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Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (#SAAPM) and we wanted to bring your attention to a few resources which highlight this issue.

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Statistics from Rid of My Disgrace by Justin and Lindsey A. Holcomb

As adapted from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center:

  1. Believe and support survivors – Thank them for sharing their stories.
  2. Respond to victim-blaming, rape jokes, or other problematic comments:
    1. “Sexual assault is never the survivor’s fault.”
    2. Refocus accountability on the individual(s) who committed sexual abuse.
  3. Share resources like
    1. Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), 1-800-656-HOPE 24/7. And they also have a chat feature. This is a comprehensive list of resources from general, domestic, intimate partner, incest, talking, disabilities, college, male survivors, LGBTQ, etc.
    2. National Center for Victims of Crime Victim Service Helpline, 1-800-FYI-CALL or 1-800-211-7996 (TTY/TDD)
    3. Know Your IX – includes info for survivors (surviving the abusive relationship, seeking medical care, building a network of support, experiencing discrimination as a survivor, dealing with unsupportive friends/family) and for friends/family
    4. http://www.crisistextline.org – Text HOME to 741741 where volunteer run the program 24/7
    5. End Rape On Campus – educational and advocacy resource to address rape on campus
  4. Donate or Fundraise for organizations which defend women’s rights
  5. Know and share information about emergency contraception which we will write about later this week.


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Women’s March 2017

womensmarch

Women’s rights is an issue that we at Pandia Health take very seriously as our mission is founded on the belief that better access to affordable, convenient and dignified services for reproductive health will make women’s lives easier. Our team members proudly marched alongside tens of thousands of women in San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland on January 21. We believe that this march is more than just a reaction to our presidential election, but it was also to stand up for what we believe are human rights: equal pay, civil and LGBTQ rights, and of course reproductive health and affordable health care rights.

Pandia Health was founded so that women could get easier access to birth control. We understand the challenges that women encounter when it comes to getting birth control – from setting up an appointment with your doctor, to taking time off from work to see the doctor, to the monthly task of picking up your medication from a pharmacy – Pandia’s services were designed to eliminate these pain points by providing: an online doctor’s consult for a written prescription, free delivery to the address of your choice, and automated refills so that you have one less thing to worry about. You can even choose to receive up to 12 months’ worth of pills in one shipment.

The Affordable Care Act helped alleviate some of these costs because the act required insurance companies to cover the costs of FDA-approved contraceptive methods for all women. From birth control pills to IUDs to emergency contraception and even counseling. But women are at risk of losing such coverage if Congress and the President repeals the Affordable Care Act. That’s one of the main reasons we marched. More than ever, we feel the need for our mission to enable women to get the birth control they need in the easiest possible way. And that’s why we encourage you to take action.

Take action for yourself by getting your birth control prescription today. Take action on a state level and partake in 10 Actions / 100 Days, a campaign by the Women’s March so that your senators can know which issues are important to you, the people. Take action, because your future is in your hands.

For the month of February, for each person who signs up for and uses Pandia Health, we will donate to the Center of Reproductive Rights. Enter the referral code: WOMENSMARCH.

As Gloria Steinem said, “the story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”


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Achieving Your New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!!!

A new year brings a fresh start, and many folks like to create a list of resolutions to make the most of the days ahead. Here are ways that Pandia can help you with some of the most popular goals:

Planning new day.

Take Better Care of Yourself

  • Finally get on birth control
    • If you’re sexually active but not currently using any method of birth control, there’s no time like the present. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind and find a method that works for you.
  • Tame acne
    • Consider the positive effects of birth control medication as acne treatment.
  • Regulate your periods
    • Birth control can help those with irregular periods and even eliminate them entirely if you wish! Reduce the stress in your life if this has been a pain point.

Save Time

What would you do with a bit more time on your hands? Perhaps squeeze in more exercise at the gym or go on more walks and enjoy the outdoors?

  • Get 1 year’s supply at once
    • Did you know that a bill was passed in California that allows women to receive a 12-month supply of birth control instead of only 3 months at a time? SB-999 goes into effect on January 1, 2017, so check with your insurance plan and save yourself time and effort.
  • Schedule a telemedicine consult to get a prescription
    • It can be a hassle to see a doctor in person. Why not take care of this online with one of Pandia’s doctors to get your prescription for birth control?
  • Skip the trip to the pharmacy
    • With Pandia, you receive your birth control directly at home via mail.

Save Money

  • Use your FSA dollars
    • If you’ve set aside money for your flexible spending account through your health insurance plan, consider using those funds for your birth control. Avoid the last-minute rush at the end of the year and make sure you put those dollars to good use.

Sticking to resolutions can be quite the challenge, but we hope you find Pandia to be a convenient solution for an important part of your health! Why not get started today and be well on your way to checking off one of the resolutions on your list?

Cheers to 2017!

Wishing you Health and and Happiness,
Pandia Health


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What Happens During a PAP Smear

For those of you that have never heard of a PAP (Papanicolaou) smear, let me explain… Pap smear = Pap test and a Pap test checks for cervical cancer. Cells are scraped from the opening of the cervix and examined under a microscope to see if there are any abnormal potentially cancerous cells. FYI: the cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens at the top of the vagina (you are welcome to look it up on google if you want to see how it looks like).

To get a Pap smear, you have to get a pelvic exam which involves you sitting on a table and placing your feet in stirrups, which definitely feels awkward. You’re in this position so that your doctor can better see your cervix.

Your doctor then gently places an instrument called a speculum into the vagina so that she (or he if you’re comfortable with that) can see inside the vagina and cervix. It’s most likely not as pretty as this Zoe Buckman piece, but this is what a speculum looks like. It might be cold and hard and a weird feeling, but it won’t hurt. Just relax, it makes it easier for both the doctor and you.

speculum

Cells are gently scraped from the cervix area. The sample of cells is sent to a lab for examination. Not gonna lie, it’s a weird sensation having that spatula and small bristle-tipped brush in you. It feels a bit like a cramp, but mostly pressure. It’s nothing that you have felt before! And it’s very difficult to describe even though I’ve had it done three times now!

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Avoid scheduling your Pap test while you have your period because blood may make the Pap test results less accurate and I’m sure it’s gross for both you and your doctor to have to dig through your vagina while you’re bleeding. I also recommend emptying your bladder just before the test so you don’t accidentally pee on your doctor. Ideally, your doctor would take your urine sample just right before to check for UTIs/STIs.

Pap screening should start at age 21. You should have a Pap test every 3 years to check for cervical cancer. If you’ve never been sexually active, then technically you don’t have to, but since it’s covered under your insurance, you should still get it done.

If you are over age 30 and you also have HPV testing done, and both the Pap test and HPV test are normal, you can be tested every 5 years (HPV is the human papillomavirus, the virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer).

Most women can stop having Pap tests after age 65 to 70 as long as they have had 3 negative tests within the past 10 years.

FYI = A pap smear is not a comprehensive STI check. Be sure to still get tested for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV (blood test or cheek swab) at least once a year! All of these should be covered under your insurance. Stay tuned for our next article regarding the limitations of STI testing!


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Birth Control After A Baby

Congratulations – if you just had a baby, these are exciting times with many decisions! Are you ready for another one? The World Health Organization suggests that women wait 18 months between children for their and their future child’s maximum health.

If you’re holding off and wish to have another child in the future, these are some Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) options for you to consider, listed in order from most effective to least effective:

  1. IUD with hormone: this lasts for 5 to 7 years and makes your periods lighter. Some women have dull uterine ache for 3 months.
  2. IUD with copper: this lasts for 10-12 years, but may give you heavier and possibly more painful periods. However, it has no hormones.
  3. Implant: this lasts 3 years and has a side effect of irregular periods.
  4. Depo Provera shot: this last 3 months, but can affect your bone density, so make sure you get enough calcium (specifically 1500 mg per day) while taking this.
  5. NuvaRing: no side effects, just have to be comfortable inserting and taking out. Like a tampon but softer.
  6. Contraceptive Patch
  7. Birth Control pills (estrogen and progesterone)
  8. Condoms + spermicide  (for great options, check out Condom Depot)

If you are breastfeeding, you should wait until your baby is 1 month old to take methods 5-7, otherwise it might affect your breastmilk supply.

And if you are done with kids:

  • Vasectomy – the least invasive method for women, and very effective – 0.1% of women experience pregnancy in 1 yr when their partner gets this method done!
  • IUD with hormone beats tubal ligation in efficacy. 0.2% of women experience pregnancy in 1 yr on this method.
  • Tubal ligation 0.5% of women experience pregnancy in 1 yr on this method.

Bedsider Birth Control Support Network is a great resource for side effects, etc.

Pandia Health can help you with #s 5-7. If you need a prescription, we have doctors that can provide a consultation and write the prescription for birth control pills, patch, or vaginal ring. If you already have a prescription from your doctor, we can deliver your birth control to your mailbox, saving you the trip to the pharmacy every month.

Spend more time with your baby instead ❤

Mountain View


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Campus Safety 101

September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month (NCSAM) and provides a reminder to students going back on campus to build their awareness around how to keep themselves, their friends, and their community safe. It would be too easy to let the headlines around date rape, sexual assault, and over partying at campus events put us in fear and angry silence. Rather, we can better equip ourselves with the knowledge that help is available and with tools such as having emergency contraception on hand. We can also contribute back to the community by helping prevent assault from happening or by providing help for those that need it.

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), which is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, sexual assault is a crime of power and control where sexual contact or behavior occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include:

  • Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape
  • Attempted rape
  • Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body
  • Fondling or unwanted sexual touching

Rape is the “unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent” (thanks Merriam-Webster).

