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Houston Voice, No. 1172, April 11, 2003
File 004
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Houston Voice, No. 1172, April 11, 2003 - File 004. 2003-04-11. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. October 27, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/811/show/785.

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.

(2003-04-11). Houston Voice, No. 1172, April 11, 2003 - File 004. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/811/show/785

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. 1172, April 11, 2003 - File 004, 2003-04-11, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed October 27, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/811/show/785.

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. 1172, April 11, 2003
Contributor
  • Weaver, Penny
  • Crain, Chris
Publisher Window Media
Date April 11, 2003
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 004
Transcript HOUSTON VOICE www.houston voice.com APRIL 11, 2003 local news Health leaders warn of threat to gays Syphilis on the rise particularly among gay men, while staph outbreak seen in general population as well By PENNY WEAVER Health officios are urging awareness of a sexually transmitted disease that appears among more gay men than the general population, while downplaying the increase of another potential health risk to gay Houstonians. New statistics from the Houston Department of Health and Human Services show that infectious syphilis cases in 2002 in Houston and Harris County rose 7.5 percent overall and nearly doubled among gay and bisexual men, including those who don't identify as such, according to a health department press release. This is a particular concern for men who have sex with men (MSM), health officials note, because early symptoms of syphilis, which can be cured with antibiotics, are genital sores, which also can help transmit HIV The rise in reported cases also causes concern that it signals a rise in HIV because gay and bisexual men are increasingly practicing unsafe sex. Officials urge men engaging in anonymous unprotected sex to get immediate testing for syphilis. "Anonymous sexual encounters hamper intervention efforts," said John Paffel, STD Prevention Program manager with the department's Bureau of HTV/STD Prevention. "Without the ability to notify anonymous partners, we are unable to provide testing and treatment to sexual contacts of people with the disease." New infectious cases of syphilis — known as primary, secondary and early latent, or hidden — rose last year to 245 from 228 in 2001. The total number of syphilis cases, including people who have progressed to the late latent stage of the disease, reached 969 in 2002 in this area. Some 899 cases were reported in 2001, according to the health department. .Among gay and bisexual men, the number of new infectious syphilis cases in 2002 increased to 116, nearly double the 59 reported in 2001. The total number of syphilis cases among MSMs was 227 last year, up from 107 in 2001. The local increase mirrors that of other major U.S. cities. Last fall, federal health officials reported that a rise in syphilis cases among gay and bisexual men in a few large Houstonian Tony Dodd is prepared for a blood test by a Houston health department worker during testing hours at All Star News bookstore. A recent rise in cases of syphilis among gay men sparked owners of the bookstore to offer the location for free testing each Thursday. (Photo by Dalton DeHart) cities that surfaced last year had spread into urban and rural areas nationwide. The trend sparked prevention efforts aimed at sexually active gay men, despite a focus by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention on abstinence as the main defense against sexually transmitted diseases, according to Ron Valdiserri, deputy director of the CDC's Program for HIV, STD & TB Prevention. "The overall syphilis rate in the United States rose by 2 percent between 2000 and 2001," Valdiserri said. "The syphilis rate among men in the United States rose by 15 percent [in the same time period]." Houston health officials urge medical providers, particularly those with many gay and bisexual men as clients, to conduct risk assessments, increase testing and provide prompt treatment. Syphilis is easily treatable with antibiotics, health leaders note. Without adequate treatment, however, the disease progresses to the secondary stage when one or more areas of the skin break into a rash, usually non-itchy and typically on the palms and soles. Other second- stage symptoms include fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches and fatigue. According to the health department, syphilis often goes undetected because the signs and symptoms are misinterpreted or unnoticed. Houston staph infection outbreak under scrutiny In late February, Houston health offi- .cials reported an outbreak among Houstonians of a skin infection that began surfacing late last year among gay men in San Francisco and