Monday, December 22, 2008

Internet-based Prevention Protocols Wiki - Style!

The National Guidelines for Internet Interventions have found their home on a wiki managed by consultant Stephan Adelson. The materials, the culmination of several long years of collecting, re-writing, updating and finessing, include documents and guidelines critical to those of us in public health using technology to prevent STDs and HIV.

Finally, all the good stuff together again in one place! Kind of like your dream version of the holidays. You have your Turkey (Executive Summary), your mashed potatoes (Guidelines for working with a variety of hook-up sites) and a variety of pies (freshly baked internet partner services guidelines) AND (hot off the rack Internet outreach guidelines).

And, most importantly, this wiki will not go down in history (like Columbus!)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thin or Thick - let's let the ladies decide

I love reading the East Bay Express, although I almost never get around to reading it when it first hits the stands.

This particular story is about condoms - yes, that's right - the condom wars are on and hanging! No little thing (get it, "little thing") either, because this particular showdown is happening in our own backyard. Berkeley's own Mayer Laboratories Kimono Condoms are considered the #1 best thin condoms on the worldwide market- beating out long-time contenders Trojan and Durex.

So what's the big deal - thin condoms, thin crust pizza, I know what I like. What struck me as interesting was the way that Mayer Laboratories has positioned their product - they market the condoms towards a woman's sensibility. Whereas Trojan and Durex talk about "magnum XL" and "thick and ribbed", which make most men feel "powerful", Mayer actually takes a spin from a women's perspective. Women have ranked the light, silky and smooth feel of Kimono condoms superior to their old school competitors.

So whatcha say - if you're gonna wear a condom, and that goes for the ladies, too - since we have a few tricks down our pants as well (wink, wink) I would prefer thin, light and silky to ribbed and rugged - isn't the world a wonderful place - choice for the masses.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Redefine Abortion? Put Your Foot Down Via Online Petition

It's an epic bummer to realize that this new era of Obama led change that we've all been so looking forward to will be wrapped up with undoing the last 8 years of Bush era legislation – particularly around sex education and abortion rights.

Bush being the sneaky sneaky lame duck he is has tried to pass "a regulation establishing a 'right of conscience' allowing medical staff to refuse to participate in any practice they object to on moral grounds, including abortion but possibly birth control and other health care". Surprised? We're not.

Needless to say passing such legislation would be problematic for many, because who wants their doctor to have the ability to refuse an individual medical care based on their personal rather than professional objections? Let's fight back with the peeps over at Planned Parenthood Action Center by digitally signing and circulating this petition that aims to "Tell the Bush Administration to Keep its Word: Stop Efforts to Redefine "Abortion" to Include Birth Control".

Friday, December 12, 2008

Standing up for Women of the World

I would to introduce you to this phenomenal organization, FCI, Family Care International.

Founded in 1987 by Jill Sheffield, FCI has been focused on delivering quality maternal health care in countries where women are still second-class designates.

"FCI envisions a world where no woman suffers preventable injury or death from pregnancy or childbirth related causes, and in which all people are able to enjoy their sexual and reproductive health and rights. "

FCI publishes workbooks and teaching materials on a variety of topics aimed at empowering women's sexual health rights and responsibilities. Some great tools here, CD-Roms and teaching manuals that bring to light the historical, political and religious influences that are impacting women around the world.

Wow! It always amazes me how women in the United States feel that we, as a group, have no voice or power. Take a trip to Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa (countries where FCI has offices) or any other third world country and truly have your eyes opened. I'm not even talking second class citizen, try maybe third or fourth class! And to think that we hear in the U.S. don't even realize how much work needs to be done to bring our sisters along side us.

FCI staffs eight field offices, and spends over two-thirds of its budget on strengthening reproductive health programs in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. FCI creates tools and resources to strengthen services in more than 100 countries.

FCI reminded me that we truly are a global village - that women everywhere are being compromised and yet we still persevere in spite of it all.....BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Student-Run, University- Based Sex Zines Say Wha?

The prevalence of university-based, student-run sex zines is on the rise. And we're thankful for it. Rice University via Open magazine (which also hosts some pretty steamy content) is just one of the few who have rolled out a "sex-trivia pub night" with the goal of getting students to talk honestly about their sexuality in a time where sexual health information is restricted by religious groups. Students break into teams and answer "erotically charged questions". The most sexually knowledgeable team wins a $20 tab at the on-campus, student-run hang out. How cool is that?

It's fair to say that we would love to see more of these sex trivia nights spring up on university campus' around the country, to not only get young people talking about their sexuality but to also engage them in a dialogue around sexual health. The more comfortable one is with their sexuality, the more at ease they feel when sexually based questions arise that need answers stat. We can only hope that more universities and their zines follow suit and drop us a line when they do!

Friday, December 5, 2008

In the Life (ITL-TV) pays homage to AIDS

On my never ending quest to entertain and inform, I got an email message giving me a heads up to a new public television program called In the Life - new to me that is.

Broadcast nationally for more than 16 years, IN THE LIFE has been a staple of public television. Since 1992 IN THE LIFE has been a essential tool for informing LGBT citizens, educating the broader public, and a vital contributor to the national dialogue on LGBT issues. Their mission is to reach the largest audience possible to educate, challenge, and inspire viewers from all walks of life.

This month's IN THE LIFE looks at the current state of HIV/AIDS and the continuing effort to educate and communicate the peril it still presents. The episode AIDS IS STILL A BIG DEAL arose out of the research of two NY Public Health professionals and New York University has produced an innovative web-based campaign telling the story of a young gay man in New York City who meets sex partners on the Internet.

A change in attitude can lead to a change in behavior. After watching the episode I realized how easy it is to "opt out" of being responsible for my own health. This segment really brought the message home, its my responsibility to ask what I need to know - to ensure I know my status is before I go any further than first base.

To find out the station and time IN THE LIFE airs on in your community, click here. Check it out, there are episodes from past shows as well and who knows, you might even find yourself going to changing your attitude as to how you handle your affairs.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Microsoft Helps Teachers Get Digital

The classroom is often the site for stimulating innovation but unfortunately the tools used are not that innovative. Kids are beyond bored by the current teaching methods and are prohibited from using their cell phones, laptops and other emerging tech goodies that are components of their daily lives. Instead of banning technology from classrooms, teachers and administrators from preschool to college should consider integrating it as education aids since they are platforms that kids and young adults feel the most at home and engaged with, especially when it comes to sex education.

Microsoft explored how schools are failing to adapt to their students’ digital lifestyles at their School of the Future World Summit in Seattle. Microsoft also showed off some of their projects that aim to remedy the digital disconnect, like their “content-creation tools” for teachers to assemble digital content for students and a Surface tabletop computer that could revolutionize how information is presented and absorbed.

Microsoft’s School of the Future World Summit has planted the seeds to get educators thinking about embracing technology in the classroom. Imagine if homework assignments could be sent from the teachers “content-creation tool” directly to youth’s cell phones (so there’s no excuse for them not to get their assignments done) or if they could display critical sexual health information and diagrams on those sexy Surface tabletop computers.