Category Archives: Health

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.

Walking with sandwiches: Ben’s New Year’s resolution

Many people make New Year’s resolutions each year and it is usually right about now that a lot of us give up on them. I stumbled upon this really inspiring YouTube video of someone who has an interesting story that I wanted to share.

Why you need to come out to your doctor

Temptation Tuesday, handsome, hunk, shirtless, absBack in 2011 I wrote a post Many LGBT patients feel alienated by their health providers.  It was based on a Boston Globe article that reported many LGBT patients did not feel like they could have honest conversations with their doctors. For many who are Out and live in cities like Boston this may seem strange. We benefit from living in a progressive city and have access to places like Fenway Health, but for many who are not Out or do not have access to a LGBT clinic, this is a real problem.

US News & World Report wrote an interesting article, How to Come Out to Your Doctor as an LGBT Patientexplaining why it is important: the type of preventative care you should receive – esp if you are sexually active; questions you may want to ask your doctor; and most importantly for those who are not out to their health care providers – how to start the conversation.

Grindr survey on PrEP

TruvadaLast fall Grindr released the video below to share their survey findings after partnering with the CDC, SFAF and Gilead.  The nationwide survey looked at current attitudes, usage and questions regarding PrEP.

What is PrEP?  PrEP (also sometimes referred to as Truvada) is a daily pill that has been approved by the FDA and been shown to be safe and effective in preventing HIV’s ability to copy itself in your body after you’ve been exposed.

According to the survey findings many gay men who are sexually active are afraid to ask their doctors about PrEP and 1 in 10 had trouble getting their doctors to prescribe them the medication (that statistic was double for black respondents).

If you would like to learn more about PrEP but don’t know where to turn you can email Fenway Health at information@fenwayhealth.org or call them during business hours at (857) 313-6590.

Click here to find the nearest testing center in your area (US Only)

Do you know your HIV status

Safe SexEven though half of the people living with HIV are over the age of 50 infections continue to happen and there remains no cure for AIDS.

According to statistics from AIDS.gov, there are approximately 50,000 new HIV infections each year in the US. In 2010 50% of youth under the age of 24 with HIV didn’t know that they were positive. Aside from concerns that these people are not receiving the necessary medical care and attention they need it is likely they are unintentionally infecting others who do not engage in safe sex — so make it a point to know your status.

Local resources – including testing and counseling are available in the following locations listed below.  Feel free to share other sites you know about in the comments section. Maybe in honor of World AIDS Day you’d like to make a donation to help these organizations continue their important work.

AIDS ACTION COMMITTEE of MA  / The Male Center
Fenway Health
Planned Parenthood 
The Borum (Sidney Borum Health Center)

Uber helps you give back on World AIDS Day, 12/1/15

HIV, Fenway Health Study, Stronger TogetherAbout 15 years ago when I worked at the AIDS Action Committee of MA (AAC) I was responsible for soliciting corporate donations.  During my tenure at AAC I never recall any of the local taxi companies donating a single penny.  Uber’s support for causes that mean something to me increases my loyalty to them. Their support may be just savvy marketing but they are helping raise awareness and money for charities that are near and dear to me; and that matters to me.

Earlier this year Uber joined the EAT (RED) DRINK (RED) SAVES LIVES campaign to fit AIDS with (RED). On World AIDS Day, Tuesday, December 1, 2015 Uber is partnering with (RED) and enabling riders to help drive towards an AIDS Free generation. AIDSOn Tuesday, Dec. 1, Uber riders in more than 150 cities nationwide (including Boston) can join the fight by choosing to ride (RED) and donate $5 on top of their normal fare.* Around the world, cars in the app will turn red to drive awareness around the cause. Moreover, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has generously pledged to match all donations made to (RED) in-app on December 1. With this match, every $5 donation helps provide a month’s worth of lifesaving medicine, which costs as little as 30 cents a day, to a mother living with HIV/AIDS.

Want to donate? It’s easy.

  • On 12/1, choose the (RED) option in the app
  • Your uberX ride will be the same as usual
  • Uber will contact you by SMS at the end of your trip — reply YES to donate $5 to the Global Fund*

If you’re not riding on December 1, join the conversation and support the drive to an AIDS-free generation.

$0.25 OF EACH $5 DONATION WILL BE USED TO COVER PROCESSING FEES.
*ALL DONATIONS MADE THROUGH THE (RED) OPTION IN THE APP GO DIRECTLY TO THE GLOBAL FUND, A 21ST-CENTURY ORGANIZATION DESIGNED TO ACCELERATE THE END OF AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS AND MALARIA AS EPIDEMICS.

Great American Smokeout is today

Great American SmokeoutThe third Thursday of November is the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout. The intent is to encourage smokers to finally give up smoking.

42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. However the bad news about smoking doesn’t stop there.

Did you know that a man who smokes could see his penis shrink by as much as a centimeter? In addition, smoking impacts a man’s ability to be aroused (a.k.a. erectile dysfunction).  It turns out that the penis may be even more susceptible to smoking-induced damage than the heart, making such health issues possible early warnings of heart disease.