Category Archives: HIV/AIDS

Women’s health – Week 45: Sexually transmitted infections

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tacuin womenFrom the Office of Research on Women’s HealthSexually

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): also commonly called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are infections you can get by having sex with someone who has an infection. Continue reading

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Some plans skew drug benefits to drive away patients, advocates warn

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The insurers say they’re in compliance with the law.

Four Florida insurers allegedly discriminate against people with HIV/AIDS by structuring their prescription drug benefits so that patients are discouraged from enrolling, according to a recent complaint filed with federal officials. Continue reading

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Women’s health — Week 27: HIV/AIDS

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tacuin womenFrom the Office of Research on Women’s Health

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS.

HIV attacks the immune system by destroying CD4 positive (CD4+) T cells, a type of white blood cell that helps fight infections.

If you are HIV infected, you are at risk for infections and other conditions because the HIV virus destroys your T cells.  Continue reading

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Snohomish to mark World AIDS Day with events, memorial walk, screenings

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From the Snohomish Health District

 

Shared responsibilities: Celebrate World AIDS Day in Everett, Dec. 1

Events in Everett Sunday afternoon; free HIV tests by appointment for at-risk people Dec.2, 4, & 6

The public is welcome to free events in downtown Everett to commemorate World AIDS Day 2013 on Sunday, Dec. 1.

Three community partners will sponsor a memorial walk and program that afternoon to build awareness of the impact HIV/AIDS has on our community.

All activities take place at the Snohomish Health District, 3020 Rucker Ave., Everett, Wash. Testing opportunities are available at the Health District Dec. 2-6.

Sunday, Dec. 1

1 p.m. Remembrance walk leaves the Snohomish Health District, 3020 Rucker Ave., goes to AIDS Memorial of Snohomish County at 3021 Wetmore Ave., Everett

2 p.m. Return to the Health District for a program, music, and light refreshments

The afternoon program includes remarks by Rev. Julie Montague from Everett Unity Church, and comments from Snohomish County residents living with HIV/AIDS. The program also features music by local musicians Terri Anson and Savannah Woods. The program is free and open to the public.

Local sponsors include Snohomish Health District, Snohomish County Gay Men’s Task Force, and AIDS Project Snohomish County. For information about AIDS Project Snohomish County, please contact Jeannine Fosca at 425.923.7656 or Dancing_lively@yahoo.com.

World AIDS Day events remember those lost to AIDS, support those living with the disease, reinforce the need to combat stigma, discrimination and intolerance, and underscore the need for routine HIV screening.

“The medical community has made great advances in treating HIV/AIDS in recent years,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, Health Officer and Director of the Snohomish Health District. “However, there still is no cure. Early treatment is critical to both help those who are infected and to prevent spread to others. Screening is key”

An estimated one in five Americans infected with HIV is unaware of itAccording to the Washington State Department of Health, 1,130 people in Snohomish County have been diagnosed with HIV since 1982. Screening for tuberculosis is also recommended for HIV-positive people.

Monday, Dec. 2

9 a.m.-noon, 1-5 p.m. — Free rapid-tests for HIV offered to anyone at risk of the disease, the Health District, 3020 Rucker Ave., Suite 108.Call for appointment: 425.339.5298.

Tuesday, Dec. 3

3-6 p.m., special health event for gay and bisexual men – tests available for HIV, Hepatitis C, and syphilis; also vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B. Come to the Health District, 3020 Rucker Ave., Suite 106, Everett. No appointment needed.

Wednesday, Dec, 4

9 a.m.-noon, 1-5 p.m. — Free rapid-tests for HIV offered to anyone at risk of the disease, the Health District, 3020 Rucker Ave., Suite 108.Call for appointment: 425.339.5298.

Friday, Dec. 6

9 a.m.-noon, 1-5 p.m. — Free rapid-tests for HIV offered to anyone at risk of the disease, the Health District, 3020 Rucker Ave., Suite 108.Call for appointment: 425.339.5298.

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Women’s Health — Week 12: Contraception

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From the Office of Research on Women’s Health

Contraception, also known as birth control, is used to prevent pregnancy. A woman should talk to her health care provider about her choice of birth control method. Her choice to use birth control and her choice of method depends on factors such as her general health, age, frequency of sexual activity, number of sexual partners, desire to have children in the future, and family history of certain diseases.

There are several general methods of birth control, including:

  • Barrier methods used to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Condoms, the diaphragm, and the cervical cap are all barrier methods.
  • The intrauterine device, or IUD, is a small device that a health care provider inserts into a woman’s uterus. An IUD can stay in the uterus for up to 10 years until it is removed by a health care provider.
  • Hormonal birth control releases hormones into a woman’s body to prevent ovulation. The birth control pill, injections, skin patches, and vaginal rings are all hormonal forms of birth control.
  • Sterilization is a method that permanently prevents a woman from getting pregnant or a man from being able to get a woman pregnant. A health care provider performs a surgical procedure to sterilize a woman or man. Sterilization usually cannot be reversed.

