Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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.

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

UK: Half a million new STI infections in 2012

From the left-leaning UK Independent.

Excerpt:

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are soaring among young people, with chlamydia the most virulent, health officials have warned.

Nearly half a million people were diagnosed with STIs last year, with those aged under-25 experiencing the highest rates of infection, according to new figures released today.

Health experts have warned that the rise in STIs shows too many young people are still putting themselves at risk by failing to practice safe-sex.

Last year there were 448,422 diagnoses, which was a rise of five per cent from 2011, said Public Health England (PHE).

Almost half of all infections were chlamydia, amounting to 46 per cent of total STI diagnoses.

The number of new gonorrhoea diagnoses increased by 21 per cent, which is a particular cause for concern among health officials as the global threat of antibiotic resistance grows.

People aged under-25 accounted for 64 per cent of all chlamydia and 54 per cent of genital warts diagnoses in 2012.

The UK has some of the most aggressive and early sex education of any Western country. But all of this effort to educate young people hasn’t reduced the amount of sexual activity at all. When young people learn about the mechanics of sex, and are taught that recreational sex is normal and healthy, then they have more of it. Young people aren’t able to assess risks like adults can. They think that nothing will happen to them. No amount of sex education can cure youthful recklessness.

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

Is the gay lifestyle the same as the heterosexual lifestyle?

I am going to post this disturbing article from the radically left-wing New York Times about the latest new disease affecting the gay community in New York. (H/T ECM)

Here’s an excerpt:

At around 4 on a Saturday morning, a time when most of the gay bars in New York have closed and locked their doors, a steady stream of young and middle-aged men, almost all shirtless and some stripped down to their boxer briefs, have found their way down a dark stairwell and into a maze of basement rooms, where the décor can best be described as fallout-shelter chic.

They have come to Paddles, an after-hours sex club in Chelsea, not yet ready to end their evening. They prowl the long cinder-block hallway, exchanging knowing glances. A husky, bearded man in his 40s lounges on a corrugated black rubber bench, admiring a chorus line of smooth-chested 20-somethings, their flesh glowing under a pink neon sign and black lights. A man in a metal-studded black leather chest harness strides toward a back room, the hookup room, where a circle of men, skin glistening with sweat, hover around a swing, watching.

Then, in walks a skinny man in a black baseball cap, with soulful eyes and a nose that juts forward like the prow of a ship. He stops at a folding table set up between two video screens showing continuous reels of gay pornography. He strips off his black leather jacket, flexing toned biceps in a black muscle shirt. He sets up a red hazardous-waste bin as nonchalantly as if it were a plastic juice jug from Costco, arranges some Band-Aids and a bowl of lollipops next to it, and pulls out a syringe.

This is Demetre Daskalakis, a doctor and gay activist who has come to spread the message that a new health threat has emerged among the city’s gay population and that he is there to stop it.

“Have you been vaccinated?” he asks, smiling, his voice warm, as the half-naked men walk by.

A new, casually transmittable infection — a unique strain of bacterial meningitis — has cast a pall over the gay night life and dating scene, with men wondering whether this is AIDS, circa 1981, all over again. Seven men have died in New York City, about a third of diagnosed cases, since 2010. And in the last few months, the contagion seemed to be accelerating. It has targeted gay and bisexual men, and nobody knows exactly why.

The city’s best hope to curb the outbreak is to vaccinate as many at-risk men as possible, focusing on those most in danger: men who regularly hook up with other men whom they meet at parties, bars, clubs and through apps like Grindr. Dr. Don Weiss, the director of surveillance for the city’s Bureau of Communicable Disease, has called it “Russian roulette sex,” because “sooner or later, you are going to come across this organism and be exposed.”

In case anyone would like to understand the health effects of the gay lifestyle, here is an excellent resource which links to data from mainstream sources.

Here is an excerpt:

Hepatitis: A potentially fatal liver disease that increases the risk of liver cancer.

  • Hepatitis A: The Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report published by the CDC reports: “Outbreaks of hepatitis A among men who have sex with men are a recurring problem in many large cities in the industrialized world.”[20]
  • Hepatitis B: This is a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus, which is called hepatitis B virus (HBV), can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 people of all ages contract hepatitis B and close to 5,000 die of sickness caused by AIDS. The CDC reports that MSM are at increased risk for hepatitis B.[21]

And more:

HIV/AIDS Among Homosexuals. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is responsible for causing AIDS, for which there exists no cure.

  • Homosexual men are the largest risk category. The CDC reports that homosexuals comprise the single largest exposure category of the more than 600,000 males with AIDS in the United States. As of December 1999, “men who have sex with men” and “men who have sex with men and inject drugs” together accounted for 64 percent of the cumulative total of male AIDS cases.[39]

And more:

Homosexuals with STDs Are at an Increased Risk for HIV Infection. Studies of MSM treated in STD clinics show rates of infection as high as 36 percent in major cities.[46] A CDC study attributed the high infection rate to having high numbers of anonymous sex partners: “[S]yphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia apparently have been introduced into a population of MSM who have large numbers of anonymous partners, which can result in rapid and extensive transmission of STDs.”[47] The CDC report concluded: “Persons with STDs, including genital ulcer disease and nonulcerative STD, have a twofold to fivefold increased risk for HIV infection.”[48]

CDC means the government’s Center for Disease Control.

The article that I linked above has nearly 80 footnotes to respected sources of evidence. It’s very important to know the facts when discussing this issue so that we tell people the truth and then let them make good decisions. At the very least we should be telling them what we tell our friends who smoke: “it’s not good for your health”.

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

CDC: risk of HIV 150 times greater for gay men than for heterosexual men

MercatorNet reports on the latest HIV-related numbers from the United States government’s Center for Disease Control.

