Transition to Hope
HPV Vaccination -- A Wasted Resource for African Americans?
May 16, 2013
The United States has no reporting system for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections. Infections and the development of warts appear to be common throughout life. In general, genital HPV infection is considered to have become dramatically more frequent over the past several decades. In the United States, young adults aged 15-24 years account for approximately one half of new HPV infections each year. The highest rate of infection is among young females aged 20-24 years. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 6 million new incidents a year in the United States (in 2008) and an estimated prevalence of more than 20 million.
The Opioid Solution and HIV: From the Frying Pan Into the Fire
February 1, 2013
A nightmare for some and a godsend for others, some people become addicted to opioids because opioids have become their recreational drug of choice, while others become addicted because their pain symptoms are so severe that they have no choice. Either way, a problem has arisen which threatens social stability in whole communities, especially in North America, and makes authorities unsure which way to turn.
Compulsory Sexual Education
December 24, 2012
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released its report on Sexually Transmitted Diseases for 2011. Sadly, there are few surprises. With a total of 1,412,791 cases, Chlamydia trachomatis infection remains the STD leader. This figure is the largest number of cases ever reported to CDC for any condition and represents an increase of 8.0% compared with the rate in 2010. The national gonorrhea rate increased as well after over a decade of fluctuation and/or decline. However, the greatest concern about the "clap," as we used to call it, is its increasing resistance to the medications commonly used to treat it, cephalosporins and azithromycin.
World AIDS Day 2012
December 3, 2012
Saturday was the 25th commemoration of World AIDS Day. The theme this year was "Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections, zero deaths from AIDS-related illness and zero discrimination." While these may sound like lofty goals, the last year has shown some real progress.
Preventing HIV Transmission With Youth Infected at Birth
November 13, 2012
As we reach a certain age, many of us long for the vitality of youth without, of course, the consequences for our youthful indiscretions. It is a time of learning and discovery. For many, it is also a time for sexual exploration. Adolescents in 2012 have lived their entire lives with the HIV epidemic. They may have learned about it in health class, read about it on the Internet, or perhaps learned that someone close to them has been infected. Now, imagine that at age 15 or 16 you are told that you are HIV positive, not because you became infected through risky behavior, but because you have had it all of your life. More troubling: what if you have been sexually active before you found out?
Chagas Disease: A New Health Disparity
June 19, 2012
Ever heard of chagas disease? Well, you're not alone. There may be as many as 10 million people, including an estimated 1 million in the United States, who have it.
What Does an Undetectable Viral Load REALLY Mean?
April 11, 2012
There are many well documented benefits to reducing the viral load of an HIV+ individual to an undetectable level. Unfortunately, there also remains a some haziness about the term "undetectable." In actuality, it is somewhat of a misnomer. For someone to truly have undetectable HIV would mean that the battery of sophisticated tests available could not find any virus in a person's body. Thus far there is only one case of an HIV+ individual, an American living at the time in Germany who received a bone marrow transplant from a donor who had a genetic resistance to the virus, who seems to have cleared HIV entirely from one's system. An undetectable viral load means that the HIV virus in one's blood has been suppressed to the point where either the HIV RNA is not present in your blood at the time of testing or that the level of HIV RNA is below the threshold needed for detection. Another factor is the sensitivity of the specific test that is utilized.
African Americans Stand to Lose From the War on Contraception
March 26, 2012
According to Webster's Dictionary, "Contraception" is defined as the deliberate prevention of conception or impregnation by any of various drugs, techniques, or devices or; birth control. However, with the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections, many people tend to incorporate their contraceptive and sexual health prevention methods under a concept of risk reduction.
And the Beat Goes On ...
March 6, 2012
As the controversy about HIV criminalization continues to rage, the state of Maryland has decided to 'up the ante,' so to speak, by proposing to add more teeth to their current HIV-specific criminal law, according to a recent article in the American Independent newspaper. Presently, a person convicted of knowingly transmitting or attempting to transmit HIV to another person may result in an $2500 fine and up to a three year prison sentence. However, Maryland state legislators are considering changing the law from a misdemeanor to a felony with an up to 25 year sentence. Despite the absence of evidence that these types of punitive methods are a deterrent and that people who know their HIV status, especially if they have achieved viral suppression with anti-retroviral therapy, are less likely to infect others, fear and and the desire for retribution continues to reign.
January 24, 2012
In May 2008, a homeless, HIV+ man was sentenced to 35 years in prison for assaulting a police officer with a "deadly weapon," his saliva! Willie Campbell, who was clearly intoxicated at the time, has been HIV+ since 1994 and has a history of aggressive behavior with public servants, will have to serve at least 17.5 years to be eligible for parole. The police officers were not infected. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), although there have been a few rare cases of transmission through severe bites, "contact with saliva, tears or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of H.I.V."
Transition to Hope
This year marks Bell's 14th as the executive director of the Philadelphia-based BEBASHI (Blacks Educating Blacks About Sexual Health), founded in 1985 as the nation's first AIDS organization serving African Americans with HIV. Bell has been widely praised, not only for increasing funding and accountability at a time when HIV donations have plummeted, but also for launching such innovative programs as a women's initiative, prison-discharge planning, and, most recently, a diabetes intervention.
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May 16, 2013 - HPV Vaccination -- A Wasted Resource for African Americans? A Blog Entry by Gary Bell
February 1, 2013 - The Opioid Solution and HIV: From the Frying Pan Into the Fire -- A Blog Entry by Dave R.
December 24, 2012 - Compulsory Sexual Education: A Blog Entry by Gary Bell
December 3, 2012 - World AIDS Day 2012 -- A Blog Entry by Gary Bell
November 13, 2012 - Preventing HIV Transmission With Youth Infected at Birth: A Blog Entry by Gary Bell
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