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Maintaining glowing skin as the seasons shift

skin, gay news, Washington Blade

With beauty comes confidence. So just because the seasons are changing, don’t let your healthy, radiant glow take a vacation. (Photo courtesy StatePoint)

(StatePoint) — As the season’s change, looking great can be a challenge — especially when it comes to your skin, as cooler air and strong winds can leave your complexion with seasonal skin disorder.

Unfortunately, a bad skin day can mean a bad day overall. In fact, 90 percent of Americans agree that they feel more confident when they have a “good skin day,” according to a recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of skin care company Mary Kay.

So how do you achieve a healthy, natural radiance, even in winter?

“With a strategic skincare regimen, you can combat common seasonal beauty pitfalls, such as dryness and dullness,” says Maria Lekkakos, an aesthetician for Mary Kay.

With this in mind, Lekkakos offers some restorative, hydrating beauty tips to protect and restore your skin:

• Re-texturize: With the weather shift, you’ll notice more dryness, particularly on the face, elbows and lining of the cheekbones and hands. Re-texturize your skin by frequently moisturizing.

• Protect: 84 percent of Americans surveyed by Wakefield Research say they would change how they cared for their skin if they could have a do over. Don’t live with regret — protect skin against free radical damage that can impact skin firmness and definition.

Use an antioxidant-rich serum, such as the Mary Kay TimeWise Replenishing Serum+C, which contains a potent blend of botanical extracts derived from natural ingredients known for their high levels of Vitamin C.

• Hydrate: Sometimes the source of dryness comes from the inside out. Drink plenty of water and eat hydrating fruits and vegetables to deliver vitamins to the skin and prevent dryness.

• Nourish: In the morning, use a mask for five minutes to prepare and protect the skin for the day. It’s the ideal time to open the cells, allowing skin to breathe.

A mask that hydrates and locks in moisture can leave it looking less stressed and feeling more nourished. For example, the Mary Kay TimeWise Moisture Renewing Gel Mask breathes life into tired skin and helps minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and reduce the appearance of pores.

“There is a mask for every skin type, but most people don’t know the benefits,” says Lekkakos, who recommends adopting an anti-aging regimen as soon as early signs of aging begin to show. “It’s never too late to save your skin.”

In fact, 84 percent of Americans would change how they cared for their skin if they could travel back in time, with 42 percent saying they’d moisturize more frequently.

• Repair: At night, use a retinol treatment such as Mary Kay TimeWise Repair Volu-Firm Night Treatment with Retinol to reduce the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles and make skin tone appear more even. Mary Kay TimeWise Repair Volu-Firm Night Treatment With Retinol is a hydrating cream enriched with botanicals. The retinol is encapsulated to provide a more controlled release and minimize potential irritation.

More beauty tips can be found at


HIV shot shows promise in study on monkeys

syringe, monkeys, gay news, Washington Blade

Injections of long-lasting AIDS drugs protected monkeys for weeks against infection. (Photo by Fifo; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

BOSTON — Researchers are reporting that injections of long-lasting AIDS drugs protected monkeys for weeks against infection, a finding that could lead to a major breakthrough in preventing the disease in humans, the New York Times reports.

Two studies by different laboratory groups each found 100 percent protection in monkeys that got monthly injections of antiretroviral drugs, and there was evidence that a single shot every three months might work just as well, the article said.

Because many people fail to take their antiretroviral pills regularly, the findings could have huge potential benefits if they can be replicated in humans, the Times reports. A preliminary human trial is to start late this year, said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, an AIDS expert at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, but a larger trial that could lead to a treatment in humans may still be years away, the article said.


Soaring syphilis rates mostly in MSM community

Treponema pallidum, syphilis, gay news, Washington Blade

Treponema pallidum, the bacterium that causes treponemal diseases such as syphilis, bejel, pinta, and yaws. (Image by Dr. David Cox; courtesy CDC Health Image Library)

NEW YORK — Health officials say syphilis has reached its highest level since 1995 with the increase all in men, the Associated Press reports.

