HIV/AIDS Newsroom: November 2, 2000
Association of Vitamin D Deficiency With Cervical Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions in HIV-Infected Women
Journal of Infectious Diseases Online (www.journals.uchicago.edu/JID)
10/00; Vol. 182, No. 4, P. 1084; French, Audrey L.; Kirstein, Lynn M.; Massad, Stewart; et al.
Researchers from Rush Medical College and other medical centers evaluated serum retinol concentrations in a group of more than 1,300 women in an effort to find a link between vitamin A deficiency and cervical squamous lesions (SILs) in HIV-infected women. At the start, 204 women had vitamin A (retinol) deficiency and 216 had SILs, which were associated with lower retinol concentrations. Women with human papillomavirus showed an association between retinol and cervical lesions. Thus, the researchers concluded, vitamin A deficiency could contribute to cervical lesions in women with HIV.
Patients who had endoscopies at two hospitals in Jackson, Michigan, are being asked to return for HIV and hepatitis screening, after it was found that equipment used during the procedure was not correctly sterilized. Officials note, however, that the risk of infection for the more than 700 individuals is very low.
High-Profile Health Forum
Atlanta Journal and Constitution (www.accessatlanta.com)
11/02/00; P. 11A; Graham, Keith
An upcoming program sponsored by the Southern Center for International Studies, titled "Health Challenges in America and Abroad," will include several current and past top health officials in the United States. Participants will include a number of former Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, and Dr. Helene Gayle, the director of the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The event will be filmed on November 9 at Morehouse College in Atlanta, and will be made into a one-hour television program for PBS.
A study from Dr. Lars Ostergaard and colleagues at the University of Arhus, Denmark, shows that home tests for chlamydia could help prevent long-term complications of the infection. Chlamydia often produces no symptoms, and without treatment, the disease can lead to infertility. The study followed 930 female high school students who took a home test for chlamydia or went for a doctor's screening. According to a report in the October issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases (2000;31), those who had the home test had a 50 percent lower rate of pelvic inflammatory disease compared to those who visited a doctor.
Thousands of Alaskans who received blood transfusions before 1992 will receive letters concerning hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing. Over 4 million Americans have HCV, including an estimated 11,000 Alaskans. Dr. Brian McMahon of the Alaska Native Medical Center notes that many residents have already received the letters. He said that several were surprised because they did not even know they were at risk for the infection, some being so sick or medicated at the time that they did not remember they had a transfusion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants all U.S. medical facilities to find locate everyone who received blood before 1992, to alert them about the possible risk of infection. Alaska Native Medical Center plans to send out approximately 3,000 letters; but already, about 8 percent of 150 people who have been tested as a result of the letter campaign have shown positive HCV results.
A joint press release from the United States and European Missions in Zambia estimates that 2 million people in Africa will die from AIDS this year, with another 1 million lives lost to malaria and tuberculosis. According to the statement, "This health crisis in much of Africa contributes to a vicious cycle of disease and poverty, eroding security and undermining social and economic development and poverty reduction." The missions called for increased HIV/AIDS awareness and also behavioral change efforts as part of the HIV/AIDS Strategic Framework.
A new HIV/AIDS campaign in South Africa's Northern Province is targeting inmates to educate them about and prepare them for the epidemic outside of jail. "Some of these people have spent many years in jail, so when they leave, they won't care who they come across," notes the supervisor of social workers in Thohoyandou Central Prison, Azwihangwisi Nesengani. The campaign aims to promote safe sex to prisoners, both in jail and once they leave. Phumudzo Tshivhidzo, the coordinator of the project, said safer sex was encouraged through drama, music, and discussion.
South Africa's Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel, announced Wednesday that the country could see a major setback in the economy from the AIDS epidemic. Manuel told parliament that increased deaths will limit economic growth and pressure budgets. Hospitals are overcrowded with AIDS patients, left by their families who live in poverty. Manuel did not quantify the cost of AIDS, but said poverty will explode as a result of the epidemic.
An epidemic of liver disease in Egypt has arisen due to past use of dirty needles in hospitals. About 20 million people a year worldwide contract hepatitis from unsafe injections. Eight million people in Egypt have hepatitis C, and about half of those cases can be traced to unsafe injections given 20 years ago. In Pakistan, health workers sell injections that are touted as cures, but their reuse works only to pass on viral infections. Yvan Hutin, head of Safe Injection Global Network, said injections are overused in many parts of South Asia and Africa. At an October conference in Cairo, doctors and others were slated to discuss ways to avoid unneeded injections. The advent of HIV may have forced health systems to improve their needle safety, however, and participants at the Cairo conference were expected to hear that the sterility of injections in sub-Saharan Africa has improved significantly.
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.