Entries in Gay Men (5)


HIV Infections Rising in Young Gay Men in Urban US

ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- Despite decades of prevention efforts, HIV continues to increase among young gay men in urban areas, and most of these men are unaware they are infected, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Researchers looked at survey data spanning from 1994 to 2008 on gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men ages 18 to 29 years old living in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and San Francisco, recruited from bars and nightclubs.  The study focused on HIV prevalence as well as HIV testing.

They found that among those ages 23 to 29 years old, there was a trend towards increasing HIV prevalence from 1994 to 2008, with an overall prevalence of 16 percent.

“The fact that new infections increased somewhat in the 23- to 29-year-old age group indicates that this is a population that we need to be extremely concerned about and that we really need to be trying to reach them early with prevention so that we can establish healthy behaviors early on,” said Dr. Alexa Oster, lead author of the study and medical epidemiologist at the CDC.

Among gay men ages 18 to 22, the overall HIV prevalence was 11 percent, and this number remained steady over the 14-year time span of the study.

Why is there a lack of progress in stemming the epidemic among young gay men?  It turns out there are many factors that lead to higher rates of HIV disease in the gay community at large.  

As Dr. Chris Beyrer, director of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, explains, “there are structural, social and biological features that enormously favor transmission over prevention [among men who have sex with men].”

For young gay men in the United States specifically, certain external factors may put them at particularly high risk for HIV.

“There may be socioeconomic reasons that men are less likely to get into testing and care,” Oster said.  “There may be issues related to stigma or homophobia.  And all of those are important factors that may have a unique effect on the youngest populations.”

According to the CDC study, more than three-quarters of young gay men in urban areas were unaware they were HIV-positive, compared to 20 percent in the general population.  While there were significant increases in the proportion of men who underwent HIV testing over the course of the study, “there is more work to be done,” Oster said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Daddy's Out of the Closet: Do You Tell the Kids?

Courtesy of Amity Buxton(MAHWAH, N.J.) -- In 1983, after 25 years of marriage and two children, Amity Buxton's life was turned upside down when she learned her husband's long-held secret -- he had "jilted" his gay lover to marry her.

"My moral compass was broken living someone else's lie," said Buxton, now 82 and founder of the Straight Spouse Network.  "I didn't know what was true or false.  I couldn't trust my own judgment... My identity was shattered."

Buxton, who lives in California, said it was worse than finding out her husband was having an affair.

"I could always compete with another woman," she said. "But this way, I didn't have the right equipment and was doomed from the beginning."

He left and she told their children, a daughter in high school and a son in college.  It took years before her husband could tell his son he was gay.

"The children thought it was their fault," she said.  "But couples who stay together for the sake of the children make them feel even more guilty -- I couldn't stand the idea of secrets."

Today, an estimated 25,000 heterosexual husbands and wives and 3.5 million children are too often the neglected parties when a gay spouse comes out of the closet, according to the Devote Campaign, which works for marriage equality for lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

Buxton turned her experience into advocacy when there were no resources available to those left behind, in pain and often victims of homophobia.  The Straight Spouse Network just celebrated its 25th year.

"We are in the invisible minority," said Buxton, who was an educator in multiethnic schools.  "No one pays attention to us."

Only about 15 percent of those spouses choose to stay in the marriage, according to Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

Just last month, New York City author Jane Isay wrote an essay, Keeping Marital Secrets Closeted, about learning her psychoanalyst husband was gay 15 years into their marriage in 1965.  The couple decided to keep his coming out from their two sons -- aged 10 and 14 -- and stayed in the marriage "for the sake of the children."

Now 72, Isay looks back on that decision with mixed feelings.

"When they finally learned the truth, our sons were more disturbed by our deception than by the facts," she wrote in The New York Times.  "Our reasons didn't seem to matter anymore.  Truth trumps lies, every time."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gay Men's Sexual Health Study Called Waste of Taxpayer Money YORK) -- A study on gay men's penis size and sexual health made headlines this week -- not because of its findings but rather its funding source: taxpayers.

The study, which linked penis size to sexual position preference as well as physical and psychological well-being, was published in the June 2010 issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior.  But more than a year later, the Traditional Values Coalition, The Daily Caller and Fox News condemned the study as a frivolous use of taxpayer money.

"We've got nameless, faceless bureaucrats who thought this was a good use of taxpayer money," Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition, told the Daily Caller.  "But, at the end of the day, it was the NIH [National Institutes of Health] directors who signed off on it.  These nameless, faceless bureacrats [sic] seem to think the American taxpayers are a limitless ATM machine."

The NIH maintains it did not directly fund the study, nor did it approve the research.  It did, however, provide a training grant for research into AIDS and HIV prevention for the study's lead author, Christian Grov.

"This study was funded by the Hunter College Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training," a spokeswoman for the NIH told ABC News in an email.  "Dr. Christian Grov was supported as a postdoctoral research fellow at the time the research was conducted by a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded training grant, which focuses on preparing behavioral scientists, especially racial/ethnic minorities, to conduct research in the areas of drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, and crime.  These funds can only be used to support expenses like stipends, tuition and fees.  These funds cannot be used to support research projects."

The training grant supported Grov while he studied a range of sexual health issues among men who have sex with men -- a group that it is disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS.

Now an assistant professor of health and nutrition services at City University of New York's Brooklyn College, Grov defended his research, explaining that it has important implications for reducing HIV transmission.

"At the moment, the male latex condom is the best barrier to prevent transmitting HIV and [sexually transmitted infections]," he said.  "The one-size-fits-all approach to condom distribution may not meet the needs of men who fall outside the range of the typical condom."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cancer More Prevalent Among Gay Men, Study Finds

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Gay men are nearly twice as likely to report being diagnosed with cancer when compared to heterosexual men, according to a new study released Monday.

Researchers at Boston University School of Public Health reviewed data from the California Health Interview survey carried out in 2001, 2003, and 2005.  They found that about 8 percent of the gay men surveyed had been diagnosed with cancer, while only about 5 percent of heterosexual men were.

The rates of cancer diagnoses among lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual women, on the other hand, were similar.  However, when it came to cancer survivors, the researchers found that lesbian and bisexual women were twice as likely to report fair or poor health when compared to heterosexual women.

The study, which was published in the journal Cancer, sought to address the shortfall in cancer surveillance data, which omits information on sexual orientation, leaving little to be known about the disease in the lesbian, gay and bisexual populations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


HIV Prevention Drug Truvada: No Effect on Women

Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images(DURHAM, N.C.) -- Prophylactic medicine widely used to prevent HIV infection among gay men appears to have no effect on women.

Researchers stopped one in a series of long-term studies testing the antiretroviral drug Truvada on thousands of African women who are at high risk of HIV infection after preliminary data showed an equal HIV infection rate among both women who took Truvada and those who took a placebo.

Many experts say they found the results of the study, known as FEM-PrEP, disappointing, since Truvada is regarded as a groundbreaking drug for HIV prevention among gay men. Researchers believed Truvada would also work for high-risk women in Africa.

"We were surprised by the outcome," said Dr. Timothy Mastro, vice president of health and developmental science at FHI, the nongovernmental organization that oversaw the study. "We were advised that there was no benefit to continue for the next several months."

A number of possible reasons could have contributed to the findings, according to Mastro. One reason, according to the organization, could be that the women may not have been taking the medication as advised, if they were taking it at all. Or the medication might not work for women the way it seemed to work for men.

"The final data have not been confirmed," said Mastro. "So at this point, all we can say is that the study was not able to conclude that Truvada works for women."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio