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Testing The Premise

Is MRSA The New Gay Plague?

Not according to the medical literature

Jim Burroway

January 19th, 2008

A new study came out last week from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, which found a high rate of drug-resistant staph infection among “men who have sex with men” in San Francisco and Boston. This staph infection, known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MSRA), is a bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics. There are essentially two classes of MSRA: healthcare-associated MSRA which has plagued hospitals and other medical facilities, and community-associated MSRA (CA-MSRA) which is found outside of health care settings. This latest study from UCSF examines an outbreak of a particular form (USA300) of CA-MSRA in the Castro district of San Francisco and among gay men in Boston.

With this latest study, MRSA quickly became the newest “gay plague” and lead author Binh Diep rang alarm bells around the world with remarks like this one to Reuters:

Once this reaches the general population, it will be truly unstoppable.

That comment was like manna from heaven to anti-gay demagogues. But he didn’t stop there. Dr. Diep hyped the importance of his study to the San Francisco Chronicle, saying:

We probably had it here first, and now it is spreading elsewhere… This is a national problem, and San Francisco is at the epicenter.

Dr. Diep also said in his press release:

The potential widespread dissemination of multi-resistant form of USA300 into the general population is alarming.

But there’s a problem with all of this. None of it is true.

According to the medical literature — which Diep ought to be well acquainted with — the USA300 variant of MRSA is already widespread in the general population. And gay men, who are in the general population, had little to do with it. If the medical literature is any indication, it’s the “general population” that’s responsible for spreading MRSA into the gay community.

MRSAOver the past decade, community-associated MRSA (mostly USA300) has been reported in Atlanta, Albany, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Las Cruces (NM), Los Angeles, Memphis, Minneapolis, New York, Oakland, and Sacramento, as well as in the states of Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Tennessee and Washington. (This list is not complete, by the way). CA-MRSA has infected inmates in jails and prisons and children in day care, as well as American Indians on reservations, rural residents of Southwestern Alaska, and Pacific Islanders of Hawaii.

Internationally, dangerous forms of MRSA have been reported in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands (where one study showed how it can be transmitted in families), New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Western Samoa. Again, this is not a complete list by any means.

All of these outbreaks were among the “general population” and not one was blamed on gay men.

The Athletic Menace?

But a review of the literature shows that one could make a case for blaming athletes. In 1998, the Archives of Internal Medicine reported on an outbreak which struck nearly a quarter of the members of a high school wrestling team in southern Vermont, who then passed the infection on to others in the surrounding community. But unlike Dr. Diep, the good doctors who wrote that report didn’t provide any dark warnings that if the epidemic spread from those disease-laden wrestlers to the general population, it would be “unstoppable.”

Maybe they should have. Since then we’ve seen outbreak clusters among high school wrestlers in Indiana, fencing club members in Colorado, college football players in Los Angeles and Pennsylvania, high school football players in Illinois and Texas, and Rugby players in Britain. In 2004, one in ten football players at a college in the Northeast were infected. “Cosmetic body shaving and turf burns” were cited as contributing factors. In 2006, the Journal of Athletic Training reported on a 2003 outbreak affecting nearly 16% of the USC Trojans football team.

The Athletic MenaceMSRA has also struck professional football, landing Miami Dolphins Junior Seau and Charlie Rogers in the hospital in 2003 and sidelining Washington Redskins’ Brandon Noble in 2006. Dr. Holly J. Benjamin, writing for the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, has described MSRA as “the latest sports epidemic.” The problem has gotten to be so widespread that the CDC has published prevention measures written especially for athletes.

Did you get that? It’s a sports plague, not a gay plague. That comes as a surprising twist on the old jocks-versus-sissies conflict that many of us remember all too well from high school.

Smearing the Queer, Redux

But instead of panicking over the athletic menace, the media all over the world is fixated over the latest gay plague. The Toronto Star falsely asserted that this latest study “discover[ed] a new strain” of a super-bug “hitting gay men” Headlines in Britain screamed, “Flesh-eating bug strikes San Francisco’s gay community,” while Australians panicked over the more widespread, “Flesh-eating bug spreads among gays.”

What is it about gay men that sets everyone into fits of terror?

Flesh-eating bugWhen the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases reported last February on the heterosexual transmission of MRSA in New York, nobody worried about a super-bug hitting straight men and women.

When the CDC reported in 2004 of an outbreak among 1.1% of naval recruits in the Southeastern U.S. and Clinical Infectious Diseases reported a 3% prevalence among US army trainees at Brooke Army Medical Center, there were no warnings of a super-bug infecting the military. And when Military Medicine reported an outbreak on a naval ship at sea or when the Journal of Clinical Microbiology reported that 11% of naval trainees in San Diego had MRSA during the summer of 2002, there was no seaman scare.

When the New England Journal of Medicine reported in 2005 that 9% of the St. Louis Rams football team had MRSA during the 2003 football season, there was no hue and cry over a flesh-eating jock staph.

When Epidemiology and Infections reported last April on a September 2004 outbreak which infected 14% of a communal religious community in upstate New York, there were no demands to halt the promotion of religion as an acceptable lifestyle.

But when the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that the prevalence of MRSA in the Castro’s 94114 zip code reached a tiny smidgen of 0.17%, all hell broke loose. And guess what? Buried deep within that dry academic report — the report that few reporters ever bothered to read — was this: the margin of error was a whopping +/- 0.13% [CI: 95%]. Also buried was a warning that these findings are not generalizable to gay men everywhere, and that nothing in the study points to specific sexual behaviors as risk factors. In fact, MRSA is easily transmitted by ordinary skin-to-skin contact, as well as contact with contaminated surfaces. But all of that was overlooked in the mad rush to smear the queers with yet another filthy, deadly disease.

Shades of AIDS

So what gives? Where did the media get the idea that a brand new, giant super-bug was eating San Francisco?

Dr. Binh DiepWell, much of the blame can be laid squarely at Dr. Diep’s own publicity stunt. It was his sensationalist comments in his press release — written precisely to grab journalists’ attention — that started the panic in the first place. And that panic was fueled even further by his alarmist statements to reporters from Reuters and the San Francisco Chronicle. The Bay Area Reporter described the repercussions of Diep’s incendiary comments this way:

The possible consequences of this news and the irresponsible way it was presented is people could become victims of physical harm because the public is now misinformed that only gay people carry staph. … The potential for anti-gay backlash is real, and has dire consequences for us individually and collectively.

Why did lead researcher Binh An Diep, Ph.D., seem to single gays out in his comments? In the news release Diep said that they are concerned “about a potential spread of this strain into the general population?” Gays are part of the general population. Drug resistant staph is already in the general population. There’s nothing new here. That sort of statement just feeds into the homophobia that is prevalent in this country and perpetuates all the stereotypes this community has been fighting since the advent of AIDS more than 25 years ago.

Anti-gay protestersLike the AIDS crisis 25 years ago, Diep’s statements provided fresh fodder for anti-gay demagogues like Peter LaBarbera and Matt Barber, who quickly dusted off the same diseased-homosexuals scripts that has gone unchanged since 1981. LaBarbera had a veritable field day in his press release:

Is this not an eerie reminder of the initial stories 25 years ago about AIDS — then called GRID (Gay-Related Immunodeficiency Disease)? It is unfathomable that after that plague, disease specialists and the media are now surprised at the correlation of new infections with homosexual behavior.

Wake up, medical and political establishment: homosexual behavior is unhealthy — no matter how many secular sermons you preach against “homophobia.” Due to liberal political correctness, which treats aberrant — even deadly — behaviors as a “civil right,” we as a society don’t seem to have learned much from the AIDS pandemic.

And Concerned Woman Matt Barber found it difficult to improve upon Dr. Diep’s statements. After repeating Diep’s fears of MRSA being “unstoppable” if it reaches the “general population,” Barber exclaimed:

The human body is quite callous in how it handles mistreatment and the perversion of its natural functions. When two men mimic the act of heterosexual intercourse with one another, they create an environment, a biological counterfeit, wherein disease can thrive. Unnatural behaviors beget natural consequences.

And Joseph Farrah of World Net Daily also liked Diep’s Reuters “unstoppable” comment:

You’ve heard of AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Is America’s immune system under attack?

The latest news out of San Francisco is not good.

A drug-resistant strain of potentially deadly bacteria has moved beyond the borders of U.S. hospitals and is being transmitted among homosexual men during sex.

Does this sound familiar? Shades of the 1980s?

Anti-gay protestersLaBarbera, Barber and Farrah all share one thing in common. Everything they said about the emergence of MRSA in the gay community is flat out wrong, and more than 750 articles in the professional literature on community-acquired MRSA (78 on USA300) stands as overwhelming evidence of that. They also have something else in common. None of the actual facts will ever sway them from politicizing MRSA and using it as a weapon against the LGBT community. Don’t expect any retractions from these demonizers anytime soon.

But Farras is right about one thing. It is shades of the 1980’s all over again. Anti-gay demagogues were eager to politicize AIDS when they found that it was a useful weapon against the LGBT community. Today we see a new generation of demagogues politicizing MRSA in much the same way. And all it took was for one irresponsible, publicity-seeking researcher in San Francisco to hype an outbreak in the Castro, and suddenly we find a simultaneous outbreak of anti-gay hysterics everywhere else.

A Few Lessons

The good news is that better judgment is prevailing at the CDC. They are now trying to counter the anti-gay hysteria and undo some of the damage from Diep’s sensationalist comments. Two days after the news hit the papers, the CDC released a statement saying:

The strains of MRSA described in the recent Annals of Internal Medicine have mostly been identified in certain groups of men who have sex with men (MSM), but have also been found in some persons who are not MSM. It is important to note that the groups of MSM in which these isolates have been described are not representative of all MSM, so conclusions can not be drawn about the prevalence of these strains among all MSM.

MRSA is typically transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, which occurs during a variety of activities, including sex. There is no evidence at this time to suggest that it MRSA is a sexually-transmitted infection in the classical sense. [Emphasis mine]

MRSA is dangerous if left untreated, and while it is resistant to some forms of antibiotics, it’s not resistant to all forms. In some cases, the wound might have to be lanced and drained. Only very rarely is surgery required.

MRSA is easily preventableAnd the best news is that MRSA is easily preventable. Cover any cuts, scrapes or sores, and wash your hands and shower regularly — ordinary soap and water does the trick. And don’t share personal items — toothbrushes, razer blades, sheets and towels and so forth. Preventing its spread is just that easy.

It’s time we all took a deep breath, calmed down, and learned a few lessons from all this. MRSA is not new, and gays aren’t spreading a new and deadly disease into the “general population.” It’s already been there for decades. If anything, all the evidence indicates that the “general population” has spread MRSA into the Castro and other places.

So the first lesson is this: When the media — and especially anti-gay fanatics like Peter LaBarbera and Matt Barber — scream about a new gay plague threatening the “general population,” your first instinct should be to get the facts for yourself. AIDS was passed around for 30-50 years as a heterosexual disease in Africa long before five gay men died in Los Angeles in 1981. And MRSA has been a problem in the general population long before Dr. Diep “discovered” it and hyped the latest festering gay man’s curse.

Which brings us to the second lesson: White-coated “professionals” sometimes carry with them all the baggage of prejudice and biases as anyone else. And “professionals” aren’t always pure in their motives when they speak to the press. Some are just as hungry for publicity as anyone else, and some are just as prone to making unconscionable comments. We’ve come to expect contemptible and scurrilous statements from the likes of LaBarbera, Barber and World Net Daily. They have no qualms about exploiting the suffering of others to score cheap political points, and grossly misrepresenting medical science is their stock and trade. We have no idea whether Dr. Diep shares any of their bigotry or whether he just let his ambition or simple carelessness getting the better of him.

Update: The University of San Francisco has posted an apology on their web site:

Statement from UCSF Dept of Public Affairs regarding study on emergence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clone USA300 in men who have sex with men

We regret that our recent news report (1-14-08) about an important population-based study on MRSA USA300 with public health implications contained some information that could be interpreted as misleading. We deplore negative targeting of specific populations in association with MRSA infections or other public health concerns, and we will be working to ensure that accurate information about the research is disseminated to the health community and the general public.

Comments

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Luca
January 19th, 2008 | LINK

Wake-up America, let’s ignore the spin doctors and the media hoopla — let’s not forget who drives the news. Pointing your fingers at gays doesn’t stop this disease from spreading. This so-called prevalence in the gay community sounds a lot like the AIDs epidemic, though let’s not punish a group of people because they are coming forward. We’ve learn the origin of HIV, and much to America’s embarrassment gays are not to blame. Let’s not let religious doctrine prevent us from saving lives.

anon-no-more
January 21st, 2008 | LINK

it is curious that all the updated statements coming after the initial reports don’t really sound all that strong in condemning the initial hysteria. Certainly they don’t include the kind of data this article does. These second round of statements could be interpreted as only politically correct disclaimers that allow the first hysterical accounts to still stand.

