Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, CDC, Education, Sexual Health / 27.08.2016 Interview with: Laura Kann, Ph.D. Chief of the School-Based Surveillance Branch Division of Adolescent and School Health CDC What is the background for this study? Response: CDC has been using the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) to collect data on the sexual identity of high school students at the state and local levels and on the prevalence of health risk behaviors among gay, lesbian, and bisexual students for many years. Starting with the 2015 YRBS cycle, we had enough support to add questions to the national YRBS to provide the first ever nationally representative look at health risk behaviors among these students. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Psychological Science, Sexual Health / 10.08.2016 Interview with: Steven Arnocky, PhD Associate Professor Department of Psychology Nipissing University North Bay, ON CAN What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our work was based on previous findings from hunter-gatherer populations showing that men who hunt and share meat often enjoy greater reproductive access to women.  Research in North America has shown that individuals prefer altruistic partners, especially for long-term mating, and that there may be a sex difference in these preferences such that women exhibit this preference more strongly than men. In line with this, some research has shown that men will sometimes compete with other men in order to make charitable donations to attractive female fundraisers (termed 'competitive altruism'). Taken together, these findings led us to hypothesise that individuals (and perhaps particularly men) who behave altruistically might experience greater mating success. In Study 1, undergraduate men and women completed a self-report altruism questionnaire (items such as “I have donated blood”), a personality measure, and a sexual history survey. We found that participants who scored higher on a self-report altruism measure reported they were more desirable to the opposite sex, as well as reported having more sex partners, more casual sex partners, and having sex more often within relationships. Moreover, altruism mattered more for men’s number of lifetime and casual sex partners relative to women’s. Given the possibility that in any survey research, there is a chance individual’s may report their altruism of sexual history in what they view to be a more positive light (who doesn’t want to think of themselves as altruistic!), in Study 2, we used a behavioral measure of altruism (each participant was entered onto a draw for $100, and at the end of the survey was given the choice to keep their winnings or to donate to a charity). Participants again reported on their sexual histories, as well as completed a personality measure, a scale to capture socially-desirable responding, and a measure of narcissism. Results showed that even when controlling for these potentially confounding variables, that altruists reported having more lifetime sex partners, more casual sex partners, and more sex partners over the past year. Men who were willing to donate also reported having more lifetime dating partners. (more…)
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Endocrinology, Sexual Health, Testosterone / 01.07.2016 Interview with: Glenn Cunningham, MD Departments of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Biology Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center Houston, Texas 77030 What is the background for this study? Response: The Testosterone Trials are a coordinated set of seven trials to determine the efficacy of testosterone in symptomatic men ≥65 years with unequivocally low testosterone levels. Previous studies in older men have been limited and the results have been conflicting. Initial results of the Sexual Function Trial showed that testosterone improved sexual activity, sexual desire and erectile function. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, OBGYNE, Sexual Health, Social Issues, UCSF / 29.06.2016 Interview with: Tami Rowen MD MS Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences UCSF What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study sought to answer the question of which women are engaging in genital grooming and understand their motivations. Prior studies have been limited by geography and age thus our goal was to provide a nationally representative sample of women. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, Sexual Health, STD / 28.06.2016 Interview with: Dr. Andrew Amato-Gauci MD Head of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Programme on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections and viral hepatitis What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our surveillance data ( show that between 2008 and 2014, the overall rate of officially reported gonorrhoea infections has more than doubled across Europe, going up from 8 per 100 000 population to 20 cases per 100 000 persons. In total, 66 413 gonorrhoea cases were reported in 27 countries of the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) in 2014 – which constitutes an increase of 25% compared with 2013. The majority of gonorrhoea infections were diagnosed among young adults aged 15–24 years who accounted for 38% of cases; followed by the 25–34-year-olds (34%). For the first time since 2010, the number of cases among women was higher than the number of cases among heterosexual men. Given the risk of reproductive tract complications, e.g. pelvic inflammatory disease or, if untreated, infertility, as well as possible transmission from mother to child, this trend among women is of particular concern. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Sexual Health / 21.06.2016 Interview with: Professor Phil Reed Department of Psychology Swansea University Swansea,U.K What is the background for this study? How common is the problem of incontinence in women? Dr. Reed: Incontinence is an enormous and under-discussed issue for women’s health – it affects around 25% of adult females, and this can rise to 50-60% after childbirth or in those over 60 years old. This condition is affected by many other factors – such as smoking and obesity – and it can be very common for individuals who are living in poor economic circumstances. Many women with continence problems also show signs of depression and anxiety – perhaps not surprisingly – and these factors can reduce their motivation to engage with physiotherapy treatment for incontinence. This is a great pity, because physiotherapy is a very effective treatment for this problem, and it can be safer (and cheaper) than surgery. So finding ways to support women as they undertake physiotherapy is really important for them and to publically health services. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, HIV, Sexual Health, Technology / 15.06.2016 Interview with: Dr. James M. Smith Ph.D Laboratory Branch, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia What is the background for this study? Dr. Smith: Our laboratory has been developing a macaque model for testing drug release, safety and efficacy of intravaginal rings (IVR) for preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) against HIV for several years. The initial studies involved both matrix rings, where the drug is dispersed in the silicone matrix of the device, and reservoir rings, which are essentially a polymer tube filled with drug. In collaboration with the Oak Crest Institute of Science and Auritec Pharmaceuticals, Inc., we began testing a new type of intravaginal ring, the pod-IVR. In this innovative design the ring itself is a scaffold that contains compressed polymer-coated drug tablets, or pods, within the ring. Each pod is separate, allowing for a customizable release rate for each drug by varying the number and diameter of the drug release ports for each individual pod. The macaque pod-IVR can accommodate up to six pods whereas the human pod-IVR can accommodate up to 10 pods. The IVR design was developed to allow the delivery of drug combinations and for simple, cost-effective manufacturing. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, JAMA, Sexual Health, University of Michigan / 17.05.2016 Interview with: Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Jagsi: There has recently been considerable media attention to certain egregious individual cases of sexual harassment, but it has been less clear whether these cases were isolated and uncommon incidents or whether they are indicative of situations more commonly experienced by academic medical faculty.  An excellent survey study had previously documented that 52% of female faculty in 1995 had experienced harassment, but many of those women had attended medical school when women were only a small minority of the medical students (let alone faculty).  More recent estimates of faculty experiences are necessary to guide ongoing policies to promote gender equity in an era when nearly half of all medical students are women. We found that in a modern sample of academic medical faculty, 30% of women and 4% of men had experienced harassment in their careers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, PLoS, Sexual Health, STD / 07.05.2016 Interview with: Charu Kaushic. PhD. Professor OHTN Applied HIV Research Chair Department of Pathology and Mol. Medicine McMaster Immunology Research Center, McMaster University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kaushic: Female sex hormones, estradiol and progesterone have been shown to regulate immune responses in many experimental and clinical studies. We and others have shown previously that these hormones also regulate susceptibility to and outcome of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including Chlamydia, HSV-2, SIV and HIV-1. Most studies show that progesterone generally increases susceptibility while estradiol generally confers protection against STIs. This has recently gained much more widespread attention because of the controversy surrounding use of injectable hormonal contraceptives in geographical areas where there is high prevalence of HIV-1. The most frequently used injectable contraceptive uses a progestin-based formulation which has been correlated with 2-fold increase in HIV acquisition and transmission in epidemiological studies. Oral contraceptives that contain a combination of estradiol and progesterone do not show similar correlation with increased infection. This is currently a very important women’s health issue, which is being carefully monitored by many public health agencies, including WHO. Many researchers are focusing efforts in understanding how sex hormones can increase or decrease susceptibility of women to STIs. We have published in this area for more than a decade, including a series of papers showing that in a mouse model, the outcome of genital herpes (HSV-2) infection can depend on which hormone we treat the mice with. A few years ago, we showed for the first time that mice that received an HSV-2 vaccine under the influence of estradiol were much better protected and showed less disease pathology (Bhavanam et al, Vaccine 2008). These results were reproduced a year later by another group, using an actual HSV-2 vaccine formulation. Since then, we have been working to understand at a cellular level, the underlying mechanism of estradiol-mediated enhanced protection. In this PLOS Pathogens paper, we report for the first time a cellular mechanism by which estradiol was seen to enhance immune protection against HSV-2 infection in mice. The main findings are that estradiol primes dendritic cells in the vaginal tract to induce enhanced anti-viral T cell responses. Dendritic cells are key immune cells that decide what type of immune responses will be mounted against an infection. Under the influence of estradiol, the dendritic cells in the vaginal tract of mice induced Th17 cells which in turn helped enhance anti-viral T cell responses (Th1), resulting in better protection against genital HSV-2. This regulation of anti-viral immunity was seen only in the reproductive tract. (more…)
