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CDC recommends HPV vaccination for males
Date: 2012-01-03 16:43:59
Health experts have recommended most strongly that young girls be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, as it the infection is known to be a primary cause of cervical cancer and positive STD tests linked to the virus are on the rise. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says that boys should be vaccinated as well, as the virus can cause serious health problems in males.... Full Story

Women more susceptible to infections during ovulation
Date: 2012-01-04 16:55:38
Women who have unprotected sex while they are ovulating may benefit form STD testing, as new research indicates that they are more susceptible to infection during certain points in their menstrual cycle.... Full Story

New study explains why hepatitis C virus is difficult to eliminate
Date: 2012-01-05 16:56:58
Individuals who have received a positive lab test for hepatitis C have a very high risk of experiencing liver problems, as there is currently no cure for the condition. However, a new study out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill may help explain why the infection is so difficult to eliminate and points to the possibility of a new treatment .... Full Story

Some HPV vaccine recipients think they are protected from all STDs
Date: 2012-01-06 16:40:51
Many young girls who receive the vaccination against the human papillomavirus mistakenly believe it reduces their risk of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases and receiving a positive STD test, according to a new study.... Full Story

Researchers develop vaccination for one form of herpes
Date: 2012-01-06 16:44:01
A team of researchers from St. Louis University may have made a significant advance towards a vaccine that is capable of protecting against one form of the herpes virus, according to a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine.... Full Story

Who's at risk for STD infection?
Date: 2012-01-11 16:34:37
All sexually active individuals are at risk for receiving a positive STD test at some point in their life, but there are certain factors that may further increase a person's odds of contracting an infection. Knowing how these factors affect one's risk may be a crucial step in being able to avoid potentially dangerous diseases.... Full Story

Communities see STD rates rise
Date: 2012-01-13 16:49:14
Despite concerted efforts on the part of public health agencies across the U.S. to encourage STD testing and other forms of prevention, many communities continue to struggle with high rates of infections.... Full Story

New CDC report tallies cost of binge drinking
Date: 2012-01-16 16:56:28
Binge drinking may be a bigger problem in the U.S. than previously thought, and the issue may contribute to a high prevalence of positive STD tests, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.... Full Story

States see gonorrhea rate rise
Date: 2012-01-17 17:03:39
In recent years, state health departments were able to wrangle rates of various sexually transmitted diseases down to manageable levels through aggressive education and STD testing campaigns. However, evidence suggests that some states may be losing these gains.... Full Story

Bacteria may affect STD infection risk
Date: 2012-01-19 16:54:10
The type and amount of bacteria present in a person's genitals may play a role in their risk of receiving a positive STD test, according to new data published recently in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences.... Full Story

STDs are often asymptomatic
Date: 2012-01-24 16:44:18
Following the release of national health data, it has become clear that the number of individuals receiving positive STD tests is rising in some states. Some experts blame the situation on risky sexual behavior, while others say it is a result of lack of knowledge concerning sexual health.... Full Story

Group launches new STD prevention program aimed at urban youths
Date: 2012-01-26 16:44:56
The number of positive STD tests among young urban and African American populations is much higher than in the general public. However, a new prevention campaign is targeting these individuals by trying to remake the image of practicing safe sex.... Full Story

Researchers find what makes young people seek STD testing
Date: 2012-01-27 17:03:13
Young people are most willing to undergo STD testing if they view it as a sign of respect for their partner or they understand it to be an important part of stopping the spread of infections, according to a new study from Penn State researchers.... Full Story

Men who have sex with men and syphilis risk
Date: 2012-01-31 12:46:18
Rates of syphilis infection are rising at alarming speeds, and all sexually active young people should take steps to protect themselves from infection, which may include seeking STD testing for themselves and their partners. However, men who have sex with men may want to be extra cautious, as infection rates are particularly high among this group.... Full Story

STD risk high among teens
Date: 2012-02-01 12:34:47
Anyone who engages in sexual activity with another person who has not received an STD test is at risk for becoming infected. However, some groups are particularly vulnerable. Teens and young adults make up what is perhaps the group with the highest risk.... Full Story

Seniors urged to consider STD testing
Date: 2012-02-03 16:59:54
More seniors may want to consider STD testing, as new evidence shows that older individuals are more sexually active than ever. This increases their chances of contracting an infection like chlamydia or herpes.... Full Story

