Gay men at risk for antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea

A new editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine brings to light the concern for the rising rate of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea in the U.S.

What is Gonorrhea and why am I at risk?

Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with an estimated 600,000 plus cases every year. It disproportionately affects vulnerable populations such as minorities who are marginalized because of race, ethnic group, or sexual orientation. Men who have sex with men, for example, are among the populations hardest hit by the disease.

Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhea, a bacterium that grows and multiplies quickly in moist, warm areas of the body such as the cervix, urinary tract, mouth, or rectum.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include burning while urinating, discharge, and pain during intercourse. Symptoms of rectal infection include anal itching, and sometimes painful bowel movements. Symptoms usually appear two to five days after contracting the infection, although in some cases there may be no symptoms at all, particularly with rectal infection.

What is the danger of infection?

Men with untreated gonorrhea may develop Epididymitis (an inflammation of the epididymis-the long, tightly coiled tube that lies behind each testicle and collects sperm), an inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis), and a higher risk of getting bladder cancer.

What can I do?

Most forms of Gonorrhea can still be treated effectively with antibiotics. However, the best defense is still a good offense. Condoms are still your best bet to keep from getting infected in the first place. Limiting the number of sexual partners also helps in preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections. If you think you may be infected, see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

For more information:

New England Journal of Medicine
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Tenofovir increases risk of kidney damage

From SF Gate online:

Patients who take one of the most widely prescribed drugs to treat HIV  infection increase their risk of kidney damage by up to 34 percent every year  they take the medication, according to a study of more than 10,000 HIV-positive  veterans.

The study, by the San Francisco VA Medical Center and published online  earlier this month, is one of the largest to address the long-term risk of  tenofovir, an antiretroviral drug that is taken daily, usually in a single pill  combined with other drugs.

Doctors have long known that antiretroviral drugs carried some risk of kidney  damage, but how much – and whether that damage is caused by a particular drug or  combination of drugs, or by the HIV infection itself – has been the source of  much debate.

Read the full article:

Aging and gay men

From the Huffington Post Gay Voices: 

Perry N. Halkitis, Ph.D., M.S..Professor of Applied Psychology, Public Health, and Medicine, Steinhardt School, NYU

In 2011 the Institute of Medicine released a historic report documenting the health disparities faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. This report was call to action for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to address the burgeoning and often underserved health needs of the LGBT population. In the United States these health disparities coincide with an epidemiological shift: the aging of the American population. Due to increases in life expectancy and aging of the “baby boomer” generation, or those born between 1946 and 1964, approximately one third of the United States population will be 55 years or older by 2014.

While no direct population figures exists, extrapolations drawn from multiple sources suggests that within the population of older Americans, approximately 1.2 to 1.4 million will be older gay men, a figure more pronounced in urban areas such as New York City, where it is estimated that approximately 5 percent of gay men are 50 or older. A significant proportion of these older gay men, both nationally and in New York City, live with HIV, and as a group this generation of gay men, to whom I have previously referred as “the AIDS generation,” have all been directly impacted by the epidemic.

Read the full article on the Huffington Post.

Feds to meet with Philly’s gay community regarding health

Feds to meet with Philly’s gay community regarding healthIn the coming months, the White House Office of Public Engagement will coordinate a number of comprehensive conversations with LGBTs across the nation about the everyday issues impacting the community, and Philadelphia next week will serve as the inaugural host city for the series. Top officials from the federal Department of Health and Human Services, including Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, will take part in the White House LGBT Conference on Health, a daylong event Feb. 16 at Thomas Jefferson University.

The event is being staged in partnership with Mazzoni Center. In addition to Sebelius, the conference will include remarks by HHS assistant secretary for health Dr. Howard Koh, HHS assistant secretary for aging Kathy Greenlee and HHS deputy general counsel Ken Choe. The event is designed to educate community members about the administration’s LGBT-focused health efforts, and to provide the federal government input from locals about their ongoing health needs.

Read more on the The Philadelphia Gay News Website.

Saliva test just as good for HIV testing


A pain-free, non-invasive saliva test is as accurate as a traditional blood test to diagnose infections of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), according to a new meta-analysis published yesterday (January 24) in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The test could be a solution for countries that wish to adopt self-testing strategies for HIV.

Pooling data from five worldwide databases, an international team of researchers found that Oraquick HIV-1/2, a saliva test sold by Pennsylvania-based OraSure Technologies, is 99 percent accurate for HIV in high-risk populations and about 97 percent accurate in low-risk populations. The test requires a single swab of the gums, which is then inserted into a handheld device that produces results in 20 minutes. The Oraquick has been available to clinicians since 2004 and is being considered for use as an over-the-counter test in the United States and sub-Saharan countries

You can read the full article at