WASHINGTON: Dan Savage & Terry Miller Among The First Gay Couples To Receive Marriage Licenses
Shortly after midnight last night, Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller were among the first Washington state couples to receive to their marriage licenses. Savage and Miller first married in Canada in 2005.
Hundreds of couples lined up in downtown Seattle Wednesday night for the state’s first batch of same-sex marriage licenses, in a historic, jubilant event that began at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and was expected to last for hours.They formed an eager, festive crowd, with couples young and old braving a night-time chill and wee-hours wait for the chance to make history at the normally dull King County Administration building. Supporters cheered for them with roses, coffee, hand-warmers and serenades of “Going to the Chapel.”
A Monthly HIV Durg For Prevention? It Has Few Side Effects So Far
NAM AIDSMap reports:
The first trial in humans of an injectable, once-a-month formulation of an HIV drug has found that drug levels were maintained at a level that should in theory be high enough to protect recipients against infection, and that the drug has so far produced very few side effects. The research was presented at the 19th Conference on Opportunistic Infections (CROI), in Seattle. The small trial at the St Stephen’s AIDS Trust (SSAT) at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital gave 27 women and six men a single injection of the long-acting formulation of the drug rilpivirine, which was licensed as an oral HIV treatment last year as Edurant and is also in the tenofovir/FTC/rilpivirine pill Complera. Rilpivirine is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) drug and is especially suitable to be turned into a long-lasting injectable form because the daily dose of it required to suppress HIV is very small. No other HIV drugs are currently in a usable long-lasting injectable form, which will limit the use of long-acting rilpivirine (RPV-LA) in combination therapy, but it could conceivably make an ideal candidate as a prevention drug, as people would not need to remember to take it every day. Other preventative drugs already formulated as monthly injections include the injectable contraceptiveDepo Provera and some anti-psychotic drugs. SSAT recruited 27 HIV-negative women aged 18 to 50, more than 50% of them black African or Caribbean, for the trial and gave them one of three doses of RPV-LA as an intramuscular injection: 300, 600 or 1200mg (the oral dose of RPV is 25 mg/day). Drug levels were then measured over the course of the next twelve weeks in blood, vaginal fluid and in vaginal tissue samples. A substudy gave six men the 600mg dose and measured RPV-LA levels in blood, rectal fluid and rectal tissue samples. Thirty days after injection, blood and vaginal fluid levels of rilpivirine were about 60 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) in both blood and vaginal fluid in women given the 600mg dose, and about 80 and 120ng/ml respectively in women given the 1200mg dose. Blood levels in men given the 600mg dose were about 70ng/ml at 30 days. For comparison, the trough levels of rilpivirine in people taking daily oral doses is about 140ng/ml; but the EC50 (the amount needed to reduce viral replication by 50%) in newly-infected T-cells is 27ng/ml. It is thought these levels should be adequate to prevent HIV infection. Over the time period, levels of drug seen were about 80% higher in vaginal fluid than in blood in women taking the 300mg dose and about 20% higher in the other two doses: conversely, drug levels in vaginal tissue were about 25% lower than in blood, and 50% lower up to day 14 in the 300mg dose group. Drug levels in rectal fluid were low but it is thought this was due to sample contamination: concentrations in rectal tissue were about the same as concentrations in blood. The trial participants complained of very few side-effects apart from tenderness and some swelling at the injection site. There were no allergic reactions, psychological symptoms or effects on heart rate. Safety is of course a major consideration in a drug that remains in the body for up to twelve weeks. Researcher Akil Jackson said, “There is an obvious need in HIV prevention and treatment for formulations that reduce the need for the user to depend on daily administration,” but added that these were very preliminary results and did not establish what dose would actually be protective. Further safety and drug-level studies in HIV-negative volunteers are to be conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, home of the Microbicide Trials Network, before the drug is given to volunteers with HIV.
Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell Lays Into Homophobe At Airport
We always thought Chris Cornell (right), lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave, was just a talented hottie. Now we’ll have to call him a righteous babe: On Thursday, the grunge rocker was hanging out in the Alaska Airlines lounge in Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport when he overheard a businessman call another passenger a “queer” for supporting President Obama. According to PerezHilton.com Cornell stepped in and read the bigot for filth:
“You’re a prick. You deliberately called him a queer to make him feel uncomfortable in front of a lot of people.”
Security came and escorted the man out of the lounge, whereupon the other passenger and Alaska Airline staffers thanks Cornell for intervening. Ironically Cornell had just come from a Obama fundraiser in San Francisco that evening, where he paid tribute to Whitney Houston with an acoustic version of “I Will Always Love You.”
Facebook Will Launch In-Browser Video Chat Next Week In Partnership With Skype
Earlier this week while visiting Seattle, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tipped off Seattle press that the company would be launching an “awesome” new product next week that has been built by Facebook’s Seattle team. The press invitations to that event went out today, saying nothing more than “Please join us for an event at Facebook” on July 6. So what is the new product? MG Siegler speculates here that it might have a desktop component given all the desktop software hiring going on in Seattle. And he’s right. This isn’t the main project that team is working on, but next week, says a source with knowledge of the partnership, Facebook will launch a new video chat product, powered by Skype, that works in browser. Suddenly those chat icons in the invitation have a lot more meaning. The product has been built on Skype and will include a desktop component. It’s not clear to me whether that means it will just work if a user has Skype already installed on the computer, or if additional software will need to be downloaded even if the user already uses Skype. But it’s clear that there’s very deep integration between the products, and from the user’s perspective, the product will be an in browser experience. Facebook and Skype have already been working together, including integration of various Facebook features into the Skype service. But this is something else entirely. The partnership could substantially increase Skype usage. Facebook has more than 750 million active users. Currently Skype has just 170 million. And it will certainly help Facebook become even stickier for users as they start to have voice and video chat as an option to communicate. And this also brings Facebook even closer to Microsoft, which is a Facebook shareholder and has a pending acquisition of Skype. The guys in Redmond must be smiling today, something that happens far too infrequently at Microsoft HQ.
Also, the rumors say that Facebook might be planning to launch an official iPad app, which I rather prefer to be truth.
SEATTLE: Space Needle Launches Pride Flag Fundraising Challenge
Last year Seattle’s iconic Space Needle flew the rainbow flag in recognition of gay Pride. But officials at the landmark said earlier this month that they would not be repeating the honor this year. That may change.
In response to a ground swell of support requesting the Rainbow Flag being raised again on Seattle Pride Weekend, the Space Needle has issued an exciting new fundraising challenge. If the community can raise $50,000 for 4 local charities, the Space Needle will raise the Rainbow Flag on Sunday of Seattle Pride weekend in Seattle. The Space Needle will also kick off the challenge with an inaugural donation of $5000.00.
The four beneficiaries of the campaign: Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) Scholarship Program, Lambda Legal, It Gets Better for the Trevor Project and Mary’s Place. Contribute here.
Activists are lobbying for the Seattle Space Needle to fly the rainbow flag for Gay Pride Month again this year, as it did in 2010. That was the first time the flag had flown over the landmark, notes Joe Mirabella in a blog post for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He writes of being at a pride event there: “The Space Needle’s enormous flag caught the patches of summer sun that graced the crowd. The rainbow, symbolic of the entire diversity of humanity, shimmered in the light. It was comforting. It brought me hope.” Mirabella reports that an employee at the Space Needle had told him there were no plans to fly the rainbow flag this year, and he also says no pride events are scheduled at the site. Fellow activist Josh Castle has started a petition at Change.org to encourage the raising of the flag once again. “I hope you will consider signing it and sharing it with your friends,” Mirabella writes. “I strongly believe the Space Needle just needs to hear how important it is for us to see the Pride flag on the Space Needle. They need to hear we still need a visible sign of hope.” See the petition here.
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