It is important to remember – even though all these methods can prevent pregnancy – condoms are the only method that can protect against sexually transmitted infections or HIV.

For more information on sexually transmitted infections, see Week 45. For more information on HIV, see Week 27.

For more information: www.nichd.nih.gov

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How healthcare reform will affect people with HIV and AIDS

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ACA health reform logoBy Christine Vestal
Stateline Staff Writer

The Affordable Care Act will broaden health care coverage for many of the 1.1 million Americans infected with HIV, especially those who live in the 25 states and the District of Columbia that have opted to expand Medicaid.

In those states, the larger Medicaid programs will cover about 60 percent of the mostly uninsured patients currently receiving help from federal-state HIV programs.

Medicaid will cover all of their health needs, not just their AIDS/HIV treatments.

Nationwide, another 30 percent of the people receiving HIV services now will qualify for tax subsidies to help them purchase insurance on exchanges, according to data from the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors.

As a result, state officials who run so-called Ryan White programs that provide health care and other services for HIV-infected residents are preparing for a major shift in the type of benefits they offer and possibly the level of future investment.

What are the biggest ACA benefits for people with HIV?

In addition to expanding Medicaid, the ACA prevents insurance companies — whether they are on the exchanges or not — from dropping or denying coverage or charging higher rates for people with pre-existing conditions such as HIV/AIDS.

Currently, at least 30 percent of HIV infected people are uninsured. That compares to 15 percent in the general population, according to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Until the ACA was enacted, private insurers often dropped people diagnosed with HIV, and it was difficult for people with the virus to purchase health insurance at an affordable price.

When the federal health law was signed in 2010, high-risk insurance backed by states and the federal government became available for people with pre-existing conditions, including HIV. Starting Jan. 1, 2014, all insurance carriers will be required to offer coverage to people with conditions such as HIV/AIDS, making high-risk insurance no longer necessary.

Top 10 States and Territories by Concentration of HIV Diagnoses
Diagnoses Per 100,000 People

  1. D.C. — 178
  2. Virgin Islands — 40
  3. Louisiana — 37
  4. Maryland — 36
  5. Florida — 33
  6. Georgia — 31
  7. New York — 30
  8. Puerto Rico — 29
  9. Mississippi — 25
  10. Texas — 25

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

How do HIV/AIDS programs work now?

Under a 1990 law named after Ryan White, a California teenager who died of AIDS, the federal government gives block grants to states to provide a variety of services for people with HIV/AIDS. In 2012, federal funding totaled $900 million. States are not required to contribute, but many do. Total state funding in 2012 was $275 million.

The bulk of the money has traditionally gone to a program called the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, under which states purchase antiretroviral drugs for people with HIV who can’t afford them.

Over the last decade, however, states have used more of the money to purchase health coverage for uninsured HIV clients, instead of directly purchasing drugs.

This practice has saved money and resulted in better health outcomes, including fewer hospitalizations and longer lives.

The AIDS Drug Assistance Program is not intended to provide comprehensive health care in the way Medicaid or private insurance do.

Will the ACA cause major changes to HIV/AIDS programs?

The answer is not yet known. In calculating the budget implications of expanding Medicaid, many states assumed a reduction in state funding for a variety of adult health care programs, including Ryan White. Some even questioned whether the program would be necessary after 2014.

But those calculations were only theoretical.

When Massachusetts expanded its Medicaid program in 2000 to include low-income HIV-infected adults, it maintained its investment in existing HIV treatment programs.

It did the same when it implemented its health care reforms in 2006, resulting in nearly universal health care coverage. Instead of cutting back, Massachusetts was able to offer assistance to more people, precipitously reducing the spread of AIDS.

However, in the 23 years since the Ryan White program began, states have adopted widely varying approaches to the structure and funding of HIV programs.  A similar patchwork is expected in the future.

Is the federal government expected to maintain AIDS funding?

Yes. In 2011, the results of a randomized clinical trial showed that treatment of HIV/AIDS with a cocktail of antiretroviral drugs reduced the risk of sexually transmitting HIV by 96 percent.

In response to this landmark study, state and federal officials decided to redouble their efforts with the goal of stamping out the deadly disease altogether.

Historically, federal funding has kept pace with inflation, but not with the spread of the disease, advocates say. Congress’ most recent authorization of the Ryan White law expired Sept. 30, although the law will stay in force indefinitely.

The Obama administration, advocates and state officials have agreed to wait to see how much the ACA benefits people with HIV before making any major changes to the federal Ryan White law.

In 2012, total federal funding to combat AIDS totaled $28 billion, including Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security income for the disabled, medical research and the Ryan White program.

What about Medicaid expansion under the ACA?

