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White Americans far likelier to receive HIV prevention drug than minorities

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White Americans who are at risk of HIV are seven times more likely than blacks to receive a daily oral pill shown to be extremely effective at preventing infection, according to official statistics published Tuesday.

The figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) underscore that racial disparities remain a core challenge for the administration of President Donald Trump in its stated goal of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030.

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At-risk racial minorities and people in lower income brackets are less likely to know about pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, or to get a prescription from a doctor even if they are aware of its benefits.

PrEP, which has been available since 2012, includes two HIV antiretroviral medications and reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99 percent when taken daily, according to studies cited by the CDC.

“We can end the status quo providing that we change our expectations and the culture of satisfaction where we’re at now,” Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director of infectious diseases said during a teleconference with reporters.

PrEP coverage grew to 18 percent of the at-risk population of 1.2 million people in 2018, against just 9 percent in 2016.

But the rise glosses over glaring disparities: the drug was used by 42 percent of at-risk whites, 11 percent of Hispanic/Latinos and just six percent of blacks.

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There’s also dramatic regional variation, with 41 percent covered in New York, a percentage that drops to single digits in several less wealthy states.

Racial differences also arise in the percentage of people diagnosed with HIV who have access to retroviral drugs that effectively reduce the viral load to the point it is undetectable after six months and cannot be transmitted on to others.

Fifty-seven percent of diagnosed black Americans had a suppressed viral load against 69 percent of whites.

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Many HIV-positive black people lack health coverage, are homeless or in prison, said the CDC, factors that make taking daily medications much more complicated.

The CDC found that two-thirds of new HIV diagnoses in 2018 were among blacks and Hispanic/Latinos.

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2020 Election

The GOP is a suicide cult

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Back in March, we argued that Donald Trump had become the charismatic leader of the dumbest suicide cult ever. There were fewer than 500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the time, but it wasn't difficult to see the trajectory we were on at even that early date. At the time, we were commenting on the President's* repeated claims that the whole thing was a big hoax and polls showing that Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to say they were taking steps to avoid becoming infected.

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Trump has committed at least 11 disgraceful acts just since April: conservative

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On Saturday, writing for The Washington Post, conservative columnist Max Boot outlined all of the chaos President Donald Trump has caused just in the last three months — arguing that "he has disgraced the nation’s highest office as no previous occupant has come close to doing."

"Think about all that has happened since April 5," wrote Boot. "That was before security forces attacked peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square so that Trump could stage a bizarre photo-op. Before he pushed to send the armed forces into the streets. Before he embraced 'white power' and called Black Lives Matter 'a symbol of hate.' Before he vowed to veto the defense authorization bill to prevent the renaming of military bases named after Confederate generals. Before he used the novel coronavirus as an excuse to shut down immigration and threatened to revoke the visas of college students unable to attend classes in the fall."

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2020 Election

Republicans will ‘be punished harshly in November’ for ignoring Trump’s latest impeachable offense: columnist

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In a column for Bloomberg, longtime political observer Jonathan Bernstein said there is not much more Donald Trump could do as president that would be more impeachable than his commutation of associate Roger Stone's sentence for lying for him -- and that Republicans who are either staying silent or cheering on the president will face the wrath of voters in November.

With only Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) taking the president to task for the commutation of the convicted felon's sentence in a tweet, labeling it, "Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president,” Bernstein said other Republicans should expect to be judged by their silence on such flagrant corruption.

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