HIV epidemic continues for gay men across the globe

From Johns Hopkins University

Across countries and income levels, gay men continue to see disproportionately high rates of HIV infection, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. Though overall HIV rates have flattened in recent years and a diagnosis is no longer the death sentence it was once considered, researchers are concerned that the epidemic persists globally among men who have sex with men.

“It’s a tragic situation and it’s painful that the history of AIDS is looking like its future, but that’s actually where we are,” says study leader Chris Beyrer, a Bloomberg School professor and president of the International AIDS Society. “But the first step in taking on a problem is recognizing and articulating it, and we’ve really done that here.”

The findings, to be published July 9 in The Lancet, follow up on a 2012 call to action from the same group of researchers. Back then, they laid out anambitious framework to curtail HIV epidemics in gay men, setting targets for policy reform, funding, and improvement in HIV prevention and treatment—including expanded access to pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, a pill that has proved highly effective in reducing transmission among this population.

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Gay, Bi men frightening health officials in US and UK with skyrocketing STD rates

From Advocate.com

STD rates alarming health officialsThere are new scary findings about sexually transmitted infections and diseases from the United Kingdom, where cases of syphilis and gonorrhea have jumped 73 percent and 53 percent, respectively, between 2012 and 2015. Officials cite “very high rates of STIs among gay men and young adults” as a factor in the rise, according to The Guardian.

The troubling report follows a similar one last year from the U.S.’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which showed 2014 syphilis and gonorrhea cases outnumbering those from 2013, the first rise since 2006. Again, MSM (men who have sex with men) were specifically referenced in the findings, which repeated a shocking, underreported fact — potentially fatal syphilis among MSM has been increasing since the year 2000.

Read the full article on Advocate.com.

Research: condomless gay porn can lead to more barebacking

From Advocate.com

[…] The study recruited 265 men who have sex with men (MSM) who were asked to relate the number of hours in an average week they spent viewing “man on man” porn, and how much of it featured anal penetration with a condom, as well as condomless anal sex.

Muscular nude male torso

In order to discern the perceived impact of their porn consumption, participants were also asked to describe how often in the preceding three months they fantasized about engaging in sexual acts they had watched, if watching Internet porn influenced the kind of sex they desired, if they sought out sexual contact after watching [porn on] the Internet, whether or not they felt Internet porn contributed to their engaging in “risky sex,” and whether they engaged in condomless anal sex.

Nearly all of the participants had consumed at least some porn both with (91.3 percent) and without (92 percent) condoms in the preceding three months. And researchers were able to discern a clear correlation between condom usage and the condom content of the pornography consumed by the participants; for instance, those who consumed “much” condomless porn (50 – 74 percent) could be expected to participate in 25 percent more sex without condoms than those who only viewed “some.”

Read the full article on Advocate.com.

A silent LGBT epidemic

From the Advocate

The LGBT community is no stranger to attacks on the safety, health and well-being of its members. From the recurring police harassment and violence that precipitated the Stonewall riots to the ravages of HIV and AIDS in the 1980s — coupled with an apathetic government and public — all the way through to the recent Orlando massacre, LGBT people repeatedly find themselves in the crosshairs of dangerous threats.

LGBT smoking epidemicWith such monumental obstacles to our health and well-being, it’s easy to overlook a much more subtle but even more deadly killer: smoking.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 30,000 LGBT Americans die from tobacco-related diseases annually. By comparison, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 14,000 Americans with an AIDS diagnosis — gay, straight, transgender, and cisgender — died in 2012.

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LGBT community faces a two-edged sword when it comes to addiction

From Huffingtonpost.com

LGBT addictionWhile the open discussion of identity and being LGBT has become more customary, those who identify as LGBT often exist silently – in the closet, in fear, ashamed, and sometimes suffering with addiction. Members of the LGBT community face a two-edged sword when it comes to addiction. The emotional stress that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals often feel – including rejection, isolation and low self-esteem – as well as the threats of physical violence, prejudice and discrimination, make them vulnerable to addiction. At the same time, these factors decrease the likelihood that they will receive effective treatment. Too often, members of the LGBT community face internalized stigma and homophobia. These internal struggles with themselves can make it more difficult to seek out or achieve long-term recovery.

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Department of Health, Division of HIV/AIDS is seeking your input

stakeholders survey imageYou have a stake in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of HIV/AIDS is seeking your input regarding planned activities for statewide HIV prevention and care efforts. This anonymous and confidential survey will gather your response to the planned goals for helping people at high risk for getting HIV and those that are HIV-positive in Pennsylvania. To participate in the survey go to the online surveyPlease consider forwarding this link to all your co-workers, clients, and community members who might be interested in HIV prevention and care in Pennsylvania. This survey ends July 7th, 2016.
 

More gay sex, more equality or more equality, more gay sex?

From the Advocate.com

You may have seen last week’s headline “You Weren’t Imagining It: More People are Having Gay Sex,” which summarizes findings from our recent study that analyzed changes in both sexual behavior and public opinion toward individuals who engage in same-sex sexual behavior. Increases in both behavior and acceptance caught the attention of not only The Advocate but other major outlets as well: “Americans Are Sexually Experimenting Way More Than They Used To” and “More Americans Are OK With Same-Sex Experiences.” So, what did we find, how did we find it, and why all the buzz? Perhaps the answer to the last question lies in what these findings could mean for the LGB community.

syphilis card 1 frontWe looked at answers to questions in the General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey of Americans conducted every year or two since 1972, yielding responses from more than 30,000 Americans. We were interested in changes over time in reports of same-sex sexual behavior and attitudes about same-sex sexual behavior.

The survey asks people how they feel about “sexual relations between two adults of the same sex,” with possible answers of “always wrong,” “almost always wrong,” “wrong only sometimes,” and “not wrong at all.” The survey began asking this question in 1973, when only 11 percent of Americans believed that same-sex sexual behavior was “not wrong at all.” That number barely changed through the 1980s but began to climb steadily in the 1990s. Today, 49 percent of Americans believe that same-sex sexual relations are “not wrong at all,” and 63 percent of young Americans (often dubbed millennials) report this highest level of acceptance. That’s a huge increase in just 25 years!

Read the full article on Advocate.com.