HIV/AIDS Newsroom: October 6, 2000
Risk Behaviors and the Prevalence of Chlamydia in a Juvenile Detention Facility
09/00 Vol. 39, No. 9, P. 521; Kelly, Patricia J.; Bair, Rita M.; Baillargeon, Jacques; et al.
Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio evaluated the prevalence of chlamydia among a population of adolescents aged 12 to 17 in two juvenile detention facilities. A total of 100 teens, 76 percent of whom were Hispanic, provided urine tests to check for the disease. The results showed that 8.7 percent of males had chlamydia infection, while 22.2 percent of females were infected. Subjects who reported using injection drugs at any time had a higher prevalence of the sexually transmitted disease. Among teens with tattoos, females had a higher rate of chlamydia than males. Young women were nearly three times as likely to have chlamydia infection than the men. All the patients who tested positive were given complete screening for diseases like HIV, and they also received counseling for their infection. The adolescents at the juvenile center had high rates of risky sexual behavior. A total of 92 percent of the study group was sexually active, with an average of 7.3 lifetime sex partners. The high rate of chlamydia is alarming, the researchers said, noting that the risky behaviors can lead to possible HIV infection as well as gonorrhea or hepatitis. While the study group was small, it reveals that incarcerated teens need better healthcare and prevention education.
The House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation on Thursday to provide over $1 billion a year for AIDS prevention and treatment. For the first time, the bill takes HIV infection into account with AIDS cases in determining how the federal dollars will be spent. The legislation, which now goes to the president, reauthorizes the Ryan White CARE Act for five years.
Irish Agency Knew of Risks in Blood Sales, Tribunal Says
New York Times (www.nytimes.com)
10/06/00 P. A6; Lavery, Brian
An official inquiry in Ireland has determined that the government's Blood Transfusion Service Board knowingly put over 200 hemophiliacs at risk for HIV and hepatitis C in the early 1980s. Medical experts testified that the organization sold infected blood products to hospitals, even though the drug firms that made the products had voiced concerns about their safety. Mismanagement seems to have resulted in a priority placed on profits, not the safety of the patients. According to the inquiry, 57 of the more than 200 hemophiliacs who were infected have since died from AIDS-related diseases and nine have died from hepatitis or related complications. Testimony from the Blood Transfusion Board's deputy medical director, Dr. Emer Lawlor, also revealed that 20 years of official papers were destroyed in 1993. Adding to the problems is that when the situation was first uncovered, not all the patients were promptly informed about the risk of disease, some were not told of their infection status for years, and hemophiliacs who tested HIV-positive received no counseling to help them deal with the situation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has responded to criticism by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) regarding its campaign to fight tuberculosis (TB), AIDS, and malaria. WHO said it was "surprised" that MSF believes its campaign is too passive. In a statement, the WHO said, "In fact, their suggestions actually echo proposals and ideas that WHO has repeatedly stated," noting that treatment affordability and research and development -- two areas highlighted by MSF -- are priorities. The WHO is holding an advocacy forum in Winterthur, Switzerland, this week to discuss its "massive effort" against TB, AIDS, and malaria.
President Clinton spoke at a Princeton University conference on Thursday, highlighting his activist government and comparing his presidential work to former presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, who inspired a reluctant nation to action. Among other issues, Clinton emphasized that the United States must face diseases like AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis abroad, and help improve opportunities for young people.
China is considering laws to improve HIV prevention efforts, as health officials debate whether the measures should allow for condom distribution and sex education for prostitutes. Chen Baozhen, director of the Ministry of Health's infectious disease prevention and supervision office, was quoted by the China Daily as saying that some people may not be ready to support such efforts, or condoms being placed in hotels and universities. According to the paper, experts hoped to amend criminal laws so that people who intentionally infected others with HIV would be punished. Under current law, individuals infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) who continue to participate in illegal sexual activities, like prostitution, can be sentenced to five years in jail; however, HIV infection is not included as an STD in this legislation.
South Africa's government is starting a huge advertising campaign to ensure condom use does not stop because of confusion over President Mbeki's questioning of the link between HIV and AIDS. The campaign will encourage abstinence and fidelity but will also promote condom use to prevent HIV infection, and it is based on the idea that HIV causes AIDS. The educational effort, which will cost about $275,000, will be promoted in all major newspapers and on public radio stations during the next two weeks.
Uganda's health ministry announced Thursday that about 838,000 Ugandans have died from AIDS since 1982. Women accounted for 411,382 of the deaths, while about 83,800 were among children under 12. In 1999, about 112,000 new AIDS cases were reported in Uganda, with nearly 55,000 cases among women. The ministry's report noted that HIV rates continue to decline in major urban areas of the country. "The decline in all these situations continue to be most significant in the young age groups between 15 and 24 years," the study found. Still, the report asserted that HIV rates remain too high and that aggressive steps need to be taken to continue and improve existing prevention and control programs. The researchers noted, however, that open discussions about HIV and AIDS have helped to significantly reduce the rates of infection over the past seven years.
The number of Russian troops infected with HIV has increased quickly in the first half of the year, with 260 new cases, according to a report in the Kommersant newspaper. The paper noted, however, that Bogdan Lazanko, an official at Podolsk military hospital, said the actual number of HIV-infected soldiers could be 10 times higher. Experts said that 85 percent of the infected troops contracted HIV before starting their military service.
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.