http://www.ashasexualhealth.org Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:24:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/cropped-site_icon-32x32.jpg http://www.ashasexualhealth.org 32 32 World AIDS Day: December 1 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/world-aids-day-december-1/ Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:16:31 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=1833 World AIDS Day takes place each year on December 1st. The annual observation is held to bring attention to the global impact of HIV/AIDS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that an estimated 1.1 million people are living with HIV, and 1 in 7 don’t know it. More than 36 million people around the […]

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World AIDS Day takes place each year on December 1st. The annual observation is held to bring attention to the global impact of HIV/AIDS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that an estimated 1.1 million people are living with HIV, and 1 in 7 don’t know it. More than 36 million people around the world are estimated to be living with HIV.

The theme for 2017 is Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships. You can follow the conversation with these hashtags: #WAD2017.


For more information on World AIDS Day visit hiv.gov. You can also take a look at ASHA’s resources on HIV/AIDS, including:

  • HIV testing
  • Preventing HIV
  • Living with HIV/AIDS
  • Preventing HIV with PrEP: PrEP involves taking a pill once daily to prevent HIV infection in someone who is HIV-negative. When taken consistently, every day, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by more than 90%. Read more and find resources near you at sayyestoprep.org.

Find Local Resources

Type your zip code into the box below to find HIV/AIDS-related services in your area.

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Transgender Day of Rememberance http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/transgender-day-rememberance/ Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:33:21 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5229 November 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual event designated to memorialize those who have been killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered on November 28th, 1998. Eighteen years after the […]

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November 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual event designated to memorialize those who have been killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered on November 28th, 1998. Eighteen years after the first event was held in San Francisco, there are today vigils, teach-ins, and other events are held in communities across the globe to mark the occasion.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 25 transgender people were killed in the U.S. in 2017, more than in any year in at least a decade. Eighty-four percent were people of color, and 80 percent were women. As the HRC notes, the “at least” caveat reflects the fact that such deaths are often underreported: “Data collection is often incomplete or unreliable when it comes to violent and fatal crimes against transgender people. Some victims’ deaths may go unreported, while others may not be identified as transgender in the media, often because authorities, journalists and/or family members refuse to acknowledge their gender identity.”

To learn more about the the deadly violence faced by transgender people, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation and the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) released a new report, A Time to Act: Fatal Violence Against Transgender People in America in 2017. The report shares the personal stories of transgender people were killed in 2017, and also discusses the systemic discrimination faced by transgender individuals and key steps to addressing anti-transgender violence.

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Understanding Women’s Experiences with Bacterial Vaginosis http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/understanding-womens-experiences-with-bacterial-vaginosis/ Sun, 12 Nov 2017 16:50:29 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5212 Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common gynecologic infection, affecting nearly 29 percent of women in the U.S. While not all women with BV have symptoms, those that do may experience an abnormal vaginal discharge that may be white or gray, watery, and may also have a strong fish-like odor, or vaginal itching and irritation. Left […]

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Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common gynecologic infection, affecting nearly 29 percent of women in the U.S. While not all women with BV have symptoms, those that do may experience an abnormal vaginal discharge that may be white or gray, watery, and may also have a strong fish-like odor, or vaginal itching and irritation.

Left undiagnosed and untreated, BV can increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. BV also increases the risk of pre-term birth and low birth weight, which can negatively impact the overall health of the baby; and pelvic inflammatory disease. BV can impact women’s emotional health as well, causing feelings of anxiety and embarrassment that can interfere with intimate relationships.

To get a better understanding of women’s experiences with BV, ASHA, in conjunction with Harris Poll, conducted a national survey of 304 women ages 18 to 49 who have had BV. Key findings from the survey include:

  • 76 percent of women with BV stated they would have gone to see a healthcare professional
    sooner if they were aware of the risks associated with BV if left untreated.
  • Only 43 percent of women with BV are aware that if left untreated, BV can cause an increased
    risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Not only did 62 percent of women mistake BV for a yeast infection prior to diagnosis, but 20
    percent still believe that BV is a yeast infection
  • Most women with BV feel self-conscious (68 percent) and/or embarrassed (66 percent) due to
    their condition
  • Women with BV admit that they have avoided certain everyday activities that may often be
    taken for granted, including being intimate with their spouse/partner (79 percent), working out (27 percent), or going on a first date (17 percent)

These survey results reaffirm the common misperceptions about BV and impact the condition can have on women’s health. A new online resource, KeepHerAwesome.com, features more results from the survey and provides women and healthcare professionals with information on BV including a BV fact sheet, discussion guides on how to talk with your partner and healthcare provider about BV, and “Dos and Don’ts” for providers to share with their patients.

The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Symbiomix Therapeutics, LLC, a Lupin Company, and the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) within the United States between September 14 and 29, 2017 among 304 US women aged 18-49 who have been diagnosed by a healthcare professional with bacterial vaginosis (BV) within the past 2 years (“women with bacterial vaginosis”). Figures for age, income, race/ethnicity, region, education, and size of household were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

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Understanding LARC http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/understanding-larc/ Thu, 14 May 2015 16:17:57 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=2424 The name says it all. Long-acting reversible contraception, or LARC, is reversible birth control that provides long-lasting (think years) pregnancy prevention. While not currently the leading choice among women, LARC use has been on the rise in recent years. In women aged 15-44, LARC use has grown from 1.5% in 2002 to 7.2% in 2011–2013. […]

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The name says it all. Long-acting reversible contraception, or LARC, is reversible birth control that provides long-lasting (think years) pregnancy prevention. While not currently the leading choice among women, LARC use has been on the rise in recent years. In women aged 15-44, LARC use has grown from 1.5% in 2002 to 7.2% in 2011–2013. The rising popularity of LARC can likely be attributed to its high rate of effectiveness (more than 99 percent) and ease of use.

LARC methods, which include intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, are highly reliable—research has shown LARC to be 20 times more effective than birth control pills, the patch, or the vaginal ring. One important reason why is the LARC removes the “user error” factor that can make other methods less effective. No need to remember to take a pill daily, or have a diaphragm on hand ready to go. Once LARC is in place, it does its job for years with no input from the user at all, acting as a “set it and forget it” method.

But there’s one thing that shouldn’t be forgotten—protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). While LARC is a highly effective way to prevent pregnancy, LARC methods don’t prevent STIs. For this reason, many choose to use (and health professionals recommend) condoms in addition to a LARC method. Dual use of condoms and LARC thus offers couples dual prevention.

ASHA’s Fred Wyand (a.k.a. Fredo) discusses dual use of LARC and condoms in the latest episode of ASHA Sex+Health podcast. Fred explains the facts about LARC and the added benefit of dual use of LARC and condoms to prevent STIs.

LARC Methods

There are two LARC methods: the intrauterine device (IUD) and the birth control implant. The intrauterine device (IUD) was once a popular choice in the U.S., but following problems linked to the poorly designed Dalkon Shield model in the 1970s, usage dropped due to concerns about safety. The current newly designed models share none of the earlier safety concerns, but some misconceptions about this issue persist.

The birth control implant has been available in the United States since the 1990s. The earliest model, Norplant, included multiple rods implanted under the skin and offered pregnancy prevention for up to five years. Almost immediately after its approval, however, it became a target for misuse, as legislation was introduced in several states mandating its use in specific groups of women, including those receiving public assistance. Use of implants became an issue in the courts, as women facing charges including child and abuse and neglect were offered the option of accepting implants as condition of a reduced sentence.

Understanding and acknowledging this history of coercive use of LARC and safety concerns is important, to avoid problems of the past. But so too is understanding the potential value of LARC methods today. The current concern with LARC is making sure women are well informed about these methods, including benefits and side effects, and making LARC an accessible and affordable option to all women.

IUD: An IUD is a small T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider. It works by preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg. The hormonal type of IUD also thins the uterine lining, making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant.

There are two types of IUDs:

  • Hormonal IUD: This plastic IUD releases the hormone progestin. One type, Mirena, is approved for use for up to 5 years, while another, Skyla, is approved for use for up to 3 years.
  • Copper IUD: The copper IUD, Paraguard, is hormone-free. It is approved for use for up to 10 years.

While both types of IUDs can remain in place for years, they can also easily be removed if a woman decides she would like to become pregnant. Most women have no issues with the IUD, but problems can include spotting between periods, a heavier flow (with Paraguard), and back pains. Rare but serious problems can occur as well, and usually happen shortly after the IUD is inserted. These complications include the IUD falling out of the uterus, or piercing the uterine wall. Learn more about IUDs and hear stories from real women who use this method at Bedsider.

implantImplant: The birth control implant is a single small, thin rod that is inserted under the skin of a women’s upper arm by a healthcare provider. The rod releases the hormone progestin into the body, which both helps prevent ovulation and thickens cervical mucus, helping prevent sperm from reaching an egg. The implant prevents pregnancy for up to 3 years.

As with the IUD, the implant can be removed at any time if a woman decides to get pregnant. The most common side effect is irregular bleeding—including spotting between periods and heavier periods. This typically improves over time. Learn more about implants and hear stories of women using this method at Bedsider.

Choosing LARC

So with all the potential benefits, why is LARC not a more popular choice? One reason is the large upfront cost. Both methods must be inserted, and removed, by a physician and costs cannot be spread out over time as with other methods. However, under the Affordable Care Act, all insurance plans in the health insurance marketplace must cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods prescribed by a woman’s doctor, including LARC.

Another factor involves misconceptions about safety, even on the part of providers. In a 2012 study, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that nearly a third of healthcare providers had misconceptions about the safety of IUDs for women who have never had children. Such concerns are misplaced—the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that LARC methods be offered as first-line birth control methods and encouraged as options for most women, including adolescents and women who have never had children.

LARC offers women a safe, long-lasting choice for preventing pregnancy—one that requires no real thought or effort over years. It’s an option that most women should consider a viable choice.

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New Series Exploring Sexual Health and Sex Ed from VICE http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/new-series-exploring-sexual-health-sex-ed-vice/ Thu, 02 Nov 2017 17:06:44 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5204 This week, VICE Media released a new series Unscrewing Ourselves that explores the state of sexual health and sex education today. Available on its sites Broadly and Tonic, the series covers topics ranging from sexuality and chronic illness, LGBT-inclusive sex ed, and dating HIV-positive partners. The series also highlights the efforts of young people educating […]

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This week, VICE Media released a new series Unscrewing Ourselves that explores the state of sexual health and sex education today. Available on its sites Broadly and Tonic, the series covers topics ranging from sexuality and chronic illness, LGBT-inclusive sex ed, and dating HIV-positive partners.

The series also highlights the efforts of young people educating their peers about sexual health, including a young woman in Uganda who, after the death of her parents and sister from AIDS, launched a service that offers sex ed via a mobile app, WhatApp, and text, and lesbian vloggers who are teaching queer teens how to have better, safer sex.

VICE is also also working with Planned Parenthood to provide a real-time resource for readers looking for answers about their own sex lives and sexual health as a part of this initiative. Readers are able to talk directly with one of Planned Parenthood’s trained health experts via a chat widget included at the bottom of Tonic’s related articles. These experts provide young people with accurate information about their urgent sexual health questions for free and can connect them to further resources.

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Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Ban on Transgender Service Members http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/federal-judge-blocks-trumps-ban-transgender-service-members/ Wed, 01 Nov 2017 21:01:03 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5198 This week, a federal judge overturned President Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, first announced in July. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the proposed ban was discriminatory and violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution. As the judge wrote in her […]

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This week, a federal judge overturned President Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, first announced in July. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the proposed ban was discriminatory and violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution. As the judge wrote in her ruling, “On the record before the Court, there is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effective on the military at all. In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects”

The ruling came in the case of Doe vs. Trump, a suit filed on behalf of five transgender service members by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). In a statement following the ruling, NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter stated, “This is a complete victory for our plaintiffs and all transgender service members, who are now once again able to serve on equal terms and without the threat of being discharged. We are grateful to the court for recognizing the gravity of these issues and putting a stop to this dangerous policy, which has wreaked havoc in the lives of transgender service members and their families.”

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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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