Study shows a daily pill could reduce your risk for HIV by as much as 90%

From the New York Times:

In a development that could change the battle against AIDS, researchers have found that taking a daily antiretroviral pill greatly lowers the chances of getting infected with the fatal virus. In the study, published Tuesday by the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that the hundreds of gay men randomly assigned to take the drugs were 44 percent less likely to get infected than the equal number assigned to take a placebo. But when only the men whose blood tests showed they had taken their pill faithfully every day were considered, the pill was more than 90 percent effective

Read the full article on the New York Times Website.

World AIDS Day is December 1st

From the World AIDS Campaingn Website:

World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 each year around the world. It has become one of the most recognised international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

You can find out more about the history of World AIDS Day on the World AIDS Campaign Website.

From The Body:

Over the years, World AIDS Day has become a global phenomenon that has prompted massive media coverage, raised awareness, encouraged people to get involved and helped amplify the voices of those living with HIV/AIDS. Every Dec. 1 for the past 22 years, humanity has taken 24 hours to commemorate those who have died, acknowledge those who live and those who fight on the frontlines of the battle against HIV, and ponder what it will take to eliminate the virus once and for all.

To find out more about World AIDS Day events in Pittsburgh, go to the PITTSBURGH RED World AIDS Day Facebook page. Folks in Philadelphia can go to the World AIDS Day Philadelphia Facebook page.

HPV vaccine for gay boys?

From MSN:

Growing evidence shows that the vaccine may prevent anal cancer, particularly in the high-risk groups of gay and bisexual men, who are about 20 times more likely than heterosexuals to develop the disease.

An advisory panel to the federal Food and Drug Administration will consider whether to recommend expanding use of the vaccine based on clinical data that show it could be up to 78 percent effective in preventing anal lesions and anal cancer in men who have sex with men.

Read the full article on MSN.com

Men who have sex with men are at a higher risk for cancer

Men who have sex with men (MSM) get certain types of cancer more often than their heterosexual counterparts. Lung, skin, prostate, colon, anal and testicular cancers are a concern for all men, certainly, but MSM often have to deal with an additional set of issues that put them more at risk.   

Not surprisingly, lung cancer is at the top of the list. Research shows that MSM are more likely to smoke (33.2%) than straight men (21.3%). The simple solution would be to stop smoking, right? Not so easy. And what about the other forms of cancer? 

The American Cancer Society’s Website summarizes the problem in three bullet points:

  • Low rates of health insurance: Many health insurance policies do not cover unmarried partners. This makes it harder for many MSM to get quality health care.
  • Fear of discrimination: Many men don’t tell their doctors about their sex life because they don’t want discrimination to affect the quality of their health care. This can make it harder to establish a trusting relationship with a provider which, in turn, can lead to missed opportunities to address health concerns.
  • Negative experiences with health care professionals: Many MSM report negative experiences with a health care provider after revealing the nature of their sexual encounters. As a result, fear of another negative experience can lead some men to delay or avoid medical care, including early detection tests. 

One solution to health care discrimination might be to find a doctor you can be honest with—not just someone who’s okay with you having sex with other men, but someone who is competent enough to deal with your unique health issues. You may need to do a fair amount of investigative work. Start by checking out the provider directory on the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association Website. You can also screen doctors before you commit to making someone your primary care physician. Ask pointed questions. If you don’t get a good vibe, try someone else.

Another way to overcome discrimination in health care is to take charge of your own health. If your doctor doesn’t know to or want to suggest an anal cancer screening (for example) you’ll need to request it yourself.

Finally, knowing your unique health risks is half the battle. Information is Power. You can find out more about each of the cancer risks on the American Cancer Society Website. You can also check out About.com for a guide to cancer prevention for MSM. To find out more about cigarette smoking and programs to help you quit, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website’s section on gay and bisexual men’s health.