Category Archives: In The News

Pill to Reduce the Risk of HIV, but Not Without a Condom!

For the first time in history, the FDA has officially approved a drug shown to reduce the risk of contracting HIV.  According to USA Today, the pill Truvada is approved as a preventative measure for people who are at high-risk of contracting the disease through sexual activity, like those with partners who are HIV positive.  The drug was already on the market as a way to manage the virus for people living with HIV.

Since 2010, studies have reported that a daily dose of Truvada helps reduce the risk of transmission by 42% in non-heterosexual men, but of course this is not without the use of the ol’ condom.  It seems no drug can surpass the protectiveness of this genius invention.  Another study found that the Truvada reduced transmission by 75% among heterosexual couples, again accompanied with counseling and condoms, USA Today reports.  FDA approval for this new use of Truvada will likely increase prescriptions.  And it comes as timely news for the International AIDS Conference in Washington this month- the first time it’s been hosted in the U.S. in 22 years due to the Obama administration lifting the two decade ban that prevented people living with HIV to enter the country.

Still, there are HIV/AIDS activists who reacted to this news with cautious optimism.  Some worry about a false sense of security that may arise with the prescription.  Roland Johnson of the AIDS United told Linda Vilarosa from The Root news that while this is a step in the right direction, it is not a silver bullet. “…This isn’t something that you can take every once in a while when you’re going out. It does not replace safer sex and must be used in conjunction with consistent practices, including condom usage.”

This comes at a time when public, private, government and non-government organizations join together this month to re-engage in the fight to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  According to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 1.2 million in the U.S. live with HIV and one in five of American do not know about their infection.  The AIDS epidemic continues to affect more than 34 million people worldwide, of which over two million are children under the age of 15. According to the United Nations, there were 1.7 million AIDS-related deaths last year, down from 2.3 million in 2005.

The Truvada pill is part of a medical strategy known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrPE, to reduce the spread of the disease.  How this pill will be accessed  and made available, and how it is used across different communities around the world is yet to be understood.

Willful Ignorance of HIV Alienates 4 Year Old from Pre School

abacusIt is startling that in 2012 it’s possible to ignite hysteria and spread ignorance about risks of transmitting HIV in public places.  A daycare in Northland, New Zealand has removed a four year old boy from their Center because he is HIV positive.  According to the NZ Herald, just 48 hours after the mother told the daycare that her son is HIV positive the Center prevented the child from returning until they establish a care plan.

However, the NZ AIDS Foundation and senior health officials have stated that there is no need for a “care plan” because the level of the virus in the child’s blood is so low it undetectable and cannot be transmitted, NZ Hearald reports.  Nonetheless, the Center has responded by sending letters to all the parents that their children have been exposed to HIV, resulting in hysteria across some communities. TV 3NEWs Campbell Live reports that now parents at a school attended by the child’s older siblings are “raising fears about contamination even though the siblings don’t have HIV!”

Campbell Live confirmed on 9 May that neither the Ministry of Education or senior health officials have been able to persuade the daycare that there is no risk to any of the children or staff as a result of contact with the infected child.  In an interview with the NZ AIDS Foundation executive director, Shaun Robinson explained that professionals with the AIDS Foundation and the child’s doctors have attempted to meet with the daycare and explained that there is no risk.  “[The center has] been very well informed…[but have] chosen instead to act completely irresponsibly…It’s a case of willful ignorance – not just gross ignorance but willful ignorance – which is leading adults to essentially bully and pick on a 4-year-old boy.”

The Day Care has now taken legal action against the NZ AIDS Foundation over allegations of expelling the child from the Center.  Meanwhile, the boy has been accepted into another Day Care and will commence education in July 2012.

Whether allegations of expulsion are true or false, the point is that the community responded in fear and exclusion of the boy and his family.  In responds to this story of ignorance and discrimination, we’ve complied facts about HIV/AIDS transmission that any parent and child care professional should know.  Knowledge is power.  If everyone understood these basic facts there should be no alarm.

BASIC FACTS: Caring for Children with HIV/AIDS

How is the virus transmitted?  1) Congenital and perinatal transmission is the most common way children are infected.  This is when HIV is transmitted  from the infected mother to her child during pregnancy, labor, or delivery (Child Care Law Center, 2005: 3).  According to the CDC, transmission rates have dropped due in part by HIV testing of pregnant women, antiretroviral drugs, and cesarean delivery before the onset of labor.  However, perinatal exposure still occurs.

2) Blood transfusions have infected children.  According to the American Red Cross, today the risk of receiving HIV positive blood through a blood transfusion is about 1 in 2,000,000.

3) HIV can only be transmitted through certain bodily fluids (blood and semen).  HIV cannot be transmitted from saliva, nasal mucus, tears, urine, feces, sweat, vomit or breast milk.  In the child care setting, blood is the main type of bodily fluid which requires standard and universal precautions.