Expert warns middle-aged women about the dangers of STDs
Date: 2012-02-06 16:47:49
Older, newly divorced women may be more likely to receive a positive STD test, according to a new paper published by a researcher from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. The expert recommended that women in this situation should educate themselves about the risk factors associated with sexual behavior.... Full Story

Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea on the rise
Date: 2012-02-09 16:39:06
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning individuals that cases of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea are on the rise. The advice underscores the importance for partners to seek STD testing before engaging in sexual activity.... Full Story

Group brings condoms to communities across the country
Date: 2012-02-13 17:02:07
Aside from abstinence, wearing a condom during sex is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. One group is working to make sure that more are aware of the benefits of this safe-sex practice.... Full Story

STDs can threaten pregnancy
Date: 2012-02-14 16:47:50
Sexually transmitted diseases can pose a serious problem to women who are pregnant. While infections are generally not considered a major pregnancy risk factor, high numbers of women are infected while carrying a baby each year. Experts say individuals should consider STD testing in order to ensure they are not carrying an infection that could affect their health or the well-being of their baby.... Full Story

Group works to distribute condoms to California youths
Date: 2012-02-15 16:53:08
In addition to STD testing, safe sex practices are among the best ways to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. An initiative in California is seeking to make it easier for young people to be safer when they decide to engage in sex.... Full Story

Researchers uncover key process in gonorrhea infection
Date: 2012-02-27 16:45:51
Positive STD tests for gonorrhea are extremely common. What's worse is that the bacteria are increasingly growing resistant to antibiotics. However, a team of researchers may have identified a biological pathway that plays a critical role to the ability of the microbes to infect the human body.... Full Story

College freshman show decreased condom use
Date: 2012-02-28 16:48:33
A young woman's freshman year of college may be a time during which her risk of receiving a positive STD test increases. New research indicates that individuals are much less likely to use a condom during this period.... Full Story

Program makes it easier for young people to access condoms
Date: 2012-02-29 16:59:04
One of the best ways to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease is to use a condom during every sexual encounter. Groups are currently working to make it easier for young people to access protection, as individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 are the most likely to receive a positive STD test.... Full Story

Students may face high STD risk during spring break
Date: 2012-03-07 16:54:28
Many college students engage in sexual activity during spring break, which will take place over the course of the next few weeks for most schools. However, this practice puts them at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Experts are warning students who have sex with a new partner during this time to consider seeking an STD tests.... Full Story

Higher disease rates may mean more people are seeking STD testing
Date: 2012-03-08 16:45:50
Sexually transmitted disease rates may be on the rise in San Francisco, but experts say that this may actually be an encouraging sign, according to the San Francisco Examiner. The numbers could simply mean that more people are seeking STD testing.... Full Story

Online dating may be a factor in the spread of STDs
Date: 2012-03-13 15:50:21
Online dating can be a great way for singles to meet other people who share their interests and form meaningful relationships. However, experts say that it may also be contributing to a rise in the number of people receiving positive STD tests.... Full Story

Experts recommend large-scale hepatitis C testing initiatives
Date: 2012-03-14 16:14:18
Broader efforts to make lab testing for hepatitis C available to more individuals could be a cost-effective method of controlling the spread of the infection, according to a new report published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.... Full Story

Utah sees syphilis rates rise
Date: 2012-03-16 16:01:05
State health officials in Utah are urging more STD testing, as new public health data indicate that the rate of syphilis is increasing. Testing and education are seen as central approaches to bringing rates back down.... Full Story

Massachusetts district considers making condoms available in middle schools
Date: 2012-03-19 15:54:52
Condoms are considered one of the most effective methods for lowering the preventing the spread of infections and reducing a person's chances of receiving a positive STD test. But does that mean that middle schoolers should have free access to them?... Full Story

Expert offers advice for slowing the spread of STDs
Date: 2012-03-21 16:00:21
In order to contain the spread of sexually transmitted disease, experts say the U.S. needs to deploy a more intensive strategy that involves outreach and STD testing. This could have a positive impact on infection rates.... Full Story

Lack of knowledge may contribute to spread of STDs
Date: 2012-03-26 16:07:11
Rates of some sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. Experts say that the only way to combat the problem is to inform young people about their risk. This may encourage them to practice safer sex and seek STD testing if they are sexually active.... Full Story

CDC marks STD awareness month by encouraging education and testing
Date: 2012-04-02 15:47:27
Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 receive about half of all new positive STD tests. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is using STD awareness month, which is observed in April, to encourage more young people to consider STD testing.... Full Story

