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Atlanta’s Jerusalem House up for $25,000 Home Depot award

Jerusalem House, Atlanta's oldest and largest provider of housing for homeless and low-income individuals affected by HIV/AIDS, has been selected as a finalist in the Home Depot-sponsored Aprons in Action program.

The Abilities Foundation, based in Seminole, FL, Service International, from St. Louis, MO, and Teen Challenge from Reno, NV are also nominated.

Each finalist receives a $5,000 Home Depot gift card, and the grand prize, awarded to the cause with the most votes after 30 days, will be given a $25,000 gift card. Jerusalem House Executive Director Charlie Frew says that winning the grand prize would go to good use:

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Ga. Supreme Court upholds murder conviction of doctor who lured men with drugs for sex

Dr. Noel Chua

The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction and life sentence handed down to a doctor convicted of felony murder for prescribing pain medications to a gay lover who later died of an overdose.

Dr. Noel Chua, who was in his mid-40s, began treating James Bazley Carter III, 19, in Sept. 2005 for debilitating headaches. Chua prescribed Carter such medications as morphine, methadone and oxycodone.

A month later, in October, Carter moved in with Chua in his home in Camden County, nearly 6 hours south of Atlanta near Jacksonville, Fla., while he continued to attend community college.

On Dec. 15, 2005, Chua called 911 and Carter was found dead in the bathroom. Police found loose pills, prescription drug bottles and physician drug samples. Medical experts testified at Chua’s trial in Oct. 2007 that Carter died of a combination methadone, oxycodone and morphine in his system along with other drugs.

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[Updated] Ga. state Rep. Rashad Taylor: ‘I am a gay man’

Georgia State Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta) came out today as a gay man at a press conference after the ex-boyfriend of his current partner sent out emails to legislators alleging he is gay and also accusing him of misusing his office.

"I am a gay man," Taylor said at the press conference held today at Georgia Equality's office at the Phillip Rush Center.

Taylor becomes the first openly gay male serving in the Georgia legislature and the third openly gay state lawmaker. State Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) and State Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) are also openly gay and ran as openly gay when seeking office.

According to the national Victory Fund which works to elect openly gay officials, Taylor is only the sixth openly black LGBT person to serve in a state legislature. State Rep. Bell was the first black lesbian elected to a state legislature in 2009.

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10 tips to prevent HIV infection

SAFETY FIRST

If it’s oral, anal or vaginal it should be wrapped up before any penetration.

IDENTIFICATION

Know who you are and where your values lie. Confidence plays a great role not only in getting that sexy new catch, but also in standing firm in your decisions to protect yourself and your partners.

NEGOTIATION

Discuss HIV and safer sex with your partners before sex. This can help steer what kind of sex you have.

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10 steps beyond an HIV-positive diagnosis

1. GET GROUNDED

Find support through friends, family, therapists, medical professionals or any combination of these. Without support, taking any additional steps can seem even more difficult and trying. Support groups can help bring a sense of camaraderie and fellowship to a seemingly lonely experience.

2. GUIDE YOUR TONGUE

Not everyone will be supportive. Initially, share this information with those whom you can trust to be uplifting and those whom will help you along your way to treatment and safety.

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30 years after HIV decimated the gay community and inspired us to action, infections on the rise again

30 years of HIV and AIDS

The mysterious disease that would eventually become a global pandemic is approaching a milestone that it denied to thousands of gay men in the 1980s and ‘90s: On June 5, AIDS turns 30.

First identified as an unusual outbreak of pneumocystis carinii pneumonia by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, AIDS startled doctors with the way it targeted “previously healthy” young men and ravaged their immune systems with unprecedented speed.

“Patient 4: A 29-year-old man developed P. carinii pneumonia in February 1981,” read the June 5, 1981, Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC’s first official recognition of what would become known as AIDS. “He did not improve after being given intravenous [antibiotics] and corticosteroids and died in March.”

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By the numbers: 30 years of AIDS in Georgia

3

AIDS cases in Georgia reported in 1981, the first year the CDC began tracking a mysterious disease killing gay men.

39,460

Cumulative AIDS diagnoses in Georgia through 2009, the latest statistics available.

20,282

Cumulative Georgia AIDS cases attributed to male-male sexual contact, plus an additional 2,450 attributed to male-male sex and injection drug use.

6th

Georgia’s rank among all states for cumulative AIDS diagnoses.

3,229

New HIV diagnoses in Georgia in 2009, the latest statistics available.

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Atlanta ‘scrambles’ to finish investigation of Eagle raid

The City of Atlanta is apparently rushing to finish an investigation that’s been open for two years into the police raid of the Atlanta Eagle that happened in September 2009.

Patrons and employees who were in the gay bar the night it was raided on Sept. 10, 2009, filed complaints in the days following the raid with the Atlanta Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards. That OPS investigation remains open.

When the city settled for more than $1 million in December with plaintiffs who sued because they said their constitutional rights were violated, part of the settlement agreement included a specific clause that the city had 180 days to complete an investigation into the raid.

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[Updated] Eddie Long sexual misconduct lawsuit ‘will be dismissed’

Bishop Eddie Long, head of megachurch New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, has apparently decided to settle lawsuits brought by four young men who alleged he sexually coerced them as teens.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported today that the attorney for New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and LongFellow Academy, also named in the lawsuits, said the lawsuits “will be dismissed, with prejudice, by close of business tomorrow.”

On Thursday, a "Resolution Statement" was posted on New Birth's website that read:

"After a series of discussions, all parties involved have decided to resolve the civil cases out of court. This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry.

"As is usually the case when civil lawsuits resolve out of court, we cannot discuss any details regarding the resolution or the resolution process, as they are confidential.

"This resolution is the most reasonable road for everyone to travel."

In a statement from the attorney representing the the four male clients:

"Regarding the lawsuits filed against Bishop Eddie Long, New Birth Baptist Church and the Longfellow Academy, plaintiffs' attorney BJ Bernstein's only comment is as follows: 'The matter has been resolved.'

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Lawsuit: Sheriff’s department took lesbian drug addict to evangelist instead of rehab

Lesbian Amanda Booker is suing Bartow Co.

A Bartow County lesbian is suing the Bartow County Sheriff’s Department and others after she alleges her constitutional rights were violated when she was taken to a private residence for ex-gay conversion therapy rather than to a court-mandated psychiatric hospital for her drug abuse.

The lawsuit, filed May 13 in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Georgia by Amanda Booker, names as defendants Bartow County, Bartow County Commissioner Clarence Brown, Sheriff Clark Milsap and sheriff department employees Mark Mayton, Nathan Gibbs, Pam Ploof and Amanda Pedifer. Individuals Gary Allen Covington, Chris McDowell and Donna Dupree McDowell are also named as defendants.

Sheriff Milsap told the GA Voice he had not seen the lawsuit and laughed at the allegations that were in it.