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HPV vaccination rate among teenage girls in US is almost double that of South LA

In 2012, about 54 percent of U.S. teenage girls had received at least one dose of the vaccine, but "missed vaccination opportunities remain high," say CDC officials.
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More teenage girls have gotten vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) in recent years, but "missed vaccination opportunities remain high" in many communities, including South L.A.

 A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that only about 54 percent had received at least one dose of the three-dose vaccination in 2012.

That's almost double South L.A.'s vaccination rate: A little more than 29 percent of girls between 13 and 17 years of age have received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine, according to the county's public health department.

South L.A.'s is also the lowest rate of any area in Los Angeles County, whose overall vaccination rate is about 45 percent.

According to the CDC, there are more than 40 types of HPV, the most common sexually-transmitted infection. An estimated 79 million Americans currently live with the infection, which can cause genital warts and certain cancers, including cervical and oropharyngeal.


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More expensive Plan B One-Step will be only morning-after pill available over-the-counter in South LA

For the next three years, said the FDA on Monday, Plan B One-Step will be the only brand of the morning-after pill that will be allowed to be sold over the counter with no age restrictions.
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For the next three years, Plan B One-Step will be the only brand of the morning-after pill that will be allowed to be sold over the counter with no age restrictions.

That's what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided on Monday, noting that this period of "exclusivity" will last until April 30, 2016.

FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Yao noted in a statement to KPCC that drug companies seeking to manufacture new, generic versions of the one-step (one-pill) morning-after contraception may still win FDA approval. But they will not be able to sell their product to girls younger than 17 – at least until Plan B's exclusivity expires in 2016. 

What this boils down to:

  • Anyone can buy the brand-name, Plan B One-Step pill.
  • The only people who will be able to buy generic versions of the one-step morning-after pill are girls 17 and older, and no prescription is required – only age verification. 
  • Girls younger than 17 won't have any access to generic one-step morning-after pills – at all.
  • As noted by NPR, the two-pill (two-step) version of the morning-after pill will remain available to any girls who can verify that they're 17 or older or any girl younger than that with a prescription.


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Mayo Clinic study highlights 146 reversals of medical procedures from past 10 years

A woman waits outside the mammogram and women's health services area on the first day of the fourth annual free Care Harbor clinic in South L.A. in 2012. Dr. Felix Aguilar, the president and CEO of UMMA Community Clinic, said he's seen the recommendations regarding mammogram frequency change during his time working on the southside.

Over the past decade, medical experts have reversed course on certain practices and procedures – like hormone therapy for menopausal women, which is no longer a widely recommended treatment.

A new report appearing in Mayo Clinic Proceedings counted how many times this occurred over the past 10 years, and found that doctors reversed course on 146 previously established practices, treatments and procedures.

"That's just the nature of medical knowledge," said Dr. Felix Aguilar, the president and CEO of UMMA Community Clinic in South Los Angeles. "We learn new things, we learn that things do not work, or that things we were doing were actually causing harm. Things get reversed – that's what happens. We move forward with new knowledge."

Aguilar pointed to hormone therapy as an example. He said patients will often come into UMMA with questions about menopause.


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Kogi food truck chef Roy Choi works with South LA teens to open new healthy cafe

Working at 3 Worlds Cafe is 20-year-old Oscar Guizar's first job. He said he's grateful for the opportunity.
Hayley Fox/KPCC

The 3 Worlds Cafe is the product of a brainstorming session between food truck guru Roy Choi, and a group of South L.A. high school students. 

Choi — best known for his popular Kogi food trucks that feature mash-ups of Mexican and Korean cuisine — began working with students at Jefferson High School two years ago. Together, they developed a menu of healthy drinks teenagers would want to buy.

“It wasn’t a huge political campaign," said Choi. "All I had in my mind was how do you get them to eat fruit and drink smoothies when they have chips and ice cream sandwiches?"

This is where smoothies like the Mango Bomb and Freshy Fresa Banana were born. They’re modeled largely after the familiar fruit carts and paletas (Mexican popsicles) found all over L.A. The smoothies at the cafe are made with fresh fruit and natural sweeteners, like agave and coconut milk, to make them more enticing to youth.


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Income, education affect people's ability to get eye care: study

A new study found that people who earn less and don't have a high school diploma are less likely to have access to vision care, leaving them vulnerable to age-related eye conditions.
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Age-related eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration are preventable, treatable and even reversible – but only if you have access to an eye doctor.

A new study appearing in JAMA Ophthalmology reinforces the notion that folks on the lower end of the educational and socioeconomic scales are less likely to have access to eye care, leaving them with little to no access to interventions that can preserve or repair their vision.

Other research has found that access to vision care is an important determinant in whether people maintain good eyesight and visual health.

In South Los Angeles, access to both optometrists and ophthalmologists is extremely limited. That's in part because vision care is usually part of an employer-provided insurance package, something a lot of southside residents don't have.


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