Quickies

Birth control pills for males not just a pipe dream Scientists trumpeted progress towards the development of new male birth control methods, the Oregon Daily Emerald, the newspaper of the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore., reported in March. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the University of Washington are working on a contraceptive shot, and a rod that would be implanted under the skin. They hope to eventually develop a male birth control pill. They reported being able to temporarily reduce men’s sperm count to zero without taking away from the fertility of subjects after the pill had run out. Despite the developments, it will probably be a while before male birth control is a reality, those familiar with the report said. “The chances we are going to have a marketable male hormonal contraceptive in the next five years is low,” Dr. Paul Kaplan, an employee of the University of Oregon University Health Center, told the Daily Emerald.

On to humans: Study raises hopes of halting HIV A federal study published last month found an HIV drug successful at preventing the disease from spreading, the Associated Press (AP) reported. In the study, conducted by the Center for Disease Control, six monkeys were exposed repeatedly to a deadly strain of HIV and given the drug Truvada. None of the monkeys contracted the disease. As a result of the success of the studies, researchers told the AP they would expand their testing to humans. “This is the first thing I’ve seen at this point that I think really could have a prevention impact,” Thomas Folks, a federal scientist since the earliest days of AIDS, told the AP. “If it works, it could be distributed quickly and could blunt the epidemic.”

Yet another side effect: The Pill could axe sex drive Long known as a way to short-term sexual freedom, birth control pills may decrease long-term sex drive, according to a recent study. In the January issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers observed that women taking the pill lost four times the amount of a sex hormone that decreases testosterone than women who weren’t. Higher levels of the hormone were also reported in subjects six months after they stopped taking the pill, leading the scientists to suggest that the pill may leave lasting effects.

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