Author Interviews, Sexual Health, Social Issues / 26.04.2016 Interview with: Lindsey Hicks Doctoral Student Social Psychology Florida State University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: My colleagues and I are very interested in the factors that differentially predict peoples’ self-reported relationship satisfaction and their gut-level feelings about their partners—the spontaneous feelings they have and may not articulate. Because explicit self-reports require conscious deliberation they are subject to the influence of biases and beliefs about relationships; gut-level, automatic attitudes do not require conscious deliberation and thus appear to better track actual experience. With that in mind, we examined whether sexual frequency influences automatic but not explicit evaluations of the partner. Previous research has yielded inconsistent results regarding the influence of sexual frequency on relationship satisfaction, and we thought such inconsistencies may stem from the influence of deliberate reasoning and biased beliefs regarding the sometimes taboo topic of sex. Thus, we tested the association between partners’ sexual frequency and their gut-level feelings about each other. Basically we found that the frequency with which couples have sex has no influence on whether or not they report being happy with their relationship, but their sexual frequency does influence their more spontaneous, automatic, gut-level feelings about their partners. This is particularly important in light of previous research done by my colleagues demonstrating that it these automatic attitudes ultimately predict whether or not they’ll end up becoming dissatisfied with their relationship. (more…)
Author Interviews, Sexual Health / 04.04.2016 Interview with: Nick G. Sitchon, CEO S1 Biopharma Mr. Sitchon discusses the S1 Biopharma  drug under development for hypoactive sexual desire disorder, Lorexys: What is the background for hypoactive sexual desire disorder? How common is this condition? Mr. Sitchon: Hypoactive sexual desire disorder affects more than 12 million women and 8 million men in the US alone, yet it is widely misunderstood and often misdiagnosed and undertreated. It is characterized by low sexual desire that causes significant personal distress or interpersonal difficulty. It is important to note that HSDD is not a physical disorder, such as erectile dysfunction (ED) or pain during intercourse. What is Lorexys and how might it work in HSDD therapy? Mr. Sitchon: Lorexys is our lead product in development for the treatment of HSDD in women. It is an oral, non-hormonal, fixed-dose combination of two antidepressants: bupropion and trazodone. It is formulated with a ratio that is precisely balanced to neutralize the side effects of its individual components and maximize efficacy. When taken together, bupropion and trazodone modulate the neurotransmitters NE, DA, and 5HT2 in selective brain areas, ultimately increasing sexual desire. The combination also balances out the effects of each drug to reduce the risk of adverse events. Lorexys recently completed a Phase 2a clinical trial that evaluated its safety, tolerability, and pro-sexual efficacy compared to bupropion, one of its constituent drugs. Clinical trial results found Lorexys to be highly tolerable with minimal side effects, and showed a 38% stronger efficacy than the use of bupropion alone. Trazodone by itself is not expected to have success in treating hypoactive sexual desire disorder. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Gender Differences, JAMA, Sexual Health / 27.03.2016 Interview with: Dr. Sari L. Reisner PhD Research Fellow in the Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Associate Scientific Researcher in the Division of General Pediatrics Boston Children’s Hospital/ Harvard Medical School What are the main findings? Dr. Reisner: Transgender youth—including adolescent and young adult transgender women assigned a male sex at birth who identify as girls, women, transgender women, transfemale, male-to-female, or another diverse gender identity on the transfeminine spectrum—represent a vulnerable population at-risk for negative mental health and substance use/abuse outcomes. Although community surveys of transgender people in the United States have found a high prevalence of depression, anxiety, and substance use relative to the general adult U.S. population, studies typically utilize screening instruments or sub-threshold symptom questions and do not use diagnostic interviews. Diagnostic interview data are scarce among young transgender women; such data are important to establish guidelines for diagnosis and treatment for this youth group given their complex life experiences. The aim of this study was to report the prevalence of mental health, substance dependence, and co-morbid psychiatric disorders assessed via a diagnostic interview in an at-risk community-recruited sample of young transgender women. This observational study reported baseline finding from a diverse sample of 298 sexually active, young transgender women ages 16-29 years (mean age 23.4; 49.0% Black, 12.4% Latina, 25.5% White, 13.1% other minority race/ethnicity) enrolled in Project LifeSkills, an ongoing randomized controlled HIV prevention intervention efficacy trial in Chicago and Boston, between 2012-2015 (NIMH-funded, multiple PIs: Rob Garofalo, MD, MPH & Matthew Mimiaga, ScD, MPH). (more…)
