Family Court backs parents on removal of gonads from intersex child

The Australian, 7 December 2016
Author: Caroline Overrington
“A five-year-old child who was born genetically male will be raised as a sterilised female after the Family Court agreed to a ­request by the parents to have the child’s gonads removed. Such babies were once, and often erroneously, called hermaphrodites but are today more commonly known as intersex. For much of the 20th century parents were encouraged to assign a gender to them, and then opt for surgery. The court determined that the parents were well within their rights to pursue surgery for the child, and did not have to consult the court.”
Find article here.

European first: Malta bans gay conversion therapy

SBS, 7 December 2016
Author: Ben Winsor
“The Mediterranean Island of Malta has become the first country in Europe to ban ‘gay conversion therapy’, a practice that aims to ‘cure’ homosexuality. Legislation banning the practice was passed unanimously by a parliamentary committee in November, and has now been formally approved. The law imposes penalties of up to 10,000 euros and a year in jail for professionals found offering conversion services, local media reports.”
Find article here.

New AIDS vaccine: ‘Final nail in coffin’ for disease?

Aljazeera, 1 December 2016
Source: AFP
“South Africa has launched a major clinical trial of an experimental vaccine against the AIDS virus, which scientists hope could be the “final nail in the coffin” for the disease. It is one of the biggest clinical trials involving the disease ever undertaken and has revived hopes of a breakthrough in the battle against AIDS.”
Find article here.

Do we have a moral responsibility to compensate for vulnerable groups? A discussion on the right to health for LGBT people

Med Health Care and Philos (2016). doi:10.1007/s11019-016-9750-1
Author: Perihan Elif Ekmekci
“Vulnerability is a broad concept widely addressed in recent scholarly literature. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are among the vulnerable populations with significant disadvantages related to health and the social determinants of health. Medical ethics discourse tackles vulnerability from philosophical and political perspectives. LGBT people experience several disadvantages from both perspectives. This article aims to justify the right to health for LGBT people and their particular claims regarding healthcare because they belong to a vulnerable group.”
Find article here.

UK has highest rates of cocaine use and gonorrhoea in Europe

The Guardian, 24 November 2016
Source: Press Association
“The UK is a European hotspot for cocaine use and gonorrhoea, a new report suggests. Across Europe, 1.9% of young adults aged 15 to 34 report using cocaine in the last year. But in the UK this figure stands at 4.2%, according to the Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 report from the European Commission and the OECD. Out of every 100,000 people in the British population, 60 were found to have the sexually transmitted infection – compared with a European average of 20 cases per 100,000 people.”
Find article here.

Rethinking the Ban — The U.S. Blood Supply and Men Who Have Sex with Men

NEJM, November 16, 2016
Authors: Chana A. Sacks, Robert H. Goldstein, Rochelle P. Walensky
“The ban on donations from men who have sex with men was instituted at a time of public health panic and vast uncertainty, but 31 years later, scientific advances in testing and in understanding of disease transmission offer new tools and better ways than a sweeping ban to minimize the risk of transfusion-related HIV. Thousands of people died from HIV that they contracted from the blood supply, and their memories demand that we not fall victim to the hubris of believing that there will not be emerging threats or new knowledge to be gained. Greatest respect can be paid to the people who died and to this tragic and complicated history not by maintaining outdated policies but by constantly reevaluating and implementing changes in line with what we do know and by advancing science in areas we do not fully understand. We must be committed to empirical rigor in the evaluation of the outcomes of any new policy changes, and in that way we can continue to ensure a safe blood supply for every person, of every community, who may need it.”
Find article here.

Most of 260,000 young Australians with chlamydia STI don’t know

SMH, 14 November 2016
Author: Rania Spooner
“Hundreds of thousands of young Australians are living with a sexually transmitted infection and researchers warn most don’t know they’ve got it. According to the Australian Annual Surveillance Report into sexually transmissible infections and blood-borne viruses, there were an estimated 260,000 new cases of chlamydia in 15 to 29-year-olds by the end of 2015. The report also reveals that despite HIV levels stabilising overall, new infections in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations have continued to rise.”
Find article here.

NHS loses court appeal over ‘game-changing’ HIV drugs

The Guardian, 10 November 2016
Author: Sarah Boseley
“NHS England does have the power to pay for drugs to protect thousands of people against HIV, the appeal court has ruled, but they may still miss out if it decides it does not have enough money to prioritise them over treatments for other conditions. The case was brought by the National Aids Trust (NAT) after NHS England said responsibility for public health, including HIV prevention, had been passed to local authorities.”
Find article here.

The unethical use of ethical rhetoric: the case of flibanserin and pharmacologisation of female sexual desire

J Med Ethics 2016;42:701-704
Authors: Weronika Chanska, Katarzyna Grunt-Mejer
“The current debate around sexual dysfunctions focuses mostly on the pharmacological regulation of lowered sexual desire in women. The Food and Drug Administration approval of the first drug to treat this condition was preceded by a campaign, in which ethically saturated arguments were used to lobby policy makers. This article provides a critical evaluation of these arguments.”
Find article here.

H.I.V. Arrived in the U.S. Long Before ‘Patient Zero’

NYT, 26 October 2016
Author: Donald G. McNeil Jr.
“In the tortuous mythology of the AIDS epidemic, one legend never seems to die: Patient Zero, aka Gaétan Dugas, a globe-trotting, sexually insatiable French Canadian flight attendant who supposedly picked up H.I.V. in Haiti or Africa and spread it to dozens, even hundreds, of other men before his death in 1984. But after a new genetic analysis of stored blood samples, bolstered by some intriguing historical detective work, scientists on Wednesday declared him innocent.”
Find article here.