Tag Archives: AIDS

Sex Edition [Anti-Valentine’s Day #9]

13 Feb

I think this topic may be my most consistent post.  Happy decade of annual posts to me!  TEN years in a row I have managed to address the ills of this “holiday.”  That’s exciting, and even though I’m very tired and short of time, here’s me making it happen.

I try each year to convey why Valentine’s Day is fake and ultimately negative.  See my “Valentine’s” Tag for prior topics which include feminism, environment, and capitalism among other things.  I really do hate this “holiday” and hope I won’t have to be inundated with it at work Saturday.  Hair salons are the WORST on Valentine’s day, followed by schools, but I imagine the YMCA will not be able to ignore the day, and I’m dreading that.  This year I will focus on. . .  Sex.  The inevitable conclusion of the day.  How could I have just remembered to write about THIS?!  

-the holiday emphasizes the man wining/dining and spoiling women with gifts. This emphasizes women as receivers, and passive. It also is a little prostitution-positive = You give me (women) valuable things and I’ll have sex with you (men)!

strange to see Bunny Ranch on my Facebook wall
-more prescriptions are written for Viagra around Valentine’s Day than any other time of year.  Which should tell you everyone is gearing up for the final moment.

– See more at: http://www.redhot.org/news/national-condom-day/#sthash.uRJgwOua.dpuf

Kidron's NV pics 069
-the condom industry sales increase by 20-30% around this day (it’s also national condom day–no joke)

So we can ascertain that all the Valentine’s hype DOES in fact lead to this logical conclusion:  Sex.  And as we know there are a lot of consequences of sex, and contemplating and preventing those issues is notoriously not our strong point as humans.  Here is some information about some of those–which do play a part on February 14th.

Amazing_Electron_Microscope_Photos_Mosquito_Head-1mdCU
-In their study, Grimley and her colleagues focused on 224 men — all with STD symptoms — who sought treatment in a Birmingham STD clinic. The average age was 26. In face-to-face, private interviews, each was asked the same set of questions. Among them:

How often have you used a condom in the past month?
How long have you been using condoms?
Do you have any intention of starting condom use?
Why do you use condoms?
Do you wear condoms for STD prevention or to protect your partner from pregnancy and disease?
Why don’t you use condoms?
And the results:

80% reported that most people their age did not use condoms consistently. They also said that 61% of people their age had gonorrhea.
81% acknowledged sexual contact with two or more partners during the preceding six months.
45% reported sexual relationships that overlapped.
65% said they had been diagnosed with one or more STDs in the past.
Of those men with one main sexual partner, two-thirds were not motivated to use condoms.
http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/news/20040126/many-men-dont-use-condoms?page=2

http://www.companiesandmarkets.com/MarketInsight/Consumer-Goods/Global-Condom-Industry/NI8052

610

STDs are not only a social ill, but they are financially costly to everyone:

-CDC’s new [2/13/13] estimates show that there are about 20 million new infections
in the United States each year, costing the American healthcare system
nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone.
America’s youth shoulder a substantial burden of these infections.
CDC estimates that half of all new STIs in the country occur among
young men and women. In addition, CDC published an overall estimate of the number of prevalent STIs in the nation. Prevalence is the total number of new and existing infections at a given time. CDC’s new data suggest that there are more than 110 million total STIs among men and women across the nation.
-STIs place a significant economic strain on the U.S. healthcare system. CDC conservatively estimates that the lifetime cost of treating eight of the most common STIs contracted in just one year is $15.6 billion.
http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats/sti-estimates-fact-sheet-feb-2013.pdf

Is it any accident that National Adoption Month is 9 months after Valentine’s Day? Only speculation, here. . .

So that’s really icky.  Also, let’s not forget HIV/AIDS is an ever-present threat on the scene and any holiday that emphasizes that we must copulate threatens to make this scare even bigger than it already is.  How about a day in which caution is practiced?!

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-at-home pregnancy tests also see a spike in sales in March (early at home pregnancy test month–for reals!).  It’s the highest sales month all year, as a matter-of-fact.
-Consumers spend more than $15 million on pregnancy and infertility test kits during the second, third and fourth weeks of March, with the third week of March ranking number one in sales.

