Politics should not stand in the way of women’s access to family planning. Investing in women’s health leads to a healthier, more prosperous society — this is the legacy we should be exporting. On International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate our success, not try to dismantle it.
In 2012, three years before the 2015 deadline the world set for itself to reduce preventable maternal deaths and new HIV infections, we must act more boldly than we have up until now. The global health community must work to bring family planning and HIV services together – and quickly – to save women’s lives.
I am a recent member of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Young Women’s National Advisory Council, a previous director of Stony Brook University School of Medicine’s chapter of Medical Students for Choice, and a future family medicine physician. I was incredibly disappointed by Susan G. Komen’s recent decision to end its funding of breast health programs at Planned Parenthood affiliates across the United States.
In the years ahead, Advocates will continue to be a dynamic leader in promoting the rights of youth to information, education, and services. I am deeply committed to our current, innovative work expanding adolescent access to contraception domestically and internationally; fighting homophobia in schools and communities across the United States; and using our policy work on the Hill and with the administration to advance the goals of our state and local partners.
It’s no secret that the United States is in the midst of a War on Women. During January 20-27, women and allies from around the country will come together to fight back — online.
Cervical cancer incidence rates vividly demonstrate inequities in our health care systems and in health outcomes. Women in rural areas, the elderly, those with less formal education, and women of color, for example, experience disproportionately high rates of cervical cancer. Meanwhile, in rural communities, uninsured white women have some of the poorest access to routine screening of any patient population.
What can you do? You can get screened. You can get vaccinated. You can let others know to get screened and get vaccinated.
It is no secret that women of color—specifically Black and Latina women—are at greatest risk of cervical cancer. Ending cervical cancer will be no easy task. Great strides can be made by taking a multi-level approach to the problem, which includes expanding knowledge, empowering Black women to make their health a priority, and continued advocacy efforts.
Men have an important role to play in preventing the spread of HPV. It is too common for women (particularly women of color) to have barriers to screening services or accessing this vaccine. This makes it even more important for men to seek the vaccine and to encourage the women in their lives (particularly the ones they are having sex with) to also be vaccinated.
The search for a vaccine to prevent Herpes faced a setback this month, when researchers published findings in the New England Journal of Medicine from a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that found a new vaccine to be useless against Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2).