admin http://www.ashasexualhealth.org Mon, 23 Oct 2017 17:32:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/cropped-site_icon-32x32.jpg admin http://www.ashasexualhealth.org 32 32 Featured ASHA Ambassador: Irene Treadwell http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/ambassador-of-the-month/ Fri, 28 Oct 2016 14:57:57 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=4134 We are so very pleased to shine a spotlight on Irene Treadwell as our featured ASHA ambassador! An Ambassador since March 2017, Irene joined our ranks after finding out a colleague from Black Nurses Rock had become an ambassador. Black Nurses Rock is the nation’s largest minority nursing organization and sharing community with a huge […]

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We are so very pleased to shine a spotlight on Irene Treadwell as our featured ASHA ambassador!

Irene TreadwellAn Ambassador since March 2017, Irene joined our ranks after finding out a colleague from Black Nurses Rock had become an ambassador. Black Nurses Rock is the nation’s largest minority nursing organization and sharing community with a huge social media presence and a mission to “inspire and empower innovative leaders that will serve and educate vulnerable communities.” Irene is the HIV/AIDS chair for the organization and says becoming a sexual health ambassador struck her as a great opportunity: “As an ASHA ambassador, social media is key in getting your message out to the masses; irrespective of location, your message can reach the world.”

Ambassadors find lots of surprises in their online interactions and Irene says the best part of being an ambassador is “getting that thumbs up from folks you least expect, because you never know who’s watching!”

One of her key messages is that sex and sexuality can flourish for as long as we’re alive. “As the U.S. population ages, we should focus on sexuality of folks throughout their lifespan, understanding the nuances of aging on the body and the importance of practicing safe sex at 20, at 50 and beyond.” We couldn’t agree more and ASHA’s website has a section devoted exclusively to Sex after 50. Congratulations Irene Treadwell and thanks for all you do to make America a sexually healthy nation!

ASHA Ambassadors are people who speak sexual health. A team of individuals leveraging the power of social media to get the word out about sex health, Ambassadors support our online conversations by tweeting, posting pics, sharing and ‘liking’ posts and all things social media. Learn more about the ASHA Ambassador program here.

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STD Rates in the U.S. Rise for the Third Straight Year http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/std-rates-u-s-rise-third-straight-year/ Thu, 28 Sep 2017 20:31:59 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5102 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 2016 was the third straight year of increasing rates for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. The 2016 Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report released earlier this week, points to the same worrisome trends noted in recent years: nearly 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in […]

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 2016 was the third straight year of increasing rates for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.

The 2016 Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report released earlier this week, points to the same worrisome trends noted in recent years: nearly 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the U.S. each year with the most vulnerable populations—particularly young people, women, and men who have sex with men—continuing to endure a significant share of the burden.

ASHA board member and sexual health expert J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS, says “It’s important to remember that STDs are an especially obvious health inequity for young people, for marginalized people. This means that STDs are consequences of far more than individual behaviors, and are products of our society’s continued inattention to community, to racism, sexual and gender discrimination, and tolerance of violence.”

The 27,814 cases of primary and secondary syphilis cases reported in 2016 represents an 18.5% increase over the previous year, with 90% of cases reported in men. Gonorrhea cases in 2016 increased 18.5% to 468,514 and chlamydia incidence rose 4.7% to approximately 1.6 million cases. Both gonorrhea and chlamydia are frequently without symptoms (especially with females); without prompt treatment these infections can cause a number of complications including infertility. Earlier this year ASHA launched the Yes Means Test initiative to increase awareness of STDs and encourage testing. Visitors to Yes Means Test website can utilize a clinic locator to search free/low cost testing services in their area.

Asked for factors driving the epidemic Dr. Fortenberry says a lack of investment in prevention services is key: “Effective public health approaches to STD control require a substantial infrastructure for public health education, surveillance, case identification, and treatment. We have fallen below a threshold of minimal investment and are seeing the predictable consequences.”

