Showing posts with label Mens Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mens Health. Show all posts

August 3, 2016

Ruling Indicates NHS Has the Responsibility To Gay Men to Roll Out Treatment of PrEp



       
Truvada Caps

 

The health and lives of gay men matter. That’s what the high court ruled on Tuesday morning. Last year, NHS England decided against rolling out a treatment called PrEP – which prevents the transmission of HIV. The wellbeing of gay men was overriden by other priorities. Given it costs substantially more money to treat HIV than to prevent it, even financial considerations weren’t a good reason.

 On Tuesday, NHS England was defeated in court and told it was responsible for funding the treatment, and that they have a “preventative role and power to commission preventative function”. Pressure must now be placed on the NHS to start rolling this drug out immediately. As the British Medical Journal pointed out, “delays by NHS England will cost lives”.
If you want to stop HIV spreading, then PrEP is one among many solutions. It works. As studies in the United States have shown, if taken every day, it has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in high-risk individuals by up to 92%. The objections to PrEP, in truth, are based on moral objections. If you do not want the risk of HIV, goes the argument, then wear a condom. Those who get HIV are, by implication, morally condemned for bringing it on themselves.
Of course, safer sex messages must always emphasise the importance of condoms: after all, they protect against many other STIs. But – in the real world, rather than the non-existent world of the morally self-righteous – things are more complicated. People get carried away; people get drunk (yes, in the real world imperfect people sometimes drink more than the recommended daily amount); condoms break. The same moralising is used against the right of women to have control over their own bodies, whether it be the right to abortion or even the morning-after pill. The standards set by the “morally pure” cause harm – or even kill.
We have come so far with the treatment of HIV, once a disease that ravaged the gay world. But according to the Terence Higgins Trust, there are 45,000 men who have sex with men living with HIV; and thousands of them do not know they even have it. The annual rate of newly infected men in 2014 was higher than the decade before. If you genuinely want to send HIV infection rates hurtling into reverse, then PrEP is not the only solution – but it is a good one.
Gay people, their health and their lives, matter. That’s a court judgment. NHS England must now accept the defeat – and start doing its job: protecting health and saving lives.

May 26, 2014

Can Gay Men Change Before is too Late

                                                                           

  
What a strange-looking word.  Change.  We use it for such different purposes.  Transition.  Loose coinage.  Currency due back.  I used to hate change unless I was in control of it.  I grew up hating change.  I was taught to hate change.  Change was not my friend. 
I in fact I’ve have had a stinking relationship with change. There: I said it and mean it.  Growing up my family tried to maintain a kind of stability that gave them a feeling of safety.  When we moved from East Cambridge to Woburn (wow, about 8 miles away) our relatives thought they had to get a passport, visa, and pack a few extra meals in order to visit us.
My parents had the same friends for 50 year or more.  I admired this.  They didn’t change relationships easily, though were always open to new friends.  I’ve tried to keep up with old friends I’ve had for years, even when they’ve moved on and have no interest in keeping up with me.  Many phone calls and emails later I’ve finally let go.
I got all A’s in elementary school.  It was then expected that I’d get all A’s for the rest of my life.  Those C minuses in organic chemistry and D in microbiology in college came as quite a shock (I’m still not over it.  I’ve accepting going balder and greyer, but how the male body changes in middle age is not even funny!  No wonder so many actors are having “work done.”
And now I’ve…changed!?!  I’ve changed the way I think, the way I live, my expectations, my hopes and dreams.  In fact I have come to accept change as a necessary and important part of life.  I now believe change is….good!
How did I come to this point?
First I gave up being so connected to outcomes and expectations.  After being a closeted gay priest for 32 years and literally accepting institutionalization in a religious organization, I left behind my watchwords which no longer make any sense: stability, solidity, feet firmly planted, unwavering constancy, and reliability.  I sound like an insurance company!  Along with these I’ve let go of any hope for pension support and higher social security payments from my previous life.
Second I struggled to find new employment.  I applied to over 150 positions (I am now an expert at writing resumes).  I discovered the hard way that this recession has not been kind to half-deaf, tinnitus-prone, middle-aged, male intellectuals with academic degrees in theology and a desire to work with flesh and blood people.  I became a life coach and don’t seem to have the fire in the belly necessary to do a lot of self-promoting marketing as an entrepreneur.  I hope my honesty and openness will attract clients.
Third as my dear friend Jay says, “Time is not on our side!”  I’m 62, have lots of life left in me, and recognize that I’m in the last third of my existence on this earth.  What will be my new priorities?  What’s really of value to me now?
fSpring.jpgFinally and most importantly I’ve tried everything I can think of to move forward in my life and have run out of ideas.  Thus as my friend Dickson told me, “Wait for the next right thing.”  There’s a lot of wisdom in waiting and expecting nothing but…change.
And so the adventure continues.  I wait to see what happens next, who will come into my life, what opportunities might arise, and maybe in the process I’ll actually begin to enjoy living again!  What’s your relationship with change?

