Posted by administrator on December 9, 2013
(Reuters Health) – Gay teenagers who have had at least four sexual partners are at increased risk of contracting human papillomavirus (HPV), a new study suggests. At least half of sexually active people get HPV at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Previous research has suggested most adult gay men have the sexually transmitted infection. HPV is usually cleared by the immune system but can cause genital warts and anal cancer, as well as cervical cancer among women. ”In this study we found rates of anal infection increased rapidly with increasing numbers of partners with whom they have received anal sex,” senior author Marcus Y. Chen said. “The virus is presumably being transmitted from penis to anus.” Chen is an associate professor in the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
The CDC recommends boys and girls get vaccinated against HPV at age 11 or 12, before becoming sexually active. There are two versions of the HPV vaccine, one of which is available for boys. The vaccine is very effective if given before a person is exposed to HPV but provides “diminishing protection” after that, Dr. Ross D. Cranston told Reuters Health. ”Thus if there is a high rate of HPV acquisition, as we also see in girls, there is a lost opportunity to provide protection if the HPV vaccine is not given early,” he said. Cranston, who was not involved in the new study, directs the Anal Dysplasia Clinic and Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania.
Chen and his team tested 200 young gay men age 16 to 20 for HPV and genital warts and gave them a sexual history questionnaire. risk forms of the virus, and 11 percent tested positive for two or more forms. Men who’d ever had vaginal sex or anal sex were more likely to test positive for penile HPV, according to results published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. Among men who had never received anal sex, 10 percent tested positive for anal HPV. That compared to nearly half of those who said they’d had at least four anal sex partners. The finding that some young men who reported never receiving anal sex tested positive for anal HPV suggests the virus can be transmitted in other ways, the authors write.
About 7,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with anal cancer in 2013, according to the American Cancer Society. Rates are higher among gay men than heterosexual people, Chen noted. Of the many types of the HPV virus, HPV 16 is most commonly associated with anal cancers. ”Our study found that gay male teens acquire the HPV virus including HPV 16 very soon after they first become sexually active,” Chen told Reuters Health. ”This means that the HPV vaccine, which has been shown to be effective in preventing HPV infection in males, including anal infection in gay men, needs to be given very early on, preferably before gay teens start to have sex.”
Many countries routinely vaccinate all girls against HPV. But as of 2013, Australia is the only one to implement universal and free vaccination of boys at school, Chen said. ”This is great news for boys in Australia including those that are gay but in other countries the absence of such a program means gay males will miss out on anal cancer prevention,” he said. Some gay teens might be reluctant to admit their sexuality and ask for the vaccine, he said. Gay men are no more susceptible to HPV than heterosexual men, but more often have anal infections, Cranston said. He said doctors can increase awareness and the likelihood that boys will be vaccinated against HPV through conversations with their parents.
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Posted by administrator on December 9, 2013
Perry N. Halkitis is professor of applied psychology, public health and population health; director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies; and associate dean of the Global Institute of Public Health at New York University. He is author of the book “The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience.”
(CNN) — Unprotected sexual behavior among men who have sex with men has risen steadily since 2005, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, released just before World AIDS Day.
The data, drawn from the National HIV Health Behavior Surveillance System, indicated a rise in unprotected anal intercourse by 20% in a one-year period and were seen by some as a call to arms.
Does this mean gay men are no longer worried about HIV? Many health commissioners and policy-makers on both the local and national levels, old-school activists, fellow academics and researchers and reporters used these data to augment their argument that HIV is no longer an issue of concern for gay men, whose primary route of transmission is unprotected anal sex.
It has been suggested that gay men, especially young gay men, no longer fear contracting the disease, that AIDS is perceived as an easily managed chronic condition and that infection holds little consequence for those newly diagnosed. And then the “blame game” begins, which does nothing to help deal with the issue.
The reality is that some of my peers and members of my own generation, the AIDS Generation — those of us who lived through the most dismal and darkest moments of AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s, prior to the implementation of effective therapies in 1996 — also expressed similar horror when I interviewed them for my book last year.
In fact, this very issue — that of finger-pointing and assignment of blame and shame to gay men — came through very clearly in the voices of the men during the course of our conversations and interviews.
Continue reading here.