Click to access Nielsen%20U.S.%20Consumers%20Sweet%20on%20Chocolate%20for%20Valentine%E2%80%99s%20Day.pdf

Another obvious conclusion to romantic nights are the pregnancies that stem from them.  Many of them unplanned, unaffordable, or at worst–unwanted.
-Currently, about half (51%) of the 6.6 million pregnancies in the United States each year (3.4 million) are unintended.  In 2008, there were 54 unintended pregnancies for every 1,000 women aged 15–44. In other words, about 5% of reproductive-age women have an unintended pregnancy each year.[6]
• By age 45, more than half of all American women will have experienced an unintended pregnancy, and three in 10 will have had an abortion.[7].
• The U.S. unintended pregnancy rate is significantly higher than the rate in many other developed countries.[8]  In 2008, two-thirds (65%) of the 1.7 million births resulting from unintended pregnancies were paid for by public insurance programs, primarily Medicaid. In comparison, 48% of births overall and 36% of births resulting from intended pregnancies were funded by these programs.[13]
• In 14 states and the District of Columbia, at least 70% of births resulting from unintended pregnancies were paid for by public programs. Mississippi was the state with the highest proportion (83%), and the District of Columbia’s proportion was 90%.[13]
• Total public expenditures for births resulting from unintended pregnancies nationwide were estimated to be $12.5 billion in 2008. Of that, $7.3 billion were federal expenditures and $5.2 billion were state expenditures.[13]
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-Unintended-Pregnancy-US.html

crabby

So though I did much cut & pasting this year (I apologize) because of my work schedule and residual tiredness, I’m sticking with my opinion, Valentine’s day is full of bad side-affects, among them STDs and pregnancy along with all the fallout that goes along with those two things.  Please reconsider supporting such a day.  And if you must celebrate, and have sex, remember to be responsible and take so many precautions.

Birth Control as Cure-All

28 Mar

Before we had sound medical science alcohol was used for a huge number of ailments.  You name it (disease, disorder, mental conditions (including “female hysteria” aka woman’s orgasm), and even surgery– alcohol was used to treat it.  More examples here:

http://www.barlifeuk.com/index.php/2011/07/drink-to-your-health-the-history-of-alcohol-as-a-medicine/

But then, research uncovered FACTS and we moved away from such rudimentary practices.  Or did we?  I would suggest, for as many good, and legit reasons birth control pills are prescribed there are just as many reasons that fall into the cure-all b/c we don’t know and don’t gave a damn about finding out category.

Don’t get me wrong here. I am very happy birth control is so widely available. I’m glad it gives women control over her own body and child-bearing decisions.  (All stats from Planned Parenthood–an organization I SUPPORT).

-majority of women believe birth control allows them to take better care of their families (63%), support themselves financially (56%), complete their education (51%), or keep or get a job (50%). The financial success and emotional well-being of women are undoubtedly tied to contraception, while unintended pregnancies put a financial strain on everyone. The cost of unwanted pregnancies in the U.S. average an estimated $11.3 billion per year

– Oral contraception can cost as much as $1,210 per year for women without insurance

– 40% of births are unplanned. Birth control not only empowers women, but considering only 5% of men around the world even wear condoms. . .

-ugh–what a yucky stat!  I think the world should focus on the condom instead of how to get more and more BCP out there.  Condoms help prevent STDs too (AIDS!!!).  A lot of unintended pregnancy would be averted if men would take responsibility too.  Plus, it isn’t good enough to force women to have children, make it impossible for her to plan her own choices, AND put the whole burden of sexual activities consequences onto her.   This leaves men to enjoy as much sex, with as many people as possible–with no worry of consequences.  Then, if there IS an unintended pregnancy HE has the choice of how much involvement he wants to have.  Finally, at the same time men don’t have to think about sex, or be responsible for it’s aftermath, THEY get to make the laws regulating women’s access to preventative methods and what she does with her own body.  Tell me how everybody doesn’t see reproductive issues as political power issues?!

That was a train (though a very important one) away from my actual point:  The point is, birth control for women’s freedom and family planning is good.  It’s liberating.  It gives women power, and that is excellent BUT I think it can be lazy medicine.  I think it is haphazardly doled out as a band aid fix-all. Cramps?  Get on the pill.  Acne?  The pill.  Irregular periods?  The pill.  PMS?  The pill?  You’re a woman?  It’s too complicated to delve into what the underlying cause of your problem might be.  Besides, all the research is done about MEN’S problems.  The research funding goes to impotence–there’s no $$$ left to study little menstrual cramps–that’s just part of being a woman after all.

That’s dis-empowering to women.

It’s not for everyone. And just like any Monsanto product, we don’t really know what it is doing to us in the long term. And I think now that would be very hard to study, because we’ve run out of control groups. Even in lesbian populations (not your primary birth control user) BCP are being routinely supplied for skin or period pain.

