Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gay paper blasts coverage of staph infection

The Bay Area Reporter began its story this way: "Research from the University of California, San Francisco documenting the spread of the USA300 strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA among gay males in San Francisco and Boston is not homophobic, but the same cannot be said of subsequent promotion and media coverage of that research."

The problem began when UCSF said four times in a news release that gay men are not considered to be members of the general population. That was picked up by the Chronicle, then the AP and later by others in the media. San Francisco activist Michael Petrelis was among the first to complain to USCF, according to BAR.

Within hours UCSF press office issued a statement expressing regrets that its initial release "contained some information that could be interpreted as misleading. We deplore negative targeting of specific populations in association with MRSA infections or other public health concerns."

BAR said in an editorial:
    "For years, HIV/AIDS research has relied on gay men and last week's clumsy release -- compounded by the mainstream media coverage -- caused us to question why men would want to participate in future research. The university has pledged to do a better job in the future, and we'll be watching."

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