Author Interviews, HPV, JAMA, OBGYNE, Sexual Health, UCSD / 24.03.2016 Interview with: Ryan K. Orosco, MD Division of Head and Neck Surgery Department of Surgery University of California, San Diego What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Orosco: Our group at UC San Diego is interested in HPV as it relates to diseases of the head and neck.  HPV is a well-publicized cause of cervical cancer, and awareness about its link to throat (oropharynx) cancer is rapidly increasing. Less well-known, is the relationship between HPV and benign (non-cancerous) diseases such as genital warts and papilloma of the throat.  As we strive to understand how to best care for patients with HPV-related disorders, it is important to understand the entire process of disease progression, which begins with HPV infection. Our group wanted to explore the relationship between HPV infection in the two most commonly infected body sites: oral and vaginal. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Sexual Health / 29.02.2016 Interview with: Loes Jaspers MD, PhD scientist Dept. of Epidemiology Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Jaspers: In August 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved flibanserin as a medical treatment for women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). The approval was accompanied by considerable attention in the media. Some people were positive about the approval, while others questioned whether benefits outweigh the risks. That is why we systematically reviewed eight clinical trials (five published and three unpublished) that included 5,914 women to examine the efficacy and safety of the medication for treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder. We found that women taking flibanserin experienced one-half additional satisfying sexual event per month, and that they experienced 2-4 times more side-effects, such as dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, and tiredness, compared to placebo. The overall improvement that women reported while taking the drug was low. It ranged from ‘minimal improvement’ to ‘no change’. The quality of the evidence was graded using established and transparent guidelines, the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach (GRADE), which have been adopted by leading scientific organizations globally. Although the studies reviewed were randomized clinical trials, the quality of the evidence was very low, particularly because of limitations in design, the indirectness of evidence, and more favorable efficacy outcomes in published compared with unpublished studies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Sexual Health, Social Issues / 12.02.2016 Interview with: Andrea K. Knittel, MD, PhD PGY-3, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences University of California, San Francisco Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Knittel: The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and many studies have shown that involvement in the criminal justice system may be a risk factor for HIV/AIDS or other STDs. For example, some studies have found that in areas with high rates of incarceration, rates of STDs are higher, and others have shown that incarcerated individuals are more likely to have higher rates of concurrent sexual partnerships and a greater number of sexual partners. This may happen because of increased rates of partnership dissolution due to physical and emotional distance, as well as a desire on the part of formerly incarcerated men for an increased number of sexual partners to “make up for lost time,” which some studies have suggested. In addition, the female partners of incarcerated men may rely on other relationships, including new sexual partners, for emotional and financial support while their partners are incarcerated, whether their relationships end permanently or temporarily or they maintain their relationships through visits and calls. Very few studies have been able to look at community level effects of incarceration, however, because it is difficult to gather data at this level. This study uses an agent-based model, a computational approach that provide a closed system in which to test hypotheses. An agent-based model is a computer simulation that creates a small community (250 “agents” or simulated people) in which the agents can date and have sexual relationships. The model used in this paper has been shown previously to be similar to young people in the US. The experiment in this study was to run the model without incarceration and see how many partners men and women in the community had, and then add incarceration into the model and see what happened. Based on data from other studies, when men in the model were incarcerated they had a slightly higher risk of ending a relationship and became slightly less desirable as partners. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, HIV, Sexual Health / 12.02.2016 Interview with: Laura Kann, PhD Chief of the School-Based Surveillance Branch (SBSB) Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH). CDC  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Kann:  Young persons aged 13–24 years accounted for an estimated 22% of all new diagnoses of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in the United States in 2014. Most new HIV diagnoses among youths occur among males who have sex with males (MSM). Among all MSM, young black MSM accounted for the largest number of new HIV diagnoses in 2014 (4,398 among blacks, 1,834 among Hispanics, and 1,366 among whites).  Although other studies have examined HIV-related risk behaviors among MSM, less is known about MSM aged <18 years. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Kann:  Among male students who had sexual contact with males, black students had a significantly lower prevalence than white students of drinking five or more drinks of alcohol in a row; ever using inhalants, heroin, ecstasy, or prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription; and drinking alcohol or using drugs before last sexual intercourse. Black students also had a significantly lower prevalence than Hispanic students of drinking five or more drinks of alcohol in a row and ever using cocaine, inhalants, methamphetamines, ecstasy, or steroids without a doctor’s prescription.  However, among male students who had sexual contact with males, black students had a significantly higher prevalence than white students of ever having had sexual intercourse and using a condom during last sexual intercourse; black students also had a higher prevalence than Hispanic students of ever having sexual intercourse. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Sexual Health / 27.12.2015 Interview with: Anna Austin, MPH PhD Student UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several studies have examined experiences of childhood abuse among individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB), but there has been relatively little research exploring experiences of other types of childhood trauma, like witnessing domestic violence between parents or growing up with a parent who is an alcoholic, among LGB individuals. We know from the study on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) conducted by Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the greater number of childhood traumas and adversities an individual experiences, the greater the risk for poor health later in life. There have also been a number of studies that have demonstrated health disparities by sexual orientation, with LGB adults typically having worse health than heterosexual adults. We were interested in the role that multiple types of adverse childhood experiences play in the development of poor adult health outcomes among LGB individuals. In this study, we captured 8 categories of ACEs. We captured 3 categories of childhood abuse (sexual, physical, and emotional abuse) and 5 categories of household dysfunction (adult mental illness, substance abuse, and domestic violence in the household; incarceration of a household member; and parental divorce or separation). LGB adults were more likely to report each of these 8 categories of ACEs than heterosexuals, with the largest differences found for sexual abuse, adult mental illness in the household, and incarceration of a household member. LGB adults were also more likely to report having experienced multiple ACEs. Forty-two percent of LGB adults compared to 24 percent of heterosexual adults reported having experienced between 3 to 8 ACEs. We also found that LGB adults were more likely to report poor adult health like smoking, HIV risk behaviors, 14 or more days of poor physical or mental health in the past 30 days, asthma, depression, and disability than heterosexuals. However, after we accounted for the number of ACEs each individual reported, LGB adults were no longer more likely to report smoking, binge drinking, and 14 or more days of poor physical health in the past 30 days. (more…)
Author Interviews, HPV, Infections, Pediatrics, Sexual Health / 23.12.2015 Interview with: Seo Yoon Lee, RN Department of Health Policy and Management Graduate School of Public Health Eun-Cheol Park MD, PhD Institute of Health Services Research Department of Preventive Medicine Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are a major public health issue which causes acute illness, infertility, long-term disability or other serious medical and psychological consequences, around the world. Adolescence is a key developmental period with rapid cognitive growth. In recent decades, substantial change in the sexual behaviors and attitudes of adolescents has occurred and this would lead them greater risk of STIs than other. Our study looked at the relationship between adolescents’ first sexual intercourse age and their STI experience, as well as to identify vulnerable time table of their sexual activity by considering the time gap between their secondary sex characteristic occurrence age and first sexual intercourse age. The findings from our study show that earlier initiation of sexual intercourse increases the odds of experiencing STIs. Also as the age gap gets shorter, the odds of experiencing STIs increase. Approximately 7.4% of boys and 7.5% of girls reported had STI. For both boys and girls, the chance of experiencing STIs increased as the age of first sexual intercourse decreased [boys: before elementary school (age 7 or under) OR=10.81, first grade (age 7or 8) OR=4.44, second grade (age 8 or 9) OR=8.90, fourth grade (age 10 or 11) OR=7.20, ninth grade (age 15 or 16) OR=2.31; girls: before elementary school OR=18.09, first grade OR=7.26, second grade OR=7.12, fourth grade OR=8.93, ninth grade OR=2.74]. The association between the absolute age gap (AAG: defined as absolute value of “Age gap” = [Age at first sexual intercourse] - [age of secondary sexual manifest]) and STI experience was examined additionally which the result showed, students who had sexual intercourse after their secondary sexual manifestation, as the AAG increases, the odds of STI experience were decreased (boys OR=0.93, girls OR=0.87). (more…)
Author Interviews, Sexual Health / 15.12.2015 Interview with: Lee Ellis PhD Department of Anthropology University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ellis: Sexual orientation appears to be highly influenced by prenatal neurohormonal factors (as opposed to social experiences throughout life).  However, the specifics continue to elude scientific comprehension.  Over the past two decades, researchers began to explore the possibility that a putative measure of prenatal testosterone exposure, called the 2D:4D finger length ratio, might be predictive of variations in sexual orientation.  The results have been mixed.  In the present study, colleagues and I obtained multiple measures of prenatal testosterone exposure (including a 2D:4D measure) from large samples of college students in two countries and factor analyzed these measures.  Analyses revealed two apparent prenatal testosterone exposure variables, one largely pertaining to bone growth (that included our 2D:4D measure), and the other mainly pertaining to muscular growth and coordination.  It was this second factor, not the first one, that appeared to be mainly responsible for variations in sexual orientation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Psychological Science, Sexual Health / 04.12.2015 Interview with: Tess M. Gemberling, M.A. Social Psychology Ph.D. Student Co-Principal Investigator University of Alabama Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Many stereotypes of BDSM (bondage and discipline [B&D], dominance and submission [D/s], sadomasochism [SM],) that can be seen on websites similar to fucked gay xxx, exist; however, research with practitioners suggests these stereotypes are largely unfounded. Preliminary evidence implies BDSM practitioners are psychologically healthy individuals. This study was conducted to further evaluate these results. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: Along with other findings, the majority of results indicates practitioners are well functioning. Overall, participants are healthy in the mental, emotional, and interpersonal aspects of their lives. In addition, practitioners are often victims of violence but are not perpetrators of violence. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, NEJM, Sexual Health / 02.12.2015 Interview with: Dr Jean-Michel Molina Department of Infectious Diseases Saint-Louis Hospital and University of Paris Diderot Paris France MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Molina: Men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV worldwide and represent the today in Europe the largest group in which new HIV infections are diagnosed with no decrease over the last 8 years. The first study assessing preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) efficacy among MSM was published in 2010 (the Iprex study) which reported for the first time a 44% reduced incidence of HIV in those randomized to receive daily tenofovir/emtricitabine  TDF/FTC (one pill per day) as compared to placebo. Adherence to a daily pill regimen was found to be challenging however since only half of the participants (according to drug detection in blood) were taking their daily regimen. Post-hoc analyses suggested that among those with drugs detectable in plasma, PrEP efficacy could be as high as 92%. However, long term adherence to a daily regimen represents the Achille’s heel of daily PrEP, as shown later in other large PrEP trials among women in Africa (VOICE and Fem-PrEP). Based on data from animal models we wished to assess whether PrEP with TDF/FTC taken on demand, at the time of sexual activity, could improve adherence, thereby efficacy and also improve safety and cost. In this randomized double blind placebo controlled trial, on demand PrEP with TDF/FTC reduced the incidence of HIV by 86% in the intent to treat analysis as compared to placebo, and the only 2 participants who became infected in the TDF/FTC arm after more than a year of follow-up, had discontinued the use of PrEP months before infection. The ANRS Ipergay study reports therefore a very high efficacy of PrEP, similar to that also reported in another PrEP study carried out in the UK among MSM with daily TDF/FTC (PROUD), which results were disclosed at the same time. Both studies have increased awareness about the real potential of PrEP and have had a strong impact on WHO and European guidelines. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, HIV, Sexual Health / 25.09.2015

Philip J. Peters MD DTM&H (Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene) Medical Officer, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention US Centers for Disease Control and Preventio Atlanta Interview with: Philip J. Peters MD DTM&H (Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene) Medical Officer, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta Georgia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Peters: We recruited participants from the STOP project, an existing multi-site study in North Carolina, New York City, and San Francisco, to analyze self-reported HIV-related risk behaviors among men who have sex with men (MSM). We found that newly diagnosed HIV-positive gay and bisexual men in North Carolina (predominately young and African American) did not always report male sex partners at the time of HIV testing. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Sexual Health / 12.09.2015 Interview with: Binbin Wang, PhD Center for Genetics, National Research Institute for Family Planning Beijing China Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr.Wang:Homosexuality has become an important issue all around the world, as well as in China. Beside of the human right problems it poses, the reality that more and more HIV cases are infected through homosexual activity,especially men who have sex with men (MSM), should be concerned. People are wondering how homosexuality develops. As a genetic researcher, I'd like to find the answers in the field of genetics. This study is based on previous evidence that genes may have impact on homosexuality. Besides, animal models have provided clues that abnormality in some neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, may alter the sex behavior of animals. Therefore, we choose COMT (the gene catechol-O-methyltransferase) as the target, which is important for the synthesis of dopamine. We find that an amino acid residue change in COMT could increase the risk of developing male homosexuality. Our results provide some evidence that male homosexuality is connected with genes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Sexual Health / 10.09.2015

Emmanuele A. Jannini, MD Chair of Endocrinology and Medical Sexology Department of Systems Medicine Tor Vergata University of Rome Roma, Interview with: Emmanuele A. Jannini, MD Chair of Endocrinology and Medical Sexology Department of Systems Medicine Tor Vergata University of Rome Roma, Italy Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Jannini: The background is due to the large experience of the researcher of my team, Dr. Giacomo Ciocca, on homophobia, a largely diffuse phenomenon in various forms. Although many social and cultural factors predispose to homophobic attitude, we have hypothesized that some psychological aspects of personality were in association with homophobia. Therefore, we found that psychoticism, a dysfunctional trait of thought, immature defense mechanisms, i.e., primitive responses to anxiety states, and a fearful model of relationship with other due to an insecure attachment style, could be considered risk factors for homophobic attitude. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Lancet, Sexual Health / 10.09.2015 Interview with: Professor Sheena McCormack Clinical Epidemiology Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit University College London Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. McCormack: PROUD is the first study of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV carried out in the UK. The results show that PrEP could play a major role in reducing the number of new infections among men who have sex with men who are at risk of catching HIV. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a HIV prevention strategy that involves HIV-negative people taking some of the drugs we use for treatment of HIV to reduce the risk of becoming infected. The PROUD study ( looked at whether offering daily PrEP to men who have sex with men was an effective way to prevent HIV infection. The results show that pre-exposure prophylaxis is highly protective, reducing the risk of infection for this group by 86%. The drug used in the trial – the antiretroviral Truvada – was already known to reduce the incidence of HIV infection compared to placebo (a dummy pill).  The PROUD study was designed to see how good Truvada would be found as pre-exposure prophylaxis in a real world situation when participants knew they were taking an active drug.  It aimed to address outstanding questions such as whether taking PrEP would change sexual risk behaviour – for example increasing the number of partners they did not use condoms with and increasing the rate of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – and whether or not it would be cost-effective to make it available on the NHS. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Sexual Health / 31.08.2015

Shannon K. Barth MPH Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Public Health, Post Deployment Health Epidemiology Program Washington, District of Interview with: Shannon K. Barth MPH Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Public Health, Post Deployment Health Epidemiology Program Washington, District of Columbia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: This study used data from the “National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans,” a population-based health study of 20,563 Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans and their non-deployed counterparts, conducted in 2009-2011.  A two-question measure of sexual harassment and sexual assault based on an existing clinical screen used by Veterans Health Administration (VHA) providers was included on the survey. Consistent with use in clinical settings, a veteran was considered to have experienced MST if they responded affirmatively to either of the two questions. While estimates of the prevalence of MST based on the clinical screener are available, these estimates only provide information about veterans who use VHA services and may not generalize to the broader OEF/OIF veteran population. This new survey provides a unique opportunity to assess MST experiences among a representative sample of OEF/OIF veterans in a confidential setting. Additionally, we were able to assess responses to the sexual harassment and sexual assault questions separately and collectively. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: The main findings from our study are that 41% of women and 4% of men reported experiencing MST. Veterans who reported using VHA services had a higher risk of MST compared to those who didn’t receive VHA services. The relationship between deployment to OEF/OIF and experiencing MST differed between men and women. Combat-exposed veterans had greater risk of reporting MST compared to those not exposed to combat, while controlling for deployment status. Among women, approximately 10% reported experiencing sexual assault. In contrast, 0.5% of male participants reported experiencing sexual assault. (more…)
Author Interviews, Sexual Health / 26.08.2015

