May 062009
Authors: Phoenix MourningStar

The end of the semester gets crazy — especially in the spring when the semester has been long and summer beckons.

People are tense around here: N1H1 flu spreading as far as panic and media will take it, the struggling economy “reviving” by the same sketchy financial-political schemes that got us into trouble, tuition going through the roof with no place to get loans, still dodgy political appointments and disputed elections.

It seems like the world is gripped by an air of depression — a situation that time and time again for college students gets associated with low funds, unemployment and boredom.

Luckily, here in Colorado, we have plenty of distractions even during these hard times — hundreds of square-miles of open space, wilderness, hiking and biking trails, lakes and plenty of beautiful sunsets and sunrises … it’s nothing less than romantic.

Speaking of romance, spring has finally won out over an indecisive winter, which means summer love is in the air.

The coming conclusion of the spring semester and the contrasting great weather during the week and crappy-cloudy weekends of late seem to bring a special meaning to a blurb I found on the Australian Courier News site: “New male jab ‘as effective as the pill.'”

It’s finally on the way — “the Pill” for men. Although it comes in the form of a shot, a recent trial in China of over 1,000 healthy men provided the most recent evidence of a successful new form of contraceptive that puts more choices in the hands of the male. Good news? Maybe.

As I browsed the Internet and World Health Organization’s literature on the topic, it became clear that this isn’t a new endeavor, which conjured thoughts of how this will be brought up in political arenas.

In 2006, when I lived in Vermont, I worked with Planned Parenthood of New England’s political action committee and public relations manager negotiating the minefield of Plan B legislation and providers. Albeit a bit less controversial than Plan B, I expect there will be some interesting debate before the new male injection is brought to market — which is at least 5 years away.

On the lighter side of the topic (depending on your perspective), there is far more discussion and debate in the news and on Internet posts as to the reliability factor. With effectiveness equal to that of the pill, it’s not the drug so much as the reliability of men that’s in question. Apparently everything works fine until you put a man in the equation.

The discussion at the moment is whether men can be trusted to make the trip to the doctor’s office once a month to get the treatment.

The comment sections are littered with mixed reviews of this topic from men and women.

In support of the potential availability of the new drug, men and women alike have responded with elation at the fact that men will finally be able to bear the burden of contraception — a view I certainly share. Although, are men really going to show up once a month for a shot — with a needle?

Many women don’t think it will happen.

Even if it does, you still have to worry about men who will claim they don’t need a condom because they got the treatment.

I suppose these are valid points. But, really, it’s not like giving blood — it’s just a little shot. And isn’t there already the concern as to whether or not the woman is taking the pills responsibly?

This is just another level of coverage that, assuming the side effects are minimal as advertised, is worth giving a shot.

Its also worth noting that, while this new male contraceptive is effective in preventing pregnancy by temporarily disrupting sperm production, it does not provide protection against STIs.

Phoenix Mourning-Star is an environmental health graduate student. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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