Ask an American to name the leading cause of death for child-bearing women across the globe and I reckon he or she might say “heart disease,” “breast cancer” or maybe even car accidents. After all, those are some of the greatest killers for American women, ones we are warned to be aware of day-in and day-out.
But the World Health Organization just released the results from its first-ever study of women’s health around the world and the results are telling. HIV/AIDS, actually, is the #1 cause of death or disease for women between the ages 15 and 44 across the globe. Not surprisingly, unprotected sex from lack of access to contraceptives is one of the leading risk factors, warned the W.H.O. How sad: a disease most American women would never expect to die from is actually the leading cause of death for everyone else. [The New York Times] Keep reading »
Last week, the Huffington Post
made our blood boil when they reported on a horrifying trend—that insurance companies are denying benefits for women who’ve been raped
, and even dropping their coverage altogether. How can they get away with such a thing? Because, when a woman is raped and it’s unknown whether the assailant used a condom
, doctors typically prescribe a month’s worth of an anti-HIV
medication (which, uh, I didn’t even know existed) as a precaution. It’s extremely rare that a woman actually contracts HIV this way, but insurance companies view this as a morbid done deal. Susan Pisano, a spokeswoman for the health insurance industry’s largest trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, explains, “If you put down on a form that you are or were taking anti-HIV drugs at any time, [insurance companies] are going to understand that you are or were in treatment for HIV, period. That could be a factor in determining whether you get coverage.” Keep reading »
Today’s episode of “Oprah” was both upsetting and inspiring. The five women in the clip above all contracted HIV from the same man — their boyfriend, Philippe Padieu, who was secretly wooing (and sleeping with) all of them (and then some!) at the same time. He knew he had HIV, yet didn’t tell any of them. Little did he know what they would do when they found out. The women banded together to warn others being seduced by Padieu’s charms and then went to the police. He was eventually sentenced to 45 years in prison. Kick. Ass. [Oprah
] Keep reading »
This new AIDS Awareness campaign from One Life finally uses sex to sell an effective message — when you sleep with him, you’re sleeping with everyone in his past. Click on over to Trendhunter to see a few more graphic images — including a woman giving a blowjob to a handgun. One more image, after the jump… Keep reading »
In Nigeria, a government program is trying to stop the spread of AIDS by … encouraging HIV-positive people to marry each other. The idea is that if they’re married, they won’t be as likely to spread the disease to others. And they’re giving serious incentives for tying the knot. In exchange for an “HIV-marriage,” the agency will pay a couple’s dowry, and even provide them with counseling and employment assistance. There is no actual evidence that these marriages reduce the spread of AIDS, but some couples do note serious benefits of marrying another person with HIV. Some have said that their marriage has provided them with a support group and reduced the stigmatization associated with this disease. Keep reading »
For the first time ever, researchers have decoded the complete HIV virus genome. This wasn’t an easy feat, because HIV carries its genetic information on RNA instead of DNA which is more complex because it’s 3D. This is a very big deal because now scientists will have a much better understanding of how HIV works. They can zoom in on different pieces of the virus and see which parts do what. Researchers can, hopefully, use this info to figure out why the virus is able to go undetected in the human host for so long and why it’s immune to so many drugs. Scientists also plan to alter or mutate parts of the genome and see if the virus notices. If they can find a mutation that effs up how HIV functions or makes it grow slower, well, that’s pretty exciting. [AFP]
Keep reading »
As South Africa prepares to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the country is getting some attention for some not-so-positive news. Along with a high number of rapes, the country has long struggled to keep HIV/AIDS in check. With tourists pouring in for the huge soccer competition next June, the health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, expressed concerns that the influx could lead to an increase in cases:
“2010 is going to come with good things but it may also come with dangerous things….I mean, we will be having lots of visitors here… we know there will be lots of visitors who come here for sex, you can’t hide that. It happens and what will be the effects on this country?”
South Africa is home to the world’s largest AIDS epidemic, with about 5.7 million people infected with HIV. Hosting the World Cup is huge for South Africa and could be very beneficial. Hopefully, tourists visiting the country will practice safe sex if watching soccer isn’t enough activity for them; no one wants to take home a virus as their souvenir. [Reuters] Keep reading »
While treating a 62-year-old Cameroonian woman in Paris, scientists discovered a new strain of HIV. This strain is from gorillas, not chimpanzees, and cannot be detected by conventional HIV tests. Scientists suspect the woman caught the virus from another human, not by eating infected meat. But, since it doesn’t show up in conventional tests, the virus could be “cryptically spreading in the population.” All of this is pretty scary, but scientists don’t seem too concerned. They say the new disease can still be treated with the same drugs and they’re pretty sure that if a vaccine is invented, it will work for this strain, too. Unfortunately, the effects are probably still the same no matter which strain people contract. We just hope they figure out how to test for it. Fast. Very, very fast. [BBC]
Keep reading »
For the past 22 years, the U.S has banned HIV-positive visitors from entering our illustrious and diverse country. Other progressive lands with such rules: Iraq, Saudia Arabia, China, Libya, and the Sudan. But the government has finally lifted the ban and surprisingly, it was George W. Bush who signed the bill that put the repeal into action last summer. But because HIV was still on a list of communicable diseases restricting travel, people were still being kept out of the country and their only option was to apply for a waiver that cost $545 and didn’t guarantee admission anyway. The Department of Health and Human Services made the final steps on July 2nd to officially get rid of this policy altogether.
I’m still confused—did tourists have to get blood work before coming to America? It’s not like sneeze germs pass HIV and, I mean, Americans should know better than to sleep with tourists anyway. (Just kidding!) If I was foreign and HIV positive, I would totally want to go to Graceland for Dippin’ Dots, so thank God the government’s finally done something about this. [Med Page Today] Keep reading »
Earlier this week, Lady Gaga took time out from pantslessness and boob explosions to volunteer at AIDS charity Body Positive North West in Manchester, England. “I want to make it fashionable to have safe sex,” she said. “You must be safe. You can have sex with hundreds of people with a condom on and get nothing. If you have sex without one, then you could get all sorts of problems.” Hey, if the singer can create a trend out of neglecting to put clothes on the lower half of her body, maybe she can get people to put on condoms.
While she was at the AIDS center, she helped paint the above mural that included her likeness. The hair-bow is accurate, but why is she wearing leggings? [The Advocate] Keep reading »