Gay seniors and sexual minority stress


LOS ANGELES — Sexual minority stress, along with aging-related stress, jeopardizes the mental health of midlife and older gay men, according to a new study published by the American Journal of Public Health.

In the study, sexual minority stress included the men’s perceptions that they needed to conceal their sexual orientation, or that others were uncomfortable with or avoided them because of they are gay.

The study also found that legal marriage for same-sex couples may confer a unique protective effect against poor mental health. Having a same-sex domestic partner or same-sex spouse boosted the emotional health of the studied men, but having a same-sex legal spouse appeared to be the most beneficial relationship arrangement.

Read the full article on the LGBTQ Nation Website.

Health Alert – Shigella

Since mid-2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has received a number of reports of shigellosis due to Shigella flexeri, a species of Shigella that is infrequently diagnosed in Pennsylvania. The cases have occurred in the southeastern part of the state among men who have sex with men (MSM) who may or may not be HIV-positive.

What is Shigella?

Shigella is one of the bacterial agents that causes acute diarrhea. Symptoms often include cramping, fever and vomiting. The infection spreads easily from person to person by the fecal-oral route since a very small number of organisms are necessary to produce transmission.

How do you catch Shigella?

The Pennsylvania Health Alert Network reports “Shigella outbreaks have been previously reported in MSMs and are usually correlated with having multiple partners combined with unprotected high-risk sexual behavior. The fact that some of these patients are also HIV infected raises added concerns, not only due to the potential for transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections through the same high risk behaviors, but also because immune-compromised individuals can have extended carriage of Shigella.” 

What can you do?

Persons with diarrhea usually recover completely, although it may be several months before their bowel habits are entirely normal. Once someone has had shigellosis, they are not likely to get infected with that specific type again for at least several years. However, they can still get infected with other types of Shigella. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent shigellosis. However, the spread of Shigella from an infected person to other persons can be stopped by frequent and careful hand-washing with soap.

For more information about Shigella, you can go to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention Website.

LGBT Cancer Network Expands Resources Directory Beyond NYC

The National LGBT Cancer Network, the first program in the country to address the needs of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people with cancer and those at risk, announced this past November that is has expanded its directory of LGBT-friendly cancer screening facilities beyond New York City.

The directory now covers facilities in California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

You can search the directory for screenings in Pennsylvania on the Cancer Network Directory.

New H.I.V. cases and AIDS deaths going down in British Columbia

From the New York Times:

New H.I.V. cases and AIDS deaths are both going steadily down in British Columbia, according to data released last week.

“We’re particularly pleased to see that our treatment-as-prevention strategy has taken off big-time,” said Dr. Julio S. G. Montaner, director of the British Columbia Center for Excellence in H.I.V./AIDS. His center was a pioneer in the strategy, which involves searching aggressively for people at risk of H.I.V. infection, talking them into being tested and putting those who are infected on antiretroviral drugs immediately, which lowers by 96 percent the chances that they will infect others.

To read the full article, go to the New York Times Website.