Saturday, September 30, 2006

Look Who's Watching

Forget the NSA, warns WIRED in the current magazine issue and on its web site – TV networks are spying on you. HBO, for one, has been monitoring file-sharing sites for copyright infringers and reporting them to their ISPs. Luckily, most providers have responded with a slap on the wrist. We got our mitts on an HBO missive to the ISP Speakeasy and on that provider's memo to its customer. Follow the links below to see the actual e-mails and as they suggest “Let's read between the lines.”

HBO are not alone. In fact NBC is even more dedicated in searching for “illicit” use of their materials. How short sighted!

Link to WIRED article

Fashion Statements

Friday, September 29, 2006



President Bill Clinton addressed the British Labour Party Conference this week. Some saw it as a farewell gesture to his old friend Tony Blair. Some, like Ann Treneman writing for The Times, took the opportunity for some snide mocking. But even she noticed the “exotic” reference to ubuntu. As she put it, “Not since Timann and Pumbaa sang Hakuna Matata in the Lion King have we fallen quite so in love with an African word.”

Most commentators saw the ubuntu reference in a more positive light. The BBC, even with some ribbing, took time to explore it, giving a definition and a quote:

The word comes from the Bantu languages spoken in southern Africa - and is related to a Zulu concept - umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu - which means that a person is only a person through their relationship to others.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in his book No Future Without Forgiveness, says: "Ubuntu is very difficult to render into a Western language ... It is to say, 'My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in what is yours."'

We also noted the BBC’s conclusion:

We expect to hear more from ubuntu in the future.

For extra credit . . . .

Can you match the Pair?
Can you pick out the real Statesman?

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Measuring HIV viral loads in the blood of people living with the virus is not a reliable indicator to predict CD4+ T cell counts, according to a study published in the Sept. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, which was reported by Reuters.

In a related JAMA editorial, physician W. Keith Henry and colleagues write that the study results are stimulating and suggest that researchers should seek to identify nonviral factors that might trigger the decline of CD4+ T cells.

Predictive Value of Plasma HIV RNA Level on Rate of CD4 T-Cell Decline in Untreated HIV Infection.
Benigno Rodríguez, MD, et al.
JAMA. 2006;296:1498-1506.

Link to JAMA Article

"We could not have anticipated . . . ."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Another View

We hear that on The View this morning Rosie O'Donnell lifted the veil on her sex scene with co-star Julian McMahon the TV drama Nip/Tuck Much to Barbara's embarrassment she explained how "naked" sex scenes are shot for TV. This included a graphic description of her co-stars only garment --- the cock sock or the "wiener" sock, as morning TV decorum requires.. As ever, Rosie the communicator was still able to convey the impact of the "golden mitten" and the whole experience filming the scene.

So why are we talking about it, you ask? The nagging doubt is why is it such a big deal --- not that you cannot say, "cock" on a Disney show (though come to think of it . . . .) No, we are wondering about the notion of "wrapping the rascal" as a matter of what --- good taste? modesty? decorum? personal space? But it was, at the end of the day, acting. If the unseen penis has to be covered (for whatever reason) what is the hope for eroticizing the condom.

Well let's not make a mountain out of a molehill. Now there's an unfortunate metaphor. But it does illustrate our ongoing proposition. How we all (society) think about sexual expression does in a circular fashion influence how we all think about sex. I was amazed to hear a therapist explaining that it is not unusual these days for young men to think they have small penises. Yes we know that size has always been an issue --- whether or not you believe it matters. But not that long ago erotic material (ok porn --- if you must) depicted a wide range of body types, which also reflected penis size. Now, US porn particularly has given young men the idea that anything less than 10inches is small. Given the physiological reality of the population that means a large number of people consider themselves physically challenged

If true, there is an upside to this. Erotic material could make the condom an erotic part of sex rather than a pseudo medical prophylactic which intrudes into the natural flow of things.

People still argue this cannot be done. The French (and other Europeans) as well as the Brazilians seem to take this as a matter of course. The US adult market has gone the other way with Bare Backing extravaganzas. Even if condoms are used, they mysteriously appear out of shot and are only visible by accident. It doesn't have to be that way. Chi Chi La Rue (she is an American) has produced successful movies with explicit and erotic inclusion of condoms. Its is said she left Vivid Video due to the company moving to a "condom-optional" policy.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Study suggests smoking is linked to risk of HIV

The study - Is smoking tobacco an independent risk factor for HIV infection and progression to AIDS? which appears in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, says it is not clear why smokers would be more likely to become infected with the virus, H.I.V., than nonsmokers. But the authors pointed to growing evidence that smoking increases the risk of all types of infections, perhaps by changing the structure of the lung or weakening the immune system. They also noted that tobacco use tended to be higher among the groups of people most likely to get AIDS.

AIDS and tobacco use, the study says, are the only two major causes of death that are on the rise, with tobacco projected to play a role in perhaps eight million deaths in a little over a decade.

Is smoking tobacco an independent risk factor for HIV infection and progression to AIDS?
Andrew S Furber (University of Sheffield) Ravi Maheswaran (University of Sheffield), Chris J Carroll (University of Sheffield) and James N Newell (University of Leeds)
Sexually Transmitted Infections August 21, 2006

Link to STI article

Driving Lessons

This answers those who asked who was the actress in the video Turkish Bath posted Monday July 17, 2006

Monday, September 25, 2006

Blame Clinton ? ? ?

US shy away from needle exchange yet again

AIDS treatment resolution withdrawn at WHO meeting because of U.S. opposition

According to the AP/International Herald Tribune, at the World Health Organization's Asia-Pacific conference in Auckland, New Zealand, on Friday a resolution calling for universal HIV/AIDS treatment access was withdrawn after U.S. delegates proposed amendments, including removing wording that supported the use of programs to curb the pandemic among injection drug users. The U.S. also had differences with the resolution's wording on high-risk groups -- including needle-exchange,IDUs, commercial sex workers and men who have sex with men.

New Zealand Health Minister Pete Hodgson, chair of the meeting said the U.S. "position is that if they have needle exchanges, then people will use needles more and use intravenous drugs more," adding, "I think it is demonstrably wrong. New Zealand has had needle swaps for 20 years. It has been an amazing success."

U.S. officials declined to comment . U.S. foreign aid cannot be used to provide funding or services to programs that include needle exchanges.

International Herald Tribune Article

ACLU against new Testing Recommendations

ACLU Says New CDC HIV Testing Recommendations Raise Health and Civil Liberties Concerns (9/21/2006)

“The CDC should be commended for trying to increase the number of people tested for HIV, but eliminating the only safeguards that guarantee that testing is voluntary and informed does little to ensure that people will receive the care they need,” said Rose Saxe, a staff attorney with the ACLU AIDS Project. “Studies have shown that patients who are tested without consent are less likely to get the follow-up care that is critical to maintaining good health.”

“Receiving an HIV diagnosis is a significant life-changing event. In addition to having to learn to live with a life-threatening disease, people with HIV deal with the continuing stigma that comes with having HIV,” added Saxe. “Without pre- and post-test counseling requirements, we risk losing a critical opportunity to educate people about HIV and how to prevent the spread of it.

ACLU press release

Of course these arguments bolster the myth at Pre-test and Post-test counseling are really happening as the previous policies recommended. As we have illustrated many times and as health care professionals all no the treatment/prevention combination was happening rarely if at all. And, if fact, the new recommendations not only allow but encourage prevention interventions. Is this another example of us failing to respond to HIV as a disease rather than a moral issue?

Another reminder:

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ooh Vicar!

I thought you might like to see a sketch from the 1960’s stage show Beyond the Fringe. It is fascinating because it features the ooh so young Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Dr. Jonathan Miller.

It is even more fascinating because it pokes fun at post-war attitudes. We were wondering why it is that it was OK. Whereas now we have to be “patriotic” and “support” the war (without of course referring to it as a war). Somebody suggested the major difference was that everyone then had felt intimately attached to the struggle. Even young men in the 1960s had been born into the aftermath when the whole community paid off the costs --- overtly and willingly. After all George Bush’s hero Winston Churchill had said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Somewhat different from the notion that if we (ie. The brave young men and women who have gone for us) fight them over there we won’t have to do it here. Or that while our “war” is going on we are the economy is booming and we have tax cuts! Churchill also pointed out that “The British nation is unique in this respect. They are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst.” Of course that was back in the 1940s. Then, I think he meant being frank rather than spreading fear. Doubtless, the next generations will pay for what we have done (the deficit alone will see to that) but I doubt with the same pride! History will tell --- even if as, the President has implied he won’t be around to worry about it

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Lady Constance's Cultural Corner

AA Gill who is now a contributor to Vanity Fair is one of my favorite columnists. You know who he is: the guy who was “thrown out” (with Joan Collins) by Gordon Ramsey. He has an acerbic wit (as opposed to Ramsey’s fluid vernacular) and he is not afraid to mock the Welsh!

In last weekend’s London Sunday Times he reviewed The Path to 9/11 Disney’s dramatized documentary on the back story to the destruction of the Twin Towers.

"It’s so rare that the right-wingers ever bother to create something cultural, but it’s always interesting to see what they think is edifying, entertaining and informative TV. Then they make The Path to 9/11, and you’re eternally grateful that they can so rarely be bothered. Leaving aside the childish name-calling, the witch-hunt, the finger-pointing and the sheer invention of this banal, partisan rant, what’s particularly repellent is the vile, racist Wagnerian sentimentality and licensed thuggery. There is a complete absence of any interest in why there is a jihad against the West. It’s simply cowboys and Indians; Indians are savage because they’re Indians; men in turbans are frightening, soulless, unthinking, suicidal maniacs because they’re men in turbans. Trying to understand them would be like trying to understand malarial mosquitoes. Hating America is, by its nature, beyond explanation or understanding, and is probably inhuman.

The one thing Blair, Bush, Clinton, Bin Laden and Disney all agree on is that the war on terror is at bottom about competing values. As an advertisement for the values of a pluralistic, democratic, open and decent society, The Path to 9/11 was embarrassingly ghastly. Just as television, it’s laughably nasty."

More "Culture"?

For those who are asking for more culture (you know who you are), we offer this difinitive rendition of Master of the House. It comes with English subtitles (for American audiences?) For best enjoyment stick with it to the end of the clip. It comes, of course from Les Miserable and this is the 10th Anniversary Celebration from the famous "Afred Hall" in London. Dedications? We can think of one or two people who could use this as their theme song --- but you choose your own . . .


Another one for the boys in Wendy's?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Routine HIV Testing

CDC Recommends Routine HIV Testing for U.S. Residents Ages 13 to 64, Dropping Written Consent and Pretest Counseling Requirements

As reported on the NBC Nightly News (Thursday) and in various newspapers today, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has changed its recommendations for testing. This is from their statement

“CDC's recommendations urge providers to include HIV testing as routine part of their patients’ Healthcare . Routine HIV testing ensures more people learn whether they are infected with HIV, allowing them to benefit from earlier access to treatment, and reduce the risk of infecting their partners.”

"Key differences in the Recommendations for patients in all Healthcare settings are:

  • HIV screening (another term for broad-based testing) for patients in all Healthcare settings after the patient is notified that testing will be performed unless the patient declines (opt-out screening).
  • HIV testing of people at high risk for HIV infection at least once a year.
  • Screening should be incorporated into the general consent for medical care; separate written consent is not recommended.
  • Prevention counseling should not be required with HIV diagnostic testing or as part of HIV screening programs in Healthcare settings.

Additional key differences in the Recommendations for pregnant women in Healthcare settings are:

  • Including HIV screening in the routine panel of prenatal screening tests for all pregnant women, unless the patient declines (opt-out screening).
  • Repeat screening in the third trimester in certain jurisdictions with elevated rates of HIV infection among pregnant women.

The Recommendations emphasize the importance of voluntary testing. Various constituencies have expressed concern that eliminating the recommendation for separate informed consent for an HIV test could result in some patients being tested for HIV without their knowledge. Others have asserted that requiring separate, written informed consent is a barrier that makes HIV screening difficult to conduct in heath-care settings, and that removing this requirement would make widespread HIV screening feasible.

Concerns have also been expressed over the lack of HIV prevention counseling in conjunction with HIV testing. CDC continues to support prevention counseling as an intervention to help people reduce their risks for HIV, but recognizes it can become a barrier to HIV testing in busy Healthcare settings. CDC still recommends that patients receive information about HIV testing, HIV infection, and the meaning of test results."

Link to :CDC’s HIV Testing in Healthcare Settings

HIV and the LAW

The BBC News on line explores the issue: Should HIV 'crimes' be punished?

They note that there been a number of high profile cases where people have been prosecuted for passing on HIV, with sentences ranging from a small fine to imprisonment. But in August 2006, a gay man being accused of 'recklessly' passing on the virus to his partner became the first person in Britain to be acquitted of such a crime.

Link to BBC News on line

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Looks Who's Not Talking

Lifelong's Revelation

Seattle Lifelong AIDS Alliance executive director Tina Podlodowski gave an interview to the Capitol Hill Times celebrating "the most successful walk in the last five years."

She noted that the existence of drug therapies have given people the idea that the AIDS epidemic is over. She also continued the message she presented at the Walk: 50% of new infections in people who are less than 25 years old.

"Young people aren't getting the message anymore that AIDS kills".

The new emphasis [which we welcome and applaud] is that AIDS walk money is particularly important because

"Unlike government services it does not come with restrictions; so we can do the work we need to do, not the work we are told to do. "

[Some ACTIVISM at last! Well at least a nod to their Mission Statement]

We are told that the Alliance delivered 380,000 sex messages last year [Whatever that means!]

Lets hope this heralds an effective, visible embrace of their PREVENTION Mission.

Prevention - Prevention - Prevention

Bill Gates: Helping to treat Aids is not enough, we must urgently find ways of preventing it

In an opinion piece in today’s (Sept 21) edition ofThe Independen, a London Newspaper, Bill gates explains graphically why treatment alone is not enough for dealing with the AIDS Pandemic. He also specifies how activists should use their influence and also tells us what individuals can do. This is certainly worth reading. Follow the link

The Independent article

The "harsh mathematics" of the HIV/AIDS epidemic suggests that "for each person who starts getting treatment today, 10 more people will need treatment tomorrow"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Outsider

When Children you study are unwittingly putting their lives at risk should you intervene?

This question is raised by Rachel Burr’s article in the current New Scientist.

As an anthopologist She studied street boys in Hanoi who have been place in police run “reform schools”:

Perhaps the most interesting of their strategies t for coping with institutional life was the practice of tattooing each other.

The boys improvised. They used a mix of blood, ink and dirt, introduced under the skin using shared, dirty needles

It was deemed by the authorities that children do not get AIDS. Requests by her and an American Aid Worker that the boys should be tested for HIV were refused.

They were finally tested a year after I left Vietnam. Out of the 180 boys I had studied, 162 tested positive for HIV

She has been criticized by the anthropology community for choosing to be involved. She was told by a senior academic that she was becoming an activist. As an anthropologist, he said, that in itself bordered on the unethical.

Some have accused anthropologists who become involved with the communities who inform their work of neocolonialism

Rachel Burr is an associate lecturer at the Open University, UK.
's Children in a Changing World,
Published July 2006 by Rutgers University Press

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Rise of Super TB

New Scientist - 16 September2006 reports that African countries last week agreed a plan to tackle a new and ultra-lethal strain of tuberculosis called Extensive Drug Resistant TB (XDR-TB). It is especially harmful to people infected with HIV, killing 52 Out Of 53 HIV-positive people who caught it after attending a clinic in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, earlier this year. All were infected with the same strain, suggesting that one infected person spread it to all the rest. Most died within 25 days - long before the three months it takes to get lab test results back.

At an emergency meeting in Johannesburg last week, the World Health Organization, the South African Medical Research Council and African health officials agreed a plan to screen for XDR-TB in other African countries to see just how widespread it is. Until now, South Africa was the only African country capable of testing for it. "We strongly fear that XDR-TB is likely to be in other places in Africa," says Paul Nunn, head of the WHO's TB drug resistance team.

Oh, but that’s only Africa so the rest of us can ignore it ---- can’t we ? ? ?

"Unacceptable to think"

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pop Quiz: Cognitive Dissonance




Cognitive dissonance occurs when someone’s beliefs or knowledge disagree with each other or with the persons behaviors. Leon Festinger spelled out the theory of cognitive dissonance in 1957. When there is a conflict between thought and behavior, there is motivation to reduce the conflict (dissonance) through changes in beliefs or behavior.

Even in 1988, Elliot Aronson, writing in his book The Social Animal, looked at the implications of trying to persuade people to use condoms. This typically involved the "vivid descriptions of the dangers of unsafe sex and the ravages of the disease. The assumption was that arousing a great deal of fear will induce people to change sexual behavior”. He gave the example of an attractive woman being shown as saying, “I love sex but I`m not willing to die for it." He warned that this approach might be ineffective or, worse, counterproductive. So, he says

If the cognitive association between death and condoms is too powerful, the thought of using condoms may be so noxious as to diminish the pleasure associated with sex. Under these circumstances, a great many individuals will block all thoughts of death, disease, and condoms out of their minds, adopting a posture of denial. But they won’t stop having sex. Thus they will convince themselves that "It can't happen to me," or "I 'm not attracted to the kind of person who would have AIDS," or "I can spot a person with AIDS just by looking at him"

We are all familiar with the even more current rationalization!

Does that mean we should give up on providing information? No! People still need and informed choice. But we should not assume that the information alone will change behavior.

Aronson --- way back then --- was already pointing out the need to design the message to overcome whatever it is that sexually active people find unattractive about condoms.

We don't seem to have tried very hard.

[The Social Animal (5th edn. 1988) Elliot Aronson WH Freeman: New York]

Legends Online

In its 16 September2006 edition a New Scientist piece tells us that
“the celebrated experiment demonstrating the electrical nature of lightning [has] just gone electronic”
Meaning that Benjamin Franklin's 1752 paper describing how he conducted lightning with a kite is one of hundreds of landmark scientific papers now available in an electronic archive compiled by the Royal Society in London. The papers date back to the first scientific journal, Philosophical Transactions, published in 1665. They also include Edmund Halley's description in 1705 of the comet named after him; and details of the DNA double helix published in 1954 by James Watson and Francis Crick and many more.

Be quick! Access is Free only for two months from 14 September,

This is the Link: Royal Society Archive

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ooh, Vicar

I didn't know my grandfather. He died before I was born. It is one of the things I remember about my mother. There was a sadness in her eyes when she acknowledged how much she missed him. When I got older she told me that it was her one regret in life that I never knew him. He was a coal miner. He did not die in any disaster but it was mining which took his life too young. I have always associated this with the Alex Glasgow song Close the Coal House Door: (It won’t be the same reading the words without hearing his North Country lilt)

Close the coalhouse door, lad. There's blood inside. ,
Blood from broken hands and feet,
Blood that's dried on pit-black meat,
Blood from hearts that know no beat.

Close the coalhouse door, lad. There's bones inside.

Close the coalhouse door, lad. There's death inside.

It seems particularly poignant to me that we could apply the same sentiments to the HIV/AIDS closet that was written about yesterday.

Close the closet door, lad. There's HIV inside
-----------------------There's Hepatitis C inside
------------------There's the Super Virus inside
----------------------There’s Crystal Meth inside . . . . .

For all those who have decided this is all just not worth thinking about, I dedicate these few verses from Louise MacNeice’s poem

Bagpipe Music

It's no go the merry-go round, its no go the rickshaw,
All we want is a limousine and a ticket for the peepshow.
Their knickers are made of crêpe-de-chine, their shoes are made of python,
Their halls are lined with tiger rugs and their walls are heads of bison.

It’s no go the picture palace, it’s no go the stadium,
It’s no go the country cot with the pot of pink geraniums
It’s no go the Government grants, it’s no go the elections,
Sit on your arse for fifty years and hang you hat on a pension.

It’s no go my honey love, It’s no go my poppet;
Work your hands from day to day, the winds will blow the profit.
The glass is falling hour by hour, the glass will fall for ever,
But if you break the bloody glass you won’t hold up the weather.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Fashion Statements

Ee by gum, Mother,
what have they done
to my duffle coat.
I carn't bring in 't cows
looking like that!

happened to
the firm that
made my

How can we be so stupid?


The Headmaster was putting together a piece on cognitive dissonance. So I have quickly slipped in to head him off --- who knows if we delay him long enough it might even fade away. No! I forgot that is the strategy of the Prevention Players --- keep silent and the critics will go away.

I suppose exploring why and how we adjust our thinking to accommodate risky behavior is more than interesting. I think it was Elliot Aaronson (the Social Psychologist) who quoted George Bernard Shaw’s way of dealing with his father's alcoholism

"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance."

If you are going to indulge in risky sexual behaviors, then it helps to have a whole range of justifications --- which may or may not have any basis in reality. The extreme is the notion that HIV does not even cause AIDS. More subtle is to turn the risks into familiars rather than demons by giving them cute names - Bare Backing, PnP (Party and Play together with "party favors"), Conversion parties etc.

The problem with this whole game in particular as with "Gay-ed" HIV in general is that we have allowed it to be about sexual behavior (if not sexuality) rather than letting the focus be Infection. Aren't we now trapped in a new closest of our own making? We cannot confront the issue of people putting others at risk (a life and death risk at that) because we have let the spreading of a virus become bound up with who we are.

I am tired of hearing that HIV+ people have already suffered enough and that we cannot stigmatize them. If we apply this philosophy to resistant TB, as well, then God help us. It's kind of ironic for those who have been around since the early days that they tried sohard to debunk the myth of The Gay Plague. Now, to foster a sense of personal self esteem (so they say) and to preserve a “community”, we want to bring it back. A friend who trained at Seattle Counseling Services (for Sexual Minorities --- to give it the name it used to flaunt my dears!) tells a sad tale. He was attracted to working there not only because of its high professional standards and its community involvement but, also, because it made a distinction between sexual orientation and the illnesses (diseases and dis-ease) which visit people. He received a recent funding solicitation from the current Director which had the strong implication that it is being gay which makes you sick. Today I wont even comment on SCS’s abandonment of their heritage of community involvement. (Won't Tina be please that we didn't mention her ---- even if this is still about Lifelong too) Just for those who want to paint this as “personal” attacks or “anti gay” community propaganda, let’s acknowledge that some people seem to be doing it right. I am thinking of the Seattle LGBT Community Center. They seem to be doing a pretty good job --- even on a shoestring budget. But then, they seem to be prepared to stick their necks out and respond to community needs rather than transforming into a career enhancing pseudo mental health agency.

Lets finish my rant with thoughts of old friends, particularly a psychologist from the University of Washington who was fine with models, paradigms and concepts. But confront him with a real life political situation and his response was, “Well I just don’t live in a world like that”. There is no answer to that ---boom. Boom!

It's a funny old world we live in. You're lucky to get out alive

Sometimes you just have to say it!

Friday, September 15, 2006

UK Gay Teen HIV Infections

14 September 2006

UK Gay website Puffta believes that more than twice as many gay teenagers may have contracted HIV this year than in 2005.

Simon Johnson, editor of, said: “It’s well known that sex infections have been rising faster and faster. Many gay teens are still not taking precautions, and we’re extremely worried that this year’s figures will be truly shocking.

The 2005 Puffta Sex Survey revealed almost half of gay teens had regular unprotected sex, with over a third not knowing their HIV status. This year’s survey aims to find out if attitudes towards unsafe sex have changed and if gay teens have any other secrets.

This year marks the third year of the annual Puffta Sex Survey with it asking even more questions, including when gay teens first had sex and who with and if they have ever been paid for sex. An estimated 3000 gay teens are predicted to take part in the survey.

A friend passed on this item to us. It is a useful piece because it reports an important indicator. But, he did not give the reference for the actual article describing the Puffta Sex Survey. That may give an out for the doubters:

a. we made it up.

b. it applies to the UK so who cares.

Critical appreciation is great. Barefaced denial is non-productive. If in doubt check up yourself.

puffta survey

The escape clause --- It dosen't apply to us --- it's them. Of course, if it were an African sample you could shove it immediately. But Europeans --- that's closer to home.

Maybe we should say it yet again


That leads nicely into the poor soul who dealt with the Seattle Super Virus News by diminishing the significance of the stats to say,

"Well really, it's only four cases."

Is this the begining of a new chapter?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Super Virus - Another Myth?

Local Surveillance Unveils 12 Cases of Multi-drug Resistant HIV

Why are we reposting this? You may well ask. Some bright little expert is claiming that this is yet another urban myth like the HIV spreading mosquito. He wants to believe that we just made it up without any evidence.
The headline above is a Quote from Public Health. We would urge all doubters to read the public health reference (Epi-Log Newsletter) at this link

Public Health’s News Letter

Meanwhile back to the real story:

We are still asking: Why is the significant information not prominently available? A small technical piece sandwiched between news of Vibrio parahæmolyticus infections (from raw oysters) and the reported diseases statistics hardly constitutes getting the word out. Those at risk should be aware of this without having to search it out. It is PUBLIC Health.

These contribution are significant and are reposted from the Comments sections., where they might be overlooked (by our mythseeking experts!):

"As a virologist at the UW I can say that the numbers that are published relate to those people who are tested. I predict that in five to eight years we will have an explosion of 'sickness' in the community. Many of these people will have been exposed to the super-virus, and at the very least, their immune systems will have been compromised by the repeated interaction with other infectious diseases. The CDC confirmed today 9/13/2006, the first two cases in Washington State of West Nile virus in humans. A man and his wife cointracted the virus (via mosquito) in Pierce County. This is important as another step in the medical saga of infection."

nnounce-030724 said

"Another comment - we have ALL been working since the 1990's on STI co-infection. Public Health may not have a mandate to inform as part of prevention. But most of us take it that study, and publication is just PART of our role as educators and researchers. Prevention includes informing, talking and making people interested in STI."


An anonymous contributor commented:

A series of studies, many conducted at the University of Washington, have shown that genital herpes is a risk factor for the transmission and acquisition of HIV. At least half of HIV-infected people worldwide are infected with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), the genital herpes virus. These individuals appear to be significantly more likely to transmit HIV than other HIV-infected people, because they can SHED LARGE AMOUNTS OF HIV THROUGH HERPES SORES. Conversely, people who do not have HIV, but do have genital herpes, are about twice as likely to become infected with HIV if exposed than people who do not have genital herpes.

All the more reason to use condoms, whatever the problems.

Behavioral interventions, such as condom use and suppression of viral shedding with antiviral agents, can prevent transmission. Thus, diagnosis is a key factor in slowing the spread of genital herpes..
---------- and every other STI that can be spread through 'shedding'.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lady Constance's Culture Corner

Helen Mirren
and inside gossip
about the Queen what extravagance!

It depends how you look at it

Today's Kaiser Daily HIV/AID Report has a short item titled Reuters Examines How Some New York City Public Bathhouses Serve as Venues for Awareness of Safer Sex. The "some" may be misleading because there are only two 24hr bathhouses left. They have become "a place where a captive audience can be taught about safe sex." They note, that twice a month volunteers from the Gay Men's Health Crisis visit both bathhouses to distribute condoms and pamphlets on safer sex. Patrons are also given condoms when they sign in. The article quotes John Riley of ACT UP New York as saying, "At least bathhouses are public and a place where you can educate people about disease prevention."

The actual Reuters report by Matthew Verrinder is rather less focused on prevention. Its title says it all

NY`s gay baths become sex clubs of last resort.

The report ends

Unprotected sex "seems to be coming back into vogue," he said. "There's a lot of advertising for it in magazines and demand for it in the personals. I don't know why you'd put your life on the line."

Click here to read the full Reuters Article

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Condoms come again

I hope you have not already forgotten that we are gathering impressions of people’s reactions to the Condom. This study has no grant writing, no research assistants, no support from the Foundations, and certainly no Pharmaceutical money. It only has YOU and your ideas.

We said we are interested in such a project because we don't know and we do want to know: What is the strong reaction to condoms? So tell us if you haven’t and if you already have ---- tell us more.

We said a sentence (even one word) will help but that doesn’t stop you from letting your ideas flow --- that is quite safe. Either use the comments box or for privacy, if you prefer, you can