Melinda Gates’ New Crusade & Confirmation that IUD is most effective for EC

Melinda Gates’ New Crusade: Investing Billions in Women’s Health

Melinda Gates this week pledged billions of dollars to be spent on improving access to contraception. In her many travels she repeatedly met women who were unable to gain access to something which most of the rest of the world take for granted. In an interview with Newsweek she recounted stories from the women many of whom were unable, for example, to get repeat injections of Depo Provera. In July she is teaming up with the British government to cosponsor a summit of world leaders in London, to start raising the $4 billion the Foundation says it will cost to get 120 million more women access to contraceptives by 2020. And in a move that could be hugely significant for American women, the Foundation is pouring money into the long-neglected field of contraceptive research, seeking entirely new methods of birth control. Ultimately Gates hopes to galvanize a global movement. “When I started to realize that that needed to get done in family planning, I finally said, OK, I’m the person that’s going to do that,” she says. More from the Gates Foundation website.

Paper confirms EC IUD failure rate less than 1 per 1000

Authors of the first ever systematic review of all available data from the last 35 years argue that IUDs should be routinely offered and available to those requesting emergency contraception. They found that the failure rate was less than 1 per 1000 when they analysed data from 42 studies involving 7034 women using 8 different IUDs. They also found that 85% clinicians in one study never offered this as an option. In a press release this week one of the authors, Professor James Trussell, said:

“This is an extremely difficult problem to deal with, especially as in many countries women can just go to their local pharmacy to obtain the ‘morning after pill’, but virtually no women know to ask for an IUD and many family planning clinics and surgeries do not offer same-day insertion. Offering same-day insertion would remove a huge barrier to the greater use of IUDs.”

Online First – Postnatal contraceptive choices in HIV-positive women [Duncan et al.]

Gillian Robinson (Associate Editor) writes:

“This paper describes an exciting example of how an integrated contraception and sexual health service can work to provide holistic care for women. This clinic provides women living with HIV with prenatal, antenatal and postnatal care in a community setting. The paper is a retrospective case note review. Uptake of postnatal contraception was high yet more than 20% of women were not seen postnatally. The authors suggest that the reasons for this are explored to ensure all women with HIV receive contraception in the early postnatal period to prevent unwanted pregnancy.”

NAT calls for new health bodies to tackle late diagnosis of HIV

“Halve It”, a broad coalition of leading experts and advocates in HIV and AIDS, welcomes the renewed call by the National AIDs Trust (NAT) for the urgent prioritisation of HIV testing in its new ‘HIV testing action plan’ which provides vital strategic guidance to health bodies on tackling the serious issue of late HIV diagnosis in the UK.

FDA Approves first pill for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (HMB)

Natazia is a combination oral contraceptive (COC) consisting of estradiol valerate and estradiol valerate/dienogest. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved Natazia in May 2010 to prevent pregnancy. On March 14, 2012, the FDA also approved Natazia to treat heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB), making it the first and only OC indicated for this purpose. One interesting thing is that until now we have known Natazia, in the UK, as Qlaira and until now it has not been widely used. More details at Medscape.

UK women misdiagnosing genital infections

To mark National BV Day on 18th April a study found that one in four British women has misdiagnosed themselves on the internet. Researchers found Dr Google is now the first port of call for women with genuine health concerns who are almost twice as likely to check online before consulting a doctor or even talking to Mum. But searching their symptoms online and self-medicating has led a tenth of the country’s women to endure unpleasant side effects as a result of their misdiagnosis.