02 – 08 May 2019

New LSHTM-led Natsal research published in the BMJ finds that there has been a general decline in sexual frequency in Britain between 2001 and 2012, with the biggest falls seen among over 25s and married or cohabiting couples. The research looks at three successive waves of Natsal and involved interviews with over 34,000 people. Lead author Kaye Wellings said: “Several factors are likely to explain the declines, but one may be the sheer pace of modern life. It is interesting that those most affected are in mid-life, the group often referred to as the ‘u-bend’ or ‘sandwich’ generation. These are the cohorts of men and women who, having started their families at older ages than previous generations, are often juggling childcare, work and responsibilities to parents who are getting older.”

The research was covered in BBC online, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian, Sky News, The Sun, Daily Mail, CNNWIRED UK and Evening Standard. It was also picked up by newswire Press Association.

Kaye was interviewed by BBC News Channel (live link not available) and BBC Radio London Vanessa Feltz programme (1hr 49m 30s). Kaye also spoke to a number of regional BBC radio stations about the research findings.

To accompany the BMJ paper, Kaye also authored an opinion piece for the BMJ about the study and its findings.

Peter Piot speaks to STAT News about antimicrobial resistance and why a new approach is needed. The piece also looks at how changing the incentive structure for antibiotic development is important. Peter said: ”This really needs a societal approach. It has to be at the top of political agendas. It is a threat to our survival. It’s as simple as that.”

Heidi Larson is quoted in Pacific Standard about what strategies could work in encouraging people to get vaccinated. Heidi said: “On the one hand, vaccine requirements send the message that these shots are important and widely accepted in society. On the other hand, they might trigger backlash in some cases.”

Mazeda Hossain, Natasha Howard, Neha Singh author an opinion piece for Thomson Reuters Foundation about why the UN Security Council has failed to protect women and girls in conflict by omitting ‘reproductive and sexual health’ rights and services from their adopted resolution.  The authors write: “Omission of these four words represents a major ethical and human rights setback, and ultimately threatens the wellbeing, rights and dignity of women and girls around the world.”

Ford Hickson provides expert comment to BBC online after a new Lancet study found that men who have sex with men and have HIV, cannot pass the virus on to sexual partners if they are taking antiretroviral therapy. Ford said: “This large and rigorous study provides very welcome confirmation of the fact the people who suppress their HIV infection with antiretroviral therapy, while not cured, cannot pass their virus to other people during sex, whatever kind of sex they have.”

Catherine McGowan speaks to Newsweek about a new study published in Neuropsychopharmacology that showed a vaccine against fentanyl put rats off the opioid. Catherine said: “Vaccinating against fentanyl is not the answer to reducing health problems linked to drug use. Quite apart from the lack of clinical evidence in support of ‘vaccinations against addiction,’ the social and behavioral sciences tell us that humans make consumption choices for multiple social, as well as physical, benefits.”

Forbes profile Andrew Bastawrous, exploring how his work has helped in making eye care and vision screening accessible to all, particularly through Peek Vision, a smartphone based interface for eye screening and data capture. Peek Vision started as a research project at LSHTM.

John Ojal speaks to SciDev about why Kenya and other countries receiving Gavi funding for implementing their childhood vaccination programmes need to plan how they will continue them before support is scaled back from 2022. John said: “Health policymakers need to consider how to spend the national health budget wisely in future when the cost of vaccination increases yearly.”

On social media

This week’s social media highlight comes from the LSHTM Instagram account.

This image taken by the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team was shared to promote the recent blog by Bill Gates profiling their work.

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