- This is starting to tick me off. Too many parents are not taking advantage of the Gardasil vaccine — which prevents cancer. CANCER. Come on, people. Seriously. (Yahoo Health)
- Hopefully people aren’t avoiding vaccinating their children with Gardasil due to “promiscuity” worries. ’Cause that’s been thoroughly debunked! (Slate Double X)
- Despite the gross miscarriage of justice that was Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Obama Administration is actually kicking butt in the fight for contraception coverage. (Think Progress)
- Oh look, Arizona Republicans are trying to pass new and horrible abortion legislation! There’s something you don’t see every day. #Sarcasm (Tucson Weekly)
- Could the future of birth control possibly include a pill that would allow men to have “dry” (fluid free) orgasms????? No babies and no fretting over that dastardly “wet spot” on your 800 thread count sheets! Dreams really might come true after all. (The Atlantic)
- Ever think about the temperature of the place you store condoms and other birth control? If not, it’s probably a good idea to start! #BetterSafeThanSorry (Bustle)
- So, we’ve all heard of ISIS, right? Vast Islamist extremist terrorist organization that kidnaps and tortures and beheads people, rapes and sexually enslaves women, and commits mass executions and promotes unspeakable horror and terror everywhere they infiltrate? Well, a Republican in South Dakota says Planned Parenthood is like … way worse. (Slate Double X)
- If you have health insurance and are still paying for your birth control, you need to read this! (Time)
And, in 2015, we have something huge to celebrate: Last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gardasil 9, the next-generation HPV vaccine, which provides broader protection than the current version. Next month, the new and improved vaccine will start to be shipped to health care providers, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is expected to give the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the green light to recommend the vaccine, after which insurance plans and the Vaccines for Children program should start covering it.
The newest version of Gardasil protects against the seven strains of human papillomavirus that together cause 90 percent of cervical cancers.
Why is this news so exciting for people who care about cervical health? Because, while the current version of Gardasil, which debuted in 2006, protects recipients from the two HPV strains that cause 70 percent of cervical cancers, Gardasil 9 will protect against seven strains of HPV that collectively cause 90 percent of cervical cancers. On top of that, both versions of Gardasil protect against the two HPV strains that are together responsible for 90 percent of genital warts.
Gardasil 9 has been shown to be highly effective in clinical studies, and it is safe to use, which means Gardasil just became an even more potent weapon against cancers caused by HPV. Not only that, but vaccination against HPV will also reduce the frequency of precancerous lesions, which are cellular abnormalities that can be treated before progressing into full-fledged cancer. Less pre-cancer means less time, money, and anxiety spent dealing with followup procedures after an abnormal Pap test, for example. Continue reading
2014 was a pretty not-so-stellar year in reproductive rights, if we’re being honest.
- The Supreme Court ruled against the best interest of women not once, but twice this year via the monumental Hobby Lobby and clinic buffer zone decisions.
- Sex ed in our schools continues to be completely atrocious.
- TRAP laws caused the closure of clinics in numerous states and continue to threaten our access to safe, legal abortion in 24 of the 50 states.
- Our shero, Wendy Davis, lost the gubernatorial race in Texas by an enormous margin.
- Various jackasses have filed more than 100 legal challenges to the contraception benefit in the Affordable Care Act. #HandsOffMyFreeBirthControl
- Beginning in January, anti-abortion politicians will have a lot more seats in the legislature than they did last year. Thanks a mil, old white dudes who ruined the 2014 midterm elections for the liberals, progressives, and pro-choice among us.
- The killings of unarmed black men and boys (and women) served as a horrific reminder that racism and police brutality are indeed reproductive justice issues.
- Despite Gardasil’s proven efficacy, HPV vaccination rates are still “unacceptably low” in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But hold your chin up. All did not suck!
- Same-sex marriage was legalized in our state!!!
- Some of Arizona’s pro-choicey-est legislators got to keep their seats!
- On the technology front, 2014 brought us an app that allows you to photograph that gnarly rash on your privates and get a diagnosis from a real live doctor!
- The FDA gave us greater access to the morning-after pill.
- Conservatives in Arizona lost their bid to put unreasonable restrictions on the use of the abortion pill.
- President Obama wrapped the protective arm of the law around transgender workers.
- Male birth control continues to make strides and could be here by 2017!
While we’re never sure what new, exciting, or horrible fates await us at the dawn of a new year, rest assured that we’ll be here covering the news that matters most with regard to reproductive and sexual health, politics, gender issues, and reproductive justice well into 2015 and beyond.
