Christian Post covers MRSA controversy

Today’s Christian Post has an article by Lillian Kwon regarding recent responses to the Annals of Internal Medicine article regarding MRSA among gay men. Yours truly is quoted:

While Throckmorton believes it’s good to give warning to groups at greater risk of infection, he said the latest study to him is “just a warning about sexual purity” in general.

Referencing a comment made on his blog, Throckmorton said, “When you single out one group, the unintended consequence is people in other groups would say ‘it’s not a health hazard for me’ when it’s the behavior that’s the issue, not the social group identified with.”

The discussion on this issue has been vigorous and I hope helpful to inform an accurate picture of the situation.

25 thoughts on “Christian Post covers MRSA controversy”

  1. I for one was pleased that Dr. Throckmorton made the precient observation that it is the behaviour, not the group, that places people at risk in some circumstances. There was a knee jerk reaction to the original announcement about MRSA incidence in gay men in which many did not draw the appropriate conclusion that many sexual behaviours would present a risk of infection. I particularly liked the reference to Spring Break and Mardi Gras where so much alcohol lubricated disinhibition can lead to long term suffering and tragedy.

  2. David,

    Thank you for this clarity in #83267 – so often what we know to be right is confused or clouded with rhetoric instead of proper discernment.

  3. I think we are called to judge, where good judgement is called for.

    I think we are called to condemn…although not as often as we do.

    I think we are called upon to discriminate, not in the political sense, but in the evaluative process.

  4. David,

    We are called to be concerned. We are not called to judge or condemn or discriminate. Educating ourselves on MRSA and what we can do for our homes, families, is a good place to start. And a compassionate response to those (everyone) who are high risk (those who go to hospitals, teachers, students, gay men?, etc..) should be even tempered.

  5. Doesn’t war tend to cause disease?

    As Christians, aren’t we called to be concerned about any and all human behaviors directly, indirectly and remotely connected to disease?

  6. Evan–

    To be truthful, you and I are probably equally informed on this. I’m not actually bringing anything ‘new’ to the discussion just pointing out things that weren’t actually said and hypothesizing about how it might be spreading this time.

    The site that Ann linked to (with your help!) helps to broaden my understanding. One point seemed to be that the virus enters through a skin tear or cut. This would automatically have some conclude that anal tears would be most likely entry point but I theorized that those in the reported group who were part of an AIDS group would always wear a condom. Something I read early on about the Castro area zip code suggested high antibiotic use. I surmised that this might indicate persons with AIDS as well. Most people I know who have AIDS and are on antibiotics have a strong conscience about condom usage also. So, it’s pure conjecture on my part, that it isn’t being transmitted internally partially due to the condom being a barrier. (They are made from the same material as the protective gloves hospital workers wear.)

    I was also stuck by the fact that the scientists recommended washing with soap and water yet didn’t say anything about internal cleansing. This led me to believe that they see the transmission as being external rather than internal as well. But, as I already suggested, this is all deductive reasoning. I’m compulsive about reading both what people say and what they don’t say and trying to piece things together from there.

    How the multiple partner risks would play in, if my theories played out, would be that it’s the contact of the groin and buttocks areas of partners that would be the transmission point rather than the penis itself. This would be akin to the theory that athletes and prisoners may contract MRSA through sharing towels or perhaps sitting naked where someone else had.

  7. Eddy,

    OK, I gather all the parts mentioned in the Annals paper are external: penis, buttocks and perineum. But those findings referred to MSM. Could it be that they did not get it by sexual contact but the bacteria got into those areas? Just asking. Theoretically, I know how it is possible. Practically, it seems a bit far-fetched to have such a specific category — MSM — without any specific bearing on the transmission path.

  8. Ann–

    I must have been writing mine while you were out making Evan’s suggestion work. Way to go! LOL! Now I guess I’ll need to learn the new-fangled way.

  9. Ann–

    There’s actually a much easier way. Go back to the page you want to link. Then go up to your search bar (like for this site it should start /…etc. Right click on that and you should get an option to “copy” or “copy link” or something similar. Do that, then come back over here, get to the comment box and click “paste”. (Actually, you could practice that right here, right now. Click on Warren’s link at the top of the page and see if you can copy and paste it into the comment box. If that works, you’re ready to go. Simply delete that and go off in search of that link. Good Luck!

