Posts Tagged ‘death’

HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence – in rich countries

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Montreal Gazette

In the early 1980s, when the AIDS epidemic that went on to kill millions of people around the world was still a mystery, Christos Tsoukas was one of the few doctors in Montreal to treat people with HIV/AIDS. Colleagues would discreetly disappear to wash their hands if they’d shaken hands with him. You would not find an HIV/AIDS clinic in a hospital. It was always called something else, hinting at rather than naming the disease.

Tsoukas lost 100 patients a year to AIDS. It was heartbreaking work.

“One night, I was called when one of my patients was dying,” Tsoukas said this week in an interview in his office at the Montreal General Hospital.

“He was one of two brothers, both of whom had contracted AIDS through blood products. He died just as I arrived, surrounded by his family. Everyone was carrying a single red rose.

“I sat at the kitchen table, signing the death certificate. On one side of me was a beautiful flower and on the other side, a week-old baby, the child of my patient’s cousin. It brought home to me so strongly that there is a cycle of life. I will never forget that moment.”

By 1995, with the advent of effective anti-HIV drugs, the situation had changed, dramatically. Tsoukas has not had a single AIDS patient die in 15 years. “It’s amazing.” Drugs can prevent an infected partner from transmitting the virus, and drugs mean an infected mother doesn’t pass along the virus to her children.

Years ago, testing positive for HIV was a devastating diagnosis. Today, people won’t even get very sick, said Tsoukas. “We have new challenges,” he said. “We have people who are living into their 80s with AIDS and they have specific and complex problems, cardiovascular illness, diabetes, osteoporosis.”

Longer life spans mean that the number of people with HIV or AIDS remains high in Canada and the rest of the developed world. In Canada, an estimated 65,000 people were living with HIV in 2008, compared with 57,000 at the end of 2005. In 2008, new HIV infections numbered between 2,300 and 4,300, roughly similar to the figures from 2005. In Quebec, a total of 5,199 cases of HIV infection were reported between 2002 and 2008, the majority in Montreal. In Quebec as elsewhere in the developed world, homosexual men continue to be more affected than any other group.

In the developed world, the way is open to stopping the virus from spreading. In the lead-up to the annual World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, a British Columbia AIDS expert, Dr. Julio Montenar, told a U.S. medical conference that the province had achieved an astonishing 96.3-per-cent drop in HIV transmission.

Montenar, head of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, was reported as saying that the key to success is testing, followed by treatment with highly active antiretroviral therapy.

Unfortunately in Canada, an estimated 27 per cent of people infected with HIV are unaware of their infection. Treatment may be the best protection, but they aren’t getting it.

“Today, unless someone is in a community where AIDS is talked about, that person won’t know about it. Years ago, you would see posters or television campaigns, but not today,” said Tsoukas. He would like to see hospitals make an effort to teach patients about HIV. But on even the most basic level, “You still won’t see clinics called HIV/ AIDS clinics,” he said.

In the developing world, the news was heartening, with the United Nations publishing data showing that hundreds of thousands of lives had been saved by the availability of cheap drugs and new infections were down by as much as 30 per cent to 50 per cent. But the good news was sharply undercut this week by the announcement by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, hard hit by the continuing economic crisis, that it would cancel its next round of funding. The fund pays for more than 70 per cent of AIDS medicine.

Even with medicine, the developing world is struggling. Last summer, Tsoukas travelled to Tanzania, to visit an HIV/AIDS clinic founded by an Ottawa doctor, Don Kilby (http: //

“There was a 29-year-old girl with lymphoma,” said Tsoukas, “which is treatable. But she could not afford the bus fare to get to Dar es Salaam to be treated. No one in her family could go with her. You have to have someone, because there are so few nurses.”

The young woman died. “You become very pessimistic,” Tsoukas said, sadly. “The medication is available, but people can’t get to it.”

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HIV infection not a death sentence: judge

Friday, July 15th, 2011


An Ottawa judge’s rejection of attempted murder charges against a man accused of knowingly transmitting HIV, saying it is no longer an “automatic death sentence,” reflects medical reality and should send a message to police and prosecutors, Canada’s AIDS experts say.

