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HIV

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

UC Merced isn’t the first place people think of when it comes to finding new ways to prevent the spread of HIV globally. But thanks to one professor the university is now working with scientists around the globe to find an alternative way to prevent the virus from infecting people.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition our team reports on two medical schools possibly coming to the region and about HIV prevention research underway at UC Merced. We also hear from YouTube famous doctor Zubin Damania, MD or ZDoggMD who grew up in Clovis.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

Earlier this summer, we told you about the public health benefits of the Fresno Needle Exchange, which makes clean syringes available to drug users. As part of our first-person series My Valley, My Story, here’s one of those users—a 56-year-old man named Michael, interviewed at the needle exchange.

“I run my own business, paint addresses on curbs. I worked as a social worker for years, for ten years, and I got burned out on that. I have a daughter. She's 19, she's grown. She's in Dinuba.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

The last time we reported about the Fresno Needle Exchange, it was an illegal program, operating without support from policymakers and under threat of police intervention. It became legal in 2012 under a state law. Now, the program is more popular than ever, and new research suggests it’s making the community safer.

Michael lives in north Fresno. He’s 56. He studied social work and he’s now self-employed. He has a daughter in nearby Dinuba. 

Monday June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, and Fresno County is offering free HIV tests throughout the week. In 2014, the county reported 94 new cases of HIV/AIDS.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend everyone 13-64 years old be tested at least once, and they encourage mothers to be tested with each pregnancy. The CDC also recommends annual testing for those who inject drugs, have an STD, or have more than one sexual partner.

Free rapid HIV tests will be available at the Fresno County Health Department until Thursday, June 30. 

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Today marks the kickoff of “A Day With HIV” photo exhibit at the Fresno Art Museum. FM89’s Diana Aguilera visits the display.

The gallery shows 19 posters of people from around the nation that are living with HIV. It’s a snapshot of their lives and it's part of a campaign hoping to reduce the stigma related to HIV and AIDS.

Jena Adams with the Fresno County Department of Public Health helped organize this event.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition our staff reports on how the drought is harming bees in California, lawmaking around HIV, the future of Fresno's Blackstone Avenue and how the bark beetle is decimating conifers in the Sierra Nevada. 

HIV_5_hands VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

A coalition including the American Civil Liberties Union and Equality California have joined together in an effort to change certain state laws they say criminalize people living with HIV.

At a forum held in Fresno last week, a dozen activist and medical professionals talked about a number of goals including reducing the penalty for intentionally spreading HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

A coalition including the ACLU and Equality California held a forum in Fresno Thursday evening to talk about certain state laws, they say criminalize people living with HIV. Including, the possibility of being charged with a felony for donating blood while HIV positive, for soliciting and for exposing others to the disease. And most often that means jail time.

Craig Pulsipher is with the AIDS Project Los Angeles.