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CDC reports syphilis on the rise in gay community

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its annual report of sexually transmitted diseases compiling information on gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis from 2009.

According to the CDC, since 2000, the largest increase in syphilis cases have been among men who have sex with men. The CDC reports that MSM constitute for nearly two-thirds (62%) of all syphilis cases. In 2000, that number was just four percent. Syphilis is listed as a "major health problem" in the south and urban areas.

The CDC says it is working with local health partners to implement its Syphilis Elimination Plan using targeted information to reach those at greatest risk. The CDC urges sexually active MSM to get tested yearly for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV.

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CDC says HIV treatment drugs can aid disease prevention

The Centers for Disease Control announced today that drugs used to treat HIV infections provide additional protection against initial exposure for gay and bisexual men. According to a CDC press release, a National Institutes of Health study indicates an average of 44 percent additional protection for those who do not have HIV and take the once-daily pill Truvada.

The approach is called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP.

“These results represent a major advance in HIV prevention research. For the first time, we have evidence that a daily pill used to treat HIV is partially effective for preventing HIV among gay and bisexual men at high risk for infection, when combined with other prevention strategies,” Dr. Kevin Fenton, M.D., Director, CDC National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD & TB Prevention said.

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Examining death, including the one I caused

My memorial service will be fabulous, I can assure you of that. I first outlined it during the initial, deadly wave of AIDS in the 1980’s, and have edited it here and there over the years, updating the songs I would like played or the video footage shown.

Focusing on the spectacle, though, may just be avoiding the facts: if it’s my memorial, that means I’m dead. And death is a subject about which I have both too much and too little understanding. I’ve seen more than my share of it, and yet I have no greater insight than the next guy.

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Health blog: Strength in numbers

Atlanta has been a whirlwind of activity in the past few weeks, and the coming months promise to offer us no let up.  Here at AID Atlanta, we finished October with both PRIDE events and the 20th Annual AIDS Walk & 5K Run.  These events are two of our agency’s biggest outreach initiatives, and they require the services of our entire staff.

In addition to our staff, these events would not be able to happen without our wonderful family of volunteers and members. Each year, these events leave me on a high; I come off of these events reinvigorated for the work we do, and thankful for the opportunities we have to serve Atlanta.  In addition, I am always amazed at the huge turnouts for these events.  PRIDE is one of the largest in the nation, and our AIDS Walk fills Piedmont Park and the streets of downtown Atlanta with the support of the community.