Tag Archives: Health

Science doesn’t give a f*ck what you believe

Lately, public health and health policy has become politicized. There are several reasons this has happened in my opinion, but I’d rather not dwell on it and focus more on the fact that science – unlike political science – doesn’t give a [insert explative of your choosing here] what you believe.

I cannot believe that I feel compelled to write that no matter how strongly you believe in individual freedoms or conspiracy theories about wearing masks and social distancing, you are not impervious to the coronavirus. But it seems like there is a large segment of our society that has embraced the notion that if you say something often enough (no matter how wildly inaccurate) it must be true. A good example of this is President Trump’s insistance that the virus will go away if we stop testing for coronavirus.

“If we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any” President Donald Trump (June 15, 2020)

Placing faith in political and religious leaders over the recommendations of scientists and medical professionals will not protect you, your loved ones or your communities. Following health guidelines as outlined by the medical community is both a personal and civic responsibility that supercedes personal preferences and inconveniences. To put it more simply, SCIENCE  >  YOUR BELIEFS.

Some states say it’s time to open

covidThe state of Georgia has earned widespread criticism, after Gov. Brian Kemp said businesses like gyms, hair salons, and barber shops could open this past Friday, April 24 with theaters and restaurants to open tomorrow on April 27.

I’d like to use this post to encourage a little social activism on your part. If you think Gov. Kemp’s actions are reckless then speak up, regardless of where you live. Call the Georgia State Govenor’s Mansion to arrange a tour like Professa Cross shares below.

Click  on the image to enlarge if it is difficult to read – it’s worth your time.

If you are unsure when a specific state will be lifting their “stay-at-home” orders this site has a listing of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, here.  I’ve included a  list of states that say they will lift ‘stay-at-home’ requests this week. For some states with low infection rates localized in a defined area that may make sense, but the data shows that isn’t the case for all the states listed below.

Alabama – Thursday, April 30
6,000+ cases / 164 deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Alaska – Opened April 21
300+ cases / 9 deaths – considered defined, details here.

Arizona – Thursday, April 30
6,000+ cases / 273 deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Colorado – Monday, April 27 (Denver stay-at-home remains)
6,000+ cases / 670+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Florida – Thursday, April 30
30,000+ cases / 1,000+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Idaho – Thursday, April 30
1,870+ cases / 50+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Indiana – Friday, May 1
14,000+ cases / 78+ deaths – undetermined, details here.

Louisiana – Friday, May 1
26,500+ cases / 1,600+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Mississippi – Monday, April 27
5,700+ cases / 220+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Montana – Monday, April 27
440+ cases / 14 deaths – considered defined, details here.

Nevada – Thursday, April 30
4,500+ cases / 200+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Ohio – Friday, May 1
15,500+ cases / 700+ deaths – considered defined, details here.

Tennessee – Thursday, April 30
9,000+ cases / 175+ deaths – considered defined, details here.

Texas – Thursday, April 30
23,700+ cases / 600+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

SOURCE for case counts and deaths

What to do this week: March 16-22

coronavirus, covid-19, gay humorWhen phrases like “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” become a part of our vernacular and are trending on social media, you know that something is up.

Many meetings, events and programs last week made last minute decisions to cancel so I’m going to take a hiatus from publishing events this week and suggest a prolonged “Netflix-n-Chill” approach while we ride out COVID-19.

Below you’ll find an easy to follow guide on how to wash your hands since that seems to be among the best ways to prevent the spread. For more information about symptoms related to Coronavirus, visit this CDC site.

Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Fenway Health PrEP@Home study needs you

truvada, sexual healthFenway Health is recruiting people for a new medical study called PrEP@Home that involves testing a mobile app for men on PrEP to evaluate the effectiveness while minimizing the need for in-person follow up at clinics.

FENWAY HEALTH STUDY – EARN UP TO $240

Eligible participants should be between the ages of 18 – 49, HIV negative, assigned male at birth and interested in taking PrEP. Eligible participants will be eligible to receive up to $240 for completing all study procedures.

Interested? Call 617.927.6448 or click here to learn more: PrEP@Home.

Boston free summer fitness series

Boston Moves, Summer fitness programsStarting earlier this month on June 4th, Boston Parks launched their annual summer fitness series. Due to past success and interest the city is expanding the program this year and will offer 30 classes per week through September 29th.

Free fitness classes take place in the morning and evenings and include a variety of options like yoga, zumba and bootcamp. All classes take place outdoors in Boston’s parks around the city. The full calendar of activities can be found here: bphc.org/summerfitness.

You can follow what is happening and get updates by following @HealthyBoston.

Medical group forms to help connect LGBTQ community with wellness providers

Handsome, hunk, hairy, furry, doctorFew things are more important than taking care of your health and for that reason I touch upon the topic occasionally. A few years back I wrote the post, Many LGBT patients feel alienated by their health providersA few years after my post I shared the US News & World Report article, How to Come Out to Your Doctor as an LGBT Patient, which explained why this 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.

