VOLUME 3, ISSUE 351 | Dec. 16 – 22, 2004

Letters to the editor

Clarifying HIV Treatment Guidelines

December 3, 2004

To the Editor:

Gay City News’ description of the new HIV treatment guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is incorrect (“New HIV Drug Guidelines,” by Duncan Osborne, Nov. 4-11).

The new guidelines do not recommend that people who have not previously used anti-HIV drugs who have a viral load over 100,000 should consider starting AIDS drugs, even if their T-cell count exceeds 350.

The new guidelines actually say:

Antiretroviral therapy is recommended for all patients with history of an AIDS-defining illness or severe symptoms of HIV infection regardless of CD4+ T cell count.

Antiretroviral therapy is also recommended for asymptomatic patients with less than 200 CD4+ T cells/mm3.

Asymptomatic patients with CD4+ T cell counts of 201–350 cells/mm3 should be offered treatment.

For asymptomatic patients with CD4+ T cell of greater than 350 cells/mm3 and plasma HIV RNA greater than 100,000 copies/ml, most experienced clinicians defer therapy but some clinicians may consider initiating treatment.

Therapy should be deferred for patients with CD4 + T cell counts of greater than 350 cells /mm3 and plasma HIV RNA less than 100,000 copies/ml.

Gregg Gonsalves

Director, Treatment and Prevention Advocacy

Gay Men’s Health Crisis

The Client Composition at GMHC

December 13, 2004

To the Editor:

I am writing to you about a misinformed quote that appeared in last week’s Gay City News (Dec. 2-8 issue) by Cleve Jones, in an article entitled “Looming AIDS Funding Crisis”(by Joe Dignan, Dec. 2 – 8).

Mr. Jones made an erroneous comment about the demographics of the clients at GMHC. Our client demographics are as follows:

Eighty percent are men and 55 percent are gay/lesbian, which refutes Mr. Jones’ statement that “the majority of the people served there are neither gay nor men.”

We are disappointed at Mr. Jones’ remark, but also disappointed that Gay City News would print a descriptive remark about GMHC without giving us an opportunity to respond to it.

Lynn Schulman

Director of Communications

Gay Men’s Health Crisis

Crystal meth and Matt Shepard

December 09, 2004

To the Editor:

In Troy Masters’ interview with Matthew Shepard’s mother, I was startled by several insights to this still unfolding drama (“Mother of Matthew Shepard Speaks Out,” Dec. 2-8).

Judy Shepard believes that Aaron McKinney signed a plea bargain agreeing to not talk to the press and to not appeal the case if he were spared from the possibility of a death sentence. She believes that this agreement is part of a “closed sentencing document” and was violated by McKinney and the “20/20” producers.

What authority is culpable for the granting of these plea bargain violations? She implies the gay freelance journalist who developed the “20/20”story, Stephen Jimenez, and Russell Henderson’s attorney, Tim Newcomb, were “friends.”

Another startling aspect is the role of crystal meth in this murder. They all knew Tina, but there were no traces of the drug on anyone. Does meth intoxication make it less of a heinous murder, less of an obvious hate crime if one or all involved were high? Meth rage and homosexual panic may be the route this gay lawyer takes to show the world that his client is the real victim here and his “friend” may spin his crystal meth hysteria-driven screenplay into production, but then they have the same spiritual spine as Roy Cohn and Karl Rove.

The drama and the hate continues…

D.E. Davidson

Athens, Tennessee


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