All artwork is copyrighted by the artist Michael Parise

April 25, 2014

Gay Men Don’t Get Fat, Why?


                                                

   


 I wish this was not true but I myself have always had a fear my body was not good enough! When I was in a relationship I let me self go but within limits. Always not too far to catch up with a few rounds of running around the house or the property and quit the cheese cake and the Ice cream and volia, back in shape! Always with the fear that if he left me or I left him, I had to be in shape and prepare for a descent new catch. Of coarse this is simplistic and there is more at the bottom of the cheese cake but this is the peak of the mountain of WHY GAY MEN TEND NOT TO GET FAT.

We can talk about how superficial this most be but it’s really more realistic for a reason than anything else.. It does goes down deep on a lot of gay men psych’s. We never had until now any support system except our selves. Take any people that have gone through decades and decades of extinction and societal combination see how differently  cope with life afterwords.  

How about the gay men that wear pants with a Waists of 36-46 in their 40-50’s? That is a different crowd altogether. A lots of these folks have been in a straight marriage or gay relationship for many years. This were people that thought or at least were use to the idea that they will have a companion  most of their older life. No need to worry about inches on your waste and it usually done together, eating the same foods. What have been a cause of hurt and shock were those that for what ever reason after a committed relationship end up alone due to illness or death. They find them selves with a good opinion inside of themselves but no one can see that. Gays look at your crotch  first and then the waste line.

This is one of the side affects of how we have been living. Gay marriage is not a cure for all but it is for many things for people that want a change of lives and want to commit themselves. But the truth this is how it stands today, the day Im typing this into a computer.
Adam Gonzalez, Publisher



There is only one thing that keep gay men in shape: fear. Yes, every gay—at least those of the stereotypical abdominal-obsessed physique that populates Fire Island and Palm Springs—is brought about because gay men are afraid that they will be alone for the rest of their lives. If a gay man is not "serving body" while competing to find a trick or boyfriend in one of the more muscle-bound climates of gay culture, he will be sorely shut out. That is why gay men don't get fat, because if they don't have pecs, guns, and glutes, they're going home alone.
Gay men, unlike their straight counterparts, don't have the luxury to stay in "fighting shape" just long enough to find a partner before letting their bodies fall to shit afterwords. No, gay men have to get buff, get married, and stay buff. Why? Because of three-ways, obviously. I'm going to let you in on a little secret: There are countless committed gay couples out there who like to either play on the side or invite guest stars into their beds. And you're not going to get any A-list guest stars if you're giving D-list torso with a four-star gut. Yes, gay men go to the gym to stay competitive, but since the man-eating marathon doesn’t end after marriage, they just keep on competing and competing until death do they part.
The funny thing about the gay competition is that, because men (especially of the gay variety) are so visually stimulated, the only piece on the chess board that matters is having that traditional lean body. If straight men are lacking in some area, they usually make up for it by becoming rich or powerful, things that some women (see: Real Housewives of Orange County) find just as attractive as a washboard stomach dusted with natural body hair. But for gay men, only body will do. If a gay guy is a little short, his solution is to go to the gym. Got a shitty job? Go to the gym. Busted in the face? No biggie! Head to the gym and no one will look above your neck. Totally shy and doesn't socialize well? Gym, baby, gym! A good body is the only currency in this game.
What also makes this unique for gay men is one of the other strange quirks of homosexuality. Gay men are attracted to, essentially, themselves. No straight man wants to look like a woman (and certainly not the reverse) but gay men find what they are physically attracted to and often remake their bodies in the image of their ideal mate. Since society tells us to want muscle-bound athletes, that's what gays want, and that's what they make themselves look like in the pursuit of their ideal. If you want to bed muscles you have to have muscles, if you want to land a twink, you better be a twink (or at least some other type that is easily cast in any gay porn movie).
Still, gay men come in all shapes and sizes (embrace the rainbow, people) but still gay culture and iconography is largely dominated by the same juiced-out body type (and awful tribal tattoos) that you'd find on Jersey Shore. While there are plenty of average-physiqued homosexuals (who barely merit mentioning) there has been a reaction to all this body fascism over the past so many years. Yes, the "bear" movement, spearheaded by gay men who are hairier and chubbier than average, is forever gaining steam. Mostly it's because these guys gave up on the regular competition and decided to host a competition of their own. Theirs, instead of relying on protein shakes and bicep curls, relies on barbecue ribs and beer guts. These men only socialize (and sexualize) with other men that are as big and burly as they are. While they might be reversing the normal aesthetic ideals of gay culture and American culture at large, they still discriminate just as much based on physicality as their circuit party-loving brethren.
Doonan is trying to capitalize on those skinny gay men of legend, but what governs them and governs the bear is really the same thing: fear. Many gay men spend their adolescence as outcasts or misfits, and when they finally get to a place where they can join the gay culture at large, they react to their years of social solitude by conforming with the sort of fervor usually reserved for packs of teenage girls. That means looking the part, which, of course, means joining the gym and becoming a regular. It has nothing to do with being healthy or looking good, it has to do with that deep-seated fear that one day you will wake up and it will be just like high school all over again, with people hating you or picking on you for being different. Never again!
That middle-of-the-night terror is not an easy thing to teach, and it's not really the kind of advice that you can slap a sassy cover photo on and get millions of people to pay $22 for. Most gay men get it for free, and now, with this book, you too can be a pariah for years, then enter a conformist culture of casual sex and glistening bodies, followed by a lifetime of hookups with your significant other and the waxed dolphins you pick up on Grindr. That's the secret of how gay men don't get fat.
For me, well, I’d much rather be French.
The funny thing about the gay competition is that, because men (especially of the gay variety) are so visually stimulated, the only piece on the chess board that matters is having that traditional lean body. If straight men are lacking in some area, they usually make up for it by becoming rich or powerful, things that some women (see: Real Housewives of Orange County) find just as attractive as a washboard stomach dusted with natural body hair. But for gay men, only body will do. If a gay guy is a little short, his solution is to go to the gym. Got a shitty job? Go to the gym. Busted in the face? No biggie! Head to the gym and no one will look above your neck. Totally shy and doesn't socialize well? Gym, baby, gym! A good body is the only currency in this game. 
  What also makes this unique for gay men is one of the other strange quirks of homosexuality. Gay men are attracted to, essentially, themselves. No straight man wants to look like a woman (and certainly not the reverse) but gay men find what they are physically attracted to and often remake their bodies in the image of their ideal mate. Since society tells us to want muscle-bound athletes, that's what gays want, and that's what they make themselves look like in the pursuit of their ideal. If you want to bed muscles you have to have muscles, if you want to land a twink, you better be a twink (or at least some other type that is easily cast in any gay porn movie).
Still, gay men come in all shapes and sizes (embrace the rainbow, people) but still gay culture and iconography is largely dominated by the same juiced-out body type (and awful tribal tattoos) that you'd find on Jersey Shore. While there are plenty of average-physiqued homosexuals (who barely merit mentioning) there has been a reaction to all this body fascism over the past so many years. Yes, the "bear" movement, spearheaded by gay men who are hairier and chubbier than average, is forever gaining steam. Mostly it's because these guys gave up on the regular competition and decided to host a competition of their own. Theirs, instead of relying on protein shakes and bicep curls, relies on barbecue ribs and beer guts. These men only socialize (and sexualize) with other men that are as big and burly as they are. While they might be reversing the normal aesthetic ideals of gay culture and American culture at large, they still discriminate just as much based on physicality as their circuit party-loving brethren.
Doonan is trying to capitalize on those skinny gay men of legend, but what governs them and governs the bear is really the same thing: fear. Many gay men spend their adolescence as outcasts or misfits, and when they finally get to a place where they can join the gay culture at large, they react to their years of social solitude by conforming with the sort of fervor usually reserved for packs of teenage girls. That means looking the part, which, of course, means joining the gym and becoming a regular. It has nothing to do with being healthy or looking good, it has to do with that deep-seated fear that one day you will wake up and it will be just like high school all over again, with people hating you or picking on you for being different. Never again!
That middle-of-the-night terror is not an easy thing to teach, and it's not really the kind of advice that you can slap a sassy cover photo on and get millions of people to pay $22 for. Most gay men get it for free, and now, with this book, you too can be a pariah for years, then enter a conformist culture of casual sex and glistening bodies, followed by a lifetime of hookups with your significant other and the waxed dolphins you pick up on Grindr. That's the secret of how gay men don't get fat.
For me, well, I’d much rather be French.

February 6, 2014

Four in 5 Men may Have Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency, Are You one?



I did not know I needed Testosterone. It just happen that I got an infection or my large intestine and came close to death. Months without eating Im sure will make you imagine how easy it was to loose 100 Lbs in a month, when a guy that weight 180 Lbs. When I recover I was missing a lot of things that food, sun and vitamins does for your body but I was lacking in a hospital bed.. When the Dr. Prescribed Testos for me I questioned it . He showed me the results and said that is was bad. Started using and together with other steroids, and nutrition classes one on one I got my body back.

But testos was kept being prescribed to me. Very forgiving med when you forget but when you need it you better have access to it. I make sure I have plenty because I can tell the difference of when I use it and when I don’t. It will stop your middle age woos. It will make you feel like you can  function sexually like you should without shooting any blancs or using the blue pill or any pill that gives you a hard on for 4 hours. Testos is expensive it might not be for everyone. You most consult your physician and see your level. Then shop around for the real stuff and best price.. Not china not mexico or nation that don’t even know what it is. It is available right here in the uSA. 
This my story and I hope it helps someone. If you have questions on how it affected me and how it is to use it feel free to ask publicly on the comments section or privately at the reader satisfaction email: 
adamfoxie@Outlook.com                                                                                 Adam Gonzalez
                                                     

Introduction

Four in 5 men may have symptoms of testosterone deficiency, and testosterone replacement can improve body composition and metabolic outcomes related to serum glucose and cholesterol levels. In fact, some research even suggests that testosterone treatment might improve the risk for mortality among men with testosterone deficiency. However, a large new study finds a higher risk for cardiovascular disease or death associated with testosterone therapy, and it is not the first study to do so. The current review provides a balanced perspective regarding the challenging issue of testosterone deficiency and replacement among men.

