me in 2004

Great job in Santa Rosa!

(a message I sent to the chorus distribution list)

It is Sunday morning and I am still feeling the emotional effects of our show last night.

Following on Justin's previous post, the show really came together for me with our performance last night. But I was not prepared for the emotional impact of the end of the show.

When we signed Silent Night, you could have heard a pin drop. The room was completely silent, except for the rustling of our tuxes as we signed. Since I was in the front row, I was part of the group that went out into the audience during Peace Peace Peace. Looking back at the stage, with the lights dimmed and our "candles" lit and extended, with the audience singing and the entire room filled with song -- my gosh, it was a sight and a feeling I won't soon forget. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever been part of.

THANK YOU SO MUCH fellow Chorus members. It is in these moments that I feel closest to you, that I am proudest of the "work" that we do and the experiences we share with our audiences.

- Jeff Ford (CN #131)
me in 2004

momentous

does it feel different to you today? it does to me.

people are smiling. people are friendlier. there's hope in the air and it is palpable.

for the past couple of months, i've been edgy and annoyed. i was sure that my fellow americans would once again elect the dude that has it in for everybody instead of the dude that wants to make things right.

i was sure that despite the narrow lead that we would somehow screw it up. voter fraud? voter disenfranchisement? a scandal? a detail blown out of proportion? good ole racism? i feared the worst.

when they called it for Obama I sat there in disbelief. i got choked up. my phone rang and it was the girl i took to my high school prom. she called to marvel with me. then my mother called. we congratulated each other.

it started to feel real when the pundits started calling him President Elect Obama.

it's a new day in America, full of hope and possibilities.
  • Current Mood
    disbelief
me in 2004

Swiss experts say individuals with undetectable viral load and no STI cannot transmit HIV during sex

Swiss experts say individuals with undetectable viral load and no STI cannot transmit HIV during sex


Edwin J. Bernard, Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Swiss HIV experts have produced the first-ever consensus statement to say that HIV-positive individuals on effective antiretroviral therapy and without sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are sexually non-infectious. The statement is published in this week’s Bulletin of Swiss Medicine (Bulletin des médecins suisses). The statement also discusses the implications for doctors; for HIV-positive people; for HIV prevention; and the legal system.

The statement, on behalf of the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV / AIDS was authored by four of Switzerland’s foremost HIV experts: Prof Pietro Vernazza, of the Cantonal Hospital in St. Gallen, and President of the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV / AIDS; Prof Bernard Hirschel from Geneva University Hospital; Dr Enos Bernasconi of the Lugano Regional Hospital; and Dr Markus Flepp, president of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health’s Sub-committee on the clincal and therapeutic aspects of HIV / AIDS.

The statement’s headline statement says that “after review of the medical literature and extensive discussion,” the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV / AIDS resolves that, “An HIV-infected person on antiretroviral therapy with completely suppressed viraemia (“effective ART”) is not sexually infectious, i.e. cannot transmit HIV through sexual contact.”

It goes on to say that this statement is valid as long as:
  • the person adheres to antiretroviral therapy, the effects of which must be evaluated regularly by the treating physician, and
  • the viral load has been suppressed (< 40 copies/ml) for at least six months, and
  • there are no other sexually transmitted infections.

The article begins by stating that the Commission “realises that medical and biologic data available today do not permit proof that HIV-infection during effective antiretroviral therapy is impossible, because the non-occurrence of an improbable event cannot be proven. If no transmission events were observed among 100 couples followed for two years, for instance, there might still be some such events if 10,000 couples are followed for ten years. The situation is analogous to 1986, when the statement ‘HIV cannot be transmitted by kissing’ was publicised. This statement has not been proven, but after 20 years’ experience its accuracy appears highly plausible.”

It then states that the evidence for the Commission’s current assertion about the relationship between treatment and sexual HIV transmisson is much more informed than what was available in 1986 regarding the transmission of HIV through kissing.

