Greg and Jonathan’s Crate and Barrel Wedding

No, I’m not getting married- another Greg is marrying Jonathan, and they’re finalists in Crate and Barrel’s Ultimate Wedding Contest-

“Boy meets boy, boy falls for boy, and boys get engaged. The pure existence of our love is not always accepted. We had to deal with hatred from outsiders and support one another in recovery. Our love story involves the evolution of the meaning of love and the perseverance that allowed two people such as us to openly experience happiness. We knew that we were right for each other from the start, we knew that we would always be by one another’s sides and that as best friends we could truly experience our love openly.”

Who couldn’t support that? Sigh….  Vote for them here. I did…

CPG

I spent the last few days in Helena with the State of Montana Community Planning Group for the prevention of HIV (CPG). We spent a lot of time with data, planning and discussing the rising infection rates among MSM in the state. I think my concerns about the epidemic becoming very large here in the next few years was heard, and I hammered home the new CDC prioritization of MSM as THE population in most dire need of outreach, education, prevention and treatment efforts. There’s more Montana-specific information here.

So many good people there. I really love to be there and learn from so many others’ experiences. I really know nothing about prisons, intravenous drug use, gynecological issues, Hep C- but there are people there who are experts, and they take the time to teach me and answer my questions.

There’s hope folks….

Blogswarm- Rights are Right!

The Bilerico folks (of which I’m one) are blogswarming today about The Employment Non-Descrimination Act (ENDA). The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, first introduced in 1994, would prohibit job discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. But LGBT people have never been able to achieve the enactment of the bill, known by the acronym of “ENDA”.

Read Dr Jillian Weiss’ article here. Then, my friends, do something to help. Repost this. Call Pelosi. Pray. It all helps.

Thanks.

Happy St Patrick’s Day…

or, as a friend says, “Amateur Night.”

Be safe out there.

Demands

Can I sit?
Don’t ask me to,
I want to do it myself.

But if I sit,
Will I lose the
Dignity of standing?

Is it dignity
To stand or is it
The stance of power?

And power can be
Non-corrupt.
Loaves and fishes, yes?

And that seated,
Powerful people both
Create and destroy, no?

Yes, I will sit, thank you.
No apocalypse or miracles, though.
I just want to rest.

~D Gregory Smith

Maybe This Will Work

The stats from my previous post seem to be slowly hitting the blogosphere- still no mention from all the other mainline LGBT bloggers or organizations, but I’m optimistic- it’s gradually happening.

We’re getting some amazing and thought-filled comments on the post over at Bilerico.

It has been reposted by Brody Levesque to help round out the discussion on his site.

LifeLube has an excellent post trying to make sense of it all.

Cross your fingers and do your part. We’re in trouble.

U.S. Gay Men’s Astonishing HIV/STD Rates

New CDC data for 2010: (My commentary now on Bilerico)

March 10, 2010
Contact: Julie Scofield (NASTAD)202.434.8090 or 202.455.2558

Contact:  Bill Smith (NCSD) 202.550.2546 or

Murray Penner (NASTAD) 202.434.8090 or 202.725.6762

Groundbreaking Analyses Reveal Astonishing Rates of HIV and STDs
Among America’s Gay Men

Washington, DC–  Today, at the National STD Prevention Conference in Atlanta, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data that underscore the nation’s ongoing struggle to halt the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States (U.S.).  The data indicate that rates of HIV infection among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are more than 44 times higher than rates among heterosexual men and more than 40 times higher than women. Rates of syphilis, an STD that can facilitate HIV infection and if left untreated, may lead to sight loss and severe damage to the nervous system, are reported to be more than 46 times higher among gay men and other MSM than among heterosexual men and more than 71 times higher than among women.

“These rates, when coupled with existing data indicating that gay and bisexual men make up the majority of new HIV and syphilis infections, are further evidence that prevention for gay and bisexual men of all races must be our highest priority at all levels,” said Julie M. Scofield, Executive Director of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD).  “It is time to value the lives of gay men in our communities.  They are fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, colleagues and friends, and it is time to fight for their lives,” continued Scofield.

Despite the high rates revealed in the data released today, federal support for HIV and STD prevention has faltered.  Over the last decade, federal funding for domestic HIV prevention to health departments has  been cut by $23 million and STD prevention efforts, when adjusted for inflation, have 22 percent less funding compared to seven years ago.

“This new data is a clarion call to deal with the persistent neglect of the health of gay and bisexual men across the country,” said William Smith, Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD).  “Thankfully, the President has recognized the situation and called for increased resources for HIV and STD prevention efforts for MSM.  Now it is Congress’ turn and they need to expand upon the President’s request.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, men as a whole are less likely to use the health care system than women and often seek care when they are experiencing critical health problems.  In gay communities, men who do not access health care may not know they are infected with HIV or an STD, thus compromising their own health status.  The persistence of stigma and homophobia compounds the situation still further.

In this time of economic decline, health departments and their communities are bending under the weight of these public health crises.  NASTAD and NCSD call on policy makers across the U.S. to provide leadership to stop the unnecessary spread of HIV and STDs by ensuring all gay men have access to preventive services, know their status and, when positive, are linked to quality care and treatment.

Founded in 1992, NASTAD is a nonprofit national association of state and territorial health department HIV/AIDS program directors who have programmatic responsibility for administering HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis health care, prevention, education, and supportive services programs funded by state and federal governments. For more information, visit www.NASTAD.org.

Founded in 1996, NCSD is a nonprofit national association of state, territorial and local health department STD program directors who have programmatic responsibility for administering STD prevention and control programs funded by state and federal governments.  For more information, visit www.NCSDDC.org.