American Sexual Health Association http://www.ashasexualhealth.org Fri, 20 Jan 2017 21:08:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Study Finds Nearly Half of Men have HPV http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/study-finds-nearly-half-of-men-have-hpv/ http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/study-finds-nearly-half-of-men-have-hpv/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 21:04:22 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=4262 Nearly half of males in the United States have genital Human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a study published January 19th in JAMA Oncology. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, and experts believe most sexually active individuals have an HPV infection at some point. CDC estimates there are 79 million total cases of HPV […]

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shutterstock_259994795Nearly half of males in the United States have genital Human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a study published January 19th in JAMA Oncology.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, and experts believe most sexually active individuals have an HPV infection at some point. CDC estimates there are 79 million total cases of HPV in the U.S. (with 14 million new cases each year). Of the HPV types associated with sexual transmission, some are low-risk types linked with genital warts while others are high-risk types associated with cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, and anus (along with a number of head and neck cancers). Most cases of HPV are harmless, however, and are cleared naturally by the immune system in a year or two.

The study by Jasmine Han, MD, and her colleagues was done with nearly 1,900 men ages 18-59 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2013-2014. NHANES is a series of continuing studies assessing the health of adults and children in the U.S. Overall, HPV was detected in 45% of males in the study (25% of subjects were found to have a high-risk type). Unlike HPV infections in females which decline after peaking in mid-20s (click here for data on females), the results from this study found high rates of HPV in males across all age groups.
The researchers also found only 11% of the study subjects eligible for HPV vaccination had received the shots. HPV vaccines are approved for males and females ages 9-26 and are nearly 100% effective in blocking infections and diseases related to the HPV types covered, and the authors write “Our study indicates that male HPV vaccination may have a greater effect on HPV infection transmission and cancer prevention in men and women than previously estimated.”

ASHA’s HPV Resource Center has information for men, women, and health care providers.
Reference: Han JJ, et al. Prevalence of Genital Human Papillomavirus Infection and Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Rates Among US Adult Men. JAMA Oncol, published online January 19, 2017.

 

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A Cure for HPV? Evaluating HPV Treatment Options http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/a-cure-for-hpv-evaluating-hpv-treatment-options/ http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/a-cure-for-hpv-evaluating-hpv-treatment-options/#comments Wed, 04 Jan 2017 17:11:37 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=4230 A cure for HPV! Satisfaction guaranteed! No more outbreaks! If you’ve had an HPV diagnosis, you may have seen claims like this in your search for information on the Internet and elsewhere, often written in large bold type. In smaller type are the disclaimers: “Individual results may vary.” “This information is not intended to replace […]

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A cure for HPV!
Satisfaction guaranteed!
No more outbreaks!

If you’ve had an HPV diagnosis, you may have seen claims like this in your search for information on the Internet and elsewhere, often written in large bold type. In smaller type are the disclaimers:

“Individual results may vary.”
“This information is not intended to replace medical advice. Seek appropriate medical attention if your condition persists.”
“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

The promises are bold, but the disclaimers are clear: these are not reliable, approved treatments for HPV.

Claims such as these can be found selling products that treat genital warts. Well, not actually treat warts, as the disclaimers state, since such products are have not been approved as a treatment by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The language used to market these products, though, seems to be carefully crafted to obscure that fact. An ad will tout “FDA-approved ingredients” or mention that the product is “FDA-registered.” Impressive sounding, perhaps, but neither of these indicate that the product in question has been through the necessary research to ensure that it is safe and effective.

Listen to Learn More

In this episode of ASHA’s Sex+Health podcast, H. Hunter Handsfield, MD, Professor Emeritus of Medicine, University of Washington Center for AIDS and STD, breaks down the more common HPV “miracle cures” and also answers the most common questions about legitimate, approved HPV vaccines.

The Drug Approval Process

The FDA is in charge of overseeing the safety and effectiveness of the drugs we use. The approval process for a new drug can be a long one—from 8 to 12 years in total—with many steps along the way. Drugs are tested in animal studies, then through a series of human clinical trials, with steps along the way to determine safety and dosage, evaluate and verify the effectiveness of the drug, discover side effects. Even after a drug is approved, its safety is monitored, to track any adverse events that may not have been discovered in the clinical trial process.

Does that mean that these non-prescription treatments are not safe? Not effective? If they haven’t gone through a rigorous testing and approval process, there’s no way for you, as a consumer and a patient, to know. And if they haven’t been tested for the claims they make, such as “killing HPV infections” and “curing genital warts”, how can they market them in this way? As the fine print of the disclaimers detail, such products are registered with the FDA as dietary supplements or cosmetics—not drugs. “Not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease” as the label states.

There are treatments available for genital warts that can be applied at home, but these are available by prescription only—no over-the-counter wart treatment should be used to treat genital warts. In addition, a healthcare provider can offer other options. While there is no one treatment is best for all cases, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider to find something safe, effective and right for you.

Vaccines: Prevention, not a Cure

While the type of HPV that causes genital warts is consider “low risk,” there are other HPV types referred to as “high-risk,” as infection with these types can lead to the development of cervical cancer. There are currently vaccines available that can prevent infection both low-risk and high-risk types of HPV, but no vaccine is currently available to treat or “cure” HPV. While there is research underway for what are called “therapeutic” HPV vaccines—vaccines that can treat precancerous or cancerous lesions caused by HPV—these are in the early stages, testing safety and effectiveness.

Yet just as there are unapproved treatments for genital warts advertised as a “cure,” there is also a vaccine that claims to cure cervical cancer. The vaccine is not currently available in the U.S., but is being administered to patients in Mexico, where the researchers studying the vaccine are located. And that is important—the vaccine is still being studied and is considered to be in its experimental stages. Most experts believe it has not been sufficiently evaluated to support claims that it cures HPV or prevents outcomes like cancer.

To be approved in the U.S., vaccines must also undergo a series of clinical trials to test the products safety and effectiveness, as the current preventive HPV vaccines have been. The vaccine offered in Mexico has not. ASHA advisors recommend against treatment with this or any other experimental vaccine intended to cure HPV, unless and until it is offered in a controlled clinical trial by a reputable research center under government oversight.

Given the variety of HPV vaccine research being conducted – and the fact some of the different projects have similarities- it’s easy to be confused. Until a vaccine to treat HPV is evaluated and approved by the FDA it’s best to follow the old adage of buyer beware. ASHA/NCCC advisors recommend against treatment with this or any other experimental vaccine intended to cure HPV, unless and until it’s given in a clinical trial by a well-known research center with the government keeping an eye on things

Get Rid of HPV, Naturally!

Now that sounds like a claim made by some dubious treatment, doesn’t it? But this actually a selling point for your own immune system. The fact is, most HPV infections are harmless and are cleared by your body in a short period of time—no treatment needed. For example, the average length of new cervical HPV infections (as measured by HPV DNA) is about 8 months. About 70% of new infections clear within 1 year, while a full 90% of new infections clear within 2 years.

Even in people with longstanding persistent or recurrent HPV infections, active infection usually is cleared—although viral DNA may persist indefinitely in everyone. This is why experts say there is no “cure” for HPV, as the virus may still be present even though there are no signs of infection, like pre-cancerous lesions or genital warts.

Some websites tout nutritional or herbal supplements that are claimed to either cure the virus or speed natural clearance. The jury is out here: no combination of vitamins, minerals, or herbs is proven effective in clearing HPV infections (despite the claims to the contrary) so consult your health care provider or pharmacist before ordering such products online.

So while there is no cure for HPV, there are treatments that have been shown to be effective at treating genital warts and precancerous cervical lesions caused by HPV. Even more important though, there are also vaccines that can prevent infection in the first place.