Background

Testosterone is a complicated and critical hormone that plays multiple roles in vivo. It reduces fat mass and improves insulin sensitivity. [1] Circulating testosterone also helps to reduce serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Higher testosterone levels correlate positively with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
The concentration of free testosterone gradually declines as men age, owing both to decreased production as well as higher concentrations of sex hormone-binding globulin. One longitudinal study of 1156 men found that the mean annual reduction in free testosterone levels was approximately 2%, although this reduction was attenuated among healthier men. [2]
The exact prevalence of testosterone deficiency (TD) is controversial. Many men have symptoms that might indicate TD. In a self-selected study that used a Web-based survey of over 10,000 men, 80% were found to have symptoms consistent with TD. [3] In a study of 2162 men at least 45 years of age who attended primary care clinics in the United States, the prevalence of a total testosterone level less than 300 ng/dL was 38.7%. [4] Less than 10% of these men were receiving testosterone treatment.
Symptoms of TD include fatigue, loss of libido, hot flashes, depression, and sleep disturbance. [5]However, there is not necessarily a linear association between testosterone levels and symptoms. A study in 3413 men failed to determine an association between testosterone levels and overall scores on a psychological health screening tool. [6] Nonetheless, men with TD had worse psychological performance, particularly for anxiety.
TD is associated with obesity and higher rates of insulin resistance, and up to 50% of older men with type 2 diabetes have been found to have TD. [7] Beyond the effect of this association on individual patients, the larger consequences of this association are staggering. In a study that assumed a highly conservative prevalence of TD of 13.4% among middle-aged and older men in the United States, the additional number of cases of diabetes attributable to TD over a 20-year period was 1.1 million. [8] The health consequences of TD were estimated to cost the US economy between $125 and $500 billion over 2 decades.
Lower testosterone levels also appear to promote a higher risk for mortality among men. In a meta-analysis of 12 studies, each decrease of 2.18 in the standard deviation of serum testosterone was associated with a 35% increase in the overall risk for mortality and a 25% increase in risk for cardiovascular mortality. [9] However, the authors of the meta-analysis note that there was significant heterogeneity among studies, and the association between lower serum testosterone levels and mortality was more pronounced among older men. A more recent study finds a U-shaped association between testosterone levels and mortality among men. 
Testosterone generally has positive effects on muscle power and fat mass. [11] It also improves bone mineral density while patients are on therapy. However, its effects on mood and quality of life are more mixed; not all randomized trials have supported a therapeutic benefit in this domain. [12] Similarly, although exogenous testosterAlthough there are data to support some of the health benefits of testosterone therapy, the balance of benefit and risk of treatment is far from settled. However, the growth of TD as a disease and treatment target is undeniable.Testosterone therapy also has salutary metabolic effects similar to those of natural circulating testosterone, including reducing insulin resistance and ameliorating the lipid profile. [11] In a placebo-controlled randomized trial that included men with diabetes, testosterone therapy was associated with a mean decrease in glycated hemoglobin levels of 0.45%. [14]
A new study found that the prevalence of testing for testosterone increased dramatically in the United States and United Kingdom between 2000 and 2010. [15] However, it was clear that testing was more targeted in the United Kingdom vs the United States, and the authors suggest that direct-to-consumer advertising in the United States could help explain this difference. Meanwhile, 4%-9% of testosterone therapy prescriptions in the United States appeared to be inappropriate because they were given to men with normal or high testosterone levels.
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December 12, 2013

Bigger is Better or Faker?

music with muscles
Bigger is better, but make sure it’s muscle, not fat. That’s the picture popular culture paints for scores of gays around the world, and Sydney is no stranger to enforcing that stereotype. But is the Adonis torso and arms the size of balloons really all that healthy?
Call me ignorant, but for years, I struggled to understand how so many gay men managed to replicate the bodies only found on a billboard promoting Calvin Klein underwear. I kept asking, “What’s the secret to their success?”
So, like any serious athlete competing for a title, I decided to join a gym full of men with chiselled torsos, washboard abs and that very sexy v-shape which leads down to the epicentre of manhood.
Within this Oxford Street Mecca, there are two types of muscled men. The ones who spend every waking minute bench pressing or grunting through arm curls, and the ones who adopt a more “less is more” approach.
These men that caught my attention and I was desperate to learn the shortcut, because let’s face it, who wants to spend three hours in the gym when you could get away with a sneaky forty five minutes?
“When I first asked Dan if he had ever used steroids, he denied it, but after a few similar questions, he did a whole u-turn.”
But just as professional athletes are held accountable for using performance-enhancing substances, so too should the “less is more” bunch, who not only cheat, but turn their nose up at anyone less than three quarters of their size.
Behind the healthy façade of the “Muscle Mary” lies your insecure, increasingly body obsessed gay man on anabolic steroids. It’s a reality like no other, according to a recent survey, which revealed that one in seven gay gym-goers admitted to using steroids. Some estimate the number could be as high as fifty per cent.
Personally, one in seven seems like a gross underestimation, considering how difficult it was to find friends confident enough to admit to steroid use. Even these friends felt uncomfortable being asked questions about their experience, and so, for the purpose of this article, have chosen to remain anonymous.
Dan (not his real name) was my personal trainer in London for almost a year and now remains a good friend. Originally from mainland Europe, he has the body gay men fornicate over at Mardi Gras, but unlike many muscled men, remains one of the nicest gay men I have ever met.
Let it be known – I only found out about steroid use after overhearing a conversation in the change room of my gym. When I first asked Dan if he had ever used steroids, he denied it, but after a few similar questions, he did a whole u-turn, and revealed he dabbles now and then.
“It’s the quickest and easiest way to get big, lean and muscley fast,” and only requires “a simple injection,” he told me. Although not a regular user, Dan says he only engaged in steroid use on special “gayccasions” such as Madrid Pride or Brazil’s Carnival in Florianopolis.
Despite having a beautiful boyfriend living in New York, he admits he first started taking “the sauce” or “juice” because “being big can make you feel accepted by, and desirable to, other muscular men, and part of an elite club.”
Another friend of mine is in his mid-forties. ‘Luke’ admits a deep love for steroids. Not only for the body and acceptance, but the increased libido that comes with it. “You feel so horny, like you want to have sex every waking minute of the day, and when you do have sex, it’s explosive.”
Take one look at the sweaty, muscular dance floor of your local nightclub. The muscle culture isn’t going anywhere. Whether we have the balls to admit it or not, we are all victims of a vain and unhealthy culture, but isn’t it about time gay men stopped being the victim?
Muscles may seem like the key to being liked and loved, with steroids a fast ticket to that, but in reality, it’s doing all of us more physical and mental harm than good.
Anabolic steroids were initially prescribed to gay men as a means of combating AIDS-related weight loss. Today, they are sold on the black market as we battle it out for Vanity Fair’s Best Cover.
With effects such as shrinking balls, baldness, sleeplessness, heart problems, diabetes, permanent liver damage and even cancer, it might be time to rethink our priorities.

