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Online First – August

24 Aug, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

The following papers have been published this month at http://jfprhc.bmj.com/content/early/recent

More than poverty: disruptive events among women having abortions in the USA (Jones)

We are all aware that poverty is associated with abortion but how many of us knew that bad (or disruptive) life events also play a major role? The research by Jones et al. demonstrates that more than half of the women seeking abortion had experienced a disruptive life event in the preceding 12 months. Women are making decisions about their abortion whilst in the midst of complex life events. The authors’ suggestions for changes in policy may not be directly relevant in the UK; however, the study findings are of wider significance. from Gillian RobinsonAssociate Editor

Psycho-social factors affect semen quality (Cao)

Semen quality appears to be declining and this cross-sectional study in China casts light upon some factors that may be associated with that decline. The research team analysed the semen of 1346 healthy 20-40-year-old Chinese men, capturing their psychological, social and behaviour profiles via questionnaire. It appears that stress, social class and underwear made from man-made fibres all play a significant part in declining semen quality. from Scott WilkesAssociate Editor

Young people and chlamydia – peer led strategies to increase the uptake of screening (Horner)

The major burden of Chlamydia trachomatis infection is borne in individuals under 25 years of age. Complications of untreated infection are manifold and encompass pelvic inflammatory disease, sub-fertility, epididymo-orchitis, urethritis, arthritis, conjunctivitis and proctitis. Despite high hopes, uptake of the English National Chlamydia Screening Programme has been lower than expected. As a result, the expected decline in chlamydia prevalence has not been observed. Paddy Horner’s group have investigated the use of a peer-led approach to increase screening and examine the feasibility and acceptability of this strategy in young people. Interestingly, although this is a relatively small proof of principle study, women peer-led screening was more successful than male in recruiting peers to participate in the programme. from Rachael JonesAssociate Editor

Inequity in family planning provision in urban Nigeria: a providers’ perspective (Herbert)

In Nigeria contraceptive use is low: used by only 10% of married women and with 20% of women estimated to have an unmet need. Provision needs to improve, and understanding the roles and perspective of the mixed economy of contraceptive providers is a key step in designing better services. A qualitative study from the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative explores the experiences and challenges faced by a range of providers in two urban Nigerian areas. Using structured in-depth interviews and checklists, researchers identified need for further training and support for all providers to empower them to provide a wider range of contraception. Few providers engaged in meaningful promotional activities for their products or services. Vulnerable groups, likely to have high needs for contraceptive advice and provision, were routinely excluded from family planning services: adolescents, married women and those seeking post-abortion care. Understanding the underlying reasons for this inequitable provision, and developing appropriate marketing strategies and materials will indeed be key to developing more sensitive service provision. from Imogen Stephens,  Associate Editor

New female condom, the ‘Woman’s Condom’ – will the Chinese go for it? (Coffey)

The need for products that simultaneously protect against unwanted pregnancy and STIs, including HIV, has prompted interest in the development of Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (MPTs), including new variants of the female condom. In this issue, Coffey and colleagues describe their survey of initial reactions to the ‘Woman’s Condom’ (which obtained marketing approval in China in 2010) by potential user groups in Shanghai. Their study demonstrates the importance of assessing the potential acceptability of new products in a range of populations, with differing expectations, needs and culture-specific influences. Their findings are of particular value to programme/service providers, in order to identify most likely adopters of this new type of female condom. from Walli BoundsAssociate Editor

News items from April

4 May, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

Better access to birth control would reduce stress on global resources

as reported by Nigel Hawkes in the BMJ. The rich should consume less and the poor should procreate less, says the Royal Society in a new report. The report was produced by a working party chaired by John Sulston, who headed the UK part of the Human Genome Project, and took 21 months to research and write.

Morning after pill courier service launched

A new service allows women (living in London) to order emergency contraception on the internet, so it arrives within two hours, rather than having to see their GP to obtain the drugs. For £20, women can order the drug by filling out an online form through the internet medical practice DrEd.com. The forms, which ask users to confirm they are aged over 18, will be assessed by doctors before pills are dispatched by courier. Currently they only offer Levonelle®, which can also be purchased in advance and by buying 2 packets for £24.00 at a saving of 37%.

Pharmacists should provide oral contraceptive services, says NHS report

As reported by Jacqui Wise in the BMJ:
“A report from NHS South East London has recommended that trained community pharmacists provide oral contraceptive consultation services after a successful pilot scheme to widen access to contraception.  The part of the report that has received the most media coverage is a recommendation to “consider providing the service to women under 16 years where appropriate.” The report said that this may help reduce numbers of teenage pregnancies.”

Brook and fpa respond to proposal to introduce contraceptive pill in pharmacies

Responding to the proposal that the contraceptive pill should be available from pharmacies without a prescription to young people, including those under 16, the chief executives of Brook and FPA, Simon Blake and Julie Bentley said: “The majority of young people under 16 are not having sex, however we must ensure that those who are can access support and services when they need to. “Although Brook and FPA welcome proposals which could increase young people’s access to sexual health services and information, all the necessary safeguards must be in place to ensure young people can get the information and support they need. “This includes pharmacists having the appropriate clinical knowledge about contraception, being able to communicate effectively with young people, having the right type of environment including a confidential space, as well as the appropriate support and referral networks.”

Egg-Sharing in Fertility Treatment

Evaluating egg-sharing: new findings on old debates – as reported in BioNews
Egg-sharing refers to a scheme where a woman undergoing fertility treatment donates a portion of her eggs to an anonymously matched recipient in exchange for a reduction in treatment costs. As a very specific form of egg donation, egg-sharing has generated heated debate since its introduction in the UK in 1998. While proponents argue it provides a win-win solution, allowing two women to help each other conceive, critics talk of the potential ethical and psychological consequences. Until recently, there has been very little empirical data to inform these discussions. However, new research conducted by Gurtin and Golombok at the University of Cambridge Centre for Family Research, in collaboration with the London Women’s Clinic, hopes to redress this balance.

Men’s health expert presents to Members of European Parliament

A leading men’s health expert presented a report detailing the health challenges facing men across Europe MEPs and key European decision-makers at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Professor Alan White, Director of the Centre for Men’s Health at Leeds Metropolitan University was commissioned by the European Commission to produce a report which gives the first complete picture of the breadth of issues affecting men’s health across Europe.  Professor White brought together 36 leading researchers from 34 countries across Europe to undertake the research which highlights the state of men’s health in Europe as a serious public health concern. more info

Faculty Consultations

The CEU Guideline on “Barrier Methods-Contraception and STI prevention” is for consultation until 21st May. see FSRH website:

BASHH Mentoring Group is currently seeking new members:

BASHH would like new representatives to support coordination of mentors and mentees within North West regions and Wales. The successful candidates would also be involved in the activities that the Mentoring Group is currently taking forward nationally. Closing date for applications: 16th May 2012.  see BASHH website for more details

And finally – we hear reports that Virgin Care have obtained ‘preferred bidder’ status in the tender to run West Sussex sexual health services .

Journal: January 2012 and News

3 Feb, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

The January edition of the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care includes a number of articles previously available at Online First (the Dinger/Shapiro VTE commentary, Advances in IUD training by Connolly & Rybowski and Brown’s study looking at young mens’ views on contraception) as well as:

  • a thought-provoking commentary by Raine-Fenning et al on pregnancy of unknown location (PUL) which points out that a recent recommendation from CMACE to abandon the term is at odds with current scientific evidence and clinical experience;
  • a commentary by Wilkins of the Men’s Health Forum on men and sexual health;
  • a study by Draper et al on 525 GP fittings over a period of 30 years confirms that routine IUD checks confer no benefit.  The paper suggested that current guidelines recommend annual checks though this is based on a statement from Australia dated 2007 and USA advice from 2000 and ignores more up to date FSRH and WHO guidance;
  • a questionnaire study of clinic attendees and staff about what we should call ‘attendees’. This appears to show that there is a preference to retain the term ‘patient’ but was based on the respondents picking from only 4 options (‘patient’, ‘client’, ‘user’ or ‘customer’ – ie didn’t include ‘women’ and ‘men’) or asking them what they would prefer to be called;
  • Kipp et al highlight the unmet need for effective methods of FP in HIV+ individuals in rural Uganda;
  • womens’ views of the use of their leftover LBC samples for research purposes (Cooper et al);
  • an important restrospective audit comparing unscheduled reattendance among women having EMA (early medical abortion) at home vs hospital (Astle et al);
  • a review of appropriate use of Co-cyprindiol in a general practice (Tandy);
  • a review of Clomifene use for ovulation induction in general practice (Wilkes & Murdoch)

Plus at Online First on 31 January 2012: Encouraging IUD uptake after medical TOP [Cameron et al.] 

Sharon Cameron and her colleagues in Edinburgh created a fast-track referral service so that women who had undergone early medical abortion who wished to use intrauterine contraception afterwards could be seen promptly for IUD/IUS fitting. However, only about half the women who were given appointments actually attended. In their article they analyse the differences between the attenders and the non-attenders and suggest ways to enhance the uptake of these effective methods for the prevention of further unwanted pregnancies. While some women would benefit from IUD/IUS insertion at the place of abortion, provision of a fast-track service to the family planning clinic may yet remain the best strategy for maximising uptake of intrauterine contraception in this specific client group. from David Horwell, Advisory Editor, JFPRHC

Journal Fiction Book Reviews for April 2012:
The fiction book that has been reviewed for the next Journal is:
“Sense of an Ending” by Julian Barnes.  Read this and see if your views coincide with our reviewer.  If anyone has read “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides and would like to review it and see their review in print in the April issue please submit a maximum of 400 words to journal@fsrh.org by 12 February at the latest.  In addition, let us know if there are any other books you have read recently that you feel would be of interest to readers.

New GMC Guidance
Two new documents have been published by the GMC: Raising concerns about patient safety and Leadership and management for all doctors 2012 which they “hope will contribute to a culture change within the health service – where raising and acting on concerns becomes part of every day practise in the UK.”

New mobile website for Brook
Brook, the young people’s sexual health charity, have launched a version of their website optimised for viewing on a mobile phone, funded by the JLS Foundation. See a screenshot of the new site below:

Latest from JFPRHC

Latest from JFPRHC