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Find My Spark http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/find-my-spark/ http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/find-my-spark/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2016 17:16:21 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=4195 We are excited to announce the launch of Find My Spark, an educational campaign that provides information about female sexual difficulties (FSD), defined as persistent problems with sexual arousal, desire, orgasm, or pain that causes a woman distresses or strains her relationship with her partner. The objective is to encourage and empower women to take […]

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We are excited to announce the launch of Find My Spark, an educational campaign that provides information about female sexual difficulties (FSD), defined as persistent problems with sexual arousal, desire, orgasm, or pain that causes a woman distresses or strains her relationship with her partner. The objective is to encourage and empower women to take charge of their sex lives by talking to their healthcare provider or therapist about any troubles they may be facing. To help educate about FSD, we are partnering with leading women’s sexual health experts with support from Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

Our hope is that Find My Spark will shed light on FSD as a true clinical condition, educate women about sexual difficulties and their symptoms, and encourage meaningful conversations between women and their healthcare providers.

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Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/sexually-transmitted-disease-surveillance/ http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/sexually-transmitted-disease-surveillance/#comments Mon, 31 Oct 2016 16:08:31 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=4143 We’re well into the fall season but honestly, this feels like Groundhog Day. This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published STD surveillance data for 2015 that show cases of reportable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)—chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis—are at record levels. Also we see a continuation of the same trends we’ve been […]

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We’re well into the fall season but honestly, this feels like Groundhog Day. This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published STD surveillance data for 2015 that show cases of reportable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)—chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis—are at record levels. Also we see a continuation of the same trends we’ve been worried about for years, namely our most vulnerable populations of young people, women, and men who have sex with men continue to be hardest hit.

The 24,000 cases of primary and secondary syphilis cases reported in 2015 represent a 19% increase over the previous year, with men who have sex with men enduring a huge burden. Gonorrhea cases increased nearly 13% to 395,216 reported cases and while the chlamydia incidence grew by 5.9% to more than 1.5 million cases, CDC believes the true burden of chlamydia is much higher. Both gonorrhea and chlamydia frequently have no symptoms (especially with females); without prompt treatment these infections can cause a number of complications including infertility.

We know many factors are behind these alarming increases: mass incarceration, poverty, stigma, homophobia. Add to that the fact that the best STD control programs we develop are limited by a complex array of issues including stable housing, transportation to clinics, and leave time from work. For sexual minorities, finding a safe, caring medical home remains a significant challenge.

We have reason for hope, of course. The public health field has countless dedicated professionals hard at work, and our colleagues in the STD Prevention Division at CDC lead the way. It’s never been more vital for those in the fields of sexual health and social justice to maximize our resources by building coalitions and working together.

It’s also critical to articulate that sexual health must no longer be viewed as distinct from our overall health; the two are intertwined and each impacts the other.

I ask you to please learn the facts, take a stand, and speak up. Get started with a visit to the advocacy page of ASHA’s website and consider becoming one of our sexual health ambassadors, too. If you have questions about STDs, visit our Ask the Experts forum for a wealth of insight.

Yours in good sexual health,

Lynn Barclay
ASHA President and CEO

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ASHA Ambassador of the Month: Priyanka Manghani http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/ambassador-of-the-month-belize-samuel/ http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/ambassador-of-the-month-belize-samuel/#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2016 14:57:57 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=4134 I believe sexual health is a very important area which we often neglect due to lack of awareness in the community regarding HIV, STIs, and various other issues pertaining to sexual health. People are skeptical to talk about sexual health, are not open about their HIV status and do not emphasize on early diagnosis and […]

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I believe sexual health is a very important area which we often neglect due to lack of awareness in the community regarding HIV, STIs, and various other issues pertaining to sexual health. People are skeptical to talk about sexual health, are not open about their HIV status and do not emphasize on early diagnosis and prevention. #ispeaksexhealth

–Priyanka Manghani

For January we’re proud to recognize Priyanka Manghani as ASHA’s Ambassador of the Month.

Priyanka has been an ASHA Ambassador and uses Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote ASHA’s sexual health content along with her own advocacy material. Based in India, she says the global reach of the program is one of the most appealing aspects of being an ASHA Ambassador:  “It helps me connect with zillion people who share a similar mindset! At the same time, this has made me more aware of a variety of sexual health issues which maybe I wouldn’t know about.”

Priyanka is especially keen to promote messages around safer sex and HIV/AIDS prevention and says we should make a special effort to engage vulnerable populations, including youth: “A lot of youngsters have risky sexual behaviors and are at increased risk of STI’s and unwanted pregnancies. We should have a comprehensive module on adolescent and teen sexual health.” She also believes it’s important to expand access to sexual health services for other at-risk groups including LGBT and those living in poverty, and one way to start is by ““Making people aware of the need to talk about sexual health and their sexuality, and to get tested regularly.”

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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FDA Approves 2-dose Regimen for HPV Vaccine http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/fda-approves-2-dose-regimen-for-hpv-vaccine/ http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/fda-approves-2-dose-regimen-for-hpv-vaccine/#comments Thu, 13 Oct 2016 15:08:32 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=4128 On October 12th the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a 2-dose schedule for Merck’s Gardasil-9® HPV vaccine for males and females ages 9-14. The new schedule calls for the second dose of the vaccine to be given 6-12 months following the first. The 3-dose schedule originally licensed with the vaccine may still be used, […]

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On October 12th the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a 2-dose schedule for Merck’s Gardasil-9® HPV vaccine for males and females ages 9-14.

twO-dose_vaccineThe new schedule calls for the second dose of the vaccine to be given 6-12 months following the first. The 3-dose schedule originally licensed with the vaccine may still be used, too; this regimen involves three doses administered over six months. Studies show the antibody response generated with the 2-dose regimen is not inferior to that observed with three doses.

Following the FDA decision the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance and now routinely recommends the 2-dose regimen for all 11 and 12 year olds. CDC said reducing the number of shots and clinic visits makes it more convenient for parents to protect their children.

Gardasil® was introduced in the U.S. market in 2006 to prevent infections and diseases caused by two HPV types (HPV 16 and 18) found in a number of cancers, including most cervical cancers. Additionally, the vaccine protects against two low-risk HPV types (HPV 6 and 11) associated with most cases of genital warts. Gardasil 9® covers the HPV types included in the original vaccine and expands this protection by including five more “high-risk” HPV types (HPV 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58) that cause approximately 90% of cervical cancers globally along with a majority of vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers.

 

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What Women Need to Know about the New World of Cervical Cancer Screening http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/what-women-need-to-know-about-the-new-world-of-cervical-cancer-screening/ http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/what-women-need-to-know-about-the-new-world-of-cervical-cancer-screening/#comments Wed, 28 Sep 2016 17:58:49 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=4108 It used to be very simple—a woman had an annual Pap test. Now, Paps can be done alone or in combination with an HPV test (one HPV test can even be used for primary cervical cancer screening). Added to the mix is a set of updated guidelines that, for most women, means an annual cervical […]

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It used to be very simple—a woman had an annual Pap test. Now, Paps can be done alone or in combination with an HPV test (one HPV test can even be used for primary cervical cancer screening). Added to the mix is a set of updated guidelines that, for most women, means an annual cervical cancer screening exam is a thing of the past.

Ina_parkIt can all be very confusing, even for healthcare providers! Not to worry: in this edition of ASHA’s Sex+Health podcast we talk to Ina Park, MD, who sorts it all out for us. Dr. Park is an associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Park is also the medical director of the California Prevention Training Center.


ASHA’s Sex+Health podcast is on iTunes. Subscribe today!

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Men’s Sexual Health http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/mens-sexual-health/ http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/mens-sexual-health/#comments Wed, 28 Sep 2016 16:52:49 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=4103 There are many misconceptions around men, sex, sexuality, and just what men want from relationships. Guys are seen as always turned on, selfish in the bedroom, and not all that interested in their partner once the carnal tango ends. Is that fair? To find out we chatted with men’s sexual health expert Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, […]

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There are many misconceptions around men, sex, sexuality, and just what men want from relationships. Guys are seen as always turned on, selfish in the bedroom, and not all that interested in their partner once the carnal tango ends. Is that fair?