Dr Kadiyali M Srivat
January 21st, 2008 | LINK

Well written and clear. I do agree there is no point blaming one group. If these doctors and the journals had paused for few minutes before publishing this situation would not have happened. This MRSA has no boundaries, it will infect and cause serious problem to every one. The ones who may get infected early are people who are immune suppressed with large dose steroids. Soon this lobby might start saying its sin to get heart and kidney transplant.

Please stop this bickering and mud slinging and start thinking how you are going to handle the situation when one of your loved ones gets the infection.

Nenuphar
January 25th, 2008 | LINK

I believe that this is more of the same stuff that began in the eighties. I believe that certain private groups, when using the media, can paint a picture of anything and have ignorant people believe it–especially if a certain target group is already oppressed, caricatured and shunned by society. I believe that not all “facts” that have been stated are truly facts. I believe that when allegations- and that is what they are-as harmful as these are created, anyone for human rights and freedom needs to be really critical and intelligent instead of believing everything the media generates.

I believe that the real reason for something of this nature is to INDUCE FEAR, TO TERRORIZE to create a distraction from something larger and more threatening to the well-being and freedom of humankind. If people are willing to believe this…think about the violence and witch-hunts that will occur because someone may even be perceived as gay. An uneducated population, who is willing to believe anything they hear are the perfect materials for the destruction of themselves and their God-given freedoms.

The current and popular ideas of what is called “Homosexuality” are gathered from the fear it created, generated by the people who coined the idea around the 17th century. The negative notions of what is called “Homosexuality” believed to be true by those who are ignorant enough to believe this crap today have not been owned by people that live their lives as same-sex loving. In fact that word “Homosexuality” didn’t even exist before the 17th century. Since then, the society’s notion of men who love men has always been manipulated by the string-pullers behind the scene. Maybe because it is a direct expression of freedom. To love whomever you please.

No oppressor wants humans to really actualize their potential as humans with inalienable rights. Your images are altered by the media to gain more control… you as the oppressed are seen only how they want you to be perceived. The “disease-infested, social-deviant, heathen” portrait is always a good Monster to scare the population with. Only this time it’s gone a step further than the eighties. They have created a disease that you only have to be touched to receive. For those who control things behind the scenes, it’s a great “fear generator” and easy money maker and freedom-taker. The more ignorant people are…the more you can control their beliefs and their lives.

If one looks at the nature of what this allegation is saying along with all the half-truths of the past concerning HIV and AIDS is that men who have sex with men generate disease. Men have been having sex with men for aeons…and somehow this “disease” just happens to pop up? In my opinion, some Social Evil is at work. It’s not the people you see that is the problem, but the men behind the curtain, pulling the strings. We have to be smart enough to see through social manipulation.

But let’s say the disease is “real”. Couldn’t this “malaise” have been created,
planted, blamed, packaged and sold through the media to the public in order to feed the real Drug Czars, people who control things like the FDA behind the scenes more money and power by “terrorizing” the American public or the world at large? Think how expensive HIV meds are…I guess the puppeteers will use anything to make money take power and make everyone suffer. The real terrorists are not overseas…they are everywhere behind your government agencies and the media.

Many could say that my ideas are “conspiracy theory” based but fail to see that a more harmful “conspiracy” idea is further created in heads of the society about Men who love men when you suggest that some “disease-generated, immoral, sex-crazed monster” is threatening your society with a disease that you can get just by skin-to-skin contact.

Elizabeth Pisani
January 25th, 2008 | LINK

I am not sure I understand the hysteria.
Diep did not “blame” anyone. He published a study, with methodological imperfections that he acknowledged, which showed that multi-drug resistant MRSA is found 16 times more frequently in gay men than in other people. The “general population” comment was probably just a maladroit epidemiologist at work (see http://www.wisdomofwhores.com/2008/01/25/should-scientists-bend-over-and-take-it/).

