Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

U.S. Launches Interactive HIV/AIDS Database on Census.gov

 

AIDS 2012 logo

 

From the July 23 2012 US Census press release

The U.S. Census Bureau today launched aninteractive global resource on the prevalence of HIV infection and AIDS cases and deaths. The database was developed in 1987 and now holds 149,000 statistics, an increase of approximately 10,800 new estimates in the last year, making it the most complete of its kind in the world. The launch comes as thousands of people worldwide meet in Washington, D.C., for the International AIDS Conference this week.

The resource is maintained by the Census Bureau with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby, head of PEPFAR, said on the launch, “This release of the HIV/AIDS database will expand global access to data that are critical to understanding the epidemic. This information is invaluable for the evidence-based response PEPFAR is championing.”

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said “This database provides the people who need it with quality statistics — supporting the life-saving efforts of our partners at PEPFAR and USAID and the doctors, nurses and public health officials working to reach the end of AIDS.”

The tool is a library of statistics from more than 12,000 articles in international scientific and medical journals, individual countries’ annual HIV/AIDS surveillance reports, and papers and posters presented at international conferences.

The menu-driven access tool permits users to search for statistical information in countries and territories across the world, as well as by subpopulation, geographic subarea (such as urban and rural), age, sex and year (back to 1960).

Statistics for the United States are available separately from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

July 24, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How the Global War on Drugs Drives HIV and AIDS

Global Commission Calls for Drug Decriminalization and Expansion of Proven, Cost-Effective Solutions to Reduce HIV/AIDS – Including Sterile Syringe Access, Safer Injection Facilities, and Prescription Heroin Programs

 

From the 29 June 2012 article at Time.com

The war on drugs is driving much of the global AIDS pandemic, increasing new infections among injection-drug users in the U.S. and elsewhere, according to a new report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy...

(A PDF of the report may be found here***)

bout one-third of all new infections outside of sub-Sarahan Africa occur in injection-drug users.

Since the 1990s, effective public-health strategies to curb HIV transmission in drug users have led to drops in new infections in most countries. But over the same time period, seven countries have seen a 25% increase in new infections. Not coincidentally, five of these countries — mainly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia — employ aggressive drug war strategies, such as arresting and incarcerating users for drug or needle possession…

…These tactics have been shown to be ineffective not only for controlling drug use, but also for reining in the spread of HIV. Why? Because the fear of recrimination prevents drug users from seeking clean needles — a major risk factor for HIV infection. In the U.S. as well, areas with the highest infection rates are those that have the most aggressive drug policies, the report shows. The solution is straightforward, if drastic; it requires a complete overhaul of current drug policy: drug users need treatment, not imprisonment, and drug possession needs to be decriminalized, the authors argue.

 

***

The Commission’s recommendations are summarized here. They include:

- Push national governments to halt the practice of arresting and imprisoning people who use drugs but do no harm to others.

-  Measure drug policy success by indicators that have real meaning in communities, such as reduced rates of transmission of HIV and other infectious diseases, fewer overdose deaths, reduced drug market violence, fewer individuals incarcerated and lowered rates of problematic substance use.

- Respond to the fact that HIV risk behavior resulting from repressive drug control policies and under-funding of evidence-based approaches is the main issue driving the HIV epidemic in many regions of the world.

- Act urgently: The war on drugs has failed, and millions of new HIV infections and AIDS deaths can be averted if action is taken now.

How the drug war fuels the HIV pandemic:

- Fear of arrest drives persons who use drugs underground, away from HIV testing and HIV prevention services and into high-risk environments.

- Restrictions on provision of sterile syringes to drug users result in increased syringe sharing.

- Prohibitions or restrictions on opioid substitution therapy and other evidence-based treatment result in untreated addiction and avoidable HIV risk behavior.

- Deficient conditions and lack of HIV prevention measures in prison lead to HIV outbreaks among incarcerated drug users.

- Disruptions of HIV antiretroviral therapy result in elevated HIV viral load and subsequent HIV transmission and increased antiretroviral resistance.

- Limited public funds are wasted on harmful and ineffective drug law enforcement efforts instead of being invested in proven HIV prevention strategies.

June 29, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Missed Opportunity To Transform Global HIV/AIDS Fight Reported By Tropical Disease Experts

 

Map of Africa coloured according to the percen...