Medicaid expansion is the top priority for AIDS advocates, said Ronald Johnson, vice president of policy for advocates AIDS United.  If more states decided to expand Medicaid, it would have a major impact on the overall health of people with HIV.

About half of all Americans with HIV live in the South, where GOP governors and lawmakers have almost uniformly opposed the expansion. Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas are among the top 10 states and territories with the highest concentration of HIV diagnoses.

None of those states has agreed to expand Medicaid as part of the ACA.

In states that are expanding Medicaid, Johnson said his organization and others are urging states to provide an adequate transition period for Ryan White clients who become newly eligible for Medicaid. Advocates also want states to more closely integrate new Medicaid benefits with Ryan White services than they have in the past.

When are states expected to recalibrate Ryan White programs?

It remains to be seen. A lot will depend on how many states ultimately decide to expand Medicaid and how many HIV infected people enroll in the program.

Similarly, shifts in the program will hinge on how many HIV-infected people ultimately sign up for private insurance on the exchanges and whether they will be able to pay the relatively high deductibles and co-payments the policies will require of all customers.

Another unknown is exactly how well public and private insurance will cover the complex health care needs of those with HIV. For example, many insurers currently do not provide adequate coverage of the transportation, case management and dentistry needs of HIV-infected people, said Amy Killelea of the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors.

It is not clear whether coverage gaps will improve as states interpret the ACA’s essential benefits requirements, she said. “The case is being made that Ryan White and other AIDS programs cannot be offset,” Killelea said. For now, states are trying to figure out where exchange coverage and Medicaid stops and where Ryan White should start.
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Stateline is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news service of the Pew Center on the States that provides daily reporting and analysis on trends in state policy.

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State gonorrhea cases up 34 percent

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Gonorrhea bacteria - Photo CDC

Gonorrhea bacteria – Photo CDC

From the Washington State Department of Health

The number of gonorrhea cases in Washington is up substantially this year compared to 2012. There have been 3,137 cases through September 2013 compared to 2,350 during the same time in 2012. That’s a 34 percent increase.

Rates have been going up steadily since 2010. Department of Health experts haven’t been able to attribute a specific cause to the uptick. The jump has occurred among men and women in most age groups, but young adults remain the most affected.

Rural and urban counties across Eastern and Western Washington have reported a climb in cases. However, several counties have seen more dramatic upswings, including Spokane, Yakima, Thurston, Kitsap and Benton counties, which are at outbreak levels.

Gonorrhea is the second most common sexually transmitted disease in Washington after chlamydia. It’s spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner. The infection often has no symptoms, particularly among women. If symptoms are present, they may include discharge or painful urination.

Serious long-term health issues can occur if the disease isn’t treated, including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and an increased likelihood of HIV transmission.

The department continues to monitor case reports. Local public health officials are actively working with health care providers to ensure that people with gonorrhea and those exposed get appropriate testing and treatment to stop ongoing spread of the disease.

“We’re working closely with local health agencies to actively monitor the rise in cases. We’re especially concerned because of gonorrhea’s resistance to antibiotics used to treat it,” said Mark Aubin, sexually transmitted disease controller for the Department of Health. “It’s important for us to assure every reported case is interviewed so the partners of infected people are identified and receive treatment.”

Despite the increase over the last couple years, Washington rates are still well below the national average.

Health officials urge anyone who is experiencing symptoms, or has a partner that has been diagnosed, to be tested. Routine screenings are recommended for sexually active people.

Prevention methods include consistent and correct use of condoms, partner treatment, mutual monogamy and abstinence.”

To learn more about gonorrhea and find out where you can get tested go to Public Health – Seattle & King County’s Sexually Transmitted Disease webpage.

 

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Prevención del VIH/SIDA en la comunidad Latina/Hispana

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Distrito de salud de Snohomish:

Durante el mes de octubre, Distrito de salud de Snohomish reconoce Nacional Latina sobre el SIDA, una campaña destinada a involucrar a la comunidad Hispana/Latina en promover la sensibilización sobre el VIH a través de pruebas, prevención y educación.

El tema de este ano es “Comprométete a Hablar.”

En el estado de Washington, el 12% de todas las personas que actualmente viven con el VIH/SIDA son latinos, pero los latinos sólo representa aproximadamente el 9,4 % del total de la población. Las tasas de nuevas infecciones entre hombres latinos fueron más del doble que el de los hombres blancos. La tasa de infección por el VIH entre las mujeres de origen Latino fue casi cuatro veces mayor que la de las mujeres blancas.

Para abordar esta disparidad y aumentar la conciencia, personal del distrito de salud de Snohomish estará ofreciendo pruebas gratis para los miembros de las comunidades latinas y generales que califican basan en sus factores de riesgo en lugares comunitarios:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 22, from 1 – 5 p.m. at Monroe Sea Mar Behavioral Clinic, 14090 Fryeland Blvd. SE, Ste. #347
  • Tuesday, Oct. 22, from 4 – 6 p.m. at Everett Sea Mar Behavioral Clinic, 5007 Claremont Way
  • Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 9 – 11 a.m. at Everett Sea Mar Behavioral Clinic, 5007 Claremont Way
  • Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 4 – 5 p.m. at Everett Sea Mar Behavioral Clinic, 5007 Claremont Way
  • Thursday, Oct. 24, from 4 – 8 p.m. at Everett Sea Mar Medical Clinic, 1920 100th Street SE, Bldng. B
  • Friday, Oct. 25, from 12 – 4 p.m. at Monroe Sea Mar Medical Clinic, 17707 West Main Street
  • Thursday, Oct. 31, from 1 – 4 p.m. at Marysville Sea Mar Medical Clinic, 9710 State Avenue

Los Centros para el Control de enfermedades y prevención dice que el impacto del VIH en los Hispanos/Latinos no está directamente relacionado a la raza o grupo étnico, sino a los retos que enfrentan por algunas comunidades, incluyendo menos conocimiento del estado serológico, la pobreza, acceso a la atención medica, estigma, aculturación de la migración (el proceso de adopción de los rasgos culturales o los patrones sociales de otro grupo) y la homofobia. Aprenda más sobre la campaña de sensibilización nacional del sitio web AIDSinfo, http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/education-materials/hiv-aids-awareness-days/169/national-latino- aids-awareness-day.

El distrito de salud ofrece gratis y confidencial del VIH pruebas y Consejería para individuos de alto riesgo durante todo el año, en nuestra clínica 3020 Rucker Avenue, con resultados en 30 minutos. Individuos con riesgo también pueden ser probados para la Hepatitis A, B, C y sífilis. Para una cita, llame al 425-339-5298.

Según la Washington State Department of Health, 730 personas en el Condado de Snohomish se supone que se viven con el VIH/SIDA.

Para obtener más información sobre la prevención del VIH/SIDA y las pruebas, llame al distrito de salud al 425-339-5298, o visite www.snohd.org.

Establecido en 1959, el Snohomish Distrito de Salud trabaja para un más seguro y más sano Condado Snohomish a través de la prevención de enfermedades, la promoción de la salud y la protección de las amenazas ambientales. Encontrar más información sobre el Distrito de Salud en http://www.snohd.org.

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Snohomish County campaign seeks to raise HIV/AIDS awareness in Latino/Hispanic community.

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nlaad-logoDuring the month of October, Snohomish Health District will present a National Latino AIDS Awareness campaign aimed at engaging the Hispanic/Latino community in promoting HIV awareness through testing, prevention and education.

This year’s theme is “Commit to Speak”/“Comprométete a Hablar.”

In Washington state, 12% of all individuals currently living with HIV/AIDS are Latino – but Latinos only compromise approximately 9.4% of the total population.

The rates of new infections among Latino men were more than double that of white men. The rate of HIV infection among Latino women was nearly four times that of white women.

To address this disparity and increase awareness, staff from the Snohomish Health District will be offering free testing at community locations to members of the Latino and general communities who qualify based on their risk factors:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 22, from 4 – 6 p.m. at Everett Sea Mar Behavioral Clinic, 5007 Claremont Way
  • Tuesday, Oct. 22, from 1 – 5 p.m. at Monroe Sea Mar Behavioral Clinic, 14090 Fryeland Blvd. SE, Ste. #347
  • Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 4 – 5 p.m. at Everett Sea Mar Behavioral Clinic, 5007 Claremont Way
  • Wednesday, Oct. 23 from 9-11 a.m. at Everett Sea Mar Behavioral Clinic, 5007 Claremont Way
  • Thursday, Oct. 24, from 4 – 8 p.m. at Everett Sea Mar Medical Clinic, 1920 100th Street SE, Bldng. B
  • Friday, Oct. 25, from 12 – 4 p.m. at Monroe Sea Mar Medical Clinic, 17707 West Main Street
  • Thursday, Oct. 31, from 1 – 4 p.m. at Marysville Sea Mar Medical Clinic, 9710 State Avenue

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states the impact of HIV on Hispanics/Latinos is not directly related to race or ethnicity, but rather to challenges faced by some communities, including less awareness of HIV status, poverty, access to care, stigma, migration acculturation (the process of adopting the cultural traits or social patterns of another group) and homophobia.

Learn more about the national awareness campaign from the AIDSinfo website, http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/education-materials/hiv-aids-awareness-days/169/national-latino-aids-awareness-day.

The Health District offers free and confidential HIV testing and counseling for high-risk individuals year-round, in our Everett clinic location, with test results in 30 minutes. Individuals with risk can also be tested for hepatitis A,B, C, and syphilis. For information about HIV/AIDS prevention and testing, call the Health District at 425.339.5298, or visit www.snohd.org.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, 730 people in Snohomish County are assumed to be living with HIV/AIDS.

