CAMPsafe:Another STD for Gay Men to Worry About?
|by Henry Lund|
|One day I woke up with an ingrown hair. I thought nothing of it. After 3 days it got larger and it did not go away. Unfortunately neither did the pain. So my loving boyfriend escorted me to the emergency room where I was told that what I had was a very common abscess or boil that would need to be lanced, and than I would be put on antibiotics for a week. Great, a few days of discomfort and than back to flying the friendly skies. Wrong!
Within one month I was back in the doctor's office with another abscess/boil and was told "you are just having bad luck. This is very common in men and unfortunately you happened to have gotten two of them." Off to the surgeons office I went. Once again I was lanced and out of work for a week. The surgeon put me back on antibiotics and told me all will be OK once this heals. Wrong!
Exactly one month later it happened again. I, of course, thought, "Hmmm bad luck. It will go away just like the last time." Wrong! This time I ended up in Sibley Memorial Hospital and was told I would be spending a few days there because my arm was so infected and swollen.
The infectious disease Doctor took a swab of the infection, only to tell me that I definitely had a virulent antibiotic-resistant form of Staphylococcus. We had no clue how I could have picked this up. I was placed on intravenous drugs and told the drugs would take care of the infection. Once again wrong!!!
For the fourth and final time, I was lanced and drained and this time placed on the correct drug for this particular Staph infection. Two weeks later gay.com and USA Today printed articles about a new outbreak of Staphylococcus in gay men with headlines of "L.A. Gays Fighting Staph Infections."
I hope those of you reading this will possibly recognize the symptoms and see that this is serious. If you do have a bump in the skin that grows large within a few days please see a doctor immediately. The USA Today article states: "The infection appears to be spreading through skin to skin contact, including sex, and has proved to be impervious to common antibiotics." This is not found exclusively in the HIV positive population. It may be passed on while dancing shirtless and sweaty on the dance floor. Do not treat these bumps as nothing. Please see your doctor immediately and don't be embarrassed about it. This is your body and you have to listen to it and respect it.
For more information see gay.com, L.A. gay men suffer skin malady.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 13, No. 1, February 7, 2003.