Introducing the birth control app

Keeping tabs one’s fertility by counting your days is as old school as it gets.

With the advancement in technology, a new app aimed specifically at preventing pregnancy has been developed.

According to The Huffingtonpost, The app called Natural Cycles is reportedly able to identify a woman’s non-fertile days and when she is 99 percent safe to have unprotected sex without conceiving.

Their company’s website states that the app uses statistics and analytics instead of chemicals or surgical procedures in order to prevent pregnancies by helping women pinpoint the handful of days per menstrual cycle when they have the greatest chance of getting pregnant.

The app works by warning the user about her fertile window, the stretch of days before ovulation when she is most fertile.

Women’s resting body temperatures generally rise when they ovulate, and the app uses that information to tell the user when she is ovulating, when she has ovulated and when she is likely to ovulate.

It divides her cycles into “red” days, when she’s more likely to get pregnant having unprotected sex; “green” days, when she’s outside her fertile window; and “yellow” days, when the app is unsure of a user’s fertility status because she hasn’t provided enough data.

According to Natural Cycles, the “green” days are 99 percent safe to have unprotected sex without conceiving.

However experts warn that until the forthcoming study is published, it is too soon to weigh many of the claims about the app’s efficacy. And of course, the app does nothing to protect the user from sexually transmitted infection.

Sierra Leone now has means to control Ebola epidemic: UN

Sierra Leone now has the means to curb the Ebola epidemic, the new head of the UN mission for the fight against the disease and a senior World Health Organization official said.

“Sierra Leone is in much better shape today to control Ebola than it was a few weeks ago,” UN Ebola mission chief Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said at a press conference in the capital Freetown Friday, on his first visit to the west African countries ravaged by the outbreak.

“From everything I’ve seen so far, I am optimistic that Sierra Leone can get by,” he said, though he warned it would require “considerable effort by all”.

WHO deputy head Bruce Aylward said it was his fifth trip to the country and that on the previous four it was clear that Sierra Leone could not stop Ebola.

He said there had been a huge change since his last visit, with beds available and burial teams, but stressed the need to use the new resources effectively.

The officials spoke as the government said Pujehun district in the south had become the first in the country to have no new cases registered for 42 days, twice the incubation period of the virus.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the worst since the virus was identified in 1976, has left nearly 8,300 people dead with more than 21,000 cases identified since December of last year, according to WHO figures.

The vast majority of the cases have been confined to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Photo Credits : AFP

Birth control shot may boost HIV risk

Women who use a specific type of injectable birth control have a slightly higher risk of HIV infection than those who take the pill, said a study Friday.

While the authors noted the link was “statistically significant”, they warned it was not enough on its own to justify a complete withdrawal of the drug commonly known by its brand name, Depo-Provera, used by millions of women.

The health risks of pulling the medicine from shelves may far outweigh the potential preventable HIV infections, the authors argued in a paper published in prestigious medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

A meta-analysis of 12 studies involving nearly 40,000 women in sub-Saharan Africa, showed that use of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), “increases a woman’s chance of becoming infected with HIV by 40 percent compared with women using other contraceptive methods or no method,” said a statement.

“Although statistically significant, this represents only a moderate increase in relative risk,” it added.

The increase in risk was somewhat lower among women “in the general population” than for those already at higher HIV risk, like sex workers.

The analysis showed no increased risk for users of other contraceptive drugs. All the studies had factored in condom use.

“The moderate elevation in risk observed in our study is not enough to justify a complete withdrawal of DMPA for women in the general population,” said study co-author Lauren Ralph of the University of California at Berkeley.

Banning DMPA, the most widely used injectable contraceptive, “would leave many women without immediate access to alternative, effective contraceptive options.

“This is likely to lead to more unintended pregnancies, and because childbirth remains life-threatening in many developing countries, could increase overall deaths among women.”

Further research was urgently needed to examine the danger for the highest risk women like sex workers and those in a relationship with an HIV-positive partner.

A potential association between DMPA and higher HIV-risk was first noted in 1991, but numerous studies have failed to show a direct causal link.

Photo Credits : AFP

“Tetanus vaccine is birth control in disguise” say Catholic bishops

 

On Tuesday the bishops appearing before the parliamentary health committee said they had tested the vaccine privately and were shocked to find it was laced with a birth control hormone called beta human chorionic gonadotropin.

“We are calling on all Kenyans to avoid the tetanus vaccination campaign because we are convinced it is indeed a disguised population control program,” said Bishop Paul Kariuki, chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops’ health committee.

The tangle began in March, when bishops became suspicious about the vaccine, which was targeted at women in the reproductive ages of 14 to 49, and excluded boys and men.

An ordinary tetanus shot can protect a person for 10 years, with a booster available for those who have suffered an injury.

The bishops also wondered why the campaign was being rolled out in phases and in secrecy.

“To our surprise, the Ministry of Health confirmed it had not tested the vaccine, having trusted it, since it originated from WHO (World Health Organization), a credible organization in matters of health,” said Kariuki.

The government insists the vaccine is safe. So too does the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The two groups issued a statement saying the vaccine, which has been used by 130 million women in 52 countries, is safe.

“These allegations are not backed up by evidence, and risk negatively impacting national immunizations programs for children and women,” the WHO and UNICEF statement said.

The government began providing the shots in October 2013.

Source :RNS