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Posted by administrator on December 3, 2013
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) honors World AIDS Day 2013 and celebrates the improved wellbeing of millions of people around the world living healthy and full HIV-positive lives. As the care and treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS has expanded so has the number of people living long HIV-positive lives. As of 2012, nearly 10 million people throughout the world were receiving antiretroviral therapy , vastly improving their quality of life and reducing the number of early deaths due to the disease. And recent changes to the World Health Organization’s treatment guidelines are expected to substantially increase the number of people qualifying for treatment.
Widespread access to HIV medications and treatments, principally through PEPFAR and the Global Fund, has changed the course of HIV infection from an acute and deadly infection to a chronic disease requiring long-term care management. While this means a diagnosis is no longer a death sentence, it also means health systems now need to be prepared to address the long-term care needs of those living—sometimes for decades—with HIV.
Continue reading at AIDS.gov.
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Posted by administrator on December 2, 2013
From the Boston Globe…
Federal health officials are reporting a sharp increase in unprotected sex among gay American men over the last decade, a development that makes it harder to fight the AIDS epidemic. The same trend has recently been documented among gay men in Canada, Britain, the Netherlands, France, and Australia, heightening concerns among public health officials worldwide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of men who told federal health investigators that they had had unprotected anal sex in the last year rose nearly 20 percent from 2005 to 2011. In the 2011 survey, unprotected sex was more than twice as common among men who said they did not know whether they were infected with HIV.
Being tested even once for HIV is associated with men taking fewer risks, whether the test is positive or negative, health experts say. The most recent survey also found that a third of the men interviewed had not been tested in the past year.
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Posted by administrator on November 19, 2013
Getting a flu shot is good advice for pretty much anyone. Even more so if you’re HIV positive.
For patients with HIV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting the flu shot instead of the live attenuated flu vaccine or “FluMist.” The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine (containing a killed virus) that’s given with a needle. FluMist contains a weakened form of the live flu virus and is only approved for use in people ages 2 to 49 with unimpaired immune systems.
Preventing the flu is important for people with HIV/AIDS due to an increased risk from serious influenza-related complications. Studies have shown an increased risk for heart and lung-related hospitalizations in people infected with HIV during influenza season, as well as a higher risk of influenza-related deaths. Other studies have indicated that influenza symptoms might be prolonged for certain HIV-infected people.
And, no, you can’t get the flu from the vaccination. For more information about HIV and influenza, go to the CDC Website.
You can find a place to get the flu shot here. You can also ask your doctor for additional options.
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Posted by administrator on November 13, 2013
From Edge on the Net…
In an effort to educate mobile app users about HIV, gay social app MISTER has teamed with Hula for an education campaign to help users located HIV and STD testing sites, and to learn their status. “We’re in a position to help educate the community, and we should use it,” said Carl Sandler, CEO of MISTER. “The gay mobile app has become one of the primary ways gay men, particularly younger gay men, connect with one another. We need to do all we can to make sure that they are making informed choices about their partners and their health.”
While overall rates of HIV infection have remained stable, young gay men who have sex with men (MSM), primarily those of color, continue to experience rising rates of new HIV infections. According to the CDC, from 2008-2010, HIV infections among young African-American MSM increased 20 percent. In 2010, MSM accounted for 63 percent of all new infections in the U.S.
The Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training showed that as man as 1 in 10 men using a mobile app to hook up with guys has never had an HIV test. Of that cohort, one third said they told partners they were HIV-negative, and one-third admitted to having sex without a condom. This prompted the decision for MISTER to partner with Hula, an app that helps users find the best local HIV testing center. The app will also empower users to securely display verified info about their last testing date and results.
Go to Edge on the Net to keep reading.
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Posted by administrator on November 4, 2013
Obamacare – officially known as the Affordable Care Act (or ACA) — makes health insurance easier to get and more affordable for many people with HIV. It also removes barriers that may have kept you from being able to get coverage in the past. Starting January 1, 2014, no one can be denied health insurance or charged more because of a pre-existing health condition such as HIV. And insurers can no longer limit how much they’ll spend on your medical care —over a year or your lifetime. These are important changes for someone with HIV. Find out more on greaterthan.org.
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Posted by administrator on October 31, 2013
Lawrence D. Mass, M.D. (Co-founder, GMHC; author, ‘We Must Love One Another or Die: The Life and Legacies of Larry Kramer’) writes on the Huffington Post…
Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the U.S., and one of the most common worldwide. One in 50 Americans is infected. It accounts for more than 50 percent of all cases of end-stage liver disease and 50 percent of cases of liver cancer, and it is the reason for more than 50 percent of liver transplants. Yet it remains severely underdiagnosed. It’s estimated that upwards of 75 percent of those infected remain untested and undiagnosed, as compared with 25 percent of those with HIV. More people now die from hepatitis C than from HIV.
