Recently a judge placed an injunction on the Kansas law that prevents the state from including Planned Parenthood in their Medicaid provider network. So at least women won’t lose their health care while the courts review the case. More information is available here from CNN.
Articles about STIs
[For more information contact Below The Waist for call in numbers]
The Female Condom – where the girls – AND boys – are
Get the skinny on the NEW female condom and discuss its implications for anal sex.
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Family Planning Health Services (FPHS) challenges community leaders, educators, and parents to face the realities of HIV/AIDS prevention. Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in America, FPHS has been involved in prevention education. “In the twenty years since World AIDS Day was established, we’ve learned a lot about the virus and how to prevent it,” says Lon Newman, Executive Director of FPHS. “We know that to ‘Stop AIDS and keep the promise’ our citizens and youth need accurate sexuality education and information on responsible sexual behavior. FPHS provides that to our clients and those in the communities we serve.”
“Condoms save lives,” continues Newman. “FPHS will be giving away one dozen condoms free to visitors at all of our clinics from now until the close of business on December 23, 2008. Additionally, we challenge the new Congress, the new Administration, and all leaders to provide principled leadership on HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment by promoting health care policy based on two pillars of public health and American government – science and reason. We need accurate sexuality education to be taught consistently throughout our nation.”
[From The Guttmacher Insitutute]
As the global community marks World AIDS Day on December 1, advocates and policy experts welcome the promise by the incoming Obama administration to put sound scientific evidence at the forefront of the U.S. global AIDS program (PEPFAR). President-elect Obama’s campaign Web site states that the “first priority is…to ensure that best practices—not ideology—… drive funding for HIV/AIDS programs.” And indeed, both the new administration and the incoming Congress will have opportunities next year to do just that.
In August 2008, the U.S. government reauthorized the PEPFAR program, committing $39 billion over five years to the global fight against HIV. The new PEPFAR law features many improvements over the law that guided the program’s first five years; however, it, too, falls short in terms of HIV prevention policy.
[From the Guttmacher Institute]
A Range of Concerns Would Need to Be Addressed
To Ensure that All Women Benefit
A growing number of women’s health advocates are urging bolder and potentially transformative steps toward greater “contraceptive convenience,” with the aim of making contraceptive use easier and more sustainable for women, according to a new Guttmacher policy analysis. These advocates argue that many of the ways in which contraceptives are made available in the United States are no longer grounded in the reality of current scientific advancements or modern women’s lives.
Most of us know someone who’s dated online. With the explosion of internet dating and the (possibly related) prevelence of sexually transmitted infections, it’s delightful to see someone take the opportunity to use technology to improve reproductive health care in a less traditional way. This article, published in the Minneapolis StarTribune, Josephine Marcotty talks to University of Minnesota developers about the website and why they think it will work. “Web May Hold Key to Fighting New HIV Wave”, is a fascinating read about the possibilities open to us through the internet. I look forward to seeing the results of their project in the future.
The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is up for renewal. This article, published in the Boston Globe, demonstrates Congess could help increase the effectiveness of this funding. In “Global AIDS Policy and Women’s Health”, Pat Daoust explains how the Global Gag Rule has stunted the success of AIDS prevention initiatives in Africa and what Congress could do about it.
May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. Every year about this time, we take a moment to talk about pregnancy as a consequence of unprotected or underprotected sexual activity. In “The Silent Epidemic”, Lisa Kaiser of The Shepherd Express takes a look at the prevelence of sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates among teens in the Milwaukee area. Ms. Kaiser rightly points out in her article that while many were shocked when it came out that 1 in 4 teen girls in the United States has an STI, the numbers can be higher in our backyard.
I found this article to be very thought-provoking especially after listening to the recent podcast on HIV. Sue
DAILY WOMEN’S HEALTH POLICY REPORT
OPINION | CDC Study on Rate of Common STIs Among Girls, Young Women ‘Already Old’ to Public Health Workers, Opinion Piece Says
[March 21, 2008]
Recent findings from a CDC study that about 25% of U.S. girls and young women ages 14 to 19 have at least one of four common sexually transmitted infections is “already old” news for public health workers, Robert Fullilove, associate dean at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Adaora Adimora, associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Peter Leone of the North Carolina Division of Public Health write in a Washington Post opinion piece. They add that public health workers “fear this latest study will have its 15 minutes in the spotlight and also fade from view,” just like a similar study released more than 10 years ago by the Institute of Medicine did.
“Despite the huge costs that [STIs] imposed on our health care system, awareness of their importance was all but absent from the public consciousness” when the IOM study was released, the authors write. They add that the “national silence” on STIs might be associated with the country’s “difficulty discussing the roles that race and poverty play in these trends.” The “taboo” of talking about sexual behavior, poverty and race is one “obvious reason” rates of STIs remain high, the authors write, adding, another is “that the incidence of [STIs], particularly HIV, is concentrated in poor, segregated neighborhoods that are characterized by high rates of incarceration.” The “shift” in marriage and courtship patterns that result from men being incarcerated, as well as an increase in the number of “multiple concurrent sexual partnerships,” also are contributing to the problem, according to the authors.
STIs cost the U.S. “tens of billions of dollars” annually, “but with the exception of HIV infection, [STIs] remain the elephant in the room when it comes to the national conversation about health and health care,” the authors write. They add, “We can no longer have effective [STI] prevention campaigns in poor communities of color if they treat one person at a time or ignore social conditions underpinning high rates of HIV and other” STIs. “Simply put, we will never rid the U.S. of HIV and other [STIs] if our only weapon is medical treatment,” the authors write, concluding, “And if we are unable to engage in a national dialogue about the sexual health of our youths and the social dynamics that drive [STIs], this epidemic will go largely ignored, and many more lives will be lost” (Fullilove et al., Washington Post, 3/21).
The New Zealand Family Planning Program is totally cool. Every year Valentine’s Day comes and goes and everyone catches a little bit of the love bug. In the United States, we try to discourage infections caused by the love bug by celebrating National Condom Week. In addition to celebrate National Condom Week, I think we should follow New Zealand’s lead by making sure our relationships are healthy and safe. Check out their news release on Scoop Culture for more information http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU0802/S00007.htm.