Thursday, December 05, 2013

NYTimes reports appalling rate of HIV in impoverished black and Latino MSM; Mandela had spoken for gay rights

Impoverished black and Hispanic men are accounting for 25-45% of new HIV infections in gay men (or MSM) in most cities, but up to 80% in men under 25.  Even so, white men may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors.  All of this is in a New York Times story today by Donald G. McNeil, MD, link here.
This may help explain why, socially, in many circles younger white men or affluent men of any race are not hearing much about new HIV cases in their social circles the way we did in the 1980s, when I was living in Dallas. 
It also has a huge impact on the nature of the volunteer work that goes on, at Whitman Walker and Food and Friends, which has probably come to demand much more refined social skills than it used to a couple decades ago. 
On the other hand, the public concerns of gay men living in college campuses have shifted away from AIDS itself to the same problems everyone else faces.  Today, certain forms of bacterial meningitis, which could lead to amputations in the most gruesome cases, have attracted great concern, to the point that the CDC has to consider using an unapproved European vaccine for one of the deadlier strains.  Students living in dormitories should consider vaccination, and the FDA should consider approval of the new Type B vaccine immediately.  Health officials should address the usefulness of the vaccine for HIV-infected and possibly immunocomrpomised students.

On another matter, CNN sources are commenting on how Nelson Mandela, who passed away today, stoop up for LGBT people, which was unprecedented in South Africa.  The Metropolitan Communitty Church of Dallas in 1980 hired Joan Wakeford as a pastor from South Africa, when I was living there, at a time when things were very bad.  I remember seeing Richard Attenborough’s “Cry Freedom” (Universal) with a boyfriend at Northpark in Dallas in 1987 – a film made well before Mandela’s release, about a journalist who has to escape from the country to get a book published about a black prisoner who dies in police custody.  Ted Koppel talked about South African on Nightline all the time in those days.  

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