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Houston Voice, No. 1099, November 16, 2001
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Houston Voice, No. 1099, November 16, 2001 - File 010. 2001-11-16. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. October 20, 2019. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/781/show/761.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2001-11-16). Houston Voice, No. 1099, November 16, 2001 - File 010. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/781/show/761

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 1099, November 16, 2001 - File 010, 2001-11-16, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed October 20, 2019, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/781/show/761.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 1099, November 16, 2001
Contributor
  • Weaver, Penny
  • Crain, Chris
Publisher Window Media
Date November 16, 2001
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 010
Transcript HOUSTON VOICE • NOVEMBER 16, 2001 NEWS AOL denies plan to post chat room warnings Internet giant is working with CDC on public service announcements for 'appropriate areas/ not necessarily chat rooms, top officials say by LAURA DOUGLAS-BROWN Internet giant America Online says reports of plans to post warnings about sexually transmitted diseases in some chat rooms are "not wholly accurate," a company official said this week. AOL has not agreed to post STD information specifically in chat rooms, said Richard Socarides, a gay vice president of corporate relations for AOL/Time Warner. "We are continuing to work with the [Centers for Disease Control] on public service announcements on the issue of STDs, and we are continuing to look at what are appropriate areas on the AOL service and elsewhere across our publications," said Socarides, who formerly served as White House gay liaison under former President Bill Clinton. Socarides said possible "appropriate areas" for STD information on AOL include the services, health, gay and lesbian, and women's channels. As for posting the information in chat rooms, "I wouldn't say we have ruled it out, but I wouldn't read anything into that," he said. Socarides' comments this week are consistent with information he told Houston Voice for an Oct. 12 article on concerns over gay chat rooms. AOL did not have plans then to post messages in the chat rooms per se, Socarides said. But in a report published the same day, the Dallas Voice, a gay newspaper in that city not affiliated with Houston Voice, reported that AOL would post information about STDs in some gay and heterosexual chat rooms on the service. The Dallas Voice attributed the information to AOL spokesperson Andrew Weinstein. Socarides' said this week that the report was "not wholly accurate," but Dallas Voice Editor Dennis Vercher said his paper stands by the story. Weinstein "was familiar with the issue from the start and gave those responses pretty much off the cuff," Vercher said. Weinstein said Wednesday that he told the Dallas newspaper that AOL would post public service announcements, but he didn't specify in what areas. "I didn't say they were going in the chat rooms, but I didn't say they weren't. I didn't say either way," Weinstein told Houston Voice. Concern over STD transmission through Internet chat rooms became a topic of debate after Jeffrey Klausner, a top official with San Francisco's Department of Public Health, raised concerns about an outbreak of syphilis among gay men he said has been traced to the AOL chat room SFM4M. When the outbreak first occurred in 1999, Klausner said he considered asking for a court order to force AOL to disclose names of the chat rooms users so they could be contacted. The solution came in a suggestion from AOL, which put the San Francisco department in touch with PlanetOut, an online ser vice for gays. AOL allowed PlanetOut Volunteers to visit the chat rooms to provide information to users. Klausner has continued to push AOL to post general warnings about syphilis in the SFM4M room, as Internet outreach has become an increasingly popular tool for safer sex outreach. HIV organizations in cities including Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans and San Francisco say they are using screen names such as "HIV Info" to enter chat rooms and provide education to chat participants. Some activists, meanwhile, have accused the educators of privacy violations. Klausner said Monday that he continues to encourage AOL to post information in SFM4M. But "there has been no specific plans told to me by AOL to do direct notification and awareness efforts in the chat room," Klausner said. Meanwhile, a meeting between the Centers for Disease Control &: Prevention and other public health officials about transmission of sexually transmitted diseases through encounters arranged on the Internet has been rescheduled, apparently in the wake of the nation's anthrax scare. "A new date has not been set for the meeting, however, it will be rescheduled when all key state, local and other officials can attend," said Mary McFarlane, a research behavioral scientist at CDC's National Center for HIV, STD & TB Prevention. America Online was not part of the planned meeting, Socarides said, although AOL is engaged in "active discussions" with the CDC about appropriate language for public service announcements. Reports that America Online plans to post STD information in chat rooms are not accurate, according to Richard Socarides, vice president of corporate relations for AOL/Time Warner. America Online P.O. Box 29521 New York, NY 10097 1-888-265-8003 www.aol.com People with syphilis more at risk for HIV, health experts say > Continued from Page 1 In Texas, unlike California and other areas in the nation, health officials do not report a link between gay chat rooms and the increase in cases of syphilis. Paffel said that at least in Houston, it is more likely that the STD is spread by men who have sex with men after meeting in places other than a chat room, such as bars or bathhouses. "There are some pickup sites on the Internet that I think have been referenced a couple of times," Paffel said of information his office has gathered from gay patients. "I haven't seen a big relationship with that." The Houston Department of Health & Human Services (HDHHS) reported an increase in new syphilis infections among gay men early this year. That trend has continued, Paffel said this week. Reported new infections between May and October this year totaled 23, compared to 28 such cases of early syphilis among gay men the first four months of the year. That contrasts with 18 such cases reported last year total between January and October, according to Paffel. "In the gay community specifically, it's been going kind of up and down," Paffel said. "Right now we're still at a higher level than we're comfortable with and really need to be aggressive to get the word out for people to use precautions. It's still there." Of particular concern to health officials is the rate of syphilis co-infection with HIV among gay men. Paffel said people who are infected with syphilis are at an increased risk of HIV infection. "The syphilis chancre sores make the risk of HIV infection two to five times higher," he noted. Both diseases can be prevented through safer sex practices such as condom use, reducing the number of sexual partners and eliminating high-risk sexual practices, health experts said. Paffel encourages gay men to be mindful of symptoms of syphilis and to refer their sexual partners to health care officials if they discover they are infected. Health experts in Houston and across the state are combating the increase in STDs through traditional methods such as talking to the media and posting fliers, posters and other items in high-traffic places such as bars or book stores. "We try and get some visibility in [putting] promotional items out into the community where folks might congregate," Paffel said. "We're also trying to alert the medical providers that cater to gay men." He noted that health professionals sometimes need to be reminded that patients who test positive for HIV do not necessarily abstain from having sex. A main ally for the HDHHS in the local health education campaign is the Montrose Clinic, which provides free testing for syphilis, Paffel added. Syphilis is caused by the bacterium Treponema Pallidum, and transmission occurs when the uninfected partner has contact with the infected partner's painless lesion, which is often located in the genital, anal or mouth area. The newly infected person will develop lesions about three weeks later, according to health officials. The disease is treated with antibiotics. Left untreated, however, the infection progresses to the secondary phase, in which one or more areas of the skin break into a non-itchy rash. Secondary syphilis symptoms also include fever, swollen lymph glands, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches and fatigue. If the case remains untreated, health experts caution, the patient's symptoms will disappear but the disease will continue to cause damage. Montrose Clinic 215 Westheimer 713-830-3000 [•J Texas Department of Health Bureau of HIV and STD Prevention 1100 West 49th St. Austin, TX 78756 512-490-2515 www.tdh.state.tx.us
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