Tag Archives: Health

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

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.

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.