So when I was recently contacted by Lighthouse, a network of LGBTQ affirming health and wellness providers, I knew I’d want to share this. According to the release I received, Lighthouse is a group of NYC-based providers who have devoted our careers to caring for LGBTQ+ patients. They are currently up and running in New York City and are expanding rapidly to serve the LGBTQ+ community nationwide.

For more information you can check out their blog at blog.lighthouse.lgbt or visit their website at www.lighthouse.lgbt.

Fenway Men’s Event is Saturday, March 10

Fenway Health Men's Event

Fenway Health Men’s Event is Saturday, March 10, 2018

Saturday, March 10th Fenway Health will celebrate 25 years of The Men’s Event and 1,300 gay and bisexual men, transgender people and our allies will attend this important fundraiser at the Boston Marriott Copley.  This year’s Congressman Studds Award Winner is the popular, former Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick. 

A chilling shift in political currents has taken place in the United States since Patrick was our governor and the LGBTQ community has gone from having a friend in the White House to a President who’s policies and actions specifically target the LGBTQ community. It is important for our community to come together and support each other which is one reason Sergio and I will be attending this year’s program. Tickets remain available for the 2018 Men’s Event on Saturday, March 10. To learn more about the event or to purchase tickets visit, mensevent.org.

Much thanks to UB2 Inc for posting such a lovely video of last year’s celebration. I’ve included their YT clip below for everyone to enjoy.

Study suggests PrEP can be taken as needed to avoid HIV

gilead, co-pay cardEarlier this month Huffington Post Queer Voices published findings from a  study of gay and bisexual men where researchers found that taking four doses of PrEP around the time of sexual activity cut the risk of being diagnosed with HIV by 97 percent.  

The 361 men in the new study were enrolled from France and Canada after the completion of the IPERGAY trial. They were told to take two doses of Truvada between two and 24 hours before sex, another dose 24 hours later and a fourth dose 24 hours after that.

Taking PrEP is a personal decision and one you should discuss with your primary care physician. This is yet another example of how important it can be for sexually active gay men to have access to doctors familiar with LGBTQ health issues. Fortunately here in Boston Fenway Health and the South End Associates are two excellent medical practices gay men can access.

You can read the full article on Huffington Post here.

Instant coffee recall due to viagra-like effect

handsome guy, man drinking coffeeChalk this up to news you can’t use but just too damn funny for me to overlook. Last week NPR reported that the North Texas company, Bestherbs Coffee LLC, is voluntarily recalling their product from grocery stores after the FDA discovered their instant coffee contained a similar ingredient found in Viagra that could potentially give men spontaneous, hours-long erections.

For more information about the recall visit the FDA page here.

Daddyhunt: The Right Choice

gilead, co-pay cardWith Memorial Day Weekend starting in just a few days and the 2017 summer season starting I wanted to share this P.S.A. that Daddyhunt released recently which discusses the merits of taking PREP. While taking PREP may not be for everyone, it is something all sexually active gay men should think about.

Fenway Health ClinicTalk to your husband, your partner and your friends to help you decide what is right for you. And if you decide that you’d like to learn more about PREP or find a healthcare provider you can talk to who is near you visit, preplocator.org.

Lecture on the history of “gay cruising” at Fenway Health tonight

Earlier this month I published a post about this free lecture that will occur this evening at Fenway Health courtesy of The History Project’s Out in Public lecture series. This is the first event for the series and they will discuss the taboo subject of cruising;  how this evolved over time and what can we learn about the men who turned to the public parks of Paris three centuries ago?

Click here to learn more about the Boston-based The History Project. While the event is free and open to the public, seating is limited so reservations are strongly recommended. Reserve your tickets here.

When: Tuesday, March 28th at 6:30PM
Where: Fenway Health – 1340 Boylston Street (10th Floor), Boston

BMC medical study to help prevent anal cancer

big_butt_chairAnal cancer is no laughing matter. Rates are rising and people living with HIV are at greater risk. The goal of the ANCHOR study is to find the best way to prevent anal cancer among HIV positive men and women.  The Boston Medical Center needs HIV+ volunteers of all genders who are 35+ years old to take part in a paid study that is designed to prevent anal cancer.

To learn more about the study contact the Boston Medical Center at:
(617) 608-7020
amcstudies@bmc.org
anchorstudy.org/boston-bmc

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.

Today is World AIDS Day

HIV, Fenway Health Study, Stronger TogetherDespite amazing advances there remains no cure and new infections continue to be reported.  In honor of World AIDS Day, make a commitment to know your status if you’ve not been tested recently and encourage your friends to do the same. AIDS Service Organizations (ASO) around the country and the world, still need your support. Here in Boston, our largest ASO is The AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.  Visit their website, make a donation or volunteer.

AIDS Action Committee of MA

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