Sara Whitman

Gay Sex Equals Death! Again! Always!

Filed By Sara Whitman | January 17, 2008 8:52 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: antibiotics, gay men, HIV/AIDS, MRSA, sex, staph infections, stereotypes

Oh, those gay men are at it again. Or is it antibiotic use?

In San Francisco on Monday, it was reported “A new variety of staph bacteria, highly resistant to antibiotics and possibly transmitted by sexual contact, is spreading among gay men in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles.”

Where did this new horror come from? Was it the gay men themselves that created it?

No.

In fact, “MRSA was first seen in several countries the 1960s. With increasing use of antibiotics, new strains of MRSA have developed over the past 20 years.”

And, “The culprit is a form of MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bug that was once confined to hospitalized patients but, since the late 1990s, has been circulating outside medical settings, afflicting anyone from injection-drug users to elementary school students.”

Wait… gay men having too much sex is causing elementary school students to get it?

I’m confused.

And I’m mad.

I’m mad because, like Sean Bugg wrote, “These kinds of infections have been a problem in medical settings for some time, but when a report comes out that attaches "gay" with "disease," everyone's certain to pay attention.”

A quick Google search came up with comments and stories from NPR to The Onion, everyone quick to discuss the new findings. Gay men have yet another reason to panic and abandon their wanton ways.

When is anyone going to panic about lesbian sex? I mean, I do. Will I have enough? When will I get more? Today? Tomorrow? Tonight?

Major anxiety.

Instead, lesbians get blamed for tabouli and Birkenstock shoes.

What strikes me, though, is some of the worst abusers of antibiotics are parents of young children. In an effort to keep kids in school/at day care, these parents insist on antibiotics for almost every illness. In fact, the American public is so confused about antibiotics that patients routinely demand them for viral infections.

Antibiotics don’t kill viruses, people do…

Oh, wait. I forgot. It's about gay men having sex. And always TOO MUCH sex. Maybe Huckabee is right and we should just quarantine them.

Personally, I’m going to go back to being panicked about lesbian sex. We need MORE sex. Much more. And if that makes it out to the general population... well... Ann Coulter better watch out.

This is a serious disease. It comes from a strain of bacteria first found in hospitals, our most “sterile” of all environments. Whenever gay men’s sex lives ends up being classified as deadly instead of focusing on the pharmaceutical industry's responsibility for the continued growth of new strains of antibiotic resistant infections, I have to wonder why.

The headlines end up continuing negative images, reinforcing stereotypes about gay men. It won’t help the problem.

But it’s a damn sexy one, isn’t it?


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I appreciate the "fuck you heterosexist majority" sentiment in your post... but am I the only person scared shitless by this?

I'm half ready to go to gay bars wearing a body condom. I guess that would fly in certain gay bars...

Fannie your not the only one scared by this not just because of the tone and spin some in the media and in public life are putting on it.
But we now have VRSA to worry about as well.

As to Hospitals being sterile,....
Sorry i had to stop laughing then crying...

Hospitals are disgustingly dirty places.
at least the ones in the US are.

Be safe
Sue

I've written about MRSA for my A & U column. A high incidence of MRSA is going to be found among people who have been in intense contact with any high-density facility use, not just gay men who live in certain San Francisco zip codes. MRSA comes out of densely populated and not-too-clean facilities like hospitals, prisons, even some school locker rooms.

One S.F. researcher commented to Reuters that "once this reaches the general population, it will be truly unstoppable." Um, it's already out there in the general population. What planet does this guy live on?

If these researchers had been at all interested in providing solidly researched statistics on the ENTIRE scene of MRSA across the U.S., not just one part of it, they would have mentioned a high incidence of MRSA infection among prison inmates, for example. The study even assumed that any research subject was "gay" whose file showed he had an anal infection. I'd be willing to bet that just-released or still-in-custody prisoners, if studied across the U.S., would have the same high frequency of infection as S.F. gay men, if not higher. If the researchers had ever heard how frequently heterosexuals are gang-raping each other or gang-raping gay men in prison or jail (including the San Francisco county jail), they evidently had no interest in including this significant fact in their so-called study.

The political purpose of the "study" is clearly to single out gay men. And the religious conservatives' over-reaction to the announcement proves that the purpose has succeeded.

Michael Bedwell | January 17, 2008 2:53 PM

As someone who remembers the day the music stopped; who lived in 1981 [and still does] at what I like to call, “the corner of Sodom and Gomorrah”—known to others as 18th & Castro in San Francisco—and who watched helplessly as all but two of his best gay male friends shriveled and died of AIDS, I have a slightly different take on these stories than some others.

Our two biggest problems then, after the disease itself, of course, was 1. because it was first thought to be almost exclusively gay-related, the media and government almost entirely ignored it, and continued to disproportionately to its seriousness and numbers for years to come, and, 2., too many gay men refused to believe the threat or took the attitude [and bragged about it], “I’m not changing my behavior!” By 1984, three people were dying every day of AIDS in San Francisco, and it was estimated that one out of every two men who lived in my Zip code 94114 were infected.

The attention this infection is getting along with its gay-related component, while being predictably being distorted by scientific ignorance and exploited by soulless mainstream media and the Antigay Industry, is, trust me, better than what went before, even as I’m sure the latter are already drafting the kind of “send us money so we can stop the gays who are trying to kill us” letters that Jerry Falwell patented. I’m still outraged nearly a year after his death, which I unashamedly hope was excruciating, that MSM conveniently sodded over in his obituaries that history, such as the fundraising letter in 1987 in which he said gays with AIDS were purposely donating blood because, “they know they are going to die—and they are going to take as many people with them as they can.”

