Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Samaritan’s Purse physician contracts Ebola while serving in Liberia

Dr. Kent Brantly

Dr. Kent Brantly

Here’s the story from the Samaritan’s Purse web site.

Excerpt:

Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol are in stable but grave condition. Dr. Brantly took a slight turn for the worse overnight. But even as he battles to survive Ebola, he received a remarkable gift from a patient he had helped to save.

“Dr. Brantly received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who had survived Ebola because of Dr. Brantly’s care,” Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham said. “The young boy and his family wanted to be able to help the doctor that saved his life.”

[...]Dr. Brantly, a family practice physician, was serving in Liberia through our post-residency program before joining the medical team responding to the Ebola crisis. His wife and two children had been living with him in Liberia but flew home to the U.S. before he started showing any signs of illness.

Last week, Dr. Brantly recognized that he had symptoms associated with Ebola, and immediately isolated himself.

[...]The deadly disease, which causes massive internal bleeding and has a mortality rate of 60 to 90 percent in most situations, has claimed more than 725 lives.

[...]“There’s an incredible level of braveness in Kent,” Robert Earley, president and CEO of JPS Health Network, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “You don’t meet people like this every day.”

Yahoo News has more about this fine man:

Even from his own sickbed in Africa, American physician Kent Brantly continues putting the well-being of others before his own.

Brantly, a medical missionary in West Africa, and fellow American Nancy Writebol both contracted Ebola last weekend. They spent the past several days under quarantine and are struggling to survive.

On Wednesday, an experimental serum arrived in Monrovia, Liberia, but there was only enough dosage for one patient.

“Dr. Brantly asked that it be given to Nancy Writebol,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian humanitarian organization Brantly is working for.

Late Thursday, officials at Emory University Hospital near the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta confirmed that one of the two aid workers will soon be brought to a special high-security ward there. The name of the patient was not revealed.

Brantly’s gesture of letting Writebol have the serum fits the description of selflessness and sacrifice the 33-year-old’s family back in the U.S. has given.

“Kent prepared himself to be a lifetime medical missionary,” his mother, Jan Brantly, told The Associated Press on Monday. “His heart is in Africa.”

After the merciful move for Writebol, a local family made its own offering to Brantly.

If you are a person who prays, say a prayer for this brave Christian man.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

CDC report: syphilis resurgence among gay men a “major public health concern”

Breitbart reports on a new CDC study.

Excerpt:

The sometimes-deadly disease syphilis is exploding in the United States, with most of the increase since 1995 among men who have sex with men (MSM), according to a new report from the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control (CDC).

As recently as 2000, researchers believed the total elimination of syphilis was within reach. The recent dramatic increases in infections, coupled with the observation that syphilis closely tracks with other diseases like AIDS, have the medical and scientific community deeply concerned. The CDC report considers “the increase in syphilis among MSM is a major public health concern.”

According to the report, “During 2005-2013, the number of primary and secondary syphilis cases reported each year in the United States nearly doubled, from 8,724 to 16,663; the annual rate increased from 2.9 to 5.3 cases per 100,000 population.”

The report also says that “men contributed an increasing proportion of cases, accounting for 91.1% of all primary and secondary syphilis cases in 2013.” Most of the increases came from men who have sex with men, which were responsible for 77% of cases in 2009 but 83.9% in 2012, what the report calls “the vast majority of male… syphilis cases.”

The report warns that the numbers in the new report are likely far less than the true number because only 34 states and the District of Columbia fully report sex of sex partners.

The report raises a particular concern about what it calls “co-infection rates.” “There are reported rates of 50%-70% HIV co-infection among MSM infected with primary or secondary syphilis…”

I really recommend reading that whole post, there are some really striking pieces of data in it.

When we are discussing what to promote and what to disagree with, this CDC data should be on the table. And remember, the closer we move to the single-payer system desired by the political left, the more people who don’t engage in risky behaviors will be taxed to pay for those that do choose to engage in risky behaviors. It’s fine for those who are not ambitious, but if you expect to earn enough to support a family, then you might find it’s much harder than it used to be before we were celebrating things the sexual revolution, which goes far beyond the problems the CDC outlined, into the costs of no-fault divorce, fatherlessness, etc.

