Month: April 2011

New Group Created to Enable Interagency HIV Research in Florida


Orlando, FL – The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) Bureau of HIV/AIDS, The AIDS Institute, and partners from the University of Miami have formed the Florida Consortium for HIV Research (FCHR).  An inaugural planning forum was convened on February 24 at the Orange County Health Department in Orlando.  Present at the all-day meeting were more than 60 HIV researchers and other public health personnel from across Florida. The consortium comprises members from seven universities, the state laboratory, the Bureau of HIV/AIDS, the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, county health department staff, and other researchers throughout the state.  “We believe the FCHR may be the largest HIV-related research group to coalesce around common interests for the sake of expanding inter-institutional collaboration and attracting new research resources to the state  for the benefit of our patients,” said Jeffrey Beal, M.D., Medical Director of the FDOH Bureau of HIV/AIDS and one of the prime movers of the initiative.  “Our collaborations address primary and secondary HIV prevention and patient outcomes through behavioral studies, clinical studies, and basic science research,” Beal continued. 

FCHR researchers have contributed findings of public health significance to the body of knowledge through recently completed and ongoing HIV/AIDS studies.  Collectively, consortium members account for more than 280 HIV-related studies of practical and scientific interest, as reflected in a research inventory compiled and distributed by the group.


The FCHR seeks to promote studies among partners that will lead to decreased HIV incidence and improved health and survival for patients.  “These are ambitious but achievable goals,” said Margaret Fischl, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Director, AIDSClinical Research Unit at the University of Miami.  As another co-founder of the group, she added, “In combining the talents and unique experience of expert scientists in Florida the FCHR could eventually help bring us closer to a vaccine and a cure.” A core of members is represented on a steering committee charged with formulating next steps, holding periodic conference calls with members and other interested parties, and acting as a clearinghouse for funding opportunities among partners.


“In this economic environment, it makes sense for the research community to work together toward a common goal and to share data, resources and talent within Florida,” said Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute.  “We are proud to join this amazing group of researchers who are committed to ensuring that Florida continues to be on the cutting edge of HIV research.”


Researchers interested in joining the FCHR and those wanting more information about the group can contact Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of the AIDS Institute,

# # #

For more information and to become involved, please contact 
The AIDS Institute at: (202) 835-8373, or by email at: 

The AIDS Institute is a national nonprofit organization that promotes action for social changethrough public policy research, advocacy and education.


AIDS Drug Program Receives $48 million Increase

Washington, DC – “We congratulate the Congress and the Obama Administration for rejecting many of the massive cuts to domestic and global HIV/AIDS programs that were initially proposed by Republicans in the House of Representatives. While most of these programs will experience some reductions, they will be spared from the reckless cuts which would have had serious long term impacts on the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV/AIDS and on efforts to prevent HIV infections in the future,” commented Carl Schmid, Deputy Executive Director of The AIDS Institute.


The final federal spending bill for Fiscal Year 2011 proposes to increase funding to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) by $48 million.  “We are very appreciative of this increase, which demonstrates a real bipartisan commitment to the program. But, with 8,000 people in eleven states on waiting lists and thousands more already removed from the program, this is far from what is currently required and meet the growing number of new people needing ADAP medications in the coming year,” added Schmid.


ADAPs provide medications to about one in four HIV positive people in care in the U.S. and the demand for the program has skyrocketed due, in part, to people losing their health insurance.  Over the course of one year, the federal government documented an increase of over 30,000 new people to the program.  “The ADAP crisis is far from over and will only be exacerbated with federal and state cuts to Medicaid as ADAP and the rest of the Ryan White Program will have to pick up those costs,” said Schmid.  The other parts of the Ryan White Program, which provide the necessary health care and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS, would see no increases in FY11, and instead be cut .2% at a time when patient loads are growing.


The final bill negotiated between the House, the Senate and the Obama Administration not only rejected many proposed program terminations and cuts but also most policy riders.  “We are pleased that the Congress rejected the House Republican proposed federal and District of Columbia funding bans on syringe exchange programs.  These programs are scientifically proven to be effective in the prevention of HIV and Hepatitis and it would have been devastating if these tools were to be removed due to irrational ideological purposes,” said Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute.


Ruppal also expressed concern with the cuts to prevention programs at the CDC. “With over 56,000 new HIV infections annually in the U.S., now is not the time to cut CDC’s prevention funding,” said Ruppal.  The bill cuts $730 million from the CDC in areas still yet to be determined.  Earlier reports from the House Appropriations Committee indicating an over $1 billion cut to HIV/STD/Hepatitis and TB Prevention programs at the CDC were in error.