English: Estimated HIV prevalence among young adults (15-49) by country. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Map-of-HIV-Prevalance-in-Africa.png

 

From the 12 December 2011 Medical News Today article 

Global HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts are missing a major opportunity to significantly improve health conditions in poor countries by simply adding low-cost care for the many other chronic and disabling diseases routinely afflicting and often killing these same patients, according to a panel of disease experts who spoke at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).

“People want better health; they do not understand why we silo diseases,” said Judd Walson, a global health and infectious disease expert at the University of Washington. “If you die from malaria, you don’t care that your HIV was treated. Communities want us to leverage the resources we have to treat and prevent disease as effectively as possible.”

Walson and his colleagues on the panel noted that many victims of HIV/AIDS also typically suffer from one or more of about 17 neglected, but burdensome, tropical diseases often called “diseases of poverty” because they prey on the “bottom billion” – the world’s poorest people. They include ailments such as trachoma, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and onchocerciasis, all of which are either insect-borne disease, bacterial infections, or caused by parasitic worms.

Despite the illness and deaths attributable to these diseases, proposed US funding for fighting them was only about $155 million in 2011, or about 3 percent of the $5.6 billion invested in HIV/AIDS efforts. Moreover, the programs often exist in isolation from one another with, for example, many programs restricting support only to antiretroviral drugs to treat AIDS.

Yet tropical disease experts note that in places like sub-Saharan Africa, where neglected diseases affect 1.4 billion people, co-infections with HIV are common. And they see mounting evidence that dealing with multiple diseases at the same time and in the same place is more cost-effective and clinically beneficial.

Walson pointed to a program in Western Kenya that focused on a community suspected of having high levels of HIV but whose remote location made it hard to reach to conduct testing. The program promised access to free bed nets and water filters to those residents who came in for a test. In just six days, some 10,000 residents turned out for the free nets and filters. The result: 1181 people were found to be HIV positive and referred to care while thousands of people gained new tools for preventing malaria and water-borne diseases. …….

December 12, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Only One Quarter of Americans with HIV Have Virus Under Control

English: The Red ribbon is a symbol for solida...

Image via Wikipedia

Only One Quarter of Americans with HIV Have Virus Under Control
http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/WAD2011PressRelease.html
Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans living with HIV do not have their infection under control, according to a Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Press Release

CDC launches campaign to increase HIV testing so more can access needed care

 

Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans living with HIV do not have their infection under control, according to a Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released today in advance of World AIDS Day, December 1. The authors say the low percentage is because 1 in 5 people with HIV do not realize they are infected and, of those who are aware, only 51 percent receive ongoing medical care and treatment.

Of the nearly 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, only an estimated 28 percent have a suppressed viral load (defined as viral load less than 200 copies of the blood-borne virus per milliliter of blood) – meaning that the virus is under control and at a level that helps keep them healthy and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others.

However, of those living with HIV who are in ongoing care and on antiretroviral treatment, 77 percent have suppressed levels of the virus. Effective HIV treatment and care benefit infected individuals by improving their health, and are also important for HIV prevention. Results from a recent study of heterosexual couples from the National Institutes of Health showed that consistently taking antiretroviral therapy, in combination with safer behaviors, can reduce the risk of spreading HIV by approximately 96 percent.

“While we have known that viral suppression can be achieved with proper HIV treatment and care, today’s new Vital Signs data highlight the challenges our country faces in keeping HIV-positive Americans in the care they need to control the virus,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “By improving testing, linkage to care and treatment services, we can help people living with HIV feel better and live longer, and can reduce the spread of HIV dramatically. This is not just an individual responsibility, but a responsibility for families, partners, communities and health care providers.”

Men who have sex with men (MSM), the population most severely affected by HIV in the United States, are least likely to know they are infected and less likely to receive prevention counseling (39 percent, compared with 50 percent of men who have sex with women and women who have sex with men).

Study authors underscore that improvements are needed at each stage in the overall process of treatment and care. That means increasing the number of infected Americans who are tested, linked to care, remain in care, receive prevention counseling and are successfully treated – all to achieve viral suppression.

“Closing the gaps in testing, access to care and treatment will all be essential to slowing the U.S. HIV epidemic,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “HIV testing is the most important first step toward breaking the cycle of transmission. Combined with effective prevention services, linkage to care and ongoing effective treatment, testing provides a gateway to the most effective prevention tools at our disposal.”