It doesn’t matter much whether other people are affected too. Any community that is affected by a preventable, infectious condition should get on with preventing it (and that is, as you point out, easy to do).

cwc
January 26th, 2008 | LINK

My child contracted the chicken pox around age 4 months, which became infected with Staph. He almost died. Fast forward 4 years and I contracted the staph infection on my right hand. My doctor at the time said that it was very possible that I got it from a grocery cart and not properly washing my hands. I’m sick and tired of Gov’t ignorance. It had nothing to do with sex! Thank you for your time!

Mary Terry
January 30th, 2008 | LINK

With all the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle – AIDS, violence between partners, alcohol and drug abuse, and now the MRSA virus, why would anyone want to be involved in this lifestyle in the first place? Don’t believe those who want to get you enslaved to this life. You do have the freedom to change. God will help you if you just humbly call on his name. May He bless you as you seek His will.

Timothy Kincaid
January 31st, 2008 | LINK

Mary,

Every “danger” you listed is also in “the heterosexual lifestyle”. That you imagine it to be more indicative of gay persons only indicates that your personal biases have blinded you and caused you to believe a message of bigotry and hatred.

But you need not live in fear and ignorance. You do have the freedom to change. God will help you if you just humbly call on his name. May He bless you as you seek His will and refrain from the lies of Satan and your inclination to believe ill of your neighbor.

Ben
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

If MRSA is being contraced more frequently among gay men, it’s because a significantly higher percentage of gay men regularly work out in public gyms and weight rooms than heterosexual men… not because they’re contracting it through sexual contact. I contracted what I now know was MRSA for the first time as a college wrestler…where I saw loads of guys with exactly the same thing. Why isn’t anyone blaming high school and college wrestlers and suggesting that they turn from their deviant lefestyle so that the rest of the “general public” can be saved from MRSA. I contraced MRSA again four months ago… now more than 10 years after college wrestling. I spend four days a week at my gym. If anyone needs to be educated about MRSA and how to treat and prevent it, it’s athletes and the professional fitness community. I know this is being done on the level of the high school and college athlete, where meetings have occured with athletes and coaches and trainers… and prevention literature has been handed out… but I’ve still seen nothing at any of the gyms I’ve visited over the past two years… which are spread from Seattle to Charlotte to Chicago. I was a pretty grubby kid. I shared towels, deodorant, soap, shirts, razors, combs, sneakers, sodas… you name it. I wore socks and jocks a couple of dozen times at the gym or practice before they eventually made it into the laundry. I’m amazed I didn’t contract this more frequently in high school or college. I was still fairly grubby (like a lot of athletic guys) until recently contracting MRSA again. I am maniacal about washing my hands at the gym now. I keep my hands away from any part of my body after touching any weights or machines. And, I spray down all of the machines I use before and after I use them with the anticeptic spray my gym provides. And that’s it… that’s all you need to do. Stay clean. Using MRSA as a tactic to scare the “general population” away from being gay or associating with gays is laughable.

Lee
August 2nd, 2008 | LINK

In response to the fellow who claimed that “homosexual” was a word that didn’t exist prior to the 17th century, I simply point to the Bible, book of Romans, chapter one. The book was written about 1900 years ago and there are references in the Old Testament that predate that by thousands of years. Many of the soddomite crowd rightly say that ignorance is the cause of much of the problem. If they would read the Book and absorb it’s lessons, the curse of exotic diseases would be lifted from from many. But that would interfere with their “right” to indulge in their pervisions, wouldn’t it?

Lynn David
August 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Oh dear…. as I have just returned home from a 9+ month stint in hospitals and nursing homes to find that this was published (Jan 2008) just as I was overcoming a second bout with MRSA to be….. clearly coincidental. It was mid-Feb2008 that I was taken down by a rather nasty strain of C-dif (C. difficile) which doctors claimed was so virulent in me because of my ulcerative colitis (which I blame more on the radiation therapy in 1984 than any sex). BTW…. if it’s gay men why aren’t more of us coming down with C-dif? Well, it’s good to be home and put MRSA and C-dif behind me…. literally!

Lynn David
August 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Oh…. just want to add that the gays and lesbians I met in the various health-care institutions were always among the more caring and consciencious professionals who I encountered.

