Bits and Pieces

Consultation to lift ban on HIV-positive doctors and dentists:
according to media reports last week the DH is set to launch a consultation on lifting the ban imposed 20 years ago. Many believe the ban to be discriminatory, no longer justified on public health grounds and ignored in most hospitals who reportedly have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach. The DH’s own expert group concluded that the risk of infection was in the region of one case in every 2400 years.

Correlation of Age at Oral Contraceptive Pill Start with Age at Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Based on a review of 1010 cases at the Breast Unit in Ashford, Kent and published in The Breast Journal – early view this week, the authors concluded that the age when the OCP was started was positively associated with the age when breast cancer was first diagnosed. They state that this effect may show a causal link but may also reflect other associated lifestyle factors associated with early OCP use.

Faculty Members Questionnaire
The FSRH are conducting a short questionnaire to elicit members’ views of its activities and possible future plans.

Joint BASHH and Faculty Meeting 2012
The next joint meeting between BASHH and the Faculty is being held on Friday 20th January 2012 at the Royal Society of Medicine. The theme for the meeting is ‘Recurring issues in Sexual Health‘ .

Systematic Review of Induced Abortion and Women’s Mental Health Published
The world’s largest, most comprehensive and systematic review into the mental health outcomes of induced abortion was published yesterday by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. The review concludes that having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems. The best current evidence suggests that it makes no difference to a woman’s mental health whether she chooses to have an abortion or to continue with the pregnancy.

Should all nuns take the pill?

This was some of the media’s interpretation of an article published at The Lancet – Early Online this week. Britt and Short describe the well known health risks for nuns associated with their life of chastity, first documented in 1713. They also note that despite the roman catholic stance on not using any form of contraception apart from abstinence, dating from the Humanae Vitae document of 1968, this may be possible as the same document also states:

the Church in no way regards as unlawful therapeutic means considered necessary to cure organic diseases, even though they also have a contraceptive effect.