Information from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

 Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades

Datos breves

  • El VIH afecta de manera desproporcionada a los latinos.
  • En el 2009, los latinos representaron el 20% de las infecciones nuevas con el VIH en los Estados Unidos, aun cuando solamente constituían alrededor del 16% de la población total de los EE. UU.
  • HSH están particularmente afectados con el VIH.

El VIH es un problema de salud pública en la comunidad latina1. En el 2009, los latinos representaron el 20% (9,400) de las infecciones nuevas por VIH en los Estados Unidos, aun cuando solamente formaban alrededor del 16% de la población total de los EE. UU. La tasa de infecciones por el VIH en los latinos en el 2009 fue casi el triple que la de los hombres de raza blanca (26.4 comparado con 9.1 por cada 100,000 habitantes).

Las cifras

Infecciones nuevas por VIH

  • En el 2009, los hombres latinos representaron el 79% (7,400) de las infecciones nuevas en toda la población latina y la tasa de infecciones nuevas entre los hombres latinos fue dos veces y media más alta que la de los hombres de la raza blanca (39.9/100,000 comparado con 15.9/100,000).
  • En el 2009, los hombres latinos que tuvieron relaciones sexuales con hombres (HSH)3 representaron el 81% (6,000) de las infecciones nuevas por VIH entre los hombres latinos. Y a su vez representaron el 20% de todos los HSH. Entre los HSH latinos, el 45% de las infecciones nuevas por VIH correspondió a hombres menores de 30 años de edad.
  • Aunque las mujeres latinas representaron el 21% (2,000) de las infecciones nuevas en los latinos durante el 2009, su tasa de infección por el VIH fue más del cuádruple que en las mujeres blancas (11,8/100,000 comparado con 2,6/100,000).

Estimados sobre infecciones nuevas por el VIH en los Estados Unidos para las subpoblaciones más afectadas, 2009

Esta gráfica no incluye las subpoblaciones que representan el 2% o menos de la epidemia general en los EE. UU.

Diagnósticos y muertes por VIH y SIDA

  • En algún momento de su vida, 1 de cada 36 hombres latinos recibirá un diagnóstico de VIH, al igual que 1 de cada 106 mujeres latinas
  • En el 2009, los latinos representaron el 19% de los 42,959 diagnósticos nuevos de infecciones por VIH en los 40 estados y las 5 jurisdicciones dependientes de los EE. UU. que cuentan con sistema de notificación de infección por VIH de forma confidencial basada en el nombre.
  • En el 2009, se estima que 7,442 latinos recibieron un diagnóstico de sida en los EE. UU. y las 5 jurisdicciones dependientes. Esta cifra ha disminuido desde el 2006.
  • Para finales del 2008, se calcula que 111,438 latinos habían fallecido en los Estados Unidos y las jurisdicciones dependientes con diagnostico de SIDA. En el 2007, el VIH fue la cuarta causa principal de muerte en latinos de 35 a 44 años de edad y la sexta en los latinos de 25 a 34 años en los EE. UU.

Desafíos para la prevención

Varios factores contribuyen a la epidemia del VIH en las comunidades latinas.

  • Los factores de la conducta de riesgo relacionados con la infección por VIH varían de acuerdo al país de origen.Los datos indican que los porcentajes más altos de infecciones con el VIH diagnosticadas en hombres latinos se atribuyen a contacto sexual con otros hombres, independientemente del país de origen, pero los hombres nacidos en Puerto Rico tienen un porcentaje considerablemente más alto de infecciones por el VIH atribuidas al uso de drogas inyectables (UDI) que los hombres latinos nacidos en otros países.
  • Los hombres y mujeres latinas tienen más probabilidad de adquirir la infección por VIH como resultado del contacto sexual con hombres. Las mujeres latinas podrían no estar conscientes de los factores de riesgo de su pareja masculina.
  • El uso de drogas inyectables continúa siendo un factor de riesgo entre los latinos, especialmente para los que viven en Puerto Rico. Además, los usuarios ocasionales y crónicos de alcohol o estupefacientes tienen más probabilidad de practicar conductas sexuales de alto riesgo, como son las relaciones sexuales sin protección debido a que están bajo la influencia de las drogas o el alcohol.
  • Tener ciertas infecciones de transmisión sexual (ITS)puede aumentar, en forma significativa, la posibilidad de que una persona contraiga la infección por el VIH. Una persona que tiene la infección por el VIH y ciertas ITS tiene más posibilidad de infectar a otros con el VIH. Las tasas de ITS permanecen altas entre los latinos.
  • Los factores culturales pueden afectar el riesgo de infección por el VIH. Es posible que latinos eviten hacerse pruebas del VIH y buscar consejería o tratamiento para la infección por temor a la discriminación o la estigmatización o debido a su estatus migratorio. Los roles tradicionales de los hombres y las mujeres y el estigma contra la homosexualidad pueden dificultar la prevención.
  • Una mayor aculturación adoptando la cultura estadounidense tiene efectos tanto negativos (adopción de conductas que aumentan el riesgo de adquirir la infección del VIH) como positivos (comunicación con las parejas sobre las relaciones sexuales más seguras o de menor riesgo) en las conductas relacionadas con la salud de los hombres y mujeres latinos.
  • Los factores socioeconómicos, como la pobreza, los patrones migratorios, el bajo nivel de estudios académicos, la falta de seguro médico, el acceso limitado a la atención médica, o las barreras del lenguaje, contribuyen a las tasas de infección por VIH en los latinos. Estos factores pueden limitar la concientización de los latinos sobre los riesgos de infectarse con el VIH y las oportunidades para participar en consejería, pruebas de detección y tratamiento.
  • Debido al miedo a ser descubiertos y deportados, los inmigrantes indocumentados pueden ser menos propensos a recibir servicios de prevención del VIH, a hacerse pruebas de detección o a recibir atención médica y tratamiento adecuados si es que son diagnosticados positivos o que viven con el VIH.
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Snohomish to offer free HIV tests for eligible gay & bisexual men, Oct. 1

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aids-ribbonIn support of National Gay Men’s HIV Awareness Day, the Snohomish Health District will host a free evening of information and testing from 4-7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 1 in Suite 108 at the Rucker Building, 3020 Rucker Ave., Everett, Wash.

The event is directed to gay and bisexual men who are at risk for HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. No appointment needed. The event includes door prizes and light refreshments, and every man screened will receive a financial incentive.

Snohomish County currently ranks third in the state for new HIV cases, following King and Pierce counties. Recent data show that 58 percent of all new HIV cases in Washington State are among men who have sex with other men (MSM). Gay and bisexual men make up less than 10 percent of the population, but account for almost 60 percent of the burden of HIV disease.

The Health District also will offer free testing to qualified men for Hepatitis C and syphilis, and vaccine for Hepatitis A and B. Both the Hepatitis C and HIV tests are “rapid” antibody tests, requiring only a drop of blood pricked from a finger.

Test results will be available within 30 minutes. The tests are anonymous and confidential.

New prevention tool: Pre-exposure prophylaxis –PrEP

Information about a new HIV prevention tool will be shared by Michael Louella, outreach coordinator for the AIDS Clinical Trial Unit in Seattle.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is when HIV-negative individuals take a pill to prevent HIV infection.

The medicine currently is used to treat HIV, and has now been approved for this treatment by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration.

Research studies show that PrEP can lower the risk of HIV transmission when used with other prevention measures, such as condoms.

For more information about HIV testing and risk, please call David Bayless, 425.339.5238.

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Monday’s health tip: Be tested for STDs

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Gonorrhea (Photo: Bill Schwarts/CDC)

Gonorrhea (Photo: Bill Schwarts/CDC)

Nearly 1 in 5 people living with HIV don’t know they have it.

Many other STDs (such as chlamydia, herpes, and gonorrhea) are also unknowingly spread and left untreated.

Because of this, the CDC recommends all adolescents and adults between the ages of 13-64 get tested for HIV at least once in their life, as a routine part of medical care.

More frequent testing should be considered if you have had unprotected sex or multiple partners.

Remember, doctors don’t test for STDs as part of your routine checkup, so be sure to speak up!

If you think you should be tested, schedule an appointment with your doctor or a clinic this week.

 

About the Monday Campaigns:

The Healthy Monday Tips is produced by a national health promotion initiative called the Monday Campaigns.

The thinking behind the initiative derives from two studies done at the Center for a Liveable Future at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health by Jullian Fry and Roni Neff.

In one study, they reviewed the scientific studies that looked at ways to get people to adopt healthy habits.

In that review, they found that one of the most effective ways to keep people on track is simply to remind them from time to time to stick to it.

But when would be the best time send those reminders?

Fry and Neff decided to look at Monday, which many of us consider the start of our week.

To better understand how we thought and felt about Monday, they reviewed the scientific literature as well as cultural references to Monday in movies, songs, books and other forms of art and literature, even video games.

They noted that a number of scientific studies have found that we may suffer more health problems on Monday. For example, a number of studies find that Americans have more heart attacks and strokes on Monday.

There is also evidence that we have more on-the-job injuries on Monday, perhaps because we are not quite back into the swing of things, or are still recovering from our weekend.

Fry and Neff also found that while many of us, facing the return to work, may dread Mondays, Monday is also seen as a day for making a fresh start.

Fry and Neff concluded that Monday might be a good day for promoting healthy habits. Calling attention to the health problems linked to the first day of the work week, such as heart attacks and on-the-job injuries, makes Monday a natural day to highlight the importance of prevention.

And the Monday’s reputation as a day to make a fresh start offers the opportunity to help people to renew their efforts to adopt healthier habits.

Fry and Neff’s findings are put into practice by the Monday Campaigns, which helps individuals and organizations use Monday as a focus for their health promotion efforts, providing free research, literature and artwork, and other support.

To learn more about Healthy Mondays:

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Chain Saw

What will the impact of sequestration be on Washington health programs?

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In an effort to pressure Congress to come up with a deal to prevent the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts required by the sequestration agreement, the White House has released a list of programs that will be hit should the cuts go through.

Here is the White House’s list of cuts that will likely hit health-related programs in Washington state.

Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water:

Washington would lose about $3,301,000 in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Washington could lose another $924,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

Vaccines for Children:

In Washington around 2,850 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $195,000.

Public Health:

Washington will lose approximately $642,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Washington will lose about $1,740,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 3800 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Washington State Department of Health will lose about $174,000 resulting in around 4,300 fewer HIV tests.

Nutrition Assistance for Seniors:

Washington would lose approximately $1,053,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.

Education for Children with Disabilities:

In addition, Washington will lose approximately $11,251,000 in funds for about 140 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

To learn more:

  • Read the full list of programs the White House says will be affected here.
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Health & Beauty Fair for Women of Color on Saturday, March 9

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HealthBeautyWebBug_2013_01_11

In honor of National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day the Snohomish Health District is partnering with local and federal agencies to host a free Health & Beauty Fair for Women of Color on Saturday, March 9 at Edmonds Community College, and a free HIV testing day for women on March 12.

Racial and ethnic minority women experience higher rates of obesity, cancer, diabetes and HIV. “We want to remind women that with just a few simple steps, they can make great strides in preserving their health,” said Brenda Newell, Snohomish Health District HIV/STD/VHO program manager.

Empowering women of color to make their health a priority

The Women of Color Health & Beauty is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 9 in the Woodway Building off 204th Street, near the golf course. It features inspirational speakers, health screenings, beauty services, community health resources, and a light lunch – all free.

Free Health Screenings

  • Cholesterol, diabetes and BMI Screening
  • Rapid HIV testing
  • Breast and cervical health resources
  • Flu and whooping cough vaccinations

Free Beauty Services

  • Eyebrow waxing and skin care demonstrations
  • Manicures
  • Natural hair styling tips
  • Nutrition and exercise resources, plus a Zumba class

This event is sponsored by AIDS Project Snohomish County, Edmonds Community College, Medical Reserve Corps, Molina Health Care, Office of Women’s Health – Region X, Snohomish Health District Verdant Health and the YWCA. For more information on the event, visit www.snohd.org/events.

Women’s HIV Awareness Day Free Testing March 12

In honor of National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day, all women ages 14+ who have had any risk for HIV transmission qualify for free, rapid HIV testing on March 12.

The test involves a simple pin-prick to the finger, resulting in a tiny drop of blood, and only takes 30 minutes – including results.

No appointment is necessary, just stop by between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 12 at Snohomish Health District Suite 106, 3020 Rucker Avenue, Everett. For more information, call 425.339.5298 or visit www.womenshealth.gov.

 

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National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day – Feb. 7

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HIV take charge logoFrom the CDC

African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that they accounted for nearly half (44%) of all new infections in 2010, despite making up only 14% of the population. This represents a rate that is eight times as high as that of whites.

Most of these infections are in African American men, most of whom are men who have sex with men (MSM). Young black MSM, in fact, account for more new infections than any other subgroup by race/ethnicity, age, and sex.

While African American women also continue to be far more affected by HIV than women of other races/ethnicities, recent data show early signs of an encouraging decrease in new HIV infections. CDC is cautiously optimistic that this is the beginning of a longer-term trend.

Today, we have many more opportunities than ever before to reduce the burden of HIV that African American men, women, and young adults bear. Working together with state and local public health agencies, African American communities, and other partners in the public and private sectors, CDC continues to address the HIV epidemic in African American communities.

One of these efforts is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, directed, planned, and organized by a group of organizations that partner with CDC to mobilize communities across the country to fight HIV and lessen its impact on African American communities.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was started 13 years ago to mobilize people in African American communities to

  • Get educated about the basic facts on HIV and AIDS.
  • Get tested for HIV. Knowing your status saves lives!
  • Get involved to raise HIV awareness and fight stigma about HIV.
  • Get treated if living with HIV or newly diagnosed.

The theme for 2013, I Am My Brother’s/Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS, emphasizes that all African Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, economic class, or educational level, can be an important part of the solution to the HIV epidemic in African American communities.

Why Do African Americans Face a Higher Risk of HIV Infection?

Research shows that African Americans do not engage in riskier behavior than members of other racial/ethnic groups. However, there are many social and economic barriers that can increase the risk of HIV.

