PrEPing for Sisters

From HIV.net

Women are missing from PrEP messaging

When most respondents in a population don’t know about a particular medication, that means that the word is not getting out. Although efforts may have gotten better since 2013, the reality is that most women still are not considered in the marketing of PrEP especially among people that have some high-risk activities within their lifestyle.

The parallels of this lack of knowledge continue a legacy of female bias when it comes to sexual health topics. The female condom is one example of a tool that was meant to empower women to protect themselves. However, the commitment by the health community to engrain it in our cultural sexual education failed and it is always seen as an option that men and women don’t fully embrace.

Find out more on HIVnet.com.

Six things you don’t (but should) know about STIs

From Seattle & King County’s Public Health Insider

Sex positivity is in, sex shaming is out. More people are comfortable talking about what it means to have a healthy sexual relationship, and that’s a good thing. But there’s one thing that many of us still feel awkward or downright avoid talking about: sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

You may know them as sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, which is the term doctors use when an STI has symptoms. (We’ll be using the term STI throughout this article because it’s broader.)

This omission can lead some people to assume there’s no real risk, says Dr. Lindley Barbee, an infectious disease specialist and medical director for the Public Health Seattle & King County Sexual Health Clinic at Harborview Medical Center.

Unfortunately, the risk is very real. Consider this the STI 101 class you probably never got in high school.

The six things you need to know… (read the full article).

Poll: U.S. Adults Lack STI Awareness

From US News and World Report

Despite cases of several sexually transmitted infections reaching a record level in the U.S., a large majority of people aren’t aware of how common they are among the nation’s adults, according to newly released survey results.

The poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only 36% of those surveyed were aware that STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, syphilis and human papillomavirus, or HPV, have become more common in recent years, with 38% responding that they “don’t know enough to say.” An even smaller share – 13% – knew that more than half of people in the U.S. will get an STI sometime during their life.

Those results came even as the poll also found that a slight majority (54%) of those surveyed said they personally knew someone – themselves included – who had ever contracted an STI such as gonorrhea, chlamydia or syphilis. Larger shares of women and younger adults said they personally knew someone who has had an STI, according to a KFF report on the survey.

Read the full article.

CDC: Youth engage in sexual risk behaviors that can result in unintended health outcomes

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

School health programs can help young people adopt lifelong attitudes and behaviors that support their health and well-being—including behaviors that can reduce their risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Among U.S. high school students surveyed in 2017:

  • 40% had ever had sexual intercourse.
  • 10% had four or more sexual partners.
  • 7% had been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to.
  • 30% had had sexual intercourse during the previous 3 months, and, of these 46% did not use a condom the last time they had sex.
  • 14% did not use any method to prevent pregnancy.
  • 19% had drunk alcohol or used drugs before last sexual intercourse.
  • Less than 10% of all students have ever been tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

According to the CDC, prevention programs in schools should provide health information that is basic, accurate, and directly contributes to health-promoting decisions and behaviors.

Find out more on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website.

STDs at an all-time high in the U.S.

From Healthline.com

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show 3 sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are on the rise in the United States — and have been for the past 5 years.

In 2018, the total number of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia cases reached an all-time high since the organization began tracking the infections back in 1991, according to the report the CDC published Tuesday.

Over 1.7 million cases of chlamydia were reported last year, a 3 percent increase from 2017.

About 580,000 cases of gonorrhea were reported, which marks a 5 percent increase, along with a 14 percent spike in syphilis.

The rise in STDs has many health experts concerned, as it could have massive implications on public health.

Infertility rates could rise, and the infections could continue to contribute to a range of health issues, including strokes, meningitis, dementia, cardiovascular complications, and neurological conditions.

The mother-to-child transmission of STDs, specifically congenital syphilis, is also worrisome, as it puts the pregnancy at a higher risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, and even lifelong physical and neurological issues.

As the CDC states, it’s time to put a greater focus on the country’s STD epidemic and better manage the spread of these infections.

“You have to have a multifaceted approach to really deal with this problem, and of course they’d like to start with education — people have to understand that safe sex is still very important even in the age of antibiotics and antiretroviral drugs,” Dr. Dean Winslow, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told Healthline.

See the full article on Healthline.com.

