Archive for November 2011

Pittsburgh goes red for World AIDS Day 2011

November 30, 2011

The Pitt Men’s Study is proud to participate in tomorrow’s observation  of World AIDS Day. To mark the occasion, free HIV testing will take place at the Gay and Lesbian  Community Center, 210 Grant St., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Later in the day, a candlelight vigil will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Morewood and Forbes avenues in  Shadyside. Participants will walk to Heinz Memorial Chapel, where a memorial  service will be held at 7 p.m. In addition, the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force will commemorate its 25th anniversary that day  with a luncheon at the Rivers Club featuring AIDS researchers Marty St. Clair and Ron Stall.

Read more about World AIDS Day at the post-gazette.com.

Some healthcare providers still deny treatment to HIV+ patients

November 30, 2011

From Thinkprogress.com:

Medical progress now ensures that HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence, but only for those who can access good medical care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost three out of four Americans with HIV are not receiving enough medicine or regular health care “to stay healthy or prevent themselves from transmitting the virus to others.” Out of the 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV, 850,000 aren’t receiving regular treatment to keep the virus at a low enough level to prevent transmission or hurt their own health and 240,000 Americansdon’t even know they’re infected with HIV.

For some, medical treatment is  hard to come by. A Williams Institute study found that 5 percent of dentists in Los Angeles refused services to those with HIV/AIDs, a rate that is “lower than that of other health care providers. Over the past decade, “55% of obstetricians, 46% of skilled nursing facilities, and 25% of plastic surgeons” in L.A. “had policies that specifically discriminated against people living with HIV or AIDS.” Successful treatment rates “were lowest in blacks and women,” according to CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

Read the full article on Thinkprogress.com.

Health Alert – Syphilis Rates on the Rise for Young Black Gay Men

November 28, 2011

Rates of Syphilis infections have been on the rise in the U.S. for the past several years as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2010 publication. Across the board, syphilis infections rose 36 percent last year.

However, African-American and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) were disproportionately affected. Among Black MSM, syphilis had increased a startling 135 percent.

What can you do?

If you are a sexually active African-American or Latino gay man, you need to get tested for Syphilis. It’s an easy blood test that you can get at any local health department. You can also search for other testing centers near you by entering your zip code at the CDC’s website: http://www.hivtest.org/

How do you know if you have it?

You can have Syphilis and not have any symptoms. However, the first stage of syphilis usually involves getting a single sore (called a chancre) on our around the area where the infection entered the body. There can also be multiple sores. The sore is usually firm, round, small, and painless. It lasts 3 to 6 weeks, and it heals without treatment. It is frequently followed by a non-itchy rash that may involve all the body including the hands and feet. If syphilis goes untreated, the infection can cause serious health problems including brain and organ damage.

Can it be cured?

Syphilis can be cured in the early stages of the infection with a simple injection.

For more information about Syphilis, go to the CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/std/Syphilis/STDFact-MSM-Syphilis.htm.

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Hepatitis C surpasses HIV in U.S.

November 15, 2011

From POZ.com

Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with more deaths than HIV infection, according to sobering new data presented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday, November 8, at the 62nd annual meeting of the American Association for the Studies of Liver Diseases (AASLD) in San Francisco.

The discouraging findings, presented by Scott Holmberg, MD, MPH, chief of the CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, come from data involving 21.8 million deaths reported to the National Center for Health Statistics between 1999 and 2007. The only cases included in the analysis involved reports that specified HIV, AIDS, HCV or hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection as possible contributors to the deaths.

Most viral hepatitis deaths occurred in people in the prime of their lives. About 59 percent of people who died of complications related to hepatitis B were between the ages of 45 and 64. The impact of chronic hepatitis C was even more substantial—roughly 73 percent of the deaths related to HCV were in baby boomers.

Not surprisingly, death rates were highest among certain populations. For example, people coinfected with both HBV and HCV faced a 30-fold increase in the risk of death from liver disease or related complications. Alcohol abuse was associated with a four-fold increase in the risk of death. Coinfection with HIV nearly doubled the risk of death from HBV-related complications and quadrupled the risk of death from HCV-associated liver disease.

To read the full article, go to POZ.com.

Panel says boys should also get HPV vaccine

November 2, 2011

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal panel on Tuesday recommended that  all preteen children – not just girls – get a vaccine that prevents a common  sexually transmitted disease, in a move that public health experts hope will  lead to widespread immunity to the virus and, eventually, cut rates of certain  types of cancer.

The controversial vaccine against the human papilloma virus, or HPV, has been  recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls since 2006, when studies showed that  girls and young women who were immunized had lower rates of cervical cancer.  Several types of HPV can cause cancers in the cervix, anus, head and neck.

But similar guidelines for boys lagged until recent studies showed that the  vaccine prevents genital warts in boys and young men and reduces rates of anal  cancer, especially in men who have sex with men.

The new recommendations, which will likely be formalized by the Centers for  Disease Control and Prevention by early next year, were based in large part on  that data. But a critical reason for including boys in the recommendations is to  protect girls from becoming infected with HPV, doctors and public health  officials said.

Read the full article at SFgate.com .