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HPV Vaccine: Protect Yourself and Your Kids http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/hpv-vaccine-protect-kids/ Thu, 28 Sep 2017 15:50:27 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5093 ASHA, in collaboration with WebMD and The Yellow Umbrella Organization, has developed a new resource for WedMD called HPV Vaccine: Protect Yourself and Your Kids. This new resource is for parents and other caregivers of children, adolescents, and young adults. It’s also for others who want to learn more about HPV. The goal is to […]

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ASHA, in collaboration with WebMD and The Yellow Umbrella Organization, has developed a new resource for WedMD called HPV Vaccine: Protect Yourself and Your Kids.

This new resource is for parents and other caregivers of children, adolescents, and young adults. It’s also for others who want to learn more about HPV. The goal is to help people learn about the virus and the conditions it can cause.

Two short programs cover the basics of HPV, including who gets it and how, what cancers it can cause, and who should get the HPV vaccine and when. Short videos in the program feature Christine Baze, a cervical cancer survivor and executive director of The Yellow Umbrella Organization, and a Dr. Rachel Caskey, associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who talks about the HPV and how the vaccine prevents HPV-related disease, including cancer.

Visit WebMD to learn more about HPV, vaccination, and why it matters.

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Saying yes to sex? YES means TEST! http://yesmeanstest.org Fri, 15 Sep 2017 02:16:07 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5070 The post Saying yes to sex? YES means TEST! appeared first on .

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Pregnancy, Birth and Abortion Rates in US Adolescents Hit Historic Lows http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/pregnancy-birth-abortion-rates-us-adolescents-hit-historic-lows/ Tue, 12 Sep 2017 22:03:55 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5058 A new report from the Guttmacher Institute reveals that rates of adolescent pregnancy, birth and abortion in the United States reached historic lows in 2013. The decline among teens specifically is striking: the U.S. pregnancy rate among 15–19-year-olds was at its lowest point in at least 80 years and had dropped to just above one-third […]

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A new report from the Guttmacher Institute reveals that rates of adolescent pregnancy, birth and abortion in the United States reached historic lows in 2013.

Pregnancy Rates Among U.S. Adolescents and Young Adults, 1973–2013

The decline among teens specifically is striking: the U.S. pregnancy rate among 15–19-year-olds was at its lowest point in at least 80 years and had dropped to just above one-third of a recent peak rate in 1990.

As the lead author of the report Kathryn Kost noted in a news release, “These new estimates affirm that long-term declines in adolescent pregnancies, births and abortions have continued. The available evidence suggests that improved contraceptive use continues to be the primary driver of these declines.” Indeed, the report discusses recent research showing significant increases in the use of contraceptives in young women, including the use of multiple methods and long-acting reversible contraceptive methods.

Read the full report at Guttmacher.

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Last Abortion Clinic in Kentucky in Court Fight to Stay Open http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/last-abortion-clinic-kentucky-court-fight-stay-open/ Fri, 08 Sep 2017 16:23:26 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5042 A federal court case that got underway this week will determine whether or not the last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Kentucky will be forced to close. The EMW Women’s Surgical Center has been under threat of closure since March, when state regulators planned to revoke the clinic’s license, stating that the clinic’s […]

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A federal court case that got underway this week will determine whether or not the last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Kentucky will be forced to close. The EMW Women’s Surgical Center has been under threat of closure since March, when state regulators planned to revoke the clinic’s license, stating that the clinic’s agreements with a hospital and ambulance service contained technical deficiencies. At that time, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and attorneys at the Louisville firm Lynch, Cox, Gilman & Goodman P.S.C. filed a federal lawsuit to prevent the closure of the clinic.

The ACLU notes that the law that Kentucky is using to attempt to shut down the clinic is very similar to Texas laws that the Supreme Court recently struck down in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. As stated in the decision on that case: “Two provisions in a Texas law – requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and requiring abortion clinics in the state to have facilities comparable to an ambulatory surgical center – place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking an abortion, constitute an undue burden on abortion access, and therefore violate the Constitution.”

The administration of Kentucky governor Matt Blevin shut down another EMW clinic in Lexington last year and sued a Planned Parenthood in Louisville, ultimately denying that facility a license to perform abortions. With the EMW Women’s Surgical Center now the state’s only option for women seeking an abortion, Kentucky joins six other states—North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi, Wyoming and West Virginia—with just one abortion clinic left.