October 12, 2013

In Kentucky The Gay Community Starts Joining Early in Obama Care



  Jeff Jones started shopping for health insurance as soon as the Obamacare insurance marketplaces opened on October 1.
The Kentucky resident is like a lot LGBT citizens who have not had access to affordable health insurance in the past. If Jones, 47, had been able to legally marry, he would have immediately been eligible for coverage under his partner, Nathan Walker’s, policy.
Walker has domestic partnership benefits at work, but the couple haven’t lived together long enough to qualify for them.
“I’m a diabetic, so I do want to make sure I’m covered,” Jones said.
Jones says he isn’t the only person he knows in Lexington’s LGBT community shopping for health insurance. Many have turned to Jones, who used to work in public health, for casual advice.
“A lot of what I’ve found with these exchanges is confusing, and I’ve got a Ph.D. — and experience with insurance,” Jones said. “There are many individuals who don’t have a lot of education, and these terms are completely new to them. It’s daunting.”
As a whole the LGBT community has less experience with insurance than the general population. A survey done by Out2Enroll, a group that focuses on helping the LGBT community with health issues, found that about a third of respondents were uninsured. It’s estimated some 16.3% of the general population is uninsured.
In honor of National Coming Out Day on Friday, Out2Enroll’s “Be Out. Be Healthy. Get Covered” campaign has launched a new LGBT-friendly website with advice about how to navigate the insurance marketplace. Kellan Baker, who heads the program, did focus groups and surveys with several hundred LGBT people and heard serious concerns about the current health care system.
“We’ve heard from people that health care is fundamental,” Baker said. “Yet we wanted to make sure we weren’t steering the community to something that wouldn’t work for them. We wanted to make sure the policies in place will be inclusive of the community.”
While the community is not monolithic, it does struggle with some particular health challenges that become much more deadly if a lack of health insurance keeps them from regular checkups.
For instance, studies show lesbians are less likely than other women to get routine screenings that could detect cervical and breast cancer. A woman’s chances of surviving go up significantly if the cancers are caught early.
Men who have sex with men — the clinical term for gay men — account for 63% of the estimated new HIV infections in 2010, according to the CDC. Regular HIV testing could help stop the spread of the virus.
In light of this challenge, the Obama administration called a meeting of LGBT leaders in mid-September. Nearly 200 from across the country met with the White House to talk about the potential impact of Obamacare. It also looked at what LGBT leaders could do to spread the word.
“The purpose of this briefing was to equip community leaders with the tools, information and resources they need to get involved and help local LGBT communities get access to quality, affordable health care,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. Obamacare “is not about politics. It’s about dignity.”
Out2Enroll worked with the administration to make sure the Obamacare law is completely LGBT inclusive.
In years past, insurance companies were not required to allow coverage of domestic partners. Now marketplaces will offer policies that are inclusive and domestic partnership benefits will be clearly spelled out.
The law also prevents insurance companies from turning someone away because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In Out2Enroll’s focus groups they heard horror stories about companies turning applicants away because they didn’t want to cover gay or transgender people.
Before the Affordable Care Act, people with pre-existing conditions often couldn’t get coverage. Now people with illnesses that involve ongoing treatment like HIV or with a chronic illness like Jones’ diabetes will be able to get access to health insurance.
Finally there will be no lifetime caps on coverage, which is particularly important to those who require constant checkups and who take medicine for chronic conditions.
Preventative care like counseling for obesity, drug treatment, smoking cessation programs and mental health are mandatory for insurance companies to cover under Obamacare. All could help the LGBT community. Studies show lesbians and bisexual women have a higher rate of stress, smoking and obesity than the general population. They’re also at risk for heart disease, the No. 1 cause of death for women. Gay men also have a high rate of stress, smoking and substance abuse, studies show.
Now with the marketplaces open, LGBT groups across the country are doing their bit to spread the word. Many have received grants and special training to help with this process.
Open enrollment for the Obamacare insurance marketplaces runs through March 31. But to get covered by January 1 — the deadline for everyone in the country to have insurance — you must pay for a policy by December 15. People with lower incomes will get subsidies or tax breaks to buy them if they shop through the Obamacare marketplaces. In some states they may also qualify for Medicaid, which some chose to expand.
Sean Cahill, director of health policy research at the Fenway Health Institute in Boston that focuses on LGBT health, says it will continue to spread the word about the Obamacare marketplaces.
“There are barriers that will finally be done away with in January; it’s a great thing,” Cahill said. “We really want to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act and get the number of insured up and get our access to care numbers up, or at least on par with what the straight community experiences. There are so many opportunities here.”
Unemployed since June, Jeff Jones is covered by COBRA insurance, but it comes with a steep price tag of a couple hundred dollars a month.
“I’m starting to realize just how good my policy was through work,” Jones said. “I used to only pay $26 a month, now next to my mortgage this is the biggest bill I have.”
Jones says he will continue shopping around for the policy that will work best for him. He said the system crashed a couple of times when he was looking at it, but the navigators he called were nice. They, too, struggled to help, since their computers also kept crashing. Jones says he is undeterred.
“I’m pretty optimistic it will work,” Jones said. “And I will feel better knowing that I’m covered.”
Source CNN

September 23, 2013

HPV Vaccine Will Prevent Gay Men Not Protected by Vaccination of Girls Unlike Straight Men




