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HIV/AIDS Newsroom: October 13, 2000

HIV Misdiagnoses
Journal of the American Medical Association (
10/11/00 Vol. 284, No. 14, P. 1777; Voelker, Rebecca

Spanish researchers have warned that symptoms of HIV can easily mistaken for endemic disease like Mediterranean spotted fever (MSF). The researchers detailed at the recent Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy the cases of four individuals who were diagnosed with MSF at a hospital outside of Barcelona. Serology testing was not used to confirm the diagnoses. An HIV diagnosis was made for one patient 10 days later, but the other three did not learn of their infection until years later.

Congress Clears Breast and Cervical Cancer Bill
Reuters Health Information Services (

The House of Representatives has approved legislation that would let states provide Medicaid to uninsured women who use a federal screening program to detect breast or cervical cancer. The measure, passed by voice vote, will now be sent to President Clinton, who has said he will approve it. A different version of the bill, which featured language from Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.),would have required research into whether condoms should carry labels warning users that they do not protect against human papillomavirus, the cause of most cases of cervical cancer. Although the language was not opposed, supporters were concerned that the measure could be returned to the Senate, the chamber would not act, and the measure would fail, so the Coburn passage was ultimately removed.


Older Women May Become Immune to HPV
Reuters Health Information Services (

New research from Dr. Susanne Kruger Kjaer of the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen, Denmark, shows that older women are less likely than younger women to be infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), even if they have an equal number of sex partners. This suggests that women can develop an immune response to fight the virus over time. The study -- which compared HPV in 182 female sex workers in Denmark and 1,000 women in the general population -- found that the virus was present in 47 percent of the sex workers, 43 percent of the women from a sexually transmitted disease clinic, and 15 percent of women from the population. The researchers' findings, which are published in the September issue of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (2000;27:438-445), note that the older sex workers had a lower prevalence of HPV infection and those who used condoms only occasionally or never with their clients had a greater risk of infection.

In Brief: [Digene HPV Test]
Washington Post (
10/13/00 P. E5

Digene, a Maryland-based biotechnology company, reports that its DNA test for human papillomavirus (HPV) will be offered by the University of Arizona's Arizona Cancer Center. The test is also offered by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, and Yale University. HPV is a major cause of cervical cancer.

Weekly Checkup: Misconceptions About STDs
Indianapolis Star (
10/12/00 P. E6

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that many people have misconceptions about how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Over 38 percent of patients interviewed said that urinating after sex can prevent STDs. Some patients also believed that using oral contraceptives or douching after sex would protect against disease. The study is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2000;19:167-173).

Local AIDS Project Targets Gay Latinos [in Detroit]
Detroit News (
10/12/00 P. 14; Martindale, Mike

A new HIV prevention project is targeting homosexual Hispanic men in southeast Michigan. Craig Covey, director of the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project, said that even though the Hispanic population is the fastest-growing ethnic minority in this country, there have been no support programs for Hispanics who are gay. Covey noted, "That's incredible, especially considering the rate of HIV infection among Latino men who have sex with men is twice that ofwhites." Nationwide, Hispanics account for 13 percent of the population but made up one-fifth of the new HIV infections in 1999. In Michigan, Hispanics made up 2 percent of the overall population but last year accounted for 4 percent of new HIV cases. Covey's program includes information and workshops in Spanish, and the group is also hiring a bilingual outreach worker.

Raving Risky, Counselor Warns Students; Designer Drugs That Fuel Dance Parties Are One Problem, Violence, Unsafe Sex Are Others
Allentown Morning Call (
10/12/00 P. B2; Marshall, Genevieve

Raves, all-night dance parties often fueled by drugs like Ecstasy, have many dangers. Rene Lento, an addiction practitioner for Lehigh County Drug and Alcohol Intake Unit in Pennsylvania, believes raves may introduce teenagers to hard-core drugs, putting them at risk for addiction, unwanted pregnancy, and HIV infection. Lento and colleagues fear that use of Ecstasy and Special K -- a tranquilizer also known as a date-rape drug -- could lead to more HIV cases among young people, since the drugs reduce inhibitions and can cause memory loss. Although some people go to raves and do not use drugs, the majority of teens take part in the drug scene. Lento notes, "We've had a lot of kids come in and tell us that they've had unplanned, unprotected sex under those drugs and are worried they might be pregnant or have contracted HIV."

Nearly Half of South African Adults Risk HIV Infection
Reuters (
10/12/00; Lovell, Jeremy

A professor of actuarial studies at the University of Cape Town has predicted that about half of all South African adults are at risk for HIV within the next 10 years unless significant changes are made. At a meeting of insurance assessors on Thursday, Rob Dorrington forecast that by 2010, life expectancy in South Africa would drop from 63 years to about 41 years. He also estimated that 13 percent of South Africa's residents will have HIV by the end of this year, with about 2,000 to 2,500 new infections every day.

Up to 30,000 [Russian] TB Cases Enter Prisons Every Year
BBC News Summary of World Broadcasts (

According to a report from the Itar-Tass news agency, as many as 30,000 tuberculosis (TB) patients enter Russia's detention and prison system every year. The news agency cited the first deputy head of the Russian Justice Ministry criminal and corrective department, Major-General Kamil Bakhtiyarov, who also said the number of HIV cases in prisons has more than doubled and hospitals cannot treat all of the patients. Russia's TB rate for criminal systems is 40 times higher than the country's national average.

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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.