Sunday, January 27, 2008

The New AIDS

Fools who, in their ignorance, bask
and, in their prejudice, never ask
for truth as painted by their prey,
hark! Your deathbed calls today!

In a rather unfortunate set of circumstances, I have woken up late most of the past week. Late enough to cause me self-inflicted grief at work but also late enough for me to catch the morning paper, which is reportedly delivered to our house around nine in the morning. Those moments were rather surreal as I relaxedly read the papers, sipped my morning coffee and enjoyed the sunshine while, in the office, the clock ticks down every second of my tardiness.

One of the articles I've read had a headline, "School links new strain of staph to gays, the clarifies." As a member of the homosexual population and rather concerned with my physiological well-being, I read the article.

A team of researchers led by doctors from the University of California at San Francisco announced that gay men were several times more likely than other people to acquire a new strain of staphylococus, a potentially lethal bacteria known as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) USA300. The study, published in online in the Annals of Internal Medicine, was quickly picked up by unscrupulous journalists, including a New York tabloid, which dubbed it as the new HIV. The following is a screen capture from Canada's CTV site:

Other anti-gay groups, like the Conservative Women for America, have seized this tidbit of misinformation and issues a release citing the "sexual deviancy" of gay men as leading to AIDS, syphilis and gonorrhea. As we all know, heterosexuality guarantees immunity to STD and anything that does not involve a penis and a vagina, like masturbation, for example, is "sexually deviant". Indeed, if you're gay, even if you're still a virgin, you're doomed to a life of AIDS, syphilis and gonorrhea. In the afterlife, you still won't get any respite and... well, you get the picture. Doomed, I say!

Fortunately though, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, which helped finance the study, issued an apology and a vital clarification: the bacteria spreads through any kind of skin-to-skin contact, sexual or nonsexual, regardless of sexuality.

Like any skin-contact transmitted disease, the MRSA USA300 can be transmitted during the intimate moments of intercourse, unless you and your partner(s) happened to be dressed for the occasion. There were no reports yet of the bacteria being transmitted by leather whips, handcuffs, chains or ropes but I guess it pays to be careful anyway. Thankfully, though, washing up with soap and water after close physical contact easily prevents the disease in most cases.

I'd like to repeat, for the sake of my hard-headed brethren out there (pardon the pun), condoms do not prevent the transmission of MRSA USA300; it is not your universal shield. It is, however, no valid excuse to do away with safer sexual practices. Anyway, what I'd like to say is that after every happy moment, remember to soap up. It's interestingly slippery, if you catch my drift *wink, wink*

Oh, what the heck. Just be sure to take a bath at least once a day.

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