The CDC yesterday issued a statement urging all Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 to be tested for HIV, and those with high-risk behavior to be tested yearly (New York Times). This would likely involve the repeal or adaptation of state laws requiring signed consent for testing and pre-test counseling, which the ACLU and AIDS advocacy coalitions oppose on the grounds that they could turn widespread voluntary testing into mandatory testing. More on this sometime soon.
Ortho Evra, the birth control patch, went through a rough time the past year or two when it was linked to a higher incidence of stroke, blood clots, and heart attacks. Recently the FDA produced the following amended health risk label; I'm not sure how much better it makes me feel, but I don't think it would stop me from using the patch (which, incidentally, I did for a while -- feel free to ask me about it).
Important Safety Information: Most side effects of the Patch are not serious and those that are, occur infrequently. Serious risks, which can be life threatening, include blood clots, stroke and heart attacks and are increased if you smoke cigarettes. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects, especially if you are over 35. Women who use the Patch are strongly advised not to smoke. Some women should not use the Patch, including women who have blood clots, certain cancers, a history of heart attack or stroke, as well as those who are or may be pregnant.
Hormones from patches applied to the skin get into the blood stream and are removed from the body differently than hormones from birth control pills taken by mouth. You will be exposed to about 60% more estrogen if you use ORTHO EVRA than if you use a typical birth control pill containing 35 micrograms of estrogen. In general, increased estrogen exposure may increase the risk of side effects. However, it is not known if there are differences in the risk of serious side effects based on the differences between ORTHO EVRA and a birth control pill containing 35 micrograms of estrogen.
Last but not least: I'm continually updating the Links section, and there's some really good stuff there now! Especially check out Girl with a One Track Mind. Funny stuff!