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01/15/2008

Pete first out of MRSA-blame gate

by Jeremy Hooper

StaphnolaghWell, we knew it was only a matter time before one of the "pro-family" types used the news that MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is being found at higher rates within urban gay men to demonize gays in general; we just didn't know who would be the first on board. Peter LaBarbera has now given us an answer:

Big City Homosexual Men Are Epicenter of New Virulent MRSA Staph Strain -- More evidence that homosexuality is a public health hazard [Americans For Truth]

No need to wait for more info. No need to consider that MRSA has been found in hospital environments for years. No need to consider that it is passed by skin-to-skin contact, with the sex element only considered within the past year (and thus still thoroughly unexplored). No need to consider that one of the other places where MRSA is commonly found is within schools (those immoral kids!). No, no -- just go ahead and throw stones at one specific microcosm that is dealing with a germ, rather than throw science at the germ itself!

Ugh. If you're really that nostalgic for those heady days in which your "loving" team rushed to stigmatize rather than control a potential pandemic, go swap "culture war" stories with the rest of the folks on your self-erected moral pedestals, Pete. But please, leave the medical issues to those who are interested in saving lives, not "saving souls."

**UPDATE: Coming in at a close second in the MRSA blame game is the Concerned Women For America's Matt Barber: Choice quotes from Matt's missive:

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"In recent years our culture has adopted a laissez faire attitude toward sexual deviancy. Television shows like Will and Grace glorify the homosexual lifestyle while our children are taught in schools that homosexuality is a perfectly healthy, alternative sexual 'orientation.' 'Stay out of our bedrooms!' we're often commanded by militant 'gay' activists.

"Well, now the dangerous and possibly deadly consequence of what occurs in those bedrooms is spilling over into the general population. It's not only frightening, it's infuriating.

"Citizens, especially parents, need to stand up and say, 'No More! We will no longer sit idly by while politically correct cultural elites endanger our children and larger communities through propagandist promotion of this demonstrably deadly lifestyle.'

Well if it's affecting the gays, then so be it. But the GENERAL POPULATION!?!?! REVOLT!!!!!

::sigh:: Get ready, kids. A decency-resistant strain of demonization is rapidly coming down the pipe!

Epidemic Feared - 'Gays' May Spread Deadly Staph Infection to General Population [Christian Newswire]

**UPDATE2: And now the kids at Free Republic have weighed in:

200801151758

And here we didn't think it was possible for them to hate anything more than Hillary!

**UPDATE3: HRC prez Joe Solmonese has issued the following quote in reaction to Matt Barbers' press release:

"We've come to expect hysteria and gross distortions from an organization like this and normally their bigoted rants don't even warrant a response. But the statement today about MRSA is beyond the pale. In typical fashion, they disregard the facts and instead chose to demagogue the issue in order to fear-monger. Serious medical issues deserve serious consideration, not wildly off-the-mark press releases from anti-gay groups trying to capture media attention.

We saw this kind of hysteria in the early 1980's around HIV/AIDS, I'll be damned if we will sit idly by in 2008 and let them perpetrate that type of anti-gay hysteria without calling them out on it.
"

***UPDATE, 1/16: Pete and Matt have committed their nuttiness to audio:

Audio: Antibiotic-resitant gay hate [G-A-Y]

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper


Your thoughts

Perhaps we could send this article to Pete ...

http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Health/2008/01/14/gay_couples_an_example_to_straight_couples/6883/

:)

Posted by: Shane | Jan 15, 2008 5:16:58 PM

Totally agree with you Jeremy. Pete wouldn't have posted that entry if he had the staph infection himself and knew what every other gay or straight person who has been infected by the MRSA had to deal with. The virus doesn't discriminate against anybody, just like the HIV virus.

I also noticed that he didn't seem to highlight this on his website. Maybe he's still working on highlighting ALL of the facts but I seriously doubt it. Just by taking a shower and using ordinary soap after sex will minimize the chances of being infected significantly. Also, keeping wounds clean will also lower the chances.

Pete. if you are going to highlight the facts of your quoted articles, you should highlight ALL of the facts. All this lying is making your hair fall out.

Posted by: Sam | Jan 15, 2008 5:29:16 PM

I'm waiting for Tony Perkins to jump on this along with CWA and Focus just as they all did a year or so ago about an outbreak of a super-strain of HIV found in gay men. When the all the facts came to light and it was shown there was no such thing and the strain was isolated to one man in NYC, Tony et al. were silent. Not a retraction, an apology. Nothing

As long as the story demonizes us, they are all over it. When it is proven that the story was b.s. they keep their mouths shut.

Posted by: Jon-Marc | Jan 15, 2008 5:40:12 PM

Jon-Marc: Tony Perkins' "Washington Update" comes out around 6 every night, so we shall soon see.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 15, 2008 5:45:26 PM

The sad thing is, having read the study itself, I really don't see how or why sex is even being discussed as a specifically dangerous transmitter of this bacteria. The researchers note that the rate of infection among men who have sex with men, and among people who live in zip codes where there are high proportions of men who have sex with men, is much higher than in the rest of the city.