- When asked if they believe the government should restrict access to abortion, 70 percent of registered voters said no. It’s too bad our elected officials are so dead set on being tone deaf. (Politico)
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is frustrated that more adolescent boys and girls aren’t getting the HPV vaccine. Is it simply because no one wants to talk to kids about sex? Seems pretty petty! (NYT)
- Ireland forced a suicidal woman who was pregnant as a result of rape to give birth, against their own laws. (The Guardian)
- Despite the Affordable Care Act being “the law of the land” for quite some time now, some insurers are still not covering birth control! (Time)
- Speaking of the ACA, our government continues to find new ways to be even more accommodating of religious institutions that refuse to cover birth control for their employees. (HuffPo)
- Good news and bad news. The good: Teen births are at a historic low in the United States. The bad: While the story itself doesn’t mention Arizona, a PDF of the report linked in the story shows our state has a significantly higher rate of teen pregnancy than the national average. (WaPo)
- Because abortion is health care, California will not allow its Catholic universities to eliminate abortion coverage for their employees. (SF Gate)
- The “Ice Bucket Challenge” craze has pissed off anti-abortion, anti-stem-cell zealots. (NY Mag)
August is National Immunization Awareness Month. The importance of vaccination is becoming a bigger issue every year, as 2014 has seen the highest number of measles cases reported since 2000. That is scary.
Too many people think that diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough, and chickenpox are “normal childhood illnesses,” and that their kid’s immune system is strong enough to fight off these diseases. Too many people have forgotten what it was like before vaccines were commonplace. Too many people don’t stop to think about the long-term consequences of not vaccinating. Not just for them, but for those around them. Even for people they have never met.
When people tell me measles isn’t a big deal, I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach.
I am one of those people you have never met.
My story starts before I was even born. My older brother was given the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine. He was one of the small percentage of recipients that had a bad reaction. So when I was born, they skipped giving it to me. Not to worry, herd immunity would protect me — at least that’s what my doctor said. Continue reading
It’s Men’s Health Month, and yesterday was the last day of Men’s Health Week, which means we’re going to look at a men’s health issue that is usually ignored: the impact of human papillomavirus (HPV) on the male population.
You’ve probably heard of HPV in discussions about cervical cancer and Pap testing. But HPV doesn’t care about gender, and is perfectly content to invade cells in anyone’s genital tract, mouth, throat, or anus. In males, HPV can cause genital warts as well as anal, oropharyngeal (mouth and throat), and penile cancers.
HPV will cause more oral cancer than cervical cancer by 2020.
The good news is that most HPV infections can be prevented by a vaccine called Gardasil, and you don’t need to be female to get it. However, few males are actually getting the HPV vaccine: In 2012, 20.8 percent of U.S. males 13 to 17 years of age had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine, but only 6.8 percent completed the three-dose series.
Gardasil Is for Everybody: Good News from Australia
This huge disparity in promoting Gardasil to female patients rather than male patients has real-world consequences. In Australia, girls have been vaccinated with Gardasil since 2007, covered by their national health system. Four years into the program, genital wart rates fell by 93 percent in females less than 21 years of age. Even though males weren’t being routinely immunized, genital wart rates fell by 82 percent among heterosexual males in the same age group. That’s because their female partners had received the vaccine, which had the effect of protecting much of the male population. That might sound pretty nifty, but the female-only vaccination policy left out gay and bisexual males, whose genital wart rates saw no corresponding decline. Continue reading
- Arizona Republicans do a stellar job of making our beloved state seem like a haven for bigots. The current target? Members of the LGBT community. (AZ Central)
- Here’s another shining example of this … (Raw Story)
- And again! Can’t even give birth to your own baby the way you want to! Dammit, Arizona! (Care2)
- If you are married to a person with genitalia that is the opposite of yours, I have some good news for you — Mike Huckabee approves of your intercourse. Congratulations. (Slate)
- A mother who helped her 16-year-old daughter terminate an unwanted pregnancy could become a convicted felon for doing so … and remember, this is a world where others can kill unarmed born children and get off scot-free. (Care2)
- After having had to abort her very wanted child at the end of the second trimester, Phoebe Day Danziger tells her sad story. (Slate)
- We’re familiar with Plan B, but is there a Plan C on the horizon? (RH Reality Check)
- The 10 suckiest anti-abortion bills of 2014 — and we’re not even in the third month of the damn year. (Think Progress)
- Lack of Knowledge on Long-Term Contraception Is A Real Danger for Women (HuffPo)
- The inventor of the HPV vaccine is working on a similar vaccine for herpes. Yay science! (Sydney Morning Herald)
- Like everything else in medicine, the value of mammograms is being debated. Wouldn’t it be nice if doctors could be on the same page? (NY Times)