Letters to the editor

  • Wednesday April 28, 2021
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Letters to the editor

A SOGI data nightmare

Regarding your article that the San Francisco Health Department lags other city agencies in collecting LGBTQ health data euphemistically called SOGI (since we need a separate acronym): good ["On LGBTQ data, SF health department lags other city agencies," April 15]. There was a time when gay people really just wanted to be left alone to do their own thing. The last thing we need in these post-Snowden days of mass surveillance is a convenient government database. The Nazis found the "Jude" data collection from the 1930 census to be quite convenient.

Imagine, you show up to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital in an ambulance for a broken leg and your gleefully displayed vaccine passport connects you to the health department's SOGI database and it flashes to the triage nurse: "Oh, he's a homosexual." Now you get some judgmental doctor who sees blood and is afraid to work with blood in homosexuals and without telling you orders an HIV viral load test — even though it isn't FDA approved for diagnostic or screening purposes and has a 20-70% false positive rate on HIV negatives, and traumatic injury is one of the conditions known to cause false positives. Now it comes back "positive" (which means nothing when used off-label) and you get sent over to the SFDPH for "surveillance" and they put you in a databases as a "suspect case" and then use your identity to inflate their "probable cases" for Ryan White Part A funding claims — for the rest of your life.

Meanwhile, your own treatment is delayed because the doctors don't want to work with you until they get back the results of this lousy PCR test, and they've also called the SFPD officers who responded to the accident where you broke your leg, and they freak out because one of them accidentally touched blood, and now they come in and say, "Aha! You have viremia!" and then instead of asking you whether you want to take HIV meds immediately based on this bogus off-label test you didn't know they were going to administer, and they trigger Stevens-Johnson syndrome and now your skin is falling off and you're in critical at the ICU when really all you just wanted was them to put your leg in a cast. When you wake up then they say you have to keep taking the meds and when you respond, "Well, I want to have a confirmatory test and perform a differential diagnosis," they come back with a psychiatrist and have you declared "in denial" and then get you declared insane and force medicate you ... and send you a bill.

All because of the SOGI data.

Thomas J. Busse

San Francisco

Nothing lucky about Lucky Strike

I am very upset to see the Lucky Strike cigarette ad on your pages [April 22 print edition]. Cigarettes kill nearly half a million Americans each year from smoking-related diseases, like emphysema, lung cancer, and so on, and to see this ad in a gay newspaper is very disturbing. I am an MD and I know what I am talking about. Many people in America do not know about it but I know, believe me. I see a lot of them in San Francisco General Hospital every day. We're doing vaccination against COVID-19 right now, and smoking problems became in the shadow. But look, how many kids in our schools try to smoke cigarettes every day? I am sure that the gay community of San Francisco is against it too, but this kind of ad helps Americans to kill themselves. I understand that we need money. But all the money in the world cannot buy health. Lucky Strikes is not lucky at all, because it is deadly.

Georgy Prodorov

San Francisco

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