Vertical dancers Jessica Swanson, left, and Virginia Broyles, from the California-based Bandaloop group are suspended in the air using ropes as they perform the dance piece "Public Canvas Quartet" on Thursday alongside a building in Providence, R.I. The performance was part of PVD Fest, a four-day-long art festival in Providence. (Steven Senne/AP)
CDC changes guidance on HIV and fatherhood

The nation’s top public health agency on Thursday changed its guidance for HIV-infected men who want to father children, saying there is now enough evidence that a lab technique that removes the virus is a safe option.

For many years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was too risky for infected men to have unprotected sex with uninfected women because that is one way the virus spreads. Infection of the baby is considered possible, but far less likely, CDC officials said.

More recently, the agency said some couples can try to conceive if the man has been taking virus-suppressing HIV medications and the woman takes a drug that protects against infection.

But it has been slow to approve a technique called “sperm washing,” which has been around for decades and endorsed by other medical organizations. It involves separating sperm from infected cells in seminal fluid and using the sperm for artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization.

The agency wanted substantial evidence that women weren’t becoming infected from washed sperm. After reviewing nearly 4,000 cases worldwide, it has become clear women are not, said the CDC’s Denise Jamieson.

— Associated Press

‘Birth certificates’ to be issued for miscarriages

Florida will become the first state to issue what is essentially a birth certificate to women who’ve had miscarriages, an idea that received broad support among Democrats and Republicans despite concerns from the National Organization for Women that it was an attempt to define life for fetuses that could not survive outside the womb.

Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a bill titled the “Grieving Families Act” Wednesday that will allow the state to start issuing “certificates of nonviable birth” beginning July 1 if parents request them. They would be available to women whose pregnancies end after nine weeks and before 20 weeks of gestation.

Pregnancies that end at 20 weeks or later are considered stillbirths, and death certificates must be issued in Florida and many other states. Florida parents also may request a birth certificate in such cases.

— Associated Press

State to pay $25 million in wrongful accusation

Indiana officials have agreed to pay $25 million to a couple who were wrongfully accused in the death of their 14-year-old daughter. The lawsuit filed by Jessica Salyer’s family was dismissed Wednesday after the settlement was reached.

Court documents allege the state Department of Child Services pursued a neglect case against Roman and Lynnette Finnegan despite an investigation that showed Jessica died in 2005 from taking prescribed medications that had a fatal interaction.

The department removed two of the Finnegan’s other children and placed them in foster care. The Finnegans were arrested, but the charges were later dropped.

— Associated Press