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Play Safe Please

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Ashi

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Well, some of you guys know I had a job change. Part of my job is to change primary care physicians for people who request them. Today I received a report from a county hospital system, and on that short report, there were two people changed their primary doctor to one that specialized in HIV/AIDS (and that doctor doesn't accept anybody else, so it's not your typical family doctor). I've not even worked for this place for a month, and I already saw three people admitted to the HIV/AIDS department.

 

Among them one was only in his 20's. I don't know this person..., but when I read his medical record, an surreal feeling rushed within me. I wanted to know why a young man in his prime must face this adversary; I wanted to know how he contacted with this devastating disease, and I wanted to know what he felt when his doctor announced his diagnosis.

 

I hope this post would bring forth an AIDS awareness. I did a little research and found this data visualization tool from CDC (Center for Disease Control):

 

http://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/nchhstpatlas/main.html?value=atlas

 

There is no latest date for Year 2015 and 2016 yet. The general trend is the case of HIV diagnosis has been going steady throughout the years CDC had obtained official data (though it irks me some data don't adds up, like the sum of diagnosis broken down by genders don't add up to the number broken down by age group for year 2008 and 2009).

 

Seeing the Year 2014 figure is the first year that HIV diagnosis has increased, and given more people are at ease with their sexuality, it alarms me that there is a possibility that 2015 and 2016 figures could be on the increase as well.

 

The highest risk group remains to be men who have sex with other men. This group account for ~75% of all HIV diagnosis. Anal sex is a very efficient way to spread STDs. So the lesson here is: Play safe!

 

There is no reason people's comfortable level with their sexuality should automatically translate into higher HIV/AIDS rate. Indeed, the rate of HIV/AIDS can be kept at bay if people can talk honestly and comfortably about the importance of getting tested. In fact, according to the study, almost 1 in 6 (15.8%) HIV carriers don't even know they are infected1. Don't be shy! Talk to your partner!

 

While I think it's nice more people are coming to term with their sexuality, but at the same time, seeing the advent of cruising via Grindr and Craigslist personal ads..., I highly doubt it would be the last time I had to change a young man's primary doctor to an HIV/AIDS doctor.

 

Don't make Ashi cry. Please.

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young people have no memory of the past

 

governments must mandate compulsory defined sex education for every child - no exceptions or opt-outs (parents do not own their children) - and continue to fund ongoing public awareness

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I know a few guys in their 20s who are HIV+

 

One went out looking to get infected. He wanted to be like the guys he looked up to. Not sure how popular Poz parties are these days, but years ago they were the rage for a while. However I do know there's a fairly cavalier attitude towards infection out there. Seroconversion no longer equals death and that may have a lot to do with how people view condoms and safer sex.

 

Women use birth control to prevent pregnancies, gay men should approach PREP in much the same way.

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People in their 20's are adults and as such responsible for their next own sexual health. Sex Ed including comprehensive HIV info will help but is not the definitive answer.

 

As Ashi said, PLAY SAFE. It is your responsibility to stay healthy. You cannot rely on others.

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Carlos is right. If you're insurance covers it, there is no reason not to be on PrEP if you sleep with multiple people. 

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PrEP isn't a panacea. All drugs have side effects which may not become known for some time. One known side effect of PrEP is possible kidney damage. Also it should be used in combination with condoms.

 

And for minors, who aren't going to get access to HIV prevention drugs anyway, sex ed is the only viable strategy.

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Yes, some people are irresponsible on a frequent basis and are cavalier with their sexual practices, but let's remember, too, that infection can be just one mistake away. Perhaps you drank too much, partied a little too much recreationally or maybe somebody worked very hard to get you that way.  Forced rape is also a possible cause. Then there is the path of intravenous drug users sharing needles. The truth of the matter is that we shouldn't play guessing games and people in the field of medicine should definitely not being playing this game.

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No one preventative is enough. Gay or straight, we ALL need to be careful and aware. Measels is a rare occurrence now due to vaccinations. But would you let your little one go play with a child with measels because he or she has been vaccinated?

 

PrEP helps, but is no excuse not to be careful.

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Anyways, many medical insurance may cover HIV screening without pre-authorization (doesn't need your primary doctor's referral), do a check if your insurance covers it.  I know at least Medi-Cal (California's Medicaid) covers it.

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