The CDC has finally given some time bound recommendations to prevent the spread of Zika virus. In particular, they are advising women to wait 8 weeks after Zika infection to attempt pregnancy. Men are advised to wait 6 months before having unprotected sex. Imagine, there is nearly an entire continent of people who are being asked to strictly observe these rules.
Knowledge about Zika is diffusing northward. Nonetheless, about 1 in 3 people in the US think Zika is spread like a cold. Furthermore, 42% do not realize it is sexually transmitted, and 29% do not realize it can be spread through blood transfusions. Seventy five precent do not know of its association with Guillaine Barre syndrome, post viral paralysis. They have obviously not been reading this blog. You know that it can be acquired through a bite from the Aedes Aegyptae mosquito, from sexual contact with an infected person, vertically from mother to child, and also in any manner that is blood borne.
The CDC is working hard to get sources of contraception to Puerto Rico, which is under dire threat from the Zika virus. The CDC has recently ramped up their presence on the island and estimates that 138,000 women there do NOT wish to become pregnant but do NOT have access to birth control.
Democrats in the Colorado House have moved to take away copays for birth control in their state. It still has to pass the House where the GOP holds a one seat majority.
The Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe has vetoed a bill which would have blocked Planned Parenthood Funding in his state. Apparently the bill as written would not affect the ability to provide abortions but would have blocked small state grants for health services like cancer screening and sexually transmitted infections.
The FDA is altering the labelling for the use of “ Mifeprex” the so called abortion pill. It can now be used for up to 70 days after a missed period rather than 49. The new criteria have been approved by the WHO ( World Health Organization), the AMA ( American Medical Association) and ACOG ( American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.) These governing bodies have all cited the need to bring legislative practice into line with available scientific evidence, and this meets this requirement.
I can not help but wonder if this change was hastened by the Zika crisis plaguing the Americas. Because of the specter of the complication of microcephaly in babies born to Zika infected mothers, abortion is under more consideration there than ever before.
Smoking is has been a scourge to all, but it is arguably harder on women than it is on men. Many people do not realize it’s role in fostering cervical cancer. The reason for this is that HPV ( human papilloma Virus) causes cervical cancer by inserting its DNA into the DNA of our cervical cells. Chemicals from smoking makes DNA fragile so that it breaks ( and admits the virus) easily and makes more errors in replication. That is one of the main ways it causes disease including cancer all over the body. A shocking new report has found that smoking while pregnant produces the same DNA mutations in babies as it does in adult smokers. This study was large and considered very authoritative.
New research published in the Journal Circulation has indicated an association between endometriosis and cardiovascular disease. This was an observational study with large numbers, so it does not speak to causality or mechanism. It is nonetheless useful information in that it may prompt more investigation, and even at this early junction, prompt more targeted screening of possibly at risk patients.
Wow this week’s news is rather sobering and somehow all connected. Here’s hoping the week will bring some good news to the world of Women’s Health.