HIV/AIDS Newsroom: January 23, 2001
Counseling Patients on Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Pharmacy Times (www.pharmacytimes.com)
12/00; Vol. 66, No. 13, P. 55; Shaw, L. Kendall
An estimated 15 million Americans contract sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) every year. Pharmacists talking to patients with STDs should make sure to address preventing infection and also reach them about prevention. The patient should be assured of the confidentiality of the discussion as well as have confidence in the counselor's professional skills. Some suggested steps for the pharmacist-turned-counselor to follow are to identify individuals at risk or in need of counseling; stress preventative options; note the symptoms of STDs; encourage testing and/or other diagnostic processes; and address the patient's disease, treatment and prognosis. Because patients possibly infected with an STD may need more counseling than most pharmacists can provide, pharmacists should also be prepared with referrals, if necessary.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning AIDS patients about a fake version of the drug Serostim, one that is powdery instead of caked. The counterfeit drug carries the lot number MNK612A with an expiration date of 08/02.
Pediatricians Urged to Offer HIV Testing to Adolescents
Reuters Health Information Services (www.reutershealth.com)
A new report from Housing Works, an AIDS service group in New York, claims that 70 percent of the money the state spends on the disease goes to organizations run by non-Hispanic white people, even though over 80 percent of New York residents with HIV or AIDS are minorities. Housing Works analyzed the funding contracts that New York awards to various groups for AIDS prevention and services for HIV-infected individuals. The analysis revealed that just 30 percent of the funds statewide are given to minority-run organizations. State officials and HIV service group leaders deny that the funding is discriminatory, noting that gay men, most of them white, were the hardest hit by AIDS at the beginning of the epidemic, and they established the first groups to help fight HIV and AIDS Those groups, therefore, are now older and more politically powerful than newer groups.
Researchers reportedly have identified two cases of recombinant HIV-1 infection, the first to be found in a rural, resident part of the United States. In a report published in January issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases (2001;183:138-142), Dr. Chad Womack of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and colleagues at the Morehouse School of Medicine identified the cases during a molecular epidemiological study of HIV-1 infected patients living in rural Georgia. Of the 11 subtypes of the major variants of HIV-1, subtype B is the most frequent subtype identified in Western Europe and North America; the two patients in Georgia had non-B subtype strains of HIV-1, strains similar to subtype A variants, the authors said. The researchers have not determined where the recombinant strains originated and suggested that the patients may have been infected with strains that had recombined long before entering this country.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new hepatitis C drug, Peg-Intron. The drug from Schering-Plough and Enzon is a form of Schering's Intron A that needs to be injected only once a week.
Investigators recently that for many HIV-infected individuals-particularly African Americans, the poor, and patients with psychological disorders -- the emergency room has become their primary care facility for new symptoms. Lead author Dr. Allen L. Gifford of the University of California at San Diego reported that the fact that HIV patients, in general, have a tendency to choose emergency care facilities over primary care indicates a change may be necessary on how physicians provide access to patients with HIV or other complicated illnesses. The report, which appears in the December issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine (2000;15:833-840,891-893), assessed the responses of nearly 2,900 HIV-infected individuals who were asked about how they would seek care in several different situations.
Officials at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield, North London, have begun testing their infant patients for tuberculosis (TB), after discovering that a hospital worker had contracted the disease. The infants, located in the hospital's special care unit for seriously ill or underweight babies, are currently receiving skin tests. Hospital officials note that the risk of infection is extremely low, as the cleaner was never in direct contact with the babies or their families.
The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) recently convened near Kampala, Uganda, with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and others to discuss how to address the AIDS epidemic. The AACC announced that it was time for churches to become actively involved in the struggle and assist in making the population aware of the seriousness of the disease. "There is [an] urgent need for the churches in Africa to break the silence and myth surrounding the deadly virus and create awareness, improve pastoral care for the affected, share information on various approaches, form networks, and give support, especially to youth and women, who are most affected," a statement from the AACC said.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.