HIV

Supreme Court Ruling Defines ‘Sexual Intercourse’

Mar 20, 2017

In a case stemming from a law that requires HIV-infected people to inform potential sexual partners about the disease, the Florida Supreme Court this week said a legal definition of "sexual intercourse" goes beyond relations between men and women.

For decades, Cassandra Steptoe felt like she couldn't talk about her HIV diagnosis with anyone.

"I couldn't forgive myself for getting HIV," says Steptoe, who spent much of her early adult life in and out of jail for shoplifting and burglaries linked to her IV drug use. "But someone told me a long time ago, if you are looking for a reason to feel shame, you can always find it. I learned to look for something else: forgiveness."

The Florida Department of Health is pushing back against the Tampa Bay Times for criticizing a revision in the number of the new HIV cases in the state.

State Surgeon General John Armstrong, who heads the Florida Department of Health, has faced scrutiny from lawmakers recently on a number of high-profile issues. The issues include the state's rising HIV rate, cuts to county health departments and 9,000 kids who lost places in the Children's Medical Services program --- which serves youngsters with "serious and chronic" conditions --- under a new eligibility screening process last year.

The Food and Drug Administration announced Monday that it will now allow gay men to donate blood, but there's a catch.

Associated Press

Today is World AIDS Day, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida is first in the nation when it comes to newly diagnosed cases of HIV--the virus that can lead to AIDS.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

In 2013, Florida had more new cases of HIV than anywhere else in the nation. When it comes to the presence of HIV in Florida, the state’s six largest metropolitan areas could be states unto themselves.

You can join us and be a part of our audience for a special Florida Matters town hall on the rising tide of HIV infection in Florida. 

President Barack Obama is unveiling an updated national strategy Thursday to combat the HIV and AIDS epidemic that could have a big impact in Florida, which leads the nation in new HIV infections.

The White House unveiled the first national HIV plan in 2010, with ambitious, measurable goals: reduce new HIV diagnoses, increase the number of youth with an undetectable HIV viral load, and reduce the death rate from AIDS.

There’s been positive progress on all those, and there’s been a drop in the number of women, heterosexuals and IV-drug users contracting the disease.

A new Florida law kicking in today makes getting an HIV test easier. Doctors no longer need written consent to give patients an HIV test in health care settings, like doctor’s offices and hospitals.

The law could have a big impact in Florida, which has more new HIV infections than anywhere else in the country.

Each year in Jacksonville, a nonprofit called JASMYN hosts a prom for LGBT youth.

Kourtnee Armanii Davinnie was crowned this year’s prom queen. She’s scared of horses, but loves unicorns. And she sometimes snaps when she talks.

Davinnie holds up a selfie taken in one of her multiple prom dresses.

 

  Florida insurance officials are forcing the health insurance company Cigna to change its prescription drug policy to ensure that Florida consumers with HIV and AIDS can access their medications.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has filed a workplace safety complaint with the Florida Department of Health, accusing a South Florida-based company of not doing enough to protect its adult film actors, News Service of Florida reports. After successfully lobbying for a California law that mandates condom use in adult films, the group says the adult film industry is moving production to Florida, a state without such a law. This puts performers at a heightened risk for sexually transmitted diseases, the complaint says.

Kamaria Laffrey believes she is living proof that contracting HIV can happen to anyone. According to the Centers for Disease Control, she's right. 

Laffrey's story is part of the "Faces of HIV" traveling exhibit that is coming to St. Petersburg this weekend for the city's St. Pete Pride event. 

"It can happen to anybody. It's just a virus," Laffrey said. "It doesn't care what your sexual orientation is."