The Daily Agenda for Monday, February 4

Jim Burroway

February 4th, 2013

Boy Scout Handbook, 2nd ed. (1914-1916), with cover art by the famous gay illustrator J.C. Leyendecker.

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Boy Scouts of America Begins Annual Board Meeting: Irving, TX. The Boy Scouts of America’s governing board is set to convene its annual meeting today. One item on the agenda for the three day confab is a proposed elimination of the Boy Scout’s ban on gay scouts and scout leaders, and replacing it with a policy which will allow local troops to decide for themselves whether to discriminate against gay people. There is some disagreement in the LGBT community over whether to support the proposed change or press for a new policy that would prohibit discrimination across the board. Right now, it looks like the incremental approach will win the day — even though it’s not clear exactly which day it will be. We should expect an announcement sometime between today and Wednesday. If I were a betting man, I’d guess today, just so they can settle things once and for all the time being.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
AIDS Cases Discovered from 1976: 1988. Common wisdom today, even with all that we know about the history of the epidemic, still often sets the start of AIDS with the June 1981 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describing five gay men who had died of a mysterious disease in Los Angeles. When the HIV virus was isolated in 1984 and a test for the virus became available in 1985, several avenues of research opened up to try to figure out where this virus came from. Doctors in Paris and Brussels, who had long been treating wealthy African patients from their former colonies bearing all of the hallmarks of the new disease, pointed to Africa as a possible source for the virus. On February 4, 1988, the New England Journal of Medicine published a report by Dr. Nzila Nzilambi from Kinshasa, Zaire and other doctors from Belgium and the CDC which strongly suggested an African source of the virus, and revealed that AIDS had been a persistent health problem in rural Zaire as early as the mid 1970s.

In 1976, there had been an outbreak of Ebola in the northeastern Zaire province of Équateur along the Congo river. In the course of the medical investigations, hundreds of serum samples were collected from people throughout the area. Those samples remained preserved Zaire and were flown to Atlanta for testing. Investigators then went back out to Équateur in 1986 and collected more samples from as many people as possible, 388 in all. Ninety of them had also been among the 659 samples collected in 1976. Five of the samples from 1976 tested positive for HIV. Two were still alive; one was healthy, but the other was already showing signs of a suppressed immune system. Three were dead. One woman tested positive in 1976 was confirmed dead, “after a prolonged illness characterized by weight loss, fever, cough, and diarrhea” — all common symptoms of diseases associated with AIDS. Another woman “died in 1981 after a long illness associated with fever, weight loss, skin rash, and oral lesions.” Again an apparent death from AIDS. The third was a child who was seven years old in 1976, who in 1981 “died of pneumonia and weight loss at the age of 16.”

The doctors concluded: “The results of our study showed that HIV infection was already present in an isolated area of the Équateur province of Zaire in 1976 and that the prevalence of infection in the general population there did not change significantly over the 10-year observation period.”

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

MattNYC

February 4th, 2013

As heard on NPR this morning. Proof that it really does get better?

http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Bullying-study-It-does-get-better-for-gay-teens-4247348.php

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