Anti-HIV Gel May Empower Women in the Fight Against AIDS
The FDA has put an anti-HIV vaginal gel called VivaGel on the fast track for approval. Women can apply the gel vaginally in the hours before intercourse to prevent HIV and genital herpes. If trials go smoothly, VivaGel may be commercially available as early as 2008, making it the first anti-HIV microbicide on the market.
After plateauing in the 1990s, US HIV infection rates are on the rise again, especially among African-American women. Part of the rising infection rates are due to the fact that women in the US still face pressure from male partners who do not want to wear condoms, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, United Press International reports. Because women can hide microbicide use from their partners, microbicides would provide a way for women to protect themselves “without bowing to male dictates,” said UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS Stephen Lewis in a speech adapted for Ms. magazine.
Once approved in the US, VivaGel could be made available internationally at an affordable price, says the NIH. Rates of infection in developing countries are disproportionately high among women. In South Africa, four times as many women as men under 24 are HIV-positive.
“[W]hen the landscape is so bleak,” said Lewis, “the prospect of a microbicide in five to 10 years is intoxicating.”
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .
10/29/2014 Georgia Court Refuses to Recognize 40K Voter Registrations From Primarily People of Color and Young People - A state court judge on Tuesday refused to order the Georgia Secretary of State to add some 40,000 voters to the voter rolls, potentially disenfranchising thousands of African Americans and other people of color in the state.
Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR), the New Georgia Project and the Georgia branch of the NAACP asking the court to force Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) to process an estimated 40,000 "missing" voter registrations.
More than 100,000 voters were registered by the three groups, but about a third of those registered never made the rolls. . . .