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The Journal – July Issue

27 Jul, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

Highlights from this issue include:

Norethisterone and VTE risk

Diana Mansour’s article previewed at online first and in the 15th June blog. See page 148

Helping women with hirsutism

Editor’s Choice article – Stephen Franks provides useful guidance for helping women with this common and often distressing condition. See page 182

US administration’s attitude to family planning

The winner of the 2010 Margaret Jackson Prize Essay for undergraduate medical students has looked at the differences between the Bush and Obama administrations’ attitudes to family planning and abortion. See page 187

Avoiding a shocking experience with intrauterine contraceptive procedures.

Aisling Baird et al. make a compelling case for adherence to the current Faculty and UK Resuscitation Council guidelines. The last time this issue was raised, in the January 2011 edition of the journal, a flood of letters followed. See page 191

Nurse Training in the UK

Shelley Mehigan & Janice Burnett describe and discuss the Berkshire training programme for nurses which mimics the DFSRH. See page 194

The SDM: a realistic option for longer-term use

A report on the experience of nearly 500 women who used the Standard Days Method for between 2 and 3 years. See page 150

CycleBeads: the latest in ‘contraceptive jewellery’!

Describes CycleBeads®, a colour-coded string of beads, that are a visual tool that helps women use the SDM correctly. See page 157

Ovarian and cervical cancer: better awareness, earlier recognition, improved outcome?

Simon and colleagues developed and validated reliable disease-specific Cancer Awareness Measurement tools for both forms of cancer, testing them in matched comparison groups. See page 167

Encouraging IUD uptake after medical TOP

Sharon Cameron and colleagues in Edinburgh created a fast-track referral service so that women who had undergone early medical abortion & wished to use intrauterine contraception afterwards could be seen promptly for fitting. See page 175

Psychosexual therapists speak out

Psychosexual therapy can seem like one of the dark arts, but in this issue Consumer Correspondent Susan Quilliam brings us the therapists’ own stories. See page 196


The UK Sexual Health Awards 2012 winners announced

16 Mar, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

The celebration, hosted by Nitin Ganatra (Eastenders), to mark the hard work and dedication of people involved in sexual health across the UK took place at Troxy, London. Celebrities, including Janet Ellis, Zoe Margolis, Sharon Marshall, Johnny Partridge and our own Susan Quilliam and Alison Hadley were in attendance to show support and present awards to:

Sexual health professional of the year: Kay Elmy, Peterborough Contraceptive and Sexual Health Service.
JLS young person of the year: Azizi Kosoko, Terrence Higgins Trust.
Rosemary Goodchild Award for excellence in sexual health journalism: Sophie Goodchild for her article ‘Free love: what happened to AIDS?’  Men’s Health magazine.
Adult sexual health service/project of the year: ‘Morning-after-pill in the post’ campaign, bpas.
Young people’s sexual health service/project of the year: Sheffield Open Doors, Sheffield Contraception and Sexual Health Service, School Nursing Service and the Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service.
Pamela Sheridan Award for Innovation in SRE: Shropshire Respect Yourself Relationship and Sex Education Programme.
Lifetime Achievement in sexual health award presented to Professor Michael Adler CBE.

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Research highlights risks with current tests for Chlamydia trachomatis

“Researchers, from the University of Southampton and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, have discovered that Chlamydia is much more diverse than was previously thought. Using whole genome sequencing, the researchers show that the exchange of DNA between different strains of Chlamydia to form new strains is much more common than expected.”  Current clinical tests only give a positive or negative result and can not identify different strains.  In clinical practice those found to be chlamydia positive after treatment were assumed to have been re-infected but this may not be the case.  Up until now antibiotic resistance has not been seen in humans only in the laboratory but current tests would be unable to demonstrate this if it did occur.

New BASSH Patient Information Leaflets

The BASSH Clinical Effectiveness Group (CEG) has produced new patient leaflets on Safer Sex, Epididymo-orchitis and Gonorrhoea. These are available from their website along with details about up-coming events as well as news and other guidelines.

GMC seeks views on proposed changes to the way doctors are assessed for GP or specialist registration through the ‘equivalence’ or CESR/CEGPR route to registration

Information and access to consultations are via the GMC e-consultation website.


