It’s the dawn of a new year and with it comes new stories on the same old issues, I’m afraid. Republicans in the House are looking to pass a repeal of the health reform law, a new study shows a surprising percentage of “abstinent” teens with STDs, and Iran is gearing up for HIV/AIDs prevention efforts with a new campaign targeting women and young people.
- The Washington Post reports that House Republicans, under the leadership of soon to be sworn in Rep. John Boehner, really are going ahead with plans to repeal the heatlh care law which has expanded health care to millions more children, and families, around the country. January 12th is the day they plan to pass the repeal and strip millions of health care coverage they are already set on receiving.
- Personhood Amendments continue to spread, reports Minnesota Independent. After a devastating loss in Colorado in November, personhood amendment advocates are looking to states like Florida to find somewhere in the country that will imbue full legal rights upon embryos and zygotes. Though it’s not looking encouraging, advocates there say – no problem, we’ll just get pastors to hand out petitions after sermons! And if that doesn’t work and we still can’t get enough signatures to get it on the ballot, we’ll forget the whims of a citizenry and get Republicans in the state legislature to put it on the ballot for us!
- The Washington Times’ Cheryl Wetzstein covers a new study on teens, abstinence and STDs released in the journal Pediatrics today. The study found that more than ten percent of teens who reported they hadn’t had sex in the previous year tested positive for an STD. While researchers noted that the most reasonable explanation (obviously) is that the teens likely didn’t remember sexual intercourse or weren’t telling the truth, it may also be that results were tied to sexual intercourse prior to the one year window. As well, it’s less likely, but it may have been that an STD was contracted from “non-coital” activity. Still, researchers point to the results as an important caveat for the provider-patient relationship; ie, STD testing and other sexual health care should not be contingent upon a young person answering in the negative to the question, “Have you or are you sexually active?” It seems very possible that we’re missing many STD cases that way.
- More than 40,000 males – young boys and men – turned out in Kenya for an “anti-HIV” drive. But it wasn’t just educational in nature. They volunteered to get cut – to be circumcised. Kenya has thus far had the highest number of circumcised males in the world, under the WHO HIV-prevention efforts. Over a quarter of million of males have taken part.
- Women and young people in Iran are the targets of a new HIV prevention campaign. Both groups are at high-risk of contracting AIDS. Only 16.5 percent of young people, ages 15 to 24 years old, are aware of HIV/AIDS in that country, according to Poz.com.