Ontario Court Justice David Wake dismissed four charges of attempted murder against Steven Paul Boone on Wednesday, declaring that death from HIV is a “possible consequence” but no longer an “inevitable consequence or even a probable consequence” of contracting the virus.

The ruling, following a preliminary hearing, removes the four most serious charges against Mr. Boone, 30, in the high-profile case, but he is still to face trial on 21 sex and assault charges involving eight men.

The judge’s reasons for committing Mr. Boone to stand trial on the other charges are covered by a routine publication ban designed to protect a fair trial.

The ruling speaks to the medical advances made in fighting HIV/AIDS in the 30 years since the virus first started terrifying the gay community, but also suggests police and prosecutors have not moved with the times, AIDS specialists and activists said.

“In a country like Canada, where antiretroviral drugs of the highest quality are available to everyone free of charge, the likelihood anyone is going to die over the next 25 years from HIV is extremely remote,” said Mark Wainberg, director of the McGill AIDS Centre based at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.

“So the very notion that anyone could be charged with attempted murder today seems strange.”

The ruling highlights the lag time in the justice system.

Back 15 or 20 years, when HIV was usually a death sentence, no such criminal charges were laid. By the time prosecutors caught up to the impact of the social problem, science had passed them by, experts said.

More than 80 people, mostly men, have been charged in Canada with criminal offences for exposing sexual partners to HIV.

The Supreme Court of Canada provided the legal basis in a 1998 ruling that someone who does not disclose he or she has HIV does not have their partner’s consent, making the sexual encounter an assault.

That was taken to new heights in the case of Johnson Aziga, the first person in Canada to be convicted of murder for spreading HIV.

In 2009, a jury found Aziga guilty of two counts of first-degree murder for having unprotected sex without telling partners, who later died of AIDS-related cancers, that he was HIV positive. Aziga, however, tested positive for HIV back in 1996 and was charged in 2003.

In that period, treatment advances have made a difference.

Barry Adam, a University of Windsor sociologist and research director of the Ontario HIV Treatment Network, said the ruling might be a sign that the courts are now catching up.

“Attempted murder seems a bit extremist,” Prof. Adam said.

“Maybe HIV is now being looked at just as other conditions are — treatable. This might be a trend in the courts that attempted murder is overkill. Maybe we are coming into line with the rest of the world.”

Jeremy Dias, gay rights activist and executive director of Ottawa diversity group Jer’s Vision, hailed the judge’s decision as progressive.

Even so, the ruling reignites debate over the issue of criminalizing AIDS transmission in the first place.

“The case is about police services impinging on the duties of health professionals,” said Mr. Dias. “What we have learned from other countries that have criminalized HIV is people don’t get tested. The majority of infections in Canada come from people who are untested. We need to get more people tested.”

Prof. Wainberg agreed.

“I’m the first to say that anybody who knows they are HIV infected and does not inform their partner is doing something morally reprehensible,” said Prof. Wainberg. “The question is whether it should be criminalized. We lose more than we gain by making HIV a crime.

“In rare instances, we gain a kind of revenge, some satisfaction as a society that we have used the criminal proceedings to incarcerate someone who engages in reprehensible behaviour. But the greater good for Canadian society is to try to limit new transmissions of HIV to as great an extent as we can; to encourage everyone to be tested.”

Rue McClanahan est morte!

Friday, June 4th, 2010

L’actrice Rue McClanahan des Golden Girls est mort hier le 3 juin 2010 d’un AVC. Pour revoir un documentaire sur sa vie et celle des autres vedettes des Golden Girls, simplement vous rendre à GGTV au

Michaël Jackson meurt à Los Angeles

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

C’est confirmé, CNN l’annonçait à 19h26 le 25 juin dernier, Michaël Jackson était définitivement mort, des suites probablement d’un arrêt cardiaque dont on connaîtra probablement la cause d’ici quelques jours.

Jackson a été l’artiste ayant vendu le plus de disques dans l’histoire de l’humanité et ses déboires financiers de même que ses ennuis légaux mettent en évidence que nul n’est à l’abri de la pire chute aux enfers.

Lors de son procès pour de supposés gestes sexuels à l’endroit d’un jeune garçon, Le Point avait invité ses lecteurs, dans l’édition 34 (2005), à exercer une certaine retenue face à ces accusations qui, finalement, se sont avérées fausses. Jackson étant acquitté de toutes accusations. Son décès ferme définitivement la porte d’une grande ère culturelle pour les amoureux du motown et du disco.

Bea Arthur laisse dans le deuil la communauté gaie

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

La dernière de l’émission The Golden Girls est en diffusion sur GGTV au

Suite à l’annonce ce jour du décès de Beatrice Arthur, connue pour ses nombreuses participations à d’aussi nombreuses séries télé aussi populaires les unes que les autres, GGTV a décidé d’offrir à ses auditeurs une présentation spéciale de la finale des Golden Girls (Des Femmes en Or) car cette dernière, qui date de 1992, est la sortie parfaite pour une grande star de la télé qui effectuait justement son grand départ de la série. Bea Arthur ne sera jamais revenue avec ses complices pour la suite The Golden Palace et son décès, même s’il résulte du cancer selon les membres de sa famille, est inattendu et surprenant puisqu’elle recevait il y a à peine un an de nouvelles récompenses pour l’ensemble de sa carrière.

Bea Arthur est un canon de la télé, elle à fait plus à elle seule que la plupart de ses complices réunies. Bea Arthur a aussi été une grande ambassadrice de la communauté gaie en acceptant de traiter de la question homosexuelle, sous des angles parfois très difficiles comme avec le SIDA, les condoms et voulait le faire de manière à changer les mentalités de la société américaine d’alors. La scène des Golden Girls concernant l’achat d’une boîte de condoms à fait l’histoire d’une part parce qu’on parlait pour une première fois de condoms comme s’il s’agissait d’un objet ordinaire de consommation mais aussi parce que l’histoire était absolument burlesque… Les filles veulent montrer que l’achat de condoms n’est pas honteux. Blanche montre l’exemple en prenant une boîte sur les tablettes d’un magasin et en allant la payer fièrement et ouvertement à la caisse sans se cacher. Les autres sont stupéfaites et se disent que si c’est si facile, elles peuvent faire la même chose. Les premières passent sans problème mais Dorothy (Bea Arthur) qui est plus réservée et timide malgré sa grandeur, tombe sur une boîte qui na pas été étiquettée, qui n’a pas de prix. Le caissier demande alors au micro à son collègue au fond du magasin, devant tout le monde évidemment, “Hey, combien est cette boîte de condoms, super lubrifiée et grandeur extra?”, humiliant Dorothy au plus haut point et résultant en une des scènes les plus drôles de l’histoire de la télé.

Bea Arthur était immortelle, elle ne devait pas mourir, elle était invincible dans tous ses rôles et dans tout ce qu’elle a fait. En nous rappelant qu’elle était humaine et qu’elle pouvait mourir comme tout le monde, à l’âge de 86 ans, Bea a fait un immense cadeau à tous ses fans d’une certaine manière, elle a fait la preuve qu’elle était une femme comme les autres après tout et que le destin aura fait son oeuvre malgré son talent immortel.

Bea Arthur a fait beaucoup pour la communauté gaie, elle laisse dans le deuil une soeur qui vit à Montréal. Nous souhaitons remercier Bea Arthur du fond du coeur et souligner que son décès nous fait très mal, nous brise le coeur ici à GGTV et que nous garderons d’elle un souvenir impérissable. Elle ne sera jamais remplacée c’est certain et si une WebTV comme Gay Globe TV peut exister tout à fait normalement en 2009, c’est parce que Bea Arthur était là avant pour tracer la voie et briser les idées préconçues sur ce que nous sommes.

Merci Bea, merci!