Friday, July 17, 2009

Is Honesty the Best Policy?

Here is an unfortunate example of political correctness provided by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I understand (sort of) putting a happy face on when describing something horrible. But there are limits. We are dealing with adults here. In order to prevent disease, isn't honesty, even if it is painful and unfair, mandatory? How happy a face can you put on a person dying a slow painful death?
Since HIV/AIDS in MSM was first diagnosed 1981, gay and bisexual men have been leaders in dealing with the challenges of the epidemic. Gay organizations and activists, through their work, have contributed greatly to many of the guidelines for prevention, treatment, and the care of people living with HIV/AIDS.
There is a reason for that, isn't there?
For complex reasons, HIV/AIDS continues to take a high toll on the MSM population.
No, the reasons are not complex at all. AIDS is spread by men . . . oops, I mean people, (no sexual profiling here) . . . getting buggered by strangers. Or should I say, that's how it was originally spread, for as we are told,
MSM made up more than two thirds (68%) of all men living with HIV in 2005, even though only about 5% to 7% of men in the United States reported having sex with other men.
Now that it's worked its way into other subgroups, there are other ways for HIV/AIDS to spread. However, AIDS still strikes mostly at gay men for the simple reason that buggery leads to greater internal damage than other forms of sex and so lets the HIV/AIDS virus into the body. Some parts of our bodies are built for sex. Others aren't and so may be damaged when things that shouldn't be inserted, are inserted. That's not very complex.

I'm not trying to demonize anyone here. A long time ago, when AIDS first hit, I had some acquaintances who died from it. They used to come into the bar where I worked. Yes, they were gay men. I don't know how promiscuous they were, I never asked.

One day, one of our waiters came in and complained that he was so tired that he wasn't sure he could make it through the night. He'd spent the day scoring with four other men. The rest of us, gay and straight, had a good laugh at his predicament, and that was the joke of the night. Looking back though, I wonder if he lived out the 1980's. We could probably put a politically correct happy face on his episode (although I'm sure he had a happy face until he had to come into work) and . . . and . . . well, I'm sure somebody could.

There was a lot we didn't know then. One thing I know now, is that, some men still engage in that kind of behavior. Some don't. I've known gay men who have been in long term monogamous relationships.

Rather than put a happy face on AIDS deaths, shouldn't we tell the truth in a straight and forceful manner to let these young fools know that they are living dangerously? Personally, I have very little sympathy for people who want to play, but think they can avoid the consequences. It won't get everyone, but it will get some. The least we can do is help by being honest.

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At 8:20 PM, Blogger MightyMom said...

Okay...between a new use (to me) of the word "buggery" and "Some parts of our bodies are built for sex. Others aren't and so may be damaged when things that shouldn't be inserted, are inserted" you had me laughing out loud!

now, as a nurse let me add to your tale of woe and intentional misperception my the media who is NOT targeting the target audience for this disease. (you follow me there?)

I had a patient week before last. 26 year old male, gay. in Feb of this year he went to the hospital with pneumonia....while there was diagnosed HIV/AIDS. He came to us for a rectal wound that got infected and he needed IV antibiotics so he's been in our hosp for a couple months. While here his vision started getting hazy. Turns out he also has CMV which is causing retinal detachment.

Need a roadmap?

The only thing he's missing is Karposi's Sarcoma.

He's TWENTY-SIX. Odds are he won't see 27. Definitely won't see 28.

While in the hospital he has a visitor...he's talking to the visitor while his nurse is in the room (I don't know WHY people assume we're all deaf unless they want somthing!!) He and his visitor are talking about their various sexual encounters....patient then said "I used to be promiscuous, but I'm not gonna do THAT anymore!! I learned my lesson!"

a lesson learned too late.

At 8:01 PM, Blogger Harry said...

Mighty Mom,

That is a funny story - in a sad sort of way. I'd like to feel sorry for your patient, but we've known about how HIV/AIDS spreads for years. It sounds like there are a lot of things he won't be doing anymore.

I think an awful lot of us 9me included) learn best by experience, you know, getting kicked in the teeth after doing something we know is stupid, but there is a limit of stupidity for most of us. When you're playing with you life, as your patient did, you're pushing the envelope kind of far and crossing the line into real stupidity.

At 5:00 AM, Blogger MightyMom said...

yeah, well, we..the nursing staff taking care of him...don't know whether to laugh or cry...mostly we just shake our heads at the continued stupidity of folks.

and the MSM doesn't help us educate the public at all. They're more interested in creating a mass frenzy over things that will only marginally effect the USA..if at all...see swine/avian flus, among other things.

I've STILL got patients who refuse vaccinations because they think vaccines cause problems (everyone's fav is autism) despite tons and tons of evidence to the contrary and only ONE doctor's anecdotal assumption in support. (and remember, I have TWO autistic children). Result? we've starting having kids DIE from whooping chough~~you know, Pertussis...that disease we'd almost wiped out by the use of the DTaP vaccine....sigh.

yeah, it'd be funny if it wasn't so sad.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Mrs. C said...

MM, beat ya I have THREE autistic children (go meee!) so I completely understand what it's like to deal with the crazy-o Jenny McCarthy types who don't listen to reason. I know where you are coming from on some of the more... idiotic claims of people like this, leading well-meaning parents astray so they can make money on books and biomed treatments.

BUT I wouldn't equate refusing a vaccine with having anal sex, by a long shot. (I hope that's not what you meant in terms of doing something stupid, and then reaping the "consequences.")

I myself was fully vaccinated and then some (international travel). I still got a medically documented case of measles in college.

Maybe it's time to stop blaming unvaccinated people every time there is an outbreak. First, outbreaks are caused by viruses, not "lack of vaccination," and second, I think we can all at least acknowledge that the vaccine industry has not been the most forthright in the last 50 years or so. How much *should* we trust these people? And the more they circle the wagons and deny that there are problems, the more people like Jenny McCarthy get "clout" and trust.

I don't blame anyone for being distrustful of the vaccine industry or the CDC. Why do they have to print in bold letters everywhere on websites and parent brochures that VACCINES ARE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE (like they were effective for me? HA!), but it takes a medical license to be able to understand the fine print that tells you, no, they're not. They're just more than likely safER than taking your chances with a virus for the AVERAGE person. Who's average?

And what's with vaccinating infants with Hep B? So yes, I think there is room for a questioning and caring parent to refuse vaccines.

I myself *have* given my children the DTaP, but only becuase *I* have evaluated the *available* information and concluded that that was the safest choice at present. It doesn't mean I fully trust those BUGGERS at the CDC or at Merck, etc. And I don't trust my doctor fully, either, if he gets a bonus from MY INSURANCE COMPANY for good vax rates in his patients.

Just saying.


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