Study: Alcohol Leads to Sloppy Sex and Poor Choices

So they aren’t the most shocking study results, after all most of us have  had the drunken one night stand experience at least once. You wake up, wonder who in the heck is lying next to you and then the whole night comes flooding back as you slowly try to inch your way out the door.

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada, however, there’s more to consider then just waking up  next to “Bad Breath Larry”.  According to the study, the more alcohol a person consumes, the more likely they are to have unprotected sex.

HIV Plus Magazine reports that,”Researchers found that an 0.1 mg/mL increase in blood alcohol levels raised the likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behavior by five percent. ”

That means if your a female it will only take about four drinks, or five if your a male, before you forget everything you’ve learned about HIV and STIs and say screw it..lets just screw.

Of course, some of the side effects from such actions are hangovers, a burning sensation when urinating, or a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis, and or the transmission of HIV.

“Since alcohol abuse is one of the leading factors in HIV transmission, lead author Juergen Rehm said HIV prevention programs should put additional focus on reducing heavy drinking,” reports the magazine.

If you do suspect you have been exposed to HIV or any other STI, contact your physician as soon as possible. In Idaho, you can also get a free HIV test at your local a.l.p.h.a. office or call your local health department for more information.


Hepatitis C Killing More Americans Then HIV and AIDS

According to the Centers for Disease control,”Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is now associated with more deaths than HIV infection.”

POZ Magazine reports that,”The discouraging findings, presented by Scott Holmberg, MD, MPH, chief of the CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, come from data involving 21.8 million deaths reported to the National Center for Health Statistics between 1999 and 2007. The only cases included in the analysis involved reports that specified HIV, AIDS, HCV or hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection as possible contributors to the deaths.”

Of concern to gay men particularly, according to the findings of a study released earlier this year by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, is that Hep C may be spread through anal sex.

“Researchers reported that The hepatitis C virus, normally thought to be transmitted exclusively through blood — such as by sharing of needles among intravenous drug abusers — can also be transmitted through sexual activity, principally through anal sex among gay men”, reported the LA Times.

The Times reported  last July that,”Researchers found a total of 74 cases believed to to be caused by sexual transmission. All the men reported having receptive anal sex and none had any other risk factors for HCV, such as intravenous drug abuse. When the team compared the infected men to other gay men who were not infected with the virus, they found that those who became infected were 23 times more likely to have had unprotected gay sex and 29 times more likely to have had anal sex while using crystal methamphetamine.”

In the latest findings,POZ reports,”Death rates related to HIV infection continue to fall. Whereas HIV contributed to 6 per 100,000 deaths in 1999, the rate dropped to less than four per 100,000 deaths in 2007.”

“Hepatitis C–related deaths have increased sharply, Holmberg’s team reported. Whereas HCV contributed to roughly 3 per 100,000 deaths in 1999, the HCV-related death rate exceeded 4 per 100,000 people in the United States by 2007.”

What you need to Know:

According to Healthy Communities,”Hepatitis C (hep C) is a virus which affects and damages the liver. It’s passed on by direct blood to blood contact, when the blood of an infected person enters the blood-stream of another person even in small amounts that can be hard to see.

The most common way of contracting hep C, or passing it on, is through unsafe injecting drug use (sharing of needles and injecting equipment), and in some cases through tattooing or piercing with unsterilised equipment.  Sharing clippers, razors, toothbrushes, and tweezers where there may be small amounts of blood can be risky.  Needle-stick or sharps injuries have transmitted hep C (in occupational settings).  Some people who received a blood transfusion prior to 1990, may have been exposed to hep C.”

Some of the risk factors include:

  • Fisting
  • Rough sex
  • Prolonged sex
  • Group Sex
  • Sharing unwashed sex toys

Prevention Measures:

Use condoms and water-based lube.  Lube stops condoms breaking, and condoms stop blood-to-blood exposure.

For fisting, use gloves and plenty of lube to minimise anal tearing.

Thoroughly wash sex toys in warm soapy water between partners, or put a new condom on the sex toy.

Who should get a test and how often?

If you have ever injected drugs, or been in prison, have a hep C test.  Discuss your sexual transmission risk with your health professional.  Yearly hep C screening is recommended if you are HIV positive.

Save The Date: 8th Annual Forever RED “Remember Every Day” Benefit and Awards Show October 8th

When it comes to award shows in Idaho, there are few that stand up to the glitz, glamor and creativity of a.l.p.h.a.’s (Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS) annual benefit dinner dubbed “Forever RED.”

Following  in the tradition of other benefits held in bigger areas, like the bashes thrown by singer Elton John’s AIDS Foundation, Forever RED is a mixture of entertainment, enlightenment and a whole lot of fun.

Conceived in 2003 by former a.l.p.h.a. volunteer Lissa Stites, Forever RED was designed to give Idahoans who care a night to acknowledge the achievements and celebrate the successes in the fight and prevention of HIV and AIDS.

This year the event will be held  at Boise’s only lakeside amphitheater, At The Water Front Event Center.  It will feature a classy “saloon” theme, (Think Maverick or any of the other old west poker playing type saloons.) and guests are encouraged to dress up in their “night out at the saloon” best.  There will be saloon cocktails & games, a silent auction and more!  Ten awards will be presented as well.  Always a blast and always for a great cause, Forever RED is one of the biggest “seen and be seen” events Idaho has to offer.

Tickets may be purchased individually, or you may choose to sponsor a table. Each table is priced at $280 and seats 10 guests. You may also choose to be a corporate or higher level event sponsor.  Single tickets are $30 Individual or $55 Couple. You can see all the pricing levels and reserve your tickets online.

If you aren’t familiar with a.l.p.h.a. or with it’s mission be sure to check out the article written about just one of its many programs in today’s Times-News in Twin Falls.

What: Forever Red “Remember Every Day”

When: Saturday,  October 8th,  5:30 to 6:30 PM Saloon Cocktails & Games, Silent Auction Bidding.
7:00 to 9:00 PM Dinner and Awards Show

Where: At The Water Front Event Center, 3050 N Lake Harbor Lane Boise, ID

Who: You and anybody who cares about the fight against HIV and AIDS in Idaho.

Call 208-424-7799 for more information.

Talk To Me! It’s National Suicide Prevention Week

Did you know that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for Idahoans age 15-34 and for males age 10-14?  According to a 2009 report, 14.2% of Idaho youth attending traditional high schools have reported seriously considering suicide. 6.9% have reported making at least one attempt.

Unfortunately, many of those teens, statistically speaking, are also struggling with their sexual identities.

According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center between 30 and 40% of  lesbian, gay, and transgendered youth in America have attempted suicide at least once.  According to the U.S. Government,  queer youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people.

In a rural state like Idaho, where resources for LGBTQ youth are few and where the majority of residents believe that loving someone of the same gender is a biblical sin, many teens are left feeling alone, confused, or worse.

Often teens simply need to know that they are O.K., that someone loves them, and that they aren’t alone.  Unfortunately, many LGBTQ youth have no one to talk to.

September 4th-10th is National Suicide Prevention Week. In order to encourage teens to reach out and share their feelings and to help friends, families and communities become better listeners, The Trevor Project has created a new campaign designed to help encourage the dialog:

You can also help by encouraging Idaho’s schools to form Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs). Email or check out the Idaho Safe Schools Coalition for more information. The Idaho 211 CareLine also has a page dedicated to LGBTQ youth seeking help or needing someone to talk to.

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