We really ought not be celebrating the homosexual lifestyle / orientation. We should be treating this like smoking or obesity, if we really cared about the health of people with these same-sex attractions. It’s possible to express disagreement and to tell the truth about risks and consequences without hurting anyone’s feelings. I like to know what will happen to me if I make certain choices. It’s good to have the facts before you decide what to do.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New CDC study: 62% of men who know they are HIV-positive have unprotected sex with men

CNS News reports on the latest numbers from the Center for Disease Control, which is a department within the U.S. Federal government.

Excerpt:

Sixty-two percent of American men who know they are HIV positive continue to have unprotected anal sex, according to data released last week by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

This data, which was published Friday, came from the federal government’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System.

The percentage of self-aware HIV-positive men who engage in unprotected anal sex has been increasing, according to the CDC. In 2005, 55 percent did so. In 2008, 57 percent did so. And, in 2011, 62 percent did so.

“Unprotected anal sex is a high-risk practice for HIV infection, with receptive anal sex having the highest risk,” said the CDC report. “Unprotected anal sex also places MSM at risk for other sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Although condoms can reduce the risk for HIV transmission, they do not eliminate risk and often are not used consistently. Some MSM attempt to decrease their HIV risk by engaging in unprotected sex only with partners perceived to have the same HIV status as their own. However, this practice is risky, especially for HIV-negative MSM, because MSM with HIV might not know or disclose that they are infected and men’s assumptions about the HIV status of their partners can be wrong.”

Now this is going to be contained if men who have sex with men are relatively monogamous, but are they?

The Family Research Council has published a paper that links to mainstream secular sources that notes that gay men tend to have a far more loose notion of monogamy than men in heterosexual relationships.

Look:

Lest anyone suffer the illusion that any equivalency between the sexual practices of homosexual relationships and traditional marriage exists, the statistics regarding sexual fidelity within marriage are revealing:

Married couples

  • A nationally representative survey of 884 men and 1,288 women published in the Journal of Sex Research found that 77 percent of married men and 88 percent of married women had remained faithful to their marriage vows.[9]
  • A 1997 national survey appearing in The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States found that 75 percent of husbands and 85 percent of wives never had sexual relations outside of marriage.[10]

[...]Research indicates that the average male homosexual has hundreds of sex partners in his lifetime:

  • The Dutch study of partnered homosexuals, which was published in the journal AIDS, found that men with a steady partner had an average of eight sexual partners per year.[12]
  • Bell and Weinberg, in their classic study of male and female homosexuality, found that 43 percent of white male homosexuals had sex with 500 or more partners, with 28 percent having one thousand or more sex partners.[13]
  • In their study of the sexual profiles of 2,583 older homosexuals published in the Journal of Sex Research, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that “the modal range for number of sexual partners ever [of homosexuals] was 101-500.” In addition, 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent had between 501 and 1,000 partners. A further 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent reported having had more than one thousand lifetime sexual partners.[14]

Even in those homosexual relationships in which the partners consider themselves to be in a committed relationship, the meaning of “committed” or “monogamous” typically means something radically different than in heterosexual marriage.

  • A Canadian study of homosexual men who had been in committed relationships lasting longer than one year found that only 25 percent of those interviewed reported being monogamous.” According to study author Barry Adam, “Gay culture allows men to explore different…forms of relationships besides the monogamy coveted by heterosexuals.”[16]
  • The Handbook of Family Diversity reported a study in which “many self-described ‘monogamous’ couples reported an average of three to five partners in the past year. Blasband and Peplau (1985) observed a similar pattern.”[17]

[...]In their Journal of Sex Research study of the sexual practices of older homosexual men, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that only 2.7 percent of older homosexuals had only one sexual partner in their lifetime.[19]

Now, all the footnotes in that quotation above go to mainstream sources, so it’s no use complaining about the Family Research Council cataloguing them – they didn’t publish those research papers, they’re just citing them to make a point that everyone researching in the field already knows.