For example, they note, Quinn and colleagues found that in sero-discordant couples the risk of transmission depended on the viral load of the HIV-positive partner, and refer also to a prospective study of 393 heterosexual sero-discordant couples from Castilla and colleagues found that there were no infections among partners of persons on antiretroviral therapy, compared to a rate of transmission of 8.6% among partners of untreated patients. They also note that transmission from mother to newborn also depends on the maternal viral load, and can be avoided by taking antiretroviral therapy.

They go on to assert that effective antiretroviral therapy eliminates HIV from genital secretions. They say that HIV RNA, measured in sperm, declines below the limits of detection on antiretroviral therapy, and that HIV RNA is also below the limits of female genital secretions is, as a rule, during effective antiretroviral therapy. “As a rule,” they write, “it rises after, not before, an increase in plasma viral load.”

They also assert that although cell-associated viral genomes are present in genital secretions, even on antiretroviral therapy, these are not infectious virions since “HIV-containing cells in sperm lack markers of viral proliferations such as circular LTR-DNA.”

They note that the concentration of HIV RNA in sperm correlates with the risk of transmission and that “transmission risk declines towards zero with falling sperm viral load. These data indicate that the risk of transmission is greatly decreased by antiretroviral therapy.”

They add, however, several exceptions and caveats to the above statements:
  • After a few days or weeks of discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy, plasma viral load rises rapidly. There is at least one case report of transmission during this rebound.
  • In patients not on treatment, STIs such as urethritis or genital ulcer disease increase the genital viral load; it falls again after the STI is treated.
  • In a patient with urethritis, sperm viral load can rise slightly even while the patient is receiving effective treatment. This rise is small, however, much smaller that the rise observed in patients not on treatment.

They conclude the scientific part of the article by saying that: “During effective antiretroviral therapy, free virus is absent from blood and genital secretions. Epidemiologic and biologic data indicate that during such treatment, there is no relevant risk of transmission. Residual risk can not be scientifically excluded, but is, in the judgment of the Commission, negligibly small.”

Implications for doctors

The Commission then discusses the implications for doctor-patient discussions. It says, "the following information aims to communicate to doctors criteria allowing them to establish whether or not a patient can sexually transmit HIV.
HIV cannot be transmitted sexually if:
  • The HIV-positive individual takes antiretroviral therapy consistently and as prescribed and is regularly followed by his/her doctor.
  • Viral load is ‘undetectable’ and has been so for at least six months
  • The HIV-positive individual does not have any STIs."

Implications for HIV-positive people

The Commission states that an HIV-positive person in a stable relationship with an HIV-negative partner, who follows their antiretroviral treatment consistently and as prescribed and who does not have an STI, is "not putting their partner at risk of transmission by sexual contact."

"Couples must understand," they write, "that adherence will become omnipresent in their relationship when they decide not to use protection, and due to the importance of STIs, rules must be defined for sexual contacts outside of relationship."

"The same goes for people who are not in a stable relationship," they add. However due to the importance of STIs, use of condoms is still recommended.

They add that heterosexual women will have to consider eventual interactions between contraceptives and antiretrovirals before considering stopping using condoms.

They also say that insemination via sperm washing is no longer indicated when "antiretroviral treatment is efficient."

Implications for HIV prevention

The Commission says that it "is not for the time being, considering recommendations that HIV-positive individuals start treatment purely for preventative measures." Aside from the cost involved, they argue, it cannot be certain that HIV-positive people would be sufficiently motivated to follow, and apply to the letter, antiretroviral treatment on a long-term basis without medical indications. They note that poor adherence is likely to facilitate the development of resistance, and that, therefore, antiretroviral therapy as prevention is indicated only in "exceptional circumstances for extremely motivated patients."