Public schools make little progress on STD education
Date: 2012-04-05 16:00:20
Public schools have made little progress in advancing education of how to prevent unintended pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, which could lead to a higher incidence of positive STD tests, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.... Full Story

Group identifies celebrities with STDs to raise awareness
Date: 2012-04-09 15:56:57
All sexually active individuals should be concerned about sexually transmitted diseases and take steps to reduce their risk. A recent report made this point by identifying 100 celebrities who have received positive STD tests at some time.... Full Story

Communities observe STD awareness month
Date: 2012-04-10 16:03:15
April marks Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month, and many communities are using the time to encourage improved sexual health among local residents. Many groups are suggesting that people consider seeking STD testing.... Full Story

Group produces public service advertisement aimed at addressing STDs in seniors
Date: 2012-04-13 15:46:39
A new advertisement aimed at adults over 55 has caused a bit of a stir for its depiction of adult sexuality. However, experts say this type of discussion is necessary to educate older adults on the importance of practicing safe sex and STD testing.... Full Story

Craigslist availability linked to rise in STDs in cities
Date: 2012-04-16 16:04:05
Craigslist may represent an easy way for individuals to come together to sell certain items, but new research suggests that it may also be responsible for a rise in the number of positive STD tests in certain regions.... Full Story

Groups urge STD testing
Date: 2012-04-18 15:54:33
Many sexually transmitted diseases do not present symptoms until they have progressed to a relatively advanced stage. At this point they are more difficult to treat. For this reason, experts say sexually active individuals should consider STD testing, even if they do not have symptoms. It is the only way they can be sure they are not infected.... Full Story

STD tests are widely available
Date: 2012-04-20 15:56:04
Some people do not feel comfortable walking into their doctor's office and asking for an STD test. However, experts say that this should not stop a person from getting themselves tested, as there are many different options for screening today. Mail-order and online services even make it possible to complete a test without leaving the house.... Full Story

Officials see STD rates rise
Date: 2012-04-23 16:10:33
While public health officials have made some progress fighting the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, experts say more STD testing is needed in certain areas, as rates for certain diseases continue to rise.... Full Story

CDC tweets about the importance of STD testing
Date: 2012-04-27 11:08:56
STD testing  is widely considered to be a critical method of preventing the spread of infections. Public health officials are increasingly trying to find new ways to encourage individuals get themselves checked out.... Full Story

At-home STD testing offers many advantages
Date: 2012-05-02 16:23:29
STD testing plays an important role in maintaining sexual health, but many people feel embarrassed walking into their doctor's office or health clinic and asking for testing. This is why at-home testing is becoming so common.... Full Story

STD rates continue to climb
Date: 2012-05-03 16:09:46
Rates of many common STDs are increasing across the country. For this reason, public health officials are urging individuals to seek STD testing to ensure that they are not passing infections along to their sexual partners.... Full Story

Facebook game encourages men to seek STD testing
Date: 2012-05-09 16:00:08
Men who have sex with men are known to face a higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. For this reason, many health experts recommend that these individuals seek regular STD testing. Now, a Facebook game is pushing this message for gay men.... Full Story

Few women receive STD tests during pregnancy
Date: 2012-05-18 07:29:42
Too few women receive STD testing during pregnancy, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The findings suggest that many women may be at risk for pregnancy complications.... Full Story

Violent experiences may lead women to make unhealthy sexual decisions
Date: 2012-05-21 08:05:06
A history of violent experiences may make women more prone to risky sexual behavior, according to a new study published in the journal Psychology of Violence. The findings suggest that these women may face a high risk of receiving a positive STD test.... Full Story

New ad campaign highlights risk of STDs among seniors
Date: 2012-05-25 15:52:59
About half of all positive STD tests are given to individuals between the ages of 15 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, this does not mean that young adults are the only ones at risk.... Full Story

WHO warns about rise of antibiotic resistant gonorrhea
Date: 2012-06-07 07:51:57
The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics, according to a new statement from the World Health Organization. The statement indicates that individuals who receive positive STD tests may soon be out of treatment options.... Full Story

Local budget constraints hamper fight against STDs
Date: 2012-06-11 16:02:26
Certain sexually transmitted diseases continue to increase in prevalence, but experts say this may be due in part to the lack of flexible hours at local clinics, which make it difficult for individuals to seek STD testing.... Full Story

Unfaithful partners represent major STD risk
Date: 2012-06-15 14:53:26
Having multiple sexual partners is considered a major risk factor for receiving a positive STD test. However, new evidence suggests that the risk goes up even higher if a person is having sex outside of a relationship without their long-term partner's knowledge.... Full Story

Insurers increasingly cover STD testing
Date: 2012-06-25 15:47:04
It may become easier for individuals to access STD testing in the near future, as private and public payers are increasingly moving to cover the cost of screenings for HIV and other infections, experts say.... Full Story

AIDS conference aims to eliminate stigma
Date: 2012-07-23 15:54:42
Individuals who receive lab test results indicating that they have HIV or AIDS deal with a number of challenges, including treatment difficulties and potential social isolation. At the recent 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC, researchers called for solutions to these issues, their sentiments mirroring those of patient advocates, according to a report from NBC News.... Full Story

Alcohol and energy drink combinations may increase likelihood of risky sex
Date: 2012-07-26 14:37:48
Researchers from the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions discovered that college students who consume alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmEDs) are more likely to engage in certain, risky sexual behaviors. This may increase these individuals' need for regular STD testing.... Full Story

Decrease in circumcision rates may lead to higher healthcare costs in U.S.
Date: 2012-08-23 20:07:12

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine suggest that the decline in infant male circumcision rates in the U.S. during the last two decades has cost the American healthcare system $2 billion. These expenses stem from the care provided to men and women who screen positive for diseases in STD tests.

The study authors assert that removal of the male foreskin makes it less likely that the penis can harbor pathogens, therefore decreasing the risk of HIV, HPV, herpes, genital warts, penile cancer and, in female partners, cervical cancer.

Currently, 55 percent of males born in the U.S. are circumcised, down from 79 percent during the 1970s and 1980s. The rate in Europe is 10 percent.

Based on the researchers' economic models, if American rates of infant male circumcision fall to European rates, 12 percent, 29 percent, 19 percent and 211 percent more men would contract HIV, HPV, herpes simplex virus and urinary tract infections, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of cases of bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis would double for female partners, while HPV infections would increase by 18 percent.

The rates of infant male circumcision may be falling because some states' Medicaid programs no longer cover the procedure. The researchers plan to share this study with several government officials across the U.S.

Whether men are circumcised, safe sex practices and routine STD tests are still important.

... Full Story

Cytomegalovirus may increase risk of diabetes in senior years
Date: 2012-08-28 19:57:22

Although most people who screen positive for cytomegalovirus (CMV) in a lab test do not develop any symptoms, an infection that lies dormant may increase the likelihood that an individual will develop type 2 diabetes when he or she becomes elderly.

This conclusion is based on a study of more than 500 individuals, which revealed that diabetes was more common among those who were infected with CMV. The researchers theorize that this may be because the virus can put stress on either the pancreas or cells in the immune system, which may then attack the insulin-producing organ.

"In our study we realized that although CMV seropositivity was associated with type 2 diabetes, higher levels of HnA1c and high non-fasting glucose[,] the actual level of antibodies against CMV was not," the researchers wrote in the journal Immunity and Ageing.

Such a concept may explain why only one-third of individuals who have insulin resistance eventually develop diabetes.

These results may not be applicable to the general population, but may provide insight into how the risk of diabetes later in life may be reduced.

A lab test to screen for CMV DNA can help individuals figure out whether they are infected with the virus.

... Full Story

Study connects trichomoniasis to prostate cancer
Date: 2012-08-30 20:56:50

Researchers from Washington State University discovered a molecular process through which a trichomoniasis infection may eventually lead to prostate cancer. These results are important, considering that such an infection is detectable through STD diagnosis tests.

Trichomoniasis, which is caused by a protozoan parasite, is known as the most common curable STD. Although most people do not experience any symptoms from an infection, it may lead to certain health complications. For example, women who have the parasite may have a greater risk of pregnancy complications and HIV.

Furthermore, a past study indicated that men infected with trichomoniasis are 40 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer, but such a finding was not considered conclusive.

However, the latest research suggests that trichomoniasis may activate a suite of proteins that could lead to prostate cancer. The last of these proteins keeps the others active.

"It's like switching a light switch on," said senior study author John Alderete. "Then, if you don't control the brightness of that light, you can go blind. That's the problem."

