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A birth control pill for men | health

Posted: June 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on A birth control pill for men | health

An Israeli biochemist developed a pill that could sterilize men for up to 3 months, and with no side effects to boot. "Prof. Haim Breitbart of Israel's Bar-Ilan University," Karin Kloosterman reports, "developed a number of novel compounds that have no affect on male sex drive, but succeed in impairing the reproductive ability of the sperm. If all goes according to his plan, a new male birth control pill could be on the market within the next five years." Dubbed the Bright Pill, it's now being tested on mice with promising results. Human trials are expected next year. "And, unlike the female pill, the male pill wouldn't have to be taken every day."

In the Telegraph, Brietbart is quoted saying, "Men don't cope well with side effects and having side effects would probably put many off wanting to take a pill." Uh, do male scientists think side effects don't bother women?

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STI Rates Among Swingers

Posted: June 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on STI Rates Among Swingers

New data from health clinics in The Netherlands shows 12% of people practice swinging, indicating far more couples swing (consensually engage in sex with different partners) than believed. In America, estimates put swingers at 2% of the population, but if the Dutch numbers are any indication, American swingers are way more prevalent. Also, Cory Silverberg writes, "swingers, particularly swingers over 45, had a higher prevalence of STIs when tested at the community clinics."

In fact, swingers "had the second highest rate of combined STIs" among the groups considered, which "included men who have sex with men, sex workers, [and] straight people who weren't swingers." Evidently, STIs don't only target sex workers, despite contrary claims from anti-porn activists. "The researchers rightly point out that swingers may be a population public health folks should start paying some attention to," Cory says, offering common-sense advice about STI risk.

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Update: Cory Silverberg wrote an interesting followup to his piece about this study, which includes more figures and notes that “sex workers as a group are no more homogeneous than any other group, and no more broken than actors in LA or psychiatrists in ERs.”


Despite Legal Restrictions, Many Brazilian Women Have Abortions

Posted: June 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Despite Legal Restrictions, Many Brazilian Women Have Abortions

A new survey conducted in Brazil and coordinated by Debora Diniz, a member of IWHC’s Board of Directors, reveals that despite its current criminality, "one out of seven urban women age 18-39 has had an abortion." That amounts to "approximately 5 million Brazilian women who’ve gotten abortions," Denise Hirao writes at Akimbo. Of those women, 55 percent, more than 2.5 million women, "were hospitalized due to complications of the procedure" thanks to the fact that "the restrictive laws in Brazil [mean] women who manage to get abortions frequently are subjected to unsafe and unsanitary conditions."

"The survey reveals the face of the woman who has an abortion," Diniz said. "She is not someone else, she is one of us. She is our colleague, our neighbor, our sister, our mother. In general, she has a partner and follows a religion." Hirao asks, by supporting anti-choice laws "are [Brazllian officials] really saying that 5 million women should be incarcerated?" Technically, I guess they are.

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IRIN Asia | BANGLADESH: Educating girls lowers maternal death rate | Asia | Bangladesh | Gender Issues Health & Nutrition | News Item

Posted: June 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on IRIN Asia | BANGLADESH: Educating girls lowers maternal death rate | Asia | Bangladesh | Gender Issues Health & Nutrition | News Item

Maternal mortality rates (MMRs) in Bangladesh have more than halved in less than a decade, down from 724 deaths per 100,000 births to only 338, and correlate with higher education levels, according to a study in The Lancet, a British medical journal. "Improving the education of women has been a key factor in bringing down the MMR," an IRIN News article reads. "Increased access to education has had huge ramifications in socioeconomic development and maternal mortality. […] Women who are better informed are also more active in making family planning choices."

The article says lack of female medical professionals is a major cultural obstacle, because women "are not comfortable with male health workers." Associate health director of BRAC, a Dhaka, Bangladesh-based NGO, said, "If we want a long-term and sustained decline in MMR, we have to invest in the education and employment of women."

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FDA Committee hearing on Flibanserin tomorrow (18 June) – how you can keep up with the meeting

Posted: June 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on FDA Committee hearing on Flibanserin tomorrow (18 June) – how you can keep up with the meeting

Medical professionals have been warning against Flibanserin, a new drug created by pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) to address "hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women," or low sex drive. As Dr. Petra Boynton writes, "concerns have included the measures used to assess sexual satisfaction, the trials undertaken to assess the product, safety/efficacy questions, marketing strategies aimed at practitioners and the public, and the fact the research has not been made available within a peer reviewed journal. […] These issues are part of a wider anxiety over the increasing medicalisation of reduced female sexual desire."

Dr. Boynton and other practitioners have been critical of the blasé attitude with which mainstream media have treated their concerns, calling it "a pity that journalists covering this story could not have perhaps applied a more critical lens," and touting the use of Internet activism on blogs and Twitter for ensuring the FDA asks BI the tough questions.

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Update: Dr. Boynton has published a followup article that informs us of Flibanserin’s rejection by the FDA. She says, the FDA was “concerned about the materials used in trials to measure sexual response, the trial outcomes (which suggested Flibanserin did not perform much better than placebo) analysis of the data, and overall management of the trial. The FDA did not, however, dismiss HSDD generally and indicated it was a problematic condition they recognised.” Boynton details some lessons to be learned from the media coverage and reminds us that “we need to be aware that while there is now some critical coverage about the medicalisation of sexuality there is also a long way to go to get journalists to ask basic questions about drug company funded research in this area.”


Boulder condom company Sir Richard’s looks to help other countries – Boulder Daily Camera

Posted: June 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Boulder condom company Sir Richard’s looks to help other countries – Boulder Daily Camera

Boulder-based vegan condom company Sir Richard's plans to donate 1 condom to help prevent STIs in developing nations for every condom they sell in the US. Local reporter Brittany Sovine says, "Their new condoms will be marketed toward women, college students and the gay community by using a 'very disruptive' product design, according to co-founder Mathew Gerson. […] Made in Malaysia, they will be produced without casein, a dairy byproduct that is conventionally used in the manufacturing process."

Sir Richard's says they're aiming for 2% of the condom market share, currently dominated by Trojan with over 70%, and "plans to sell the condoms nationwide at eco-friendly grocery stores and retail locations that target a socially progressive customer" come this October. Moreover, a Student Ambassador program partnering with university health departments has been launched by the company at Stanford, with the University of Colorado joining this fall, to raise awareness of safer sex on campuses.

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Ban on gay blood donors upheld by panel – AIDS- msnbc.com

Posted: June 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Ban on gay blood donors upheld by panel – AIDS- msnbc.com

It ain't much, but it's a start: citing flaws in the research, on June 11th the Health and Human Services Committee called for new research on policy alternatives to the life-time blood-donation ban on gay men, but did not recommend lifting the ban. There was much testimony on both sides of the issue. One possible alternative would be to switch to a 1 year deferral period after homosexual relations, which would bring in an additional 89,000 pints of blood a year. Despite this increase, most of the conversation focused around blood safety rather than blood supply. Some other countries seem to have a good idea of how to keep supplies safe: Spain and Italy screen donors for risky behaviors, rather than simply for orientation. Huh; Good thought!

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I.H.T. Op-Ed Contributor – Learning From Soap Operas – NYTimes.com

Posted: June 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on I.H.T. Op-Ed Contributor – Learning From Soap Operas – NYTimes.com

Some of the most dedicatedly watched television programming world wide, Soap Operas and telenovellas serve an unexpected purpose – education about female empowerment, sexuality, HIV/AIDS and other health issues. They are watched – or listened to – by everyone from stay-at-home-moms to doctors, from America to Ethiopia. Various communities and organizations, getting wise to this fact, are even creating new programs directly aimed at educating about health or breaking down the taboos around HIV/AIDS. Turns out, there's more to "Days of Our Lives" than anyone had guessed!

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BBC News – Heart attack survivors ‘fear sex’

Posted: May 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on BBC News – Heart attack survivors ‘fear sex’

Heart attack survivors "fear sex" and thus have less of it, unless they're given information about how sexual activity may or may not affect them. According to a BBC report of a US study, "The team told an American Heart Association meeting that those whose doctors failed to talk to them about sex were most likely to avoid it. […M]en were 30% and women 40% more likely to report having less sex a year on, compared with before their heart attack, if they had not been given information on resuming sexual activity."

Dr Stacy Tessler Lindau, who led the study of 1,700 people, said, "Most heart attack patients are sexually active. But for the most part, physicians just aren't discussing this topic with their patients after a heart attack." The study found that "less than 40% of men and 20% of women talked to their doctors about sex in the 12 months after their heart attack." In fact, the chance of sex killing you "is really small," but dramatic TV shows & movies may mislead one otherwise.

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New Research Finds Using Lube During Anal Sex Can Increase HIV, STD Transmission – Queer Sighted

Posted: May 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on New Research Finds Using Lube During Anal Sex Can Increase HIV, STD Transmission – Queer Sighted

A new study finds reason to believe that four popular over the counter personal lubricants increase the risk of HIV transmission when used anally. Five brands were tested, including Astroglide, Elbow Grease, ID Glide, KY Jelly and Wet Platinum, along with a sixth product (PRÉ), used as a control. The researchers presented their findings at the International Microbicides Conference last week and revealed Wet Platinum and PRÉ as the safest lubes of the set.

"Research found that water-based lubes draw water out of cells, weakening and even killing the cells. Some of the tested products also weakened or destroyed the surface of epithelial cells, which act as a sort of protective cover in the mouth, nose, and rectum," Zachary Wilson writes for Queer Sighted. The Safety and Anti-HIV Activity of Over-the-Counter Lubricant Gels study is the first of its kind to evaluate effects of sex lubes on STI transmission rates.

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