Smoking and HIV – One man’s story

Smoking is especially dangerous for people who are living with HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS. Brian learned that lesson the hard way, when he had a stroke—a brain attack—at age 43. In this video, Brian talks about surviving HIV-related medical problems—then nearly losing his life because of smoking.  See All Brian’s videos.

And from LOGO online…

Smoking now leads to more deaths in the LGBT community than HIV according to the Centers for Disease Control, which also reports that while 20.5% of heterosexuals smoke, 30.8% of  gay people use tobacco products. “We know that approximately one million LGBT people [in the U.S.] will die early from tobacco-related causes,” says Dr. Scout from the Network for LGBT Health Equity. “We want to save those lives instead.”

I you’re HIV-positive and smoke, the combination can take even more years off your life: According to the Network for LGBT Health Equity, being HIV-positive takes an average of 5.1 years off one’s life, but people who smoke and have HIV die 12.3 years earlier on average. Yet the smoking rate is two to three times higher among adults who are HIV-positive than in the general public.


Facing AIDS theme of National HIV Testing Day


Facing AIDS is a digital photo sharing initiative with the goal of reducing HIV-related stigma and promoting HIV testing. Many blog readers have contributed personal messages to the Facing AIDS photo gallery, most recently in recognition of World AIDS Day (December 1, 2012 – visit the gallery to see the inspiring messages collected over the five years of the initiative). Many of your Facing AIDS messages highlight the importance of confronting stigma and echo the theme of National HIV Testing Day: Take the Test. Take Control. That consistency made it easy for our team to re-purpose the photos into the newest video in our Facing AIDS series. To learn how participate in Facing AIDS, read this blog post. To watch other videos in the Facing AIDS series, please use this playlist Exit Disclaimer. Click here to learn more about locating HIV testing near you. Please watch and share the “Facing AIDS for National HIV Testing Day” video.

Family Acceptance Project

The Family Acceptance Project, a San Francisco program aimed at reducing familial rejection of transgender, bisexual, lesbian, and gay youth, was named a “Promising Practice” at an October conference sponsored by the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, and the Latino Mental Health Concilio.

Researchers found, essentially, that supportive and accepting family members can help reduce health disparities, including HIV risk, among LGBT Latino youth and young adults. For more information on the Family Acceptance Project’s work, visit

Free screening of “Gen Silent”

On Wednesday, October 24 there will be a free screening of “Gen Silent” at the Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Avenue in Pittsburgh. Refreshments will be served at 6 PM. The film starts at 6:30 PM. Gen Silent startlingly discovers how oppression in the years before Stonewall now affects older LGBT people with fear and isolation. For more about the film, go to

Watch the trailer:

June 27th is National HIV Testing Day

National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is an annual campaign coordinated by the National Association of People with AIDS to encourage people of all ages to “Take the Test, Take Control.”

Too many people don’t know they have HIV. In the United States, nearly 1.2 million people are living with HIV, and almost one in five don’t know they are infected. Getting tested is the first step to finding out if you have HIV. If you have HIV, getting medical care and taking medicines regularly helps you live a longer, healthier life and also lowers the chances of passing HIV on to others.

Homophobia may reveal denial of own same-sex attraction

From CBS News:

Do homophobic people actually fear their own unconscious feelings? A new study suggests that people who repress their own sexual attraction to the same sex are more likely to express hostility towards gays.

“In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward,” study co-author Dr. Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, said in a university written statement.

In four separate experiments conducted in the U.S. and in Germany, each involving an average of 160 college students, researchers attempted to measure any differences between what people say about their sexual orientation and how they actually react. Their findings are published in the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Read the full article on the CBS News Website.

Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, co-authored of the study, explains…

Kudos to Glee for “the talk” with gay teen

If your parents never talked to you about sex…or if they did and it didn’t go well, maybe you should watch the last episode of Glee. The scene in which Burt Hummel talks to his gay son, Kurt, is a shining example of how parents should talk to their kids when discussing sex for the first time. Kids need to know about protection, of course, but they also need to know that they matter and that casual sex really isn’t so casual…at least not when you’re that young.

Follow this link to watch the scene.

The funny yet tragic truth of anonymous gay sex

This funny (and painfully true) video depicting gay sex partners hooking up for a quickie points out the crazy logic I sometimes find online. People who wouldn’t risk riding their bike without a helmet will have unprotected anal sex with someone just because he says he’s HIV negative.

