Questions around lubricant safety might finally get an answer

Global coalition of organizations and individuals calls for research agenda to determine safety of sexual lubricants
Over 500 organizations and individuals from nearly 60 countries have endorsed a Global Call to Action on Lubricant Safety. They all demand answers on whether sexual lubricants are safe for vaginal and anal intercourse. As the Call to Action points out, there are more questions than answers about the safety of sexual lubricants, and there are concerns that some of the products available on store shelves and at community-based organizations worldwide may actually cause harm.

Tailor ARV-based HIV prevention strategies in local contexts: Report

To make an impact on new HIV infections globally, antiretroviral (ARV)-based HIV prevention strategies need to be closely tailored to local contexts and cultures, according to a new report released by RAND Europe and AIDS Foundation of Chicago. "Mapping Pathways: Developing Evidence-Based, People-Centred Strategies for the Use of Antiretrovirals as Prevention provides an important resource to help communities, prevention programmers, funders and policymakers decide whether, and how, an ARV-based strategy could work in their locality," said Jim Pickett, director of prevention advocacy at AIDS Foundation of Chicago and project director.

PrEP works when taken consistently: new study results among IDUs

Results from the Bangkok Tenofovir Study published online in The Lancet provide additional evidence that daily oral tenofovir-based pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) reduces HIV infection risk when taken consistently. The results from the study - the first conducted among people who inject drugs - are consistent with previous studies among men and women primarily at risk of acquiring HIV through sex. They provide additional support for moving forward to ensure that people who can benefit from PrEP have access to it.

Dying in bits by smoking

Okeoghene Oghenekaro, Nigeria
(First published in News Agency of Nigeria, on 5 June 2013): Dr Kingsley Osagie, a consultant physician/pulmonologist at the National Hospital, Abuja, believes that for every stick of cigarette smoked, between five and seven minutes of the smoker’s life are cut. Alarmist as this may sound, it is quite logical, as health experts also say that whenever a smoker takes a puff on a cigarette; he or she is gradually moving towards the grave. Osagie says that Nigerian men often start smoking earlier in life than women, adding that it is estimated that a smoker could lose up to seven to 14 years of his or her life-span because of the habit.

Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (MPTs) in spotlight at Women Deliver

Dr Nomita Chandhiok,ICMR
Bobby Ramakant - CNS
We are, perhaps, more likely to use a single product to simultaneously protect ourselves against unintended pregnancies and a wide range of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV than to use different products to meet our specific needs. Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (MPTs) have been around for many years such as male and female condoms although their poor utilization has been of deep concern. There is a growing mandate globally to push for more investment in research and development of new, safe and effective MPTs. This makes more sense in terms of public health and getting most value of every dollar spent.

Investment needed to accelerate progress on sexual and reproductive health and rights

Bobby Ramakant - CNS
In the region of Asia and the Pacific - though there has been continued progress towards fulfilling the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action (PoA) – progress in sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality is unacceptably slow and inconsistent, calling for urgent prioritization and investment. The Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA) launched a latest publication at Women Deliver 2013 to strengthen investments for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in Asia and the Pacific. This publication, "Resource Flows for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Asia and the Pacific: Gaps and Opportunities" highlights the striking disparities both between and within countries in this region.

Most biogas plants tell a dark tale of neglect in Bharawan

Surabhi Agarwal
(First published in The Hindustan Times on 5th June 2013): Despite acute power shortage in rural areas, varying levels of poverty and impoverishment, why is, government's heavily subsidized programme to encourage people in rural areas to install biogas and manure plants for renewable energy production, not an outstanding success? Engineer Surabhi Agarwal, MTech from IIT Kanpur, studied biogas plants installed in the past decade or more in four villages of Bharawan block in Hardoi district in 2013 to find the status of these plants, record experiences and challenges if any. She presented her study findings in a meeting held in Giri Institute of Development Studies in Lucknow.

Asthma deaths to increase in the next 10 years - WHO

 Moses Wasamu, Kenya
(First published in The Star, Kenya on 27th May 2013): Asthma deaths will increase by almost 20 per cent in the next 10 years if urgent action is not taken, the World Health Organisation says. At the moment, WHO says over 80 per cent of asthma deaths occur in low and lower-middle income countries. Sharlene (not her real name), a Nairobi resident, understands the challenges associated with asthma only too well. She was diagnosed with asthma in childhood. Due to her condition, she cannot participate in vigorous activities like sports that require a lot of energy, or carry heavy loads.

To smoke or not to smoke...

Carolyn Kavita Tauro - CNS
'Tobacco kills nearly half its consumers'! “That can't be possible,” exclaimed Tesh (name changed) as his friend read out one of the new posters pasted at a bus stop. In most countries No Tobacco Day went by just like any other day, with probably just as many smokes up in flames. How much do we know about this much used substance Tobacco? 

Types of Tobacco consumption

The different forms of consuming tobacco around the world include the cigarette, cigar, cigarillo and little cigar, dissolvable tobacco, electronic cigarette, beedi, roll your own, hookah, kreteks, the pipe, the french inhale and vaporiser, passive smoking and other forms of smokeless tobacco including paan, gutkha, mawa, chewable tobacco, snuff, snus, spit tobacco and dips among others.

Section 4(1)(b) of RTI Act and Janta Soochna Kendra (JSK) in focus

[हिन्दी] Shailendra Kumar, a Masters student at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and Mudit Shukla, a volunteer with Lucknow-based organisation Asha Parivar, addressed a press conference at Lohia Mazdoor Bhawan on status of implementation of Section 4(1)(b) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, in Uttar Pradesh; and on the functioning of Janta Soochna Kendra (JSK or public information centres) respectively.

‘Invisible’ births are major roadblock in government's planning process for children

Kulsum Mustafa - CNS
In UP the child sex ratio is 904 per thousand and 899 for 0-6 years. The national figure is 954:  Like in all other development indicators, Uttar Pradesh also lags behind in the child birth registration. While only 67.08% children in the state get their birth registered in the government records, out of this it is a very miniscule percentage which actually are issued the birth registration certificate. Unknown to the child and his parents this lack of data puts the child in the ‘invisible’ category and it becomes a big hurdle in getting a correct picture of the number of children born and living, greatly affecting planning. The process of registration is governed by the 1969 national Act of Registration of Births and Deaths.

That expensive cooker might just save your life

Diana Wangari, Kenya 
(First published in The Star, Kenya on 25 May 2013): By the time the cock crows, Sarah Wambui is already up and in the kitchen preparing breakfast. Contrary to the usual modern kitchen where tea is boiling on the cooker or for those fortunate enough, the coffee maker is on, she places her pot on top of three stones with firewood underneath which is her designated ‘cooker’. Furthermore, her kitchen is a mud hut built a few meters away from the main house perhaps to shield any guest from the thick smoke emanating from it. It is in this make shift kitchen that I found her busy blowing into the flame using a steel pipe to keep the fire going.