HIV/AIDS Newsroom: November 20, 2000
Economic Evaluation of Safer Choices; A School-Based HIV, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Pregnancy Prevention Program
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Online (archpedi.ama-assn.org)
10/00; Vol. 154, No. 10, P. 1017; Wang, Li Yan; Davis, Margarett; Robin, Leah; et al.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evaluated the cost-effectiveness of Safer Choices, a pregnancy, HIV, and disease prevention program for high school students. The cost benefit was considered in light of intervention costs, medical costs, and the net benefit of the program. Over the course of one year, Safer Choices was shown to elicit a 15 percent increase in condom use and an 11 percent increase in contraceptive use among 345 sexually active students. The researchers estimated that 0.12 cases of HIV, 24.37 cases of chlamydia, 2.77 cases of gonorrhea, 5.86 case of pelvic inflammatory disease, and 18.5 pregnancies were avoided through the program. Furthermore, for every dollar spent, $2.65 in total costs were saved, and the authors concluded that the Safer Choices program is both cost effective and cost saving in most situations.
The White House Office of National AIDS Policy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are set to unveil next week several new pro bono public service campaigns. The ads--part of the World AIDS Day activities at the White House--will appear on television, radio, print, and interactive media. According to May Kennedy, who is working with three advertising agencies on behalf of the CDC, the three target groups for the campaign are "young gay men, urban minority youth, and women at risk."
Boston Globe (www.boston.com/globe)
11/18/00; P. A16; Daley, Karen
In a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe, Karen Daley, president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, discusses the risks involved with needle stick injuries. Daley--who contracted HIV and hepatitis C from an accidental needle stick in 1998--points out that over 600,000 of the injuries occur every year, with 1,000 resulting in life-threatening infections. Earlier this month, President Clinton signed into law the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act--a move which Daley asserts "will help make needle stick injuries a thing of the past."
A study of nearly 1,000 teenagers and adults in South Carolina reveals a significant lack of information regarding basic knowledge, awareness of community services, and perception of personal risk for HIV and AIDS. The researchers, who reported their findings at the 128th annual American Public Health Association meeting in Boston, found that about 14 percent of the teens believed there was an vaccine for HIV, while 36.6 percent of the teens and 20 percent of the adults said the virus is transmitted through blood donation. April L. Winningham of the Department of Health Promotion and Education at the University of South Carolina at Columbia also noted that nearly 50 percent of the participants did not think there were HIV or AIDS patients living in their communities. Winningham stressed the need to help people understand AIDS, including the risks involved, so behavior changes can be made.
New research presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine in Palm Springs, California, indicates that patients in mental hospitals are at greater risk for HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and hepatitis compared to individuals in the general population. Scientists studied more than 650 men and women admitted to psychiatric facilities between 1997 and 1999. The researchers discovered that the patients were four to five times more likely to be infected with hepatitis B and 12 times as likely to have hepatitis C, while 20 percent tested positive for TB, and the estimated rate of HIV infection was 3 percent. Lead author Dr. W.F. Pirl of Harvard Medical School and the Eric Lindemann Mental Health Center in Boston, said the high infection rates were surprising, but better testing and treatment could help.
At the annual conference of the American Public Health Association, Harlan Rotblatt of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services discussed efforts to combat an outbreak of syphilis among gay and bisexual men using the Internet. In March, health officials were alerted to a cluster of 10 syphilis cases through an early intervention program for HIV patients; that number grew to 125 by November. Rotblatt said the situation was particularly concerning because nearly 50 percent of the men who have sex with men and transgendered individuals involved in the outbreak were infected with HIV, and at least one-third said they had sex in public areas with numerous, anonymous partners. The department's intervention used anonymous Internet chat room participants to deliver educational messages directly to those most at risk.
Almost 50 percent of the prison population in Eastern Europe is made up of individuals awaiting trial. As the European Union urges potential EU members to boost their judiciary systems, human rights advocates have voiced concerns as more suspected criminals are being arrested but many are taking too long to get to trial. Another concern is the threat of infectious disease, particularly tuberculosis (TB). In Russia, approximately 10 percent of prisoners are infected with TB, many with drug-resistant strains. While some prison administrators bemoan the lack of funds to implement reform, others say changes must be adopted without angering citizens upset with the increase in crime throughout the region and who do not want the police or courts to make it easy for criminals. To alleviate the situation, nongovernmental groups will ask Eastern European governments to reduce bail requirements, increase probes for petty theft, and offer plea bargains.
According to a report from the Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency, there has been an outbreak of syphilis in a Stepnoye uranium ore miners' settlement, located in South Kazakhstan Region's Suzak District. The report said that 31 cases of the sexually transmitted disease were recorded in October. Quoting Tatyana Rodina, the senior doctor at the regional dermatological and venereal clinic, the report noted an influx of prostitutes to the area and suggested that employers reconsider the living situations of workers living away from home for long periods of time.
An estimated 20 percent of the people between the ages of 15 and 49 in Nairobi's Kibera slum are infected with HIV, although the actual number could be much higher. The area is extremely crowded, with as many as 1 million people living on just one square mile of land, and there are few activities for people to participate in besides sex. One aid worker notes that along with the boredom is increased alcohol use, and the women who run the bars often sleep with their patrons to keep them coming back; however, the men sometimes then also have sex with the women's daughters, often when the girls are too young to understand the risks involved. A key challenge, say aid workers, is revising the way the community thinks, since casual sex, unemployment, HIV, and death are not out of the ordinary for these individuals.
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.