Wednesday, May 26, 2010


The Lazarus Effect, a 30-minute documentary directed by Lance Bangs and executive produced by Spike Jonze, documents the effect that HIV ARV drugs (Antiretroviral) can have in communities and families who are HIV infected. The Lazarus Effect focuses on several subjects in Zambia, located in Sub-Saharan Africa, a continent where two-thirds of the 33 million or so people living with HIV reside.

By definition, Antiretroviral are medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV. One prominent example where catching the virus early and treating the patient with ARVs is former NBA player Magic Johnson. Johnson, who announced he was HIV positive in 1991, started treated early on before the virus could destroy his immune system. For the people of Sub Saharan Africa however, the ability to afford ARVs has been one contributing factor to the growing pandemic. In the documentary, HIV Peer Education Counselor Constance (Connie) Mudenda, who discovered she was HIV positive after her husband tested positive states that most often people have to choose between paying rent or food and buying medication. In a country where only 52,000 can afford ARVs and millions needs it, this usually results in a morbid reality – Rent/Food 1, HIV 0.

In 2003, the Global Fund To Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria began to commit money to fund the distribution of free ARVs to over 3 million people across Africa. Encouraging, but still not enough. Over 3,000 die every day from AIDS in Africa. If you missed The Lazarus Effect, watch it now.

In peace and progress,

Kim J. Ford

Email us:

Sunday, May 16, 2010


(Image via

Males, men have to step up, regardless of sexual orientation, and pro-actively change how we impact our relationships and society with healthier sexual thinking and behavior!

I am frustrated, pissed, angry! Why you ask? To whom you ask? I am talking about the increase in cases involving mostly men who are out of control and expressing their anger, hate, via violent, destructive, and impulsive behaviors/actions towards loved ones. These men think they can, or think they have the right to, abuse and commit violence on others. We live in a society that supports this behavior until its' too late or until the monster (the behavior or actions out of control) is so ugly that we are repulsed. Although there are many nameless cases that we never hear about, it’s the more “famous names” that the media often bring to light has the example. Is it me or in 2009 - 2010, the amount of celebrities and non-celebrities involved in domestic (physical, emotional) abuse, humiliation, and sexual violence has increased tremendously?

Chris Brown (Rihanna) Lawrence Taylor (16 year old girl), Tiger Woods (his wife, several women), Jesse James (Sandra Bullock), George Huguely (Yeardley Love), the infamous Duke University Lacrosse team case (who created an environment where a stripper could even accuse them of rape) are just a few high profile cases that have sex as the common denominator in the unhealthy relationships.

I am pissed because the community and loved ones of the above men and other less profile men- haven't done their job as well. The people around them have let these behaviors grow and get to this point. And when it happens people, the community or society, are ready to crucify someone.

Last week, I was reading a NY Post article on the Lawrence Taylor case when I came across in the comments some ignorant views that give proof of more education needed for people about domestic violence, and hatred toward women:

The Dude
05/10/2010 3:54 AM
“There will always be ‘Hos’ around (it's female nature) but at least without these pimps you won't have girls forced into it, although there probably are female pimps too and females who manage Ho houses.”

However when I went back to the Post to write this, I was pleasantly surprised. Other readers commented to the above reader. Proof that others are thinking what I am thinking-

05/10/2010 1:16 AM

“The Dude - you seem overly concerned about LT. Why is that? There is a convicted murderer preying on young runaways. Shouldn't people be more worried about that? Sheesh. This is why NY is so &*&% up. So many people bashing this young, lost girl and worrying about whether LT will have to face charges. 

She already came forward to say that LT did not hit her and that she told him she was 19. She called the cops on the pimp. NOT LT. LT already admitted that he ordered a prostitute. Let him take his lumps. 

This reminds me of the girl who was sodomized and murdered by a bouncer and all people could say is that she shouldn't have been in a bar drunk by herself.

A lot of what we do — we meaning males — revolves around sex or the idea of sex. A lot of what we do that gets us into trouble is around or about sex. (Ladies you are not totally off the hook- there are a lot of women who are also violent and or who support violent men).

However statistics show that there is an overwhelming amount of women being victims of violence verse men. In addition, men or males are taught violence from an early age where women or girls are not as indoctrinated to violence, adventure, action, etc.

