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12th
Apr
Thu
  • bdtmhouse:

Interested in eradicating sexual injustice? Post or message me to get involved in our screening of the film 12th and Delaware. We also need help organizing educational sessions on campus.  Our goal is to educate women (and men) about the truths of Crisis Pregnancy Centers and they way they misrepresent themselves to women experiencing unintended pregnancies.  We don’t care whether you’re prochoice or antichoice - we can all agree that misleading women is wrong.  #TruthFail at VCU

    bdtmhouse:

    Interested in eradicating sexual injustice? Post or message me to get involved in our screening of the film 12th and Delaware. We also need help organizing educational sessions on campus.  Our goal is to educate women (and men) about the truths of Crisis Pregnancy Centers and they way they misrepresent themselves to women experiencing unintended pregnancies.  We don’t care whether you’re prochoice or antichoice - we can all agree that misleading women is wrong.  #TruthFail at VCU

  • 15th
    Mar
    Thu
  • “ Virginia Republicans who helped pass a law requiring women to get an ultrasound before an abortion found their political Facebook pages flooded this week with the kind of information normally reserved for the ob/gyn. ”

  • 1st
    Dec
    Thu
  • jtotheizzoe:

#WorldAIDSDay: Joe’s Take On Great Progress, Great Hurdles
2011 marks roughly thirty years since the identification of AIDS in humans. In that time, more than 25 million people have died as a direct result of having their immune system atrophy to a point that they can no longer fight off even the weakest pathogens.
HIV’s entry into pandemic lore was originally attributed to a gay, extremely promiscuous Canadian flight attendant, but careful research into its history actually traces its path into the US as a result of a single Haitian carrier around 1969. Beyond that, we can trace it to Africa, and at some point around 1910 it could have jumped from primates to man as a result of bushmeat butchering and promiscuous sexual activity (certainly an interesting recipe for a Saturday night). At this point you should go listen to Radiolab’s episode “Patient Zero” and trace this detective story in engrossing detail (I’ll wait).
But AIDS is a syndrome, a result, a manifestation of a greater biology. And that greater biology is the HIV virus. Where does Science (with a big “S”) stand today in the battle against this enemy? Let’s look at a few of today’s prominent developments, in no way to be considered a comprehensive review of anti-HIV efforts.
In the brain of this biologist, the fight against HIV falls into three categories: Preventing transmission, post-infection neutralization, and pre-infection vaccination.
Preventing transmission: If we lived in Candyland, everything would taste like gumdrops, people would wear condoms every time, they would always work, and abusive sexual practices would be the stuff of fiction. But this is not Candyland. So beyond trying to increase condom use and eliminate the sources of female HIV victimization, what can scientists offer? Currently, various antiviral drugs are being used to target transmission in couples where one partner is infected and another is not. But despite early hopes pinned on this cheap method, a recent clinical trial failure of an antiviral vaginal gel is a major setback in this department. Then again, maybe circumcision could work, and simply. Pros: Cheap, easy to distribute, easy to use. Cons: Ineffective thus far, prophylactic and not curative.
Post-Infection Neutralization: So people will continue to be infected with HIV for the foreseeable future. How do we help them? By controlling the proliferation of the virus in their bodies. We have HAART (the “drug cocktails” you hear about), but it costs lots of money, can encourage resistant strains, the drugs have really sucky side effects, and it pretty much isn’t feasible in sub-Saharan Africa. Perhaps we can use gene therapy to replicate natural mutations that lead to resistance, eradicating viral loads? Very intriguing, but until we either improve gene editing methods (a real possibility) or decide to make bone-marrow transplants an outpatient procedure (which I’ve discussed the impossibility of before), this is not the stuff that cures are made of. Yet. Pros: Proven elimination of HIV load, established pharma approval system Cons: Expensive or impractical treatments for large scale, selection of resistant strains, not applicable to Third World countries
Pre-Infection Vaccination: Behold the Holy Grail, the Cup of Kings. A vaccine against HIV would be the most straightforward way to both prevent infection and suppress the virus should it rear its ugly head. But this has proven elusive, as HIV has a nasty habit of mutating to avoid the efforts of antibodies. This means that traditional vaccine methods, like the weakened virus that makes up your flu shot, aren’t effective against HIV. However, an adaptive class of antibodies has been developed that not only broadly neutralizes HIV, but can naturally vary their structure to continue recognizing the virus even as it tries to mutate and evade. Essentially it’s like playing the computer in chess: these antibodies would continue to evolve and always be several moves ahead of the virus. And today, in a very timely publication, David Baltimore’s lab reports that by injecting these antibody genes into mice, just integrating right into the muscle cells, they have created an adaptive, permanent genetic HIV vaccine. Of course, we’ve cured cancer and countless other diseases in mice and failed to translate it to humans. But onward! Pros: Permanent, adaptive antibodies, one-time shot, simple distribution potential Cons: Safety of gene therapy method unknown in humans, we are not mice.
HIV has proven to be a formidable foe, but we’ve got our best men and women on the project. Continue to support basic research this #WorldAIDSDay, and we’ll continue to make progress together. 
(image via Wellcome Trust)