Excerpt:

Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on HIV infection in the United States reveal some disturbing trends concerning gay males or, in CDC terminology, “men who have sex with men” (MSM). In recent data the CDC estimated that 61 percent of the 48,079 HIV infections diagnosed in 2010 occurred through male to male sexual contact.(1) According to the CDC data, sexual contact and injection drug use are the predominant means by which HIV is transmitted.

The CDC data on HIV diagnoses came from forty-six states and five U.S. dependent areas. Some 29,194 new HIV diagnoses in 2010 were linked to male homosexual contact where no injection drug use took place. There were approximately 4550 HIV male diagnoses linked to heterosexual contact. Injection drug use was involved in 5481 cases. Women contracting the HIV virus through heterosexual contact accounted for approximately 8,800 cases. Another 47 HIV cases came from sources other than the four listed. Included in the other 47 cases were blood transfusions and prenatal exposure.(2) When CDC statistics are analyzed using the estimate of the MSM population at 4 percent of the American male population and assuming the other 96 percent who do not have sex with men are heterosexual, the risk of HIV infection from sexual contact for MSM was approximately 150 times greater than the heterosexual male population in 2010.(3)

To put the HIV risk for MSM into perspective a comparison with the health risks of smoking can be made. Smoking tobacco is a causative factor of many types of cancer, the most common being lung cancer. According to the CDC the risk of lung cancer for men who smoke is 23 times greater than for men who do not smoke. For women who smoke the risk is 13 times greater than for women who do not. Those who smoke are also 2 to 4 times more likely to suffer coronary heart disease and 2 to 4 times more likely to suffer a stroke.(4)

[...]Similar to smoking, homosexual behavior has other unhealthy side effects. The CDC stated that the rate of primary and secondary syphilis among MSM is “more than 46 times that of other men and more than 71 times that of women.”(8) Studies have shown that MSM are at higher risk of alcohol and drug abuse, anxiety, major depression, and thoughts of suicide.(9)

The footnotes in the MercatorNet article either go directly back to the CDC web site, or in some cases to peer-reviewed published research.

CDC numbers were also recently reported in the Washington Times.

Excerpt:

Teens and young adults now account for more than a quarter of the new cases of HIV identified in the United States annually, and a clear majority of those cases involve young gay or bisexual men, the federal government said in a major new survey Tuesday.

Of the nearly 48,000 new HIV cases identified in the United States in 2010, the latest year for which complete data are available, more than 12,000 involved teens and young adults, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found in its latest report.

About 72 percent of these new HIV cases in younger adults occurred in young men who are gay or bisexual, according to the CDC report.

[...]According to the CDC figures, black youths accounted for the largest share of new HIV cases, with Hispanic youths and white youths accounting for about 20 percent each.

About 1.1 million people are estimated to be living with HIV in the United States. Some 47,129 new HIV cases were identified in 2010.

The CDC’s new report, “Vital Signs: HIV Infection, Testing, Risk Behaviors Among Youths, United States,” estimated that youths aged 13 to 24 accounted for 12,200, or 26 percent, of new HIV infections in 2010.

Of these new cases, 7,000 were among black youths, 2,390 were among Hispanics, and 2,380 were among whites.

About 8,800 cases were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact.

HIV/AIDS is incurable, and an estimated 17,774 people with AIDS died in 2009. Some 619,000 persons have died of AIDS in the United States since the epidemic began in the early 1980s, according to the CDC.

If you really love a person, you don’t hide the risks of certain activities from them. You tell them the truth about the risks, so that they have all the information they need when making decisions. I wouldn’t let any of my friends smoke cigarettes without getting a stern warning, supported by evidence. Somehow, we’ve redefined love to mean approving of whatever people want to do, regardless of risks. Why is that a good thing? Telling people the truth about what they doing are should never be viewed as “intolerant”.

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

CDC report: Youths make up 1 in 4 new HIV cases

From the Washington Times.

Excerpt:

Teens and young adults now account for more than a quarter of the new cases of HIV identified in the United States annually, and a clear majority of those cases involve young gay or bisexual men, the federal government said in a major new survey Tuesday.

Of the nearly 48,000 new HIV cases identified in the United States in 2010, the latest year for which complete data are available, more than 12,000 involved teens and young adults, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found in its latest report.

About 72 percent of these new HIV cases in younger adults occurred in young men who are gay or bisexual, according to the CDC report.

[...]According to the CDC figures, black youths accounted for the largest share of new HIV cases, with Hispanic youths and white youths accounting for about 20 percent each.

About 1.1 million people are estimated to be living with HIV in the United States. Some 47,129 new HIV cases were identified in 2010.

The CDC’s new report, “Vital Signs: HIV Infection, Testing, Risk Behaviors Among Youths, United States,” estimated that youths aged 13 to 24 accounted for 12,200, or 26 percent, of new HIV infections in 2010.

Of these new cases, 7,000 were among black youths, 2,390 were among Hispanics, and 2,380 were among whites.

About 8,800 cases were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact.

HIV/AIDS is incurable, and an estimated 17,774 people with AIDS died in 2009. Some 619,000 persons have died of AIDS in the United States since the epidemic began in the early 1980s, according to the CDC.

Numbers like this should cause us to reconsider whether we should be encouraging behaviors that cause widespread disease and enormous health care costs. All we have to do is tell the truth – some things are morally wrong, and people should choose not do them. If they choose to do them anyway, let them pay the costs of their own decisions themselves. Why does government need to get involved to pay for some people’s choices, and not others? If people want to make poor choices, let them do it. But let’s not celebrate it or encourage it. Let’s not pay for it, because that just means we’ll get more of it.

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