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The secrets locked up in period blood

Endometriosis is a disease that causes the cells that line the uterus to start growing in other parts of the body. This can lead to excruciating pain for those affected but diagnosis can take more than a decade. These researchers are looking at period blood to learn about the disease and how to spot it faster.

Tongues & other taboos: Why queer sex ed is good for everyone

Lesbian teenagers have a lower chance of getting a sexually transmitted infection, but the threat remains. Even though South Africa’s sex education curriculum includes all the right lessons to help pupils of all sexual identities have safe sex in theory, the information that filters through to them is still up to individual teachers.

Karoo dust, diet & diabetes: Why ‘lifestyle disease’ is an unfair label 

Diabetes is different from other non-communicable diseases, this author says. It can’t be spread in a literal sense — instead, it is often forced upon people by factors beyond their control. What happens when you have no say on your genetics or all you can afford is processed food?

Maize, malnutrition & martial arts: Inside the hidden food crisis driving hunger and obesity

Obesity is a growing worldwide trend. In Kenya, over a million five to 19-year-olds will be obese by 2030. At the same time, the East African nation is also stalked by hunger. More than three million people don’t have easy access to good nutritious food. These kiddies are fighting the problem – one taekwondo class at a time.

Would you swap your antidepressant for a mushroom?

The active ingredient in magic mushrooms could help treat depression in people who have had no success with traditional treatments.

People with weak immune systems can now walk in for booster jabs on top...

The system South Africa uses to track COVID-19 vaccines has been updated to allow people with weak immune systems to come in for a booster shot. This is in addition to the extra dose they received last year, as the jabs offer less protection in people with certain health conditions like cancer or HIV.

Counting calories or carcinogens? How to pick the fake sugar in your tea

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are found in many common foods and drinks, but a new study shows that these food additives could contribute to an increased risk of developing different kinds of cancers.

No shoes allowed: Why it’s best to go bare indoors

About a third of the dust in your home is carried in on the soles of people’s shoes, and some of it can be bad for people, such as microplastics or poisonous substances like lead. The solution is pretty simple and the science is clear-cut. Leave your shoes outside.

A sin tax on vapes is not as bad as Aids denialism. Here’s why

Lobbyists pushing for vaping as a way to help people quit smoking insist taxing e-cigarettes like traditional smokes will lead down a similar path as the state-sanctioned project of denying HIV treatment to state patients.

Magic melanin: Everything that makes Black skin unique

Black skin has a natural sun protection barrier equal to sunscreen of 13.4 because it contains more melanin. This extract from the book “Black Skin” unpacks the factors that make dark skin unique.

Too rich yet not rich enough: Why South Africa’s access to COVID pills is...

South Africa’s medicines regulator recently approved a branded version of molnupiravir, a new COVID treatment. Cheaper generic versions are on the cards. But affordability does not necessarily mean equal access.

A skin expert busts 11 Black skin myths

The world of beauty and skincare is littered with myths and misinformation about Black skin. This extract from aesthetician Diya Ayodele’s book “Black Skin” busts some of the most common beliefs that stop people with Black skin from getting good information.

A few pills a day could keep severe COVID away: What you need to...

Two drugs to treat COVID-19 have recently become available. These aren’t substitutes for a vaccine, but they could help at-risk people from developing severe disease. Here’s what you need to know about the new pills on offer.

Mutating toward mildness: How Omicron’s changes make it less deadly

The Omicron variant spreads rapidly causing surges in infections. But it doesn’t seem to be causing more severe cases. Still, there’s a need for caution as higher case numbers means more hospitalisations. Here’s what we know so far.

Your A to Z guide on HIV: The top 10 things to know from...

The HIV pandemic isn’t going anywhere until a cure is found. In the meantime, these expert HIV clinicians say South Africa should protect its victories.

The Pfizer palpitations: What exactly are the risks to teens’ hearts from this COVID...

As South Africa’s teenagers line up to get their Pfizer COVID jab, many parents are concerned about the possible risk of heart inflammation. We break down the numbers behind this extremely rare side effect and why it shouldn’t deter teens from getting a shot.