Men who are wondering if they harbor trichomoniasis should consider taking STD diagnosis tests. A positive screen could lead to treatment of the infection.

... Full Story

Teens who engage in sexting are more likely to have sex
Date: 2012-09-17 21:32:06

Although only 15 percent of teenagers in a Los Angeles survey admitted that they had sent a sext, that minority was significantly more likely to have a need to undergo STD testing due to sexually risky behavior offline, according to new research. This information was compiled in the journal Pediatrics, and encompasses nearly 2,000 high school students who participated in the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

According to information provided by researchers at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, adolescents who indulged in sexually explicit text messaging were seven times more likely to be sexually active.

"No one's actually going to get a sexually transmitted disease because they're sexting. What we really wanted to know is, is there a link between sexting and taking risks with your body? And the answer is a pretty resounding 'yes'," said Eric Rice, a social networking researcher, quoted by Reuters Health.

The researchers also note the danger of sexts - which sometimes include naked pictures - getting posted on the internet, which could result in teens getting bullied or charged with child pornography. Furthermore, parents who want to keep their children from requiring STD testing are advised to bring up the subject in conjunction with news coverage of a celebrity or politician sexting scandal.

... Full Story

New mobile app that compiled users' sexual habits has been discontinued
Date: 2012-09-25 14:35:14

Legal concerns have prompted the retraction of a smartphone application designed to anonymously gather users' sexual behavior - for one possible example, the results of their STD tests.

Although USA Today reports that the providers of the app - the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction and Indiana University - have opted to scrutinize issues relating to the app's privacy and data security, they said they had good intentions going into the project.

"People are natural observers. It's part of being social, and using mobile apps is an excellent way to involve citizen scientists," said Julia Heiman, director of Kinsey Institute, in a retracted news release from Indiana University. "We expect to get new insights into sexuality and relationships today. What do people notice, what are they involved in, and what can they relate to us about their lives and their communities?"

The app was intended to compile data on fetishes, flirting, masturbation, oral sex, information related to STD tests, condom use and sexual violence. The information could be disseminated without a consent form, but the researchers say the app would only mark the geographic location of the report, not the individual user.

Indiana University spokesman Mark Land said in a statement that the app could be made available again once they're no longer concerned about its legality.

... Full Story

Researchers focus on sexual health of urban youth
Date: 2012-09-25 22:21:41

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found, in 2008, that 50 percent of black women between the ages of 14 and 19 had contracted a disease that could be detected with an STD test. Researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) now say that organizations may have been going the wrong way about preventing risky sexual behavior among teens.

"The level of sexual activity at a young age and incidence of STDs, including HIV and AIDS, in low-income, urban black teenagers is high," said Margaret Dolcini, associate professor from the OSU School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences. "We have made strides in prevention, but need to continue to deepen our understanding of the factors that contribute to unsafe sexual activity."

Based on their surveys of black youth, OSU researchers concluded that sex should be taught as appropriate for certain age groups and circumstances, and abstinence-only education would work better if it offered emotionally based alternatives to sex. Furthermore, many adolescents do not have an accurate grasp on many issues pertaining to sexuality.

This could explain why 15- to 24-year-olds of all races provide half of the positive STD tests in the U.S. each year, even though they make up a quarter of sexually active residents, according to the CDC.

... Full Story

Some debate emerges over availability of morning after pill at New York City schools
Date: 2012-09-26 18:18:17

According to the New York Post, the New York State Department of Education has begun dispensing morning after pills - specifically Plan B - at 13 New York City high schools. Although the administration hopes this move will reduce teen pregnancies, one Philadelphia columnist worries that many more students will have unfavorable results on their STD tests.

This part of the Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Health program, aka CATCH - the practice of giving Plan B to high school students without a prescription - has gone unpublicized in 40 New York City schools for a number of years. Parents have the option to opt their child out of the program if they choose.

"We've had no negative reaction to the CATCH program," Deborah Kaplan, an official of the health department, explained to NBC News. "We haven't had one objection. We've just had the opt-outs."

On The Philly Post's blog, journalist Christopher Moraff predicted that teens won't bother using condoms if they know they have access to Plan B whenever they want. According to this theory, by inadvertently encouraging adolescents to engage in unprotected sex, the Department of Education could be fostering positive results for conditions like gonorrhea and herpes on STD tests.

