Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Repro Health News

Cervical cancer

Steady progress on the development of a cervical cancer vaccine:

A vaccine that could prevent young women from developing most cases of cervical cancer could be on the market within a few years.

Researchers are testing dozens of vaccines against different types of cancer but those that protect women against strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which are linked to more than 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, are the most advanced.

"I believe there will be an HPV vaccine sometime in the next few years," Anne Szarewski, a clinical consultant at Britain's Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine, told journalists.

Results from early trials of two separate vaccines developed by drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline and Merck, which protect against HPV infection, have been promising.


Szarewski said an HPV vaccine would have enormous potential in poor countries where screening is not available.

She is beginning Phase III trials of one of the vaccines in 300 women aged 15-25. The women will be given three doses of the HPV vaccine or a hepatitis A vaccine, which will act as the control.

Abstinence-only sex education

Study finds abstinence-only sex education programs in Texas do not work:

Abstinence-only sex education programs, a major plank in President Bush (news - web sites)'s education plan, have had no impact on teenagers' behavior in his home state of Texas, according to a new study.

Despite taking courses emphasizing abstinence-only themes, teenagers in 29 high schools became increasingly sexually active, mirroring the overall state trends, according to the study conducted by researchers at Texas A&M University.

"We didn't see any strong indications that these programs were having an impact in the direction desired," said Dr. Buzz Pruitt, who directed the study.

The study was delivered to the Texas Department of State Health Services, which commissioned it.


The study showed about 23 percent of ninth-grade girls, typically 13 to 14 years old, had sex before receiving abstinence education. After taking the course, 29 percent of the girls in the same group said they had had sex.

Boys in the tenth grade, about 14 to 15 years old, showed a more marked increase, from 24 percent to 39 percent, after receiving abstinence education.

Amanda has more, and a good discussion in the comments section.

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