Posts Tagged ‘Prevention

22
Feb
10

Follow Rae Lewis-Thornton

If you are on Twitter, it is a must that you follow Rae Lewis-Thorton.  She is beautiful, vivacious, HIV-positive and does not mind sharing her experience and wisdom with all of us. 

Check her out here:

http://twitter.com/raelt

Here is her bio from her website:

Emmy Award Winning AIDS Activist, Rae Lewis-Thornton was diagnosed with HIV at the age of 23. She rose to national acclaim when she told her compelling life story on the cover of Essence magazine. Despite living with HIV/AIDS for over 20 years, she travels the country using her life as an example that AIDS is a non-discriminatory disease. Her anticipated autobiography, Unprotected- A Memoir, will be release in 2009 by Hyperion Publishers.   

Rae Lewis-Thornton, Inc was founded by Rae Lewis-Thornton to focus on AIDS education.  Primarily destroying myths and stereotypes surrounding who can, and how one becomes infected with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) know to cause AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).  Through lectures, she focuses on: 

Prevention of HIV

Understanding HIV

Promoting Early Testing and Detection of HIV

Living with HIV/AIDS

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21
Feb
10

Sororities effort spotlights need for more HIV testing in the black community

 7:00AMHIV.jpgJerry Campbell / Special to the GazetteTesting doesn’t hurt: Ondraya Dixon, left, of Zeta Phi Beta sorority, and Danielle Royster, center, of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, volunteer to be tested publicly for HIV on Friday to encourage Kalamazoo residents and especially African-Americans to get tested. Jan de la Torre, a prevention specialist with the Community Aids Resource and Education Services center, right, hands alcohol swabs to the women.

 KALAMAZOO — The Community Aids Resource and Education Services center in Kalamazoo held a symbolic public HIV testing event Friday afternoon to encourage residents, especially those in the black community, to get tested.

The event was held in association with the graduate chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. Participating were members of various historically African-American college-based sisterhoods.

Ondraya Dixon, 34, a member of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority, and Danielle Royster, 39, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, tried to show how easy getting tested is.
 
“I think when they see people they know at church and people they see at the grocery store getting tested, some of the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS testing in the black community will start to disappear,” said Zenda Thompson, president of the alumni chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho.

Dixon said she jumped at the opportunity to participate after being shocked by statistics that showed the lack of testing in the black community.

“When I first saw the numbers about the black community, they were staggering,” Dixon said. “People seem to have a fear of knowing. They just want to live life to the fullest, when they can be impacted even if they’re being careful.”

Blacks make up only 13 percent of the population nationally but account for 49 percent of HIV/Aids cases. In Kalamazoo the discrepancy is even wider — blacks make up 14 percent of the population and account for 59 percent of HIV/AIDS cases.

Thompson, and Jon Delatorre, HIV/AIDS specialist for CARES cochaired the event.

“I met Jon last summer through our  Write A story Love Safe program,” Thompson said. “Jon said he wished he had us as a contact during last year’s black awareness campaign. It’s tough to reach that demographic when you don’t have anyone representing it.”

Delatorre and Thompson, with each other’s help have worked together with the sororities to produce a number of Youtube videos. The one-minute videos are aimed at educating the disproportionately affected black community about HIV/AIDS.
 
“This is the year we finally decided to make a big push in social media,” Delatorre said. “We’re hoping to reach more people through more outlets than before.”

Thompson agrees, but stresses the earlier someone is educated about the effects of HIV/AIDS and the measures of prevention that are available, the better the results will be.

“When people ask me what will work best I always bring it back to the children,” Thompson said. “Even if it is only my own two that I talk to, they will talk to others. And they will talk to more.”

27
Jan
10

HIV cases soar among Filipino yuppies, call center workers

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine General Hospital on Wednesday said the number of Filipinos infected with HIV rose dramatically in the past 10 months and now includes young urban professionals such as call center agents.

Doctors at the PGH Infectious Disease Treatment Complex said the number of human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) cases in the hospital rose to 100 in the past 10 months.

Records from the Department of Health showed that the number of HIV cases rose to 709 last year, compared to 528 in 2008.

Dr. Edsel Savana of the PGH Infectious Disease Treatment Complex said 80 HIV cases were recorded for November alone.

“The spread of AIDS in the country is already an epidemic. We should be on the lookout because AIDS spreads fast,” he said.

Savana said most of those who contract HIV are sex workers, gays and drug addicts.

Dr. Katerina Leyritana, however, said hospitals have also recorded HIV cases among young urban professionals such as call center agents.

She said majority of the recent HIV cases tend to be younger, mostly from ages 15-29, who are well educated.

Some of those infected said they got the illness after engaging in casual or group sex, which they discovered through social networking sites on the Internet.

“There are a lot of sites right now that can organize orgies quickly. A lot of young people believe in casual sex,” she said.

If current trends hold, the health department said HIV patients in the country could balloon to 20,000 cases by 2020.

