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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: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Equal Access to HIV Treatment Could Finally Slow the Black Epidemic – COLORLINES

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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Election 2010: Amendment 62 Defeated. People Still Have to Be Born in Colorado | RHRealityCheck.org

Posted: November 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Election 2010: Amendment 62 Defeated. People Still Have to Be Born in Colorado | RHRealityCheck.org

A glimmer of good news for progressive voters this US election is the defeat of Colorado's Amendment 62, which "would have privileged the survival of a fertilized egg over a living, breathing woman" by "[outlawing] abortion at every stage of gestation, [outlawing] all forms of hormonal contraception, and [making] it difficult if not impossible for pregnant women to receive medical treatment if there was any chance of harming the pregnancy," Jodi Jacobson writes. Lobbied for by the cowardly group, Personhood Colorado, Amendment 62 lost by a huge margin of 72-28%.

However, like the anti-gay measures pushed in 2004, Amendment 62's presence may have helped get out the conservative vote; government forced-birth proponent Ken Buck is currently neck-and-neck with the pro-choice Democrat, Michael Bennet.

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Update: With 98% of the vote counted, Ken Buck is projected to have lost his race against Michael Bennet. Colorado’s women can breathe just a little bit easier for now.


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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What Happened When I Yelled Back at the “Christians” Calling My Wife a Murderer | Reproductive Justice | AlterNet

Posted: October 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

"Consider this my plea: stop terrorizing women. Stop adding trauma to their trauma," Aaron Gouveia, who, along with his wife, was devastated to learn their baby had Sirenomelia ("mermaid syndrome," where the legs are fused together), no bladder, no kidneys, and no chance for survival. But on the worst day of this couples' life—the day they decided to abort the pregnancy—so-called "Christians" professing "love" using "signs and pictures of torn-up fetuses" made their day worse. That's when Aaron decided to confront them:

Running on pure adrenaline, and without even a hint of a plan, I grabbed my cell phone and crossed the street. I didn’t know what to say or how to say it, I just knew I wanted to make public the cowardice of these protesters. The video's [here]—they didn’t disappoint.

"If you're able," Aaron says, "stand up to these bullies in nonviolent ways. Speak out. And if you have a camera, use it."

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NYC to Crisis Pregnancy Centers: Stop Misleading Pregnant Women – TIME Healthland

Posted: October 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on NYC to Crisis Pregnancy Centers: Stop Misleading Pregnant Women – TIME Healthland

So-called "crisis pregnancy centers" presenting as though they are actual medical centers in some cases and operated by anti-choice ideologues are just one example of the blatant (and well-funded) propaganda the anti-choice movement vomits. "I regularly see a poster that features an anxious-looking teenage girl under the headline: 'Free Abortion Alternatives: FREE Confidential Options Counseling,'" Meredith Melnick writes. "The issue, according to [NYC Council members], is that these clinics deceive women."

But newly proposed legislation may "force crisis-pregnancy clinics to explicitly state in advertisements, websites and in their offices that they do not offer abortions, contraceptives or any type of abortion referral." Funny, then, that anti-choicers are obtusely saying that—requiring them to speak—is a violation of their right to free speech.

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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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13-year-old girl raped & impregnated in Peru, attempts suicide, and is still denied abortion

Posted: October 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on 13-year-old girl raped & impregnated in Peru, attempts suicide, and is still denied abortion

In Peru, a country with one of the most strict anti-choice laws in the world, 13-year old L.C. was raped and impregnated by a man close to her family. "She realizes she’s pregnant, climbs to the roof of a local building, and jumps," Melanie Abrahams writes, retelling the horrific story. But it gets worse, "The fall doesn’t kill [L.C.], but leaves her with a paralyzing spinal injury. Doctors say an operation could restore her ability to walk, but upon realizing she’s pregnant, they insist they cannot help as the procedure could endanger the fetus."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, L.C. eventually miscarries. Now that an abortion isn't required, doctors operate, but months of delay leave L.C. without the ability to walk, no bowel control and minimal use of her arms. "They fear something else: the stigma," Dr. Luis Távara, President of the National Commission for Ob-Gyn Certification, said of the doctors, "professional stigma, social stigma, or familial stigma [for providing abortion service]."

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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: , , , , | Comments Off on Pretzel nation: Many combinations of sex – Health – Sexual health – Sexploration – msnbc.com

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: , , , , | Comments Off on New Study Finds Abortion Does Not Cause Mental Health Problems Among Adolescents

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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Oh, No, It’s a Girl! South Asians Flock to Sex-Selection Clinics in U.S. – New America Media

Posted: September 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Oh, No, It’s a Girl! South Asians Flock to Sex-Selection Clinics in U.S. – New America Media

"Last time I checked," geneticist Dr. Mark Hughes says, "your gender wasn't a disease." But that's not stopping Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg and others like him from using techniques originally developed to cure diseases from running "Family Balancing" clinics in the United States that offer "100% sex-selection program"s. Steinberg says that "for every woman I see regarding the breast cancer gene, I see 400 women who want to choose the sex of their child."

Sex-selection is a very hot issue, and at $18,000 a pop, Steinberg's clinic is an extremely lucrative business. His patients often travel to the US from India, Canada, and other countries where sex-selection is illegal. However, there are significant gender biases in US families, too, especially among Indian, Chinese, and Korean parents. And pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, Steinberg's method, is just one method of sex-selection; another is actually abortion performed after an ultrasound. It all makes me wonder where to draw the line.

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