Los Angeles. At the time, Mark Sanders, director of clinic services for Houston's Montrose Clinic, which treats a number of gay men, said it was too early to tell if the increase in incidences of the infection was primarily among gay men. The skin condition is known as Methicillin- Resistent Staphylococcus Aureus, or MRSA, and also has been reported on the rise among gay men in Washington, D.C, and Atlanta. Wayne Bockman, MD. a Montrose Clinic physician, said the rise in MRSA does not appear to be unique to gay men. "We are seeing it. We've got several cases. Whether it's particular in gay men or not, it's too early to say," Bockman said. "What I think is happening is we're seeing MRSA in the general community. It's everybody's problem, not just gay folks." Bockman said the STD portion of the clinic has about 50 percent gay clients, and not all new incidences of staph infections are among gays. "Of the 10 cases I've got, I think three are in heterosexuals," he said. Bockman noted that other doctors, whose clients are primarily heterosexual, also have treated more cases of MRSA lately "They tell me they're seeing the same thing in their patient population," he said. "It's here but I don't think it's just in the gay community" Sanders said MRSA is treatable, even though it is more resistant to some antibiotics. "We're still seeing [more staph infections]. Some of these are getting bad." he said. "We've got some good treatment protocols in place. "It's heightening our awareness," Sanders added. According to Kathy Barton, chief of public affairs for the Houston health department, health officials still are unsure how widespread the staph infection outbreak may be. "We don't know how big the problem is." Barton said. "It's actually difficult to diagnose in many cases." An epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the cases appear to confirm earlier findings by CDC researchers that a new, undetermined factor is causing MRSA to flourish in a wider group of people, including gay men. Until the late 1990s, the pesky skin infection had been confined mostly to elderly patients in hospitals and nursing homes, CDC officials said. Health officials said MRSA can be contracted easily through casual contact. "It's a relatively easy-to-pass infection," Sanders said. "It can be spread sexually, but it can be spread in many ways." A MORE INFO Free HIV and STD testing Montrose Clinic Inc. 215 Westheimer -713-830-3000 www.montroseclinic.org ECH0S • 9610 S. Gessner Call for dates and times of services. 713-270-0369 E-mail: echos-houston(n>swbell.net Houston Health Department • HIV/STD Information Hotline • 713-794-9020 Fridays • 10 p.m.-2 am. at The Meatrack ,710 West 25'n St. 10 p.m.-l am. at EJ's and Midtowne Spa Testing done by Montrose Clinic workers Thomas Street Clinic • 9 a.m.-l p.m. 2015 Thomas St. OraSure method. Cal lor appointment • Sharon. 713W34157 Saturdays • 11 p.m.-2 a.m. at Viviana's Testing done by Montrose Clinic wortcers Sundays 9 p.m.-midnight at Club Inergy Testing done hy Montrose Clinic workers Mondays Houston Area Community Services 9 am.-noon • Jpseph-Hines Clinic ;thct 713-526-0555, ext. 231,227 or 226 Testing done by Montrose Clinic workers 8 p.m.-midnight at Keys West Testing done by Montrose Clinic worters Tuesdays Houston Area Community Services 10 a.m.-2 p.m. • Joseph-Hines Clinic 8 p.m.-midnight at Club Houston 4-8 p.m. at 611 Club Testing done by Montrose Clinic workers Wednesdays 4-8 p.m. at Mary's 9 p.m.-midnight at Ripcord 10 p.m.-l a.m. at EJ's 10 p.m.-l a.m. at Midtowne Spa Thomas Street Clinic • 9 a.m.-l p.m. Cal for aopcimtmeiit • Sharon 713-873-4157 Thursdays • 7-9 pm. • All Star News 3415 Katy Freeway • 713-869-7878 Houston Area Community Services 10 im.-2 pm. • Joseph-Hines Clinic 11 am-330 pm. • Gallery Medical Clinic 5900 North Freeway and Club Toyz from 9 pm.-midnight. 4-8 p.m. at The Outpost 8 pm- mid at Brazos River Bottom, Cousins 10 p.m.-l am at Toyz Disco Testing done by Montrose Clinic workers inside ISSUE 1172 LOCAL NEWS _ 3 NATIONAL NEWS „. 9 FORUM 12 OUT ON THE BAYOU 15 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 19 APPOINTMENTS W Itl ASSIFIEDS Wl Q PUZZLE. 21 MY STARS .26 AROUND TEXAS: El Paso gay activists praised that city's mayor, Raymond Cabailero, after city officials added sexual orientation and gender identity to the Municipal Code on discrimination. Page 6. CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR: Gay Marine reservist Stephen Funk seeks conscientious objector status, saying his sexual orientation influenced his morals and opposition to the U.S. war in Irag. Page 10 EDITORIAL Writer Miles Christian Daniels chronicles personal and ideological changes between the 1991 Gulf War and the current conflict in Iraq. Page 12. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Houston Voice, 500 Lovett Blvd., Suite 200, Houston, TX 77006. Houston Voice is published weekly, on Friday, by Window Media LLC. Subscriptions are $92/year for 52 issues (only $1.77 per issue).
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