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Monday, January 28, 2013

What Every Parent of a Gay Child Needs to Know: 4. Will My Son Get HIV/AIDS?

I want to begin this post by exploding one of the most pernicious myths circulating about the gay community, and particularly about gay men.  Here is what purports to be the results of a scientific study led by a supposedly reputable researcher. Dr. Paul Cameron.
How long did homosexuals live before the AIDS epidemic and how long do they live today? We examined 6,737 obituaries/death notices from eighteen U.S. homosexual journals over the past thirteen years and compared them to obituaries from two conventional newspapers. The obituaries from the non-homosexual newspapers were similar to U.S. averages for longevity: the median age of death of married men was seventy-five, 80 percent died old (65 or older); for unmarried men it was fifty-seven, 32 percent died old; for married women it was seventy-nine, 85 percent died old; for unmarried women it was seventy-one, 60 percent died old. For the 6,574 homosexual deaths, the median age of death if AIDS was the cause was thirty-nine irrespective of whether or not the individual had a Long Time Sexual Partner [LTSP], 1 percent died old. For those 829 who died of non-AIDS causes the median age of death was forty-two (41 for those 315 with a LTSP and 43 for those 514 without) and < 9 percent died old. Homosexuals more frequently met a violent end from accidental death, traffic death, suicide, and murder than men in general. The 163 lesbians registered a median age of death of forty-four (20% died old) and exhibited high rates of violent death and cancer as compared to women in general. Old homosexuals appear to have been proportionately less numerous than their non-homosexual counterparts in the scientific literature from 1858 to 1993. The pattern of early death evident in the homosexual obituaries is consistent with the pattern exhibited in the published surveys of homosexuals and intravenous drug abusers. Homosexuals may have experienced a short lifespan for the last 140 years; AIDS has apparently reduced it about 10 percent. Such an abbreviated lifespan puts the healthfulness of homosexuality in question.
This summation of Cameron's "research" was pulled from his organization's website after receiving incredible denunciation from peer reviewed journals.  He now offers an equally nonsensical explanation at  Due to this and other spurious "results," Cameron has been removed from memberships in the Nebraska Psychological Association, and The American Psychological Association.  In a court case, Baker Vs. Wade, a District Court Judge called Cameron's sworn statement, "fraud."

If this study were to be believed, parents of gay children would have much to fear for their child.  But it is not to be believed.  Neither are the notions that gay men are more promiscuous than straight men. In fact, a study of the sexual habits of four million gay men recently published in the UK establishes that
There is only a one percentage point difference between heterosexuals and homosexuals in their promiscuity: 98% of gay people have had 20 or fewer sexual partners; 99% of straight people have had the same number. Tellingly, OkCupid found that it is just 2% of gay people that are having 23% of the total reported gay sex. 
HIV/AIDS is a relevant issue for gays and straights.  Young gay men are being infected at a larger rate than others because they are growing up in an era where AIDS is not the killer it once was.  So they think, as most young people do, that they are immune to it and will live forever.  Unprotected sex is the culprit.

However, just because a person reveals ("comes out") that he or she is gay, does not necessarily mean that sexual activity is involved.  It could be nothing more than attraction at work with no acting out.

On the other hand, the chances are good that sexual activity is present or soon will be.  This is where good parenting comes into play and why it is good that you now know.  There are many sources of information available to parents and youth that can make for good discussion opportunities. and will get you started. The sooner you have this talk, the better, for knowing this information is the first step toward staying AIDS free.

I know many Christian sources advocate sexual abstinence until marriage as the only protection against HIV/AIDS, but studies show that this is one of the least effective means. Although the question singles out gay males, it is a much broader issue that affects both men and women, gay and straight, and people of all ages.  Here's a video of teens talking to other teens that emphasizes this and offers good advice on how to avoid AIDS.

TUESDAY:  What if my child is Transgender?  Navigating the intersexual world.

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