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Anal Infection
May 17, 2002

My son is a 20 year old gay young man. Recently he was treated for an anal infection. He was prescribed an antibiotic, a topical cream, and pain killers. He had extreme pain where he couldn't sleep or sit. I don't know about bowel detail. He has tested neg. for HIV(twice). Last summer he had epidittimitis. My questions: 1)Are anal infections commom is gay men? 2)Are they similiar to PID in women? 3)Is the problem last summer related to the current one? 4)After this heals, should he have a complete physical? Thanks in advance, A very concerned and loving Mom.

Response from Mr. Kull

You are a cool mom.

It's not really clear what type of infection your son has. Some infections that could affect the rectum are gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV/genital warts, and herpes. There is a high incidence of sexually transmitted infections among men who have sex with men, many of which involve infections in the anal/rectal area. I'm not sure how to draw a connection between PID and anal STDs, except that both can be mildly to extremely uncomfortable and require immediate attention and treatment. Regardless, having more specific information about the infection will be useful in your understanding.

Epididymitis among young men usually suggests an STD, like chlamydia or gonorrhea, but that may or may not suggest what infection is affecting your son now. It may be indicative of repeated exposures to STDs, or symptoms related to one exposure cropping up at different times.

Your son should continue treating his condition according to his doctor's recommendations.

Depending on how comfortable you are with talking with your son about his sex life, you may want to consider having a chat with him about what's going on (ie, is he using condoms for anal sex?). If he is having repeated episodes of STDs, then it is likely that he is having unprotected sex, which increases his risk for HIV infection. Talking with mom about sex isn't so easy, but his knowing that you are available to listen, provide support and care may make all the difference in his life.

I also strongly support counseling/psychotherapy for most gay people as there are a lot of pressures that gay people endure that put their psychological and physical health at risk.

RMK



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