Schoolboys should be given the HPV vaccine to help protect them from some cancers, according to public and sexual health bodies.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is linked to a range of cancers and a vaccine is already given to girls in the UK to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.
The Faculty of Public Health and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV said boys should be vaccinated.
The Department of Health said there was no plan to extend the programme.
HPV infections are associated with cancer of the penis, vulva, vagina, anus, mouth and throat. It is spread by sexual contact.
In the UK, girls aged 12-13 are offered the HPV jab. Australia is the only country to routinely offer the vaccination to boys and girls.
Prof John Ashton, the head of the Faculty of Public Health, told the BBC: "It seems oral sex has become a very common part of the repertoire in young people and it does seem a likely part of the story of increases in oral cancer.
"We really need to discuss oral sex as part of sex education in schools and to look closely at extending the vaccine to all men."
'Little benefit'
He said the reduced cancer risk would benefit all men, but the strongest case was in gay men.
Reducing the prevalence of the virus in women would have knock-on effects for some men, but not for those having sex only with other men.
Dr Janet Wilson, the president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said: "We need to take action to address the lack of protection men who have sex with men receive from the current all-girls HPV vaccination programme.
"It is unfair that they remain unprotected."
However, a Department of Health official said there were "currently no plans to extend HPV vaccination to males, based on an assessment of currently available scientific evidence".
They added: "Vaccination of boys was not recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation because once 80% coverage among girls has been achieved, there is little benefit in vaccinating boys to prevent cervical cancer in girls.”

September 6, 2013

What The Brain is Telling Us About Schizophrenia





 We live in the most exciting and unsettling period in the history of psychiatry since Freud started talking about sex in public.
 On the one hand, the American Psychiatric Association has introduced the fifth iteration of the psychiatric diagnostic manual, DSM-V, representing the current best effort of the brightest clinical minds in psychiatry to categorize the enormously complex pattern of human emotional, cognitive, and behavioral problems. On the other hand, in new and profound ways, neuroscience and genetics research in psychiatry are yielding insights that challenge the traditional diagnostic schema that have long been at the core of the field.
"Our current diagnostic system, DSM-V represents a very reasonable attempt to classify patients by their symptoms. Symptoms are an extremely important part of all medical diagnoses, but imagine how limited we would be if we categorized all forms of pneumonia as 'coughing disease," commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.
A paper by Sabin Khadka and colleagues that appears in the September 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry advances the discussion of one of these roiling psychiatric diagnostic dilemmas.
One of the core hypotheses is that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are distinct scientific entities. Emil Kraepelin, credited by many as the father of modern scientific psychiatry, was the first to draw a distinction between dementia praecox (schizophrenia) and manic depression (bipolar disorder) in the late 19th century based on the behavioral profiles of these syndromes. Yet, patients within each diagnosis can have a wide variation of symptoms, some symptoms appear to be in common across these diagnoses, and antipsychotic medications used to treat schizophrenia are very commonly prescribed to patients with bipolar disorder.
But at the level of brain circuit function, do schizophrenia and bipolar differ primarily by degree or are there clear categorical differences? To answer this question, researchers from a large collaborative project called BSNIP looked at a large sample of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, their healthy relatives, and healthy people without a family history of psychiatric disorder.
They used a specialized analysis technique to evaluate the data from their multi-site study, which revealed abnormalities within seven different brain networks. Generally speaking, they found that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder showed similar disturbances in cortical circuit function. When differences emerged between these two disorders, it was usually because schizophrenia appeared to be a more severe disease. In other words, individuals with schizophrenia had abnormalities that were larger or affected more brain regions. Their healthy relatives showed subtle alterations that fell between the healthy comparison group and the patient groups.
The authors highlight the possibility that there is a continuous spectrum of circuit dysfunction, spanning from individuals without any familial association with schizophrenia or bipolar to patients carrying these diagnoses. "These findings might serve as useful biological markers of psychotic illnesses in general," said Khadka.
Krystal agreed, adding, "It is evident that neither our genomes nor our brains have read DSM-V in that there are links across disorders that we had not previously imagined. These links suggest that new ways of organizing patients will emerge once we understand both the genetics and neural circuitry of psychiatric disorders sufficiently.”
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