Thursday, November 21, 2013

CDC hosts webcam on resurgence of HIV among young MSM for LGBT media outlets today

Today, I attended a webcam sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control, “Combatting a Resurgence of HIV Among Young Gay Men”.  I was specifically invited by email and phone call to the event, which I believe was held in New York City.  The webcam said it was for “credentialed journalists only”.  The URL is here. If is offline right now, but CDC says it will release a video.
 

The host was Thomas Roberts of MSNBC.  The panelists were Jeff Krehely of the Human Rights Campaign, Carl Siciliano (who works with homeless LGBT youth – the last name sounds like a chess opening), Daniel Driffin (from an African-American group) and Dr. Jonathan Mirmin from the CDC.
  
The session lasted 85 minutes. Toward the end, Mike Lavers of the Washington Blade asked if gay men could face an HIV-free future some day, and Mirmin said that this would be an “aspiration”.
  
CDC’s fact sheets for MSM, broken down in various categories, are here
  
HIV rates are increasing among gay men, especially under 25, but the rates seem to be increasing more rapidly among African Americans, and especially among the homeless or among those who were kicked out by their parents.  Siciliano gave an anecdote of a trans-gendered homeless person living with a man who expected unprotected sex in return for a place to live. 
   
Siciliano mentioned the Campaign for Youth Shelter and the Ali Forney Center.
   
When I lived in Dallas (1979=1988), there was an attempt to set up a “Safe Place” for homeless LGBT people, and some people at MCC Dallas did help organize the effort around 1980s with founders shares.  The idea came up after there was a request for shelter for LGBT refugees from Cuba in 1980.  Not very many people were prepared to offer them shelter, and some of the groups organizing the efforts seemed unaware of the sacrifice that could be required to house them.  This is a difficult cause to embrace from a personal perspective. But poverty among LGBT youth after expulsion by parents seems to be a public health problem of its own. The panel noted that rates of family rejection had actually increased in some states after they passed laws accepting gay marriage;  it seems to have increased in rural parts of upstate New York.  There was a suggestion that increase in equality in the law in middle and upper class communities has increased tensions in some lower income communities. 
     
It would be obvious that the politics and effectiveness of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) could affect the medication of low-income MSM when they are infected, but it’s also apparent that the medications and protease inhibitors have become very effective, with much fewer side effects today than in the past.
    
In my own social circles, I do not hear or learn of new cases of HIV among men today very often.  But in the 1980s I learned of it all the time; it was like living through a hurricane. 


Update: Nov. 27

The New York Times has a story on a CDC report on the rise of unprotected anal sex among MSM, who often say they select only other men who say they are negative, link here.  The CDC's Morbidity report Nov. 29 is here.  I remember reading a lot of these in print in the 1980s.  

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