The Commission also says that their statement should not change prevention strategies currently taking place in Switzerland. With the exception of stable HIV-positive couples where HIV-positivity and the efficacy of antiretroviral therapy can be established, measures to protect oneself must be followed at all times. "People who are not in a stable relationship must protect themselves," they note, "as they would not be able to verify whether their partner is positive or on efficient antiretroviral therapy."

Implications for the legal system

Finally, the Commission says that courts will have to take into account the fact that HIV-positive people on antiretroviral treatment and without an STI cannot transmit HIV sexually in criminal HIV exposure and transmission cases.

They conclude by stating that the Commission thinks that unprotected sex between a positive person on antiretroviral treatment and without an STI, and an HIV-negative person, does not comply with the criteria for an “attempt at propagation of a dangerous disease” according to section 231 of the Swiss penal code nor for “an attempt to engender grievous bodily harm” according to section122, 123 or 125.

Reference
Vernazza P et al. Les personnes séropositives ne souffrant d’aucune autre MST et suivant un traitment antirétroviral efficace ne transmettent pas le VIH par voie sexuelle. Bulletin des médecins suisses 89 (5), 2008.
me in 2004

Bush's resume

This person needs a job. This individual seeks an executive position.

He will be available in January 2009, and is willing to relocate.

GEORGE W. BUSH
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20520


EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:

Law Enforcement:

I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is not available.

Military:

I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.

College:

I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. I was a cheerleader.


PAST WORK EXPERIENCE:

I ran for U.S. Congress and lost.

I began my career in the oil business in Midland Texas , in 1975. I bought An oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.

I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.

With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of Texas.


ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS GOVERNOR OF TEXAS:

I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.

I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.

I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history.

With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida, and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President of the United States, after losing by over 500,000 votes.


ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS PRESIDENT:

I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal
record.

I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.

I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.

I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.

I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market. In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues.

I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleezza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President.

I am the all-time U.S. and world record -holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.

My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. history, Enron.

My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.

I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution. More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history. I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.

I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.

I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

I appointed more convicted criminals to my administration than any President in U.S. history.

I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States Government.

I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.

I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.

I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law.

I refused to allow inspector's access to U.S. "prisoners of war" detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.

I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inpectors (during the 2002 US election).

I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.

I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period.

After taking off the entire month of August, 2001, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.

I garnered the most sympathy ever for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.

I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.

I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S. Citizens and the world community.

I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families in wartime.

In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends.

I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.

I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD.

I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice.


RECORDS AND REFERENCES:

All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.

All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review. I specified that my sealed documents will not be available for 50 years.
me in 2004

earthquake!

so tonight, before going over to david and jonathan's, i was sitting on the couch with Cody when i felt it: it felt like a bus was going by, but it was lengthier than that. and stronger. and it didn't stop.

it made me very excited.
me in 2004

what i love about the iPhone, part xii

I got a gas and electric bill this afternoon. so I got out my iPhone as I called for the elevator, pulled up my bank's website on the way up to my apartment, and was done paying the bill before I even got to my door.

cool!
me in 2004

iphone

i got an iPhone. i had to. from the moment i heard the announcement i knew i was going to get one.

so in january, right after steve jobs made the announcement and said they would go on sale in june, i set up automatic withdrawal from my paycheck. 6 months x 4 weeks / month x $25 / week = $600

i tried not to think about it too much for the six month wait, but every once in a while i would think "I WANT THAT PHONE!"

as the day approached and apple released information about the phone, the videos, the press releases, the demonstrations, as people began lining up, i realized that i was already scheduled to attend a concert. i was gonna be in berkeley at the true colors tour, watching margaret cho, cindy lauper, debbie harry, erasure, rosie odonnell, and others, instead of lining up and getting my phone.

i put it out of my mind. the concert was GREAT! so many homos gathered together, enjoying great music at the berkeley greek theatre, outside in the evening. much better than waiting in some line.

the next morning i got up a little early for a saturday and went to the nearest at&t store, just a block and a half from my place. they opened at 10am, i got there at 9:57am. when they opened they said "we don't have any iPhones."