Take a closer look:

9. Michael W. Wiederman, “Extramarital Sex: Prevalence and Correlates in a National Survey,” Journal of Sex Research 34 (1997): 170.

10. E. O. Laumann et al., The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994 ): 216.

12. Maria Xiridou, et al, “The Contribution of Steady and Casual Partnerships to the Incidence of HIV Infection among Homosexual Men in Amsterdam,” AIDS 17 (2003): 1031.

13. A. P. Bell and M. S. Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), pp. 308, 309; See also A. P. Bell, M. S. Weinberg, and S. K. Hammersmith, Sexual Preference(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981).

14. Paul Van de Ven et al., “A Comparative Demographic and Sexual Profile of Older Homosexually Active Men,” Journal of Sex Research 34 (1997): 354.

16. Ryan Lee, “Gay Couples Likely to Try Non-monogamy, Study Shows,” Washington Blade (August 22, 2003): 18.

17. David H. Demo, et al., editors, Handbook of Family Diversity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000): 73.

It’s mostly peer-reviewed journals and academic presses. I’m counting the Washington Blade as a reputable source, even though it is only a newspaper, because it is one the nation’s leading gay newspapers, and maybe the leading gay newspaper.

So let’s get back to the study – 62% of men who know they are HIV-positive have unprotected sex with men. Now, imagine you have a gay son or a gay male friend. Given this data from the Center for Disease Control, do you think that it’s reasonable for you to encourage them in this lifestyle? Or rather, should you prefer to disagree with them, for their own good? And it’s not just for their good. The closer we move to socialized medicine, the more the costs of behaviors that are likely to make people sick are going to be shared among people who don’t even engage in those behaviors. We shouldn’t be celebrating anything that hurts people or impoverishes people. We should disagree, but in a respectful, winsome way. Not with the intent to harm, but with the intent to inform and educate.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

Domestic violence rates are higher for homosexual couples than for heterosexual couples

From the left-leaning Atlantic Monthly. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

Data on the rates of same-sex partner abuse have only become available in recent years. Even today, many of the statistics and materials on domestic violence put out by organizations like the Center for Disease Control and the Department of Justice still focus exclusively on heterosexual relationships, and specifically heterosexual women. While the CDC does provide some resources on its website for the LGBT population, the vast majority of the information is targeted at women.  Materials provided by the CDC for violence prevention and survivor empowerment prominently feature women in their statistics and photographs.

In 2013, the CDC released the results of a 2010 study on victimization by sexual orientation, and admitted that “little is known about the national prevalence of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking among lesbian, gay, and bisexual women and men in the United States.” The report found that bisexual women had an overwhelming prevalence of violent partners in their lives: 75 percent had been with a violent partner, as opposed to 46 percent of lesbian women and 43 percent of straight women. For bisexual men, that number was 47 percent. For gay men, it was 40 percent, and 21 percent for straight men.

The most recent statistics available on same-sex intimate partner violence from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, which focuses on LGBT relationships, reported 21 incidents of intimate partner homicides in the LGBT community, the highest ever. Nearly half of them were gay men and, for the second year in a row, the majority of survivors were people of color—62 percent.

In 2012, NCAVP programs around the country received 2,679 reports of intimate partner violence, a decrease of around 32 percent from 2011. However the report noted that many of the NCAVP’s member organizations were operating at decreased capacity due to limiting the number of cases they were able to take. The report said that excluding data from organizations, there was actually a 29 percent increase in reports of violence from 2011 to 2012.

That article comes from a source with a very clear pro-gay-agenda bias, so let’s take a look at an article from the Family Research Council to balance it out. They rely on mainstream data sources as well, like the CDC, the DOJ, the US Census, etc.

