Jul. 2nd, 2009

joreth: (Bad Computer!)
So, right on the heels of my rant about disclosing STD status, I see an article about a website taking "disclosure" way too far.


The website, which I won't link to because I don't want to give them any traffic, allows people to list *other people's STD status* on a public website.

Now, first I want to say that if people were honest about their STD status, then people wouldn't feel so violated as to act out in revenge by listing personal information publicly.

But understandable feelings of violation aside, this just isn't right.  

First of all, it's a violation of privacy, and the First Amendment does not cover public disclosure of private medical records.  

Second of all, there's no proof necessary.  Anyone can list anyone else.  The burden of proof is totally on the person who gets accused.  Which, of course, requires revealing private medical information.

There is a whole section just on complaints levied against this website, filled with stuff like "that was listed by my ex-girlfriend, I don't have an STD!" and "my husband doesn't have an STD, that complaint was made by an angry co-worker".

I often post the usernames and correspondences of people who are arschfickers and who seek me out to harass me.  But I do *not* post their real names, home addresses, or private medical records.  I have maintained the confidences of former partners even after bad breakups because it's the right thing to do.  

Clearly, my heart goes out to anyone who has ever been suckered, especially when it involves things like illnesses.  It's a terrible, terrible thing to have been infected without making the choice to be exposed.  But posting someone's medical information on a public website is not the answer.  And accusing someone of an STD when they don't have one out of some other sense of revenge is truly reprehensible.

And don't forget, court documents are a matter of public record.  If your sense of violation really requires vengence, go for a lawsuit instead.
joreth: (Misty in Box)

The USDA has approved the first new vaccine to protect dogs from the H3N8 flu virus.

The virus evidently first jumped from horses to dogs about five years ago and is particularly lethal for canines with a pushed-in nose, like a pug.

Scientists believe the virus circulated in horses for decades before a series of mutations spurred the jump to dogs. Among the canines that are infected, five percent die. And that's a high rate. The deadly 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic killed two percent of its victims.

When Dr. Crawford began studying it in January 2004, it had come to her notice as a mysterious cough and pneumonia that killed a third of the greyhounds at a Florida dog track. By the next year, she had found it in seven states and had shown that it could be passed by dogs who just rubbed noses on the street or shared a water dish, and that humans could carry it on their clothes.

It has now been found in 30 states, but almost exclusively in settings where dogs live closely together: shelters, pet stores, kennels and dog schools. Because the owners of these establishments have learned to turn away sick dogs just as school principals facing swine flu send home sick children, the disease’s progress has been slowed.

Just as obesity has proved dangerous to human flu victims because of the weight on their chests, being bred to have a short, bent respiratory tract is dangerous for dogs.

“It really puts a strain on their ability to breathe,” Dr. Crawford said. “They can’t move air in and out of their lungs.”
joreth: (Misty in Box)
I have some Constant Readers out there who share their lives with animals, hence today's postings about dogs and horses.


Apparently, horses can catch HPV. It's known as aural plaques and is spread to them through biting flies and affects their ears (the link has a picture). It is extremely resistent to treatment and causes some horses to become very head-shy and difficult to bridle.

But in a recent study, doctors used 5% strength imiquimod cream (marketed as Aldera) to treat aural plaques (which is typically used on humans to treat HPV warts) on 16 horses and the lesions cleared up on all 16 horses.  They were treated 3 times a week on alternate weeks for 6 weeks to 8 months and the lesions only returned on 2 horses after 12 months.

Unfortunately, it's expensive.  A 2-month supply costs $250.  The horses ears became sensitive during treatment and they didn't like the crusties scraped off, and the cream caused an inflamatory response.  However, after treatment, the horses' whose ears were bothering them before treatment all improved, got less head-shy, less ear-sensitive, and easier to bridle.  

Says one doctor, "Luckily they seem to forgive us!"
joreth: (Super Tech)
With billboards and commercials aimed at low-income populations to try and correct some of their low-income problems, it surprises me how few people know that vasectomies are available for a reasonable price.

One of the many, many problems contributing to poverty is the difficulty in regulating the size of the family. When people don't have money for healthcare, people don't know how to control the size of their families, and in a post-agricultural society, children are no longer assets, but liabilities.

So it benefits both the individual family and the governmental agencies aimed at providing assistance (and therefore the taxpayers who contribute) to offer low-cost options to help limit procreation. This is why Planned Parenthood just gives out condoms for free (preventing disease follows the same benefits).

But female sterilization is complicated and expensive because of the intrusive nature of the surgery.

Male sterilization is much more simple, easier on the patient and the doctor, and cheaper. Plus, a single male can produce more offspring than a single female. So it should be obvious that it is in the government's best interest to offer low-cost/free vasectomies.

And, coincidentally, the government health agencies and other socially-conscious agencies agree!

So I'm posting a few links to a few resources here in the Orlando area for low-cost vasectomy options, much like I have posted in the past for low-cost STD testing options. For people who are not in the Orlando area, hopefully this will at least make people aware of the option and do some research in their own areas.

http://www.vasweb.com/Vasectomy/Kissimmee_PCC.htm - $490 no-needle, no-scalpel
http://www.ppgo.org/clinic/vasectomy - $350 - $1000 depending on local Planned Parenthood office, plus many offer cost on a sliding-scale.
http://www.doh.state.fl.us/family/famplan/whatsright.html#ms - I can't find cost info at the website, but I did send an email asking for more information.  However, the county also offers vasectomy services and they're typically low-cost because that's their target audience.  I'll update that when I get a response.

So, there ya go men, it's cheaper, simpler, and safer for men to get vasectomies and there are low-cost options available everywhere.  And if $500 is a steep price to pay, I'm going to suggest that the cost of an abortion or raising an unplanned kid isn't any cheaper (for the record, an abortion in Orlando costs roughly $450 or more and is only available at 2 locations).

Of course, vasectomies are not the answer for everyone.  Most people want to have children someday, just not today, and there are lots of temporary preventative measures available that I'll be happy to talk about elsewhere. 

But, for the men who are done having children or who never want to have children, a vasectomy is a pretty reliable method that a person only has to do once and he never has to worry about it breaking or whether his female partner is keeping up with her method of birth control.

**Some of you may have noticed that I tagged this with my STI tag.  Of course, pregnancy isn't an infection, but I'm pretty firmly on the position that an unwanted parasite could fall under the umbrella of sexually-transmitted illnesses for the practical purposes of Things To Avoid That Are Caused By Sex and is usually included in safe-sex agreements, the likes of which include things like "don't bring anything home that you can't take back"**


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