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The numbers are staggering. According to the CDC, in 2016, African Americans accounted for 44 percent of all HIV diagnoses, even though they comprise only 12 percent of the U.S. population. More than half (58 percent) of those diagnosed with HIV were gay or bisexual men, and 39 percent of those were aged 25 to 34.

Anyone who knows me knows that I start counting down the minutes until the first day of spring once December starts, and this winter has been especially unkind to those of us who prefer an air temperature above glacier. But going through the milestones to spring, I’m almost ready to start smiling again. Just get The Flower Show started and Daylight Savings Time rebooted and I can glide the rest of the way to 12:15 p.m. March 20. 

The past year saw several attempts to enact policies and legislation that would negatively impact LGBT older adults. Many of these efforts are set to continue in 2018, requiring us to be vigilant against any attempts to deny civil rights, benefits and services that older members of our LGBT communities rely upon.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, most of us are forced to turn our attention to dating, relationships and love. But it’s also a day that plenty of people try to ignore, reject or celebrate only reluctantly. Lots of people question why there is an entire day dedicated to romantic love. Why not a day where we celebrate friendships with the same level of vim and vigor?

In early December, SCOTUS heard oral arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The crux of the case is that bakery owner Jack Phillips sued the CCRC claiming his rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech have been denied when he refused to bake a custom wedding cake for a gay couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins. Citing his religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman, Phillips claims that because he sketches and sculpts his culinary creations, he’s an artist. Therefore, forcing him to make these cakes violated his right to free expression, speech and religious freedom.

 

Influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness, spread by a virus. It causes a miserable but relatively mild illness in most people. For most of us, getting the flu means a couple of weeks out of work or school, then life goes back to normal. But for others, the flu is a severe illness. Young children and the elderly are at the greatest risk for the flu and its complications. The flu can be more serious, even deadly, if you have a health condition like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, a weakened immune system or HIV. 

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