The Hindu reported that a new program in India will train pediatric doctors on how to recognize and diagnose TB in children to get them into treatment. The Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s Child TB Division have formed a partnership to train doctors following the guidance of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme.
The program, which is set to begin next month, will train private sector pediatricians and family practitioners, as well as public health medical officers. Fifty doctors will attend a two-day training, and then they will hold one-day workshops for other physicians. The program aims to hold at least 30 one-day trainings in the first year and reach a large segment of India’s doctors.
According to notes from a paper in the Indian Pediatrics Journal last year, in 2011 only 7 percent of childhood TB cases were diagnosed. The World Health Organization has stated that 10–20 percent of TB cases worldwide are in children from high-burden countries, which includes India.
Healio reported on a study of patients’ HIV clinic attendance after an emergency department (ED) visit for nonoccupational postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). Researchers from the University of Toronto and Harvard University conducted a prospective cohort study of patients referred to HIV clinic programs after nonoccupational HIV exposure at two EDs. They recorded the two hospitals’ referrals to HIV clinics. The ED physicians consulted with HIV clinic physicians on treatment issues and, if recommended, provided the patient with beginning antiretroviral therapy (ART) and instructions to attend an initial HIV clinic appointment and complete 28 days of ART.
Findings indicated that during the yearlong study, ED doctors referred 180 individuals for PEP after they had received starter ART at the emergency visit. More than half of the exposures (57.2 percent) were sexual, 72 percent were nonconsensual, and 22.1 percent were among men who have sex with men. Of the 180 referred for treatment, 98 kept the HIV clinic appointment, and 43 (24.3 percent) completed the 28-day ART. Older age and self-payment were significant predictors of not keeping the clinic appointment.
The researchers noted that clinic appointments are important for continuing ART, maintaining treatment adherence, modifying treatment if the patient developed toxicity, screening for other conditions, and counseling. They recommend that future studies should evaluate strategies to encourage high-risk groups to adhere to clinic appointments and ART.
The full report, “Patient Attrition Between the Emergency Department and Clinic Among Individuals Presenting for HIV Nonoccupational Postexposure Prophylaxis,” was published online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases (2014; doi:10.1093/cid/ciu118).
The Herald-Sun reported that North Carolina’s Durham County Public Health will add new strategies to increase STD screening following a CDC report indicating that the approximately 20 million new STDs in the United States mainly affect young adults between the ages of 15 and 24, and cost almost $16 billion in direct medical costs.
Although Durham County’s gonorrhea and chlamydia rates decreased in 2013, they still are higher than those of the rest of the state. Additionally, health officials are concerned about the sharp increase in syphilis and HIV rates. “These increases can be due to more disease transmission in our community or increased screening,” said Dr. Arlene Sena, medical director for Durham County Department of Public Health. Syphilis rates doubled between 2011 and 2103 and HIV cases saw a 24-percent increase in the same time frame.
The department’s Health Education Testing Team goes into the community to provide education and testing workshops at local clubs, parks, churches, prisons, college dormitories, recreation centers, stores, and even street corners, among other places. The workshops provide testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV.
The department has added a disease intervention specialist to trace and notify partners of people diagnosed with syphilis or HIV in hopes of curbing transmission of the infections. The county has also instituted a Monday “testing only” program at its adult health clinic, which is available to people who do not have symptoms but want routine testing to ensure they are disease-free. This type of testing program has been successful in other health departments.
The Adult Health Clinic is open Monday–Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and includes hepatitis testing as well as human papillomavirus vaccinations. For more information, call (919) 560–7658.
The Journal News reported that 334 individuals received hepatitis A virus (HAV) vaccinations at a Rockland Health Department three-day clinic this past Saturday–Monday. The clinic administered vaccinations to anyone who had eaten at La Fontana restaurant in Nyack, N.Y., on March 29–April 1; restaurant workers received vaccinations at the workplace on Friday. County health officials stated that an infected worker may have exposed customers and workers to HAV.
Health officials explained that additional diners who may have been exposed from March 19 to March 28 would not benefit from the vaccine as it is most effective within 14 days of exposure. Health officials advised individuals who ate at the restaurant during those dates to be on the alert for symptoms and contact their primary care doctor if necessary.
HAV is a contagious liver disease that is transmitted through contact with fecal matter from an infected person, usually from said person handling food with unwashed hands. Symptoms may develop two to six weeks after exposure. According to CDC, the symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, gray-colored stools, dark urine, joint pain, and jaundice. The health department noted that sometimes there are no symptoms of infection.
The Pasadena Citizen reported that April 20–26 is International Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Awareness Week, meant to heighten public awareness and the importance of early detection. In observance of the week, Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital in Houston, Texas, will offer free oral, head, and neck cancer screenings April 24 from 9:00 a.m. to noon at its Southeast-Cancer Center, 11920 Astoria Boulevard, Suite 100, Houston. The event is free but registration is required by calling (713) 222–2273. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 50,000 oral, head, and neck cancer cases are diagnosed each year, with 10,000 of these possibly attributed to a strain of human papillomavirus.
The Sacramento Bee reported that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) signed into law a new state budget this month that includes $9 million to assist low-income New York City residents diagnosed with HIV in paying their rent. The initiative will help those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS to remain in their homes by capping their rental costs at 30 percent of their total income. Individuals must be HIV-positive and receive public assistance to be eligible.
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