Institute of Medicine releases long-awaited report on LGBT health

From the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association

Washington, DC – The Institute of Medicine today released its long-awaited report, The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding. The National Institutes of Health commissioned this groundbreaking report, and a distinguished panel of experts dedicated more than a year to evaluating the state of LGBT health research and crafting recommendations for improving the health of the LGBT community.

Read the full report at The National Academies Press Website.

Health Alert – Smoking

Recent published studies have shown that gay and bi men smoke at higher rates than men in the general U.S. population. The American Cancer Society also reports that “tobacco companies aggressively target the gay community” and that “tobacco use takes the lives of 40,000 LGBT individuals each year.” 

Smoking has been directly linked to higher rates of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and chronic lung diseases – just to name a few health hazards. So maybe its time to consider quitting. The National LGBT Tobacco Control Network suggests these strategies for quitting…

Talk with your doctor about your smoking and see if you are interested in taking a prescription medication that can help, like Zyban (also called Wellbutrin) or Chantix ( also called Verenicline). 

 Or, you may plan to take a type of nicotine replacement therapy, like the patch, gum or lozenge, which may be purchased over the counter.  Nicotine inhalers and nicotine spray are also replacement products, but are only available by prescription.  And new evidence shows we shouldn’t dial down the doses of this stuff as fast as previously thought, stay higher if needed.

Recent research demonstrates that enrolling in some type of stop smoking support program, like a group, individual counseling, or website, can increase your chances for success.  Call your state smoking Quitline for local resources at 1-800-QUITNOW. These programs help you with valuable skills (like learning your smoking triggers) and immediate social support.

Of course it isn’t that simple. But there are a lot of resources at your disposal in helping you to quit. Here are just a few links to get you started…

The CDC’s Gay and Bi health page smoking section

The LGBT National Tobacco Control Network

American Cancer Society fact sheet on smoking in the LGBT community

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.

HPV in half of U.S. men

From the Huffington Post:

“A study out yesterday in The Lancet by Moffitt Cancer Center researcher Anna Giuliano, Ph.D., and her colleagues finds that 50 percent of men ages 18 to 70 in Brazil, Mexico, and the U.S. have genital infection with human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is the virus that causes cervical cancer in women. It also causes warts and cancer of the genitals and anus in both men and women.”

The article goes on to state:

“An infection rate of 50 percent for a virus that can cause cancer sounds scary. But knowing a few more facts about HPV helps put the risk in perspective. About 90 percent of men and women infected with HPV virus get rid of it on their own within about two years. There are many different strains of HPV — some that cause cancer and some that don’t. Only about 6 percent of men have genital infection with HPV 16 — the strain linked to more than 90 percent of cancers of the head and neck. And only about 0.6 percent of men have HPV 16 in specimens taken from their mouths; what percentage of those men go on to develop head and neck cancer is unknown.”

To get tested for HPV that might cause anal cancer, you can talk to your doctor or call the Anal Dysplasia Clinic
at UPMC, Falk Medical Building, 7th Floor. Their number is 412-647-7228.