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March 31st, 2010

“The Clap” is becoming The Applause!

After living with HIV infection for nearly 30 years, the thought of acquiring an STD like gonorrhea makes me feel… nostalgic. But my flip attitude may be put to the test by a recent report at the Society for General Microbiology’s spring meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland.

applauseAccording to Catherine Ison, a microbiologist with the Health Protection Agency in London, the multi-drug resistance of the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhea is threatening to make the STD (which can infect not only the male and female genital regions, but also the mouth, throat and eyes) hard to treat. “The current drugs of choice, ceftriaxone and cefixime, are still very effective,” Ison said in a statement, “but there are signs that resistance particularly to cefixime is emerging and soon these drugs may not be a good choice.”

gonorrhea2Untreated gonorrhea can also lead to serious problems in both sexes and can spread to the blood and joints — a potentially life-threatening condition. Pregnant women can pass the disease onto their fetuses leading to blindness, joint infection, or a life-threatening blood infection in babies, according to the CDC. The disease can cause infertility in both sexes.

Although gay men may not be as concerned about fertility, imagine if you will the sharp, burning pain sufferers experience during urination. Now imagine it won’t go away because drugs can’t treat it. And then your eyes and joints start acting up.

It’s another great reason for sexually active gay men to consider condoms, even as the “crisis mentality” of AIDS diminishes. That’s life: just as we get an exotic horror show like AIDS in check, some Golden Oldie like the clap reminds us we’re never really out of the woods.

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2 Responses to ““The Clap” is becoming The Applause!”

  1. Robert Meek Says:

    March 31st, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Yes, we were never really “out of the wood,” ’tis true.

    What comes to my mind is this: I started my 2-year ADN community college RN-nursing schooling in 1979: took all of my non-nursing mandatory electives and such. General Psy, Statistics, Economics, etc. From 1980-1982, I did my ADN studies & graduated.

    The CDC discovered PCP in 1981. In 1982, the term GRID was born and switched late that same year to AIDS.

    But the fact is, to us young brand new RNs, a then closeted terrified gay young man (me), etc., we knew NOTHING about it AT ALL.

    We heard NOTHING.

    By 1986-87, we knew, for sure. I had MY first AIDS patient then. This was pre-lab testing days. Diagnosis was based on advanced symptoms.

    Suddenly, we, me and my peers, were TERRIFIED.

    We had coped with hepatitis, all forms of STDs, TB, etc. But this was the FIRST time we saw something that we KNEW WAS CONTAGIOUS AND DEADLY, at the same time, for SURE.

    Yes, some die from hepatitis. Most don’t. Back in those days, “resistant” TB didn’t exist. It was highly treatable. And we knew things like cancer were not contagious – like TB, which was treatable.

    In other words most things that were terminal were not contagious.

    Most things that were contagious were not terminal.

    Now we had one and the same in the same at the same time staring us in the face.

    And we PANICKED.

    That is what *I* remember most about it.

  2. Robert Meek Says:

    March 31st, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    PS – I got my GRID/AIDS history from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIDS#History

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