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World AIDS Day 2011

Let’s get real folks.  There is a serious pandemic going on in the world called HIV/AIDS.

HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus

AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (the final stage of HIV)

HIV is a virus that attacks your immune system making you unable to fight off infections or even cancer.

It was first coming to light when I was in college some 30+ years ago.  Back then it was called the “Gay Cancer” because what little we knew was that you could only get it if you were gay, an intravenous drug user or Haitian.  We didn’t know.  We were young, stupid and foolish.  Nobody really knew what was happening or why.

HIV/AIDS was officially recognized in 1981.  Since then the World Health Organization has estimated that it has killed over 25 million people world-wide.  That number is probably low.

It is the sixth leading cause of death among people ranging from 25-44 in the United States.  It was number one in 1995.

Right now there are an estimated 33 million people living with HIV.  Over two million of those are children under the age of 15.

Chances are that you know and love someone who has HIV.  No need to wear a Hazmat suit.  You cannot get HIV/AIDS by shaking hands, hugging, touching something that an infected person has touched or anything foolish like that.  And no one is safe!  It affects men, women, straight, gay, bi, black, white, asian, hispanic, everyone.  Africa is being decimated.  It is estimated that Africa accounts for 72% of all HIV/AIDS cases in the world.

I’m going to give you some links that Dr Tim trusts and believes in to give you reliable information.  Check them out.

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/default.htm

http://www.aids.org/

http://www.aids.gov/

http://www.aids.gov/world-aids-day/

http://www.webmd.com/hiv-aids/default.htm

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000594.htm

http://promotions.usa.gov/worldaidsday.html  (brochure about HIV & Women.  click the link to read the brochure, the information is only if you are ordering copies)

Now there are many graphic photos which I could add to this post, but I don’t think I will.  Take it from Dr Tim, AIDS is a very unpleasant, painful, ugly way to die.  I have been with friends as they died from AIDS.  I have interfaced between widowed lovers and families.  I have cleaned out their homes.  I have been yelled at, physically attacked and abused by those left behind with their grief.  No, this is not a good way to die.

Wearing a red ribbon is not a proclamation that I am against HIV/AIDS.  Everyone is against disease.  I do not wear one to make you think I am better than you.  That is a waste of time.

I wear a red ribbon so that those who are suffering can see it and know they have a friend, that they can come to me for help and that I will do anything I can to help ease their suffering.

We have lost friends, family, athletes, movie stars, musicians and so many more to this disease.

I’ve said it before, but please be careful and treat your life with respect.  I do not want to lose any more of you.

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Wrap That Wrascal!

How’s your summer going?  Haul any boxes of books lately?  Make the evening news?

Mine has been pretty interesting.  Bar-Be-Que, Barq’s and Babes!  True summer living.

But even though these are those crazy, hazy, lazy days of summer, you had better watch out.

There was a report released by Harvard University claiming that men over 40 who use erectile dysfunction medications have triple the rate of sexually transmitted diseases as compared to men who did not use the drugs.

May I see a show of hands for those that are surprized by this result?  Not too many of you, huh?

In fact, according to the CDC, the 40-49 year age range accounted for the largest proportion of newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases in 2007.  Don’t believe me, go check it out.  I’ll wait.

Welcome back.  Sobering, isn’t it?  Let’s pull up our psychiatric armchairs and see if we can’t figure out why this is so.

Older folks are from a different time, a different age, a different mindset.  Last century, back when I was in college, the worst thing we could catch could be cured with a shot of penicillin.  There were fewer taboos.  And a LOT more risky sex than happens today.  After all, tis better to fail a Wasserman test than never to have loved at all!  The younger set may have more recent partners, but they actually tend to be safer than us old fogeys.

Even old Dr Tim isn’t sure if he has any condoms at home.  I’ll admit it, I hate condoms.  I hate wearing them, I hate the feel or lack thereof of them, I hate the taste they leave behind.  There isn’t much I like about them at all!  Except maybe the saving my life part.  I grew up with skin on skin and that my friend is a hard habit to break.  Even though I get a full STD workup every other month, I should still wear them.  And I do, if she insists.  But it shouldn’t have to be that way.  Even though women do ask to  see my test results before we proceed to Happy Land, using condoms should be an SOP.  (Standard Operating Procedure)

What about choice?  You may ask.  What about condoms in adult entertainment films?

So choose, Death or Cake. (Pie really.)  And as for adult entertainers, they are making a risky choice, but I defend their right to make it.  I consider adult film performers as stunt people.  They make risky decisions on how to use their bodies for the gratification of others.  I respect that.  Quite a few of those performers are my close personal friends and I would hate to see them be debilitated by some gruesome disease.  But I am not about to tell them how to do their job.  And I don’t think anyone else should either.  Those that try should probably try to get their own houses in order first.  However that is just my opinion.

And now that men suffering from ED can get help, they are picking up where they left off thirty years ago.  The game has changed since then and they havn’t read the new playbook.  Everyone needs to be reminded about the joys of safe sex.  No matter how old they are.  Anyone watch Penn & Teller’s show Bullsh*t about old people?  They still have sex.  The back alley slut is now the nursing home slut who thanks to modern medicine can get her favorite treat! 

Teach your parents well.  And your grandparents.  Anyone can die from HIV/AIDS and I’d rather it wasn’t you.

Lubricant Study

Anyone else read this today?

http://www.biologynews.net/archives/2010/05/25/use_of_lubricants_with_anal_sex_could_increase_risk_of_hiv.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+biologynews%2Fheadlines+(Biology+News+Net)

http://www.xbiz.com/news/121017

As you might have guessed, I have a few comments.

1) Lubricants cannot prevent the transmission of HIV or STDs. Not yet. And when they do, they will be presciption-available only. I know that there are a few existing studies that show that carrageenan MAY inhibit the HIV virus, but anybody marketing on that claim faces substantial wrath from the FDA when caught.

2) Yes, if people are going to engage in unprotected anal sex, it would be nice if lubricants do not facilitate the virus. This is another reason the FDA wants all personal lubricants to become registered medical devices. So that they can have more control. Should they have it?

3) Medical device registration and testing is very thorough. It is safety based and until now, no one had considered whether lubes could be preventative.* The FDA requires so much testing of toxicity that this study surprises me. I mean the FDA even requires that lubricants are injected into the bloodstream of mice as a safety test related to rectal claims.

4) Lubes don’t cause infection. Unprotected sex with unsafe partners causes infection.

* Actually, I have been reading about companies working on lubricants that would actually prevent the transmission of HIV for years. How I wish I had that R&D budget!

So how much protection do we as a society owe people who are hard of thinking? Do we pass more and more laws until every chemical, food or activity is illegal?

Where does personal responsibility come in to the picture? If someone engages in unprotected anal sex with multiple partners, do they deserve to die? I don’t think so.

Should you have to get a prescription from your doctor for personal lubricants and tell that person it is for anal sex? Doctors can tell if you have even been anally receptive, so would that be a big deal for you?

Should all products of every kind be pulled off the market until such a time that they are deemed safe by scientific study? And will people believe it? The fact that every scientific organization around the world has cleared phthalates for use in toys has not stopped the emotional banning of the substances. People want science to help them, but then refuse to believe its findings because some reporter or blogger thinks they know more than hundreds of scientists.

Personal lubricants are a necessity of life. We need them. But trusting your lubricant to protect you from your poor choice is like trusting your car to protect you while driving drunk.

Please think and act responsibly. I do not want to lose any more of you.