A new HIV treatment was approved for the public, and that's good news for everyone.

The Food and Drug Administration just approved a new treatment for HIV. Hooray!


Photo by Gilead Sciences, used with permission.


Descovy, a drug made by Gilead Sciences, is a combination of two already-approved drugs used to treat HIV-1, the most common type of HIV.

What's different about this drug? It can do its job effectively but only requires 1/10th the dose of a similar drug. That's great news for the bones and kidneys of people taking the medicine.

“As the first new HIV treatment backbone approved by the FDA in more than a decade, Descovy represents an important evolution in HIV care, " said Norbert Bischofberger, executive vice president of research and development and chief scientific officer at Gilead Sciences.

Now, it's no miracle drug. Descovy does come with strict warnings about certain side effects, and Gilead has yet to announce just how much it will cost.

But for now, file this under "good news"!

Photo by Gilead Sciences, used with permission.

Because even with its flaws, this drug is welcome news for the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV.

In the U.S. alone, around 50,000 new HIV infections occur each year. And nearly 1 in 8 people with the virus aren't aware they have it.

Thanks to scientific breakthroughs like this one, people with the virus can live healthier, longer lives. But economic and social challenges like poverty, lack of health care options, stigma, and homophobia prevent people from getting tested and/or receiving and continuing proper preventive measures or treatment.

While we celebrate announcements like this one about Descovy, it's crucial to also highlight prevention efforts and treatment access.

People gather for the World AIDS Day Vigil and Remembrance Walk to show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

One big breakthrough that's preventing new infections among the people with the greatest risk is PrEP.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis , or PrEP, is when individuals with a very high risk of contracting HIV (think someone with an HIV-positive partner or a partner using needle drugs) take HIV medicines every day to lower their odds of getting the virus.

Currently, a combination drug sold under the name Truvada is approved for this use, and studies show PrEP is effective at preventing infection when used correctly.

Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Gilead, the company behind Descovy, also makes Truvada. And they work to make sure their therapies and medications are accessible to people who are uninsured or unable to afford copays.

It's not all puppies and rainbows: Gilead is still a drug company, and drug companies are gonna drug company. But through patient-assistance programs and state and federal initiatives, medications like this are now available to more people than ever.

Activists protest the high price of medication on World AIDS Day. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Whether it's groundbreaking treatments, targeted prevention, or accessibility, we're slowly but surely fighting back against HIV and AIDS.

We've come a long way since the beginning of the epidemic. And thanks to top-notch research, empathy, and an increase in funding and public awareness, we will never go back again.

A candlelight vigil for World Aids Day. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via CNN / Twitter

Eviction seemed imminent for Dasha Kelly, 32, and her three young daughters Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, on Monday. The eviction moratorium expired over the weekend and it looked like there was no way for them to avoid becoming homeless.

The former Las Vegas card dealer lost her job due to casino closures during the pandemic and needed $2,000 to cover her back rent. The mother of three couldn't bear the thought of being put out of her apartment with three children in the scorching Nevada desert.

"I had no idea what we were going to do," Kelly said, according to KOAT.

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