May #47 : The Bottom Line

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Table of Contents

A POZ Family Album

POZ 5TH Anniversary Issue: Year One

POZ 5TH Anniversary Issue: Year Two

POZ 5TH Anniversary Issue: Year Three

POZ 5TH Anniversary Issue: Year Four

POZ 5TH Anniversary Issue: Year Five

POZ 5TH Anniversary Issue: Profiles

The Way We Live Now

The Way We Live Now: Andrew Sullivan

The Way We Live Now: Jocelyn Elders

The Way We Live Now: Mary Lucey

The Way We Live Now: Rafael Campo

The Way We Live Now: Mathilde Krim

The Way We Live Now: Mario Cooper

The Way We Live Now: Richard Goldstein

The Way We Live Now: Phill Wilson

The Way We Live Now: Michael Saag

The Way We Live Now: David Ho

The Way We Live Now: Jon Kaiser

The Way We Live Now: Sarah Schulman

The Way We Live Now: Judy Greenspan

The Way We Live Now: Eric Rofes & Dan Savage

The Way We Live Now: Kaiya Montaocean

The Way We Live Now: Ashok Row Kavi

The Way We Live Now: Pat Califia

The Way We Live Now: Asia Russell & Julie Davids

The Way We Live Now: Dennis DeLeon

The Way We Live Now: Jason Farrell

The Way We Live Now: Pernessa Seele

Honeymoon to HAARTache

Monkey Business

S.O.S.

When Plagues Return

To the Editor

School Ties

The Bottom Line

Up Close & Personal

Say What

Two Peas in a POZ

In Cold Blood

Oops!

Rubber Poll

Poster of the Month

Success Has Made a Failure of Us

POZarazzi: The Bod Squad

Saint Sorge

Obits

Anecdotal Antidotes

Get Over It

Rubdown Lowdown

The Berlin Stories

T-20, Coming to a Combo Near You

Pill Drill

Suck in Your Gut

Put the Gart Before the Course

Where to Find It

The Skinny on Lipo

HAART Chart

The Road to Wellville

IN MEMORIAM



Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


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May 1999

The Bottom Line

CDC report on risky sex raises many fears, a few jeers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study in February that had AIDS groups across the country clutching their pearls: After years in decline, the number of San Francisco gay men who reported having unprotected sex rose from 30.4 percent in 1994 to 39.2 percent in 1997.

The data mirror what Gary Cohan, MD, a veteran AIDS doc at LA’s Pacific Oaks Medical Group, has been seeing  in his practice. “We’re witnessing a sexual recidivism unthinkable three years ago,” he said, having recently replaced the HIV treatment bulletins on his walls with vintage safe-sex posters à la 1987. “AIDS has become white noise. Everyone’s packing up their marching shoes and going out to party.”

The findings, culled from 22,000 surveys conducted by San Francisco’s Stop AIDS Project, corresponded with the CDC’s recent data documenting another indicator of unprotected sex: rising rates of rectal gonorrhea. The group most likely to eschew rubbers was 25-to-29-year-olds—“the impressionables,” said Spencer Cox of New York’s Treatment Action Group. “They’re least likely to have had a friend die of AIDS and most likely to be influenced by its appearance as a manageable disease.”

Not true, said Demetri Moshoyannis,  who works at the Names Project and was among those San Franciscans surveyed by Stop AIDS. “I’m 27, and I’ve seen several friends die of AIDS. Since we’ve been sexual, all we’ve known is safe sex. After 10 years, of course it’s going to break down, especially if support mechanisms aren’t there to catch it.”

Gay groups nationwide were quick to cry “Second wave,” mindful of a widely debated 1994 study by Columbia University epidemiologist Laura Dean, PhD, which posited that “even slight increases in unprotected sex—just one additional unsafe sexual partner per year—and the epidemic could again explode.” AIDS Action Council’s Daniel Zingale fired off a doomsday press release urging Clinton to increase federal funds for prevention. “An HIV infection iceberg is about to hit the bow of the U.S. epidemic,” Zingale wrote. “Let’s change course early this time.”

But not every gay leader was quick to raise the red flag. In a syndicated op-ed piece, activist Eric Rofes questioned the validity of the CDC’s conclusions, cautioning against the worst-case conclusion that more unprotected sex means more infections, since many gay men are practicing negotiated safety with same-serostatus partners. Moshoyannis also found “basic flaws” in the survey: “It never looked at why we’re seeing these supposed increases, what’s really going on between two people who have unsafe sex.”

So far, the CDC count is holding steady at an estimated 40,000 new HIV cases a year, though today’s infections may not be reported for years.




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