sex diaries

The Scary Taxpayer-Funded HIV Study Where 16-Year-Old Gays Record Their Sexual Conquests

Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist claiming the government is making us gay via juice boxes, brings us news via his website that federal government is “Funding Study in Which Boys as Young as 16 Create ‘Web-Based Sex Diaries’ About Homosexual Experiences.” This sounds like a fun one!

The study is called “The Importance of Early Sexual Experiences Among Men Who Have Sex with Men,” and it’ll be conducted by Dr. Matthew R. Golden at the University of Washington in Seattle. It’s been approved by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health, with a $252,000 multi-year grant. And it sounds like it’s going to be some pretty interesting research!

Men who have sex with men (MSM) experience rates of HIV and bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STI) that are many times those experienced by heterosexuals in the U.S. Despite the widely acknowledged importance of sexual behavior in defining HIV/STI transmission dynamics, little is known about how MSM form patterns of sexual behavior, what factors predict these patterns, and how those behavioral patterns change over a person’s life. We propose to conduct a cohort study of 100 MSM who are: 1) age 16-20 with 1-3 lifetime male sex partners, or 2) age 16-30 within 3 years of their same-sex sexual debut.

[…] The study’s first aim is to define the feasibility of enrolling a diverse sample of MSM near the time of same-sex sexual debut, following the cohort for 1 year, collecting frequent sexual behavioral data, and serially testing these men for HIV/STI. Success will be defined based on the number of men who enroll and complete the study, and the proportion who complete all questionnaires and HIV/STI testing.

The study’s second aim is to assess the feasibility of using web-based sex diaries to collect sexual behavior data and to identify the appropriate diary schedule. MSM will be randomly assigned diary schedules and we will compare the frequency of reported behaviors across diary schedules and against the retrospective questionnaire data.

Finally, for the third aim we will conduct three analyses. First, we will asses the association between early sexual development and the context of initiation of contact with the gay community. Second, we will investigate the association between the context of same-sex sexual debut and risk behavior observed throughout the one year of follow-up. Third, investigators will conduct exploratory analyses to define patterns of sexual behaviors such as condom use, HIV status disclosure, and sexual role and repertoire.

Basically, the researchers want to know how same-sex sexual behavior begins and develops over time, and whether (or rather, how) that behavior contributes to STDs/STIs. Sounds reasonable to me.

But because we’re talking about MALE TEENAGERS HAVING SEX WITH OTHER MEN, it’s time to freak out about it. Which is just what the right-wing CSN News is doing: asked both Golden and NIAID the following question: “The Census Bureau says the median household income in the United States is $52,000. How would you explain to the average American mom and dad–who make $52,000 per year–that taxing them to pay for this grant was justified?

To which the National Institutes of Health responded appropriately:

This information will help scientists design more effective HIV and STI prevention programs for men who have sex with men in the United States, especially for those at highest risk for infection. With the lifetime cost of HIV/AIDS treatment in the United States estimated to range from $470,600 to $665,500 per person in 2004 dollars (which is $550,000 to $779,000 per person in 2010 dollars), it is more cost-effective to prevent HIV infection than to treat it.”

So when “the average American mom and dad” reading finds out their son is a sexually active human being, research like this will be in place to help prevent them from contracting HIV. And so crap like this doesn’t happen.

Honestly if I were running things, I’d recommend lowering the study’s 16-year-old floor, ’cause gay teens be havin’ The Sex earlier and earlier these days.