If you need to find local STD testing locations, send a message to us on Facebook.

Post a selfie for HIV anti-stigma campaign

From plus online…

The campaign captures 24 hours in the lives of people affected by HIV stigma, which impacts everyone regardless of age, race, or status. The social media-driven campaign, now in its tenth year, is an opportunity for people to share a moment of their day and tell their story, while breaking down the barriers that stigma creates and raising awareness about HIV, as stated in a press release.

“Stigma can isolate and scare people,” said Positively Aware art director Rick Guasco, who created the campaign. “It can also prevent people from accessing care and treatment. A Day with HIV brings people together; it shows that we’re all affected by stigma, and that people living with HIV are just like everyone else.”

We encourage you to take a picture and post it to your social media with the hashtag #ADayWithHIV and include a caption that gives the time, location, and what inspired you to take the photo.

Images can also be uploaded to ADayWithHIV.com, where they will be considered for publication in a special section of the November/December issue of Positively Aware.

Check out some of last year’s photos

How this sex educator is helping Black women embrace pleasure and heal form trauma

From Hello Giggles online…

The sex and wellness industry has expanded in recent years as more and more conversations take place highlighting women’s pleasure and undoing sex-negative messages. But as in other industries, the work of Black women in the realm of sex and wellness isn’t always highlighted or celebrated.

Historically, Black women have had a tumultuous relationship with sexual pleasure. As we continue to reclaim our bodies and our sexuality, we are still forced to navigate centuries-old stereotypes of either being hypersexualized deviants (the “jezebel”) or homely figures devoid of sex lives (the “mammy”).

So when it comes to our sexual health and pleasure, the conversation extends beyond trying a new sex toy or exploring a kink. It’s about healing and finding bodily autonomy as Black women and their bodies continue to be disproportionately subjected to violence and scrutiny.

That’s why the work of Black woman sex educators, therapists, and wellness practitioners is so important, and Jimanekia Eborn is a Black woman sex educator, trauma specialist, and podcaster who is out here doing the work to help Black women and femmes achieve sexual liberation. One example of this is Eborn’s recent collaboration with The KinkKit, a sexual wellness and education company founded by Candice Smith, on a pleasure-positive healing kit for survivors of sexual assault.

Read the full article.

CDC: Black women diagnosed with HIV more than white, Hispanic/Latina women

From NBC online

Black women continue to be diagnosed with HIV at disproportionately high rates relative to white and Hispanic/Latina women, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Despite recent progress that has seen new HIV diagnoses decrease by 21 percent from 2010 to 2016, black women still accounted for 6 in 10 new HIV infections among women in 2016.

“When we look at the use of Prep, we find that there are disproportionate uses of the drugs. We find that communities of color use Prep less than other communities. Some are not even aware that Prep is out there,” Angarone said.

…Cost also plays a crucial role in black women seeking treatment. Public health experts believe that making Prep and HIV-treatment medications, such as Truvada, affordable to all populations is vital.

“Cost plays a significant role in women seeking treatment. They want to know that insurance covers it. Insurance coverage for Prep is also important,” Angarone said.

“Ultimately, the health of black women has to be made a priority,” Angarone said.

“We have to ask ourselves as a community, how do we get all of the testing strategies that have been working for other populations in place to bring about similar outcomes to the African American female community?”

Read the full article.

Sex ed isn’t serving young Black women

From the Philadelphia Enquirer

This story is part of Made In Philly, a series about young residents shaping local communities.

When Shanaye Jeffers was in fourth grade, she often skipped touch football and double-dutch jump rope at recess to read a book on puberty. In fifth grade, she jumped at the chance to do a school project on childbirth.

Most girls don’t know about the inner workings of their bodies, sexual-health experts say — especially black teenage girls, who often face stigma against asking questions at home and are poorly served by sex-education school curriculums tailored for a white majority.

“Sex ed is not serving young black women really at all,” said Jeffers, now a 28-year-old obstetrics and gynecology resident at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. She’s trying to change that. As Philadelphia site director for Daughters of the Diaspora, a nonprofit founded in 2012 to teach black teenage girls about reproductive health and self-esteem, Jeffers is working to give other girls the same knowledge and passion to take charge of their health that she had as a child.

Read the full article.