Category Archives: Uncategorized

What would all of you like to talk about?

So I apologize for not updating this blog more frequently.  Part of the problem has been medical school is super time consuming.  But I have noticed that roughly about 30 people come to this blog daily.  I want to write about things and topics that are relevant to readers around the globe.  So what specific things would you like discussed/written about relating to MSM and HIV?  Please leave a comment on items that you would like to see discussed.

“Yes SIR Give me HIV SIR”: Leather and HIV

So on a whim, I recently googled “Leather and HIV”.  For those readers not aware of what leather has to do with homosexuality or MSM, in the gay (and heterosexual) community, there exists a subset of individuals who gather pleasure from dressing in erotic leather (i.e. chaps, harnesses) and having consensual sex with other leatherphiles.  Usually the sex will consist of individuals taking either a dominant or passive role playing “master” and “slave”.   In many large gay cities there is usually a “leather bar” where people with such interests can meet like minded people.  Here in DC, there is the DC Eagle.

The first hit was a recent study entitled HIV in the Leather Community: Rates and Risk-Related Behaviors The link to this article has the full text.   Interestingly, according to this study leathermen were 61% more likely to be HIV positive than non-leathermen.    The study also found that combined, HIV-negative and HIVpositive Leathermen were less likely to use condoms during receptive anal intercourse than non-Leathermen.  The same trend was found for insertive anal intercourse.   Additionally, role seemed to matter.  Combined, HIV-negative and HIV-positive leathermen who self labeled as “submissive” were less likely than those who self labeled as non-submissives to use condoms.

So next time you are hanging out at the leather bar, some food for thought.  I’d be interested to see some future studies.

HIV in the Leather Community: Rates and Risk-Related
Behaviors

What’s a ‘circuit party’ and how does it relate to HIV?

So recently, while doing a little internet stalking of a new fellow colleague,  I came across his MySpace profile, publicly available to all.  In it, (obviously not updated for some time) it said that he “likes circuit parties”.  Upon sharing this news I was shocked to hear two heterosexual female colleagues inquire “What’s a circuit party?”

Wikipedia provides a good definition: a large dance event, extending through a night and into the following day, almost always with a number of affiliated events in the days leading up to and following the main event. The article also states “Circuit parties have been blamed for the spread of methamphetamine abuse and the rise in transmission of STDs, particularly HIV, among North American gay men.” Perusing the site Justcircuit.com provides some information about circuit parties for the uninitiated, but also shows that the “circuit scene” is still going and strong. Much like the raves of old, crystal meth, ecstasy, ketamine, alcohol, GHB and almost anything else is available at such parties.

As someone who has attended circuit parties in the past (by no means am I a circuit boy – someone who goes to every party  on the circuit throughout the year and travels to do so, staying in hotels, flying, etc. almost as a full time job)  I can absolutely attest that they are breeding grounds for HIV (and other sexually transmitted diseases).  In the past (I can’t speak to the present), drugs were freely available and shirtless men were abundant.  It’s quite easy in an intoxicated haze, in let’s say Montreal at the infamous Black and Blue party, to meet a boy, have drugged unprotected sex, and proceed to party.  According to a recent study, only a small percentage of man surveyed report having safe anal sex at a circuit party (and a whopping majority responded that they have used recreational drugs)

Although a number of these parties including the White Party and Cherry in Washington DC benefits HIV service organizations, I cannot find any HIV prevention services (including outreach and testing) offered at these events.  Anyone have any examples? The same study referenced above, posits several strategies that could be useful to prevent HIV at circuit parties, including the obvious of provision of condoms,  and education pre-party about the effective of psychoactive drugs on sexual decision making.

Be safe if you plan to party and take care of your body!