Jefferson Public Radio reported that while overall HIV incidence in Oregon is declining, rates among Latinos are increasing. Latinos account for 20 percent of new HIV cases while representing only 12 percent of the population, and are contracting HIV at double the rate of non-Hispanic whites in the state.
According to Michael Anderson Nathe with the Cascade AIDS Project, Latinos are more apt to receive late diagnoses, often not until HIV has progressed to the late stages of AIDS. Some Latinos die quickly after diagnosis. Nathe contends that stigma from being labeled gay and fear of deportation hold Latinos back from being tested. "There's definitely a lower sense of perceived risk for HIV in Latino communities. Immigration status is a big barrier as well. There are folks who when interviewed about living with HIV expressed fears of being deported," Nathe said.
Latino women are at more risk than Latino males, partly due to the lack of power in their relationships and influence from the Catholic Church. "Most of these women live with a partner who is the one who makes the decision, so she has no say. So when it comes to birth control or negotiating safer sex, it's either the husband's way or no way,” said Maricela Berumen, also with the Cascade AIDS Project.
Standard Digital News reported that according to the Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey, a large number of Kenyans have acquired HIV infections from contaminated medical injections. The report states that many of these injections were self-administered or administered at health facilities or from traditional healers. The report estimates that 2.2 percent of new HIV infections in 2008 resulted from unsafe injections at health facilities. Since then, more people, including HIV-positive patients, have continued to receive various injections at these facilities, leading to increased infection management issues for Kenya’s medical system.
The Government of Kenya and US agencies initiated the study, led by CDC’s Dr. Daniel Kimani, which took place from October 2012 to February 2013. The study attributed the problem to several factors including Kenyans’ preference for injections rather than pills; poor disposal of used medical waste; a large number of HIV-positive individuals receiving injections; and possible reuse of needles by medical workers and traditional healers. A total of 13,720 individuals ages 15–64 completed the survey. One of 15 respondents indicated they had seen a used needle or syringe in their community or near their home within the previous year. Study researchers noted that some of these needles could have been HIV-contaminated.
The study confirmed a high HIV prevalence among persons who had received injections from traditional practitioners. The report also noted that women received 70 percent of the medical injections. Contraceptive injections accounted for 40 percent of this number. Because of the noted preference for injections over oral medication, the researchers recommended the reproductive health program include injection safety procedures in its health services.
The full report, “Medical Injection Use Among Adults and Adolescents Aged 15 to 64 Years in Kenya: Results From a National Survey,” was published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (2014; doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000106).
Healio reported on a study associating older age and smoking habits with high oral human papillomavirus (HPV) viral load. Researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center reviewed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009–2010. From among 5,501 participants ages 14–69, the researchers investigated 211 participants with at least one of the high-risk HPV strains and 720 HPV-negative controls. Median HPV viral load among participants with high-risk HPV was 314 copies per 100,000 cells, but the median viral load varied depending on the HPV strain.
Further analysis associated high oral HPV viral load with increasing age, male gender, and number of cigarettes smoked daily. After adjusting for age, sex, marital status, income-to-poverty ratio, and smoking and alcohol use, older age and current smoking habits remained significantly associated with higher HPV viral load. Individuals who smoked more than 20 cigarettes per day had a high HPV viral load while oral HPV viral load was higher in men and rose with alcohol use.
The full report, “High-risk Oral HPV Viral Load in the U.S. Population, NHANES 2009–2010,” was published online in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (2014; doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiu116).
WOSO Public Media reported that health advocates in Central Ohio are urging immigrants from Asia and Africa, who are at more risk for having the hepatitis B virus (HBV), to get tested. Bfree Columbus, a campaign sponsored by the Ohio Asian American Health Coalition, is working in the communities to offer free screening for the disease. CDC provided a $200,000 grant for the screenings.
Immigrants who arrive in Columbus directly from their native country receive automatic HBV screening, but if they come from another state, they may bypass testing. Some cultures view HBV as an STD, which creates a stigma against getting tested. Columbus has tested more than 2,000 immigrants for HBV in the last two years and identified 120 positive cases.
Health officials label HBV, which damages the liver and can be fatal, a silent killer because many people do not know they have it for years until the disease has progressed. It is transmitted through infected blood and from mother to child at birth. HBV currently has no cure, although there is a vaccination. Columbus offers the vaccine to immigrants who test negative.
Fontana Herald News reported that according to the California Department of Public Health’s STD Control Branch, San Bernardino County reported more than 13,000 new STD cases during 2013, and the majority of these cases occurred in teens and young adults ages 25 and younger. In observance of April’s STD Awareness Month, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health’s Clinic Operations Section is promoting the “Have We Met?” campaign through clinic outreach events to encourage individuals to get tested, start treatment immediately if positive for an STD, and learn how to be STD-free. The department is offering incentives to individuals who get tested at the public health clinics or the HIV mobile testing unit during the month of April. For more information, call (800) 722–4777. HIV screening at the HIV mobile testing unit is free of charge; fees may apply at the public health clinics. Staff will assist individuals who do not have health coverage to apply for Medi-Cal.
HealthCanal reported that leading HIV/AIDS scientists from around the world will meet at a Northwestern Medicine® workshop in Chicago on April 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital to advance research possibilities and further new collaborations on more viable HIV cure strategies. Attending scientists also will focus on improving HIV prevention strategies among Chicago youth. The HIV Translational Research Center and the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine will sponsor the free workshop, which requires registration for attendees. Timothy Ray Brown, the first individual to be cured of HIV infection, will speak to attendees on the seventh anniversary of his cure to encourage scientists to continue their work.
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