1 Out of 9 Men Have Oral HPV

Human Papillomavirus Type 16 (University of Washington National STD Curriculum)

Human Papillomavirus Type 16 (University of Washington National STD Curriculum)

We’ve all heard about human papillomavirus (HPV). But there’s one instance where HPV affects more men than women.

According to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, oral HPV occurs much more often in men than women. The study examined data pulled from the “National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2011 to 2014,” and found that 1 out of every 9 men have oral HPV. This translates to 11M men in the U.S.

Oral HPV is much more rare for women: The study discovered that only 3.2% of women had the infection. This percentage translates to 3.2M women. (By comparison, cervical cancer affects 12.8M+ of women.)

38K+ new cases of cancers related to HPV were diagnosed between 2008-2012. These cancers were diagnosed in 59% of men and 41% of women.

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New York City Issues the First U.S. Intersex Birth Certificate

Sara Kelly Keenan (LGBTQ Nation)

Sara Kelly Keenan (LGBTQ Nation)

In December 2016, New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene re-issued a birth certificate to Sara Kelly Keenan. The action made history: Keenan’s corrected birth certificate denoted her intersex identity. (Keenan uses female pronouns.) The new birth certificate is the first one ever in the U.S. to note the gender identity.

The term “intersex” refers to a physical condition where one’s anatomy does not fully line up as either male or female. Keenan is “genetically male with female genitalia and mixed internal reproductive anatomy.” When Keenan was born, her birth certificate originally read “male,” but was changed to “female” three weeks later.

This change has been a long time coming, seeing as Keenan is 55 years old. She’s seen a lot of changes, especially within the fields of reproductive health and anatomy: When Keenan was born, “hermaphrodite” was the commonly accepted term for her condition.

Previous to the birth certificate change, Keenan had self-identified as non-binary (that is, neither male nor female).

Wonder Woman is No Longer a U.N. Ambassador

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman (CNet2)

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman (CNet2)

 

DC Comics superhero/feminist icon Wonder Woman has been ousted as the United Nations (U.N.)’s Honorary Ambassador for female empowerment. The character was officially unveiled as the ambassador on Oct. 21. The unveiling tied into the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal #5, which “seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030.’

Her last day as ambassador was Dec. 16. Girlfriend didn’t even have the job a whole two months.

The reason for the end of Wonder Woman’s ambassadorship is slightly unclear. Around 45K+ people showed their displeasure with the iconic character’s new role by singing a petition. But the U.N. claims they made the end date soon after the character’s debut in the role, and not as a result of the protests.

 

Link Between Tonsils and Appendix and Fertility Discovered

Tonsils (Daily Mail UK)

Today in “Things You (Probably) Wouldn’t Guess:” Scientists have discovered that the presence of tonsils or an appendix affects fertility.

A study conducted by University of Dundee and University College London found that if woman had either organ removed, they were more likely to both to become pregnant, but also to get pregnant earlier in life. (If you remember from middle school math class, this is what’s called an inverse relationship.) The study followed 530K+ women in the UK over a 15-year period. Over 54K women had their appendix removed, 112K+ women had their tonsils removed, and 10K+ women had both appendices and tonsils removed.

Women who’d had their appendix removed got pregnant at a 34% higher rate than women who still had their appendix. Women who’d had their tonsils removed got pregnant at a 49% (!) higher rate than women who still had their tonsils. And women who’d had both procedures got pregnant at a 43% higher rate than women who had not undergone both procedures.

It’s not clear yet why these things are linked together. But it flies in the face of long-time conventional medical wisdom, which had previously declared that removing a woman’s appendix affected her future fertility due to scarring around her fallopian tubes (a crucial passage for her eggs).

 

 

FDA Approves “Female Viagra” Addyi

The experimental drug flibanserin, made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is at the center of a regulatory controversy.

The experimental drug flibanserin, made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is at the center of a regulatory controversy.

Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Addyi (also known by its generic name Flibanserin) for public consumption. The drug, produced by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is being touted as a “female Viagra,” a way to “even the score” sexually against men (who have many option to treat waning sexual desire). In some circles, it’s seen as a big breakthrough for women’s sexual health.

Interestingly, Addyi is the first drug to specifically treat waning sex drives for both men and women. (Viagra solved a purely medical/physical issue rather than a psychological one.) Addyi targets the central nervous system, putting it in line with an antidepressant.

Addyi purports to help women with hypoactive sexual disorder (i.e. lack of sexual desire.) But it works on a woman’s mind instead of her body. Rather than facilitating blood flow to the genital region, as Viagra does, the drug takes a two-pronged approach:

Flibanserin targets two neurotransmitters in the brain that can help inspire sexual desire. The first is dopamine, which helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers and could help drive up our interest in sex. The second is norepinephrine, which affects parts of the brain that control our attention and our response to things in our environment and could help direct our attention to a sexual partner.

The ultimate goal is that a woman’s level of desire would increase over time.

(Side note: Apparently, Viagra was marketed to women in 2004. The drug did increase blood flow to the women’s genitals, but didn’t affect their level of sexual desire.)

But the drug isn’t completely out of the woods yet: there are still some concerns regarding side effects. Doctors and pharmacists will need to undergo specific training of the drug before dispensing it, and will need to keep track of the women who take it. The biggest side effects include low blood pressure, sleepiness and “sudden fainting,” especially when taken with alcohol. (I have to say, I don’t really understand the point of making a drug to help with sex that can’t be paired with alcohol, but that’s just me.)

There’s also an argument that the drug “doesn’t work safely enough to justify its approval:” Women who took the drug during clinical trials reported a 37% increase in sexual desire, which averaged out to not even two more “satisfying sexual experiences” per month. The boost over the placebo group was even smaller.

It’s expected that Addyi will be covered under most health insurance plans, requiring a co-pay, and will inhabit a price range similar to that of Viagra. The drug should hit the market as soon as October (i.e. less than two months), with some outlets reporting an exact date of Oct. 17th.

I have to say, I’m really curious to see how this will do. I want to see how well it’ll perform (heh) sales-wise, and how many women report the side effects. But most of all, I want to see how this drug will influence the female-desire drugs that will surely come after it.