When people think about body image or eating disorders, they usually imagine young, impressionable girls who come to hate their own bodies because they don’t match unrealistic advertisements, TV shows and movies. And, in fact, most eating disorder awareness and assistance programs are aimed at women.
However, a 2007 study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found that women aren’t the only ones who need such programs, as gay and bisexual men may be just as much at risk (or even higher risk) for poor body image and eating disorders as women. Thus, instead of just focusing on women, it is imperative that eating disorder programs focus on all groups.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and directed by Dr. Ilan H. Meyer, associate professor of clinical Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health, and Dr. Matthew Feldman, of the National Development and Research Institute. They surveyed 516 New York City residents, including 126 straight men. The rest were gay or bisexual men, or women.
Their findings indicated that less than 5 percent of heterosexual men suffered from eating disorders of any kind, while more than 15 percent of gay or bisexual men had at some point in their life. […] When questioned about the underlying cause of the high rates of eating disorders among gay men, Dr. Meyer hypothesized that the predominant values and norms propagated in the gay community promoted a very body-centric outlook. He went on to compare the primary drive to engage in eating disorders among gay men to those of heterosexual women: high societal expectations about physical appearance, and pressure from others to maintain an ideal body weight.
Read the full article at psychcentral.com
Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show that many Americans with HIV do not have their condition under control. American Medical News reports:
Of the nation’s nearly 1.2 million people with the illness, only 28% have a suppressed viral load, according to a CDC study published in the Dec. 2 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. A suppressed viral load improves patients’ health and dramatically decreases their risk of transmitting the virus through sexual activity.
Part of the problem is that the antiretroviral treatment has been so effective that some patients do not see the need to regularly take their medication, said Dr. Sharp, director of the Center for Comprehensive Care in New York City. The center is an HIV/AIDS clinic at St. Luke’s/ Roosevelt Hospital.
“It’s hard for people to believe” what can happen if the virus is left untreated, she said.
At the same time, one in five Americans infected with HIV does not know he or she has the condition, the CDC said. Only about half of people diagnosed with HIV receive ongoing medical care and treatment.
To help remedy the problem, the CDC urges doctors to increase testing for HIV during routine medical visits. The agency recommends that doctors test everyone between ages 13 and 64. People at high risk of contracting the virus, including injection drug users and men who have sex with other men, should be tested at least once a year, the CDC says.
Read the full article on amednews.com.
Anthony Silvestre of the Pitt Men's Study
A frank discussion with the Pitt Men’s Study co-investigator, Dr. Anthony Silvestre:
“The battle against AIDS has produced effective prevention interventions that can help people change their unsafe sexual and drug-using behaviors, and effective treatments to keep people who are infected relatively healthy over the long run. However, the war against AIDS is stagnant. The institutional changes that are necessary to stop AIDS, and to prevent the outbreak of other sexually transmitted diseases, have not occurred. Our professional schools, funders of research, our churches and our educational systems have made precious few changes in how they do business. As a society, we have failed to integrate healthy views about sexuality into our everyday lives. We continue to treat it as the stuff of snickering adolescence or of slick merchandizing.
Clearly, there have been major advances in treatment and the prevention of AIDS. There have been few changes in the attitudes that stigmatize the at-risk populations, and that keep us from maturely responding to sexual-health matters in our schools and universities and other major institutions.”
You can read the full interview at Pittsburgh City Paper Online.