Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama administration lifts 32-year-old ban on gay / bisexual men donating blood

Breitbart News reports.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration, more interested in pleasing its LGBT supporters than in protecting the health of the general public, is proposing “new rules” through the FDA that would terminate the 32-year-old ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.

Hilariously, the FDA would still ban gay men from donating if they confess to having sex with a man within a year before donating blood.

The FDA did admit that “some individuals knowingly donate despite the deferral.”

[…]The FDA decided that the MSM group (men who have sex with men) was much less of a risk than those in the commercial sex work (CSW) and injection drug use (IDU) groups, even though the agency reported, “In 2010, male-to-male sexual contact accounted for 63% of newly diagnosed HIV infections among adults, and 78% of newly diagnosed HIV infections in men, indicating that male-to-male sexual contact remains associated with high risk of HIV exposure.” Further, the FDA allowed that “the available epidemiologic data in the published literature do not support the concept that MSM who report mutual monogamy with a partner or who report routine use of safe sex practices are at low risk for HIV.”

So why make the change? The FDA admits, “Although not making a change would maintain the current level of safety of the blood supply, as noted above… there is evidence that the deferral policy is becoming less effective over time. In addition, the policy is perceived by some as discriminatory.

Previously, I blogged about the HIV infection rates among men who have sex with men (MSM).

It said:

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)

Did Obama make a good decision by lifting the ban?

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

FDA now allowing gay men to donate blood

This is from the Weekly Standard.

Excerpt:

The FDA will seek to change the ban on gay men’s blood, so long as the donor hasn’t had sexual contact in the last year.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is a science-based regulatory agency that works to protect and promote the public health. In this role, it is our responsibility to regulate the blood supply and to help ensure its continued safety for the patients who receive these life-saving products,” announces FDA commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg.

Over the past several years, in collaboration with other government agencies, the FDA has carefully examined and considered the available scientific evidence relevant to its blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men, including the results of several recently completed scientific studies and recent epidemiologic data. Following this review, and taking into account the recommendations of advisory committees to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FDA, the agency will take the necessary steps to recommend a change to the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men from indefinite deferral to one year since the last sexual contact.

This recommended change is consistent with the recommendation of an independent expert advisory panel the HHS Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability, and will better align the deferral period with that of other men and women at increased risk for HIV infection. Additionally, in collaboration with the NIH’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the FDA has already taken steps to implement a national blood surveillance system that will help the agency monitor the effect of a policy change and further help to ensure the continued safety of the blood supply.

Here’s a story from the CBC about how the blood supply became tainted in Canada. (H/T Patriactionary)

Why is this a problem? Well, gay men are at a much higher risk for HIV, and other sexually-transmitted infections. The CDC released this report about the elevated risks posed by this lifestyle.

The write:

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.”

And in another report:

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.

But, this is what we get when we elect a government that is more in service to ideas of “equality”, “diversity” and “non-discrimination” than common sense. It would be nice to think that the only people who will suffer from this decision are Democrats, but that’s not the way it works.Everyone suffers when we elect people who are led by emotional ideology (the vision of the anointed, as Thomas Sowell calls it) instead of reason and evidence. We get to be the test subjects of their little experiments.

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

43-year-old teacher with HIV admits having sex with teen

From CBS local news in Texas, of all places.

Excerpt:

A North Texas teacher, who is HIV positive, was caught leaving the home of a 15-year-old boy. Police say when Roger “Joe” Kessler was questioned and he admitted having a sexual relationship with the teen. Now Kessler is charged with sexual assault of a child.

The details from his arresting documents are disturbing and have both law enforcement and Richardson ISD officials on alert.

Kessler is a music teacher at Richardson ISD Academy. The 43-year-old is the man police say admitted to having sex with a 15-year-old boy, at least four times. And authorities say the sexual acts were performed without Kessler telling the teen he has HIV.

McKinney police say they were called to a home in the 1300 block of Gough Street on Wednesday. While authorities were responding to a burglary in progress, they arrived to Kessler being detained by the homeowner.

Apparently the teenager’s mother had arrived home and thought her home had been burgled, because she saw a man leaving her backyard.

Further investigation revealed Kessler was trying to run away from the house where he admitted to having just had a sexual encounter with the teen.

Court documents detail how Kessler and the 15-year-old met using a smart phone application called Grindr. The app bills itself as a “popular all-male location-based social network,” but is known as a place for men looking for sex to connect.

According to police documents, Kessler even logged on to Grindr and showed officers at the scene a series of text messages he had exchanged with the teen.

Previously, I wrote about a Center for Disease Control report that found that men who have sex with men were 150 times more likely to contract HIV, and another CDC report that found that 62% of men who have unprotected sex with other men know they have HIV.

Filed under: News, , , ,

HIV/AIDS researcher fired for accurate but politically incorrect testimony

Legal Insurrection provides the background.

Excerpt:

The background is that the Belize Supreme Court is considering a court case seeking to overturn Section 53 of the criminal code, which bans some forms of homosexual behavior, specifically male-on-male sodomy. Argument was held in May 2013 but there has been no decision as of this writing.

The highly charged nature of the case pits a coalition of international gay rights activists against some Christian churches and groups.

Enter Dr. Brendan Bain, who retired as a Professor in 2013 from the University of West Indies.  While still a professor, in 2012 Dr. Bain submitted testimony in the form of an Expert Report in the case (embedded in full at the bottom of this post).

[…]The general thesis of the Expert Report was as follows, in part:

This report shows that the relative risk of contracting HIV is significantly higher among men who have sex with other men (MSM) in Belize than in the general population. This is also true in several other countries for which data are available, including countries that have repealed the law that criminalizes anal sex and countries where the law still applies.

So did the report contain false information? No.

From the Jamaica Observer.

Excerpt:

The National AIDS Committee (NAC) early Thursday issued a statement saying that “it takes no issue with, and has no objection to the actual content of the report of Professor Brendan Bain to the Court in Belize”.

Bain was fired from his post as director of the Regional Co-ordinating Unit of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) by the University of the West Indies for statements regarding men who have sex with men that he made as an expert witness in a Belize court case.

But according to the NAC, “there is nothing in that report which is contrary to, or offensive to the work of the National AIDS Committee.”

The NAC is a non- government organisation established in 1988 “to facilitate multi-sectoral collaboration to reduce the negative impact of HIV/AIDS on the Jamaican society and promote an informed, supportive and caring environment that empowers persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.”

[…]In his report, Professor Bain highlighted for the court that homosexual men were at higher risk of contracting HIV and other sexual transmitted infections and that a supportive environment is needed at the community and governmental levels to enable high risk groups to access and practice safe sex.

What’s wrong with saying that men who have sex with men are at a higher risk of contracting HIV / AIDS? It’s not politically correct, so he had to go.

I’m sure his numbers were similar to those of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which makes the same point about men who have sex with men.

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.

I’m really not sure why people who insist on suppressing numbers like this think they are doing good. If something is dangerous, the good thing to do is to tell other people the danger. Not to fire people who tell other people the danger. That’s wrong.

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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