4) There are no reported cases of HIV transmission through daily household contact, like food preparation, eating, hugging, kissing, sharing toys, diapering.  Even biting has never resulted in HIV transmission.

A child with HIV or AIDS poses virtually no risk to the health of other children or adults, especially when standard precautions are taken on a regular basis with all children.  Without taking these simple routine precautions, children are far more likely to contract blood-borne or fecal-borne diseases like hepatitis B and hepatitis C, pinworms, giardia, and common diarrhea than HIV (Child Care Law Center, 2005: 4).

Read the Child Care Law Center pdf for further information about universal infection control measures, child care legal responsibilities to admit and care for a child with HIV/AIDS and issues of confidentiality regarding the child’s status.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention‘s website has extensive pediatric information on HIV/AIDS.

Image credit: OneTwo

 

Talking Back At AdSense Policy Against “Adult Content”

Condom Monologues and other websites dedicated to safe sexual well-being are excluded by default from Google’s AdSense program because we are “sexual in intent or may not be considered family-safe, such as sexual aids, devices and fetishes”.  In their policy, AdSense bans “adult content” that include “SOME treatments of topics such as sexual health and sexual tips or advice, and yet websites like Ashley Madison, which encourages cheating partners and affairs gets huge promotions.  See their policy here.

Recently, one of those websites, Hot Ice Project, wrote an open letter to Google about the hypocrisy of AdSense.  Hot Ice Inc. writes, “…we thought we will be helping women interested in latest feminine hygiene products and marital aid items… And yes, comfort tampons, female condoms, dildoes, vibrators, lubricants, sex education tapes, butt plugs and cock rings ARE perfectly legitimate marital aid products.  Millions and millions of people around the world use those. Annual sales of 14.3 billion dollars with double digit growth rate cannot possibly be supported by few perverts hovering in dark alleys.”  Read full letter here.

Hot Ice Inc is an online store that premiers women novelty products.  In such a male-dominated industry of dildos and vibrators, it is one of the only blogs where women can discuss their needs, seek advise and shop.  Their products include lubricants, female condoms, stringless tampons and advice on how to safely use them, as well as a line dedicated to wedding nights and honeymoons.  In an interview with M.O., Founder and CEO Luba Ilyasova says that in her years of working in finance, she has never faced the kind of stigma and penalties that are associated with being labeled “adult business”.

We agree that in the funny world of sex know-how, what gets censored or silenced contributes to ignorance- a leading cause of STIs, HIV/AIDS, sexual cancers, unwanted pregnancies, gender and sexual abuse, sexuality discrimination, low self-worth….Who determines what is appropriate and inappropriate content affects the kind of exposure online communities receive.  But what is the solution to the problem?  Is it time for AdSense to refine their “mature content” policy?

 

Funny Condom Video: What Goes On With Toilet Graffiti?

I’m sure you have all been into bathrooms sporting a variety of obscene, funny and philosophical graffiti. But what exactly goes on when we turn our backs and leave the bathroom?

Well, according to this ad, even graffiti needs protection if it wants to get a look in!

This is quite funny.  We would love to know your thoughts!

We must warn the video is fairly explicit with cartoon depiction’s of intercourse!

This is the first of what will hopefully be a weekly series with a new funny condom video being featured each and every week.

Pope approves use of condoms

Pope approves use of condoms This week Pope Benedict approved the use of condoms.

The news comes from a book that will be published by the Vatican in the coming week and has a face to face interview (the first) with the current Pope. He talks about a few interesting things but particularly the stance on condoms is something that many liberal Catholics have been pushing for for years.

The view that contraception of any kind to stop the creation of life however is still held but the relaxation towards the use of condoms has come for the reason of using a condom in the case of fighting HIV. He said that in some cases it is now acceptable and some believe this is to help try and spread responsible condom use throughout Africa where HIV is possibly at it’s highest although he made it clear that abstinence is the best policy.

Pope approves use of condoms, what we think?

Obviously the fact that the Vatican still disapproves of condoms at all in this modern world astounds us but of course any relaxation is welcomed and maybe this is signalling a general change in the right direction. Many liberal Catholics already openly use birth control for controlling birth and hopefully the movement will lead the Catholic church to eventually adjust it’s whole ideology regarding these matters.

I personally feel that too many children are born in the world as it is and if the condom can really help stop just a few more orphans from growing up in terrible unloved surroundings then how can it be responsible to condemn the condom. The Catholic church has effectively told people to stop having sex to slow spread of disease and unwanted child births but people obviously are not listening in areas where it is most needed so they have to change their stance eventually.

I would love to know what your thoughts on this story are?

Cheeky London Sperm Bank Rebrand…. A Great Step Forward…

We concentrate a lot of stopping sperm from reaching the egg here at CM (Condom Monologues 😉 ) but for many, getting a sperm to fertilize an egg is their main priority. Sperm donation is a very important service and it helps many people.

So I thought it would be cool to take a quick peak at London Sperm Bank’s modern but cheeky new branding.

This new branding is an excellent step forward in my eyes and will really help to pull away sperm donation in London from being a taboo subject or a subject of complete mockery. By showing a small sense of humor, but keeping a modern look, they are addressing the funny side of things and showing people a friendly public face.

I learned about this new design from The Drum and I think Silk Pierce have done stellar Job.

If you have a few spare sperms floating around why not put them to a good cause…. Visit the London Sperm Bank Website.

What do you think about this? Is it a good re-design? Does it change anything? Also what do you think about sperm donations?

The power of condoms, especially when invisible!

There has been discussions by critics, such as women’s rights groups and HIV/AIDs activists, that this invention has the potential to provide more agency to women who may have little access to, or are forbidden to use condoms.  Known as the “invisible condom”, this new technology works as a gel in the form of liquid, which is introduced into the vagina.  It’s transparent, colorless, orderless and is said not to be felt by either the woman or her partner.

This invisible condom has been under study for 17 years and is currently being tested in human trails run by Laval University in Quebec.  Basically, it is a gel containing microbiocides that act as a barrier to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.  Plus, with a bit of spermicide, it can be used to prevent pregnancy.  Thus far, the invisible condom has shown to be effective for at least two hours if stored at room temperature.
The temperature required for its effectiveness is the current trouble for researchers.  As Dr Michel Alary, an AIDS specialist for Laval University told BBC News back in 2000, “the extremely high temperatures in sub-Saharan African countries could prevent the gel working there if it requires room temperature to be effective. Refrigerators are not readily available for most women in the area, which has one of the highest rates of AIDS in the world.”  More recent news on the research website  does not state that this problem has been overcome yet.
Nonetheless, the purpose of this research is tremendous- demanding women have more control over their bodies; providing more negotiating power against AIDS and STIs- these are the social subjects that surround the discussion.  But certainly, there are more individuals and social groups that can benefit from this invisible condom than what mainstream news has acknowledged: Lesbians and gay men, sex workers, teens, refugees, to name a few.  Once this condom becomes available, new benefits and uses will arise, as this is common of new technology.  According to WebMD, the World Health Organization hopes to supply subsidies for low-income countries.  For North America and Europe, it should be the same price or cheaper than a male latex condom.

Spray-On Condom

A new solution for the infamous condom-shape-and-size question:  The Spay On Condom.

Spray-On Condom model
Image from Inventorspot.com

The Spray On Condom was inspired by spray-on plaster technology used in medicine.  This is how it works:  The penis is inserted into a cylinder chamber.  Then one pushes a button and a pump squirts liquid latex from all sides onto the penis in about 10 seconds (although the companies involved, Condom Consultancy with Vinicoand Qualo Design, have claimed that they can reduce the time to 5 seconds).  The rubber dries instantly once sprayed on and can be removed just like a regular condom.
Now, “Spray On” does not necessarily mean that the absence of a wrapper will solve the mood-breaker problem some people experience.  There is a machine involved.  And according to InventorSpot, it hisses.  Instead, the theoretical advantage is that the latex will form to one’s unique shape and size, as opposed to typical condoms which are tailored to a public average of 5.7in length, 4.7in penis circumference.
The Spray-On Condom is still going through human trails.  Reseachers remain to have problems with the latex spraying on evenly.

A New Sales Pitch: From Purse to Penis Fahion Accesories

proper attire

Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a sexual and reproductive health care provider, is receiving a percentage of proceeds from a new condom line called Proper Attire TM. What’s unique about these condoms are its stylish packaging, from pastels to polka dots to Victorian-like fig leaf print. Also new is its exclusionary retail. Sold only at boutique shops and selective hotels for $6.00 +, its mostly middle-upper class Dandies that are buying. According to Planned Parenthood News Room this new condom strategy hopes to make it cool for women to carry condoms.
“Social taboos make some women embarrassed to buy and carry condoms. That’s why PROPER ATTIRETM was created,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “With its fashionable wrapping, women will now have the option to choose the right ‘attire’ for that special occasion.”
I’m unsure how to feel about targeting women to buy condoms through the superficial rhetoric of fashion. In an attempt to debunk the stereotype that men are the condom-holders, Proper Attire seems to be investing in another gender stereotype. Furthermore, its posh prices and locale reduces accessibility.
Would it not be more proper for condom lines to focus on effectiveness, comfort, and accessibility rather than just pretty packaging?
Nonetheless, it is obvious that Proper Attire’s aim is to make condoms widely appealing and socially acceptable. Perhaps it is better to have a variety of choices- contraceptives feeding a range of taste, cohorts, and occasions… however those demographics are marketed. Perhaps the cause predominates its means, particularly for the non-profit.