  • The higher the proportion of people living with HIV in a community, the greater the risk with each new sexual encounter of having a sexual partner who has HIV.
  • Higher rates of other sexually transmitted infections can increase the chance of getting and spreading HIV.
  • Social and economic realities—such as poverty, racial discrimination, limited access to health care and housing, and incarceration—are associated with increased risk of HIV.
  • Stigma, fear, and silence can increase the risk of HIV while decreasing the willingness to get support, get tested, and get treatment, if needed.

What Can You Do?

  • Learn about HIV and AIDS. Educate yourself, friends, and family about HIV and AIDS and what you can do to protect yourself.
  • Get tested for HIV. To find a testing site near you, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636), visit theNational HIV and STD Testing Resources website, or, on your cell phone, text your ZIP code to KNOW IT (566948).
  • Speak out against stigma, homophobia, racism, and other forms of discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS.
  • Donate time to HIV and AIDS organizations that work in African American communities.

What Can Community Organizations Do?

  • Promote National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) within your business, church, or other organization, by downloading the NBHAAD toolkit. HIV awareness and testing events can provide important information that people can use to protect their health and the health of their loved ones, and to get involved.
  • Educate your organization about HIV and AIDS and encourage staff and members to get involved in NBHAAD activities.

More Information

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Chlamydia within cell. Image Credit: Volker Brinkmann, Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology

Sexually Transmitted Infections: Part 3 Chlamydia

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Chlamydia within cell. Image Credit: Volker Brinkmann, Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology

Chlamydia within cell. Image Credit: Volker Brinkmann, Max Planck Institute

By Yolanda Evans, MD, MPH
From Seattle Children’s Teenology 101 weblog

We’ve been focusing on sexuality and sexually transmitted infections in teens in the this series of posts. Now, let’s talk about the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that’s caused by a bacteria: Chlamydia.

Most people with chlamydia don’t know it. The most common symptom is nothing at all, so it is extremely important that any teen who is sexually active be screened.

The CDC recommends all women younger than age 25 who are sexually active be screened for chlamydia each year (about 1 in 15 sexually active females age 14-19 has chlamydia).Men who have sex with men should also be screened every year.

Why worry about an infection that doesn’t cause symptoms?

Well, if left untreated, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, a sometimes painful infection that can lead to scarring of the fallopian tubes and infertility or a life threatening pregnancy outside of the uterus (ectopic pregnancy).

In males, they may develop a burning sensation with urination, or rarely, an infection called epididymitis (swelling of the testicles).

If a woman is pregnant and has chlamydia, the baby is at risk for developing a dangerous eye infection, pneumonia, or being born early.

Though most people have no symptoms, infection can lead to burning with urination, discharge, or itching.

Chlamydia is spread through sexual contact: oral, anal, or vaginal sex. It can lead to infection of the throat, rectum, or cervix (the lower portion of a woman’s uterus).

Though most people have no symptoms, infection can lead to burning with urination, discharge, or itching.

Screening and diagnosis is done through a laboratory test: either a urine sample or a vaginal swab (usually collected by the individual or health care provider).

Talk to your teen about sexuality and relationships. Not just having ‘the talk’ but many conversations about the topic.

Treatment is with antibiotics and a person’s sexually partners over the past 2 months should be treated too.

Fortunately, chlamydia is preventable. The only 100% guarantee that a person will not get chlamydia is to not have sex, but using condoms with every sexual encounter also protects against the spread of chlamydia.

So what can a parent do to help protect their teen from chlamydia?

Talk to your teen about sexuality and relationships. Not just having ‘the talk’ but many conversations about the topic. This can be a very challenging thing to discuss, but sex is all around. Just turn on the radio or watch TV. Use our media to your advantage… the next time a commercial for perfume comes on, comment on how sexuality isn’t all about a look or smell.

Discuss what a healthy relationship means to you and share your expectations about sex and relationships with your teen. This conversation will hopefully, lead to future discussions.

Sure your teen may be embarrassed, or refuse to talk initially, but just bringing up the topic of sex shows that your are available to listen and answer questions.

If your teen is sexually active, encourage them to get screened for sexually transmitted infections. Ask your primary care provider about screening or use your teen’s school based health clinic (if available).

Let your teen know that condoms need to be used with every sexual encounter.

If you are uncomfortable or have questions talk to your teen’s health care provider.

What tips to readers have for other parents on how to talk with their teens about sex and relationships?

About Yolanda Evans, MD, MPH

Yolanda-Evans-MD-MPH_avatar-100x100My work is a ‘dream come true’ and it’s what I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember. I have the privilege of getting to know some amazing teens and hearing things about them that they may not have told anyone before. When I’m not working, I like trying new foods, traveling around the world, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying the fresh Washington air (though not quite as fresh as Alaska where I grew up, but very close!) – Yolanda Evans, M.D., Adolescent Medicine at Seattle Children’s

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