    jtotheizzoe:

    #WorldAIDSDay: Joe’s Take On Great Progress, Great Hurdles

    2011 marks roughly thirty years since the identification of AIDS in humans. In that time, more than 25 million people have died as a direct result of having their immune system atrophy to a point that they can no longer fight off even the weakest pathogens.

    HIV’s entry into pandemic lore was originally attributed to a gay, extremely promiscuous Canadian flight attendant, but careful research into its history actually traces its path into the US as a result of a single Haitian carrier around 1969. Beyond that, we can trace it to Africa, and at some point around 1910 it could have jumped from primates to man as a result of bushmeat butchering and promiscuous sexual activity (certainly an interesting recipe for a Saturday night). At this point you should go listen to Radiolab’s episode “Patient Zero” and trace this detective story in engrossing detail (I’ll wait).

    But AIDS is a syndrome, a result, a manifestation of a greater biology. And that greater biology is the HIV virus. Where does Science (with a big “S”) stand today in the battle against this enemy? Let’s look at a few of today’s prominent developments, in no way to be considered a comprehensive review of anti-HIV efforts.

    In the brain of this biologist, the fight against HIV falls into three categories: Preventing transmission, post-infection neutralization, and pre-infection vaccination.

    • Preventing transmission: If we lived in Candyland, everything would taste like gumdrops, people would wear condoms every time, they would always work, and abusive sexual practices would be the stuff of fiction. But this is not Candyland. So beyond trying to increase condom use and eliminate the sources of female HIV victimization, what can scientists offer? Currently, various antiviral drugs are being used to target transmission in couples where one partner is infected and another is not. But despite early hopes pinned on this cheap method, a recent clinical trial failure of an antiviral vaginal gel is a major setback in this department. Then again, maybe circumcision could work, and simply. Pros: Cheap, easy to distribute, easy to use. Cons: Ineffective thus far, prophylactic and not curative.
    • Post-Infection Neutralization: So people will continue to be infected with HIV for the foreseeable future. How do we help them? By controlling the proliferation of the virus in their bodies. We have HAART (the “drug cocktails” you hear about), but it costs lots of money, can encourage resistant strains, the drugs have really sucky side effects, and it pretty much isn’t feasible in sub-Saharan Africa. Perhaps we can use gene therapy to replicate natural mutations that lead to resistance, eradicating viral loads? Very intriguing, but until we either improve gene editing methods (a real possibility) or decide to make bone-marrow transplants an outpatient procedure (which I’ve discussed the impossibility of before), this is not the stuff that cures are made of. Yet. Pros: Proven elimination of HIV load, established pharma approval system Cons: Expensive or impractical treatments for large scale, selection of resistant strains, not applicable to Third World countries
    • Pre-Infection Vaccination: Behold the Holy Grail, the Cup of Kings. A vaccine against HIV would be the most straightforward way to both prevent infection and suppress the virus should it rear its ugly head. But this has proven elusive, as HIV has a nasty habit of mutating to avoid the efforts of antibodies. This means that traditional vaccine methods, like the weakened virus that makes up your flu shot, aren’t effective against HIV. However, an adaptive class of antibodies has been developed that not only broadly neutralizes HIV, but can naturally vary their structure to continue recognizing the virus even as it tries to mutate and evade. Essentially it’s like playing the computer in chess: these antibodies would continue to evolve and always be several moves ahead of the virus. And today, in a very timely publication, David Baltimore’s lab reports that by injecting these antibody genes into mice, just integrating right into the muscle cells, they have created an adaptive, permanent genetic HIV vaccine. Of course, we’ve cured cancer and countless other diseases in mice and failed to translate it to humans. But onward! Pros: Permanent, adaptive antibodies, one-time shot, simple distribution potential Cons: Safety of gene therapy method unknown in humans, we are not mice.

    HIV has proven to be a formidable foe, but we’ve got our best men and women on the project. Continue to support basic research this #WorldAIDSDay, and we’ll continue to make progress together. 

    (image via Wellcome Trust)

    Tags: hiv aids infectious diseases science health sexuality 
    Notes: 79
    Reblogged from jtotheizzoe
  • 1st
    Dec
    Thu
  • Another Amazing Pro-Choice Argument I Ran Across on the Internets

    [T]he proscription of abortion has never resulted in its complete abolition … The only results of proscription have been illegal abortions that usually result in the death of the would-be mother from [hemorrhaging] or, at best, permanent [sterility]. Until the advent of the pill in 1960, married women did not have access to effective birth control (unmarried women won that right in 1972, courtesy of “Eisenstadt v. Baird”). Medicines can alter the efficacy of the pill. Despite women’s best intentions (and those of their partners), unintended pregnancy is always a possibility. There’s no morality whatsoever in [compelling] a woman to submit to unsafe surgical practices (assuming that Plan B has also been proscribed under said circumstances). No woman who doesn’t wish to become a mother should be sacrificed to prove some kind of so-called moral point. If legal abortion takes away the potential for human life, illegal abortion kills both extant and potential human life. There is no moral safety net for the “pro-life” movement.

    I have made typo corrections in brackets, but did not make any substantive changes to the original post.  - sweetcommie

    (Source: Slate)

  • 18th
    Nov
    Fri
  • youatemytailor:

angel-cake:

prolongedeyecontact:

Inconvenience? You hear that people capable of getting pregnant? This is all merely an inconvenience:
Normal, frequent or expectable temporary side effects of pregnancy:
exhaustion (weariness common from first weeks)
altered appetite and senses of taste and smell
nausea and vomiting (50% of women, first trimester)
heartburn and indigestion
constipation
weight gain
dizziness and light-headedness
bloating, swelling, fluid retention
hemmorhoids
abdominal cramps
yeast infections
congested, bloody nose
acne and mild skin disorders
skin discoloration (chloasma, face and abdomen)
mild to severe backache and strain
increased headaches
difficulty sleeping, and discomfort while sleeping
increased urination and incontinence
bleeding gums
pica
breast pain and discharge
swelling of joints, leg cramps, joint pain
difficulty sitting, standing in later pregnancy
inability to take regular medications
shortness of breath
higher blood pressure
hair loss
tendency to anemia
curtailment of ability to participate in some sports and activities
infection including from serious and potentially fatal disease(pregnant women are immune suppressed compared with non-pregnant women, andare more susceptible to fungal and certain other diseases)
extreme pain on delivery
hormonal mood changes, including normal post-partum depression
continued post-partum exhaustion and recovery period (exacerbated if a c-section — major surgery — is required, sometimes taking up to a full year to fully recover)
Normal, expectable, or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:
stretch marks (worse in younger women)
loose skin
permanent weight gain or redistribution
abdominal and vaginal muscle weakness
pelvic floor disorder (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life)
changes to breasts
varicose veins
scarring from episiotomy or c-section
other permanent aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)
increased proclivity for hemmorhoids
loss of dental and bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)
Occasional complications and side effects:
spousal/partner abuse
hyperemesis gravidarum
temporary and permanent injury to back
severe scarring requiring later surgery (especially after additional pregnancies)
dropped (prolapsed) uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other pelvic floor weaknesses — 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele, and enterocele)
pre-eclampsia (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated with eclampsia, and affecting 7 - 10% of pregnancies)
eclampsia (convulsions, coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)
gestational diabetes
placenta previa
anemia (which can be life-threatening)
thrombocytopenic purpura
severe cramping
embolism (blood clots)
medical disability requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother or baby)
diastasis recti, also torn abdominal muscles
mitral valve stenosis (most common cardiac complication)
serious infection and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)
hormonal imbalance
ectopic pregnancy (risk of death)
broken bones (ribcage, “tail bone”)
hemorrhage and
numerous other complications of delivery
refractory gastroesophageal reflux disease
aggravation of pre-pregnancy diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5% of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)
severe post-partum depression and psychosis
research now indicates a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments, including “egg harvesting” from infertile women and donors
research also now indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy
research also indicates a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary and cardiovascular disease
Less common (but serious) complications:
peripartum cardiomyopathy
cardiopulmonary arrest
magnesium toxicity
severe hypoxemia/acidosis
massive embolism
increased intracranial pressure, brainstem infarction
molar pregnancy, gestational trophoblastic disease (like a pregnancy-induced cancer)
malignant arrhythmia
circulatory collapse
placental abruption
obstetric fistula
More permanent side effects:
future infertility
permanent disability
death.
In addition, there’s the risk of losing one’s job and, by extension, home; pregnancy/childbirth triggering traumatic experiences due to rape, molestation, or partner/spousal abuse; body or gender dysphoria; missing or dropping out of school; the potential trauma of choosing adoption; suffering from pregnancy related job discrimination; the economic toll of pregnancy and raising a child; and not being able to continue taking important medications or exacerbating pre-existing conditions.
Here’s some statistics:
358,000 people die annually from pregnancy related complications.
20% of people who die during pregnancy are murder victims.
The risk of maternal mortality is highest for adolescents under 15 years old.
Complications in pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among adolescents in most developing countries.
A person’s lifetime risk of maternal death – the probability that a 15-year-old will eventually die from a maternal cause – is 1 in 4300 in developed countries, versus 1 in 120 in developing countries.
A pregnant person has a 35.6% greater risk of being a victim of violence than a non-pregnant person. The estimated prevalence of violence against people during pregnancy ranges from four percent to eight percent.
40% of all pregnant people have some complications during pregnancy or childbirth. About 15% have complications that are potentially life-threatening.
Tl;dr So in case that wasn’t clear: pregnancy is always life threatening and never merely an “inconvenience”.
[ETA: I wish beyond all belief this edit wasn’t necessary, but I guess it is. This post isn’t meant to vilify pregnancy or the people who choose it. As I’ve said in a reply and an ask, pregnancy is always a valid reproductive choice for those who choose it. As a prochoicer, I support all reproductive choices including birthing ones like advocating for the choice to have VBACs, home births, and the right to say no to unwanted c-sections. I will fight as hard for those rights as I do for the right to an abortion. I don’t think birth is bad for those that want to do it, but some of us would literally rather die. This isn’t meant as a scare tactic against fellow people who can get pregnant. This is about the flippant manner in which cis men like to dismiss people’s concerns that pregnancy is more than an “inconvenience.” The last time I checked people don’t regularly die from inconveniences. For more see: this reply and this ask, which I also made rebloggable on request.]

people like joe, who are never going to carry a baby, do not get to talk about ‘inconvenience’ to uteruses. YOU carry it.

    youatemytailor:

    angel-cake:

    prolongedeyecontact:

    Inconvenience? You hear that people capable of getting pregnant? This is all merely an inconvenience:

    Normal, frequent or expectable temporary side effects of pregnancy:

    • exhaustion (weariness common from first weeks)
    • altered appetite and senses of taste and smell
    • nausea and vomiting (50% of women, first trimester)
    • heartburn and indigestion
    • constipation
    • weight gain
    • dizziness and light-headedness
    • bloating, swelling, fluid retention
    • hemmorhoids
    • abdominal cramps
    • yeast infections
    • congested, bloody nose
    • acne and mild skin disorders
    • skin discoloration (chloasma, face and abdomen)
    • mild to severe backache and strain
    • increased headaches
    • difficulty sleeping, and discomfort while sleeping
    • increased urination and incontinence
    • bleeding gums
    • pica
    • breast pain and discharge
    • swelling of joints, leg cramps, joint pain
    • difficulty sitting, standing in later pregnancy
    • inability to take regular medications
    • shortness of breath
    • higher blood pressure
    • hair loss
    • tendency to anemia
    • curtailment of ability to participate in some sports and activities
    • infection including from serious and potentially fatal disease
      (pregnant women are immune suppressed compared with non-pregnant women, and
      are more susceptible to fungal and certain other diseases)
    • extreme pain on delivery
    • hormonal mood changes, including normal post-partum depression
    • continued post-partum exhaustion and recovery period (exacerbated if a c-section — major surgery — is required, sometimes taking up to a full year to fully recover)

    Normal, expectable, or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:

    • stretch marks (worse in younger women)
    • loose skin
    • permanent weight gain or redistribution
    • abdominal and vaginal muscle weakness
    • pelvic floor disorder (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life)
    • changes to breasts
    • varicose veins
    • scarring from episiotomy or c-section
    • other permanent aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)
    • increased proclivity for hemmorhoids
    • loss of dental and bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)

    Occasional complications and side effects:

    • spousal/partner abuse
    • hyperemesis gravidarum
    • temporary and permanent injury to back
    • severe scarring requiring later surgery (especially after additional pregnancies)
    • dropped (prolapsed) uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other pelvic floor weaknesses — 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele, and enterocele)
    • pre-eclampsia (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated with eclampsia, and affecting 7 - 10% of pregnancies)
    • eclampsia (convulsions, coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)
    • gestational diabetes
    • placenta previa
    • anemia (which can be life-threatening)
    • thrombocytopenic purpura
    • severe cramping
    • embolism (blood clots)
    • medical disability requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother or baby)
    • diastasis recti, also torn abdominal muscles
    • mitral valve stenosis (most common cardiac complication)
    • serious infection and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)
    • hormonal imbalance
    • ectopic pregnancy (risk of death)
    • broken bones (ribcage, “tail bone”)
    • hemorrhage and
    • numerous other complications of delivery
    • refractory gastroesophageal reflux disease
    • aggravation of pre-pregnancy diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5% of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)
    • severe post-partum depression and psychosis
    • research now indicates a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments, including “egg harvesting” from infertile women and donors
    • research also now indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy
    • research also indicates a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary and cardiovascular disease

    Less common (but serious) complications:

    • peripartum cardiomyopathy
    • cardiopulmonary arrest
    • magnesium toxicity
    • severe hypoxemia/acidosis
    • massive embolism
    • increased intracranial pressure, brainstem infarction
    • molar pregnancy, gestational trophoblastic disease (like a pregnancy-induced cancer)
    • malignant arrhythmia
    • circulatory collapse
    • placental abruption
    • obstetric fistula

    More permanent side effects:

    • future infertility
    • permanent disability
    • death.

    In addition, there’s the risk of losing one’s job and, by extension, home; pregnancy/childbirth triggering traumatic experiences due to rape, molestation, or partner/spousal abuse; body or gender dysphoria; missing or dropping out of school; the potential trauma of choosing adoption; suffering from pregnancy related job discrimination; the economic toll of pregnancy and raising a child; and not being able to continue taking important medications or exacerbating pre-existing conditions.

    Here’s some statistics:

    Tl;dr So in case that wasn’t clear: pregnancy is always life threatening and never merely an “inconvenience”.

    [ETA: I wish beyond all belief this edit wasn’t necessary, but I guess it is. This post isn’t meant to vilify pregnancy or the people who choose it. As I’ve said in a reply and an ask, pregnancy is always a valid reproductive choice for those who choose it. As a prochoicer, I support all reproductive choices including birthing ones like advocating for the choice to have VBACs, home births, and the right to say no to unwanted c-sections. I will fight as hard for those rights as I do for the right to an abortion. I don’t think birth is bad for those that want to do it, but some of us would literally rather die. This isn’t meant as a scare tactic against fellow people who can get pregnant. This is about the flippant manner in which cis men like to dismiss people’s concerns that pregnancy is more than an “inconvenience.” The last time I checked people don’t regularly die from inconveniences. For more see: this reply and this ask, which I also made rebloggable on request.]

    people like joe, who are never going to carry a baby, do not get to talk about ‘inconvenience’ to uteruses. YOU carry it.

  • »

    Accent Red by Neil Talwar