arvan's picture

New Microbicides Tests for Better Protection Against HIV in Rwanda

A new phase of testing of microbicides, a possible new HIV prevention tool for women, gets underway in Rwanda.

The research is being carried out and tests will begin before the end of the year for the gel microbicide. It is done by Project Ubuzima, an international NGO which promotes reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention, working closely with the Ministry of Health.

Project Ubuzima's Community Outreach manager, Marie-Michele Umulisa, said, that the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) will consider two types of microbicides: a ring and a gel. The latter, being based on anti-retrovirals (ARVs), holds great promise for protection against HIV infection. "Tests for the Gel will start in November. The research is still going on and is now in its second phase, but we are looking forward to phase three which will examine efficacy," she said.

kbster's picture

Getting to Know Regina M. Benjamin

This blog entry originally posted on July 24th at AAUW's blog, Dialog.

Just over a week ago, President Obama announced his nominee for surgeon general, Regina M. Benjamin of Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Benjamin not only has an impressive resume, she also has a remarkable record of providing quality health care, even to those who cannot afford it. According to news reports and Obama’s announcement, Benjamin understands selflessness and true caregiving, and she is a woman of fantastic accomplishments and distinction.

As both the founder and CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic, Benjamin probably knows something about women breaking through barriers in STEM fields as well as business and executive-level posts. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Xavier University in New Orleans and then went on to earn her medical degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Additionally, she earned her M.B.A. from Tulane University.

Benjamin was named one of the “Nation’s 50 Future Leaders Age 40 and Under” by Time magazine. The nomination for surgeon general certainly confirms her ability to lead. Additionally, Benjamin was honored with the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights in 1998, and she was elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees in 1995. Not only was she the first person under 40 to join the board, but she was also the first African American woman to be elected.

arvan's picture

INDONESIA: 'Safe' Abortion Could Put a Brake on Women's Mortality Rates


By Fabio Scarpello

DENPASAR, Indonesia, Aug 24 (IPS) - Women's rights groups who are campaigning for widening the scope of abortion in Indonesia are calling for an amendment to a colonial era law that puts poor women at risk.

Tini Hadad, secretary general of the Association for Women's Health, says Indonesia has one of the world’s highest rates of deaths from unsafe abortions. "This is because the current laws are totally inadequate," she told IPS.

The Association for Women's Health is part of the Women’s Network for a National Legislation Programme, a coalition of some 30 women’s rights groups that has been campaigning for improved family planning services since 2005.

In 2003, a parliamentary commission submitted a draft bill to legalise abortion, but this never made it to parliament. Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, and Muslim leaders have been staunchly opposed to any legalisation of the practice - a viewpoint shared strongly by other religious minorities, especially the Christians.

When the bill was drafted, senior representatives of the then-five officially recognised religions in the country - Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism and Buddhism - issued a rare joint statement in condemnation. Their opposition has continued.

arvan's picture

If I ain't broke, don't fix me

I received a compelling link this morning from OdaRygh on the genital reassignment of children, for cosmetic and social reasoning.  When girls in Africa have their clitoris removed, we call it genital mutilation.  When a boy is born with a small penis and is subsquently subjected to surgery to remove testicles and create a sterile womb - it is done under the auspices of social pressure & male value as determined by penis length. 

Sterility is sterility.  Trauma is trauma.  No choice is no choice.  Please read the full article below.  You can see the entire article with links, here.

There is an detailed and relevant site, focused on a proposed bill to end this practice at



Ethical commentary on gender reassignment: a complex and provocative modern issue
Pediatric Nursing ,  Jan-Feb, 1998  

by Anna J. Catlin 

As ethics editor for Pediatric Nursing, I have examined many difficult ethical issues over the last year in this column. The normal procedure is to choose a manuscript that we have accepted for publication, extensively research the issue, speak to experts in the field, weigh the competing ethical principles, and then come up with a reasoned response. Regarding the issue of gender reassignment, this article provoked me, fascinated me, and confused me simultaneously. The literature was oppositional, experts in the field disagreed, the popular press accounts were sensationalizing. I began to dread writing the response for fear of publishing an inaccurate or incorrect response. Ethics training teaches us to ask the basic moral questions: "What is the good?" and "How do we know?". This commentary is offered with uncertainty, stating what I think may be the good and how I think I know.
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