The PGH said it will conduct a massive information drive to warn people about the possible dangers of unsafe sex. With a report from Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News.

27
Jan
10

Herpes Medication Does Not Reduce Risk of HIV Transmission, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Jan. 25, 2010) — A five-year international multi-center clinical trial has found that acyclovir, a drug widely used as a safe and effective treatment taken twice daily to suppress herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2), which is the most common cause of genital herpes, does not reduce the risk of HIV transmission when taken by people infected with both HIV and HSV-2.

The results of the study are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Up to 90% of people with HIV infection also have HSV-2 infection. Most people who are infected with HSV-2 do not know they have the virus because symptoms can be mild or absent. HSV-2 infection can cause recurrent sores and breaks in the skin of the genital region, which can be mild and often go unnoticed. HSV-2 infection also attracts immune cells called CD4 T-cells to the genital region, which HIV uses to establish or pass infection.

Multiple studies have shown that frequent genital herpes recurrences increase the amount of HIV in the blood and genital tract. The HIV virus is also shed from genital herpes ulcers and persons with such ulcers transmit HIV to others more efficiently. Five preliminary studies showed that it is possible to decrease the amount of HIV in the blood and genital tract through treatment to suppress HSV-2, but these studies did not measure whether this translated into a reduction in HIV transmission. Researchers had hoped that acyclovir’s ability to suppress the herpes virus, which causes symptomatic genital sores and breaks in the skin but also frequently is active without symptoms, could reduce the likelihood of sexual transmission of HIV from a person with HIV and HSV-2. The study is the first to determine whether twice daily use of acyclovir by individuals who are infected with both HSV-2 and HIV reduced the transmission of HIV to their sexual partners. The authors conclude that daily acyclovir therapy did not reduce the risk of transmission of HIV, in spite of the fact that acyclovir reduced plasma HIV RNA by a ¼ log and the occurrence of genital ulcers due to HSV-2 by 73%.

Led by the University of Washington in Seattle and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study was conducted among 3,408 African HIV serodiscordant couples, in which one partner had HIV and the other did not. In all the couples, the partner who had HIV also had HSV-2 infection. The study took place at 14 sites in seven countries in eastern and southern Africa (Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia). In sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of new HIV infections occur among heterosexual HIV discordant couples, many of whom are in stable partnerships and unaware that one partner has HIV and the other does not. Genital herpes is thought to be a factor in a substantial proportion of new HIV infections in Africa.

The study began recruitment in Nov. 2004 and ended follow-up of participants in Oct. 2008. Results were first announced in May 2009 and were presented at the International AIDS Society (IAS) meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, on July 22, 2009.

In the primary analysis of HIV transmissions determined by laboratory testing to have occurred within the couple and not acquired from an outside partner, there were 41 infections in the acyclovir arm and 43 in the placebo arm — not a significant difference. Of the partners who were infected with HIV, 68 % were women. Acyclovir suppressive treatment did show significant reductions in the frequency of genital ulcers (by 73%) and the average amount of HIV in the blood (by 0.25 log10 copies/milliliter, a reduction of 40%), compared to the placebo arm.

“As is often the case with large efficacy trials, you learn to expect surprises,” said Dr. Connie Celum, the leader of the study and a UW professor of Global Health and Medicine in the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “We found that, in spite of a significant reduction in plasma HIV levels and genital ulcer disease with acyclovir suppressive therapy, there was no reduction in HIV transmission. This was a disappointing finding, but a critical outcome of this study is the understanding that interventions must achieve a bigger reduction in HIV levels in order to reduce HIV transmission, especially among persons with high HIV levels. This will be important in informing future interventions to reduce HIV infectiousness.”

Celum said the study is a direct assessment of the impact of herpes suppression on HIV transmission and is the most direct way to see if it’s possible to make a person less infectious and less likely to transmit HIV to their partner. Although the primary outcome of reducing HIV transmission was not observed, Celum said the study achieved many significant mile¬stones that will help to inform HIV prevention research in a number of ways. Among these were HIV testing of approximately 55,000 couples of unknown HIV serostatus, screening of more than 6,500 HIV serodiscordant couples, and enroll¬ment of 3,408 couples in which the HIV- infected partner was dually infected with HSV-2 and not eligible for antiretroviral therapy, based on national guidelines. Adherence to twice daily acyclovir was high, with 88% of doses dispensed (the drug was not dispensed during pregnancy or if visits were missed), and 96% of dispensed doses taken, as measured by pill counts. Retention of study participants at 24 months of follow-up was 92% for HIV infected partners and 84% for HIV uninfected partners.

The Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study is the first clinical trial to directly test whether suppressing HSV-2 infection in HIV-infected persons could reduce rates of HIV transmission and HIV disease progression. The study was randomized, placebo-controlled and double-blinded, meaning that both participants and the care providers did not know which treatment the participants were receiving. Both the placebo and treatment groups received standard HIV prevention services, which included being supplied with condoms, treated for other sexually transmitted infections, and provided care for HIV infection. All participants received extensive counseling, both individually and as a couple, throughout the study period, on how to reduce the risk of HIV infection.

“This was an ambitious study, and I applaud our collaborators at the University of Washington, the investigators and study teams in Africa, the study participants, and the communities where the study was done, for their dedication over the past five years,” Celum said. “We will continue to learn from this study about risk factors for HIV transmission, which will bear fruit for both the HIV prevention and the vaccine fields for years to come.”

27
Jan
10

7% of Sub-Saharan’s old people living with HIV

SENIOR Citizens Association of Zambia National Co-ordinator Rosemary Sishimba has said seven per cent of the older people in Sub-Saharan African countries are living with HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Officiating at media breakfast organised by Helpage International on Wednesday, Sishimba said it was sad that the media had not prioritised coverage of the elderly in society.

“Little is known about the vital role of older persons in social development, in the context of the HIVand AIDS pandemic a disease that has ravaged African countries socially and economically,” Sishimba said.

She said the evidence suggests that the older persons had taken the burdensome role of caring for the children as a result of HIV and AIDS in sustaining families,usually with scanty resources.

“We carried out regional consultative meetings on HIVand AIDS for the older people in eight African countries and we found out that in Kenya 72,550 older people were living with the pandemic,” she said. “As at now we have not yet established the per centage rate for Zambia as we are still carrying out the survey,” Sishimba said.

She said it was important for the government and cooperating partners to ensure that the older people in society were sensitised on the social norms of condom use.

“The problem that the older people are facing right now is that they think HIV and AIDS is a disease that can only be contracted by the young in society,” she said. “The existing preventive education message targets younger people, leaving out or programme that would be relevant to older people,”

Sishimba said the media should play an active role in reporting and sensitizing the aged in society about the pandemic.

“The Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) need to collaborate with media to sensitize the public and government about the need and circumstances of older people in general and older care givers. It is however very unfortunate that the media houses hardly have interest in reporting on issues concerning the older people in society,” Sishimba said.

She said if the Sub-Saharan countries were to win the fight against HIV and AIDS more concerted efforts was an important aspect.

29
Dec
09

California AIDS Group Seeks Law to Require Condoms in Adult Films

The California-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has filed a petition to amend state regulations to explicitly require condom use in the Los Angeles adult film industry, which has an ongoing sexually transmitted infection (STI) epidemic.

AHF’s petition calls on the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) to clarify protection for adult film industry workers and to include a condom requirement to the “bloodborne pathogens” regulations.

“We are taking this action on behalf of the thousands of workers who are needlessly exposed to [STIs] during the production of adult films in California. We look forward to Cal/OSHA’s swift action on this issue,” said Michael Weinstein, AHF’s president.

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH), transmission of STIs is 10 times more likely to occur among adult film workers than the general population.

Between 2003 and 2007, LADPH documented 2,013 chlamydia cases and 965 gonorrhea cases among adult film workers. There have been at least 25 industry-related HIV cases since 2004.

29
Dec
09

United States Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby traveled to Malawi recently to meet with senior officials of the government of Malawi, members of the international donor community, and representatives of Malawi’s civil society to discus joint efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other health challenges.

Ambassador Goosby visited programs jointly supported by the Global Fund, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Government of Malawi and other cooperating partners.

U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Peter Bodde and Malawi’s Minister of Health Professor Moses Chirambo joined Ambassador Goosby in Lilongwe on December 15 at a ceremony inaugurating the HIV Department of Malawi’s Ministry of Health, which was built with funding from the United States government.

The new 960 square meter office complex, built at a cost of over $1 million, is a state-of-the-art building that will support prevention, care, and treatment for HIV/AIDS. It represents the growing partnership between the 2 nations in fighting HIV/AIDS.

Ambassador Goosby noted that HIV/AIDS remains a high priority for the U.S. government. “We have increased funding, and we will continue to support this program and expand it in prevention, care and treatment,” he said.

Ambassador Goosby said he was impressed by the Malawi government’s commitment at the district and national levels to fight the AIDS epidemic. “The Malawian government has shown strong leadership in responding to the AIDS epidemic,” said Ambassador Goosby. “It has created the National AIDS Commission. It has created a number of groups that are in advisory as well as implementation and oversight roles within the Ministry of Health that engage with civil society, patients affected with HIV, as well as the faith based community.”

PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have supported countries in placing more than 3.7 million people on antiretroviral treatment and delivered prevention interventions to millions more globally. Malawi has received support for the prevention, care and treatment of HIV and AIDS and for health systems strengthening initiatives. The government of Malawi and its partners, including PEPFAR and the Global Fund, provide life-saving antiretroviral therapy to over 170,000 Malawians, and have delivered counseling and testing for HIV to over 300,000 pregnant Malawian women.

The U.S. is committed to working with Malawi, other nations and international partners in the fight against HIV/AIDS.




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