The final bill also rejected the following egregious provisions passed earlier by the House of Representatives in HR 1:

  • Completely defunding Title X family planning programs and prohibiting any funding for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. and its clinics;
  • Eliminating all funding of the Prevention and Public Health Fund;
  • Completely defunding the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program; and
  • Defunding implementation of elements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (although some were included in the final bill).


Sadly, the final bill cuts research funding at the National Institutes of Health by about $300 million.  The House Republican bill proposed a cut of over $1.6 billion, including contributions to the Global Fund.  Investing in HIV research will help in the discovery of new medications, new tools in the prevention of HIV, including vaccines, and ultimately a cure.


“With the long battle over levels of federal spending for FY11 almost over, we realize that this is just the beginning of efforts to cut government spending and the budget deficit,” added Ruppal. “As the President and the Congress address these real problems, The AIDS Institute reminds all parties to not act in haste without first considering the long term human and societal impacts of their decisions.  Our government must be responsible with taxpayers’ money, but it also must be accountable to the basic human health needs of people,” concluded Ruppal.

# # #

For more information and to become involved, please contact 
The AIDS Institute at: (202) 835-8373, or by email at: 

The AIDS Institute is a national nonprofit organization that promotes action for social changethrough public policy research, advocacy and education.

Media provided by – Gay News Media and Press Network.


In “A Time Before Us,” the follow-up to “A Time Before Me” and “Falling Into Me,” author Michael Holloway Perronne explores how family is determined not by the blood that flows through us but by the love in our hearts in post-Katrina New Orleans. In response of the tragic trend of recent gay youth suicides, Perronne will donate 10% of the profits in 2011 of his newest novel to PFLAG New Orleans, one of the oldest organizations in New Orleans serving the LGBT Community.

(Los Angeles, CA – April 19, 2011) While finishing his newest novel last fall, “A Time Before Us” author
Michael Holloway Perronne was saddened by the news of five gay youth suicides in the span of three weeks.

“After so many years of political and social progress it saddens me that our gay youth still feel alone and helpless,” Perronne says. “Coming out is never an easy process, and I believe the GLBT community should
continue to fight the negative messages from the public at large, the media, and sadly, often our own political system that impact our young people.”

In response, Perronne will donate 10% of the profits in 2011 of his newest novel to PFLAG New Orleans, one of the oldest organizations in New Orleans serving the LGBT Community. “I was lucky to have the support of friends and family when I came out.  But I was also fortunate to have been part of an organization like PFLAG New Orleans that not only gave me a college scholarship but has been supportive of my writing these past years. My donation is my small way of giving back and helping today’s youth and the New Orleans PFLAG chapter,” says Perronne.

In addition to its anti-bullying efforts, by testifying before the state legislature in Baton Rouge, and working towards the Safe-Schools Initiative, PFLAG New Orleans’s Scholarship Program is a special source of pride. “Our organization has been giving scholarships to GLBT students for 21 years now and has awarded over $500,000 to 450 applicants. We try to keep in touch with our past recipients and are especially very proud of a 1997 recipient, Michael Holloway Perronne. We hope all of our recipients are allowed the opportunity to fulfill their dreams; just as Michael has successfully been able to follow his,” says PFLAG New Orleans Board member Randy Trahan.

PFLAG New Orleans will be hosting a special booksigning of Perronne’s new novel, “ A Time Before Us,” at FAB in New Orleans on Wednesday; June 29, 2011 at 7:00 PM.  For more information on the bookstore, visit

Michael Holloway Perronne is a writer living in Los Angeles. He has a BA from the University of Southern Mississippi and a MFA from the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans. “A Time Before Us” is his fifth book. For more information on Perronne, please visit his web site at

PFLAG New Orleans is one of the oldest organizations in New Orleans serving the LGBT Community, promoting the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill- informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. For more information, visit

A Time Before Us
ISBN: 9780981718651
Publication Date: April 1, 2011
Retail Price: $13.95 paperback and $4.99 e-book
Publisher: Chances Press, LLC
Wholesale – Ingram Wholesale.  Standard discounts and returnability.
Retail – Available from on-line book retailers, on order at any
bookstore, or visit for more
Media Contacts- including to request review copies and

Media Provided by – Gay Media and Press Network.  A Network of

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