Anatomy 2

How we (Cool and I) got birth control pills:

–>for 1 day of extreme, incapacitating, horribly painful cramps once a month.

-w/o even an exam of the repro system.
-w/o BW
-no R/O
-even with a hx of hypertension
-in a lesbian–or without even asking sexuality

-33% of teens aged 15-19 and nearly 800,000 women who have never had sex, who use oral contraception for non-contraceptive purposes.  most common reasons why women use the pill are reducing cramps and menstrual pain (31%); menstrual regulation, which for some women may help prevent migraines and other painful side effects of menstruation (28%); treatment of acne (14%), and treatment of endometriosis, a condition that can cause pelvic scarring, severe pain, and sometimes infertility (4%). About 14% of all women use birth control exclusively for reasons other than contraception.

So it’s great that birth control can band-aid so many conditions.  But my questions are:  Aren’t there any treatments specific to those actual conditions?  Why?  And do we KNOW long-term affects of birth control use?  Against an equal control group who has not been exposed to birth control.  Do we know this information for the intended use for reproductive issues AND these extraneous conditions as well?

I suspect the answers are still a mystery and here are the reasons for that:

-it’s because the research/interest for women’s health just isn’t there
-a doctor’s (male-dominated profession) mentality “quick fix” “cure all”

And that’s not good for women at all.

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Olympic Diving + AIDS

16 Aug

Women’s Diving should be parodied:
-Brittany Violet’s coach = Weird in a way I have trouble articulating.  Creepy phrases, stilted hugs–I WISH I could find a video clip somewhere to show you.
-the commentator’s repeated “Entry needs work, entries are important, look at that huge splash!”
-the seemingly arbitrary bandage tape patterns

And who knew men’s diving was so GAY? As I’m watching, my gay-dar is tripping with almost every dude diver that steps onto the platform.

With my interest in history, the gays, and AIDS–how did I not know about Greg Louganis?

He was such a premiere diver that the Chinese filmed his form and used him as a model.  And look at the Chinese diving domination now–in part because of the emulation of Louganis’ form.  In the 1988 Olympics, he hit his head on the platform during a dive.  The doctor, gave him 5 stitches in his bleeding skull (without gloves).

According to the Wiki:

he suffered a concussion after hitting his head on the springboard during the preliminary rounds while performing a reverse 2½ pike. He completed the preliminaries despite his injury, earning the highest single score of the qualifying for his next dive, and went on to repeat the dive during the finals, earning the gold medal by a margin of 25 points.[1] In the 10m finals he won the gold medal performing a 3.4 difficulty dive in his last attempt, earning 86.70 points for a total of 638.61, surpassing silver medalist Xiong Ni by only 1.14 points.[1] His comeback earned him the title of ABC‘s Wide World of Sports “Athlete of the Year” for 1988.

As an interesting side-note:  Louganis had tried to bring Ryan Whate to the Olympics to share in the experience, but White’s visa was denied due to his (well known) HIV+ status.  The world didn’t know Louganis’ HIV+ status until he authored a full-disclosure book in 1994.  He says he found out a few months before the Seoul about his HIV positive status.

Most of his sponsors dropped him (except Speedo who retained him as a spokesmen for another 13 years) and he was roundly criticized for putting competitors at risk.

I think Sports Illustrated addresses the issue best:

Changes were instituted at all levels of sport to address these fears: Doctors and trainers now wear latex gloves when treating athletes; players who begin to bleed during a competition are immediately removed from the game and cannot return until the wound is cleaned and bandaged; and all blood is treated as potentially contaminated blood. These are prudent and sensible measures.

And despite the concerns expressed following Louganis’s revelations, there’s no evidence that additional precautions are needed. The likelihood of one athlete’s spreading the AIDS virus to another athlete during competition is so remote as to be infinitesimal. In fact, only one athlete, a recreational soccer player in Italy, is even suspected of having been infected with HIV during a match (he knocked heads with another player who turned out to be HIV-positive). But even that case was disputed because doctors couldn’t rule out other risk factors.

The IOC was correct last week in restating its position not to require athletes to undergo a blood test for HIV. Olympic athletes who have tested positive will continue to be allowed to compete, provided they have their physician’s approval that they are healthy enough to do so. Louganis was under no obligation to divulge his condition in 1988, nor were there public health reasons for him to have revealed it.