Garrett O'Neal
August 11th, 2008 | LINK

Mary,

I am deeply saddened that you believe such a way. In 2003, I was a high school junior in South Texas. I played three sports, one of them including football. Half the football team contracted the MSRA strain. I wasn’t one of them. I helped clean and pack the wounds with medicated gauze cloth using aseptic techniques. I believe because I was directly involved with this epidemic, didn’t get infected, and could “stomach” cleaning the wounds, that it is my calling. I am studying biochemistry and I am gay.
I pray you see your numbness to the rhetoric fed to you in believing such a way.

Wanda
August 24th, 2008 | LINK

My wife’s (yes, I said my WIFE) 91 year old grandmother contracted MRSA several months ago. She’s not a male, not a homosexual, and not an athlete. She’s a God-fearing Christian, (as am I) who reads her Bible and prays daily. To people like Mary and Lee, I will pray for both of you, that the blinders be lifted from your eyes; not just regarding this virus, but regarding the love of God for ALL His children. This virus has nothing to do with perversion, nothing to do with homosexuality, nothing to do with AIDS, or judgement, or any of that stuff that people like you spout. It is about germs, and cleanliness, and taking measures to make sure that people are informed, educated, and practicing what they learn. As so many people in this thread have stated, they’ve gotten it and are not gay men who’ve gotten it from sex, so your comments do nothing to educate people about the true nature of the virus, and even LESS to inform them about the true nature of the love of God. I pray that neither of you ever has to suffer through a bout with it.

Topher
November 3rd, 2008 | LINK

My fiancee (we are Hetersexual) and I both have MRSA it is not a sexual transmitted disease and we both have a infectious disease doctor who told us where we could have gotten it from. It is a shared bacterial infection through the skin. You can get this from sharing a towel or sleeping in a bed with sheets that have not been clean for a week, hospitals, gyms anywhere the public is pools, hot tubs. IT IS NOT A HOMOSEXUAL THING! IT IS NOT THE NEW AIDS! For all of you homophobes trying to point a finger at someone, you should just put your finger up your ass! DO YOUR RESEARCH!

Ken Lundgreen
November 22nd, 2008 | LINK

I’m glad I hit upon this aritcle. Atempting to correlate my own intractble history with MRSA with any conceivable male on male sex sequelae of enhanced risk behavior, short of deliberately targeted attack, bent my mind into a gordian breaking point of irrational rationalization. I was forced into the same realization by the peculiar epidemiology of AIDS among healthy urban gay men with the initial simultaneous outbreaks geographically centered in the same populations that were targeted for the initial tests of the Hep B vaccination. My reaction to the UCSF affiliate’s finding was to accept it at face value as further proof not of defamation or honestly defining risk groups but, rather, social & ethnic cleansing biowar targeting campaign that I remain convinced AIDS still is inpart if not in whole.I am relieved by this article enough to feel tenatively rest assured that it is at this point premature to assume that such an invisably conducted biomedical warfare attack against homosexual males in the Castro has already taken &/or is now taking place. I remain, still, vigilently suspicious because I predominately suspect it in my own personal case of MRSA.I am very fearfull that hep b trojan horse of the most noble of humanitarian concern covering something utterly other has now become the healthcare establishment’s dirty little secret trojan horse operation & cover-up complete with it’s own blame-casted scapegoats. Homosexuals would thus be doubly the victim of unseen homophobic perpetrators not the scource of any disease.

jaysays
December 4th, 2008 | LINK

I can’t help but wonder, although not a “gay bug” if the LGBT community is going to have to step up to the plate on this one too, like with HIV/AIDS. Did no one learn from HIV/AIDS that spreading that sort of ignorance only feeds diseases and “plagues”.

Dennis Veite
December 16th, 2008 | LINK

@Mary & Lee: go away. You’re rhetoric, falsehoods and myths are tired and old.

@JaySays: I think we will. We bore the brunt of the AIDS epidemic despite its hetero origins and now we’ll bear the brunt of this as well because of one stupid loose lipped doctor who should have his degree rescinded.

karen schmidtt
January 16th, 2009 | LINK

Ken L, I think maybe you should seek some help with those thoughts of yours. They’re not healthy.

Bethany
January 17th, 2009 | LINK

Look, the people who did the research are dorks!! The obvious has eluded them! Anything to get a paper published and further their career.

not so sure
January 23rd, 2009 | LINK

I worked in Hillhaven’s (now Vencor’s) San Francisco Skilled Nursing and rehab facilities from 1989 to 1995. I know from my experience admitting patients from San Francisco hospitals that MRSA was not a gay plague. In fact, few HIV patients had it. It was, however, a Kaiser Permanente plague.

