Category Archives: Health

Goodbye 2016

2017, New YearA lot has been said about how crappy 2016 was and how many are looking forward to putting this year behind us, but upon further reflection I realized that despite some high profile losses – chief among them for me Prince & George Michael and other horrible events in the world – I’ve had a wonderful year.

I’m thankful for the time spent with my family and friends, the new friends Sergio and I made along the way this year and some really wonderful events / happenings including but not limited to the following:

Family

Caitlin was born on July 26 and Summer was born on March 18

I’m an uncle six times over now that I have Summer and Caitlin in my life. Although Caitlin (above left) is as big – if not bigger, Summer (above right) is actually four months older.  The photo was taken this fall when  Caitlin was about 4 months old and Summer was 8 months old.

Father, family

Mom and Dad both celebrated milestone birthdays in good health

My parents celebrated really big birthdays with friends and family this year. They both remain in good health and with their new home in Portsmouth, NH I hope I will be able to see more of them in 2017.

Sintra, Portugal

We had a blast visiting Portugal. Here we are in Sintra – an easy day trip from Lisbon.

Sergio and I took two international trips this year, visiting Portugal for the first time this past September (FYI – we loved it) and returning to family in Brazil in November / December. In addition to those trips I was able to visit friends in the following cities: Austin, TX in March; San Francisco and New York City. Sergio and I also escaped what turned out to be an incredibly mild winter by spending several days in San Juan, P.R. in February.

There is more to be thankful for as well including my aunt’s fight with cancer, a new job for my brother-in-law, a growing business for my other brother-in-law, we met several special people this year who we are lucky to have as friends and lest I forget, while I’m sad to see Obama leave office he concluded his 8 years in office in 2016 with a level of class and grace that I think will be left wanting in the years to come.

I wish and hope everyone has as wonderful a 2017 as Sergio and I had in 2016.

Massachusetts is second healthiest state in nation

Boston, MassWith New Year’s Eve just around the corner many people may be contemplating how they can make healthier decisions in 2017.  According to a new, comprehensive national health analysis, many Massachusetts residents are already living a pretty healthy lifestyle and much healthier than many of their fellow Americans from other states.

According to the annual America’s Health Rankings report, now in its 27th year, New England is a pretty great place to be. Massachusetts was ranked the second healthiest state in the country, followed by Connecticut at number three and Vermont at number five. Hawaii took first for the fifth year running, and Minnesota rounded out the top five.

Massachusetts Strengths
  • Low prevalence of obesity
  • Low percentage of population without insurance
  • Higher number of primary care physicians
Massachusetts Challenges
  • High prevalence of excessive drinking
  • High incidence of Salmonella
  • Large disparity in health status by educational attainment

You can read more about the overall health of Massachusetts residents based on the study by linking here.  If you live in another state or are curious to see how other states ranked link here.

PrEP studies highlight the importance of adherence

gilead, co-pay cardPrEP is a topic of conversation sexually active gay men should have with their doctor. While it may not make sense for everyone, understanding the impact the drug may have on you and our community is important.  Recently researchers from Gilead Sciences, Truvada’s manufacturer, presented findings from their analysis of several studies at the ASM Microbe 2016 conference in Boston. This was what they learned:

An analysis of 32 studies of Truvada a.k.a. PrEP found that almost all of those who contracted HIV had undetectable or very low levels of the drug in their bodies at the time. 

The takeaway message is if you choose to use PrEP and are engaging in sexually risky behavior you MUST make sure you take your medication as prescribed. You can read the full findings online here.

Recent blog posts about PrEP:
Gilead C0Pay Coupon Card will save you $: Read this post if you are taking PrEP
Join this local study: The Vacation PrEP Study at Fenway Health

Fenway Health AMP study

gay healthFenway Health is looking for interested participants to join the AMP Study (Antibody Mediated Prevention). This is a national study that will enroll 2,700 men and transgender individuals who have sex with men. The concept behind the study is to give people antibodies to see if they will protect them from getting infected with HIV. This is the first study of its kind, testing whether antibodies can prevent HIV infections.

Qualified participants will be compensated up to $1800 for their time. Learn more about the AMP study by watching the video below or visiting the Fenway Health AMP Study page.

Planning a vacation? Learn about Fenway’s Vacation PrEP study

gay health, Truvada, sexual health, HIV, AIDSLast month I first wrote about this important new study at Fenway Health. I wanted to share this once again because I think it is important for the LGBT community to participate in studies specific to our health and I hope by sharing this you may consider participating or will share this with friends who might.

You may be eligible if: HIV-uninfected, gay/bi male, 18+, planning to take a vacation in the next few months, and have had unprotected anal sex in the last year. Interested? Participants are compensated $100 over the course of the study and receive PrEP for the duration of their vacation. For more information and to see if you are eligible please call 617.927.6384 or email vacation@fenwayhealth.org.

Fenway Health: The Vacation PrEP Study

Fenway Health, gay health, PrEP, Truvada, sexual health studyAre you planning a vacation for later this summer?  If so, you may be a candidate for an important new study at Fenway Health.

As we all know, many gay/bi men engage in risky sexual behavior when away and on vacation. By joining The Fenway’s Vacation Study, you may receive PrEP for the duration of your upcoming vacation plus an additional two weeks. Your participation will help test the feasibility and acceptability of shorter-term PrEP.

I think it is important for the LGBT community to participate in studies specific to our health, and I hope by sharing this you may consider participating or will share this with friends who might. For more information and to see if you are eligible please call 617.927.6384 or email vacation@fenwayhealth.org.

Study finds meditation changes the brain and body

personal healthLast month The NYT had an interesting article, How Meditation Changes the Brain and Body, I thought I’d share. It references a study published in February in Biological Psychiatry that brings some reputable science suggesting meditation can change our brains and potentially improve our health.

Brain scans of those who participated in the study which you can read about in the links provided above showed that those who meditated had more brain activity or communication among the portions of their brain that process stress-related reactions and other areas related to focus and calm.

I don’t meditate but the article made me think that maybe I should try to set aside 10-15 minutes and make time for meditation.  Do you meditate regularly? If so, I’d love to hear from you and to get your thoughts on the study’s findings.