Want to see Inaction Is Not An Option (INO) in action? On Monday, Dec. 14, 2009, INO will be participating in the 2nd Annual MMHighlights Holiday Coat Drive and AIDS Awareness Event. MMHighlights (MMH) is an avant-garde of young marketers and business professionals who have translated their passion for and knowledge of marketing into an exceptional society & entertainment blog, in addition to multi-faceted marketing services. Guests will be able to donate coats while enjoying a Pre-Holiday celebration, which will feature live performances, a silent auction, and gift bags, courtesy of MMH affiliates. INO will be helping to sponsor this event, and will be proving free HIV/AIDS awareness literature and other materials. Click on the flyer below for more details.

As you remember, last year INO with MMHighlights hosted "The Face of AIDS" event at the St. Marks Methodist Church in Harlem, NY. The purpose of that event was to help commemorate December as AIDS Awareness Month by providing information, literature, and entertainment to members of the Harlem community. The proceeds from "The Face of AIDS" event were given to the Harlem 40 Youth program, which aids in helping Harlem youth strive for better futures through educational, professional, and social development initiatives. 

As always, even if you are unable to make it, please share this event with someone else. We want awareness and education to spread faster than the infection. Knowledge saves lives, so pass this on!

For further information about MMHighlights, visit


According to a statement issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday, HIV patients should begin treatment sooner than currently recommended. The new guidance issued advises doctors to begin giving patients AIDS medication a year or two earlier than usual. However, should all doctors take heed of this new advice, this would double the number of individuals globally who qualify for treatment, adding an incremental 3-5 million patients to the staggering 5 million already awaiting AIDS treatment.

Specifically, the guidance advises doctors to begin treatment when the level of their patients' CD4 cells reaches 350. Previously, the recommendation was to begin treatment when the CD4 level reached 200. But several studies have shown that when patients began treatment earlier, they had a much better chance of surviving. In fact, doctors in most Western countries begin treatment when their patients' CD4 cell level reaches 500.

One of the key benefits of beginning treatment earlier is the possibility of fending off opportunistic infections (OIs). According to David Ross, an AIDS expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said the following:

......there is compelling evidence HIV patients should start treatment sooner. People with HIV who aren't on AIDS drugs are more likely to catch a potentially fatal disease like tuberculosis or develop other complications when they do start the drugs.

However, there are some reservations about this new guidance. One of the main questions centers on how countries will be able to cover the costs for this extended treatment. Currently 4 million people are receiving AIDS medication worldwide, and as mentioned previously, there are another 5 million patients waiting in line, and this new guidance could tack on another 3-5 million patients to the waiting list.

In fact, many AIDS programs in Africa are already stretched thin, and Africa is home to most of the world's HIV+ patients. Mr. Ross also added that there were reports of African clinics turning away new patients eligible for treatment due to a lack of available drugs.

Another drawback to this guidance is that putting HIV patients on medication for a longer period of time may also lead to drug resistance in the immune system.

Source: MSNBC


Greetings everyone! Today marked the start of AIDS Awareness Month 2009 as we pause to remember all those we have lost in the fight against this epidemic and work hard to continue raising awareness and funds for this cause. There were several events buzzing to commemorate World AIDS Day, and here's a few:

1) Lights For Rights New York City Event - Washington Square Park, NYC - 6-7PM: This event featured such speakers as actress and UNAIDS Goodwill ambassador Naomi Watts, amFAR chairman Kenneth Cole, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. At 6:15, the lights on the Washington Square Park Memorial Arch were turned off for 5 minutes in remembrance of those we've lost to the epidemic. Other venues around NYC participated in this gesture, including all Broadway theaters, Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, the Chrysler Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

2) Waking Up to HIV: A Community Gathering - United Medical Center, Washington, D.C. - 5-7PM: This event marked the first annual World AIDS Day Commemoration held at this medical facility.

3) 24-Hour Vigil/Reading of the Names - City Hall Park, NYC - At midnight on Dec. 1, activists, volunteers, and individuals living with HIV/AIDS began continually reading names to remember loved ones lost, as well as raise awareness about the twin crises of HIV/AIDS and homelessness.

In addition to today's remembrance events around the country, we've learned that Chembio Diagnostics has donated 4,500 HIV rapid testing kits to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's 2009 Testing Millions Global Campaign to commemorate World AIDS Day. Chembio Diagnostics is an NY-based firm that develops, manufactures, licenses, and markets proprietary rapid diagnostic tests. Lawrence Siebert, chairman and CEO of Chembio said the following:

It's important to remember the need for routine testing so that AIDS patients can receive treatment....However, according to recent research, approximately one in five people who test positive for HIV fail to receive their results and post-test counseling. Some of these patients who are unaware that they are infected inadvertently delay the beginning of treatment while placing others at risk of exposure.

Events and actions like these let us know that HIV/AIDS is still a major issue and is still on the radar for many organizations. However, it's not enough that we get involved just for World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. We need to work tirelessly throughout the year to continue to raise awareness, to educate, to treat, and to act on the behalf of those who need help and caring most. This epidemic does NOT take a hiatus until December, and neither should we.

Looking for ways to get involved? Check out Lights For Rights at