Sorry it's been so long folks. It's been kind of hectic here, and without internet access at home, and work being busy, well, unfortunately, the blogging kind of falls by the wayside. But, OMG, there is so much going on. I'm sure you know most of it, but let's go over it in any case.
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days - an award winning film - was reviewed by the NYT recently. It was a critic's choice film. And, you know, it won the Palm D'Or a while ago. There's still a lot of discussion about Knocked Up/Juno where unplanned pregnancy seems to be something that, well, all works out in the end. Laura Sessions Stepp, who I know many of you don't really like (article topics include hook-up culture and gray rape) wrote an article in the Post pointing out the dangers of being a teen mom.
Maria and I talk about this all the time, because I'm not so keen on the idea of teenagers having kids, and she thinks we need a more supportive community for helping pregnant teens. I don't think it's a great idea, in part because teen pregnancy is the number one indicator of future poverty. This, of course, gets us into teen sex, about which the NYT published an article in January. The article focuses on the emotional impact of sex on teen girls, as well as pregnancy. Good read. Oh, and I'm not getting into this right now, but there was a big to-do over these Denver girls who want maternity leave from high school.
So there was that big TIME Magazine section on love, and it was Valentine's Day yesterday (I got my sweetie these) and so love is in the air. Researchers have shown that people in love don't really check out other potential mates, but they do check out potential rivals. Sadly, sometimes love doesn't work out. When the engagement gets called off there is a developing field of law in who gets what damages, as well as some etiquette on who gets the ring.
There is a new label on the birth control patch. Women who use Ortho-Evra, the patch, are at increased risk of blood clots. The risk is still pretty small, but it's much higher than for women using the pill. Talk to your doctor.
Slate has an article on the health effects of the pill (news: it lowers the risk of ovarian cancer).
Barr, a maker of generic birth control pills, has filed a patent infringement suit against other pharmaceutical companies over oral contraceptives.
Ireland lowered the condom tax. A 12-pack of condoms costs about E13; they cost about $12 here in the States. I get the impression from the BBC article, by the way, that in some places condoms are free under the country's medical plan.
Washington State has tabled a bill that would require pharmacists to dispense Plan B, or the Morning After Pill. Issues related to conscience clauses loom large in this debate, and it appears that the legislature is going to pitch this over to the court system first. South Dakota, on the other hand, is trying to make sure that pharmacy refusal clauses don't allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense birth control pills.
Maker of the Today Sponge files for bankruptcy.
Kate Michelman endorsed Barack Obama; a black male feminist compares Hillary to Barack; Clinton announces an agenda for repro health care on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. NOW attacks Obama's abortion record, while conservatives say he's the most "pro-abortion candidate ever."
Sexually Transmitted Infections (Including HPV):
There's a journal article on expedited partner therapy, which is when the partner of someone who's positive for an STD gets a prescription/treatment for the STD without clinical assessment (e.g. your boyfriend gets treated for chlamydia if you test positive, without testing him.) I can't access the article, but the intro says that the CDC recommends EPT, which may raise some legal concerns. I would love to see a copy of the article if anyone has it.
Older folks aren't that aware of STDs, and using protection. Relatedly, sex continues to be both important and an important bonding mechanism as people age. Oh, and USA Today reports that women over 55 are enjoying active sex lives far more than their predecessors ever did.
New Pap test - the SoftPAP - approved by the FDA. This test apparently decreases the number of false negatives given by using the traditional (or ThinPrep?) Pap test. Currently it is recommended that women get a Pap test and an HPV test.
A new study shows that 1/3 of women with one sexual partner contract HPV in a year. So I'm just remembering these numbers offhand, but I recall that over 26 million American women have HPV, and only 10,000 cases of cervical cancer are reported per year. Further, only 3,000 women die of cervical cancer. So this mechanism of HPV infection --> cancer is not at all a one-to-one ratio. Anyway, I guess my point is that HPV is really common, and cervical cancer isn't. And while this isn't news to readers, who well know that HPV causes more than just cervical cancer, somehow it's news again that HPV causes oral cancers.
STDs common in Australian Aborigines. The article kind of reminds me of "The Tipping Point" chapter on STDs in as it states that when a population has >10% infection rate it's worth treating everyone with antibiotics to fight infections.
Look for another entry on Tuesday.
In the meantime, your animal story is about the 9 year old pregnant elephant.