The 6 Biggest Sexual Health Stories of 2013

The species that launched a thousand internet memes could help researchers develop an HIV vaccine.
The species that launched a thousand internet memes could help researchers develop an HIV vaccine.
The internet has made it easier for people worldwide to learn about important sexual health issues, from birth control to HIV. And with biotechnology moving ahead rapidly, new discoveries and treatments concerning sexual health are communicated more widely than ever. Here are six of the biggest sexual health stories of 2013.

1. Cats Could Hold a Key to an Effective HIV Vaccine

A study by the University of Florida and the University of California, San Francisco has shown that blood from HIV-positive patients shows an immune response against a feline AIDS virus protein. The feline AIDS virus could be used to discover areas of the human AIDS virus that have anti-HIV T cell activities that could be used in a human HIV vaccine. The feline viral region is believed to be critical, because it doesn’t mutate. Other areas of the AIDS virus used in vaccines could lose effectiveness when the virus mutates, so the stability of this portion of the feline AIDS virus gives researchers hope for finding a similar region on the human AIDS virus for vaccine development.

2. Oral Sex With Numerous Partners Could Raise Throat Cancer Risk

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that people who have oral sex with more than six different partners have 3.4 times the risk of developing throat cancer. The study covered 100 patients recently diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer, and 200 healthy individuals. However, the authors of the study emphasize that there are other more important risk factors for throat cancer than the number of oral sex partners. Smoking is the biggest risk factor, and heavy drinking is another. People who smoke and drink most have the highest risk of developing throat cancer.

3. Sex Addiction Now in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

“Hypersexual disorder” or sex addiction is now included in the DSM-V, the manual published by the American Psychiatric Association, which includes the latest information on and diagnostic criteria for mental disorders. The DSM-V was released in May. An estimated 12 million Americans have the disorder, characterized by obsessive, long-lasting preoccupation with sex that causes self-destructive behavior, despite repeated attempts to stop. Successful treatment of sex addiction typically involves either inpatient or outpatient psychological treatment.

4. Pubic Hair Removal Increases Risk of Molluscum Contagiosum

A study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections suggests that shaving or waxing pubic hair results in micro-trauma to the skin, raising the chance of infection with a pox virus called Molluscum contagiosum. The number of sexually transmitted cases of this disease, which causes pearl-like nodules on the skin, has increased over the past decade, and researchers are trying to figure out why. A study of 30 people with Molluscum contagiosum in France found that 93% of patients had shaved, clipped or waxed their pubic hair.

Sex addiction can ruin relationships, but it can be successfully treated.
Sex addiction can ruin relationships, but it can be successfully treated.
5. Civil Rights for Same-Sex Partners Gained Traction in the US

Two 2013 Supreme Court rulings struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act and upheld a San Francisco court ruling against Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California. The result is that thousands of families now have access to federal rights and benefits previously denied to them. Married same-sex couples living in states allowing same-sex marriage now have access to security and financial benefits that come from being married. Marriage is associated with mental health benefits, with numerous studies showing the positive impact marriage has on a person’s overall health, whether the parties are of the same or different sexes.

6. Pfizer Tries Novel Approach to Fighting Counterfeit Viagra

Pfizer, maker of the blockbuster erectile dysfunction (ED) drug Viagra, began selling the drug directly to patients with prescriptions through its website last spring. This can be seen as a marketing strategy to keep loyal customers as Viagra went off-patent in several European countries this year. But it’s also an effort to curb the sales of counterfeit Viagra, which is an enormous problem throughout the world. Fake Viagra has been found to contain inactive or downright harmful ingredients, and customs officials the world over can only do so much to stop it. Pfizer hopes that by selling Viagra directly to customers it can discourage use of rogue online “pharmacies” that actually sell counterfeit products.

eDrugstore.com sells genuine Viagra and other ED drugs by prescription, shipping quickly and discreetly. eDrugstore.com maintains the highest standards for online ordering, security, and customer privacy, and is HIPAA-compliant.

Photo Credits: gameanna / freedigitalphotos.net, marin / freedigitalphotos.net

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