From the GAPHR Advocate

April 2001

The GAPHR Pride Health Fair

In case you haven’t heard, GAPHR is sponsoring an LGBT health fair at Ansley Mall on Saturday June 16th from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. This will be an important community service and a great boost in visibility for GAPHR. However, we need your help for this to succeed.

We have been searching for a good community service or outreach program for GAPHR for a few years now. We thought it should be something that used our unique and useful talents as doctors. When David Scott mentioned the idea of hosting an LGBT health fair, everyone realized that it was perfect. We can provide relevant health information and screening to the LGBT community. It will increase awareness of LGBT healthcare (not just HIV care). It will increase the visibility of GAPHR. It will give our members in private practice a chance to advertise their practices to the community.

This promises to be a big high-profile event. We have received a lot of support from the community. Ansley Mall management has agreed to have it there. Atlanta Pride Committee is allowing us to use their name and call it the GAPHR Pride Health Fair, since it will be the weekend before Pride. It will be listed in the official Pride guide and they will help us promote it. AID Atlanta will participate and provide HIV testing. Fulton Co. Health Department will be there giving Hepatitis A and B vaccines. We are very excited about all these developments. This may turn out to be much bigger and better than any of us believed possible.

Of course, the main attraction of the health fair will be the screening and education booths. We plan to check blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, bone mineral density, and respiratory peak flow. We will have obesity screening, consisting of height, weight and BMI determination. Based on the findings of the other screenings, we will provide cardiac risk assessment. There will also be vision, dental, and skin cancer screening. Of course we will give out information about the illnesses at each screening booth. We will provide mental health and substance abuse information and self-screening tools. Other booths will have educational material on smoking, safer sex, self breast exam, and domestic violence. An attorney will provide information on living wills and durable power of attorney for healthcare.

There will be booths for exhibitors of health care products or services. We have gotten promises of support from several drug companies. Atlanta Pride Committee will have a booth promoting Pride. Several physicians and other healthcare professionals will have booths. GAPHR members can have a free booth to promote their practices.

Despite all the great support from the community and pharmaceutical industry we have received thus far, we still need your help. It is the participation of the GAPHR membership that will determine whether or not this project succeeds. In fact, the commitment of these other groups makes our effort even more important. We must make this a health fair we can be proud of and one that will make our partners enthusiastic to work with us again.

We still need help organizing the health fair. The organizing committee is having frequent planning meetings. It is not too late to join us. There is still a lot of work to be done. We need help arranging the screening equipment and educational materials. We must recruit and organize exhibitors, advertise, solicit sponsors, and plan the mechanics of the fair. We will also need a lot of volunteers to run the fair. We need GAPHR doctors to organize and oversee each of the screening booths. We need allied health professionals (nurses, lab techs, phlebotomists) to check blood pressures, draw blood, run tests, etc. We need volunteers to help set up and take down the booths and do other organizational tasks.

If you are interested in helping out, either with planning, exhibiting, or with working at the fair; please contact us at gaphrmail@yahoo.com. Help us make this a great health fair for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community; and possibly a GAPHR tradition for years to come.

 

LGBT Medical Watch

Sandfort T, deGraaf R, Bijl R, Schnabel P. Same-sex Sexual Behavior and Psychiatric Disorders: Findings From the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS). Archives of General Psychiatry. 2001; 58: 85-91.

The purpose of this study was to provide evidence for the assumption that homosexuality is associated with psychiatric morbidity. The fact that until 1973 homosexuality itself was seen as a mental disorder provides some irony to the hypothesis of this study. Of the 5,998 Dutch subjects interviewed aged 18 to 64 years, 2.8% of the men and 1.4% of the women had same-sex partners. Psychiatric disorders were more prevalent among homosexually active people compared with heterosexually active people. Homosexual men had a higher prevalence of mood disorders and anxiety disorders than heterosexual men. The specific mood and anxiety disorders more prevalent with gay men include bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and agoraphobia. Homosexual women had a higher prevalence of substance use disorders then heterosexual women. In addition, more homosexual persons than heterosexual persons had 2 or more disorders during their lifetimes. The results of this study support the assumption that people with same-sex sexual behavior are at greater risk for psychiatric disorders. Whether this orientation-related difference in mental health status adds to the stigmatization of homosexuality, is innate to homosexuals, or merely reflects the various stresses involved in a homosexual existence is up to the reader to decide.

Other interesting sampling characteristics involved differences in education and relationships with homosexual and heterosexual respondents. Both homosexual men and women had a relatively higher educational level then heterosexual men and women. Both homosexual men and women less frequently reported being currently in a steady relationship than heterosexual men and women. Finally, homosexual men were more likely then heterosexual men to live in urban areas.

Golombok S. Harding R. Sheldon J. An Evaluation of a Thicker Versus a Standard Condom with Gay Men. AIDS. 2001; 15(2): 245-250.

Western Europe advocates the use of thicker condoms for anal intercourse between men based on the assumption that thicker condoms are stronger and safer to use by being less likely to break or slip off. The authors of this study set out to provide evidence for this hypothesis. A total of 283 homosexual couples participated in a double blind, randomized, controlled trial of a standard and a thicker condom. Each couple was provided with nine condoms and a questionnaire completed immediately after the use of each condom. The results revealed no significant differences between the two condoms with regard to clinical or non-clinical definitions of failure (breakage and slippage). Failure rates for the standard vs. thicker condom were 2.5% and 2.3% respectively. Behaviors associated with breakage were unrolling the condom before fitting to the penis, longer penis lengths, absence of additional lubricant, and the longer the duration of the intercourse. The authors conclude that there is no evidence to support the use of thicker condoms over standard condoms among gay men, but do caution that additional lubricant be used.

 

GLMA Is Coming to Town

The Gay & Lesbian Medical Association is the national equivalent of GAPHR, serving as a resource and advocate for GLBT health professionals and patients in the United States and internationally. The board of the organization will have its May quarterly meeting in Atlanta. GLMA board members will be our guests at the May meeting of GAPHR. Look for more information in upcoming newsletters.

If you are not a GLMA member currently, consider the recent activities of the organization:

Healthy People 2010 Companion Document. GLMA was contracted by the Department of Health & Human Services to author an addendum to HP2010 for gay & lesbian health. Together with the full document, it forms the preventive and public health agenda for the U.S. for the next decade

Hepatitis vaccination program. GLMA launched a national ad campaign in the national, regional, and local gay press to encourage gay men to get vaccinated against hepatitis viral infection

Lesbian Health Fund. An ongoing project of the organization, LHF supports research projects on various aspects of lesbian health.

Physician Referral Program. GLMA members can become part of this web-based search engine that matches patients with health care professionals in their area.

19th Annual Conference. To be held in New Orleans September 29-October 1, 2001, the focus of programming for GLMA’s annual meeting will be "Commitment, Caring, & Advocacy: 20 Years of GLMA."

Your membership dollar helps support these important programs in addition to getting you direct membership benefits. Join online or get more information at www.glma.org or call (415) 255-4547.

 

GAPHR on the Web

Check us out on line at www.gaphr.org. Anyone interested in receiving the newsletter by email please write to gaphrmail@yahoo.com. You will get the newsletter 2 weeks sooner.

 

Donations

Please consider a donation to GAPHR’s Legacy and Outreach fund. This fund is earmarked to fund service and outreach to our community and to other doctors. The fund helps send medical students to LGBT medical conferences, pays for GAPHR exhibits at medical conferences, and allows us to help other groups such as Lesbian Cancer Initiative with LGBT health related projects. Without your donations, these important functions can not continue. Help us expand GAPHR’s outreach to LGBT physicians and patients.