(A copy of this message is being sent to the UK's premier queer activist, Peter Tatchell. If anyone across the pond can exert some influence over this UK medical guide, he can. firstname.lastname@example.org )
December 18, 2004
c/o Dr Damian C. Crowther
The Cambridge Institute for Medical Research
Cambridge, UK, CB2 2XY
Dear Dr. Crowther:
Your advice to general practioners in the United Kingdom regarding the fictious "gay bowel syndrome" must not be allowed to stand unchallenged.
To the point, this supposed medical syndrome was debunked decades ago and unfortunately still shows up in otherwise respectable medical journals, including your GP Notebook.
I ask that you forthwith remove the listing in the GP Notebook for "gay bowel syndrome." Frankly, anything less smacks of homophobic quackery.
An apology to the gay male community would also be most welcomed and appreciated.
Below are the link to the offensive GP Notebook listing, the text of the listing, and a story from 2001 about a Canadian medical society correcting its textbook regarding "gay bowel syndrome."
I look forward to prompt action on your part to remove "gay bowel syndrome" from your GP Notebook and issue an apology over its inclusion in your textbook.
San Francisco, CA
‘Gay Bowel Syndrome’ Struck from Textbook
by Jon Garbo
Monday, April 16th 2001
A gay activist scored a victory against the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG), which last month deleted any reference to "gay bowel syndrome" from its medical textbook, the Southern Voice reported on April 12. The authors used the syndrome to describe a parasitic infection of the intestines that is prevalent among gay men who engage in anal-oral contact (rimming). However, the infection is by no means exclusive to gay men.
It is very much a defamation to say ‘gay bowel syndrome,’ when what they’re really talking about is parasites," said activist Michael Petrelis, who discovered the textbook entry. "It just seems so wacky and outrageous that in 2001 these educated medical people are still believing that ‘gay bowel syndrome’ exists."
"Gay bowel syndrome" is an outdated term from the 1980’s that appeared accidentally in the textbook, First Principles of Gastroenterology: The Basis of Disease and An Approach to Management,according to a CAG official. "It slipped into this [edition] purely by accident," said Dr. Eldon Shaffer, head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Calgary and the textbook’s co-author. "I didn’t even know it was still in there; I had to find it… It’s gone."
While gay men may be more at risk than heterosexual men for the parasites, it’s still harmful to label the condition as a gay one, agreed Gay Men’s Health Crisis’ communications manager, Marty Algaze. "Sickle cell anemia is primarily seen in African Americans, but would you call it African American anemia? People would never accept that," he said.
gay bowel syndrome
This term refers to a collection of sexually transmitted enteric infections in HIV infected homosexuals.
The infective organisms include: Shigella, Giardia, Campylobacter-like organisms, Entamoeba, Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis.
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