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Statistics and HIV - The Experts Speak : Swingers Discussion 41349
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TOPIC: Statistics and HIV - The Experts Speak
Created by: CuriousNew The original post for this thread was deleted.
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Due to a thread in Open Forum...BUMP

Saint Augustine FL
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Tech I believe you are correct on how this topic all started. If anyone wants to do some statistical research perhaps it should be in why a couple chooses not to play with a couple where male is bi. For us, all the stats thrown about that might even hint at how safe or unsafe it would be to play with a bimale will not change our "preference" to exclude them. No expert in this world will ever give enough information to change our minds on how to safely play in an area that we have no interest in. I (Mrs. things) plays bi-sexually with females, but I don't push my preference on straight females. Let's respect everyone's preferences !

Honolulu HI
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I was asked to monitor this thread (note that the general SLS policy is that the forums are NOT monitored). I am monitoring it due to it being a hot topic (and an interesting one) and because other similar threads have generated some complaints recently. With that being said, I have made some personal observations:

I went to the CDC site (you should always verify for yourself what you read here or anywhere else for that matter) and read some of the sections related to MSM. The article I read stated that MSM are at increased risk for multiple STDs. I could not find anything about what population they were compared against (the general population, I assume?)

Does anyone know of any data that lists the risk (increased, decreased, or the same) of swingers vs the general population?

I would think that for the purposes of this thread, the more important question is what is the risk difference between the swinging population and MSM since I believe that the original debate was started by a user asking the question of why bi males or couples with a bi male were ignored on this site.

Regarding that original question; I am not aware of any data that even indicates that bi males or couples with bi males have less success on the site.

Coral Springs FL
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You are correct that I initially e-mailed Mayo Clinic with my question. They quickly replied that Dr. Gallant was at Johns Hopkins, not Mayo Clinic, and gave me the link to the Hopkins site. I copied & pasted the exact same e-mail to the Hopkins site, and they forwarded my e-mail to Dr. Gallant.

I told Dr. Gallant in my e-mail, which I posted earlier, that YOU stated that it was "useless to avoid high risk groups as a way of reducing risk." His response to that was, as I posted, "That doesn't sound like anything I would every say."

He then goes on to point out that North Dakota nuns are a low risk group (a statement based, of course, on statistical data) and that drug-using male prostitutes on the back alleys of New York are a high risk group (again, a statement based on statistical data).

I hate to bring this up one more time, but I TAUGHT statistics at a university. I know EXACTLY how to use statistics, and how to INTERPRET statistics. It is very obvious that you do NOT.

YOUR choice of "experts" has disavowed YOUR interpretation of proper use of statistical data.

Game over. You lost.

South Riding VA
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<<As if THAT misinterpretation weren't enough, you go on to assert that Dr. Gallant’s real response to my question means that you can reduce your risk by avoiding high risk groups. Which is not at all what he said. I’ll leave it at that. The quotes are there for everyone to read.>>

Bullcrap! What Dr. Gallant CLEARLY said was that nuns in North Dakota (a statistically low risk group) are far safer than drug-using male prostitutes in the back alleys of New York (a statistically HIGH RISK group). It doesn't get any clearer than that, no matter how you try to spin it!

South Riding VA
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C'mon, kiddies, play nice!

Shadyside PA
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Dr. Gallant's response "quoted below".

QUESTION: I recently had the opportunity to review the Centers for Disease Control's 2003 "HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report."

In reviewing the data published there, it occurred to me it might be reasonable to use the statistics contained in the report to help reduce my personal risk of acquiring HIV infection. Since certain age groups, geographic locations, racial groups and behavioral categories seem to have a higher incidence or prevalence of the infection, wouldn't it be prudent to avoid people in those groups as a way to reduce risk of transmission? Assuming non-abstinence and non-monogamy, but appropriate barrier use in all cases, can I further reduce my risk by avoiding sex with those at higher risk? Why isn't this strategy an integral part of HIV prevention guidelines I have seen? It just seems like common sense would dictate that by avoiding those at higher risk, one would lower his/her own risk.

Comments? Suggestions?

ANSWER:

If you have unprotected sex exclusively with nuns in North Dakota, then your risk is going to be a lot lower than if you regularly let drug-using male prostitutes have their way with you in the back alleys of New York. But things are rarely so straightforward, which is why safe sex is always the best policy. Safe sex is ultimately far more important than choice of sexual partner. If you wear condoms with high-risk individuals, you'll be protected. But if you dispense with condoms for sex with those who don't appear to fall into established "risk groups," you could end up infected. Statistics are great for predicting what will happen with large groups of people, but they tell you very little about the person sitting next to you on the barstool.

