Thursday, January 16, 2014

Out Post Thursday

Syphilis and HIV: "A Twin Epidemic"

In a recent story featured on, the number of cases of primary and secondary syphilis in the United States increased 11.1% in 2012 with men — particularly gay and bisexual men —accounting for the spike entirely, according to the latest surveillance report on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This forum has openly speculated as to how this reports correlates to local rates, as well as, challenges and barriers that often preclude individuals from accessing STI ( Sexually Transmitted Infections)  testing services. COP 24/7 has inquired as to what is the statewide STI initiative in response to this information and what best practices or next steps are being developed, monitored or implemented to address this dilemma in Arkansas. As we continue to ask the questions, we will share the findings on this platform.

Published online this week, the annual report contains other discouraging news about STDs, as well as a few bright spots. Gonorrhea posted a 4% increase in 2012, most of that among men.

 In contrast, the number of reported chlamydia cases grew by a mere 0.7% in 2012, the smallest annual increase since nationwide reporting on this STD began. As with syphilis, the rise in chlamydia cases was exclusively a guy thing.

The anxiety about syphilis has been building for years. The rate of primary and secondary syphilis declined by almost 90% from 1990 to 2000 only to rise each year from 2001 to 2009. The number of cases decreased in 2010 and then plateaued in 2011 before resuming an upward trajectory in 2012.
The risk for syphilis varies by race and ethnicity as well as by sex and sexual orientation. The rate of primary and secondary syphilis in blacks was 6 times that in whites in 2012. For blacks and whites aged 15 to 19 years, the difference was 16-fold.

Dr. Llata stresses that while everyone is at risk of contracting an STD, some groups are at greater risk. For example, men who have sex with men (MSM) account for 75% of all primary and secondary syphilis cases, according to the agency. In 2012, the number of cases in this population increased 15% compared with 4% for men who have sex with women. The total number of primary and secondary syphilis cases in 2012 was 15,667.

The CDC calls the spike in syphilis infections in MSM "troubling," especially because this and other STDs can put an individual at a higher risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV infection.
The syphilis statistics also alarm Brad Stoner, MD, the president of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association.

"It's a worrisome trend," said Dr. Stoner, an associate professor of medicine and anthropology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. "The absolute numbers are low, but the rate increase is high. And so many MSM with syphilis also have HIV. It's a twin epidemic."
According to CDC surveillance data collected in several major cities, 4 in 10 MSM with syphilis are infected with HIV as well.

Marriage Equality: Looking for Mr. Goodbar

With all the movements around Marriage Equality popping all over the place and especially in places such as Oklahoma, Utah, and in our own back yard of Arkansas. I thought to myself, "self," If folks find
themselves ready to "jump the broom" when their time comes, shouldn't they be thinking about the signals of" Is that Mr. or Ms. Right" really the one!

So as an individual who has been in a LTC, I felt it may duty to take on this tongue in cheek task to share with readers what they need to or at least start to be thinking about! I adapted this story line from relationship guru Mr. Stephan who looked at it from the other side of the street.

#1. Mr. Right Has No Unresolved Issues

Past issues that have not been resolved are often referred to as baggage. That baggage can cause major problems down the road in your relationship. Common unresolved issues involve trust and self-esteem. For instance, if he has been cheated on in the past, and he has not dealt with that and let it go, then he may be holding on to feelings of anxiety and mistrust. Later on in your relationship that mistrust can manifest itself into blame, anger, and hurt because your relationship has not been built on trust (the backbone of a healthy relationship) due to his inability to completely trust you. If he has no issues, and has dealt with his past in a way that has allowed him to move on, then you get to start your relationship with a clean slate. This will allow you to move forward in a happy, baggage-free manner. Just be ready to sleep with one eye open! Trust me on this one.

#2. Mr. Right is Not Like Your Mother

Your mother gave you life and provided for you, but don't forget that your new partner might just be a "moma's boy." And you just might have to deal with it. Not to mention that his mother might be the "mother of all mother's" that you do not want to pursue a relationship with. In short, she may not be completely satisfied with the man who you are either but no matter your situation you got to work it
 out, then you and yours are going to have to talk it out. When you get the man, you get his moma and all the family that goes with it. Its package deal.

#3. Mr. Right is Not a Drama Queen

A drama queen is going to make your life miserable down the road until he loses the need for drama, which may or may not happen. Let's keep it real, many gay men go for the dramatics and then some. If you don't like drama, then don't do a drama queen for a man. Certain men are needy and other's have need to just be. Find out what you working with and make sure that what ever category he falls, that you are prepared to be their even when you don't think you can anymore. Being in love is one thing, but staying in love is another.

#4. Mr. Right Supports Your Dreams and Goals

The right man will support you in your life and the choices that you make. In fact, he may be the only one who supports you! That is the beauty of a happy, intimate, and successful relationship; you always have each other’s backs, even if the world around you falls apart. If he shows signs of being your biggest supporter, no matter what your dreams and goals are, then he is going to make you happy no matter which way your life turns. In a nutshell, get you a "hero" and not a "Zero!!"

#5. Mr. Right Makes You Laugh

He  may make you feel good and supported, but does he make you laugh? It is not enough that you make him laugh and feel good, he has to be able to return the favor. Life is better when you laugh your way through it, and having an intimate partner who can make you laugh will be a blessing when times get tough. And tough times are in every one’s future. Me and mine laugh out loud since we both have a bawdy and often time outrageous way of seeing how life goes on around us. We know that the world doesn't revolve around us but that we are just playing our part in it! Do some laughing today.

#6. Mr. Right is Optimistic

Do you want to spend your life reassuring a man, or would you rather have a man who looks at the cup half-full and needs little reassurance about the happiness in his life? Negative and sarcastic people may be funny or semi-grounding at first, but they will take their toll on your happiness in the end. Ensure your woman is willing to see the positive side of things on her own. This doesn’t mean that you won’t need to support him in times of trouble, but it does mean that he won’t spend his  life focused on the bad and negative, and bring you both down to hating each other.

In the end, if he displays the above six signs, the chances of you having a successful, happy relationship are much higher than if he doesn’t display them. The point is that Mr.right’ is a man who is going to make you happy for years to come, and if he doesn’t make you happy right now, then he probably won’t make you happy in the future. Listen up, you've been warned!  Go now and find the happiness that you deserve with the one that you've been waiting for! Happy Hunting!!

Need more relationship advice? Hit us up in our comment section or send your questions to  Do it before its too late or you make that mistake!

No comments: