Gay What ?
Rest of site back up shortly!

Testing young gay men for HIV

young gay, gay news, Washington Blade

Sex education needs to start at home.

What should we be telling young gay men about HIV testing? And more importantly, who should be telling them? The answer is simple – parents, schools and medical professionals – the same as for all young people.

But this might still be a tall order, despite our shifts in acceptance of LGBTQ people. While some folks may be prepared to attend a lesbian co-worker’s wedding, is our society really ready to have “the talk” with a generation of youth who are coming out at younger and younger ages?  The data is clear that we should be.

As a city we’ve done a good job of increasing HIV testing, but we can do more. In Washington, D.C., young men who have sex with men have consistently made up about 50 percent of new HIV cases (among young people ages 13-19). At Metro TeenAIDS our HIV testing efforts over the last year found 14 new positives: 12 identified as gay or bisexual; two of them were under 18.

Ideally we parents and educators would be better at these conversations but the reality is that we’re not. In fact, most of us don’t even know what good sex education looks like – especially as it relates to LGBT youth.

In the city with one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases in the country, we should be doing more. And yet, a recent report from the Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) showed that fewer middle school students reported getting HIV/AIDS education than even five years ago.

I have a few recommendations that I hope will help.

• Sex education needs to start at home, probably by fourth grade. This means schools and pediatricians ought to have more resources to give to parents.

• We need to make sure that LGBT young people are accepted at home. Teens who perceive that their parents are supportive and involved are not only more satisfied with their relationships but they also tend to engage in fewer sexual risk behaviors, have fewer sexual partners and report more consistent condom use.

• We need to make sure that LGBT young people are accepted at school. We need to support the work of organizations like SMYAL, which are trying to expand Gay/Straight Alliances in schools. When kids feel like they have people to stand up with them and for them, they are more likely to stay in school.

• Finally, we need to keep the pressure on schools and the city to ensure that we have high-quality sex education that includes relevant information for LGBT youth.

Despite my day job, as a father I am already nervous about having “the talk” with my five year old. This stuff is just not that easy. That said, getting tested for HIV and STDs is certainly on the list of things to discuss.

Adam Tenner is executive director of Metro TeenAIDS.


Inauguration and more planned for MLK weekend

Presidential Inauguration, Washington Blade, gay news, United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps

2009 Presidential Inauguration Parade (Washington Blade file photo by Henry Linser)

Inauguration events galore planned for weekend

If you’re excited about the upcoming inauguration but have nowhere to go, here are a few parties happening over the weekend that will celebrate the inauguration in full LGBT fashion:

  • Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League and the D.C. Center host the 2013 Youth Inaugural Ball tonight at 6 p.m. at THEARC Community Center (1901 Mississippi Ave., SE). The party includes free food and drinks, including Chipotle burritos, a photo booth, a DJ and exciting performances. There will also be free and confidential HIV testing. Attendees are asked to “dress to impress.” The ball is open to youths between the ages 13-21. For more information, visit
  • Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts DJ Hector Fonseca for the Inaugural Party Saturday night 10. Cover is $8 before 11 p.m. and $12 after. For more information, visit
  • Human Rights Campaign hosts a cocktail reception for supporters and leaders in town for the inaugural events Sunday at 6 p.m. at Number Nine (1435 P St., NW). For more information, visit
  • Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) hosts “Barack Obash” presented by DW Promotions tonight at 10 p.m. There will be a special surprise guest. A free buffet will be provided. Cover is $10. For more information, visit

MLK Freedom Walk slated for Saturday

To celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Washington will host the 35th MLK’s Peace and Freedom Walk Saturday morning beginning at 7:30 a.m.

The first walk is the Freedom Walk beginning at Lansburgh Park. Assemble time is 7:30 a.m. Departure time is 8:45 a.m. Attendees are encouraged to make signs reflecting “peace.” For more information, email

The next site is the “Peace Walk,” which begins at 2500 MLK Ave., SE. It departs at 10 a.m. Those who do not want to do the “Freedom Walk” can meet at this site at 8:30 a.m. For more information, visit

The final destination is Shepard Park where the walkers will arrive at noon. Those who won’t walk may arrive at 10:30 a.m. for the program agenda. For more information, visit


Testing poz could lead to legal issues in Mich.

blood, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo by Daniel Gay via Wikimedia Commons)

ANN ARBOR — Michigan health officials are using HIV surveillance technologies to assist in enforcing a “health threat” law that makes it illegal for HIV-positive people to have sex without disclosing their status, the Windy City Times has reported.

A new University of Michigan study reveals that health officials employ the state’s names-reporting database, alongside partner services referrals, for law enforcement purposes, the Times wrote. But the study’s author Trevor Hoppe, a doctoral candidate in sociology and women’s studies, says this is bad social policy.

When clients visit publicly funded health clinics in Michigan to be tested for HIV, health officials ask clients extensive questions about their sexual practices and partners. If the client tests positive for HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases, the counselor will provide treatment referrals but are also legally mandated to ask clients to report the names of sexual partners, which health officials attempt to contact to recommend that they be tested, the Times report said.

Hoppe found that some health officials also ask their clients if any of their partners reported to them that they were HIV-positive. Officials then attempt to cross-reference the reported name against the state’s database of everyone in the state who has been diagnosed as HIV-positive. If an individual reported as a partner is identified by the state as HIV-positive and the client did not report that they disclosed, an investigation would be launched that could have legal ramifications.

“The evidence is mounting that these laws are bad public policy and certainly bad public health policy, yet Michigan health officials are helping to enforce them,” the Times reported Hoppe as saying.

The findings appear in the February issue of the journal Social Problems.


Scotland drop-in site offers quick HIV tests

HIV, gay news, Washington Blade

(Image public domain)

EDINBURGH, Scotland — A new sexual health testing service for gay and bi men has been launched in Glasgow, Scotland, the Journal, an Edinburgh-based newspaper reported.

The unnamed site will offer HIV and other STD tests with an emphasis on speed. Organizers said it wants to normalize the notion of getting tested regularly. HIV tests can generate results within 20 minutes while other test results can be picked up at a later date.

The initiative is being launched by the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde group in partnership with the Gay Mens’ Health and Sandyford Steve Retson Project, the Journal reported.


Year in review: Home HIV tests become available

OraSure, OraQuick, HIV, HIV test, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo courtesy OraSure Technologies Inc)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for the first time on July 3 an in-home, self-administered HIV test to be sold over the counter.

Known as the OraQuick In-Home HIV test, the test was developed by OraSure Technologies, Inc.

“The test has the potential to identify large numbers of previously undiagnosed HIV infections, especially if used by those unlikely to use standard screening methods,” the FDA said in a new release.

“Knowing your status is an important factor in the effort to prevent the spread of HIV,” said Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “The availability of a home-use HIV test kit provides another option for individuals to get tested so that they can seek medical care, if appropriate.”

The FDA says clinical studies of the test showed a 92 percent sensitivity rate, which means that of every 12 HIV-infected individuals tested with the kit, one negative result could be expected.

“A positive result with this test does not mean that an individual is definitely infected with HIV, but rather that additional testing should be done in a medical setting to confirm the result,” the FDA said. “Similarly, a negative test result does not mean that an individual is definitely not infected with HIV, particularly when exposure may have been within the previous three months.”

FDA officials noted that the OraSure in-home test is the first HIV test that allows users to learn their results at home immediately without interacting with a lab or medical professionals.

The officials said the new test’s potential for identifying large numbers of people who don’t know they are infected outweighs concern by some that people who test positive should have immediate access to counseling and medical advice.

Experts estimate that one-fifth of the people infected with HIV are unaware of their status and often contribute to the infection of others.