WHAT IT MEANS (this is ME again, not Dr. Gallant)

His response clearly shows that some groups DO have much higher rates of infection with HIV. His comment that statistics are great for predicting in large groups, but not for the individual next to you, is an obvious one. There are no guarantees of safety, only relative degrees of safety and risk. Even condoms are not foolproof - they may leak, or come off during intercourse. They are great when they don't leak and don't come off - but there are no guarantees.

Swinging involves risk. You can minimize your risk, but never eliminate it completely. Proper use of non-leaking condoms is one way to minimize risk. So is having sex with nuns in North Dakota and avoiding sex with drug-using male prostitutes in the back alleys of New York. Or avoiding sex with any other group with high incidence of HIV and other STDs, such as MSM who have 50 times greater incidence of HIV than straight men.

South Riding VA
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I have received a response from Dr. Joel Gallant of Johns Hopkins. First, my e-mail to him, in its entirety, followed by his response.

MY QUESTION: One of your physicians has been quoted by name on a swingers' website by an individual who is a bisexual male and wants to convince swingers that avoiding bisexual males will NOT reduce their STD risks, including HIV.

He quotes a "Dr. Gallant of Johns Hopkins" of having replied to him via e-mail that "Since the statistics are cumulative over a period of about 24 years and since the prevalent at-risk population(s) changed dramatically over this period of time your assumption that you will reduce your risk by avoiding sex with at-risk populations is statistically insignificant", and goes on to say that "The expert opinion offered by Dr. Gallant of Johns Hopkins was that using statistics to reduce your risk of HIV infection is not recommended."

My question to you is, Do you really want to advise a group of people who have multiple sex partners that they should just ignore the fact there is a much higher incidence of HIV and other STDs in bisexual males than in straight males?

Thank you for this response. I think it's vitally important to get the correct information to the readers of that site.

DR. GALLANT'S RESPONSE: This doesn’t sounds like a direct quote from me. First, I don’t respond to this type of question by e-mail, but on our website, the Patient Forum of the Johns Hopkins AIDS Service website. In addition, I can’t imagine that I would have ever referred to an assumption as “statistically insignificant.” A difference between two measurements can be statistically insignificant, but not an assumption. The only answer I’ve recently given on my website that pertains to the subject of avoiding HIV by selection of high-risk partners is quoted below. I’m sorry that my responses are getting misinterpreted and misquoted, but there’s probably no way to avoid it. I stand by the answer I gave.

Joel Gallant

South Riding VA
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CDC responded to my e-mail with a form letter that basically is a CYA response refusing to answer my question. Thanks for nothing! Here is what they said:

"CDC has sent your email to us for response. We are CDC STD/HIVNet, the email service of the CDC National STD and AIDS Hotlines.

We cannot provide opinions. We can only provide CDC information. CDC has recommendations on eliminating or effectively reducing the risk of HIV/STD infection. These rules apply regardless of a person's sexual preference or orientation. These recommendations are:

- Abstinence - Sex with a mutually monogamous uninfected partner. (If a person is sexually active safer sex precautions are recommended, to eliminate or effectively reduce the possibility of becoming infected with HIV and other STDs.) - Engaging in activities that do not involve contact with blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid and vaginal secretions and with sores, lesions and warts - Use of protective barriers, including correct and consistent use of latex condoms during vaginal, anal and mouth to penis contact, and possibly through the use of moisture barriers during other types of oral sex.

It might be helpful to know that HIV prevalence statistics are estimates. The exact number of people living with HIV in the U.S. is not known. Some states do not collect HIV statistics (only AIDS statistics). Also, some people do not get tested.

We can answer questions about other STDs.

Another resource for questions, national or local referrals, and publications is the CDC National STD and AIDS Hotlines (NSTDAH).

NSTDAH English Service: 800-342-AIDS (800-342-2437), open 24 hours daily, 7 days

NSTDAH TTY Service for Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 800-AIDS-TTY (800-243-7889) Monday - Friday, 10a.m. - 10p.m. EST

NSTDAH Servicio en Español: 800-344-SIDA (800-344-7432) open 8a.m. to 2a.m. EST

Information about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be found on the CDC Division of STDs Web page: www(dot)cdc(dot)gov(slash)std(slash)

You may also want to visit the CDC National AIDS Hotline's Web site at: www(dot)ashastd(dot)org(slash)nah(slash)index(dot)html

Once there, you will find links to many reliable sources of information. Many of the CDC's HIV/AIDS publications are available at: www(dot)cdc(dot)gov(slash)hiv(slash)pubs(dot)htm

The CDC recommends that women aged 18 or older OR women who are/have been sexually active have a Pap smear performed at regular intervals. The timing of the intervals depends on each woman's case history and individual risk factors.

We hope this is helpful. Thank you for contacting us. CDC STD/HIVNet"

South Riding VA
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I wrote to Johns Hopkins as well, citing "Dr. Gallant"

South Riding VA
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TOPIC: Statistics and HIV - The Experts Speak