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Friday, April 28, 2017

Not yesterday’s epidemic: Baltimore’s infection rate is 7.5 times the U.S. average

The 2017 AIDS Walk & Run Baltimore, presented by Quest Diagnostics, is set for the Maryland Zoo on Sunday, May 7th, with the goal of raising $150,000 for Chase Brexton Health Care, to further expand its HIV testing, awareness, and care programs.

Baltimore’s rate of infection is 7.5 times higher than the national average, and the third highest rate of HIV diagnosis in the U.S., according to the CDC. HIV/AIDS is the fourth leading cause of death in the city of Baltimore, but at least one in six residents has not been tested for HIV. Baltimore City alone accounts for 41% of all new cases in Maryland. One in every five new HIV cases is an individual 13 to 24 years old.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Do gay men have more casual sex, and if so, why?

Philadelphia, PA - Apps like Grindr and Scruff have become the gold standard for men to meet men. These apps, and others like it, use geo-locational technology to connect users to other men currently logged onto the app within a certain physical range, creating easy opportunities to both meet and hook up with new guys. It is generally understood that Grindr, Scruff and the like are used for casual sex. But why are these apps seemingly reserved for gay men? What about a hookup app for lesbians or for straight people? Certainly, Tinder is the closest thing to a hookup app for non-gay men but it absolutely falls short of being a full-fledged hookup app. Surely, gay men aren’t the only group of people who want to engage in casual sex. In fact, much research shows that men and women, regardless of sexual orientation, choose to have casual sex (just for the sake of it) at roughly the same rate. But — and this is a very distinctive but — biological differences between men and women seem to be the cause of differences in hooking up habits.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Last December I attended the most moving, transcendent World AIDS Day program I’ve witnessed in years. That’s not saying much, of course. These evenings are usually well-meaning but maudlin, featuring tearful eulogies while we hold up candles that drip on our fingers and we revisit personal losses that I put to rest a longtime ago. Okay, clearly, I have issues with grief.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Escaping to New York City from Baltimore for the weekend is easy. Although Amtrak tickets can be pricey, advance ticket purchase and travel during odd times can lead to cheap deals. A one-way train ticket for a 5 a.m. trip can cost as little as $40. A bus to New York can be even cheaper, with deals as low as $10. Although traveling to New York is great for seeing the beautiful green lands and waterways, once you get there, the adventure begins. New York, with its population of over 8 million, can be overwhelming if you are not used to a lot of people concentrated in a small area. New York plays a powerful role in shaping media, art, entrainment, technology, fashion, research, and education. It has the largest LGBT population in the world and that includes the largest transgender population that is estimated to be over 25,000. It’s the place where the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil happened – in 2001, when the World Trade Center was destroyed.

Friday, April 28, 2017

In 1990, documentary filmmaker Jennie Livingston premiered her film uncovering the wild and unique “Ball Scene” that predominated N.Y.C. Harlem queer culture in the 1980s. Long before Ru Paul became the drag queen zeitgeist, drag royalty – Pepper LaBeija, Angie Xtravaganza, Willi Ninja, and Dorian Corey were tearing up Harlem in a celebration of gender fluidity and protest. The documentary film Paris is Burning is the story of these important pioneers of drag in the years before the AIDS crisis ravaged the gay community. Weekly, contestants would gather in dilapidated gymnasiums and auditoriums in Harlem to compete in runway shows. The politics were complex in this world where queens are divided into “houses” similar to the great fashion houses in Paris (e.g., the House of Chanel). While the competition was intense, the support was endless for these young people wrestling with sexual orientation and gender conformity. It is in Livingston’s film that we learn terms like “werking,” “walking,” and “reading,” as well as the roots of “voguing” long before Madonna hit the dance floor.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman 2017

In the history of women’s leather, one of the most important groups is Lesbian Sex Mafia, the oldest continuously run BDSM support group in the U.S. The group is coming back to the forefront and kicking some ass in N.Y.C. and beyond. I met Bianca Spencer last year during a women’s history panel with LSM members. I met her again when I had the good fortune and honor of marching with LSM in the N.Y.C. Pride Parade. The Brooklyn resident made an amazing impression on me, seeming to have a quiet strength and desire to help the group flourish and the dedication to help make that happen. If you have not met her yet, I hope you have the opportunity sooner rather than later.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Aaron Hernandez wasn’t exactly a good guy. The former NFL star and tight end for the New England Patriots was serving a life sentence for murder without the possibility for parole before his suicide on the morning of April 19th. Some celebrated his death, posting memes on social media with messages like, “Life Sentence. Hang in there, Aaron.” In fact, most of these messages involved variations of the “hang in there” sentiment. This is rather cold, considering that Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell. He may have been a monster, but that doesn’t mean we have to be monsters too.

Friday, April 28, 2017

I know that there has been a lot of buzz about PrEP on social media, both positive and negative. As a PrEP counselor for the Visiting Nurse Association, I want to take this opportunity to state some basic facts, not opinions about the drug with you all. Let’s start with the basics.

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