World AIDS Day 2011

1 Dec, 11 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

On the 23rd World AIDS Day

As part of a piece in the Chelsea & Westminster GP Newsletter, Consultant Rachel Jones and Specialist Registrar Michael Rayment write of the situation in the UK:

Treatment is freely available, but is limited to those who know their HIV sero-status.  The HIV epidemic in the UK continues to grow, and the fraction of undiagnosed HIV remains frustratingly constant.  The number of people living with HIV in the UK is estimated to be 91500 in 2010. There were an estimated 6660 new HIV diagnoses in the last year alone.  In men who have sex with men, there were 3000 new diagnoses – the highest ever annual figure recorded in this risk group.  An estimated one in four of all individuals with HIV infection remains unaware of their sero-status.  Of those newly diagnosed, half were diagnosed with CD4 counts below 350 cells/μl, the current threshold for the initiation of antiretroviral therapy. Of the 680 people with HIV who died in 2010, two thirds had been diagnosed late.

and they suggest that:

The largest barrier rests with us, the healthcare providers: our own HIV testing prejudices need to be broken down.  We need to engage commissioners to develop services and strategies to tackle HIV infection in our community.  A key strength of the pilot studies to date has been the close cooperation between Sexual Health services and local primary and secondary care providers.  We would urge you to work with your local Sexual Health colleagues.  They will be keen to work with you to provide education, support, clinical expertise and guidance to keep this issue high on your local health agenda.  Please engage with us, and Getting to Zero may be a feasible and very real vision here on our own doorstep.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) recommends ‘universal testing’ for HIV, as they publish new data on 30 years of HIV in the UK.

The British HIV Association (BHIVA), Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health (MedFASH) and the British Psychological Society launch Standards to ensure high quality support for people with HIV.

Half of the 14 million people living in poorer countries who need HIV drugs get them according to the UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report 2011 – “How to get to zero, Faster, Smarter, Better”

This is the good news. The bad news is that at this crucial time, when the end may be in sight, we also hear that the one thing that will fuel the hoped for future is being cut off:

BMA News warns that Sexual Health is under threat (again).
As co
uncils and private companies take control of NHS sexual health services, are they unnecessarily changing an open-access system that already works wonders?
In the Report, sexual health organisations have expressed grave concerns and a number of clinicians give examples of difficulties already being experienced.

The Global fund to Fight AIDS, TB & Malaria has cut its latest round of funding. In its press release yesterday it states:

A sharply deteriorating economic situation, which is placing severe pressure on donor countries’ budgets, has prompted the Global Fund to revise its forecasts of available resources over the next two years and to take this difficult decision.

Horror in the 21st Century

28 Oct, 11 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

As Halloween and Trick or Treat approach we face an even greater horror, as Monday 31st October 2011 is the day the world’s population is forecast to crash the 7 billion barrier only 12 years after it passed 6 billion.

Despite overall rates of fertility falling and the basic right of all women to manage their own fertility having been officially recognised at the Cairo Conference in 1994, 215 million women in ‘high fertility’ countries still don’t have access to voluntary contraception. In addition “millions of adolescent girls and boys have little access to sex education and information on how to prevent pregnancies or protect themselves from HIV.” UNFPA report – The State of World Population 2011

As the number of commentators that report and respond to this prediction increases will politicians and others in power finally listen to what ‘family planners’ have been saying for years and concentrate budgets where they can do some good. Or are we in danger of ignoring this situation until it is too late. This, of course, echoes the post of 4 weeks ago that reported Mary Robinson ‘s warning to the UN on the same issue on the 20 year anniversary of the Rio summit and declaration .

UK’s Breast Screening Programme to be Reviewed

The UK’s National Cancer Director, Professor Sir Mike Richards, has ordered an independent review as questions were raised by the Nordic Cochrane Centre’s systematic review over whether screening may do more harm than good. As this controversy could undermine the excellent effects that are achieved by screening it is important to investigate and resolve any uncertainties. As Sara Hiom of Cancer Research UK (who will jointly lead the Review) said “We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the fundamental principle underpinning screening – that earlier diagnosis helps improve outcomes – is right and that screening does help save lives”.

MHRA warns against purchasing HIV and non-compliant tests over the internet

We also hear that non-CE marked tests which claim to diagnose HIV and other STIs, available from a UK-hosted website, could give inaccurate results according to a press release from the MHRA . This is aside from the fact that it is illegal to market HIV tests to the public. The HPA has also been involved in contacting all those known to have purchased the tests but warn others considering using the internet as a way of accessing anonymous testing to check that any product is compliant with regulations.

Good News: another new study confirms what we already knew that The Pill and pregnancy have the biggest impact on reducing ovarian cancer risk –  published in the British Journal of Cancer and part-funded by Cancer Research UK. The greatest protection was afforded by taking the pill for more than 10 years followed by ever users then getting pregnant and having more than one child.

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