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.

Is MRSA the new HIV? Open Forum

Lots of buzz the last few days about an Annals of Internal Medicine article noting the increase in MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus) among gay men. MRSA is treatement resistent and is often referred to as a flesh eating bacteria since it can lead to necrotising fasciitis. The San Francisco Chronicle did a story about it that focused on the prevalence among gay men and especially the Castro district. Peter LaBarbera has sounded an alarm which attempts to elevate the issue to the level of HIV/AIDS.

Now I think MRSA is a serious issue and anything that can be done to prevent the spread is important news. Sexual activity is apparently one way to spread the bacteria and so it seems smart to choose wisely when it comes to sex. Whether gay or straight, this seems to be good advice. Broader warnings seem prudent such as offered by Annals of Internal Medicine commenter Arlen J Peterson regarding the article:

First, let me thank the dedication and development of understanding MRSA clone (USA300) from the medical community to the public. I work for a sexual health centre, which includes providing extensive education and treatment of STI’s to sexually active individuals. I understand the relation between how the community of men who have sex with men increases the risk of MRSA infection (risky behaviors, more sexual partners, drugs, etc), Annals article highlights the risk is associated with skin-to-skin contact primarily by unprotected anal intercourse. My concern is the community of men who have sex with men are the only population emphasized in the article when anal intercourse is practiced fluently in men who have sex with women. Men who have anal intercourse with women do so for reasons mainly of pleasure and a form of birth control, usually unprotected for the latter. So, if an average person were to read a synopsized version in the news based on this article, particularly the young, they might get a message of: ‘It’s a risk for men who have sex with men, I am not of this population, therefore I am not affected.’ Can this article emphasize that it is the unprotected anal intercourse causing the risk of MRSA infection and that is not limited to men who have sex with men? I appreciate it and thank you for your time.

This is a volatile issue as indicated by the 600 plus comments the San Francisco Chronicle received on the news report. I am interested in comment here on the topic of MRSA among sexually active people. Is there something inherent in homosexuality that leads to this spread (I know what I think but I am interested in rational comment)? Or is this a matter of sexual practice only and not sexual attractions?

Salt Lake City program examines cruising behavior, sexual identity

Here is an article that bring together several topics covered here on the blog. The Healthy Self-Expressions program works to curb sexual cruising in Salt Lake City and is run by Pride Counseling, a GLBT oriented counseling center. Many men are married and identify as straight.

Buie says many of the program’s participants identify themselves as straight. Many are also active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and roughly 40 percent are married, he says. The average length of those marriages is 23 years. Two of the men with whom he is currently working have been married for more than 40 years…

…”Just because you have an attraction to men doesn’t mean you have to be a slave to those attractions,” he says. “As a therapist I try to encourage people to be honest with themselves.”

“Abomination: Homosexuality and the Ex-gay Movement” hits film festivals

Exgay Watch reports that the 2006 video Abomination: Homosexuality and the Ex-gay Movement will premiere in New York City on Wednesday, October 24.

I have previously reviewed this video but will give it another look over the next week and add comments in another post. I plan to make some comments about the harm that can result from some reparative therapy approaches and other misguided efforts to change sexual orientation.

One of my prinicipal concerns about Abomination is that the Shidlo and Schroeder study is treated as providing accurate and representative rates of change. Here is a clip from a Canadian talk show where Alicia Salzer again quotes the 4% change rate (as she did on the Montel Williams Show).

Maine school board votes to allow birth control in middle school

This story has been all over the media but I wanted to post it as a starter for discussion. The link leads to a NPR discussion a bit more in depth than the AP reports.

I can think of several reasons why this could backfire. I do not believe middle school kids are likely to be consistent in taking the pills but may have a false sense of safety. We know kids aren’t very consistent in implementation of most birth control methods so I suspect this will not have much effect on births and inasmuch as sexual activity increases, so might the incidence of STDs. Seems to me the best birth control method at this age is the presence of an adult. Maybe the school board could spend some money on adult supervision. I do not know what the fact on the ground are there but I sure hope this doesn’t catch on elsewhere.