... Full Story

Stereotypical gender roles linked to bad sex
Date: 2012-10-04 19:13:15

According to newly surfaced research, individuals who believe that men should dominate women in the bedroom could be more uneasy about sex and less likely to feel comfortable taking free female condoms that could reduce the odds of receiving unfortunate results from STD testing.

Researchers from Yale University asked 500 undergraduates from Northeastern University to fill out a survey on a computer near a bowl of free female condoms. After the results were compiled, it was determined that the more the study participants felt patriarchal gender roles should be adhered to, the more they agreed with the notion that men should be dominant during heterosexual sex. These two notions also correlated to subjects reporting feeling uncomfortable in sexual situations, and being less likely to consider using female condoms that could prevent diseases detectable by STD testing.

"'Female condom? That sounds a little, you know…'" said a bunch of dudes taking this survey," commented humorist Luke O'Neil for Bullett Media.

Meanwhile, The Huffington Post put together a list of things people can do to improve their sex lives. The news source recommended experimenting with unfamiliar locations, erotica literature and common household items that could be used as accessories.

... Full Story

No link shown between HPV vaccination and promiscuity
Date: 2012-10-11 15:12:27

Contradicting the assumptions that getting vaccinated for the human papillomavirus (HPV) would make teenage girls more likely to need STD testing after mistaking their HPV immunity as protection from other sexually transmitted diseases, and engaging in dangerous sexual behavior, a British study indicates that such is not the case.

This research, published in the journal Vaccine, compiled records of more than 1,000 young women in the U.K. whose average age was 17. Comparing those who had been vaccinated for HPV - the most common of all sexually transmitted diseases - with those who hadn't, the researchers did not find any significant difference in rates of sexual activity, condom use or number of sexual partners.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV infections don't cause any discernible health problems 90 percent of the time. However, the virus will sometimes bring about unfortunate outcomes from STD testing for genital warts, and could foster the development of cervical cancer and other, rarer forms of cancer. The group of unusual cancers connected to HPV include cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus and a particular form of throat cancer.

... Full Story

Women on hormonal contraceptives may forgo condoms
Date: 2012-10-15 21:39:17

A recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health reports that women who use hormonal birth control tend not to use condoms during intercourse, even though sexual activity may put them at an increased risk of contracting an STI, which can be detected with blood testing. The study, which lasted one year, looked at 1,194 sexually active females from 15 to 24 years old who received various hormonal contraceptives, such as, pills, patches, and injections from Planned Parenthood.

The results showed that of the 36 percent of the women who did use condoms before the study started, within three months of receiving birth control, only 27 percent of them opted to continue using condoms during sex. One of the authors of the research, Rachel Goldstein, M.D., noted that throughout the year, some women discontinued their hormonal contraception, and more than half of those women still did not use condoms after they stopped taking their hormonal contraception.

The main factor that determined whether a woman used condoms was her partner's preference. Goldstein reported that the women who had partners who thought condoms were "very important" were more likely to use them than women whose partners deemed them "not at all important."

"It appears that her partner's feelings may be more important than her perceived risk of a sexually transmitted infection or her own beliefs about dual method use," said Goldstein. "Although a woman feels like she is at risk for an STI, she may not be able to advocate for herself and successfully negotiate condom use with her partner."

Other forms of birth control, such as hormonal implants and IUDs, were not looked at in the study.

... Full Story

Study indicates HPV vaccine is not linked to increased sexual activity among girls
Date: 2012-10-15 16:50:00
A new study conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research showed that receiving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is not linked to sexual promiscuity among girls.... Full Story

Study: Communication can help reduce the risk of STDs among black teenagers
Date: 2012-10-16 14:30:54

New research has shown that by getting the right information from medical, social and educational outlets, black teenagers are less likely to contract STDs. According to Oregon State University (OSU), the rate of STDS is ten times greater among black adolescents in urban areas who come from low-income families than it is for white teenagers.

The study, which was published in Research in Human Development, was based on interviews with 15- to 17-year-old black adolescents. The research revealed that teens do a good job of separating good information from bad, so concerns about students getting mixed messages from various media and educational outlets may be overstated.

"We found that young black kids who got information from varied sources tended to do pretty well in making smart choices," said research author Margaret Dolcini, Ph.D.

She also reported that although there has been significant progress when it comes to prevention, there needs to be continued exploration and an increased understanding of the causes of unsafe sex.

The study also revealed that teaching abstinence may be a good method for kids at a young age, but it should also stress other means of emotional interaction that do not include sex. The study showed that sexual education will be more effective with teens if intercourse is depicted as a natural and healthy activity that should happen at the right age and under the right circumstances.