(I have two boys I know. It is a challenge to keep them balanced and healthy. It's a challenge for me, too.)

Here are some stats:

-According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which includes crimes that were not reported to the police, 232,960 women in the U.S. were raped or sexually assaulted in 2006. That's more than 600 women every day.

-17.6 % of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape. Of these, 21.6% were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, and 32.4% were between the ages of 12 and 17. (Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women, Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, November, 2000)

-64% of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked since age 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, or date. (Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women, Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, November, 2000)

-When we consider race, we see that African-American women face higher rates of domestic violence than white women, and American-Indian women are victimized at a rate more than double that of women of other races.

Sex or sexual energy is power. Energy is power. Man on man, man on woman, boy on girl, girl on girl, etc. In that couple or that relationship there is a dynamic that contains an exchange of power. One gives the other takes or in a healthy relationship it is shared. It is how you control your power that makes us human and above animals.

Male lions just run up and fight a lioness then have sex. The male lion walks away. Their sexual dynamic is violent. But they are after all wild animals. Are we animals? No!

So I have your eyes and your mind right now. What's next? Glad you asked. A lot of what I have addressed is covered in more detail below. This Life Student leaves you with this bit of valuable information — below is a list of ten things that men can do to be pro-active in not only protecting women (daughters, sisters, wives, mothers) but also our friends but also protecting society and ourselves. Protect by changing, informing, standing up, being aware! Why re-invent the wheel when a resource has so eloquently spelled it out!

The list is from the Call To Men (, an awesome organization that works with many individuals, groups, programs, agencies, and business to talk about and empower males to bring about healthier thinking, behavior, and lifestyles. There exist similar organizations for those males (or females) in same sex relationships and experiencing similar issues such as Safe Horizon ( at 1-800-621-4673 and in New York the Gay Lesbian Anti-Violence Project ( at 212-714-1141.

10 Things Men Can Do In Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention

1. Acknowledge and understand how male dominance and aspects of unhealthy manhood are at the foundation domestic and sexual violence.

2. Examine and challenge our individual beliefs and the role that we play in supporting men who are abusive.

3. Recognize and stop colluding with other men by getting out of our socially defined roles, and take a stance to prevent domestic and sexual violence.

4. Remember that our silence is affirming. When we choose not to speak out against domestic and sexual violence, we are supporting it.

5. Educate and re-educate our sons and other young men about our responsibility in preventing domestic and sexual violence.

6."Break out of the man box"- Challenge traditional images of manhood that stop us from actively taking a stand in domestic and sexual violence prevention.

7. Accept and own our responsibility that domestic and sexual violence will not end until men become part of the solution to end it. We must take an active role in creating a cultural and social shift that no longer tolerates violence and discrimination against women and girls.

8. Stop supporting the notion that domestic and sexual violence is due to mental illness, lack of anger management skills, chemical dependency, stress, etc… Domestic and sexual violence is rooted in male dominance and the socialization of men.

9. Take responsibility for creating appropriate and effective ways to educate and raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence prevention.

10. Create responsible and accountable men's initiatives in your community to support domestic and sexual violence prevention.

Copyright © 2004, ACT Men Inc. All rights

So ladies and gentleman, please like the reader/commenter- Kyle- be a life student. Oh and by the way- I am calm now. I turned by anger and frustration into action- I used my voice. Be active speak out and stand up. Society has to change and the Life Student is willing to lead the way- by example!

You can read more of the NY Post article on Lawrence Taylor:

Amir Thornell
The Life Student

GET DOWN says: Life Student, this is powerful stuff. Note: the World Health Organization has done extensive research on the link between intimate partner violence (and violence against women) and HIV globally. Here are two links, check it out:

Email us:

Thursday, May 13, 2010



GET DOWN's favorite Dirty Money singer/songwriter Dawn Richard in the new video "Hello, Good Morning", which is the third single off Diddy & Dirty Money's forthcoming CD "Last Train To Paris". The cd is slated for release on June 29, 2010.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Friends, Family & Frat,

Over the past 10 years, I have participated in the AIDS Walk (regardless of the city I was living in at the time :). The AIDS Walk holds a special place in my heart because I have lost so many close friends to this horrible disease. Each year, I participate to honor their memory with the hopes that a cure will be found. This year, I am a team leader for the 25th Annual NY AIDS Walk | FACES NY TEAM # 0638. AIDS Walk New York, the world’s largest AIDS fundraising event, benefits Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) and over 30 other tri-state area AIDS service organizations including my employer FACES NY ( My employer is the oldest minority operated social service agency in Harlem. One of the many services we offer is housing for people living with HIV/AIDS including women & children. This year, my organization (FACES NY) is celebrating 25 years of service. To honor that huge milestone, I've made a personal goal to collect $25 from 25 people ($625). If you can’t contribute the full $25, please donate whatever you can.

Please go to: to help me reach my goal.

For those of you in the NY area, I would like to personally invite you to join me on Sunday, May 16th at 8:45AM at the FACES Office 317 Lenox Avenue (125th x 126th Street). If you plan to come jus let me know so i can look out for you.


Bobby Brown Jr.
(aka “Not Whitney’s Ex")

GET DOWN will see you at AIDS WALK 2010!

Email us:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010



A few weeks ago my sons, 10 and 11 years old, asked me to help them with their homework. “Sure,” I said, “What do you need?”, thinking it’s probably a question about fractions or spelling. I was thrown for loop when they said, “We have to do a paper on HIV/AIDS. Can you help us?”

Now, I like to think that I'm a pretty hip parent but my intial reaction was straight panic. “What?! Why are they learning this? They don’t need to know this! Oh jeez, my babies are growing up. Nooooooo!”

But I calmed down and realized that yes; I do want them to learn about HIV/AIDS. And was thankful that the school was covering it, because we hadn’t gotten that far in our talks yet. So this was a nice segue for us to continue the conversation at home.

But for many parents this is not cool, convenient or wanted. They do not want schools teaching anything about sex, contraception, pregnancy, etc. Many parents, politicians and lawmakers feel that this crosses a line. That sex and related topics should be taught only parents in the home.

An extreme example of this is a letter sent from a District Attorney in Wisconsin to local school districts, threatening the possible arrest of teachers who teach the state mandated sex education curriculum, stating that to do so was to contribute to the delinquency of a minor.


If you read through the actual memo ( it becomes clear that the D.A. and his supporters are terrified that informed children = amoral children. Which makes no sense to me. If we want our children to avoid a potentially dangerous situation, it is our responsibility to arm them the knowledge and tools to do so. No matter how uncomfortable that makes us.

So yes, I’m a fan of sex education in the schools. The keys are 1. To teach it in sensitive and age appropriate manner (i.e. kindergartners learn that no one is to touch their private parts and high schoolers learn about contraception and abstinence) and 2. To realize that sex education in the classroom is only most effective when it becomes a springboard for a bigger conversation that takes place at home. Otherwise, as noted in a 2001 survey published by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, ‘most studies of school based and school linked health centers revealed no effect on student sexual behavior or contraceptive use.’

The surprising thing to note is that, at least here in New York City, that ‘schools do not have to use [the NY Dept of Educations’] curriculum, they just have to meet the state standards….they can use their own curriculum as long as it meets those requirements.’, (Marge Feinberg, spokesperson for the NYC Dept of Ed). And though the state standards include a comprehensive sex education component, it is only recommended. The required curriculum does teach an understanding of healthy choices, but says nothing specific about sexual health.

So before you jump off the deep end at the thought of your child learning the birds and bees from his gym/health teacher, 1. Find out what exactly your state and school curriculum teaches. It may not be what you think it is. And 2. though the school may start the conversation, be sure that you, the parent/guardian, finishes it. It takes a village to raise a child but no one can shape and influence that child the way their immediate family can.


Alysia C.

Email us:

Monday, May 3, 2010


Alysia is many things to many people. Studio manager at a children’s entertainment company, project manager to local businesses and freelance designer to programs like the GET DOWN PSA (designed logo and print materials). But the role she’s most proud of is that of mother. As the single mom of two tween-age boys, Alysia juggles her professional commitments, kids karate lessons, PTA duties, and her own hobbies (she has a passion for art and writing), with a smile. And it is through these lenses that she contributes her two cents to the GET DOWN dialogue.

Alysia Christiani

We at GET DOWN look forward to more from you!

Email us: