Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012
News for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Physicians
"Sexting" may indicate gay teens at increased sexual risk
Rather than an alternative to "real world" sexual behavior, it appears that "sexting"—sending sexually explicit cell phone messages—may actually indicate the behavior extends beyond the virtual realm, according to an article published recently in the journal Pediatrics.
Eric Rice and colleagues studying 1,839 heterosexual and gay students in Los Angeles high school found that 15 percent acknowledged sexting themselves, and 54 percent reported knowing someone who had sexted. Non-heterosexual students were also more likely to report sexting and unprotected sex at their last sexual encounter.
These findings highlight the importance of broaching the subject with young patients at risk. "Clinicians discuss sexting as an adolescent-friendly way of engaging patients in conversations about sexual activity, prevention of sexually transmitted infections, and unwanted pregnancy," the authors write. They also believe sexting should be discussed as a part of students' sexual health curricula.
The AMA offers a video resource on the best practices for taking a sexual history.
Thursday is National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
The fifth annual National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day will be observed Thursday, a solemn event organized by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA). The day is an important reminder that men who have sex with men accounted for 49 percent of people living with HIV at the end of 2008 and continue to be at risk for the disease.
In a story by the Washington Blade, NAPWA President Frank Oldham Jr. said homophobia, racism and socio-economic status within communities of color remain barriers in preventing the spread of HIV.
"Today we have an opportunity as gay men to talk about homophobia as a barrier, being open, being out and saying to people get tested, know your status," Oldham said. "But also we have an opportunity to prevent new infections and we need to be part of the solution."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 594,000 Americans have died from AIDS since the first cases were reported in 1981. The NAPWA will host a daylong conference Friday in downtown Washington, D.C., featuring panels on gay men and HIV/AIDS policy, the impact of the Affordable Care Act on those with HIV/AIDS.