Based on numbers from NSVRC (National Sexual Violence Resource Center), 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault. Even more frightening is that 9/10 college women who are victims of rape knew their offender! Rape is a sensitive word. Almost obscene. No one wants to talk about rape because it’s taboo. Rape doesn’t get reported because victims want to move forward from their experience. And some feel that the criminal justice system re-victimizes them in its process which is absolutely absurd to me! It makes me angry knowing that we live in a world where rape victims are blamed, resulting in them being too afraid to speak up and seek justice, let alone find closure.

Knowing this happens and being prepared to care for ourselves and our friends are important reminders.

  • Realize that there are survivors out there and be ready to support survivors. Check to see if your university has a program or peer advising that is confidential. These types of organizations empower students to prevent violence before and after it occurs. If your school does not have it, start a program. Take the initiative to make a difference.
  • Intervene when you see something. Research shows that one of the best tools to prevent violence on college campuses is bystander intervention – the idea that anyone can step in and stop a situation that may escalate into violence. [link to the NNEDV article instead of a long quote?] There is so much we can do as individuals and as a community to address campus violence. Students  must take a stand and intervene when they have the opportunity to safely prevent violence.
  • Just like a fire extinguisher, have a dose or two of Emergency Contraception on hand. This can help prevent you or your friend from getting pregnant after an assault. If your doctor writes you a prescription birth control already (such as the pill, patch, or ring), she or he can write you a prescription for emergency contraception (such as Ella) as well.(This is what we do for our patients that use our doctor consult service at Pandia). Many insurances will cover the cost of both medications.

Mountain View

Additional Resources
1-800-656-HOPE for the National Sexual Assault Hotline.
1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
1-800-662-HELP for the SAMHSA National Helpline which helps with substance abuse and mental health issues.

An app that will help you call for help when you need it. It won a White House competition.  http://www.circleof6app.com

The team at Pandia Health was affiliated with many campus programs when we went through college, and we wish you a safe and lively return back on campus this year!

Cheers,
Christal


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Ready to start your new semester?

Fall 2016 is about to start. Is your body ready?

For some of you, this is your first semester in college or your first year of grad school. For others of you, it’s another semester and another year. For the rest of us, it’s just another day at work. Whichever category you fall into, here’s a list of things to do to keep your health in check.

Get your shots and take a picture of your shot record
Shot
There have been some advancements in vaccines since you were 12 so you might not have gotten the most recent version of a vaccine. This includes your HPV (human papillomavirus) shots which used to cover 4 strands and now 7 strands, preventing 90% of cervical cancer. You can read more about HPV vaccine and why you should get all three of them to keep yourself healthy.

Also get your Tdap which is for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) which are all life-threatening bacterial diseases. Diphtheria and pertussis are spread through secretions from coughing or sneezing while tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds. You can read more about Tdap vaccine here.

Last but not least, get your MCV shot for meningitis. Meningococcal disease can spread from person to person via kissing or coughing so teens and young adults are more likely to catch this disease. Infections are rare but in the unfortunate event that this happens, the infection will occur in the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord, and about 10 to 15 out of 100 people with meningococcal disease will die from it. Let’s be safe than sorry!

Get your doctor to prescribe you emergency contraceptives (morning after pill)
Morning After

Ask your doctor for Ulipristal acetate (Ella), fill it at your local pharmacy, and ask for the LATEST expiration date. This is the “morning after pill” but that is a misnomer because you can actually use it for up to 5 days after intercourse. A better word would be “emergency contraceptive”. Just like a fire extinguisher, you should have one just in case. Trust me… you don’t want to wait until the actual morning after and run to the pharmacy only to find it not yet open and cash out $50-80 to pay for it. Always have some emergency contraception around in case condoms rip. And the sooner you take it, the better in terms of efficacy. Better safe than sorry!

Get some good condoms
Mountain View
You never know when you’re going to need it. It’s the 21st century and women should definitely carry their own. In fact, men think that women who carry condoms are responsible, confident, and well prepared. No longer should men be the one carrying condoms – women should too! You can check itscondomdepot.com for ratings of different brands but we like Sustain Condoms because their condoms are sustainable and vegan AND 10% of their profits go to women’s reproductive health organizations. But we also like Lovability Condoms for their très cute packaging! 

Get FamilyPACT and sign up for a Confidential Communications Request Form
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For those in CA and don’t have insurance, get Family Pact which provides comprehensive family planning services to eligible low income men and women. You can either get this from your university health center or a local Planned Parenthood.  

In the event you already have insurance and are planning to stay with your parents until you’re 26, you go to http://www.myhealthmyinfo.org and fill out the Confidential Communications Request Form to keep your health information private. This way, sensitive services like birth control, STD/pregnancy tests, or mental health care can be kept private between you and your doctor.

Pick Your Safety Six
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This is a mobile way to look out for each other on campus or when you’re out for the night so that you can prevent violence before it happens. Download Circle of 6 available for both Android and iPhone, and pick your top 6 contacts that would be able to help you in case you need help getting home or needing an interruption (like you’re on a bad date and need someone to call you to pretend like you gotta go!).

And after you finish this check off list, simply remember that you’re fabulous and that you’re gonna kill it this semester! Fall 2016 ain’t even ready for you.

-Christal
Dance