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Equal Access to HIV Treatment Could Finally Slow the Black Epidemic – COLORLINES

Posted: May 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

A sad fact too few realize is we have the tools to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but not the political will. This month, results from a clinical trial known as "HPTN 052" were released and "confirmed what many public health experts have long believed: early HIV treatment not only benefits the person infected, but also reduces the likelihood that he or she will transmit the virus to sexual partners," Rod McCullom reports.

The reduction in transmission rates is an astonishing 96%, lighting a fire under health officials to fundamentally reevaluate approaches to treating the disease. Termed "treatment as prevention," the more aggressive stance on treatment and early testing "could help finally break the back of the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic," particularly among hard hit groups, such as the Black community, who "represent only 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for 45 percent of new HIV infections."

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Study: Employment Ads Perpetuate Traditional Gender Roles | Duke Today

Posted: May 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Gendered language in job ads "may lead some women away from occupations they may otherwise have found interesting," thereby perpetuating employment discrimination, according to a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology:

The clues come in the form of gendered words like competitive and dominant (male) versus compassionate and nurturing (female), the researchers report. Both men and women show a preference for job descriptions matching their gender, women more strongly so. But no one in the study was aware of the effect, the researchers discovered.

After examining more than 4,000 recent job ads, senior author Aaron Kay and his team wrote their own. "When we used more masculine wording, the traditionally female-dominated jobs became more appealing to men," Kay said. This unconscious behavior could explain gendered disparities in jobs like nursing. Moreover, genuine attempts at diversifying could be undermined if job ads have gendered wording.

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Female orgasm ‘overwhelms’ | Perth Now

Posted: November 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

In a news article that has amazingly managed to put the most obvious and the most awesome thing ever said about orgasms in a single sentence, the Australian Sunday Times reports professor of psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey Barry Komisaruk and his colleagues produced the first film of women's brains as they approach and achieve climax. Okay, so what's both simultaneously obvious and awesome about that? Says the Times:

A woman not only experiences longer and deeper orgasms than a man, but they so overwhelm her nervous system that they leave her temporarily impervious to pain, the film shows.

That's right, orgasms may leave women temporarily impervious to pain. Impervious, as in "invincible", in the words of Newser's Evann Gastaldo. During climax, 30 parts of the brain are affected. And the duh part: men's orgasms, also studied, are "not as strong." Le sigh.

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Special Report: The problem with phthalates | Reuters

Posted: October 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

What's the problem with plastics? Many products, from sex toys to tooth brushes to pencil erasers to shoes, contain chemicals called phthalates, which can easily find their way into the body, where they can impact many aspects of health including sexual development and fertility. This isn't a new problem, either – phthalates have had known risks associated with them since the 90s, and they are already regulated in some industries, such as toy manufacture. But not in sex toys – classed as novelty items, or pencil erasers, although a single eraser can contain nearly the level of phthalates that would cause a toy to be banned. Regulation of products is a slow process, but at least more light is beginning to be shed on the dangers of things that we put near, and in, our bodies.

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CDC finds stark regional disparities in teen-pregnancy rates – The Hill’s Healthwatch

Posted: October 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released yet another report yesterday finding grave differences in pregnancy rates of teens educated in States pushing abstinence-only sex education versus States offering comprehensive, evidence-based sex education. As Mike Lillis reports, "In Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, for instance, 2008 birth rates were less than 25 per 1,000 teens aged 15 to 19, CDC found. In the same year, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas all had rates topping 60 per 1,000 teens."

Meanwhile, another report from the Guttmacher Institute shows "All five states with the highest teen birth rates have adopted policies requiring that abstinence be stressed." This isn't new news, yet anti-sex ed, abstinence-only hypocrites remain willfully ignorant.

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Pretzel nation: Many combinations of sex – Health – Sexual health – Sexploration – msnbc.com

Posted: October 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Researchers today released The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, the largest such study since 1994, which asked 5,865 Americans ranging in age from 14 to 94 about their sexual lives. Among the findings, which filled 130 pages of a special issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, are a consistent theme that American's sexual mores are far from a monolithic set of heteronormativity: 15% of men in their fifties received oral sex from another man, despite only 8% of men overall identifying as gay.

