Sunday, February 28, 2010

NYT: Lethal Drug-Resistant Bug:
Gay Men _Not_ At-Fault

I dreaded reading the Saturday New York Times story on a drug-resistant bug killing people in rising numbers. Surely somewhere the gay man, sexually active or abstinent, would be blamed for either creating this strain of a deadly infection, making it drug-resistant or about to spread from the gay community into the "general population." The dread was for naught.

The Times reported on the bug known as Acinetobacter baumannii:

The germ is one of a category of bacteria that by some estimates are already killing tens of thousands of hospital patients each year. While the organisms do not receive as much attention as the one known as MRSA — for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus — some infectious-disease specialists say they could emerge as a bigger threat. [...]

There was the mandated alarmist quote from an expert:

“In many respects it’s far worse than MRSA,” said Dr. Louis B. Rice, an infectious-disease specialist at the Louis Stokes Cleveland V.A. Medical Center and at Case Western Reserve University. “There are strains out there, and they are becoming more and more common, that are resistant to virtually every antibiotic we have.”

And diseased homosexuals weren't mentioned once. But the bad news just kept coming:

Meanwhile, New York City hospitals, perhaps because of the large numbers of patients they treat, have become the global breeding ground for another drug-resistant Gram-negative germ, Klebsiella pneumoniae.

According to researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, more than 20 percent of the Klebsiella infections in Brooklyn hospitals are now resistant to virtually all modern antibiotics. And those supergerms are now spreading worldwide.

Still no reference to bug-spreading fags. What an unusual story of this kind! How refreshing to have a serious look at a growing public health infection, and the gay man is not at the core of the problem.

This is so unlike reporting in 2008 when UCSF alleged drug-resistant MRSA was flourishing in the gay community and soon to strike out into nice, normal heterosexuals. I wish my snark level about the Times piece and the germs mentioned were lower.

But after months of pushing back on UCLA's questionable study on HIV drug-resistance in San Francisco, and the aforementioned UCSF MRSA mess, on top of decades of mainstream news account pumping out the medical homophobia from universities and other research institutions, snarking is a healthy outlet for ridding myself of part of the stigma heaped upon me by UC and the press.

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