Unlikely Trio of Senators Forms Like Voltron to Revise Federal Pot Laws

Credit: Marijuana Policy Project
Senators Gillibrand, Booker, and Paul want to stop federal interference with states that make medical marijuana legal.
On Tuesday, senators from both sides of the aisle stumped for a new bill that could drastically change the United States' confusing relationship with medical marijuana.

New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand stood alongside Kentucky Republican Rand Paul and New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker to promote the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States, or "CARERS," Act.

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With Longtime AIDS Care Center Rivington House Closing, Its Patients Are Left Anxious

Categories: Health Care

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Katie Toth
Rivington House is closing, which means its outpatients have to decide where to go next.
With the closing of Rivington House fast approaching, patients at the Lower East Side care center for people with AIDS fear that they're going to get lower-quality care anywhere else.

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Oprah-Themed Ebola 'Dance Party' Gets Smackdown

Categories: Health Care

Courtesy Oprah's Life You Want Tour
Following your passion in search of your purpose backfired on one party-planner over the weekend.

On Friday, as New Yorkers reacted to the news of the city's first confirmed Ebola case, two members of a queer Facebook group announced plans to throw a dance party fundraiser to benefit organizations battling the epidemic.

Instead, they got a big gay backlash.

Michelle Burnaby, a nurse at a New York City "Ebola-designated hospital," posted a photo of Oprah on a Facebook group called Queer Exchange and said, "I'm channeling Oprah right now...what I'm proposing is bound to make us all into our best-selves."

She proposed a "pay-as-you-can dance party" to the group's more than 14,000 members, with all proceeds going to a "direct-impact NGO." She suggested either Doctors Without Borders or the International Rescue Committee but added that she was open to other ideas.

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Owners of AIDS Care Facility Stuck With Building After Booting Patients

Categories: Health Care

Katie Toth
Rivington House, founded in 1995, is closing its doors. "It's a shame," says activist Kathleen Webster.

Rivington House, the city's lone nursing home dedicated to treating people with AIDS, is closing -- whether its owners have a buyer or not.

The nonprofit founded the historic nursing home in 1995, at the height of the AIDS crisis, to offer specialized hospice and nursing care at a time of stigma and fear. But for the last few years, the nursing home has been only half-full. Administrators say that's because AIDS is no longer the automatic death sentence it once was.

"What the need was then -- people were coming in our doors and dying every week or so," says Robert Goldman, communications director for VillageCare, which owns and operates the Lower East Side live-in and specialty outpatient facility. "That need has declined...[it's] not there in that large volume anymore."

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What Happens If an Ebola Case Lands at JFK?

Last Saturday, New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport started conducting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's enhanced Ebola screening. JFK became the first out of five U.S. airports, including Washington-Dulles, Newark Liberty, Chicago-O'Hare, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta international airports, to begin the special screening exercise. The discovery that Amber Vinson -- the second Texas nurse who contracted Ebola -- was allowed to board a commercial airliner from Ohio to Texas while running a fever begs an obvious question for New Yorkers: What happens if an infected passenger arrives at JFK?More »

New York Health Commissioner's Ebola Plan? Purell

Photo credit: johnwilliamsphd via Compfight cc

New York State's acting health commissioner has a couple easy tips for people afraid of Ebola: Clean your hands and get a flu shot.

"The symptoms of many viral illnesses, they always begin the same," said Dr. Howard Zucker, at a press conference convened today by Governor Andrew Cuomo to discuss how the state was dealing with Ebola.

Ebola, just like the flu, starts with a fever, sore throat, headache, and muscle weakness. If a patient came in to his office with those starting symptoms, Zucker said, "I would ask, 'Have you had the flu shot?' and if you say yes, I'd say, 'OK, you probably don't have the flu.' "

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Symptoms of Ebola May Include Fever, Vomiting, Xenophobia

Categories: Health Care

WFAA via Twitter. h/t Dallas Observer
A man experiencing Ebola-like symptoms was taken from a clinic in Frisco, Texas, to a Dallas hospital.
After New York Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino announced his plan to save us all from Ebola, we were curious whether he'd get any traction with this whole banning-all-travel-from-West Africa thing. Turns out the response to his words might be...biological.

Astorino spoke only a day before the death of Thomas Edward Duncan, an announcement from the Centers for Disease Control regarding increased screening at airports, and news that a man in Frisco, Texas, showing Ebola-like symptoms, had been taken to the hospital out of "an abundance of caution."

Some studies suggest contagious diseases can actually have direct effects on what societies consider to be moral, and on how people feel about outsiders. It's something University of British Columbia professor Mark Schaller calls "the behavioral immune system."

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Rob Astorino Has a Plan to Save Us From Ebola

Categories: Health Care
Rob Astorino, New York's Republican gubernatorial candidate, grandstanded for the cameras Tuesday, demanding that New York City airports cease receiving flights from West Africa, in order to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

"God help us if Ebola comes into New York because we were afraid to offend someone," he intoned, with the United Nations building providing a backdrop of the requisite gravitas. "I therefore call on the FAA today to halt air travel to New York area airports [from affected West African nations] until proper protocols are in place."

Astorino's announcement came only a day before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it will be increasing screening procedures for the virus at major U.S. airports, including JFK and Newark International.

The candidate's remarks didn't go over very well with his opponent, Governor Andrew Cuomo.

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Women at Fordham Say School Violates Its Own Birth Control Policy

Categories: Health Care
When condoms materialize at Fordham University events, it's easy to jump to one conclusion: culture war. The "Condom Drops" have been part of a series of incognito protests at the Catholic university by a student group called SAGES (Students for Sex Equality Gender and Safety), against a religious administration they consider "sex negative."

Along with the latex deliveries (which flout Fordham's rules against giving out contraception on campus), SAGES has anonymously live-tweeted meetings about sexual health on campus and set up a petition demanding co-ed dorms, free access to birth control, and a free-speech zone where student groups can share materials not preapproved by the administration.

The school responded, tweeting that it doesn't prohibit birth control -- just its distribution on campus. "Secret protests are fun, but at college, we debate ideas rather than litter about them," retorted the school's Rose Hill Student Life office, which invited SAGES to come forward for a discussion. "Instead of anonymity...try some Fordham values this Homecoming: open debate and respect for beliefs and traditions of others."

SAGES has yet to RSVP.

But in the midst of the "fun" back-and-forth lurks a more startling allegation. Two women have come forward saying that the school's medical center has violated its own policies regarding providing hormonal birth control for physical health reasons.

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City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Tweets That She Has High-Risk HPV

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Image via Twitter
City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito used Twitter Sunday night to announce that she's been diagnosed with high-risk human papillomavirus, or HPV, a common sexually transmitted infection. The speaker added that she needs to undergo a biopsy to test for cervical cancer. The announcement immediately generated a wave of headlines, with the Daily News describing it as a "health bombshell".

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