH8 campaign by Adam Bouska

Posted in The Fierceness on June 14, 2009 by jackmax2

Jack Mackenroth Joins NOH8 Campaign

Adrian June 11th, 2009

Jack Mackenroth

Jack Mackenroth ’93 recently joined Lt. Dan Choi in the NOH8 Campaign.  The campaign began with a few portraits of everday Californians who support marriage equality and quickly grew to include celebrities, military personnel, law enforcement, and politicians, helping to raise national awareness about the impact of Prop 8.

Watch the NOH8 PSA below.  To visit the NOH8 campaign website, click here.

AmfAR Honoring with Pride

Posted in The Fierceness on June 14, 2009 by jackmax2

Muzophile blog

Posted in The Fierceness on June 13, 2009 by jackmax2

‘Runway’ Hottie JACK MACKENROTH Talks Fashion, ‘Sex,’ What He Likes in the Sack & More

‘Project Runway’ uberhottie Jack Mackenroth talks Christian Siriano, Sarah Jessica Parker, ‘Sex and the City’ behind-the-scenes gossip, what he likes in the sack and what he’s been up to since the show. Big thanks to Mikey for making this happen:

M: Jack, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me! We first saw that handsome face on Bravo’s ‘Project Runway.’ Was fashion always where you thought your career would take you?

J: Hell no!  I was pre-med at UC Berkeley for 2 years until I finally came to my senses. If I would have continued on that path I could be redoing Janice Dickinson‘s face at this very moment. It was only after I got accepted to Parsons School of Design that I really realized I would be a fashion designer.


Christian Siriano, Tim Gunn, Jack Mackenroth

M: You left Project Runway way too soon! What are some of your favorite memories of the experience?

J: Oh–thank you!  Well I loved the moment my very first dress came out onto the runway. I’d been a huge fan of the show before my season, so that was very surreal. Plus I thought it turned out fabulously. I GAGGED when I met Sarah Jessica Parker since I was the first one to meet with her. I was holding in all of my bodily functions at once because I was so nervous.


M: What was your favorite thing about doing “Project Runway”?

J: My absolute favorite thing about the show were all the other designers. I loved carrying Christian around the workroom. I love Kit, Kevin, Sweet P and so many others. They are all superstars.


M: Many people thought you would make it to the end of Project Runway. Were you pleased with the outcome?

J: Yes and no. I thought I had a good chance to make it to the finale as well, so when I had to leave early I was bawling my eyes out for about 4 hours. So in that moment I was clearly not pleased. However there is something to be said for making a grand exit. People sympathized with me and they remember me, which has helped me post-reality. Plus I won a challenge and I was never in the bottom 3 so that rocked.


Jack Mackenroth

M: We saw you all over the fashion tents this past year. Who are some of your favorite designers?

J: Yeah–I was covering fashion week for LOGO, and in September I will be covering the shows for Fashion News Live. I was a hot mess. It sounds really glamorous but it’s really difficult. All the designers are freaking out right before the shows and afterward they are so happy to be done they want nothing to do with you. All the shows run late and they all overlap with each other. I think I lost 20 pounds. Good times.

My favorite designers aesthetically are Diane Von Furstenberg, Carolina Hererra and all the classic designers like Valentino and Badgley Mischka.

I have never met most of them (which will hopefully change next season) so I can’t say what they are like in person. But my favorite interview so far was Rebecca Taylor. She was hilarious. So many designers take themselves too seriously. Please, lady! It’s only fashion. John Bartlett is a dream to interview as well.


M: What city do you call home now?

J: I live in Harlem in a big ass apartment. (for my big ass)


M: And I am sure you have turned many a head there also! What do you find most attractive in a guy?

J: Well I’m not gonna lie and pretend I don’t like a muscular guy. I’m sorry but hot is hot. Beyond that I like my men aggressive and a little rough. Tattoos or a shaved head make me weak. If I could find that look on a man with a decent job, 2 homes and a motorcycle, I would marry him in a heartbeat.


Jack Mackenroth

M: Describe your ideal date…

J: Going out to an ’80s band concert like Depeche Mode and then ordering crappy Chinese take-out and rolling around in bed.


M: Favorite personal vice?

J: TV. Thanks to DVRs I can watch about 6 hours of TV in 3 hours time. I have the TV mentality of a 8th grade girl. I love ‘American Idol’ and all those mindless shows.


M: Least favorite personal vice?

J: I’m addicted to carbs. The subway stop by my house is right next to a Dunkin Donuts. It’s a struggle to walk past it every day without going in. I’m like a crack whore.


M: Complete the sentence: ‘When in bed, the guy should…’

J: Shut up.


M: Some may now know it, but you were the “cute guy” walking down the street that stopped Samantha Jones in her tracks in the ‘Sex and the City’ movie. Ok, you MUST have a little dish on the movie How were the ladies “behind the scenes”?

J: Well at that time the other 3 girls were not speaking to Kim Cattrall. She had a separate make-up trailer and everything. When they blocked out the scene, SJP, Kristin and Cynthia would do it together and then leave the set. Then Kim would come on and walk through her blocking. Then they would start the scene all together and act like everything was normal as soon as the director said, “action”. The second he yelled, “cut” they would walk away without speaking. It was weird. I think they have reconciled since then. Sarah barely calls me anymore. Strange.


Jack Mackenroth

M: What celebrity would you kill to work with?

J: Hmmmm. Linda Evangelista. She is quintessential fierceness.  And Mariah because she is a hot pocket and she needs my help.


M: What’s next for Jack Mackenroth?

J: Well until Linda calls me I am working on a design TV show with Kevin Christiana from my season of ‘Project Runway.’ We are already with a network and I am actually out in L.A. shooting the pilot. So hopefully it gets picked up.

One of the most exciting things I’ve been a part of is the Living Positive By Design HIV education campaign and partnership with Merck. I hope to fight the stigma of HIV by increasing visibility and speaking openly about living with HIV for almost 20 years. I’ve been touring all over the country with the program for the last year. Our next stop is D.C. some time this summer.

I also just signed on as the east coast correspondent for Fashion News Live, so I will be covering all things fashion in New York, including fashion week as I mentioned. And my latest project is co-hosting the Internet radio show POZ I AM every Wednesday at 2 pm EST. Listeners can log on and hear the live stream. We just interviewed diminutive drag diva Ongina from ‘Rupaul’s Drag Race.’ It’s a great show and source of information for the HIV community.

And in my spare time I blog about random stuff I am doing or cool artists and stuff I find online. Did I mention I am training for the Outgames in swimming? They will be in Copenhagen in July. Yeah, my life is a swirl–but in a good way.

Click here for the JACK MACKENROTH Interview in the MUZOPHILE BLOG
Visit Jack’s Official Site