International, national, and local briefs...


Aggressive HIV discovered in Cuba

A medical study shows there is an aggressive new strain of the virus that causes AIDS. Researchers from Belgium’s Catholic University of Leuven published the study of patients at Havana’s Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kouri. The study surveyed 95 people who had tested positive for the HIV-1 virus but did not seek treatment. The study found many cases in which the HIV strain left untreated, progressed to full blown AIDS within three years. There are more than 60 strains of the HIV-1 virus worldwide. The study came in response to an alarming number of clinical reports of HIV positive diagnosis coming from the Caribbean island.


Chicago House Approved By National Historic Landmarks Committee

The Department of Interior will decide in May if the Henry Gerber House in Chicago is worthy of Landmark status. The Gerber House is named for the late German gay political activist. Gerber, founder of the Society of Human Rights, lived as a tenant in the house from 1925-26. The National Park Service’s Advisory Board must approve the house, a nine-room brick building, and so too must the Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. If the Gerber House clears those hurdles it will become only the second of LGBTQ history to be honored as a National Historic Landmark.


Lawmakers Propose ‘Sin Taxes’

A bill to hike “sin taxes” on Florida businesses is headed to Tallahassee; although some claim it is dead on arrival. The Florida House Finance and Tax Committee are entertaining an increase on surcharges to patrons entering a business that is classified a “strip club” or “adult theater.”  Committee chair Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) said the surcharges are needed for rehabilitation resources.  Representative Hazel Rogers (D-Lauderdale Lakes) told the Associated Press a clear difference must be drawn between strip clubs and night clubs. The committee is trying to meet Florida Governor Rick Scott’s proposed $673 million tax cut to this year’s budget.


Davie Councilman Gains Dolphins Endorsement

Bryan Caletka, a councilman for the Town of Davie, spoke to the Dolphin Democrats last week. The Dolphins are Florida’s oldest LGBT political organization. The group holds meetings monthly on Wednesday nights at the Pride Center. Caletka announced he was an openly gay man running for re-election to the Davie Council. Caletka also stated he has helped bring the town into compliance with the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington D.C. organization. The Dolphins endorsed Caletka and also, a straight candidate, Josh Rydell of Coconut Creek.