Alternative to Pap Smear May Improve Women's Health in Developing Nations
Two recent studies from the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest that an existing test for human papillomavirus (HPV) could replace the Pap smear as a cancer screen in women over the age of 35.
The authors of a study conducted in South Africa noted that over half of the U.S.'s cervical cancer patients had not been screened within the last 3 years, and indicate that access to Pap smear cancer screening in developing nations is extremely limited. The HPV test is done on self-administered swabs from the cervix, while the Pap smear is conducted on cells scraped from the cervix by a health care provider.
While researchers noted that the HPV test can produce more false positives than the Pap smear, they stressed the ease and wider accessibility of the HPV test. The use of the HPV test as a cancer screen could dramatically lower the death rates from cervical cancer in regions where pelvic examinations along with the Pap smear are unavailable.
Media Resources: Kaiser Daily Health Report, Journal of the American Medical Association Vol. 283 No. 1 and Nando Times - January 5, 2000
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .