HIV/AIDS Newsroom: August 23, 2000
Primary Prevention of HIV-1
08/12/00 Vol. 356, No. 9229, P. 600; Weisburger, J. H.
In a letter to the editor, J.H. Weisburger of the American Health Foundation in Valhalla, N.Y., asserts that primary prevention is the best way to fight HIV worldwide. Teaching people about and getting them to use condoms can work, as it has with other sexually transmitted diseases. The author notes that "in some countries like Brazil, and perhaps Senegal and Uganda, some successes in preventing AIDS through this inexpensive means has been achieved." According to Weisburger, some people have also suggested that HIV-infected individuals try using a patch containing dinitrochlorobenzene to boost immune competence.
The number of patients treated for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in public clinics in Hong Kong has tripled over the last 10 years, in large part because of cross-border sex. According to statistics from the Department of Health, 29,598 new cases of STDs were recorded last year, up from 10,457 in 1990. However, Dr. Chong Lai-yin, a consultant dermatologist for the health department, noted that the government's figures do not reveal the large number of people who visit private doctors for STD treatment. Furthermore, Paulina Kwok Chiying, a Caritas team leader and social worker on a project about extra-marital affairs, said that since the handover of Hong Kong to China, an increasing number of Hong Kong men are traveling to the mainland for business and then taking mistresses or visiting prostitutes. The statistics show that non-gonococcal urethritis and non-specific genital tract infection account for 50 percent of all STD infections in Hong Kong, followed by genital warts, gonorrhea, genital herpes, and syphilis. Dr. Chong also said that because gonorrhea has developed resistance to the antibiotic quinolone, cephalosporins are now being used to treat the disease.
USA Unhealthy for Women: Unsatisfactory Is Norm Across Nation
USA Today (www.usatoday.com)
08/22/00 P. 8D; Rubin, Rita
A new report, "Making the Grade on Women's Health," gives no state a satisfactory grade for overall women's health. The study -- from the National Women's Law Center, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the Lewin Group -- graded states based on a number of benchmarks for women, many taken from the Department of Health and Human Services' "Healthy People 2000 Initiative." These benchmarks include life expectancy, the death rate from breast cancer, and the percentage of women who receive prenatal care during their first three months of pregnancy. States were rated "satisfactory" if they met a goal, "unsatisfactory" if they came within 10 percent of the benchmark, and "F" if they were more than 10 percent away from the goal. No state met all 25 of the women's health benchmarks, and eight states and the District of Columbia received failing grades overall. The report noted, for example, that just three states require insurers to cover recommended screening for chlamydia, the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease. In addition, the study found a number of information gaps, including a lack of state-level health data for racial and ethnic groups.
Dr. Pauline Thomas, coordinator of Pediatric HIV/AIDS Surveillance in New York City, believes that all HIV-infected children with pulmonary illness should be tested for tuberculosis (TB) and all pediatric TB patients should be tested for HIV. A retrospective comparison of TB rates in HIV-infected and uninfected children born to HIV-positive mothers from 1989 to 1995 reveals that HIV-infected children were more likely to have extrapulmonary disease and die within two years of TB diagnosis than HIV-negative patients with TB. The report is published in the August issue of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (2000;19:700-706).
The Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group 377, led by Dr. Andrew Wiznia of the Jacobi Medical Center in New York, examined 181 antiretroviral-experienced children. According to a report in the August 10 issue of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses (2000;16:1113-1121), the children were given one of four regimens containing stavudine plus two or three other drugs. The 24-week results of the study show that fewer children maintained virological suppression than expected, with only 51 percent attaining undetectable HIV RNA copy numbers and 58 percent achieving HIV RNA suppression. After 24 weeks, more patients receiving four drugs had undetectable HIV RNA than patients on the other regimens, suggesting that an aggressive therapy could suppress the virus more quickly during the induction phase.
The Orleans Parish School Board in Louisiana must pay two HIV-infected teachers a total of $80,000 after federal officials concluded that the board violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Although other details of the settlement are not known, one teacher will receive $50,000 and the other will get $30,000 because the board failed to provide them with air-conditioned classrooms.
Of the 1,173 people surveyed by Yankelovich Partners, 90 percent feel that the online privacy of personal data is the most important Internet shopping issue, says Yankelovich's David Bersoff. Only 60 percent reported satisfaction with Internet privacy. This concern stems from a "'hacker chill,' where people think there is a group of people out there constantly trying to breach security and get information," Bersoff says. More careful government regulation of privacy is sought by 46 percent of the online users polled, while 79 percent reportedly exit Web sites that require personal data to proceed. Users worry that their personal information could be shared more freely online than offline, Bersoff says. Selling mailing lists without permission constitutes privacy violation, according to 67 percent of the people polled. In comparison, 35 percent feel that screening employees for HIV is a privacy violation and 34 percent feel the same way about psychological tests for employees.
Health ministers from Bhutan, India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, and Thailand are meeting in Nepal this week to discuss methods of providing inexpensive healthcare to the poor. Specifically, the leaders plan to discuss health sector reforms and the AIDS epidemic. According to Uton Muchtar Rafei, the World Health Organization director for Southeast Asia, the countries need to reform their health sectors to be able to give affordable healthcare to their people. Adding to the stresses on the region's medical infrastructure are the emergence of new diseases like HIV, the re-emergence of tuberculosis and malaria, and widespread poverty and illiteracy.
The World Bank has announced plans to give $32 million in loans to Kyrgyzstan and Moldova. The bank will loan Moldova $10 million for various health efforts, including HIV and tuberculosis control programs. Kyrgyzstan will receive $22 million to help establish a transport system in three cities. The two nations have 40 years to pay back the funds, with a 10-year delay.
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.