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Can an app really provide effective birth control?

15/10/2017 Nicola Davis 0

Technology that tracks women’s fertility has been hailed as being more effective than the pill – and without side-effects. Is this a genuine revolution in sexual freedom?When Apple launched their health tracking app in 2014 and didn’t include any featu…

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Why last night’s VD-laced episode of Victoria should worry modern audiences

02/10/2017 Dr Anne Hanley 0

The Victorians feared the moral and physical implications of venereal disease, but the problems of untreatable infection and inadequate health provision are all too familiar to modern viewers

  • Spoiler alert! Plot points from Victoria are revealed in this blog

In an age before antibiotics, contact tracing and the NHS, a diagnosis of venereal disease (VD) had devastating consequences. Today, confirmed cases of syphilis are at their highest in England since 1949, strains of gonorrhoea are resistant to last-line antibiotics and the NHS faces mounting financial pressures. We are far from meeting the WHO’s goal of ending sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as a major public health concern. Rather, the problems of untreatable infection and inadequate health provision that were all too familiar to the Victorians are again very real.

This is perhaps why viewers of ITV’s Victoria last night could share the apprehensions of Prince Ernest of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (played by David Oakes). Hesitating on a damp, grey London morning outside the consulting rooms of a discreet doctor, he clearly suspects the worst.

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Revealed: Johnson & Johnson’s ‘irresponsible’ actions over vaginal mesh implant

Woman awarded record $57m damages over implant launched with no clinical trial and marketed despite higher failure rate

A vaginal mesh implant made by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) was launched without a clinical trial, and then marketed for five years after the company learned that it had a higher failure rate than their two earlier devices.

Internal company emails disclosed in a US court case, in which a 51-year-old woman was awarded a record $57m in damages this month, also show that senior executives even briefly considered suppressing unfavourable data that “could compromise the future” of the device.

Related: What does pelvic mesh do and why are women suing over it? – explainer

Related: ‘Scandal’ of vaginal mesh removal rates revealed by NHS records

Related: Vaginal mesh implants: ‘I really thought I was dying’

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HIV rates climbing among over-50s in UK and Europe, researchers warn

Older people more likely to be infected through heterosexual sex and to have more advanced disease when it is finally diagnosed, new study reveals

HIV rates are climbing in the over-50s in the UK and across Europe, while the rate of new infections among younger people is dropping, according to new research which warns that the epidemic may be taking a new direction.

The study, from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Sweden, says that older people are most likely to be infected through heterosexual sex. They are also likely to have more advanced disease – which will be harder to treat and could be life-threatening – when it is finally picked up.

Related: HIV tests for GPs’ new patients could save lives and money, says study

Related: HIV prevention drug PrEP to be offered at sexual health clinics

Related: Dr Dillner’s health dilemmas: should I have an HIV test?

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Surgeons lacked caution in use of vaginal mesh implants, doctor admits

18/09/2017 Christopher Knaus 0

Head of Australia’s urogynaecological society says while women who suffered life-altering complications were ‘let down’, push to ban the devices are ‘hysterical’

The head of Australia’s urogynaecological society has conceded surgeons lacked caution in their use of controversial transvaginal mesh implants, which they thought were “magic” and “the best thing since sliced bread”.

A Senate inquiry is currently examining the impact of transvaginal mesh products, which have been used by tens of thousands of Australian women to treat incontinence and pelvic prolapse, common complications of childbirth.

Related: Vaginal mesh implants: ‘I really thought I was dying’

I describe my pain as being cut open and set alight

Related: What does pelvic mesh do and why are women suing over it? – explainer

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What’s stopping pharmacies doing more to reduce pressure on GPs? | David Brindle

06/09/2017 David Brindle 0

Chemists can already provide vital services, such as the morning-after pill – but a new study shows they are being chronically underused

When a woman recently walked into Thorrun Govind’s high-street pharmacy in Bolton seeking help for a common infection, Govind quickly knew what to prescribe. But because the woman said she had not had the medication before, Govind had to check with her GP practice. They insisted the woman go in.

Related: Pharmacists were meant to be the face of the NHS – but now our jobs are at risk

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