How Herpes Became a Sexual Boogeyman


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If herpes is such a minor deal, why does it come with such a pervasive stigma? In the first half of the 20th century, genital herpes was not on the public radar, and it wasn’t even recognized as a discrete type of herpes infection until the 1960s. But by the 1980s, it was slapped on the cover of Time with headlines like “Herpes: The New Sexual Leprosy.” What happened in the intervening years shows how a public sex panic is made. What’s still happening—herpes shame, fear, and confusion even now—shows how that panic can morph and persist. One of the oddest subplots of the stigma’s endurance has to do with who’s been falsely blamed for making herpes a boogeyman in the first place: drug companies.

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L.V. Anderson — Slate

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What I have learned from my suicidal patients


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When I think of the hundreds of patients I have heard speak of suicide over the past 20 years, whether their own or that of others, and I imagine all those I will no doubt hear in the years of medical practice to come, what seems of most help is not an unwarranted optimism, or a belief that suicide can be right or that it is always wrong, but our flawed human capacity to hold mutually contradictory beliefs and voice them with conviction. When the task in hand is to convince a suicidal patient there is value and purpose in life, then thoughts of suicide are best framed as a shared enemy, a corruption of reality, a manifestation of illness – something to be reasoned away, or quelled with medication. But for the families of the dead, who sit later in the same consulting room, those metaphors of distortion and disease can be unhelpful, even hurtful, and what best replaces them are metaphors of victory and redemption, of suffering followed by release.

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Gavin Francis — The Guardian

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I’m not a junkie. Give me the painkillers, already.


I understand — doctors are responding to the catastrophe of the opioid epidemic. In 2016 alone, more than 42,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses, and about 40 percent of those deaths involved prescription opioids, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Any American who has turned on a TV or opened a laptop or looked at a smartphone during the past few years knows that opioids such as OxyContin are addictive and potentially deadly. Who has been responsible for the carnage? The greedy drugmakers and equally rapacious doctors? The patients who gamed the system to get more painkillers than they need? Some combination of all of them?

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Amber Rose Petrovich — The Washington Post

Is trauma handed down through generations?


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The results are not entirely clear. There are studies which do find negative impacts – that the children of holocaust survivors, for example, can experience emotional problems of their own, difficulties in relationships, in the way they function. Researchers in Northern Ireland concluded that the transmission of trauma to children of victims of the Troubles made them more prone to developing toxic stress in childhood. But some research has ended up in an entirely different place, finding that trauma in a parents’ life can lead to higher resilience in children. And yet more studies have concluded that there is no clear effect whatsoever.

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Bibi van der Zee — The Guardian

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The Unique Struggle of Mental Health Caregivers


One of the reasons depression can put a strain on relationships is because often the caregiver is left without the proper resources. According to the 2016 study, a full quarter of the 8 million mental health caregivers claimed that they have trouble finding a mental health professional for their loved one. Even once a professional is identified, additional services are harder to find; a majority of caregivers report experiencing trouble finding day programs or treatment (64%) or peer support (58%). About half have difficulty arranging a case manager (49%), in-patient treatment (48%), or treatment for substance abuse (45%). Once those resources are found, many caretakers report difficulty navigating the insurance system to get adequate coverage. There simply are not as many resources or services available for mental health caregivers as there are for people caring for those with physical disabilities.

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Dani Fleischer — Medium

Doctors aghast at Groupon deals for medical care


With AFP Story by Fabienne Faur: Lifesty

The sad state of medicine.

The deals—which have actually been around for years—cover things like elective medical services, dental work, eye care, and preventative scans, such as mammograms. They’re often used by people who do not have health insurance or have limited coverage. Still, some insured patients turn to them for cost-saving deals, more pricing transparency, and control over their healthcare bills. Without the coupons, the same services provided by some hospitals and providers can have wildly varied pricing, which can be nearly impossible to estimate in advance.

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Beth Mole — Ars Technica

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A Friends-and-Family Intervention for Preventing Teen Suicide


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A meaningful article on how to prevent teen suicide.

In King’s approach, teens nominate trusted adults — for example, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends, teachers, and clergy — to serve as a support team. (Parents have veto power.) The adults then get an hour-long training session and weekly phone calls from King’s intervention specialists to talk about how things are going. They are cautioned to not feel responsible for the teen’s behavior — “We’re not asking them to be mental health professionals,” King said — but they agree to check-in with their teens once a week by phone, a face-to-face meeting, or an outing.

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Jill U. Adams — Undark

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