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Health & Fitness: Top 10 health concerns you should discuss with your doctor

GAY MEN

HIV/AIDS, Safe Sex That men who have sex with men are at an increased risk of HIV infection is well known, but the effectiveness of safe sex in reducing the rate of HIV infection is one of the gay community’s great success stories. However, the last few years have seen the return of many unsafe sex practices. While effective HIV treatments may be on the horizon, there is no substitute for preventing infection. Safe sex is proven to reduce the risk of receiving or transmitting HIV. All health care professionals should be aware of how to counsel and support maintenance of safe sex practices.

Substance Use Gay men use substances at a higher rate than the general population, and not just in larger communities such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. These include a number of substances ranging from amyl nitrate (“poppers”), to marijuana, Ecstasy, and amphetamines. The long-term effects of many of these substances are unknown; however current wisdom suggests potentially serious consequences as we age.

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Health & Fitness issue

From weight success stories to the top 10 issues to discuss with your doctor, the new issue spotlights health

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Is this new HIV prevention video too graphic?

I came across this new public service announcement from New York's Gay Men's Health Crisis via a headline on the Drudge Report: "New Graphic PSA Causes Uproar in NYC."

I didn't think it was that bad, minus one truly horrific shot of anal cancer (see video below).

The PSA's message is a sound word of warning to those who think HIV is purely a manageable disease. While treatments have vastly improved since HIV was considered an ultimately fatal diagnosis, there are a slew of other health issues HIV-positive people may encounter.

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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.

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Health blog: Back to School

Each fall welcomes a rush of activity, as the city of Atlanta switches gears and prepares for the return to school.  Shopping malls are a hustle and bustle of parent’s and student’s trying to find that perfect first day outfit which will identify them as the right balance of scholarly and cool.  Electronics fly off the shelves as families stock up on the latest and greatest in available calculators, computers and other gadgetry that are needed for today’s student.  Doctor’s office waiting rooms are overflowing as students prepare for immunizations, sports physicals and routine checkups.

There is an excitement and tension that overtakes the city as we all prepare for the educational lessons that await us each fall.

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Young gay men less likely to get HIV testing, CDC says

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta

The Centers for Disease Control released results from a survey today citing an alarming trend in HIV testing for young men (ages 18 -24). The survey, conducted using a website where men go to meet other men for sex (the website was not identified in the press release), found that younger sexually active gay and bisexual men were three times less likely to have been tested for HIV in their lifetime. The results were presented at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria.

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Health blog: Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness

As the Gay Men’s Outreach coordinator at AID Atlanta, I often find myself having to explain what it is exactly that I do.  I often joke that I’m a “professional homosexual.”  I’ve been called an activist, an educator, a public speaker, a fundraiser and a social advocate.  I guess I’m all of those things – and probably a few more.  At the end of the day, however, what I’m most identified with being is Gay.

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Family & Medical Leave Act to include gay parents

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis

In a move praised by LGBT groups, the U.S. Department of Labor announced June 22 that it would expand the definition of “son and daughter” to make more gay families eligible for coverage under the Family & Medical Leave Act to care for sick children.

“No one who loves and nurtures a child day-in and day-out should be unable to care for that child when he or she falls ill. … The Labor Department’s action today sends a clear message to workers and employers alike: All families, including LGBT families, are protected by the FMLA,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

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By the numbers: Gay blood donation ban

1 Times for a man to have had sex with another man since 1977 in order to be permanently banned from donating blood 1 Years that a person who has had heterosexual sex with someone who is HIV-positive is banned ...
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ARCA seeks volunteers for historic HIV vaccine trial

ARCA principal investigator Dr. Melanie Thompson

The AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta is currently seeking 10 to 12 volunteers to help test the safety of a vaccine that shows the potential of reversing HIV viral loads in HIV-positive individuals.

The 77-week trial of a vaccine from GeoVax, a biotechnology company based in Smyrna, Ga., that specializes in developing an HIV vaccine, is the first of its kind.

This study is “the first therapeutic trial ever conducted using a promising HIV vaccine candidate from GeoVax, Inc.,” according to a May 18 press release from ARCA.

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No Georgia hospitals rated ‘top performers’ by HRC

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay political group, released its annual Healthcare Equality Index on June 7. Two Georgia hospitals, both in Atlanta, were among the 178 facilities rated on policies affecting LGBT patients and staff.

Emory University Hospital received credit for having an equal employment opportunity policy that includes sexual orientation.

Piedmont Hospital received credit for having a gay-inclusive Equal Employment policy, as well as visitation policies that give same-sex couples the same access as opposite-sex couples and next of kin, visitation polices that give same-sex partners the same visitation for their minor children as opposite-sex partners, and cultural competency training that includes healthcare issues that impact LGBT people.