Abraham-Morgentaler-Mens-Health-BostonTo find out we chatted with men’s sexual health expert Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, an associate clinical professor at Harvard Medical School, the director and founder of Men’s Health Boston, and a member of ASHA’s board of directors. He’s also the author of The Truth About Men and Sex: Intimate Secrets from the Doctor’s Office.


ASHA’s Sex+Health podcast is on iTunes. Subscribe today!

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Women’s Health Month http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/womens-health-month/ http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/womens-health-month/#comments Mon, 02 May 2016 03:38:55 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=3944 Each year in May we shine an especially bright spotlight on the unique health needs of girls and women. New policies and programs make quality healthcare accessible for millions and we want to make sure you take advantage of all that’s available. You deserve to be well cared for in mind and body! Preventive Care […]

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women's-healthEach year in May we shine an especially bright spotlight on the unique health needs of girls and women. New policies and programs make quality healthcare accessible for millions and we want to make sure you take advantage of all that’s available. You deserve to be well cared for in mind and body!

Preventive Care and the ACA

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a number of preventive care health services are now available for women without cost sharing–in other words, noting out of pocket! See which services are covered and learn what it means for you .

Anatomy 101

Have you ever heard anyone use the term, “female plumbing”? Despite the primitive nickname, it’s actually a good analogy. Know Your Body gives you the scoop to understand how the system works so you can maintain, rather than repair it.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Aretha had it right! Truly good relationships take time and energy to develop, and should be based on respect and honesty. This is especially important when you decide to date someone. While it’s important that dating partners care for each other, it’s just as important that you take care of yourself! Healthy Relationships gets you started towards the relationships you deserve.

Take Ten

Talking to a healthcare provider about your sexual health can be intimidating. You might feel embarrassed about the questions that you have; you might not want to admit to certain feelings or fears about your health. However, being able to talk to your healthcare provider about your physical health as it relates to your sexual health is absolutely crucial. Ten Questions to Ask has tools for finding the right provider and talking with them once you do.

Sexual Health TV

Sexual Health TV is your one stop for a wide range of sexual health programming including our library of women’s health videos. Check out our very newest video, Cervical Cancer Screening Made Simple below.

Expert Advice

Sexual health educator Debby Herbenick of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University offers expert sex advice on a range of topics on the Kinsey Confidential Podcast. You can listen to a select episodes below.

“I have a slightly enlarged labia and I’m wondering how common this is?”

“My wife prefers her sex toys to me.”

“I’m not the right size for my partner and have problems with lubrication. What can I do?”

Debby Herbenick, PhD, is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.

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National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/national-women-girls-hivaids-awareness-day/ http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/national-women-girls-hivaids-awareness-day/#comments Wed, 09 Mar 2016 17:09:38 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=3840 National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is an annual, nationwide observance that sheds light on the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) leads National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Every year on March 10, and throughout the […]

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nwghaaNational Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is an annual, nationwide observance that sheds light on the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) leads National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Every year on March 10, and throughout the month of March, federal, national, and community organizations come together to show support for women and girls impacted by HIV and AIDS. This year marks the 11th observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

In recognition of this national observance, you can learn more about HIV and what every woman should know about HIV and AIDS. You can also download the fact sheet from the Office of Women’s Health.

Another great way to participate and raise awareness is to spread the word on social media. You can share messages and images on Facebook from the Office of Women’s Health and you can share the Tweets below simply by clicking on the Tweet This link.

[tweetthis]March 10 is Nat’l Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day! Put your #BestDefense into play! http://go.usa.gov/cVVtB #NWGHAAD[/tweetthis]

[tweetthis remove_url=”true”]Regardless of the type of relationship you are in, HIV prevention is key. Put your #BestDefense into play. http://go.usa.gov/cVVtw[/tweetthis]

[tweetthis]For #NWGHAAD on 3/10, @womenshealth has FB cover photos, posters, & fact sheets for your #NWGHAAD event! http://go.usa.gov/cVVtY[/tweetthis]

[tweetthis]Women still face unique challenges in preventing HIV. What you should know: http://go.usa.gov/cVVte.[/tweetthis]

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