US APPROVES BREAKTHROUGH HIV TEST THAT CAN HELP PEOPLE START TREATMENT STRAINGHT AWAY
It’s the first test to not only diagnose HIV but also measure viral load, allowing doctors to start treatment even faster
The US has cleared a new HIV test that can not only find out if someone is positive but also measure their viral load.
The viral load – the amount of the virus in the body – is hugely important for doctors to determine the best treatment for new patients.
HIV can’t be cured. But effective treatment can reduce the viral load so far that you can’t pass the virus on to anyone else. As a result, frequent testing and rapid treatment have played a huge role in reducing HIV transmissions in recent years.
Now medical research company Hologic’s Aptima HIV-1 Quant Dx test has provided a fresh breakthrough. By diagnosing HIV and giving a viral load measurement at the same time, it can help patients get on treatment even faster.
Until now, patients who discover they are HIV positive would need several visits to a clinic and consecutive tests to work out their viral load. That can delay starting treatment by weeks.
The US Food and Drug Administration had already approved the Aptima HIV-1 for viral load monitoring. Now it has also approved its ‘claim’ for HIV diagnosis.
‘Patients can begin therapy immediately’
Kevin Thornal, president of diagnostic solutions at Hologic, said: ‘This is an exciting new claim for our highly sensitive and reliable HIV test because it has the potential to improve patient care.
‘A simultaneous viral load measurement with diagnosis will allow health care providers to guide treatment choices for patients to begin therapy immediately.’
The test runs on an automated system called Panther. So far more than 2,250 clinical diagnostic laboratories around the world have installed Panther systems, Hologic says.
Thornal added: ‘The dual claim will also benefit our clinical laboratory customers, who continuously seek to consolidate their testing as much as possible onto one automated platform.’
World AIDS Day: 8 cultural moments that changed the course of the global pandemic
In 1988, the World Health Organization launched World AIDS Day to raise awareness and mourn those lost to the disease. Celebrated each year December 1, it encompasses events all around the world. (The red ribbon came three years later in 1991 and still stands as the universal symbol of AIDS awareness.) Use this interactive map to find an event near you, and don’t be afraid to hit that big red Donate button.
Elliot Page, Star of Umbrella Academy, Juno, Comes Out as Trans
The star of the recent Juno, X-Men, and The Umbrella Academy, Elliot Page, came out as transgender in a heartfelt Instagram post in which he spoke of the joy of coming into his authentic self but also the staggering violence perpetrated against trans bodies.
“I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life,” Page wrote on Instagram.
“The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared. I’m scared of the invasiveness, the hate, ‘the jokes,’ and of the violence…” Page wrote. “The discrimination towards trans people is rife, insidious, and cruel, resulting in horrific consequences. In 2020 alone, it has reported that at least 40 transgender people have been murdered, the majority of which were Black and Latinx trans women.”
Page then called out political leaders who continue to spew hatred against and create unsafe spaces for trans people.
Wentworth Miller Calls Out Hollywood’s Heteronormative Representation
Just a few weeks after publicly declaring that he will no longer take on heterosexual roles (sorry Prison Break fans), actor Wentworth Miller shared some thoughts on the state of LGBTQ+ representation and the power gay actors in gay roles can have.
“At this moment in time/the culture, for me, it’s not just about playing these characters,” the 48-year-old wrote on Instagram. “It’s about advocating on their behalf.”
The previous announcement detailed Miller’s commitment to progressive LGBTQ+ representation on screen. In this post, he opened up about his Legends of Tomorrow character Leo (aka Captain Cold), who had a notable kiss with Russel Tovey’s character The Ray a few years ago.
“The powers-that-be willed him into existence and I was grateful. He didn’t have to be gay but the writers wrote that shit. So we got 2 gay actors playing 2 gay superheroes kissing onscreen…Felt like a moment.”
Miller shared some of the edits he made to his character to make him, in his eyes, more authentic.
“In the sc[ene] where Leo tells Mick and Sara he’s marrying Ray, his original line was like, ‘I just want something normal…’ Gays. Just like us. Except me? I’m not getting married. I didn’t want Leo framing marriage as ‘normal’ for folks (kids) watching. It’s not. It’s homonormative. A ton of queer folks are living full/content lives outside the marriage construct. That line became, ‘I’m looking for a new kind of adventure’ (or some such).”
By changing the line, Miller challenged the implicit normalization of marriage, something not every queer person aspires to.
“Hollywood is never not sending messages,” he added. “2 actors of the same gender kissing onscreen is the beginning of the conversation. Not the end.”
He also noted another change he made to the script. “The sc[ene] where Leo and Ray argue while Ray changes. The first draft called for me to ‘blush and turn away’ at the sight of a shirtless Ray. Hello. They’re lovers. Pretty sure it was the person who wrote that sc who wanted to blush and turn away.”
If the character was played by a heterosexual actor, Miller believes his meaningful changes likely would’ve stayed in the script. “Would a straight actor playing Leo push for that change? Have that conversation with the (straight) writers and (straight) director? Maybe. I did bec[ause] I had to. It reflects my lived experience. I’m having those conversations 24-7. Not just on set.”
He does acknowledge the privilege he has here as a seasoned actor. “I should note I had the weight — and will — to push for rewrites. Not every actor does. #privilege.”
There’s a lot of work to be done as far as LGBTQ+ representation goes, but Miller certainly seems dedicated to making sure queer people on screen are as diverse as their wide range of lived experiences are.
Kylie Minogue is the recipient of this year’s GAY TIMES Honour for Allyship supported by GAYTIMES+.
The pop icon has been a long-standing and committed advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and one of our greatest champions during her 33-year music career.
“I am incredibly honoured to receive this award. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Kylie said in a video message.
“As we strive for a more inclusive world, my hope is that we can all support and love and be allies for each other.”
The mark the win, Kylie Minogue is on the cover of the new issue of GAY TIMES Magazine with an exclusive interview feature.
“I naturally just became one,” Kylie tells us when we ask what first made her want to become a vocal ally for the community. “I don’t know how to even explain it because it just was, and it is.
“It lined up with my principles and my views on life that, of course, you should be who you are and who you want to be. It makes perfect sense to me. It felt like the right place for me and the right and natural thing for me to be an ally of the community.”
In the cover story, Kylie reflects on her first GAY TIMES Magazine cover (26 years ago!), as well as speaking about her new album DISCO, why she hasn’t made it to the Drag Race judging panel just yet, and gives us an update on the long-awaited Kylie musical.
We also asked GAYTIMES+ members to submit their favourite memories of Kylie and her music, with the best responses printed in our latest issue.
GAY TIMES Honours 2020 is taking place between 25-26 November across our digital and social channels.
We are celebrating the individuals and organisations who have had a profound effect on the lives of LGBTQ+ people in the past 12 months.
Interviews with GAY TIMES Honours winners feature in the new issue of GAY TIMES Magazine, which is in stores, available online and on Apple News+ from 27 November.
GAYTIMES+ members get the new issue of GAY TIMES Magazine first, along with exclusive digital content and membership benefits. GAYTIMES+ membership is available globally, and starts at just £3.50/€4/$5 per month. Find out more here.