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Showing posts from October, 2011

Preventing the health hazards of adolescent sex: Condoms, sex ed, and the HPV vaccine

Today, the topic of the day is HPV. I'll start with the facts, get them out of the way and get on with the rant.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the USA with more than 50% of all sexually active people getting the virus at some time in their lives. Almost all cervical cancer is linked to HPV. Most of the time HPV goes away by itself within 2 years and does NOT cause health problems. Some strains of HPV cause cancer if they remain in the body for a long time and there is presently no way of knowing which people will develop cancer or other health problems. All women are at risk of cervical cancer and most cervical cancers occur after age 30. The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2011, 12, 710 women will get cervical cancer and 4,290 will die of the disease. This works out to 8.1 cases and 2.4 deaths per 100,000 women per year - a fairly rare illness in the USA (but much more common and dea…

Dear Missouri, Re: the fetus, the baby and PAID maternity leave

Missouri and Mississippi have decided that they will decide when life begins. Too many US states have god complexes which make them think they have the wisdom (hahahaa!!) to decide when life begins and the authority to decide when it ends. And oh... by the way.... just because the law (of Missouri of all places!) says its so don't make it so.

Of course, this law is about abortion. And whatever the beliefs of the governor or the laws of the state, when a woman in Missouri wants an abortion she will leave the state to get one. Contrary to the belief of many, the decision to have an abortion is a tortuous one that women do not take lightly. That "Oh shit!" moment of a positive pregnancy test is one of the most feared moments in the life of a woman unprepared (emotionally, psychologically and financially) for a child. If this country was more child friendly in its social welfare policies perhaps women would not go through the mental and physical anguish of termination. 

And wh…

What provokes me

The current political climate in the USA and in Europe is enough to provoke anyone to comment (or rant in my case). So I don't feel particularly unique in that context.

But I am more than a bit of a pain in the arse when it comes to talking about policy. Why? Because I tend not to take sides. And when I do, it's not usually consistent with the 'side' I may have taken on another policy. I admit: I do not judge policy through some political lens but rather through the lens of: Does this make sense? Why? And for who?

In a country full of centrists (Democratic Reps and Republican Dems), its a pretty easy thing to go either way. In the USA there is a new group of people that have actually brought some right to what has always been a center game: the tea drinking folks. To make it really fun there needs to be a whacko left to join them. I use the term 'whacko' because despite my sharp brain and that of commentators around the world it's pretty tricky business to …