Another gay black male has succumbed to MRSA/staph infection. Yesterday, celebrity hairdresser and makeup artist Dariel Pulliam, who starred in TV's 'What Chilli Wants 2,' passed away after a brief illness. According to his family, he was hospitalized for 2 weeks with a staph infection in his lungs, which likely caused pneumonia. He was 29.
The family is asking for donations to help offset the funeral costs. If you would like to help, please call (410) 800-0379 or (443) 629-3008.
I am writing this post to educate my readers about this MRSA scourge in the gay community. All of us in the gay community know of at least one friend who has succumbed to MRSA infection.
Like Pneumocystis pneumonia was in the 80s and 90s, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is rapidly becoming the #1 killer of people with HIV today.
Last year I wrote a detailed Medical Minute post about MRSA/ staph infections HERE. The reason I'm writing about this super bug again is to bring awareness to this scourge that is gaining a strong foothold in the black gay community.
As I wrote in my earlier post, those who are most at risk for MRSA infections are babies whose immune systems aren’t fully developed yet, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, such as HIV/AIDS patients.
With the advance of anti-viral medications over the last 15 years, HIV/AIDS is no longer considered the early death sentence that it once was. But unfortunately, due to the increase in MRSA cases, the tide is turning in the black gay community. For black people living with HIV today, MRSA/staph will soon be the #1 killer.
The reason you don't hear much about MRSA/staph in the news is because it's mainly killing young black gay males who continue to engage in high risk sexual behavior without using protection.
Poverty, neglect and denial are reasons why the black community accounts for the highest cases of HIV/AIDS infections today. The mere suggestion that black gays "wrap it up" brings on animosity and resistance.
MRSA causes soft tissue infections, but it can also spread to the lungs (leading to pneumonia) or to the bones and heart valves. Most MRSA skin infections are harmless and resolve within days. The infection generally starts out as small red bumps or tiny blisters, boils or spider bites on the legs and arms.
In the mid 1980s, MRSA was a hospital based bacteria. The bug was able to spread from patient to patient because nurses and doctors did not wash their hands between patients. Over the last 20 years, MRSA has leaped from the hospital setting into the surrounding communities.
Most of us are now colonized with MRSA/staph. MRSA/staph is not a threat to most healthy people. MRSA bacteria lives on our skin, but mainly in our nasal passages and throat.
Staph becomes a problem when it enters the blood stream through a break in the skin such as a cut or scratch. Once in the bloodstream, it is very difficult to treat because MRSA/staph is resistant to most antibiotics. In patients with HIV, it quickly spreads from the original site of infection to the lungs where it causes pneumonia, or to the internal organs.
Signs and Symptoms of MRSA include:
- Swelling, redness and tenderness of the skin around the wound
- Foul smelly, pus or drainage from wound
- Shortness of breath
This has been your Medical Minute.
More Info On The Web
Skin Problems and Treatments: Understanding MRSA - WebMD
MRSA - Mayo Clinic
Any medical information published on this blog is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider.
Edited to correct Dariel's age. Originally posted on April 6, 2011 @ 9:24am