Syphilis remains far less common in the U.S. than many other sexually spread diseases, but there has been a steady rise in gay and bisexual men catching the disease. They account for most of the recent infectious cases, health officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Since 2005, the rate in men has nearly doubled. It is much lower in women and hasn’t changed much.

Syphilis is a potentially deadly bacterial disease that surfaces as genital sores. It was far more common until antibiotics became available in the 1940s, slashing the number of annual cases to below 6,000.

Last year, there were nearly 17,000 cases, the AP reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the numbers May 8.


World Health Organization urges law changes 

WHO, World Health Organization, sterilization, gay news, Washington Blade

The World Health Organization report makes clear recommendations for the repeal of HIV-enabling laws. (Photo by the United States Mission in Geneva; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The World Health Organization said this week that nations should use changes in law to stop the spread of AIDS by removing obstacles to HIV prevention, Erasing 76 Crimes, a blog that reports on anti-gay laws around the world, reports.

Those laws limit health care access for groups that are most at risk for HIV infection, WHO stated — “key populations” that include men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people and drug users.

Those groups, along with prisoners, are “disproportionately affected by HIV in all countries and settings,” WHO stated in its report “Consolidated Guidelines on HIV Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment and Care for Key Populations.”

Those groups are most affected by HIV and get the least attention from anti-AIDS programs, WHO noted.

The WHO report makes clear recommendations for the repeal of HIV-enabling laws:

• “Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize same-sex behaviors.”


• “Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize injection and other use of drugs and, thereby, reduce incarceration.”


• “Countries should work toward decriminalization of sex work and elimination of the unjust application of non-criminal laws and regulations against sex workers.”


• “Countries should work towards legal recognition for transgender people.”


N.C. insurer drops gay, lesbian couples

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s biggest health insurer, has canceled family insurance policies it sold last month to gay and lesbian couples in North Carolina under the Affordable Care Act, the Charlotte News Observer reports.

Blue Cross, Blue Shield, health, gay news, Washington Blade, North Carolina

Blue Cross and Blue Shield canceled family insurance policies it sold last month to gay and lesbian couples in North Carolina.

The insurer canceled policies of 20 couples — some who were legally married in states that recognize gay marriage — and encouraged them to reapply for separate insurance policies as unmarried individuals. The couples received calls from Blue Cross in mid-January, several weeks after they purchased their family health insurance, and were told their family coverage was invalid, the article said.

Blue Cross’ strategy has stung same-sex couples and gay-rights advocates because the nonprofit insurer offers domestic partner benefits to its own employees. Blue Cross insurance plans offered by large companies in North Carolina also include health benefits for employees and their same-sex partner, the News Observer said.

The problem is traced to terminology in Blue Cross policies that define “spouse” as “opposite sex.” North Carolina insurance law does not prohibit selling coverage to gay couples, but Blue Cross was legally bound by the restrictive contract language in its individual plans, said Kerry Hall, spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Insurance.

Blue Cross has vowed to update the language in 2015.


Hook-up risks higher with non-gay-identified men

non-gay-identified, craigslist, gay news, Washington Blade

Researchers studied Craigslist ads from men seeking sex with non-gay-identified men.

NEW YORK — A newly published study found evidence that men having sex with men use the Internet to find sexual partners who do not identify as gay, either to fulfill a fantasy or because it allows anonymous sexual encounters without discovery.

The findings, conducted by Eric Schrimshaw, Ph.D. at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Martin Downing Jr., Ph. D. of the National Development and Research Institutes, were published in the online journal “Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity” published by the American Psychological Association.

To examine the subgroup of men seeking non-gay-identified (NGI) men in the online sexual marketplace, the researchers reviewed 1,200 Internet personal ads posted on Craigslist and selected 282 for analysis. They performed comparisons of two categories of personal ads: those seeking encounters with NGI men, including straight, bisexual, married, curious and men on the “down low”; and a contrasting set of ads that did not specifically seek NGI men.

Among the ads studied, 11 percent were placed by men seeking NGI partners. Although men who posted NGI-seeking ads were more likely to self-identify as bisexual, married, and/or discreet and to seek out an anonymous encounter relative to the ads of comparison men, only 24 percent of online advertisements seeking NGI men were posted by men who were themselves non-gay-identified. This suggests that many of the posts are placed by gay men seeking NGI men, perceived by some gay men to be more masculine, dominant or “straight-acting.”

