Monday, January 07, 2008

Telling the Truth about Living with AIDS

Left: John Auerbach, Commissioner of Public Health for Massachusetts. [MassResistance photo]

Does this man promote and protect the public health?

From our report on Youth Pride, May 12, 2007:
"Rather than show up himself, the Governor sent John Auerbach, the new Commissioner of Public Health. Auerbach, who is "married" to another man, talked about how wonderful it is being gay. (This is public health in Massachusetts??) He also said that he's making sure there's enough HIV testing available for everyone."

Sad and fascinating story in Sunday's Boston Globe about the long-term battles with debilitating illnesses for those living with AIDS: "... [W]ith longevity has come a host of unexpected medical conditions, which challenge the prevailing view of AIDS as a manageable, chronic disease." Despite the new drugs, there's no escaping the ravages of this horrible disease. Also, a few days ago, there was a story on the uptick in shyphilis cases among "men who have sex with men" in Vermont, reflecting a national trend.

Are our young people hearing about any of this? No, they're just being encouraged to partake in "love" in whatever form they can imagine: "gay" clubs in the schools, plays encouraging children to "come out" and open themselves up to this infection, school counselors leading children on in this dangerous fantasy, etc. The Little Black Book, published by the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, instructs young men in the very practices that infect them with AIDS and shyphilis. "It's love, simply love!" they're told at Youth Pride. We reported that the Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Health, John Auerbach, just told the kids to get tested in his speech at Youth Pride 2007. Nothing about the extremely high risks of engaging in sexual practices that define the GLBT life. Nothing about the miserable life before them if they did test positive for HIV, even with the new AIDS drugs. This is dishonest, sad, and evil.

For many with AIDS, longer life spans bring new medical challenges, New York Times (1-6-08)
... The [anti-retroviral] drugs gave [AIDS patient] Holloway back his future. But at what cost?
That is the question, heretical to some, now being voiced by scientists, doctors, and patients encountering a constellation of ailments showing up prematurely or in disproportionate numbers among the first AIDS survivors to reach late middle age.

"The sum total of illnesses can become overwhelming," said Dr. Charles A. Emlet, an associate professor at the University of Washington at Tacoma and a leading researcher on HIV and aging, who sees new collaborations between specialists that will improve care.
"AIDS is a very serious disease, but longtime survivors have come to grips with it," Emlet continued, explaining that while some patients experienced unpleasant side effects from the antiretrovirals, a vast majority found a cocktail they could tolerate. "Then all of a sudden they are bombarded with a whole new round of insults, which complicate their medical regime and have the potential of being life-threatening. That undermines their sense of stability and makes it much more difficult to adjust."
The graying of the AIDS epidemic has increased interest in the connection between AIDS and cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression....

Vt. issues alert on syphilis infections, AP (1-3-08)
... Syphilis, a potentially deadly disease that first shows up as a painless genital sore, can be spread to others during sex. Because the sores may go unnoticed, the disease is often spread unknowingly.
If caught early, syphilis is easily treated with antibiotics. But if the infection is left untreated, syphilis can cause severe complications, infecting the brain, nervous system, and heart....The infection also increases the risk of contracting HIV....
Hannah Hauser, codirector of health and wellness for the R.U.1.2? Queer Community Center in Burlington, said the rising numbers in Vermont show that people are reporting the disease and getting help.
But Dr. Stuart Berman, head of epidemiology and the surveillance branch of the Division of STD Prevention at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
called the national syphilis trend "a significant public health concern."
The number of US cases increased for the sixth consecutive year in 2006, from 2.9 cases per 100,000 people a year earlier to 3.3 per 100,000, a nearly 14 percent increase, according to the CDC....

The CDC estimates that men who have sex with men accounted for 64 percent of the syphilis cases in the United States in 2006.
Data suggest an increase in sexual risk taking among some groups of men who have sex with men, which can help contribute to the spread of syphilis, Berman said....

[emphasis added]