HIV Prevention and Gay Men

(c) 2011, Written by Will Blesch

I was busy looking up some things on HIV, and HIV treatment this morning. What I found out was simply shocking. I hadn’t heard any of these things in the media, and in fact, many of these things seem kind of hushed up.

Maybe it’s just not PC to talk about it. I don’t know. But it seems to me that the facts I am about to share should be general knowledge…and it should be used for the prevention of HIV and AIDS.

According to Kevin Fenton, M.D. who is the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, and who spoke at the National STD Prevention Conference on March 8th, 2010:

“It is clear that we will not be able to stop the U.S. HIV epidemic until every affected community, along with health officials nationwide, prioritize the needs of gay and bisexual men with HIV prevention efforts.”

The CDC stated in a press release dated March 10, 2010:

“data, presented at CDC’s 2010 National STD Prevention Conference, finds that the rate of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) is more than 44 times that of other men and more than 40 times that of women.” Additionally, the press release went on to say, “CDC data have shown for several years that gay and bisexual men make up the majority of new HIV and new syphilis infections.”

It seems then, that infection rates between the gay male, homosexual community and the American population at large display a huge disparity!

Something must be going wrong when targeting the homosexual community with prevention efforts. Either there is not enough information being made available or the gay male population is disregarding the information out there and is continuing to engage in irresponsible, risky behavior.

Lest someone think that I am saying that HIV is a “gay” disease (and in the U.S. there ARE significantly higher numbers of gay men who get it than in the general population) let me just say that although the gay and bisexual male population has for several years comprised the majority of new HIV cases, The United Nations AIDS Program estimated that, in 2003, there were 40 million people worldwide living with HIV with women accounting for half of these cases.

While there is no cure for HIV or AIDS, HIV medications usually include antiviral drugs that are taken to hinder the growth and even kill off part of the HIV cells. Although this HIV/AIDS treatment does not work for everyone, they can help to keep the patient healthy and avoid the progression of the infection to AIDS.

One encouraging breakthrough in the fight against AIDS comes from Israel. In September of 2010, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced that they had developed a therapy that destroys cells infected with HIV without damaging adjacent healthy cells. Their research has since been published in the medical journal, AIDS Research and Therapy.

There have also been a number of other, natural treatments that have never been FDA approved…and in fact to which the FDA has been hostile to. (That’s nothing new since the FDA has become nothing more than the lapdog and enforcement wing of the pharmaceutical companies.)

I digress…strictly in terms of maintaining a low concentration of the latent (chronic) viruses within the body, by inhibiting viral replication, there are various natural herbs which have a body of verified, scientific evidence behind them.

Some of those herbs include: Selenium, Phyllanthus amarus, Curcumin, Quercetin, Cinnamon, and Licorice.

People might scoff at the idea that these could help in HIV prevention, but take a look at some of these studies for yourself. I’ve provided full references below, and you can check them all out on pubmed.gov for yourself.

Selenium, “has an inhibitory effect on HIV in vitro through antioxidant effects of glutathione peroxidase and other selenoproteins.” (Nutrition Reviews, 10 Nov. 2010)

According to the medical journal, Life Sciences, “dietary supplementation of Curcumin may be a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment and/or prevention of HAD.” (Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1)-associated dementia (HAD) is a significant consequence of HIV infection.)

In terms of Quercetin, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry said, “(+)-1(R)-Coclaurine (1) and (-)-1(S)-norcoclaurine (3), together with quercetin 3-O-beta-D-glucuronide (4), were isolated from the leaves of Nelumbo nucifera (Nymphaceae), and identified as anti-HIV principles.”

Yet another glowing review of one of Gene-Eden for Safer Sex’s ingredients is the following from Antiviral Chemistry & Chemotherapy:

“…cinnamon extracts rich in certain flavonoid compounds were shown to block HIV-1 entry and infection in GHOST cells. As such, these types of botanical extracts could provide a starting point for the development of possible safe and reliable cotherapies for HIV-1-positive individuals, as well as for the identification of new small molecules as leading drug candidates for HIV-1 therapeutics and microbicides.”

Did you read those quotations? (Again, don’t take my word for it…go check out these papers on PubMed.gov!)

With the rates of infection being so high, a supplement containing these herbs is something I think every gay or bisexual male (as well as other population groups) should be taking as an aid in HIV prevention.

People can say that antiviral supplements that include these herbs might help boost your immune system.

People can’t say that these herbs help treat the HIV disease though. That’s against FDA rules.

TSK TSK TSK….

References:

NCHHSTP Newsroom, “CDC Analysis Provides New Look at Disproportionate Impact of HIV and Syphilis Among U.S. Gay and Bisexual Men” 10 March, 2010 WEB

Stone CA, Kawai K, Kupka R, Fawzi WW, “Role of selenium in HIV infection.”, Nutrition Reviews, Nov. 2010

Tang H, Lu D, Pan R, Qin X, Xiong H, Dong J., “Curcumin improves spatial memory impairment induced by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 glycoprotein 120 V3 loop peptide in rats.”, Life Sciences, 3 March, 2009

Kashiwada Y, Aoshima A, Ikeshiro Y, Chen YP, Furukawa H, Itoigawa M, Fujioka T, Mihashi K, Cosentino LM, Morris-Natschke SL, Lee KH., “Anti-HIV benzylisoquinoline alkaloids and flavonoids from the leaves of Nelumbo nucifera, and structure-activity correlations with related alkaloids.”, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 17 Jan. 2005

Ryan C Fink, Bill Roschek, Jr, Randall S Alberte, “HIV type-1 entry inhibitors with a new mode of action.”, Antiviral Chemistry and Chemotherapy, 2009

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6 Comments on “HIV Prevention and Gay Men”

  1. gaycarboys says:

    Let’s just hope for a cure!

  2. Will Blesch says:

    I agree. I hope for a cure. But, I think we must do more than hope. Behaviors must be examined, and younger men must become more responsible in their sexual habits.

    This is true in both the heterosexual as well as homosexual communities.

    • gaycarboys says:

      Do you know I was talking a very young friend the other day who says he never has safe sex. When I asked why, he replied he doesn’t have sex with guys old enough to be HIV+. SIGH.

      • Will Blesch says:

        That’s amazingly sad. There are plenty of young people out there that think HIV is a thing of the past…or they think for some reason that they are immune, or that it could never happen to them.

        Ultimately, their behavior is up to them to choose. But, it really needs to be pounded into their brains that it’s wise to really know someone before getting into bed. I’d personally make freaking sure to see a clean bill of health before going to bed with anyone!

  3. gaycarboys says:

    Yup. It’s not the most shocking thing I’ve heard over the last few years. An HIV+ friend of mine was at a party. He is an elderly gent and he said that very young guys were intentionally having unsafe sex with as many +ve people as possible. My flabber had never been so gastered.

    • Will Blesch says:

      You know there is a supplement out there called Gene-Eden for Safer Sex (you can google it) that has ingredients that are antiviral in nature.

      And, as you know I am a health-kick kinda guy. I’m all for natural means of prevention as well as treatment.

      I’m not a doctor, and I’m not giving medical advice…but I personally think there’s value in holistic healing. You should check it out.

      And by the way, I bet my flabber would have been just as gastered! That’s the most awful thing I’ve heard in a while. Although, I have to say I am not surprised. A few years ago, I heard some people talking about how that…if more people got HIV, the faster scientists would find a cure. It was the dumbest thing I’d heard in my life. – What if there is NO cure? (I think there might be, but what if there wasn’t?) A whole bunch of people would have contracted it on purpose, and would die for no reason.


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