Health

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President Obama marks World AIDS Day

Today, the White House will mark World AIDS Day by hosting a panel discussion with HIV/AIDS researchers and advocates that will stream live on the White House’s website at 1:30 p.m.

President Obama is also scheduled to give an address.

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World AIDS Day calls for state reform, vaccine research

The AIDS Memorial Quilt on display at Atlanta AIDS Walk

As hundreds of Georgians wait for life-saving HIV medications, AIDS activists will hold a press conference and rally at the State Capitol on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day.

The rally aims to bring awareness to the state’s growing number of people being put on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting list. Georgia Equality, through its Georgia HIV Advocacy Network, also plans to deliver Gov.-elect Nathan Deal postcards asking him to increase funding for ADAP to eliminate the waiting list.

As of the end of October, nearly 700 people are on the Georgia ADAP waiting list since it was started on July 1. It is estimated the waiting list will grow to some 1,300 people within the next several months. The program is now serving approximately 5,500 people in Georgia, according to the campaign.

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HIV drug maker and test supplier on the fight against HIV ahead of World AIDS Day

The CEOs of Atlanta-based GeoVax Labs and Chembio Diagnostics, Inc. came together to promote new rapid HIV testing and vaccine developments last week ahead of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

Bob McNally, Ph.D., CEO of GeoVax Labs, highlights his company’s efforts in a search for an HIV/AIDS vaccine, while Larry Siebert, CEO of Chembio Diagnostics, Inc., discusses advancements in rapid testing for the disease in a short video promo.

Both men say the most important issue in the fight against HIV is awareness. According to McNally, an estimated 2.7 million people per year contract the disease.

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CDC reports syphilis on the rise in gay community

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its annual report of sexually transmitted diseases compiling information on gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis from 2009.

According to the CDC, since 2000, the largest increase in syphilis cases have been among men who have sex with men. The CDC reports that MSM constitute for nearly two-thirds (62%) of all syphilis cases. In 2000, that number was just four percent. Syphilis is listed as a "major health problem" in the south and urban areas.

The CDC says it is working with local health partners to implement its Syphilis Elimination Plan using targeted information to reach those at greatest risk. The CDC urges sexually active MSM to get tested yearly for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV.