Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lurking Behind Those Hopeful Statistics About New HIV Cases Was A False Positive. Revised Stats Show, NEW HIV Cases Had Been Greatly Underestimated

CDC announces sharp increase in U.S. HIV cases Agency says spike due to enhanced reporting; critics argue it shows prevention failures

By RYAN LEE, Southern Voice Mar 28, 12:45 PM

The number of people in the United States reported to have HIV increased by about 50 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to data released this week by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

In 2006, at least 52,878 Americans were reported having HIV, compared to 35,537 in 2005, according to the CDC's annual HIV/AIDS surveillance report. Experts said that part of the increase is due to large states like California and Illinois being included in the CDC's estimate for the first time, as well as increases in risky sexual behavior that are also being borne out in rising STD rates.

"The numbers are far higher than what's previously been reported," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles, in a teleconference Friday. "This means many more infections now and as far as the eye can see."

CDC officials were emphatic that the higher number of HIV cases reported "do not represent an increase in the epidemic."

"Instead, it's more about our surveillance system than any increase," CDC spokesperson Jennifer Ruth said Friday.

The CDC only recently tied HIV reporting to the amount of money states receive to fight HIV, meaning new numbers are beginning to come in as more states report HIV cases in compliance with CDC standards. In 2005, the CDC's HIV/AIDS surveillance report included data from 38 states and territories, compared to the 50 states and areas that contributed data to the 2006 surveillance report.

Georgia, which was one of the last states to conform to CDC's confidential name-based system for reporting HIV cases, ranked eighth in the number of HIV cases reported in 2006, according to the surveillance report.

The full scope of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Georgia is still unavailable due to the lag in reporting numbers, and it will be years until data trickles in from states to give CDC the most accurate picture of the epidemic in America, said Whitney Engeran, director of the public health division at AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

"We just don't know where this will end," Engeran said. "We could be seeing more and more numbers coming in from the CDC as more states come online, and, of course, that means more and more people being infected."

The increase in cases is occurring in the total number of HIV infections states report to the CDC, but other data suggests the actual prevalence of HIV is not rising, Ruth said.

"When you look at diagnoses by year, they remain stable for the last few years," Ruth said.
But the higher number of total cases is a "catastrophe" that reveals the misguided strategies of the government's HIV-prevention efforts, and the lack of CDC's leadership in marshaling a response to the epidemic, Weinstein said.

"The CDC has essentially hidden this information," said Weinstein, who believes that the dramatic increase in annual HIV infections will prompt a paradigm shift in how researchers view the disease's domestic impact.

"What are the implications of [the new higher estimate] in terms of human cost, financial cost and in terms of having an effective prevention campaign?" Weinstein said.

With all this finger pointing, it seems that valuable time has been lost in fighting the spread of HIV. Young gay men are most at risk, and it is a shame that due to a lack of better outreach, the old abstinence message has failed. Instead, there should be graphic instruction, using posters, erotic comics, soft porn, anything realistic that teaches them that it is sexy and indeed safer, to fuck with a condom hugging their erection. Safer sex using condoms is the ONLY way to fuck. NO ANDS, IFS OR BARE BACK BUTT FUCKS!!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Flick To Keep In Mind for a Future Rainy Day Afternoon and Other Nuggets

Howdy guys. Something to recommend as a coming attraction in your Netflix queue. A good flick, according to the review, for a cuddle buddy rainy afternoon.

By the way, I wish all of you an enjoyable Easter weekend. Hoping that the Hunky Easter Bunny hops by your house with an Easter basket filled of creamy treats to enjoy.

Relax, It's Just Sex

It’s what comes after that should make you a little nervous.
By Kyle Buchanan

From The Advocate April 8, 2008

A Four Letter WordDirected by Casper AndreasStarring Jesse Archer, Charlie David, and Cory GrantEmbrem Entertainment

For an inveterate party boy like A Four Letter Word’s Luke, sex is all-consuming -- at least until it’s over. Better at remembering body parts than faces, Luke (Jesse Archer) spends every New York minute on the prowl until he has a transformative encounter with a mysterious hunk named Stephen (Charlie David).

Something about this sex was different, Luke insists: “I think we even looked each other in the eyes.” A drama queen who speaks exclusively in bons mots, Luke can deflect any oncoming relationship with a well-placed quip -- but for Stephen, is he willing to make an exception?

Straight romantic comedies tend to save their kiss for the final reel, but the modern gay rom-com is a different breed. In these films the leads have moved well beyond kissing by act 2, and “I love you” is an obstacle, not a goal. Love isn’t just a four-letter word, it’s a test -- and one that many gay men, including Luke, keep putting off. After all, why should they work at a relationship when casual encounters come so easily?

Director Casper Andreas knows this terrain well, as you might expect from someone whose previous film was called Slutty Summer. What you might not expect is the level of wit in this modest production, which is so familiar and confident with its characters that it feels like the third season of a lost Logo series.

Archer and David are both appealing, but Cory Grant makes the strongest impression as Zeke, an activist who works with Luke and challenges him to justify his reputation as a “gay cliché.” Luke doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but by the time things wrap up he’s matured just enough. He may not have passed the test yet, but at least he’s been studying.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Among Gay Men Go Underreported since sexually active Gay Men Skip Being Tested Annually

From the article below, all the more reason to play safe and stay healthy.

Sex Diseases in Many Gay Men Go Unfound, Experts Say
'Many cases of sexually transmitted diseases are escaping detection because gay men are not being tested each year as advised, federal health officials said Wednesday.'

Published: March 13, 2008
Many cases of sexually transmitted diseases are escaping detection because gay men are not being tested each year as advised, federal health officials said Wednesday. And if the men do show up, the officials added, many doctors and clinics are not following screening recommendations.

But more cases could be detected if the government approved new ways to use a type of DNA test that is already on the market, the officials and researchers said in a news conference at a scientific meeting in Chicago.

They said the test, used in new ways, could detect twice as many cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia as standard tests.
Those diseases, along with syphilis, whose incidence continues to increase, are “a major threat to gay and bisexual men’s health,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, a top official of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Fenton noted that such diseases increased the risk of contracting and spreading H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.

Screening for sexually transmitted infections is a critical part of medical care for sexually active men. The C.D.C. recommends annual blood tests for H.I.V. and syphilis, and other tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Gonorrhea tests should include specimens from all potential sites of exposure — throat, genitals and rectum — because identifying and treating all such infections is essential for preventing spread of the disease.

“There are circumstances where the recommendations are not being followed,” said Dr. John M. Douglas Jr., who directs the Division of S.T.D. Prevention at the disease control centers.
Dr. Douglas added that some doctors did not recognize the problem while others seemed to think “that maybe the guidelines do not apply to my patient population.”

Supporting evidence came from C.D.C. researchers, who reported three studies at the meeting showing that the screening rates were too low.

Dr. Kristen Mahle’s study found that among gay men who showed no symptoms of gonorrhea, more than a third of rectal infections with the disease, and more than a quarter of throat infections, were missed because many were not tested at all anatomical sites of recent exposure.

Dr. Eric Tai’s study surveyed non-H.I.V.-positive gay men in 15 cities from 2003 to 2005 and found that only 39 percent reported having been tested for syphilis, and only 36 percent for gonorrhea.

Dr. Karen Hoover found that while doctors tested 82 percent of H.I.V.-positive gay men in eight cities for syphilis in 2005, they tested 22 percent or fewer for gonorrhea and chlamydia.
One problem is that public health departments that run sexual disease clinics do not have adequate staffs and budgets to do comprehensive testing.

“Let’s be honest, resources are a challenge at a federal, state and local level,” said Dr. Douglas, of the disease control centers. “We are trying to be as innovative as we can with public health resources,” but “we need help from others.”

Another problem is that newer tests are not being used as much as they should be, Dr. Douglas said.

The DNA test that Dr. Douglas and others described as promising is called NAAT, for nucleic acid amplification test. It is generally more accurate and easier to use, and it can detect at least twice as many gonorrhea and chlamydia infections in the throat and rectum, according to studies by Dr. Julius Schachter of the University of California, San Francisco, and others. Moreover, it is faster than the traditional bacterial culture tests.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved three NAATs to screen for gonorrhea and chlamydia in the genitalia, but not the throat or rectum.

Dr. Schachter’s team, which included the San Francisco Department of Public Health, sought to determine whether the marketed NAATs were also effective in throat and rectal screening.
The C.D.C. is working with the food and drug agency and with test manufacturers to gather, analyze and coordinate the submission of data for federal approval of NAATs for use in the throat and rectum.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health has conducted a study that met F.D.A. requirements for such use. Now the health department uses NAATs to test for chlamydia and gonorrhea at all three anatomic sites.

So guys, for all of our sakes, fuck with a condom, have plenty of foreplay, and love your partner as much as you love yourself. Enjoy each other for years to come.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Launch of Gay Hotels with ATTITUDE and other travel tips.

Zurich) LGBT travelers who for years have complained there is a wide spectrum of quality among gay hotels may soon find a sign atop some that attest to high standards.

Attitude Hotels launched this week with the goal of providing travelers with a way a telling if a hotel is up to snuff.

Founder Pedro Castro, a Portuguese-born lawyer and travel marketer based in Zurich says the company would not own the hotels but license its name if the facility met its requirements.
Attitude would inspect the hotels and do annual follow-ups to assure the standards are being met.

Already some two dozen hotels that market to the LGBT community have been approved.
So far only two of the hotels are in the US - The Royal Palms and the Flamingo Inn, both in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. UK properties include London's Myhotel, Bloomsbury and Legends hotel in Brighton.

Castro said that the Attitude sign would guarantee the hotel is "the place to stay for discerning gay and lesbian travelers."

He said he expects to increase the number of hotels to about 100 and the Attitude Web site would allow people to see details of the properties, their location relative to LGBT neighborhoods, and the chance to book reservations online.

"In the short term, Attitude Hotels hopes to increase its selection of hotels, first in France, Italy, Greece and Spain," said Castro. "Thereafter, we will concentrate on providing a wider variety of travel possibilities in North America."

Hotels would be listed as Premium, Comfort, or Value, depending on price and amenities.
Castro said he came up with the idea for Attitude after discovering it was difficult to find good LGBT hotels and becoming disillusioned with the "gay-friendly" approach of many major hotel chains.
Surveys indicate that in the US alone LGBT spending power tops $65 billion a year.

Whether these accommodations will be too froo froo or within the tastes and standards of most of us remains to be seen.

But here's someplace where I think we could all hang our hats and enjoy ourselves.

In Texas, a Gay Bar's Patrons Toast Wednesday, March 5, 2008; C01GUN BARREL CITY, Tex., March 4 --

We Shoot Straight With You" is the slogan of this small, quiet, conservative town of 5,000 about 50 miles southeast of Dallas.

Which puts a wry, sardonic smile on the faces of the patrons of Friends, known throughout this lakeside area as the "friendliest gay bar in Texas."Defiant is one way to describe the joint. Gay bars usually hang a rainbow flag to signal that, well, this is a gay bar. At Friends, right off Gun Barrel Lane and situated across from the cemetery, the flag doesn't fly. It's not mere cloth. Instead, it's painted on a piece of wood nailed to the building -- which, by the way, is bright turquoise.

The Lone Star State has a sizable gay population, many of them concentrated in Austin, Houston and Dallas. But Friends is a more laid-back, welcoming place full of older, middle-class and mostly coupled-up patrons. Kind of like "Cheers," where everyone knows your name, except they're wearing T-shirts that read "I love Cowboys" and baseball caps from Budweiser with a small rainbow flag. Jokes Bobbie Aldridge, 67, a retired teacher: "This is like a community center. Or a retirement home."

Drag shows at Friends, with entertainers named Momma, D'Aundra and Sable Alexander, draw a crowd, mostly gay but also straight. (D'Aundra and Momma, a.k.a. Scott Denny, 36, and Gaylon Maddox, 52, are longtime partners. They're both nurses.)

Musical productions presented by the club's acting troupe, Friends Players, are renowned, too. Choreographed and directed by Jim Gribben, who's been coming to the club since it opened 18 years ago, the shows bring in money, which the club donates to charities for abused children and other causes. Gribben and Co. are now working on "Grease: The Later Years." Next comes their version of "Hee Haw."

Last October, Out magazine named Friends one of the 50 greatest gay clubs in the world.

Maybe next time anyone of us is in the area, we might want to check it out and share our own observations of this great gay watering hole. Sounds like a place I'd want to stop by and sit a spell.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Fat Chance That You'll Ever Want To Meet Up With Mr. Phoney Baloney

The following sounds extreme, but it has happened and will happen in our cyberworld.

Sometimes a make-believe relationship is better than the real thing.
By Q. Allan Brocka

From The Advocate March 11, 2008

I knew my new boyfriend was fake right from the start. It was obvious: He had unbelievably sexy pictures, a modeling career, obscenely rich parents, an Ivy League education, and a brand-new record deal at a Big Label -- all at the age of 26. OK, maybe I could buy all that. But add the fact that he wanted to be with me and it was too good to be true.

Our romance began with an online message. He said something snarky. I said I liked his moxie. My jaw dropped at his too-hot-to-be-real JPEGs. Our one-liners continued as he sent a wide-enough range of pictures to convince me he was an actual person. Not that it mattered, with him in New York and me in Los Angeles.

HIM: This sucks, let’s talk on the phone.
ME: If you mean phone sex, not my thing.
HIM: Don’t be retarded.

He had me at retarded. He was charming, funny, and had a sexy voice and impressive vocabulary. I lay in bed and we talked for the next three hours. His name was Josh Alexander.* (*not his real name) (**not that he used his real name) (But it could have been Buzz or Bolt)

Josh spent seven years traveling the world as a fashion model. He’d invested his earnings well, and with his inheritance he was set for life. He had a knack for songwriting and sometimes performed at friends’ parties. (THE BULLSHIT IS PILING UP AT THIS POINT) (BUT WAIT,THERE'S MORE)

That’s where he was discovered by a music exec from Big Label, which was throwing tons of money behind him and his debut album. In fact, Big Label’s chairman was personally grooming him to be a rock star.

He enjoyed the fuss but ultimately didn’t give a shit about fame or the music business. His real dream was to open a Cuban-style catering company in Northern California. He wanted kids, a house, a giant kitchen, and me.

When we finally hung up, I was buzzing with that incredible high you can only get from a really good conversation. I smiled and thought, He’s totally fake.

The next day we chatted for two more hours. It became a nightly ritual. Over the next two months we shared every detail of our lives, the exciting to the mundane.

His stories ranged from his first runway job when he had no idea what the hell he was doing (as Giorgio Armani himself stitched him into a suit) to the time LL Cool J propositioned him in Paris. I knew how his parents met, about his father’s affair, his immigrant grandfather who built their fortune from nothing. I knew about his childhood, his brothers, and each of his ex-boyfriends. I knew more about Josh than most of my friends.

I decided, as long I didn’t spend money and wasn’t turning down actual dates, I had nothing to lose. When I’d tell him he was fake, he’d laugh and list attributes that made me seem too good to be true. I told you he was charming. Sometimes I’d ask random questions to test him. He always gave an impromptu but riveting answer. Then he’d bust me: “There, now do you think I’m real?”

One night he announced, “Guess who you’re having dinner with in three weeks?” Josh was finally coming to L.A.!

A week later he stopped calling and his online profile disappeared.

I called and e-mailed repeatedly. No response. I thought our finale would be more dramatic. Maybe I’d find proof he was fake or we’d have a disastrous first date.

But he simply vanished. When a friend randomly mentions he’s buddies with the founder of Big Label, I tell him my story and he offers to look into it. Turns out there is indeed a Josh Alexander, some guy in Florida who once submitted a demo to them. That’s it.

My friend suggests that Josh Alexander isn’t my fake boyfriend in New York. My fake boyfriend is likely someone who’s obsessed with Josh Alexander, because psychotic con artists tend to appropriate other people’s identities. And now that he knows all about my life, there’s a distinct possibility he’s pretending to be me with someone else.

It’s crazy, but despite the big fat lie part, my connection with my fake boyfriend still feels more substantial than most of my real relationships. Maybe it’s because I gave him chances that are hard to give when you’re looking someone in the eye. Maybe I finally heard the things I wanted someone to say. Or maybe I’m just into psychopaths, because, sad as it is, if my fake boyfriend called, I’d probably take him back.

NOT!!! Guys you are too smart to fall for such a set up. When a guy seems too good to be true, then maybe it's a sign to stand back. Hell, all of us have met this type of guy. Some of them are so transparent. Others are merely pathetic.

So just don't fall for the sweet talk and the pretty face. Like the commercial used to say, "Always Rely on Genuine GM Parts from Mr. GoodWrench". A guy that is handy with his toolbox is a guy to keep around. WOOF. Mega hairy muscle hugs and Happy March.