News Briefs for the Week of July 12, 2017

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Check out the latest news from around the world!

 

According to WHO, Untreatable Gonorrhea 'Superbug' Spreading Around Globe

(EDGE) According to a release by the World Health Organization (WHO), cases of untreatable gonorrhea are rising around the globe. In the U.S., no untreatable cases have yet been detected.

"The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them," said Dr Teodora Wi, Medical Officer, Human Reproduction, at WHO.

"We call upon Congress to increase federal STD prevention funding to prevent gonorrhea and to treat those infected," says David C. Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD). "If we don't prevent cases now, rising STD rates will cost the health care system millions of dollars in treatment down the road and potentially fail to prevent drug-resistant cases," Harvey adds.

In the US, gonorrhea constitutes a public health emergency, with 395,216 cases identified in 2015. It is the second most common reportable infectious disease in America. Gonorrhea is a major cause of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which can cause serious outcomes in women such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. There is also evidence that gonorrhea infection facilitates the transmission of HIV infection.

Federal STD funding is at a 20-year low and the U.S. currently has a 20 year high for STDs rates. Last year, federal STD prevention funding was cut by $5 million to $152 million. President Trump's proposed budget would cut the budget by another $22 million. If enacted, CDC would no longer be able to fund STD prevention programs in all states, territories, or directly funded cities, thereby decimating the nation's ability to fight a raging STD epidemic and the ability to fight drug-resistant gonorrhea in the US.

 

Church of England Approves Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy, Moves to Embrace Transgender Members

(EDGE) The Church of England voted in favor of a motion calling for the practice of "gay conversion therapy" to be banned by the government. The motion occurred during the organization's Synod where much of the focus was placed on updating the church's approach to sexuality, Christian.

"As the world listens to us, the world needs to hear us say that LGBT orientation and identity is not a crime," said the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev. John Sentamu according to BBC News.

Sentamu is one of the most senior officials in the Church of England.

"LGBT orientation and identity is not a sickness. And LGBT orientation and identity is not a sin," he added.

"People may be able to alter their behavior, but they can never alter their innate desire," said Christian gay rights campaigner Jayne Ozanne. "Conversion therapy is harmful, dangerous and just doesn't work."

The Synod also saw a welcome move to embrace transgender members of the church. BBC News reports that the Church of England's governing body voted to look into special services for transgender people.

"I hope that we can make a powerful statement that we believe trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them," said Chris Newlands, the vicar of Lancaster Priory Church.

Despite its progressive gains, current the Church of England rules ban same-sex marriage.

 

Legal Fight Continues Over Mississippi Gay Marriage Law

(AP) Wrangling continues over a Mississippi law that lets merchants and government officials cite religious beliefs to deny services to same-sex couples.

Attorneys filed papers Thursday asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block the law.

Legal experts say it's the broadest religious-objections law enacted by any state.

It protects three beliefs: that marriage is only between a man and a woman, sex should only take place in such a marriage, and a person's gender is determined at birth and cannot be altered.

A federal district judge blocked the law from taking effect in July 2016, ruling it unconstitutionally establishes preferred beliefs and creates

unequal treatment for LGBT people.

An appeals court panel lifted the hold on the law June 22. Plaintiffs want the whole appeals court to reverse that decision.

 

Puerto Rico Governor Creates Island's 1st LGBT Advisory Body

(AP) Puerto Rico's governor has created the island's first government advisory board to champion LGBT issues and protect the rights of that community.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Wednesday that he's striving to make the U.S. territory more diverse and inclusive. He is leader of a party known for being socially conservative. 

Currently transgender students and people who work in the island's Senate are not allowed to use the bathroom or clothing that corresponds to the gender with which they identify.

However same-sex marriage is legal in Puerto Rico and transgender people are allowed to change their gender on their driver's license, although not on their birth certificates.

Rossello said the board will submit a progress report every six months.


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