Category Archive: Interviews

  1. Dr. Ron Stall interview on Pittsburgh’s NPR

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    From Pittsburgh’s NPR radio station:

    According to Dr. Ron Stall, director of the Center for LGBT Health Research at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, the dearth of investment in sexual health research, especially for the LGBT community, is something of an American tradition. Primarily due to the hot-button nature of conversations about sexuality and sexual practices, “the US has been slow to invest in sexual health in general.”

    This additional roadblock makes the advances that have been made in the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV all the more impressive. According to Stall, thanks to breakthrough drug research, HIV “has now become a chronic manageable disease much like diabetes,” for those who are aware of their illness and have access to drugs.

    “When historians write about this epidemic, they’ll be impressed.” Stall says. Still, members of the LGBT community are disproportionately affected by the disease and the complications that come with it. According to Dr. Stall, the center for LGBT health research seeks to go deeper than treatment, and is focused on understanding why the health disparities exist. Stall notes that mental health, substance abuse issues, and the health of the individuals relationships all have a serious impact on the risk of contracting HIV. And determining how these issues factor in can help prevent transmission of the disease going forward. One of the biggest challenges facing the center is, as it has always been, chronic under-funding. “There’s no question that the funding is not commensurate with the proportion of Americans that are LGBT.” Stall states. “There needs to be a structural change in how this work is funded.”

    Listen to the radio interview here.


  2. A conversation with University of Pittsburgh researcher Dr. Herrick

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    “We never considered looking for resilience. We’re really good at measuring sickness and disparity but have no real way to measure health.”

    From Pittsburgh’s City Paper:

    If you’re a gay or bisexual man, a study at the University of Pittsburgh proves what LGBT advocates have been preaching for years: It does get better. In fact, researchers discovered that within the study, the majority of men who have sex with men (MSM) overcame internalized homophobia — or self-loathing because of external homophobia or negative societal stereotypes — over time. And it didn’t really matter during which decade they realized a same-sex attraction.

    In the study, led by Dr. A. Herrick, a post-doctoral associate in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, researchers also discovered that even though some MSM experienced bullying or homophobia, they didn’t experience negative health affects like sexually transmitted diseases or depression. It’s one of the first studies to focus on positive health outcomes for gay men.

    Herrick recently spoke to City Paper about the results. You can go to City Paper online to read the interview.

  3. Gay Men’s Health: A Q&A with Dr. Ron Stall

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    From BETA online…

    Dr. Ron Stall, Professor of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, wants prevention efforts to leverage gay men’s strengths rather than focus solely on issues that put them at risk.

    Stall’s work with the Urban Men’s Health Study uncovered “syndemics” among gay men: overlapping psychosocial health issues that have an additive effect. Of the health problems that overburden gay men, Stall observes, HIV/AIDS may only be the most recognized; according to his research, the disproportionately high HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) goes hand in hand with documented higher rates of substance use, clinical depression, partner violence, and childhood sexual abuse.

    At the same time, however, research by Stall and his colleagues uncovered “resiliencies” that help protect gay men’s health, such as the capacity to resolve substance use problems over time and the ability to remain HIV negative despite having experienced syndemic conditions that would ordinarily increase their HIV risk.

    Tapping into these resiliencies, says Stall, could inform HIV-prevention and wellness interventions that truly resonate with gay men and help them keep themselves and their partners healthy and happy.

    Read the interview on BETA.

    BETA is an online source for new developments in HIV prevention, evolving approaches to HIV treatment, and strategies for living well with the virus.

  4. A frank discussion with the Pitt Men’s Study’s own Dr. Anthony Silvestre

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    Anthony Silvestre, Ph.D.

    “The battle against AIDS has produced effective prevention interventions that can help people change their unsafe sexual and drug-using behaviors, and effective treatments to keep people who are infected relatively healthy over the long run. However, the war against AIDS is stagnant. The institutional changes that are necessary to stop AIDS, and to prevent the outbreak of other sexually transmitted diseases, have not occurred. Our professional schools, funders of research, our churches and our educational systems have made precious few changes in how they do business. As a society, we have failed to integrate healthy views about sexuality into our everyday lives. We continue to treat it as the stuff of snickering adolescence or of slick merchandizing.

    Clearly, there have been major advances in treatment and the prevention of AIDS. There have been few changes in the attitudes that stigmatize the at-risk populations, and that keep us from maturely responding to sexual-health matters in our schools and universities and other major institutions.”

    You can read the full interview at Pittsburgh City Paper Online.

  5. An interview with leading gay men’s health expert, the Center’s Ron Stall

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    Dr. Ron Stall

    University of Pittsbrugh Researcher Ron Stall talks about 30 years of HIV and gay men’s health on Web’s Huffington Post…

    While no longer a singularly “gay disease,” gay, bisexual and transgender people remain severely impacted by HIV/AIDS in the U.S. For young gay, bi, and transgender youth of color, alarming rates of HIV rival those of some Sub-Saharan countries. What can we learn from the 30-year history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in order to forge a better, future response?

    These are just some of the questions the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) is posing this year as it reflects on lessons learned from the past 30 years of HIV/AIDS. Chief among these questions is why, 30 years into the crisis, are rates of HIV highest among young gay men, particularly men of color? According to federal officials, rates of HIV among gay men are 50 times higher than any other group and, while new cases have plateaued for other groups, among gay/bi men and transgender, they continue to climb.

    Read the full article.