This morning’s “Bay Area Reporter” has three articles on the subject, the first beginning, “Gay men are significantly more likely to become infected with what some researchers call the ‘superbug’ MRSA–methicillin-resistant ‘Staphylococcus aureus’–than are heterosexuals.” It also discusses the disproportionate appearance of the infection on the buttocks, genitals, and perineum, while both mentioning them as contact points in anal intercourse and that contact could have occurred in a totally nonsexual way such as, wait for it, a toilet seat. More like HIV, however, is that “these findings add to the growing body of research showing that MRSA is a dynamic bacteria that is constantly evolving into a more fit pathogen that is more readily adapted to transmission during sexual contact and is more resistant to currently available antibiotics.” And alarmists about alarmists will wet themselves over discussion of a kind of “Patient Zero” who “regularly traveled” between San Francisco and Boston, the two cities involved in this particular study.

The good news is that it is STILL treatable with some antibiotics, and that, despite being able, like common cold viruses, to survive on some surfaces “for hours or even weeks,” again like cold viruses, it’s relatively easy to minimize your risk of infection through, wait for it, soap and water. Wash your hands frequently; avoid, as much as possible, shared surface contact at the gym, e.g., towels, and places there you sit or lay upon. Take a soapy shower after your workout—at the gym or wherever you have sexual contact with someone else. It’s another reason to make sure sex toys are cleaned, if you use them. Etc.

Where and how this infection became antibiotic resistant and, thus more prevalent, is less important than how we react to it because it’s HERE. Regardless of how the government, MSM, physicians and the pharmaceutical companies initially betrayed us, more would still be alive if more of us had responding differently sooner ourselves. In sum, we’ve seen how poorly simply sticking our heads in the sands of self-righteousness worked once before.

Links to the BAR articles:

http://ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=2612

http://ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=2616

http://ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=2631

I'm not recommending being self-righteous at the cost of any one's health. this is a very serious infection.

And I do think we MUST hold pharmaceutical companies responsible. We're screwing with our environment in ways we do not even understand when it comes to baterica.

And I think we need to hold the media accountable for adding to negative sterotypes, and labeling information in a way that sells papers but doesn't educate anyone.

Michael Bedwell | January 17, 2008 4:29 PM

Didn't mean to seem to be pointing figures at you, Sara. :- )

And, I agree with you about both drug companies and the media. Actually, I think the latter has done more damage to us, both in what they say AND don't say, hence my animosity for the proverbial paper tiger GLAAD has become. The more specialized the topic, e.g., science, medicine, law, the more likely MSM is likely to screw up in their reportage simply because they're stupid. Add homophobia to that and, yes, we have an additional problem.

This is a lot more complicated then just holding any one group responsible.....

even with proper use antibodies have limited useful service life..

In the end the responsibility falls on us; we need to be wise to infectious conditions and do what we can to avoid them that includes staying out of hospital by maintaining our own health as much as possible. Living in densely populated arias makes decrease more likely. How many of us (including me) have gone to work with a cold or the flu?
most Americans have a casual attitude toward public health and there is a chance this could catch up with us. Lets hope it doesn't.
Take care
Sue


The media just loves to take on the "gay disease" slant. Fearmongering sells more papers than educating.

Unfortunately, the results last far too long. In Canada, it was recently announced that gay men are *still* not allowed to be organ donors, because of the medical association's mental association with HIV.

Progress is slow; panic is fast. :(

Instead, lesbians get blamed for tabouli and Birkenstock shoes.

Tabouli? Nope. Middle-eastern. Birkenstocks? Isn't that wholly and completely lesbian owned? Kind of like the ancient lesbian that came up with the dreamcatcher?

Bil, you have clearly never been to a lesbian potluck or you would understand the tabouli comment...

I'm from Indiana, love. They serve couscous and that's about as exotic as we get. (Unless you visit Ellen's house and then you get the goooooood food and exotic teas. I love visiting Ellen!)

Aren't Birkenstocks made with leather? I never understood the hippie association there....

Whatever, gay sex does equal death.... death of uncoolness. I think that every boy, to graduate from high school (no, make that get a driver's license!) should have to have some gay sex. Doesn't really matter to me how much.

Because isn't that what homosexuality, and, by extension, the Radical Homosexual Agenda, really about - forcing everyone to have gay sex? Isn't that the real reason we should be terrified of gay men?

This would address your lesbian sex problem as well, Sara. I don't think the law would hold in court if it were just for the boys.

And, yes, I'm being ironic!

Actually, the report itself and most of the ensuing publicity don't "blame" gay men or gay sex--it was an epidemiological study that reported that in certain populations, the incidence of this strain of MRSA (USA300) is much higher. I would think populations at extra risk would want information about how to protect themselves, but you seem only to want to get defensive, which helps no one. I remember very well the panic and finger-pointing that initially surrounded the HIV/AIDS outbreak, but this post of yours is no better than those you're criticizing--you just point the fingers elsewhere (moms! evil corporations! elementary school students! Oh, which reminds me...you say you're confused about how gay sex infects elementary school students, but my question would be how did elementary school students infect gay men? You want to blame moms and kids, but it isn't moms and kids who have a 13x higher incidence of infection. Why? Do you know?) Another study was released that pointed out that competitive football players also have an extremely high risk, although I doubt you would write a column defending football players against negative stereotypes of being dirty. Several articles about this issue have also pointed out that prison populations, long associated with other types of drug-resistant infections, among others, are at increased risk.

MRSA did start in hospital settings, and industrial agriculture, overuse of antibiotics such as triclosan in household soaps and cleaning products, and general overuse of antibiotics in the population are all to blame for this new mutation. But this new mutation isn't something to laugh about or get self-righteous about. Just as with AIDS before it, what we need is education and information, even if that information points us places we don't necessarily want to go. Even if getting that information involves the unfortunate use of the word "homosexual."