Elizabeth Aura McClintock PhD Assistant Professor Department of Sociology University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN Interview with: Elizabeth Aura McClintock PhD Assistant Professor Department of Sociology University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN 46556 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. McClintock: Sexual identity is a social construct that emerged in the late nineteenth century. People have always engaged in homosexual and heterosexual behavior, but we have not always had the concept of homosexual and heterosexual as types of personal identities. That is not to say that sexual desire or sexual preference does not have biological origins, but the concept of sexual identity and the specific labels that we use (gay, straight, bi-curious, etc.) are fundamentally social in origins. Given that sexual identity is a social construct, social context should influence it. By social context I mean socioeconomic position, social networks, romantic status and experience, and family, among other factors. As a parallel example, researchers have recently shown that racial identification depends on context--a person may be perceived differently and self-identify differently depending as their social context changes. Extant research on sexual identity, however, largely ignores social context. My goal was to begin to fill this gap. I found that several aspects of social context, including class background, educational attainment, race, and timing of childbirth, are associated with sexual identity. Indeed, context is associated with sexual identity net of sexual attraction. Perhaps because women have more flexible sexual attractions (they are more likely than men to report attraction to both sexes), social context has a larger effect on women's sexual identity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Emory, JAMA, Sexual Health / 23.08.2015 Interview with: Howa Yeung, MD PGY3, Emory Dermatology Emory University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Yeung: Indoor tanning is a well-established and preventable cause for melanomas and non-melanoma skin cancers. Public health efforts in curbing indoor tanning have focused on known high-risk populations, such as young, college-aged, White women. However, other demographic risk factors for indoor tanning remain unknown. As our nation increasingly focuses on addressing and improving the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, more and more evidence demonstrates that various LGBT subpopulations face higher rates of cancer-related behavior risk factors, such as smoking, alcohol use, obesity, etc. We wanted to find out whether risk factors for skin cancer, such as indoor tanning, disproportionately affected LGBT populations. Our study showed higher rates of indoor tanning among gay and bisexual men, with 1.8-fold and 3.6-fold higher odds of tanning bed use within the past year, compared to straight men, after adjusting for sociodemographic factors. Disparities in frequent tanning, defined as using tanning bed 10 or more times within the past year, are even more prominent among gay and bisexual men. In contrast, no significant sexual orientation disparities were noted among women after adjusting for sociodemographic factors. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, HIV, Sexual Health / 06.08.2015

Adaora Adimora, MD, MPH Chair of the HIV Medicine Association Professor of Medicine School of Medicine University of North Carolina, Chapel Interview with: Adaora Adimora, MD, MPH Chair of the HIV Medicine Association Professor of Medicine School of Medicine University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. MedicalResearch: What is the current scope of the HIV epidemic? Dr. Adimora: The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S. Nearly 13% are undiagnosed and unaware of their status. Men who have sex with men represented 54% of all people living with HIV in 2011. While new infection rates are stable, a majority of new infections (63%) are occurring among men who have sex with men. We have seen alarming increases among young black men who have sex with men who account for 55% of new infections among men who have sex with men. New infections among women have decreased slightly but black and Hispanic/Latina women represent 62% and 17% of new infections respectively among women.[i] While there have been decreases in new HIV infections among people who inject drugs in recent years, the serious outbreak largely among injection drug users in Scott County, Indiana identified this past spring[ii] puts us on high alert to improve access to preventive services and substance use treatment, including access to sterile syringes and equipment. My responses will generally focus on the U.S. epidemic but want to acknowledge that globally an estimated 36.9 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2014 with just 51% of them being diagnosed and more than 34 million deaths were attributed to HIV-related causes.[iii] (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Sexual Health / 30.07.2015

Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Ph.D. Moffitt Cancer Center University of South Interview with: Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Ph.D. Moffitt Cancer Center University of South Florida MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Quinn: Our research group has been conducting studies of the LGBTQ community and their healthcare experiences combined with providers knowledge and attitudes about LGBTQ and cancer care. This led us to examine the literature on cancer and LGBTQ. The main findings point to the lack of rigorous data about cancer in the LGBTQ community. Our review revealed that 7 cancers (anal, breast, cervical, colorectal, colon and rectal, endometrial, lung and prostate cancers) may occur more frequently in the community due to elevated prevalence of risk factors and behaviors such as obesity and substance use; however, there are limited data on outcomes, morbidity and mortality. The lack of data makes it difficult for providers to fully inform patients about early detection, prevention, and treatment options and outcomes. Further, the lack of psychosocial data makes it difficult to provide supportive care recommendations and other forms of support (more…)