So let’s return the locus on Louganis to where it should be. He was unparalleled as an athlete. He carried himself with grace and dignity his entire competitive career. He was, and is, beloved by the American public. He developed AIDS, not because he was an athlete, not because he was homosexual, but because he didn’t practice safe sex. 

Further, the Wiki explains:

But his blood in the pool actually posed about zero risk. The blood was diluted by thousands of gallons of water, and “chlorine kills HIV”, said Dr. John Ward, chief of HIV-AIDS surveillance at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, skin is a very effective barrier to HIV. Only a diver with an open wound would face any risk. “If the virus just touches the skin, it is unheard of for it to cause infection: the skin has no receptors to bind HIV,” explained Dr. Anthony Fauci.[2]

AIDS 1970S to 1987 +VOCAB

6 Jan

I am a pragmatic, maybe even sagacious person, but as a lesbian, I am not particularly concerned about getting AIDS, or any sexually transmitted disease.  I feel my chances of getting some gross STD are nominal, and only those that mess around with the “dirty stick” should really take precautions.   I fully realize, seeing my arrogated statement in print, this makes me seem like an irresponsible, teenager, but it isn’t as if I gambolaround, having sex with just any Tomika, Dicketta, or Harriot.  Even though AIDS has not personally  afflicted me, or anyone I know, even, this does not mean has not created a cacophonyin my world.  As a child, I remember my own parents claiming without justification that AIDS was a “Sinner’s Disease” only affecting the gays, the promiscuous, and IV drug users-sacrosanct people couldn’t get it.  As appalling and narrow-minded as this sounds, that was a common perception that permeated not only the culture, but scientists in the 1980’s and even into the 1990’s.

It is known between the mid 1970s and the 1980’s, a bevy of people died from a mysterious disease, but they were all gay so the inimical public largely ignored the outbreak.  Media coverage was all but quiescent in those early days–nobody cared about a bunch of delinquents presumably because they were getting what they deserved.   Before 1981, the homosexual lifestyle at large was a secret nuanced only by several AIDS deaths.  Since no one acknowledged that gay male sex was common everywhere, no one knew the catalyst for AIDS, how it was spread, or more importantly, how to prevent it.  People were not overly concerned by AIDS because it seemed endemic to homosexual populations.

In 1982, the Center for Disease Control started keeping record of AIDS deaths, and people became alarmed when the number kept proliferating.  Chaos ensued as more and more people died.  Impetuous, unprotected (gay) sex was implicated in the AIDS outbreak.  Suddenly, the bonhomie of the 1970’s, especially for homosexuals, was appropriated.  The origin of the disease was ambiguous, as was who it inflicted, transmission, symptoms, morbidity, and mortality rates–there was little knowledge, only fear.  The fears (and prejudice) of the American public was exacerbated when several European countries reported AIDS deaths.

The media coverage remained invidious, writing off the AIDS deaths as a consequence of caustic homosexuality.  The preconceived notion that HIV was acquired through some inequity, meant little funding was alloted towards research or education.  The disease burgeoned with such rapidity that a panic was provoked.  In 1981, statements about how to contract AIDS and who was susceptible were quickly repudiated as more and more cases, on a vast array of people came to light.  In 1984, America got a partial reality-check (and even more nettled) when a hemophiliac (the innocent and pristine-living 13 year old) named Ryan White got AIDS from  contaminated blood transfusion.  Until then, people thought AIDS could be prevented by prudence alone.  Reading Ryan White’s poignant Wikipedia entry made me furious–the ignorance, prejudice, and fractious behavior of the school and town who feared catching AIDS seemed ridiculous.  That is, until I read that in 1983 the American Medical Association (a trusted source)  published a report that said, “Evidence Suggests Household Contact May Transmit AIDS” that did nothing to venerate (but everything to further irritate the public) Ryan White’s status as the Thyphoid Mary of AIDS.  The reactions to White’s diagnosis were stinging and volatile:  He was banned from school, called a acrid homosexual, his house was shot at, and when the law finally allowed him to return to his classes, half of the other children attending the public school were kept home by piquant parents.

According to Blood Saga: Hemophilia, AIDS, and the Survival of a Community 90% of all hemophiliacs treated with blood-clotting factors between 1979 and 1984 were infected with HIV!  By 1983, AIDS was thought by both the vexed community and puzzled scientists alike, to afflict those with poor decorum, such as homosexuals, whores, and heroin addicts as well as the unlucky:  Hemophiliacs and Haitians.   Because there was only a scintilla of factual and reliable information about AIDS, the confused public perception ranged from leery to fanatically prejudiced.  AIDS claimed lives with such alacrity, that it was difficult to study.