dang!

so i wander down ellis street to the sf downtown apple store, expecting to see a mob scene in front of the store. i come around the corner to the store and saw .... nothing. no line, not even a bunch of people!

i was perplexed for an instant so i went into the store and it was busy. not quite packed but busy. there's a table of iPhones that everybody is clustered around. as i wait i look over shoulders. it's as awesome in person as in the demonstrations.

finally, i get my hands on one. i send a text message. i call myself. i set up my email account and read a few emails. i surf the web. i check out google maps. it's all as fabulous as in all of the demos.

after five to ten minutes of playing with the phone, i clear the browser cache, delete my email account, and decide to buy one.

i get in line behind about 10 people. we chat. the line moves reasonably, and the next thing i know i have my iPhone in my hand. all in all i'm in and out of the store in 30 minutes. no endless hours on line, no muss, no fuss.

now i have to run home to activate it.

i unbox it and plug the included dock into my iPod connector. i dock the phone and iTunes recognizes it as an unactivated iPhone and begins asking me a series of questions. am I already an at&t customer? do i want to replace my current at&t phone? yes and yes. it makes me agree to a $20 unlimited iPhone data plan and i get to keep my current plan and my current rollover minutes balance. sweet.

within three minutes my Motorola SLVR deactivates and my iPhone activates. then it begins to move over a subset of my iPod data: selected movies and videos, selected playlists, selected photos, all of my contacts from Address Book, all of my email addresses from Mail, all of my appointments from calendars in iCal.

it takes a few minutes to copy everything over --- maybe 10 minutes. when it's all done, i undock the phone and everything is there. music plays, complete with cover art in coverflow. all of my contacts are in the phone, complete with pictures. i can immediately check all of my email -- google mail, aol mail, yahoo mail --- all together on my mobile device, even html mail with pictures and graphics. all of my bookmarks from my desktop browser are imported.

okay -- now the shortcomings:
  • NO IM/CHAT CLIENT: what? no IM out of the box? i'm stunned
  • NO FLASH: since the browser doesn't have Flash some of my favorite sites don't work.
  • NO VIDEO: i can take nice pictures with the camera, but i used to take videos with my Motorola SLVR
  • NO RINGTONES: apple's ringtones are unique and clever, but i still want to set my own ringtones.
Many of these shortcomings i have faith will be addressed in future software releases.

as a wifi browser it's nice and quick. off wifi, using the at&t EDGE network, it's slow. i find that if i pick my sites carefully and use very low graphics sites the performance is acceptable, especially compared to no connectivity at all.

of course, i read everything i can about it. tips and tricks are published daily. Web 2.0 AJAX apps come out all of the time. one, then two, then four, then five different chat clients emerge, my favorite being JiveTalk's BeeJive.

finally somebody cracks the lack of ringtones. i risk bricking* my phone and immediately hack my phone to install customized ringtones. this makes me extremely happy. (*brick (verb) - to do something that disables your phone or electronic device, rendering it useless and effectively making it only useful as a brick.)

all in all, i'm very pleased with it. i find myself using it all day, all the time. i listen to music at work, i listen to music while walking my dog. i actually use google maps to find and see places. i place entries in my calendar and it reminds me of events. i set timers, i set alarms, i text friends, i IM with friends. i surf the web. oh, and i'm not having any problems with the battery.

ok, who am i kidding? IT'S AWESOME! I LOVE IT!!
me in 2004

my dramatic $100 hit on the 5 cent slot machine

can't lose!
watching chris win on his $9 after going down to a last spin
taking inspiration from him
$10
$10
last $7
down to last spin
CAN'T LOSE!
dang it -- just two spins!
last spin - WILD! 7 w/ 5x mutliplier and WILD!
7-7-7 at maximum bet is 400 credits
with 5x multiplier is 2000 credits x $0.05 = $100

talk about dramatic! i tried to take a picture of it but wasn't successful. dang it!