    I recommend doing the copy and paste first. Once you get it to show up in the comment box…you can tab around it…type comments before or after it…just like if it was a paragraph you copied.


    No one is downplaying the risk of these ‘sex centers’. It’s an established fact accepted by ALL (except, perhaps those that patronize these ‘centers’) that any havens for anonymous sex are risky. What you seem to be missing is 1) that this disease can and does spread through intimate contact that isn’t anonymous 2) that it can and does spread through some contacts that are not sexual at all 3) that it can be effectively thwarted by something as simple as washing with soap and water. So, why the focus on anonymous sexual transmission when others, who aren’t involved in anonymous sex, are also at risk?


    I haven’t yet read or heard anything that suggests this disease is spread internally or that it’s symptoms occur internally. Don’t be misled by the fact that the eruptions seem to occur in the buttocks or groin area. These external areas also tend to be warm, sweaty, and potentially ‘germy’. Most people are likely to wash their hands several times a day and possibly their face as well. But, we tend to bathe or shower once a day, then cover our groins and buttocks with two layers of clothing. Germs love to grow in warm, moist, dark places.

    I used to be extremely susceptible to poison ivy. The worst case I can remember though is when I ‘took a leak’ in the woods in my youth. The discomfort in my hands was easily treated; the same is not true of the groin area. I’d wake up in the morning thinking things were ‘on the mend’ but shortly after I dressed for school, things would flare up again. The rash on my hands was easily treated with calamine lotion, for the other, I eventually had to face an embarrassing trip to the doctor.

  10. Ann,

    I want you to succeed. 🙂 Some links do not have extensions and may not show up properly in the preview area. Try to post the link as such, without using any syntax. I did this once and the link was posted correctly.

  11. Thank you Evan – I tried and it still won’t do it so let me keep working on it – I appreciate your help 🙂

  12. Ann,

    Copy the link you want to refer to, press the “link” button you see above the box you write your message in, and paste the link text in the dialog box that pops up. After you decide what part of the text you want to use to refer to the link, you can press the “/link” button again to close the tag.

    If your browser does not display those buttons, you can use this syntax: [linking text goes here] but you’ll have to remove the spaces I inserted before “a” and “/a”.

    I hope my English was clear enough (I’m not a native speaker).

  13. well, obviously I didn’t do it correctly – please let me know how to use the link – thanks 🙂

  14. I hope I did the link correctly – if not, please let me know how to do it. Here is some more information about MRSA

  15. Only slightly misquoted. I didn’t say that MRSA “was being spread” as if there was some commensurate recent study focusing on heterosexual transmission as with the recent Annals study. But what I have read indicates that MRSA can spread via skin to skin contact and last I knew, sex involves such contact. Why would you discount this? Skin to skin contact can take place without sex, but certainly making people aware of the prevalence in a community is prudent and would involve more caution when engaging in skin-to-skin contact of the sexual kind.

    Maybe I am missing something here but this seems pretty simple.

  16. 1. Transmission is not confined to external contact, as it seems. The article and the research paper mention 40% of cases were found in buttocks and genitalia. It seems this is not just a matter of washing one’s hands or other external skin surfaces using soap and water. Sorry for the picture, but I imagine the infection must be more severe in internal places. If someone gets that infection in internal parts, does that mean they have unprotected sex?

    2. I’m not a conservative man, but I think the alarm on the porn is justified. I know people from my generation and younger than me and for them porn is already “pop culture”, not something extreme. I think it will kill some healthy barriers in people’s imagination and will create addictions among many. Most probably, people will realise it’s unhealthy for them and will give up by their own conviction eventually. So far, the industry is firmly established on the freedom of expression right and highly profitable too.

  17. I’m so surprised that some people are downplaying the potential risk sex centers could have in spreading this disease. Then again maybe I’m not surprised.

  18. Dr. Warren Throckmorton, professor of Psychology at Grove City College, wonders why the groups aren’t also targeting the porn industry, spring break activities and mardi gras considering MRSA is also being spread by heterosexual contact.

    I really hope you were misquoted, Warren. Because there is no evidence that MRSA is being spread sexually be it homosexual or heterosexual. Not unless we believe that the sports teams or religious communities or hospital workers were all having sex with each other.

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