Those of us who struggled through the early period of AIDS understand the meaning of “Silence = Death,” the motto used by the AIDS activist organization ACT UP. So when hepatitis C began to emerge among MSM (men who have sex with men), the silence that ensued seemed eerily familiar. When I first started reporting on hepatitis C in gay men nearly a generation ago, the disease was already being called “the stealth epidemic,” in part because of the typically long, silent progression of the disease in its chronic form, sometimes taking 20 to 30 years from acute infection to cirrhosis of the liver, but also because of the public silence about it. If people had the disease, they mostly didn’t know it, and if they did have it and did know it, they didn’t go public with it. Nor did those with the disease often seek treatment, which had the reputation of being prolonged, difficult and of mixed efficacy. Since the principal risk group for the disease was injection drug users, the public wasn’t exactly clamoring to know more or be more involved.
Continue reading on the Huffington Post.
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Posted by administrator on October 30, 2013
From TheBody.com (written by ACT UP members James Krellenstein and Jim Eigo)…
The authors, James Krellenstein (left) and Jim Eigo, at an August 15 demonstration at the New York City Department of Health
Before Hillary Clinton stepped down as secretary of state, she presided over the official November 29, 2012, release of a Blueprint for an AIDS-Free Generation. With a trumpeter on the inside front cover, the 64-page document declared that the world was about to enter the third and final phase of the war against HIV infection. After AIDS as a full-scale plague, and AIDS as a manageable disease, we now had within our sites the elimination of symptomatic HIV. Twenty days later, however, another arm of the U.S. government released another document. Some news it contained struck a discordant note with Secretary Clinton’s battle cry. After reading it, many wondered if we hadn’t somehow traveled back to the dark early years of the epidemic.
According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) incidence estimates released on December 19, men who have sex with men (MSM; a category that includes transgender women), comprising less than two percent of the population, accounted for 66 percent of the 47,600 new HIV infections in 2010. Between 2008 and 2010, new infections rose 12 percent for all MSM and 22 percent for young MSM. Some subpopulations were at substantially higher risk: an African American man who had sex with men was six times likelier to acquire HIV infection than his white counterpart.
Spurred by news of the sharp upward trend of new infections, a core of grassroots activists of differing ages, sexes, orientations, colors, and serostatus began working on prevention issues for ACT UP/NY — they include the authors. Though the CDC numbers told of a prevention emergency, few in New York’s gay communities — from the rank-and-file to the top echelons of Gay, Inc. — seemed to realize what was going on. HIV was something that the community had taken care of back around 1997, wasn’t it? Effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) has made HIV manageable for most who have access to the drugs. For many younger men, AIDS was a disease — and a political cause — of the 1980s. Yet the successful treatment of HIV requires that strong drugs be taken over a lifetime. And those most likely to become infected — young, queer, and of color — are among the least likely to receive care, or even to know they’re infected.
Keep reading on TheBody.com.
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Posted by administrator on October 29, 2013
From the Website Edge in Boston…
The signs are hard to miss. Exit a Muni train at the Castro station, and the wall-sized posters are greeting you as the doors slide open. The message – it is time to start talking about HIV and AIDS. Or, as Vincent Fuqua, program coordinator for the San Francisco Department of Public Health put it, “find our voice again.”
“As long as people are still becoming infected with HIV, as long as people are still HIV-positive,” Fuqua said, “it’s still a part of us.”
The Department of Public Health, along with the national Greater Than AIDS initiative and the Kaiser Family Foundation, recently introduced Speak Out: Let’s Bring HIV Out of the Closet, a social marketing campaign aimed at encouraging men not only to get tested for HIV regularly, but also to speak openly about their status and the disease in general, as a way to remove some of the stigma within the community associated with being HIV-positive.
“We understand that there’s been a lot of strides in the gay community, which is incredible. The thing is, though, HIV is still a big part of our community as well. So we wanted to make sure people don’t forget that,” Fuqua said.
The campaign was introduced October 10 at Blush Wine Bar in the Castro. It will extend to other cities next year.
Continue reading here.
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