The study was funded in large part by manufacturers of Trojan Condoms, prompting Brian Alexander to note "the crying need for government and academic bodies to fund such studies." He recalls in 1988 "a skittish Congress passed a law expressly forbidding funding" for similar studies. Public funds are still frustratingly hard to find.

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New Study Finds Abortion Does Not Cause Mental Health Problems Among Adolescents

Posted: September 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

New findings released online by the Guttmacher Institute are able to show for the first time that adolescents who have abortions do not have an increased risk of depression or other psychological distress such as low self-esteem. The study may put to rest many people's fears of possible psychological consequences for teens who have abortions. For us, it seems like a no-brainer that healthy, happy people want to be the ones making their own choices with regards to their own reproductive options.

Interestingly, the study's authors suggest that the pre-abortion counseling mandated by 34 States like Texas, which specifically requires "that women be warned of possible negative psychological consequences resulting from the procedure" may "paradoxically…jeopardize women’s health by adding unnecessary anxiety and undermining women’s right to informed consent." In other words, abortion's not the problem, the fear of one is.

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Emotional Openness May Be Good for Males’ Mental Health – TIME

Posted: August 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

A recent study by Professor Carlos Santos found that stereotypically "girlish skills" like empathy and the desire for intimate relationships help boys lead mentally and emotionally healthier lives—and may even save young men's lives. His multi-ethnic study also found zero correlation between race and hyper-masculinity, countering media stereotypes that often depict minorities as delinquent.

But as Charlie Glickman points out, "if you read the Time article [by Eben Harrel], you'll see some of the sorts of language that reinforce the macho mindset." In yet another example of the media being part of the problem, Harrell uses phrases like "stop sniveling and 'be a man'" and "being a mama's boy," which is the headline, no less. If boys or men escape stereotypes, we risk being gay-bashed.

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Bering in Mind: Oedipus Complex 2.0: Like it or not, parents shape their children’s sexual preferences

Posted: August 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

It's an old trope that women grow up anticipating and fearing the point when they will become exactly like their mothers. But do heterosexual women grow up fearing that they will one day marry a man exactly like their father? Jesse Berring writes fascinatingly about the truths of how early experiences shape later sexuality, and comes to the shocking conclusion that incest-avoidant habits are socially ingrained, not biologically, and that the same set of experiences that lead us to find our siblings sexually disgusting lead us to seek out people of a similar genetic phenotype to ourselves; hence those blond-on-blond families we sometimes encounter. It's not always true, of course, and most interesting of all, there is virtually no way to predict whether you'll seek out somebody just like you, or look for someone as different as can be.

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Love makes teen sex less academically harmful, study says – CNN.com

Posted: August 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

A new study has "raise[d] some doubts about abstinence-only education programs that link all types of adolescent sex to a wide variety of problems for teens." The study, conducted by Eric Grodsky and Bill McCarthy and released at the annual American Sociological Association's meeting, found that teen sex is not inherently a bad omen for educational achievement. "The authors say students who have sex only with romantic partners have generally similar academic outcomes as students who abstain from sex," CNN reports. The study highlights the reality that the context of sexual activity greatly affects the outcome, positively or negatively. It revelaed "students who describe their sexual activity in terms of 'hook-ups,' 'friends with benefits' or 'bed buddies' are more likely to suffer a negative impact on their education," such as an increased chance of dropping out of school or a lower overall GPA. In other words, sex isn't the problem, lack of mutually rewarding relationships is. Duh!

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Update: We learned thanks to Heather Corinna that, as the media is wont to do, this study was severely misrepresented by journalists all over the place. In her analysis, Heather writes: “Some reporting and discussion of the findings suggests that big differences were found with academics for young people who had sex in non-romantic contexts and those who either have not had intercourse or who have done so in romantic contexts. But the study and the authors’ comments don’t appear to make that statement at all.” There’s a lot more, such as the fact that despite media reports to the contrary, the study never uses the word “causes” to indicate any harmful connection between teen sex and academic achievement, nor does it actually ever use the word “committed” to describe the relationships studied. Poor media reporting about sex and young people, and about young people’s sexuality in particular, is incredibly—infuriatingly—common.