Monday, May 30, 2005

Foreign STD Appears in Boston Gay/Bisexual Community

The health risks of homosexual sex are real and serious. This simple fact has been underplayed or swept under the rug for decades now. A whole generation of GLBT-identifying young people are uninformed or underinformed. Look at the content and style of the Little Black Book (produced by the AIDS Action Committee of Mass. for male teens and young men). "Safer sex" is supposedly the premise of the booklet, while it allows that it's more fun to do it naked, plus it assumes and encourages multiple partnering.

Now the Boston Globe (Monday, May 30) has a front-page report: "A foreign STD sets off worry in Hub: May signal return of risky sex habits." You have to read down to the seventh paragraph, on the inside page, to get to this fact: "So far, episodes of the disease [LGV] in the United States appear to be limited to gay and bisexual men, and infectious disease specialists said they fear that it could be another signal that after years of hewing to safe-sex practices, gay men are returning to riskier behaviors."

Health officials fear this outbreak of LGV "could herald a new wave of infections of an even more dangerous disease, AIDS."

'' 'We hadn't seen an LGV case for years,' [Dr. Alfred DeMaria, state director of communicable disease control] said. 'It's definitely a sign of unsafe sex, and that's a concern in terms of other sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. Now, I think we're at the point that people need to pay attention to it.' "

"Studies demonstrated that patients infected with gonorrhea and syphilis were far more likely to become infected with HIV -- and not just because it indicated sexual risk-taking. The sores generated by a condition such as syphilis, researchers found, provide a portal for the AIDS virus to get into the bloodstream. They fear the same could be true with LGV."

The return of LGV to North America, after being seen only rarely in recent decades, "illustrates the increasing globalization of infectious diseases in an era of rapid air transit and frequent travel for work and pleasure, disease specialists said." Dr. Daniel Cohen of the Fenway Community Health clinic said, "This is probably a case of biological tourism."

As a group, gays are very well off and often partake of sex adventure travel (or as the Globe puts it, "pleasure" travel).