Beware of Fake STD Cures

You think you may have herpes, genital warts, or HIV, but you don’t have a doctor or are too ashamed and worried to go to a health center or clinic.  So you research online and find impressive looking medical sites that offer “cures” for your condition. These claims sound too good to be true, and they are!

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have joined forces in the Fraudulent STD Products Initiative. The FDA is the government agency that evaluates drugs for safety and effectiveness. Together, these agencies are warning makers of these bogus products to change their claims or take these products off the market. The FDA states that none of these products has been shown to treat any disease and they may have untested ingredients that could cause harm. Dr. Debbie Birnkrant of the Food and Drug Administration warns that these products won’t work and may cause delays in someone getting treatment. Effective treatments for sexually transmitted diseases are only available by prescription through a health care provider. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Wanna Know What It Really Takes to Get an Abortion? As you may have guessed, you have to wake up pretty early in the mornin’ and jump through many a hoop. (Third Wave Foundation)
  • North Carolina GOP Overrides Veto, Axes Planned Parenthood Funding (Huff Po)
  • Memo to the Administration: You Can’t Be Pro-Choice Unless You Support Equal Access (RH Reality Check)
  • We often complain about our status and rights as women in the United States, but after reading about the five most dangerous countries to live in, as a woman, it makes our struggles seem less than insurmountable in comparison. (Alaska Dispatch)
  • Alabama governor signs ban on abortion after 20 weeks. (Reuters)
  • Next month, an independent panel of experts at the Institute of Medicine will decide whether contraception is a women’s preventive health service that should be covered by all new health insurance plans and provided without co-pays. (Care2)
  • Anti-choice zealot extraordinaire, Rick Santorum, says “all abortion doctors should be ‘criminally charged.’” I don’t know what this dunce thinks they should be charged with … providing a service that’s been perfectly legal for almost 40 years? (Florida Independent)
  • AIDS infection rate remains epidemic in our nation’s capital. (WaPo)
  • Check out Medscape’s informative article on considering the failure rate of contraceptive methods before choosing which one is best for you. (Medscape)

STD Awareness: Chlamydia

The bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis

The bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis

Did you know that chlamydia (pronounced “kluh-MID-ee-uh”) is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States? However, many people with chlamydia may not even know they have it: 50% of men and 75% of women will have no symptoms. Sexually active individuals and individuals with multiple sex partners are at the most risk.

Like other STDs, many people with chlamydia are asymptomatic, some symptoms in men include:

  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Discharge from penis or rectum
  • Testicular tenderness
  • Rectal discharge or pain

The symptoms in women include:

  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Rectal pain or discharge
  • Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, salpingitis, liver inflammation, similar to hepatitis

Continue reading

A Look Into the Face of Planned Parenthood

planned-parenthoodEditor’s Note: Today’s post is from Leslie Levy, one of our fabulous Community Action Team volunteers.

When I was single, I spent the third decade of my life working for a traveling healthcare company. I would spend months at a time in different cities across the United States working as an Occupational Therapist. This was in the 1990s to be exact. I was always conscientious about Pap tests, and mammograms. And, as a traveler, I would often get caught out on assignment at a time when my annual physical exams were due.

What’s a woman to do in a case like this? Go to the local Planned Parenthood, of course. Go to their medical office where you can get wellness checks, along with meeting some fantastic people at the same time. I used Planned Parenthood for my annual wellness checks for 10 years. I was so grateful that there was a place where a young woman on her own could find healthcare.

A woman’s wellness checks are intimate and can often be embarrassing. You don’t want to talk about your reproductive choices, have your boobs fondled, and spread your legs for just any doctor you find in the yellow pages. And, as a woman, you can’t trust any doctor you find in the yellow pages. You need a doctor who is trained to give you all the information and care you are supposed to have. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Woman Sues Over Ex-Boyfriend’s Heinous Miscarriage Billboard. Ugh. (Jezebel)
  • Apparently, Americans are sick and freaking tired of Congress’s obsession with restricting abortion. Nice sentiment but they should have thought about that before electing these clowns into office. (Politico)
  • Abortion “showdown” could cost Indiana $4.3 billion. And it’s a “showdown” they ain’t gonna win anyway. So move on already Hoosier State. (AP)
  • Ohio Lawmakers Vote to Ban Abortions at Publicly Funded Clinics, Hospitals. No word yet on whether there will be exceptions based on the life and health of the mother but if you remember the debacle at St. Joseph’s in Phoenix a while back, it’s probably safe to assume there won’t be any exceptions. (RH Reality Check)
  • Ovarian cancer screening doesn’t actually save lives? Someone should probably alert the medical field about that. (MSNBC)
  • Remember those anti-choice billboards targeting blacks stating “The Most Dangerous Place For an African American Is The Womb”? Well, now Latinos are the target. Wonder if white women will be next? Something tells me no. (The Daily Caller)
  • The Pill does not cause weight gain. However, food, in large quantities without adequate exercise, does. (EurekAlert)
  • The CDC estimates that 20% of people infected with HIV don’t know it and one-third are diagnosed so late in the course of their infection that they develop AIDS within one year. This is why it’s so important to be tested regularly! (USA Today)
  • When in Doubt About Sexual Health, Teens Turn to Google. Not their parents, Google! (HuffPo)

Funding Cuts Will Hurt Women Like Me

During the recent debates in Congress over federal funding for family planning services, Senator Jon Kyl told a bold faced lie when he claimed that abortion was 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does. Senator Kyl was called out by the media and Democratic members of the Senate, because most people know what Planned Parenthood actually “does”: Breast exams. Pap smears. Birth control. Continue reading

An Inspiring Legacy of Giving

Hester Fassel (in orange) with Planned Parenthood volunteers

Planned Parenthood Arizona recently dedicated the lobby of their administrative headquarters in Tucson in honor of two of their longtime supporters, Dr. Hester and Raymond Fassel. I was lucky enough to meet up with Hester to ask her about her relationship with Planned Parenthood. And I have to say, Hester Fassel is one inspiring lady!

Mrs. Fassel was born in a suburb of Chicago, but she grew up in Northern Indiana. Hester became a professor of zoology at Iowa State University, and her husband Ray was a publisher at ISU Press. The two of them relocated to Tucson in 1987, after abandoning their initial plan to retire in Spain. They picked Tucson because it had a similar geography and climate to Spain, and the transition from Iowa to Arizona was fairly seamless.

The Fassels’ relationship with Planned Parenthood started when they lived in Iowa. Hester served on the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood, but the Fassels were also donors. Hester explains that she got involved with Planned Parenthood because “I feel very strongly about their work. I believe that every child should be wanted.” Continue reading