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On National Coming Out Day, Don’t Disparage the Closet

It has been over five years since I logged onto Facebook and publicly announced my sexual orientation. “I can no longer stay silent, friends,” I wrote. “I am gay and have been for a lifetime. I recognize that this may be a shock to some of you but I would be remiss to only share half of me.” Coming out was both liberating and constricting, for me. It was beautiful although the consequences were occasionally ugly. I am glad I came out. But what about those people who aren’t?

In October 1988, National Coming Out Day (NCOD) was founded to celebrate individuals who publicly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender. This October 11 will again be a day cheering authenticity and bravery. And it’s an event I have mixed feelings about.

Read the full article at The Atlantic.

Falling (Back) in Love With Myself

First dates tend to be awkward. They require people to step outside their comfort zone to get to know someone who could be completely wrong for them. It demands an increased vulnerability that, quite frankly, many are tired of giving. Dating can be exhausting, and like most people, I’ve had my share of good ones and those that were not so good. Throughout these experiences, “why are you single?” is one question that remains consistent.

When this question is asked, I immediately think, Did it just happen again? Should I think of something that sounds like I’m “worth” another date? Is it best to play it cool and make a joke out of it? Or none of the above? Instead of answering honestly, I usually redirect the conversation and say, “But doesn’t your question assume I want to be in a relationship? Social construction says so, but what if I don’t necessarily want to be in one?” Bad move, but how could I be honest enough to say, “Because I fell out of love with myself, and only I can get it back”?

Read the full article at The Huffington Post.

Routine HIV Screenings Now Recommended For All Adolescents And Adults

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued new recommendations on who should be routinely screened for HIV infection. Previously, USPSTF released recommendations that only high-risk individuals should be screened for HIV. Specifically, it concluded that “the benefit of screening adolescents and adults without risk factors for HIV is too small relative to potential harms to justify a general recommendation.” In November, the USPSTF issued draft recommendations that all adolescents and adults, regardless of high-risk, should be routinely screened for HIV infection. As of yesterday, those draft recommendations became final. In a statement issued yesterday, USPSTF issued a final recommendation officially proposing that all individuals ages 15–65 should be screened for HIV infection, including pregnant women who are unaware of their HIV status.

Read the full article on Think Progress.

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