The results of the study indicated that young women especially benefited from communicating about sex in a family atmosphere.

According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) another effective method for decreasing the rates of HIV contraction and transmission is STD testing.

... Full Story

Planned Parenthood's appeal for funding from Texas is refused
Date: 2012-10-29 16:22:29

According to Reuters, on Oct. 25, the federal courts dismissed an appeal from Planned Parenthood, which opposed a ruling to cut off its funding from the state of Texas. The appeal was struck down by a three-judge panel that upheld a law that allows the state to exclude abortion-affiliated groups from participating in the state-run Women's Health Program.

Planned Parenthood claimed that it has two separate organizations in Texas, reported the Washington Post, and the one for which it would receive state funding does not perform abortions but it does service nearly half of the women involved in the program. George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services has also reported doubts about whether other treatment centers would be able to absorb all of Planned Parenthood's patients.

"Today's ruling affirms yet again that in Texas the Women's Health Program has no obligation to fund Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform or promote abortion," Governor Rick Perry said in reference to the case. "In Texas we choose life, and we will immediately begin defunding all abortion affiliates to honor and uphold that choice."

The state-run program was initiated after the federal government threatened to cut $39 million dollars in funding for the Women's Health Program, which serviced low-income women. The threat was issued when the Texas government announced that it wanted to exclude Planned Parenthood from the nationally funded program.

Planned Parenthood Statistics... Full Story

Pharmaceutical companies collaborate on hepatitis C treatment
Date: 2012-11-05 22:52:01

Bloomberg News recently reported that Vertex Pharmaceuticals plans on testing its hepatitis C treatment, Incivek, with drugs from pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline in two separate 12-week clinical trials.

"We view this as a best case path forward for Vertex, as it allows the company to explore VX-135 with two different classes, partnered with major pharmaceutical companies who are fairly dependent on the success of these respective combinations to remain competitive in the all-oral hepatitis-C virus race," said Wells Fargo Securities analyst, Brian Abrahams in a research note, the news source reported.

According to Bloomberg News, other pharmaceutical companies such as Gilead Sciences, Abbott Laboratories and Bristol-Myers Squibb, have all been engaging in combination therapy, which health professionals believe is the most effective way of treating hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C facts... Full Story

Adolescents' activities online may contribute to risky sexual activity
Date: 2012-11-12 21:56:36

A recent Dutch study revealed that teenagers who engage in sexually-related online activities, like sending naked pictures or looking for sexual partners, are more likely to have casual sex, HealthDay News reported.

Study author Susanne Baumgartner, a graduate student at the University of Amsterdam, and her colleagues analyzed 1,700 Dutch adolescents who were between of the ages of 12 and 18. The results, which were published in the journal Pediatrics, also showed that subjects who were less satisfied with their lives and had lower education levels were more likely to seek pleasure and participate in risky online, sexual behavior.

Jeff Temple, Ph.D., a psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Texas, told HealthDay News that the difference between how people act online and their behaviors offline is slowly diminishing and healthcare providers should become increasingly aware of their patients' online behaviors. He also noted that parents should also be more conscious of the activities that their kids are participating in when it comes to "sexting," or sending sexual content via text messages.

Adolescent sexual participation... Full Story

ACOG reports that birth control should be sold over the counter
Date: 2012-11-26 18:18:33
CBS News reported that a written statement by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggests that women should have over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives.... Full Story

Adult hepatitis B drug effective in adolescents
Date: 2012-12-05 18:06:13
The results of a recent clinical trial published in the journal Hepatology reveal that the drug tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (tenofovir DF), which is usually used to treat hepatitis B in adults, may also be effective in teenagers.... Full Story

HPV detection in older women caused by reaction to infection
Date: 2012-12-13 17:46:58
Research led by Patti E. Gravitt, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine in Serdang, Malaysia, has found that detecting HPV in older women may not be solely the cause of having recent sexual partners, but it may also be the result of a reaction that occurs due to a past infection.... Full Story

SVR may increase survival rate of hepatitis C patients
Date: 2012-12-27 17:32:14
A recent study published in JAMA revealed that the sustained virological response (SVR) that comes from  interferon-based treatment in patients who have hepatitis C may increase their chances of survival. SVR occurs when a patient has undetectable levels of the virus in the bloodstream.... Full Story

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