In 1984, Dillion, of the CDC, published information on a patient zero, ostensibly thought to be responsible for the AIDS pandemic.  This patient zero was Canadian flight attendant, Gaëtan Dugas whose unprotected sex around the globe kindled a mass outbreak.  The sexually insatiable Dugas was diagnosed with Kaposi’s Sarcoma in June 1980 and told it might be a sexually transmitted virus.  Unconscionably, Dugas continued traveling widely and having promiscuous, unprotected sex–telling some of his conquests they might be sick after the deed was done.  It was still not unequivocally known how AIDS was contracted or spread, who who was susceptible to it.  It wasn’t until 1985, when (secretly gay) Rock Hudson died, that any public figure had explicitly mentioned having the illness.  Even then, the exasperated Hudson was never candid about being gay or having AIDS–prior to his death he claimed having a fatal liver disease.

Though the Center for disease control was inundated with reports of deaths, amazingly AIDS did not even have one name until 1986!  Neologisms like gay compromise syndrome, GRID (gay-related immune deficiency), gay cancer, and slim, had been used to describe the disease until then.  Before 1986, the scientific and medical communities described AIDS by the symptoms that arose from it and jargon such as:  Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS), Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (KSOI), lymphadenopathy (swollen glands), AID (acquired immunodeficiency disease), community-acquired immune dysfunction, and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) was first properly defined by the CDC in September 1982.  The obstinate and irked public still refused “normal people” could contract AIDS.  The aggrandizement of AIDS from “Gay Cancer” to preventative syndrome of all classifications of people did not occur until the mid 1980’s.

The fact HIV could lead to AIDS was not known, let alone the gestation period of the disease.  In the 1970’s, 1980’s, and and even 1990’s, HIV meant the knell of death tolling–with the afflicted dying sooner rather than later.  In 1987 there was the slogan:  “AIDS, don’t die of ignorance” which helped people be more judicious about all aspects of the disease.  Where the public had been apathetic and indolent about AIDS awareness before this time, 1987 sparked a rash of education, organizations, and publicity for AIDS.  The famous San Fransisco quilt, featuring a square for each life the disease has taken, served two purposes:  Lament the deaths, and personalize each AIDS victim and raise overall awareness.  The slogan “silence=death” was meant to nettle the general public into action.

President Regan forced an end to the chauvinistic battle that had been raging between The Pasteur Institute and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services about who discovered HIV and identified it as the cause of AIDS.  Fighting the battle of ownership left AIDS research inchoate at a time when peeved people needed answers and a cure.  In 1987, The U.S. Public Health Service added HIV to the list of diseases that could prohibit entry into the United States, garnering laconic, if any publicity.  World AIDS Day was launched in December 1988 to advocate education and raise awareness about the disease.  “Understanding AIDS” (a pre’cis on the disease) by C, Everett Koop, Surgeon General, was the most read publication in June 1988.

The United States emulated other countries and tried out a the first needle exchange to reduce spread of AIDS between IV drug users in New York City.  It was shut down in 1990, and Jonathan Mann resigned as the head of the WHO AIDS, saying the world was too listless in bothering with the pandemic.

In August 1989 results from the drug trail AZT proclaimed the drug could cause a longer abeyance of AIDS in HIV positive patients with no side effects.    Many hostile people castigated the manufacturing company, antagonistic Burroughs Wellcome for being greedy when it was found a year’s supply of AZT cost $7,000!

The CDC had to corroborate recalcitrant 22-year old Kimberly Bergalis’ story that she got AIDS from her dentist David Acer during a procedure in July 1990.  She was very loquacious that she had no other risk factors, she was a virgin, had never used IV drugs, and had never received a transfusion, and her story checked out.  Then, after the trials and death of the dentist an (unreferenced)  gynological exam showed chicanery on the part of dissident Bergalis:  She had both HPV and genital warts–which are sexually transmitted.

Magic Johnson, an NBA player for the Lakers, was the first (non-gay) public figure to announce he was HIV positive in 1992, causing a frenetic response from the public.

The hoary AIDS description was redefined by the CDC in 1992 to include symptoms by IV drug users and women.

In France, 4 doctors, including former director of the transfusion service, Michel Garretta, went on trial for knowingly andfurtively distributing HIV-tainted blood supply 1980-1985.  There was, understandably, an adverse public reaction.