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in the news-3

Volume 15/Issue 24

Gay Doctors Warn Against
HIV Names Reporting

Concerned that named HIV reporting is a dangerous medical path that would be detrimental to testing and treatment efforts, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, a San Francisco-based national medical organization that works to combat homophobia within the medical profession and in society at large and to promote quality health care for lgbt patients, announced Nov. 13 its strong opposition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's plan to urge states to begin requiring physicians to report the names of people infected with HIV.

"HIV discrimination is, unfortunately, still quite common, and the CDC's proposal could result in fewer at-risk persons coming forward for HIV screening," said GLMA board member and nationally recognized HIV expert Ken Mayer, MD, director of the Brown University AIDS Program. "We are concerned that the CDC is encouraging the creation of this type of surveillance system at a time when medical advances have made it even more critical for people to feel comfortable being tested and coming in for treatment as early as possible."

GLMA's warning is prompted by a resolution adopted by the association's Board of Directors calling for caution in the implementation of any HIV surveillance system and urging the CDC to more aggressively study methods of protecting patient confidentiality.

GLMA agrees that improving the CDC's HIV surveillance methods is necessary to track more accurately the HIV/AIDS epidemic and more effectively target prevention services. But if these changes include named HIV reporting, GLMA warns, the CDC's decision could be detrimental to the health of many women and men and could severely compromise the doctor-patient relationship. The resolution also calls on the CDC to expand its use of anonymous population-based studies, to require all states to offer anonymous testing programs (10 states currently prohibit anonymous testing), and underscores GLMA's strenuous rejection of any plan to link HIV surveillance with any other public health effort of disease control, such as partner notification.

To emphasize GLMA's concerns, GLMA Director of Public Policy Marj Plumb recently met with John Ward, MD, Chief of the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Branch of the CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, to explain the association's position and to encourage the CDC to pursue other surveillance methods.

"The CDC is in the business of health, but this plan could cause harm by driving the epidemic further underground, denying patients the benefits of early therapy," said GLMA Board President Michael Horberg, MD, a San Francisco Bay Area internist who specializes in HIV. "We will continue to meet with the CDC and others to emphasize the public health dangers of promoting named HIV reporting and to highlight alternative solutions that will help communities get the types of prevention services they need."

Paper Highlights Lone Star Lesbian Sheriff

The October 29 Dallas Morning News had an excellent news feature on openly lesbian Travis County (Texas) Sheriff Margo Frasier. "Without ever meaning to, Margo Frasier has assembled a string of firsts for herself-the first female lieutenant in the Travis County Sheriff's Department; the first captain; the first female Travis County sheriff; and oh, yes, coincidentally, the first openly gay Travis County sheriff," the story begins. The profile integrates her sexual orientation into the rest of what makes Frasier the person and cop she is, including mention of "her analytical side, her tough side...[and] a droll wit that comes from being so closely aligned to law enforcement." It discusses how she broke down gender barriers not specifically as a civil rights cause, but mainly because she just wanted the jobs.

"'I mean, if the job is there and you're a good match for it, why shouldn't you have it if you're qualified?' Sheriff Frasier says with a shrug. 'I don't think gender, race or anything other than qualifications should be criteria for being whatever it is you want to be."' In addition to her professional life, it discusses her family, including her partner and their four-year-old daughter.

The Dallas Morning News profile of Sheriff Frasier interviews peers, co-workers, family and officials to give a full picture of the work she does, and the courageous person she is. It avoids the tired trap of feeling compelled to interview anti-gay bigots for "balance," and because of it, provides a well-rounded and intelligent feature. [from GLAAD]

Sister Pairs Needed For Study Of Adult Sisters

A lesbian university professor is looking for volunteers to complete a survey about how the lives of adult sisters are similar or different. To participate, please contact: Esther D. Rothblum, Ph.D., Box 185, John Dewey Hall, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, tel. 802.656.4156 and request either two surveys (one for you and the other for one sister) or else give both addresses and you and your sister will receive identical surveys.

Jack Hart Seeks Submissions For My First Time II

Jack Hart, editor of My First Time and Heat, wants new stories for My First Time II, the follow-up to his best-selling My First Time: Gay Men Describe Their First Same-Sex Experience.

This anthology will be a collection of true, first-person stories by gay men describing in erotic detail the first time they had sex. It should provide a sometimes passionate, sometimes romantic, and always sizzling look at the many ways in which men discover their sexuality for the first time.

This book is scheduled for release by Alyson Publications in 1998. Deadline for submissions is January 30, 1998. For guidelines, send SASE to Jack Hart, c/o Alyson Publications, P.O. Box 4371, Los Angeles, CA 90078; E-mail to; or go to

Gay Games in Sydney in 2002

The Federation of Gay Games has announced that Sydney has been selected as the host site for the sixth international gay and lesbian Olympics-style competition in 2002, beating out finalists Dallas, Texas, Long Beach, California, Montreal, and Toronto. It will be the first time the Games have been held in the Southern Hemisphere. More than I 0,000 people are expected to participate and another 20-30,000 to visit as spectators, bringing some $100-160-million in revenues for New South Wales as a return on a budget of $11.5-million - a significantly lower price tag than the mainstream International Olympic Games that will be using the same city in 2000. While the NSW government welcomed the selection as a much-needed boost for the stagnant economy expected in the wake of the mainstream competition, homophobe Fred Niles, his National Party, and the Christian Democratic Party all continue to object. They've cited both HIV and pedophilia in opposing government financial support of the effort, especially to the $75,000 the state invested in support of the bidding process at which Sydney has lost twice before.

Active support for the games has come from swimming great Dawn Fraser and from discus-thrower Lisa-Marie Vizaniari, an open lesbian slated for the mainstream Olympics. Sydney's bid also was ranked highest by Joe Clark of The Village Voice in his compariso nof the finalists published November 13; he said the experience of their past bids showed in their careful planning of details such as disability access, making their bid "superior and worthy."

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