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Posts tagged "reproductive health"


As illustrated by this infographic, the road to obstetric fistula is fraught with delays: delays in the progression of labour, delays in getting to an appropriate facility, delays in getting the proper health treatment.

For those women unfortunate enough to sustain a fistula as a result, some are able to get the advice, care and support that leads to a brighter future. Meanwhile, an estimated 2 million women and girls remain left in the isolation of living with a condition that causes incontinence and intense suffering. The goal of the Campaign to End Fistula is to prevent the condition from occurring in the first place, and to ensure that more women have an opportunity to recover from it and regain their lives.

The infographic was produced for the Campaign to End Fistula in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, a long standing supporter of fistula programmes and efforts to reduce fistula and maternal mortality by scaling-up access to maternal health services and skilled birth attendants.

(From Campaign to End Fistula)

I was once an illegal alien in The Netherlands. I was once pregnant. I was once reported to immigration services by a Dutch woman who knew I was both illegal and pregnant. I was once detained. I was once denied medical care while in a deportation center. I was once deported. I had a miscarriage (the baby was dead, I had a botched clean up procedure in an understaffed and badly maintained hospital in a suburb of Buenos Aires). I am now sterile.

That was fifteen years ago and this is now.

Tiger Beatdown › Here I am. Fatigue, depression and infertility

This is my latest piece. Which also kinda explains where I’ve been.

(via redlightpolitics)

(via brujacore)




Racism, Race, & Culture

Sizeism & Body Positivity

GSM (Gender & Sexuality Minorities)



Reproductive Health



Reblog Must!

(via marvelous-merbutler)


[The HPV vaccine can be used by people other than young girls and women, and the media scare tactics surrounding the vaccine affects them as well.]

A study evaluating the efficacy of the HPV vaccine (also called the cervical cancer vaccine) was just published in the Lancet. In a nutshell, when young girls are vaccinated against HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer, the number of serious cancer precursors in girls 17 and younger dropped by 50%. Wow. This is important because serious cancer precursors (called dysplasia) lead to sometimes painful biopsies and treatments. And if these pre-cancers are not treated, for many women they can lead to cancer.

But how safe is the vaccine? With any treatment, you have to balance the risk benefit ratio. There is much HPV  vaccine mythology. On blogs, message boards and Twitter feeds you read whisperings of serious side effects and worse. Even physicians get on board. In the wee hours of June 15th, Dr. Jay Gordon and I had a healthy vaccine debate and he reported on his concerns that more than 50 girls have died from the vaccine. He’s wrong.

The HPV vaccines (there are two) are actually incredibly safe (and now we know they are incredibly effective). To talk responsibly about vaccine safety (or the safety of any medication) you need facts. So here they are.

As of February 14, 2011 there were a total of 53 HPV vaccine associated deaths reported to VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System). This means the deaths were temporally related to receiving the vaccine, not cause and effect. At total of 33 of the deaths were confirmed and 20 were unconfirmed (meaning there was no information provided about the death so no investigation was possible). After analysis not one of the 33 confirmed deaths were found to be related to the vaccine. Meaning no cause and effect.

There have been reports of blood clots. Now that these have been analyzed, it is clear the blood clots were not vaccine related. Many girls who get the HPV vaccine when they are a little older start the birth control pill at the same time. The pills raises the risk of blood clots (some more than others). Other girls who developed blood clots had other risk factors, like obesity.

But ultimately the problem with VAERS and vaccine safety is that the data isn’t clean. Reporting happens after the fact and can suffer from under reporting or inaccuracies, as anyone can report and you don’t need any kind of proof.

Fortunately, a GREAT study was published this year giving us the information that we need. It is an analysis of seven studies looking at the HPV vaccine and includes data from over 44,000 girls. These seven studies followed girls who received the vaccine in real-time (prospective studies), so if an adverse event occurred it would be captured. In the studies, the girls kept daily vaccination report cards and recorded their symptoms within 15-30 days of injection. In addition, information was solicited by the investigators. These studies also include control populations, which is very important. The studies in this meta analysis represent the cleanest kind of data and this is the information that we should be giving to girls (and boys) and parents about HPV vaccine safety:

There were no deaths in the more than 44,000 participants and there was no statistically significant difference between serious adverse events among the girls who got the HPV vaccine and those who received the placebo. Fainting and headache occurred equally in both groups, so it’s the needle people, not the vaccine. 

So in summary, more than 44,000 girls received the HPV vaccine in a highly monitored, placebo controlled setting. There were no deaths and the risk of serious adverse events was the same in the vaccine and the placebo group. Young girls faint from needles, not because of any hidden toxin in the HPV vaccine.

The HPV vaccine is safe. It’s effective. End of discussion.

[Brotherton JML, Fridman M, May CL, Chappell G, Saville AM, Gertig DM. Early effect of the HPV vaccination programme on cervical abnormalities in Victoria, Australia: an ecological study. Lancet (]


Polifact has just released its “2011 lies of the year” nomination list, and two of the ten nominees are political whoppers told about reproductive health.

Both Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s claim that the HPV vaccination can cause “mental retardation,” and Senator Jon Kyle’s statement that abortion services are “well over 90 percent” of what Planned Parenthood does have made the cut, sandwiched in with claims about global warming, taxes and job creation.

To vote for the biggest, click here.


The PolitiFact article about Michele Bachmann’s lie about HPV.

The PolitiFact article about Jon Kyl’s lie about Planned Parenthood.