Excerpt:

A study in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence examined conflict and violence in lesbian relationships. The researchers found that 90 percent of the lesbians surveyed had been recipients of one or more acts of verbal aggression from their intimate partners during the year prior to this study, with 31 percent reporting one or more incidents of physical abuse.[69]

In a survey of 1,099 lesbians, the Journal of Social Service Research found that “slightly more than half of the [lesbians] reported that they had been abused by a female lover/partner. The most frequently indicated forms of abuse were verbal/emotional/psychological abuse and combined physical-psychological abuse.”[70]

In their book Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them: Battered Gay Men and Domestic Violence,D. Island and P. Letellier report that “the incidence of domestic violence among gay men is nearly double that in the heterosexual population.”[71]

[...]Homosexual and lesbian relationships are far more violent than are traditional married households:

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (U.S. Department of Justice) reports that married women in traditional families experience the lowest rate of violence compared with women in other types of relationships.[72]

A report by the Medical Institute for Sexual Health concurred,

It should be noted that most studies of family violence do not differentiate between married and unmarried partner status. Studies that do make these distinctions have found that marriage relationships tend to have the least intimate partner violence when compared to cohabiting or dating relationships.[73]

You can find more data comparing married heterosexuals to same-sex relationships in this FRC paper, which again uses mainstream data sources. Ask yourself: is this a lifestyle that you would recommend to someone you cared about? Is this is a lifestyle that we should celebrate if we are concerned about the good of others? Telling someone not to smoke cigarettes is a good thing. Telling someone not to bicycle without a helmet is a good thing. Telling someone not to get drunk and then drive a car is a good thing. When did we ever get to the point where telling people the facts about the consequences of their choices is considered a bad thing?

By the way, I have to mention this as often as possible, whenever I blog about domestic violence: women commit domestic violence at about the same rate as men.

Rates of domestic violence for men vs women

First of all, let’s see what’s happening with domestic violence rates in the UK, according to the UK government’s own study.

Excerpt:

Data from Home Office statistical bulletins and the British Crime Survey show that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the last year for which figures are available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09.

Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006-07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008-09, Home Office statistics show.

Canada numbers:

An estimated 7% of women and 6% of men in a current or previous spousal relationship encountered spousal violence during the five years up to and including 2004, according to a comprehensive new report on family violence.

Sweden numbers:

In two related studies, researchers surveyed 1,400 Swedes about domestic violence and found that 8 to 11 percent of men reported being victims of physical violence at the hands of their spouse in the past year.

The corresponding figure for women was 8 percent.

In lesbian relationships, the rate of domestic violence is extremely high, from 17% to 45%, depending on the study. I do think that men exert a calming influence on women’s emotions, helping them to channel their feelings into words and reasoned arguments. That short-circuits the tendency toward violent outbursts. That’s why I urge men, if they must marry, to practice disagreeing and debating with women before the marriage is actualized. You need to find out what this other person does in a conflict situation before you commit to her for life.

You also see higher rates of violence by mothers against their own children, than with fathers. Mothers are more than twice as likely to abuse children as fathers. Biological fathers are programmed to protect children – it’s the stepfathers and live-in boyfriends who harm children.

Excerpt:

Contrary to public perception, research shows that the most likely physical abuser of a young child will be that child’s mother, not a male in the household, although the mother’s plight often is complicated by her relationship with a cohabiting male. Abusive mothers frequently are isolated, and lack the parental and extended family or peer support that is necessary to maintain their self-esteem and to buffer the stress of raising children.44 Without this support, they often seek care and comfort from their children, treating these children as if they were older than they really are. When children fail to provide this support, the mother can become impatient, angry, and sometimes abusive, even when the child is only a crying infant. Others find any social stimulation from their babies (whether smiling or crying) to be much more irritating than normal mothers do.45 Their abuse in turn adds to their anxiety and feelings of helplessness.46 If the woman is a second-generation or later generation out-of-wedlock mother, or if she is a teenager, she is less likely to know what the appropriate expectations of a young child should be.

[...]The most likely causes of child abuse by a mother, in fact, can be traced to the violence and substance abuse present in the mother’s childhood, followed by the stress and discord in her current household. This is capped by her own victimization,52 and leads to increased illness and a hypersensitivity to the annoyances that children cause.53 In the period between her early experience with abusing parents and her later experiences with an abusing “mate,” the future abusing mother frequently becomes more aggressive and deviant, developing a hostile and rebellious way of acting. She will associate more with men of similar hostility and eventually will “marry” them, becoming an abused spouse herself.54

This is not politically correct to say, but it’s all properly researched and foot-noted – this is the way reality is.