I happen to know from my conversations in chat rooms that some guys who have unprotected sex are in fact HIV+ and lie about it. Or, as a recent Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention study points out, almost half the gay an bi men who are infected just don’t know it because they haven’t been tested.

The lesson here of course is not put your health in the hands of someone you’ve met for the length of an anonymous hookup. If you’re having anonymous bareback sex, you’re putting yourself at risk, no matter what the top says.

Lead With Love

LEAD WITH LOVE follows four families’ experiences in learning that they have a gay or lesbian child. Created for parents who are working through this news themselves, this poignant and informative film shares real stories from parents and children, factual information from psychologists, educators, and clergy, and concrete guidance to help parents keep their children healthy and safe during this sometimes challenging time.

Advocacy groups claim NY City Health Department PSA demonizes gay men and persons living with HIV

From LGBTQ Nation:

The PSA, which is intended to encourage condom usage among gay and bisexual men, claims that those with HIV face a higher risk of bone loss, dementia, and anal cancer. While older adults living with HIV may be at greater risk of these conditions, GLAAD and GMHC assert the PSA creates a grim picture of what it is like to live with HIV that could further stigmatize HIV/AIDS, as well as gay and bisexual men.

“While it’s extremely important that we continue to educate New Yorkers about HIV/AIDS prevention, the sensationalized nature of the commercial, including its tabloid-like fear tactics, misses the mark in fairly and accurately representing what it’s like to live with HIV/AIDS,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios.

Read the full commentary on

Writing for the New Yorker, Michael Specter defends the PSA saying: “Nasty messages are unpleasant and they don’t always work. But they do work sometimes, and there is research to suggest in cases like this, where it has become easy to shrug off the truth, harsh reminders are particularly effective.”

Read Specter’s editorial on the New Yorker’s Website.

Not to be outdone, President Obama tells queer youth “it gets better”

President Obama comes out for gay youth.

I know a lot of LGBT folks are unhappy with the unfulfilled promise to overturn DADT (among other things) but lets stop for a moment and think about the significance of the President of the United States, the leader of the free world,  making a big public statement directed at queer youth.

And it happens to be a heartfelt, well-written speech.

Hillary Clinton posts YouTube video on Dan Savage’s It Gets Better channel

In response to recent teen suicides, hundreds of people have stepped up to tell young LGBT youth that it gets better. One of the latest to post a video is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who reflects on the progress the country has made and will continue to make. The video was posted on YouTube, on the It Gets Better Project channel. The project was created by author, sex columnist and activist Dan Savage.  

You can read more about the It Gets Better Project in Dan’s column on the The Stranger.


LA-based web soap opera explores sexual decision making among young gay men

“Traditional methods of HIV prevention, like condom distribution, remain incredibly important,” says independent filmmaker Dave OʼBrien, 33, who wrote, directed and co-developed IN THE MOMENT, “Whatʼs missing among a younger generation of gay guys is any real discussion about HIV and safer sex. IN THE MOMENT is a sexy and entertaining way to capture their attention and stimulate dialogue regarding real-world sexual situations many gay men face today.”

IN THE MOMENT starts with an authentic, sexy and sometimes humorous web soap opera that explores the full range of factors that come into play in sexual decision making among young gay men. Issues like self-esteem, dating, relationships, age, body image, addiction and others are addressed as key factors in the lives of the characters. The episodes are broken into 3-5 minute “webisodes” that are easily accessible on most computers. The webisodes are a starting-place for discussion. Users create their own IN THE MOMENT profile on the site and use it to communicate on message boards and with other members.

Dan Savage creates a Youtube channel for gay teens being bullied in school

From the New York Times:

“A new online video channel is reaching out to teenagers who are bullied at school for being gay. The message: life really does get better after high school.

The YouTube channel, called the It Gets Better Project,” was created by the Seattle advice columnist and activist Dan Savage. Mr. Savage says he was moved by the suicide of Billy Lucas, a Greensburg, Ind., high school student who was the target of slurs and bullying. The channel promises to be a collection of videos from adults in the gay community who share their own stories of surviving school bullying and moving on to build successful careers and happy home lives.”

Read the full article on the New York Times Website.

Dan Savage on how to come out to your Evangelical Family

I don’t know that I totally agree with Dan’s advice on coming out to your parents, but its a point of view to consider.

My advice would be, that if you’re in a potentially violent situation at home, don’t come out until you can get out on your own first. Or, at least make sure you have a support system outside the home should your parents fly off the handle. In any case, Dan presents an interesting point of view. Click on the image here to go to the video…