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New Research Highlights the Need for Improved Herpes Diagnostics http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/new-research-highlights-need-improved-herpes-diagnostics/ Mon, 28 Aug 2017 18:22:36 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5000 A paper published ahead of print in Sexually Transmitted Diseases finds that commercial blood tests commonly used to diagnose herpes simplex virus (HSV) are frequently not reliable, especially in those with “low positive” results. Herpes detection in people without symptoms typically involves a blood test to find HSV-specific antibodies that the immune system produces in […]

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A paper published ahead of print in Sexually Transmitted Diseases finds that commercial blood tests commonly used to diagnose herpes simplex virus (HSV) are frequently not reliable, especially in those with “low positive” results.

Herpes detection in people without symptoms typically involves a blood test to find HSV-specific antibodies that the immune system produces in response to the virus. Results with these tests (known as enzyme-linked immunoassays or EIA) are reported as an index value where the antibody levels are measured. An index value above 1.1 is considered positive, but some experts regard values less than 3.5 as “low positive” and recommend a confirmatory test such as the HSV Western Blot, long considered the gold standard with regards to accuracy and consistency of results.

Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle and the Westover Heights Clinic in Portland, OR found that patients with low positive HSV-2 results on commercial EIAs frequently tested negative with the more sensitive Western Blot. With HSV-1, the reverse was true: commercial tests often overlooked HSV-1 antibodies later found with the Western Blot. In a press release issued by the University of Washington Health Sciences, study lead author Anna Wald, MD, said “These findings indicate that if you didn’t have signs and symptoms of genital herpes and were diagnosed by an (immunoassay antibody) test alone and had a low positive index value, there’s a 50-50 chance the test was wrong…In that case, you should get a confirmatory test.”

Read more about HSV diagnostics from the University of Washington Virology Research Clinic. Also browse resources offered through ASHA’s Herpes Resource Center.

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Trump Announces Ban on Transgender People in the Military [Updated] http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/trump-announces-ban-transgender-people-military-twitter/ Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:56:24 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=4922 In a series of Tweets posted this morning, President Trump announced that transgender individuals will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, citing “the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government […]

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In a series of Tweets posted this morning, President Trump announced that transgender individuals will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, citing “the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

This abrupt announcement reversed a decision made in June 2016 that enabled transgender service members to serve openly. In a statement announcing that policy, then-Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter stated, “Our mission is to defend this country, and we don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine who can best accomplish the mission.”

While the policy was to take effect on July 1, 2017, current Defense Secretary Jim Mattis delayed its implementation for six months to allow for a review of whether transgender service members would affect the “readiness or lethality” of the force.

The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates that over 134,000 American veterans are transgender, and over 15,000 transgender people are currently serving in military. Executive Director Mara Keisling offered the following statement today on Trump’s announcement:

“This is worse than don’t ask don’t tell, this is don’t serve, don’t serve. This is an appalling attack on our service members; it is about bigotry rather than military readiness, reason or science. It is indefensible and cannot stand. The President wants to discard thousands of trained and skilled troops who are already serving honorably and done nothing but be honest about who they are. To turn away qualified recruits simply because of who they are is a shameful way to show our country’s gratitude to the people who serve our country.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, offered this statement on the ban:

“President Trump today issued a direct attack on transgender Americans, and his administration will stop at nothing to implement its anti-LGBTQ ideology within our government – even if it means denying some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation. Today further exposed President Trump’s overall goal to erase LGBTQ Americans from this nation. Trump has never been a friend to LGBTQ Americans, and this action couldn’t make that any more clear.”

[UPDATED 7/27/17] In a letter to senior military leaders, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford wrote that there will be no immediate change to the current military policy on transgender individuals: “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.” He added that “we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect.”

[UPDATED 8/25/17] On August 25, President Trump issued a directive to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security preventing transgender individuals from joining the military, making official the ban he initially announced via Twitter. The directive gives Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to determine whether active-duty service members can continue to serve, giving Mattis six months to develop a plan to implement the policy . Commenting on the directive, Senator John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, stated “it would be a step in the wrong direction to force currently serving transgender individuals to leave the military solely on the basis of their gender identity rather than medical and readiness standards that should always be at the heart of Department of Defense personnel policy.” Lambda Legal, a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV, announced plans to bring a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the new policy.