New campaign encourages black gay and bisexual men to get tested for HIV

To increase HIV testing rates among one of the populations most affected by HIV, black gay and bisexual men, CDC also launched a new national awareness campaign, Testing Makes Us Stronger. CDC collaborated with gay and bisexual community leaders, physicians and other experts to develop the campaign, which strives to raise awareness, improve access and increase the number of black gay and bisexual men who are aware of their HIV status: the first step to care, treatment and prevention services.

Testing Makes Us Stronger encourages men to “stay strong and informed.” The ads depict a diverse range of black gay men, including individuals and couples. The campaign includes national print and online advertising; a dedicated website and Facebook page; promotion at black gay pride events; and outdoor and transit advertising in gay and African-American neighborhoods in six cities where black gay and bisexual men are heavily affected by HIV – Atlanta, Baltimore, Houston, New York City, Oakland, Calif., and Washington, D.C.

“Black gay and bisexual men across the country are already doing many of the right things to protect themselves – but more need to make HIV testing a regular part of their lives,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and Tuberculosis Prevention. “Testing Makes Us Stronger was designed by black gay men for black gay men and strives to communicate the power of knowing your HIV status as a first step toward staying healthy.”

Research shows that black gay and bisexual men do not engage in riskier behaviors than other gay men, but are at higher risk for HIV due to the high prevalence of HIV that already exists in many black and gay communities, increasing the likelihood of becoming infected with each sexual encounter.

In addition to increasing testing and ensuring that people with HIV remain in care, CDC scientists stress that proven approaches to risk reduction – such as consistent condom use and reducing the number of sexual partners – among uninfected individuals will also remain critical. In part, because of the substantial amount of HIV transmission that occurs during the early stages of HIV infection, well before diagnosis and treatment can occur.

Testing Makes Us Stronger is the latest campaign of Act Against AIDS, CDC’s umbrella campaign to fight complacency about HIV nationwide. Other Act Against AIDS campaigns include those which focus on African-American women, African-American youth, health care providers and the general public.

More information about the new statistics on viral suppression and Testing Makes Us Stronger is available at www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom.

CDC works 24/7 saving lives, protecting people from health threats and saving money to have a more secure nation. Whether these threats are chronic or acute, manmade or natural, human error or deliberate attack, global or domestic, CDC is the U.S. health protection agency.

Vital Signs is a CDC report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journalMorbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, or MMWR. The report provides the latest data and information on key health indicators, such as cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, health care–associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen pregnancy, asthma and food safety.

December 10, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

HIV: Reaching Global Goals?

World AIDS Day was December 1.
However AIDS prevention and treatment goes on each day.

Excerpts from a recent post by Amy Croan, MPH on the  achievement goal of a world without AIDS, economic roadblocks, and how one can protect oneself. 

Thirty years of an infectious pandemic, drug research, public health education, and counseling have brought us to the point where we boldly announce the goal of an HIV-free generation in the next three years. This may seem attainable as HIV is a preventable disease. Personal behavior changes will determine the rate of infection. Assuming we will curb behaviors of all people who engage in IV drug use and unprotected sex, especially at a time when economies are struggling, is delusional.

Greece’s troubled economy has seen new infections rise by 52% in 2011, and that rate is expected to increase to 60% by the end of the year. (The US rate of increase is about 7%.) The rate of injected drug use is increasing because people can no longer afford other methods, and there have been heavy cuts to prevention in the form of free needles. …

December 6, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

AIDS Education and Training Centers National Resource Center website

From the AIDS Education and Training Centers National Resource Center About Us Web page

AETC National Resource Center HomeTop of Banner

 

 

The AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETC) Program of the Ryan White CARE Act currently supports a network of 11 regional centers (and more than 130 local performance sites) that conduct targeted, multi-disciplinary education and training programs for healthcare providers treating persons with HIV/AIDS.

The AETCs serve all 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the six U.S.-affiliated Pacific Jurisdictions.

The mission of the AETCs is to improve the quality of life of patients living with HIV/AIDS through the provision of high quality professional education and training. The AETC Program is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HIV/AIDS Bureau.

A few of the Web site’s features

  • Trainer Resources with self-study modules, adult learning training designs, teaching methods (including clinical, group, mentoring based) and training materials (as curricula and slide sets)
  • Clinician Resources with a manual, support tools (as pocket guide, charts, posters, and patient information)
  • Reference Materials with fact sheets, articles, and Web links.

 

 

 

February 5, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources, Public Health | , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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