Half of Washington, D.C.’s cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea are among adolescents, so it’s a good thing the city has expanded a pilot program that offers free STD testing to high school students.
Last year, when the program launched with STD testing offered in eight schools, about 3,000 students participated and 13 percent of them tested positive for an STD, mostly gonorrhea or chlamydia. This year, all high school students will have the opportunity to participate in the program. They will attend a lecture and Q&A session about STDs. Then 15 to 20 of them at a time will be given paper bags containing urine collection cups and will be sent into bathroom stalls. Once students are in the stalls, they will decide whether or not they want to provide a urine sample. They’ll then return the paper bags with the container inside, either filled or not, so others won’t know whether they’ve given a sample. Students will then be given a password to use when they call in a week later to find out the tests’ results and receive treatment, if necessary. Keep reading »
Want a new iPod? Or a Wii? Or a Fujitsu laptop? Get tested for STDs! In a new attempt to get England’s sexually rampant youth out of the bedroom and into a clinic, Britain’s National Health Service is entering folks who get tested in raffles for expensive high-tech toys and even weekend getaways. Why? Because there’s been a serious chlamydia outbreak there lately, and the disease is now the number one STD in the country. The NHS is dipping into taxpayer’s money, practically bribing folks to get tested. [Daily Mail]
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At Port Chester High School in New York, officials have signed off on a new service that has lots of folks up in arms. They’ll now be offering free STD and pregnancy testing to any student who asks … without parental consent or notification. While many people are squirming in their seats thinking about the moral and religious implications of this decision, I gotta say woo hoo! Here’s why. Keep reading »
A reader sent me an email and asked me if I would ever date someone with an incurable STD. She had recently been diagnosed with the HSV virus (that’s herpes, y’all), and wanted my answer to be honest and not “PC.” So here it is goes, my unvarnished, gut reaction to the question: No, I would not date someone with an incurable STD. Keep reading »
I was having dinner with some friends the other night, one of whom does HIV research. We started talking about STDs in general when another friend admitted she’s had herpes for about 10 years. She said she contracted it from the second guy she ever slept with and though she hasn’t had an outbreak in about 8 years, she always tells potential sex partners about it. I was surprised when she said that her gynecologist said that as long as she isn’t in the middle of an outbreak, there’s really no need to tell a sex partner — then I remembered this letter to advice columnist Jamie Bufalino in last week’s Time Out New York. A young woman writes:
“I’m a 23-year-old female, and just found out yesterday that I have contracted HPV/genital warts. I called the four people I’ve slept with in the past year to inform them, saving my current beau (he’s 28, BTW) for last. When I got on the phone with him (he lives in Boston, I’m in New York), I hardly had to say anything because he quickly responded: “Oh yeah, I have HPV too.” We’ve been dating for four months and he never bothered to mention that his last two girlfriends both magically contracted this virus after being with him. He apologized, said he felt terrible that he never told me, that he had planned to tell me soon, asked what he could do to make up for it, etc. I told him I never wanted to speak to him again. Now, the morning after, I wonder: Is getting an STD just part of being an adult? Or is passing a virus a deal breaker?”
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Of course, sexual health educators should still teach everyone to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS. But researchers have created an interactive online “HIV/AIDS Atlas,” which shows how only one-fifth of America’s counties make up 80 percent of the cases. It’s sometimes hard to make public health topics “interesting” and “cool,” but a map does a good job of it! Keep reading »
Is it possible to c**k block safe sex? Yes, say public health advocates who are going after CVS for sometimes locking its condoms behind glass cases!
Advocates For Youth and CureCVS are rallying people based on the findings of a Change To Win study, which investigated CVS branches in five major metropolitan areas. They found condom lockage is three times more likely to occur in areas where minorities live—which obviously is discriminatory and needs to stop immediately. Keep reading »
An HPV vaccine for men is likely to be approved in the next year, but according to a recent study, men are fairly unlikely to get the shot, even if told it would help protect their female partners against cervical cancer. Sadly, we’re not surprised. Many men won’t sport a rubber to protect themselves and their ladies (yes I know I’m generalizing here), why would we expect them to get poked by a needle?
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Remembering to take birth control pills every day at the same time can be a hassle. Buying condoms adds another thing to our pages-long to-do list. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an effective birth control and STD-preventative in one? Dr. Brij Saxena, a reproductive biology and endocrinology professor at the Weill Cornell Medical College, has developed a vaginal ring that may prevent sexually transmitted HIV and unintended pregnancy because it releases several types of non-hormonal agents and microbicides. The device has proven to prevent HIV infection in laboratory trials, Saxena said, and it could give women the power to protect themselves effectively and conveniently from an unintended pregnancy and HIV, if future clinical trials are successful. Keep reading »