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Survey Shows Condom Use Higher among Young People http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/survey-shows-condom-use-higher-among-young-people/ Thu, 10 Aug 2017 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=4945 Rates of condom use remained largely unchanged in recent years according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), with higher usage reported among those ages 15-19. Using in-person interviews with males and females in the U.S. ages 15-44, the […]

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Rates of condom use remained largely unchanged in recent years according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), with higher usage reported among those ages 15-19.

Using in-person interviews with males and females in the U.S. ages 15-44, the NSFG collects data on topics such as relationships, pregnancy, contraception use, and reproductive health. Key findings from the most recent study include:

  • During 2011-2015, nearly 24% of men and 34% of women reported using a condom with their most recent experience of sexual intercourse.
  • Over the last four weeks, 18% of men and 24% of women reported using condoms “100% of the time” with intercourse. 7% of the women in this group said the condom “broke or completely fell off.”
  • The majority of condom users – 60% of men and 56% of women – used condoms as their sole method of contraception.

Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS, a member of ASHA’s board of directors and professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, said “Although condoms will never solve all of the STI and pregnancy prevention needs of a diverse population, they remain an accessible and low-cost technology necessary for comprehensive public health prevention approaches.”

Fortenberry notes the overall proportion of condom use is stable in recent years, with no large changes across the U.S. population. He says condom use is “quite high among younger sexually active populations where STI and pregnancy are important and access to other means of prevention may be limited.” The NSFG report confirms condom use is higher among young people: among those ages 15-19, 36% of women and 53% of men said they used condoms each time they had sex over the past year, compared to 11% of men and 9% of women ages 35-44.

Responding to issues with slippage and breakage, Fortenberry says we can do more to teach people how to use condoms correctly: “The relatively high frequency of condom use problems suggests the need for continued public health education and training, since other research suggests that problems are less frequent among more experienced users.”

ASHA’s resources on condoms (such as how to use them correctly) include the Condomology initiative with fact sheets, videos, and more.

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CDC Reports More than Half of Female Homicides Linked to Intimate Partner Violence http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/cdc-reports-half-female-homicides-linked-intimate-partner-violence/ Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:13:37 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=4904 More than half of all homicides of women in the U.S. are related to intimate partner violence, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). IPV-related deaths included those involving homicides where the victim was an intimate partner—such as a current or former spouse or girlfriend—of the suspect, as […]

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More than half of all homicides of women in the U.S. are related to intimate partner violence, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). IPV-related deaths included those involving homicides where the victim was an intimate partner—such as a current or former spouse or girlfriend—of the suspect, as well as other deaths associated with IPV, including victims who were family, friends, first responders, or bystanders.

Researchers from CDC analyzed homicide data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) of 10,018 women aged 18 years or older in 18 states during 2003–2014. Among the key findings:

  • Over half of female homicides (55.3%) for which circumstances were known were related to IPV.
  • Young, racial/ethnic minority women are disproportionately affected: About one third of victims (29.4%) were aged 18–29 years, and non-Hispanic black and American Indian/Alaska Native women had the highest rates of homicide.
  • Arguments and jealousy were common factors involved in IPV-related homicides.
  • One in 10 victims of IPV-related homicide reportedly experienced violence in the month before their deaths.
  • Approximately 15% of victims of reproductive age (18–44 years) were pregnant or postpartum.

The researchers discuss strategies that could help prevent IPV-related homicides, including risk assessments by first responders to IPV-related incidents that can help identify women at greater risk to connect them to local services, state legislation to limiting access to firearms for persons under a domestic violence restraining order, and bystander programs, such as Green Dot, that teaches effective intervention skills and violence prevention. They also note that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening women of childbearing age for IPV and referring women who screen positive for intervention services.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 to talk confidentially with anyone in the United States who is experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship. The toll free, 24/7 hotline is available at 1-800-799-7233. Live chat is also available every day from 7 am to 2 am Central time.

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