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…

Researchers Identify Two FDA Approved Drugs That May Fight HIV

“Researchers at the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center have identified two drugs that, when combined, may serve as an effective treatment for HIV. The two drugs, decitabine and gemcitabine — both FDA approved and currently used in pre-cancer and cancer therapy — were found to eliminate HIV infection in the mouse model by causing the virus to mutate itself to death — an outcome researchers dubbed lethal mutagenesis.”

Find out more on ScienceDaily

Top ten health issues for men who have sex with men

1. HIV/AIDS, Safer Sex

That men who have sex with men are at an increased risk of HIV infection is well known, but the effectiveness of safe sex in reducing the rate of HIV infection is one of the gay community’s great success stories. However, the last few years have seen the return of many unsafe sex practices. While effective HIV treatments may be on the horizon, there is no substitute for preventing infection. Safe sex is proven to reduce the risk of receiving or transmitting HIV. All health care professionals should be aware of how to counsel and support maintenance of safe sex practices.

2. Substance Use

Gay men use substances at a higher rate than the general population, and not just in larger communities such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. These include a number of substances ranging from amyl nitrate (“poppers”), to marijuana, Ecstasy, and amphetamines. The long-term effects of many of these substances are unknown; however current wisdom suggests potentially serious consequences as we age.

3. Depression/Anxiety

Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate than in the general population. The likelihood of depression or anxiety may be greater, and the problem may be more severe for those men who remain in the closet or who do not have adequate social supports. Adolescents and young adults may be at particularly high risk of suicide because of these concerns. Culturally sensitive mental health services targeted specifically at gay men may be more effective in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of these conditions.

4. Hepatitis Immunization

Men who have sex with men are at an increased risk of sexually transmitted infection with the viruses that cause the serious condition of the liver known as hepatitis. These infections can be potentially fatal, and can lead to very serious long-term issues such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. Fortunately, immunizations are available to prevent two of the three most serious viruses. Universal immunization for Hepatitis A Virus and Hepatitis B Virus is recommended for all men who have sex with men. Safe sex is effective at reducing the risk of viral hepatitis, and is currently the only means of prevention for the very serious Hepatitis C Virus.

5. STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) occur in sexually active gay men at a high rate. This includes STD infections for which effective treatment is available (syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, pubic lice, and others), and for which no cure is available (HIV, Hepatitis A, B, or C virus, Human Papilloma Virus, etc.). There is absolutely no doubt that safe sex reduces the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, and prevention of these infections through safe sex is key.

6. Prostate, Testicular, and Colon Cancer

Gay men mar y be at risk for death by prostate, testicular, or colon cancer. Screening for these cancers occurs at different times across the life cycle, and access to screening services may be negatively impacted because of issues and challenges in receiving culturally sensitive care for gay men. All gay men should undergo these screenings routinely as recommended for the general population.

7. Alcohol

Although more recent studies have improved our understanding of alcohol use in the gay community, it is still thought that gay men have higher rates of alcohol dependence and abuse than straight men. One drink daily may not adversely affect health, however alcohol-related illnesses can occur with low levels of consumption. Culturally sensitive services targeted to gay men are important in successful prevention and treatment programs.

8. Tobacco

Recent studies seem to support the notion that gay men use tobacco at much higher rates than straight men, reaching nearly 50 percent in several studies. Tobacco-related health problems include lung disease and lung cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a whole host of other serious problems. All gay men should be screened for and offered culturally sensitive prevention and cessation programs for tobacco use.

9. Fitness (Diet and Exercise)

Problems with body image are more common among gay men than their straight counterparts, and gay men are much more likely to experience an eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa. While regular exercise is very good for cardiovascular health and in other areas, too much of a good thing can be harmful. The use of substances such as anabolic steroids and certain supplements can adversely affect health. At the opposite end of the spectrum, overweight and obesity are problems that also affect a large subset of the gay community. This can cause a number of health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

10. Anal Papilloma

Of all the sexually transmitted infections gay men are at risk for, human papilloma virus —which cause anal and genital warts — is often thought to be little more than an unsightly inconvenience. However, these infections may play a role in the increased rates of anal cancers in gay men. Some health professionals now recommend routine screening with anal Pap Smears, similar to the test done for women to detect early cancers. Safe sex should be emphasized. Treatments for HPV do exist, but recurrences of the warts are very common, and the rate at which the infection can be spread between partners is very high.

From the Gay Lesbian Medical Association Website. 

Author: Vincent M. B. Silenzio, MD, MPH, Former Member Board of Directors, GLMA and Former Co-Editor, Journal of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association

Healthcare Equality Index 2010

The Human Rights Campaign presents the Healthcare Equality Index for 2010. The Index rates hospitals based on their inclusion of LGBT patients and their families in their non-discrimination policies. The issue of LGBT patient rights became a national issue after President Obama signed a memo back in April directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to take steps to address hospital visitation and other health care issues affecting LGBT families.

To see how hospitals in your state rate, go to the HRC Website.

Also, “a new analysis of healthcare equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation found that the vast majority of U.S. healthcare facilities don’t have fully inclusive policies toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, but that sweeping new changes will soon dramatically alter how LGBT people interact with the healthcare system.” To find out more about the HRC’s findings, go to their Website here.