A recent study

Consider this recent study on domestic violence. It surveyed 2,500 students at the University of Florida.

Excerpt:

Women are more likely than men to stalk, attack and psychologically abuse their partners, according to a University of Florida study that finds college women have a new view of the dating scene.

“We’re seeing women in relationships acting differently nowadays than we have in the past,” said Angela Gover, a UF criminologist who led the research. “The nature of criminality has been changing for females, and this change is reflected in intimate relationships as well.”

In a survey of 2,500 students at UF and the University of South Carolina between August and December 2005, more than a quarter (29 percent) reported physically assaulting their dates and 22 percent reported being the victims of attacks during the past year. Thirty-two percent of women reported being the perpetrators of this violence, compared with 24 percent of men. The students took selected liberal arts and sciences courses. Forty percent were men and 60 percent were women, reflecting the gender composition of these classes.

In a separate survey of 1,490 UF students, one quarter (25 percent) said they had been stalked during the past year and 7 percent reported engaging in stalking, of whom a majority (58 percent) were female.

It’s very important to have an understanding of the facts when talking about domestic violence. Trying to be too “nice” instead of telling the truth is exactly the wrong thing to do.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New CDC report finds soaring rates of HIV among men who have sex with men

Life Site News reports on a new report from the Centers for Disease Control.

Excerpt:

fact sheet released at the end of June by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that HIV rates, already at epidemic proportions, are continuing to climb steadily among men who have sex with men (MSM).

“Gay and bisexual men remain at the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” says Jonathan Mermin, the director of the CDC’s division of HIV/AIDS prevention.

The CDC notes that while homosexual men make up only a very small percentage of the male population (4%), MSM account for over three-quarters of all new HIV infections, and nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of all new infections in 2010 (29,800).

“Men who have sex with men remain the group most heavily affected by HIV in the United States,” the fact sheet states.

US News reports that if HIV infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to rise at the current rates, more than half of college-aged homosexual men will have HIV by the age of 50.

When broken down by age group, the CDC reported that new infections among the youngest MSM, aged 13-24, increased from 7,200 infections in 2008 to 8,800 in 2010, which translates into a 22 percent increase in that time span.

Young black MSM continue to have the highest infection rate, according to the CDC, accounting for more than half (55 percent) of new infections among young MSM.

“CDC’s new estimates show that African Americans, more than any other racial/ethnic group, continue to bear the greatest burden of HIV in the United States,” the report states. “While blacks represent approximately 14 percent of the total U.S. population, they accounted for almost half (44 percent) of all new HIV infections in 2010 (20,900). HIV incidence among blacks was almost eight times higher than that of whites – 68.9 v. 8.7 per 100,000 of the population.”

However, the total number of infections is highest amongst Whites: “White MSM continue to represent the largest number of new HIV infections among MSM (11,200), followed closely by black MSM (10,600) and Hispanic MSM (6,700).”

Previously, I’ve argued that promoting the gay lifestyle would not be good for society for two reasons. First, because it would increase the number of children who would grow up without a mother or without a father. And second, because it would negatively impacting religious liberty. But an additional concern is how men having sex with men introduces health risks to the gay men themselves, and health costs that must be paid by society, especially as we move towards socialized medicine.

Shouldn’t we act with more common sense and maybe treat the gay lifestyle the same way we treat cigarette smoking? Let’s tell people the medical facts, make people face the costs of their own sexual decisions (to encourage them to make better decisions) and then leave them free to do what they want to do without affirming risky decisions. It’s not a good idea for us to celebrate risky behaviors as normal. It doesn’t help gay men, and it doesn’t help society. It’s possible to disagree with people without meaning them harm. When I see someone in the middle of the road about to be hit by a bus, I don’t think that it’s loving to keep quiet, for fear of offending them by pointing out a threat. Let’s point out the threat and then let them decide. That’s not hateful.

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