Only a small number of ads by NGI-seeking men mentioned safe sex or condom use.


California committee considers needs of LGB seniors

Tom Ammiano, gay news, Washington Blade

‘There is great neglect of this population,’ said gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of California.

SAN FRANCISCO — A California Assembly committee this month held what is believed to be the first hearing in the legislature to look at the specific needs of LGBT seniors, the Bay Area Reporter, a San Francisco gay newspaper, reports.

As part of a series of hearings it is holding this year focused on certain demographic groups, the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care convened June 10 to hear from LGBT aging experts and community members.

“There is great neglect of this topic. There is great neglect of this population,” gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), 72, told the committee.

The committee will incorporate the findings of the nearly three-hour long hearing into its report that will be submitted to state lawmakers this fall. Yamada, who is termed out of office in December, said the document would include legislative and policy recommendations.

San Francisco officials are already working to implement several policy recommendations proposed in the report from the city’s LGBT Aging Policy Task Force. The panel issued its findings and calls for action in April, and legislation should be introduced at the Board of Supervisors this summer to begin enacting some of its proposals, the Bay Area Reporter said.


Aussie Grindr campaign launches for safer sex

Grindr, social media app, gay news, Washington Blade

Australian Grindr users can vote for their favorite term to promote safe sex on their profile.

BRISBANE, Australia — A campaign launched last week in Australia for Grindr users there asks its members to vote for their favorite term to promote safe sex on their profile. This allows members to find others who prefer to “wrap it before they tap it,” Gay News Network reports.

HIV Foundation chair Dr. Darren Russell said the partnership was an exciting milestone in the foundation’s bid to reduce HIV transmission in Queensland.

“We are determined to help drive the rate of new HIV infections down and education and prevention is paramount to achieving this,” Russell told Gay News Network.

The survey launched Feb. 13 and was slated to run one week.


Transgender health disparities studied

trans, transgender flag, gay news, Washington Blade

A new study compared methods of collecting and analyzing data to assess health disparities in a clinical sample of transgender individuals. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Transgender individuals are medically underserved and their health care needs incompletely understood in part because they represent a subpopulation whose health is rarely monitored by U.S. national surveillance systems, Health Canal reports.

To address these issues, a new study compared methods of collecting and analyzing data to assess health disparities in a clinical sample of transgender individuals, as reported in an article published in LGBT Health, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the LGBT Health website. 

Sari Reisner and coauthors at the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, and Fenway Health in Boston, compared transgender and non-transgender patients on health measures such as substance abuse, HIV infection, lifetime suicide attempts and social stressors including violence and discrimination. They report their findings in the article “Transgender Health Disparities: Comparing Full Cohort and Nested Matched Pair Study Designs in a Community Health Center.”

“Clinic-based samples and patient-related data are under-utilized sources of information about transgender health, particularly in community-based, urban health centers that typically serve large numbers of transgender patients,” says Dr. William Byne of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.


Calif. lawmaker urges FDA to end gay blood ban

Rep. Mike Honda  (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Rep. Mike Honda (Blade photo by Michael Key)

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A Bay Area congressman is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to lift the ban preventing gay and bisexual men from donating blood, a California-based NBC news affiliate reports.

Mike Honda (D-San Jose) started an online petition to try to get the FDA to overturn the ban. He says the ban is outdated, discriminatory and based on decades-old fears that have been discounted by science.

“The FDA should end the ban and revise its policy and focus on behavior and individual risk, and not on sexual orientation,” Honda said Monday.

After holding a news conference Monday afternoon, Honda was joined by other leaders — including Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen and County Supervisor Dave Cortese — for a blood drive outside the county administration building on Hedding Street.

“Despite tremendous advances in the medical and biotech fields, the Food and Drug Administration still bans blood donations from gay and bisexual men,” said Honda. “The American Medical Association now opposes this discriminatory and outdated restriction. Our society is increasingly supporting equality for LGBT people. I will fight this ban that only marginalizes, stigmatizes, and stereotypes healthy people across the country.”