How did you get involved with Even the Score?
My entire career has been dedicated to caring for women, specifically in the arenas of sexual health and menopause. Since last year, I’ve closely followed and participated in the amazing patient advocacy work Even the Score has done and I was so excited when the coalition asked me to join earlier this year. We have a lot of work to do for women and I’m thrilled to be part of such an amazing collection of impressive women’s rights groups and medical societies as Even the Score’s scientific co-chair.
How does the work you do with Even the Score help your patients?
I run a sexual health and menopause clinic, and every day I hear from patients who are suffering from one of the types of female sexual dysfunction. The care I provide to these women is limited because of the lack of an FDA-approved medical treatment option to give them. Men have many FDA approved options to treat their sexual health issues, and women have zero. Women suffering with FSD deserve OPTIONS for treatment. Working as part of ETS, as a women’s health advocate, is another way I can help women outside of the closed doors of the patient exam room.
Why is the first-ever treatment option for women so important to your field?
The first-ever drug approved for HSDD will raise awareness of the prevalence of sexual health issues in women, legitimize the unmet need, increase interest in research and development in this field, and lead to the development of other treatments for women. Women’s sexual health deserves the same attention as men’s sexual health, and with the approval of this first in class medication, women for the first time will have an FDA approved option. All medications have risks and benefits, and those must be considered by an individual patient in conjunction with their health care professional in a process called “Shared Decision Making.”
Why is this movement so important?
Over the years, the sexual health of women has been minimized at best, and completely ignored at worst. I see women suffering with FSD on a daily basis, and often they have often suffered for years, silently and alone. The total lack of medical treatment options available to physicians and to women partially explains why. The ETS movement has given women a community to share and learn about their condition and lets them know that they are not alone, that there are others out there who know what they’re going through. With stigmatized conditions, and regrettably I think this is one of them, it’s not until we genuinely listen to those whose lives are being impacted, that we open our minds to the scientific evidence.
What’s the one thing you want people to know about this issue?
I want people to know that Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder is real. That may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many times I’ve heard demeaning comments like “well, it’s all just in her head” or “has she tried getting a new boyfriend?” People need to understand that this is a real medical condition. We scientifically understand the biological component of HSDD – what would ever motivate us to deny access to a medical treatment that could improve someone’s life?