HIV infection among men in most productive years
I read with interest the Inquirer’s April 5 editorial on HIV infection in our country. The phenomenal increase appears to affect mostly male subjects who engage in MSM.
A few months ago I attended a lecture on AIDS given by an American professor from Harvard University. He mentioned that the cure or vaccine to prevent it is at hand. There was an open forum after his talk and my
comment was essentially what was mentioned in the Inquirer editorial. When I mentioned the word “MSM,” I heard murmurs from some of the female doctors near me; later I would find out that these doctors did not understand what MSM meant until someone whispered to them that it was short for “men who have sex with men.”
AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, was reported for the first time in 1981, in the New England Journal of Medicine, the world’s most prestigious medical journal. In the early years of its discovery, AIDS was referred to as a homosexual disease and people shunned and ostracized those affected by it.
The recent increase in the number of AIDS cases is among men in their most productive years.
Prostitution among males and females has risen as a consequence of rampant poverty in the country. Men who contract HIV infection are mostly those who have engaged in receptive intercourse. The mucosa of the more distal end of the colon is very susceptible to penetration by the AIDS virus, in contrast to the lining epithelial cells of the oral cavity, unless there are breaks in it such as those caused by inflammation or abrasions of the pharynx, tongue, gums, etc.
The Catholic bishops’ exhortation on HIV prevention, most specifically abstinence, is a truism that would be difficult to carry out. Condom use for those who engage in MSM may be protective. It does not contribute to the further aggravation of the grave primal moral offense.—ALBERTO DAYSOG JR., MD,San Juan de Dios Hospital, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
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