Kaiser hospitals, due to poor sanitation practices, were the original colonizers of MRSA. Kaiser Geary and Kaiser South San Francisco were the first hospitals to begin sending us MRSA-infected patients. After Kaiser took over French Hospital, Kaiser French became colonized, as well. By 1993 it was Hillhaven’s policy to immediately quarantine ALL Kaiser patients upon admission, so sure were we that the patient would be carrying MRSA. I’m tired of seeing the gay community blamed for Kaiser’s misguided, negligent and inexcusable cost-cutting practices.

Rebecca
April 3rd, 2009 | LINK

My heterosexual ex-husband developed MRSA 7 years ago during a hospital stay.
It was common at that time for this to happen.

cris
July 30th, 2009 | LINK

This is what I fear of, another so
called gay plague. I was in the gay
lifestyle for more than 30 years until
I came to know Christ as my God and
Saviour. I repented of all my sins
including sins of homosexuality.
Although I am no longer in that lifestyle and I fully surrended my
life to Christ, I fear for my former
gay friends who still continue living
a sexually promiscuous lifestyle, half
of then are already HIV positive and
with this new disease, I pray that
they too will come to know Christ and
be delivered out of darkness and
wickedness.Only if they repent and
ask God’s forgiveness. I believe
more diseases are on its way, the
bible is very clear on what it says
about homosexuality, it is an abomination and it reaps consequences.

Timothy Kincaid
July 30th, 2009 | LINK

cris,

Perhaps if you were willing to actually read what is presented instead of leaping into a sermon, you would not now be living a lifestyle of fear and recrimination.

(ps. Based on your claims and your writing style, I don’t think you are legit)

Jadvar
August 6th, 2009 | LINK

This isn’t the first time since HIV, nor will it be the last time. Every time an infectious disease spikes amongst the general public, some doctor (I am one so I should know), will study it amongst gay men, and publish it. It gives you a guaranteed article, i.e a notch on your belt in academia.

No scientific journal is immune from the allure of political sensationalism, not JAMA, not NEJM, particularly not lesser journals like the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Journalist, will continue to fall for the bait, it’s after all sensational and sells papers. It is the bane of capitalism, but what is the alternative?

The only solution, is responsible, reasonable, articles like this one. Just don’t expect them to hit the mainstream.

The truth just isn’t that exciting.

Kevin Andrews
January 9th, 2010 | LINK

After 26 months doing battle with undiagnosed MSRA a brilliant and delightfully compassionate GAY Dermatologist did the test and accurately identified the critter. Because I travel frequently in Honduras, Costa Rica, Mexico, Columbia and Brazil the Doctors I saw here in the USA were sure it was some “tropical infection” and threw every high priced and ineffective antibiotic at it and me and only made the problem worse.
Stop the Gay-Hate and bigotry and let’s pay attention to the real issue of helping everyone be healthy. The research physician’s hysteria is unforgivable but very reflective of the levels of ignorance and bigotry within the USA concerning the LGBT communities. Maybe it would do some well to put the “Christ” back in Christian. Hate is not a Family Value of my Gay Family.

Kieran
January 10th, 2010 | LINK

Cris for crist….

Timothy is right in saying that based on how you are writing and how you preach you don’t sound like an (ex) gay man at all, you sound more like some gray haired evangelical hack pretending to be one.

A lesson for Mary Terry on Selective Christianity- you know you’ve created god in your own image when it turns out that he hates all the same types of people that you hate. It’s great haha

Apologies that my comments detract from the main conversation.

Emit Allik
January 13th, 2010 | LINK

This is a great article showing how when one ASS-U-ME-S something they end up being wrong and just make an A*S out of themselves… If the doctor would have published ALL the studies, i’m sure this would have never been an issue of ‘Gay Plague’… And on another note, the whole “GOD” issue…well….God is a god of Love…so i’m pretty sure he don’t Hate anyone…!!!

Rainbow Girl
March 1st, 2010 | LINK

MRSA HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING GAY!!!

All these people looking for a stick to go out ‘gay bashing’ with are the sick ones.

I have live with MRSA (yes, LIVED) for 12 years. I caught in in a dirty hospital when having major surgery.

Reading this article made me feel sick to my stomach – ill-informed, absolute rubbish!

Wake up to reality! There are more diseases transmitted through the ordinary population than there are among those who live an alternative lifestyle. Get real!

vanhellslinger
April 8th, 2010 | LINK

Sodom and Gomorah, AIDS, MRSA, and who knows how many other plagues in history were started by homosexuals? I had a dream last night that God gave the gays a new plague, he sent them a supernatural mental suggestion to committ mass suicide. The gays are obviously not into ascetics or any kind of abstinence and that may be why God doesn’t like homosexuals.

Dave
May 29th, 2010 | LINK

All misses the point. The premise of the research was not that SF gay community was spreading USA 300 but that a highly drug resistant sub strain of USA 300 was being spread. It is not a gay disease but it is a disease that will cause constant reinfection among sexually active people – whatever their preference. Constant reinfection speeds up the drug resistance profile

Daniel
June 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I’m openly gay. In my Family, my brother, sister, grandmother, father and step-mother have all had MRSA. My sister has had it multiple times. I on the other hand have never contracted this “Gay flesh eating disease”. My partner has never contracted this disease, and as far as I know none of my gay and lesbian friends have ever had this disease. When will the LGBT community stop being the scapegoat for people? And for those who want to call God into this, what do you think he’ll care more about? The fact that I love someone? or the fact that you use his name to prosecute and object my love?

Patricia Guthrie
September 15th, 2010 | LINK

Hi. I’m totally confused and a little depressed over the tendency to want to blame the gay community for pandemics.
Goodness.

I had MRSA that infected a scalp condition I had. The doctors gave me
an antibiotic (can’t remember the name.
The one drug that can knock out Mrsa. Also a special medicated scalp soat,
and a treatment of bathing in a bathtub full of water and bleach. Believe it or not.

When I went back, the MRSA was gone. Unfortunately the scalp condition (folliculitis) was still there. I’m working on it.

I had also heard it was prominent among hospital settings.

pg

spookiewon
January 10th, 2012 | LINK

First of all, MRSA is the result of irresponsible use of antibiotics and antimicrobial products. It is our obsession with sterilizing every surface in our lives. The fact that we all have antibacterial soaps containing triclosan next to every sink in our homes, spray every surface with Lysol every few hours, that we carry bottles of gel alcohol hand sanitizer in our pockets and purses, and every supermarket puts alcohol wipes out all over every store so we can sterilize the cart handle before we touch it! On top of this,every time we get a cold or flu we insist our doctors give us antibiotics that not only won’t help, but which simply fuel these “super bugs!”

Even mentioning gays in an article about MRSA is irresponsible, because it moves the focus away from our dangerous behaviors listed above and gives people the idea that they can go on using these antimicrobials without consequence so long as they deny civil rights to the people their deity has declared “unclean.” This is not the case, people!

Gay_News_Now
August 13th, 2012 | LINK

Having worked in hospitals for over 15 years and ems I can tell you that it’s stated that “everyone” has MRSA in their noses who works in the hospitals. MRSA will find any warm, moist area in which to live. MRSA is heavily present on the super white lab coats and stethescopes of medical Staff. Real Handwashing and de-contamination is only practiced about 75% of the time. There are now many people who work in healthcare that were driven there because of the economy and not because they could give a shit about people.
Medicine is still dominated by white, hetero, family oriented Physicians. Gay Pre-Med Students waste millions every year only to be rejected by Medical Schools under the guise of “preventing Staff to Patient HIV Infections. The number of such cases is near zero in real life. At some point during the Gay Rights Movement we will have to address the lack of Gay Dr’s. It’s a huge issue that is being ignored. Demand Medical Schools quit discrimination!

Fausto Fernandez MD
August 10th, 2013 | LINK

I saw my first case of MRSA about 20 years ago. Since then I’ve seen probably about 25 cases. I don’t believe any of them were gay.

Joseph
November 10th, 2013 | LINK

Gays? nope. It has been around since I was a child. I think the increase is due to Evangelicals. All that hugging and praying and eating potluck at church… You could make a case for it. Just examine the number of cases in the general population and then cross check for religious belief. I won’t let an evangelical in my house with hosing them down with Lysol. Or tar and feathers.

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