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The headlines this week about a new "gay" infection were dramatic. FLESH-EATING BUG SPREADS AMONG GAYS, said one Australian newspaper, referring to a study about an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection affecting homosexual men in San Francisco and other American cities. EPIDEMIC FEARED--GAYS MAY SPREAD DEADLY STAPH INFECTION TO GENERAL POPULATION, shouted a press release from the Concerned Women for America, a conservative public-policy group.
Stackhouse believes that no one benefits if USA300 gets labeled as a "gay disease." When that happens, he says, "people who aren't gay don't see themselves at risk, and there is a risk out there," he adds. "This kind of stigma presents a challenge. 'I'm not gay, so I'm not at risk,' whether it's about HIV, whether it's about MRSA. That's the big downside to this kind of reporting."