Now, clearly gay men have no special risk factor for bacterial infections spread by casual contact. But for some reason the rate of infection is higher. Certainly some gay men have a lot of sex with other gay men, which could spread this bacteria, but I bet there's a much less deviant reason. Men who have sex with men and live in the Castro have a high tendency to go to the gym, and to use the same set of gyms. Gyms are already known to be very good places to catch these infections.

It is entirely possible that the outbreak of these bacteria outside of the hospital (which, btw, is a concern across the country, not just in gay neighborhoods) hit a few gay men (possibly health care workers, which is an industry that is seen to have a high proportion of gay men - I know because I work in health care) and they spread it through their gym(s).

Posted by: CPT_Doom | Jan 15, 2008 8:20:59 PM

CPT_Doom: You are absolutely right. To me, it is a no brainer that anything passed via casual contact is going to explode within any microcosm in which close physical contact is more likely. Schools. Hospitals. And yes, the gay community, which does have a collective culture that reaches bar beyond the bedroom.

The way this is being reported by even the mainstream media (much less by Matt, Peter, et al.) seems VERY inappropriate.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 15, 2008 8:34:01 PM

Man, I wish the homophobes weren't exploiting this -- for one simple reason, really, which is that the reaction to them ("nothing is wrong!") is going to be incredibly damaging. People who were around in the '80s might remember a similar reaction happening then.

It seems fairly clear to me that the spread of this bacteria is happening in the Castro for the same reasons that HIV rates in the castro are shockingly high (and, indeed, that HIV first spread in the U.S. among gay men) -- guys having unprotected sex. The solution, which is very simple, is to use condoms (for example, by refraining from using drugs that'll make you do stupid things).

Posted by: Ben Yates | Jan 15, 2008 9:15:34 PM

Ben: Nobody's saying "nothing is wrong." We're saying that THEY are wrong to use this as an opportunity to demonize gays.

And while promiscuity (and therefore more physical skin-skin contact) would increase chances of one coming in contact with a MRSA carrier, and while everyone should practice safe sex, you would seem to be wrong about the condoms on this one. This is not an STD.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 15, 2008 9:48:30 PM

Well, practically everything is an STD if given the chance of body fluid exchange. So while it's not exclusively an STD, it may easily have a route of sexual transmission. Sex - gay, straight, what have you - is a very effective way of introducing pathogens directly into the bloodstream, because the genitalia and anus are especially delicate and rich with blood vessels. Indeed, both heterosexual and MSM (men who have sex with men) activity has been implicated in this.

With this said, it is infuriatingly simplistic, unscientific, and cold-hearted to fault the gay, specifically the MSM, community. The USA300 strand has been found in the homeless population, the prison population, and the IV drug user population prior to the discovery of the spike of USA300 in the MSM populations of LA, NY, SF, and Boston. Acknowledging that the aforementioned populations and the MSM populations are not necessarily mutually exclusive, this is suggestive of an environmental mode of transmission as well as a sexual or blood-borne mode. It is vital that everyone do everything in his or her power to prevent the spread of this disease, so condoms are definitely a good idea, as is a shower after sexual contact.

Posted by: marie s | Jan 16, 2008 1:00:29 AM

Condoms are a good idea, period. But nowhere have I seen it indicated the efficacy they would have in preventing the transmission of this superbug. I guess unless anyone has some sort of definitive evidence (and Marie, you do seem knowledgeable), then I would be wary of giving folks the impression that condoms are a way to drastically reduce this sort of transmission.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 16, 2008 7:03:19 AM

Actually, acquiring MRSA through sexual contact is easier than previously thought, but for heterosexuals as well as gays.

According to USA Today newspaper, "A virulent, drug-resistant form of staph bacteria that has spread across the USA since it was identified in 2000 can be spread by sexual activity, a mode of transmission that is 'important and previously unrecognized,' a new study says...Scientists at Columbia University Medical Center, reporting in the Feb. 1 issue of Clinical Infections Diseases, identified three cases in which the bacterial known as community-associated MRSA passed between sexual partners."

The newspaper article went on to say, "The spread of MRSA through sexual activity has been seen by emergency room doctors, says James Roberts of Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia. In a letter published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine in January, he reported treating a lap dancer for MRSA infections on her buttocks. 'She relayed that other lap dancers at her club had similar problems, considered a known occupational hazard by the women,' he wrote."

Fortunately, four recent medical studies have demonstrated that an inexpensive and completely natural substance called colloidal silver literally decimates MRSA infections. You can read a very interesting report that summarizes all four studies at http://www.ColloidalSilverCuresMRSA.com

Posted by: Spencer Jones | Aug 6, 2008 3:00:07 AM

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