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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:11 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Indiana to declare public health emergency over HIV outbreak

SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (AP) — Faced with a growing HIV outbreak tied to intravenous drug use, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said Wednesday he's considering a needle-exchange program as part of a public health emergency he's preparing to declare in a county that's at the epicenter of the cases.

Pence, a Republican, said he opposes needle exchanges as part of drug-control policy but is listening to health officials to determine the best way to stop the outbreak in Scott County in southern Indiana. Health officials say 72 cases of HIV have been confirmed in southern Indiana and seven other people have preliminary positive HIV infections. All of those infected either live in Scott County or have ties to the county.

Pence, who plans to issue an executive order Thursday morning outlining a range of state actions, noted that Scott County typically sees five HIV cases each year.

"This is a public health emergency and I'm listening to my health department, I'm listening to the Centers for Disease Control and I'll make my decision based on the best science and the best way we can stop this virus and stop this outbreak in its tracks," Pence said after meeting with local officials in Scottsburg, the county's seat.

Indiana's confirmed HIV cases have risen from 26 a month ago when state officials announced the outbreak to 72 now. IV drug use has been determined as the mode of infection in nearly all of the cases, said state epidemiologist Pam Pontones.

Needle-exchange programs allow people to turn in used hypodermic needles and get clean ones in an effort to keep diseases such as HIV and hepatitis from spreading. Such programs are illegal in Indiana, but a measure being debated in the Legislature would allow them on a limited basis.

The number of HIV cases is expected to rise. Officials are trying to contact as many as 100 people tied to those with confirmed infections of the virus that causes AIDS.

Indiana has launched an awareness campaign that includes billboards and social media. State health commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams said a mobile unit will be sent to Scott County with resources to help combat the outbreak.

Pontones said state health officials and staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who arrived in the county about 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday agree that the outbreak "is an indicator of a larger problem," which is rampant IV drug use in the economically depressed region.

"With the amount of drug use that's happening and the intravenous needle-sharing that's going on, if someone who's highly infectious becomes part of that sharing network, that infection can transmit very rapidly," Pontones said.

She said the vast majority of the people who've become infected during the outbreak shared a syringe with someone else while injecting a liquid form of the prescription painkiller Opana.

Republican Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany, who proposed the needle distribution and collection program Wednesday at the Statehouse, said a House panel considered similar legislation last year, but it didn't receive a hearing in the Senate.

"Unfortunately we're back here, not just with needle exchange as a hypothetical theory, but with a real situation where a needle exchange (program) could make a difference," he said.

The program would require participating agencies to register with state and local health departments and provide information on treatment for drug addiction.

Dr. Jennifer Walthall, deputy state health commissioner, told lawmakers that despite Pence's opposition to a needle-exchange program, the department must look at every option.

"We have never encountered this type of situation before and we need to consider it differently," Walthall said.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

U.S. STD Cases on the Rise for the First Time Since 2006

Reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have risen for the first time since 2006, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Getty Images)

The CDC’s 2014 STD Surveillance Report, which was released on Tuesday, paints a disturbing picture. Among the data, chlamydia cases are up 2.8 percent since 2013, and gonorrhea cases are up 5.1 percent. Syphilis cases increased by a whopping 15.1 percent.

“STDs continue to affect young people —particularly women — most severely, but increasing rates among men contributed to the overall increases in 2014 across all three diseases,” the CDC said in a press release.

STD cases are increasingly sharply among gay and bisexual men, and primary and secondary syphilis (the most infectious stages of syphilis) have been on the rise among men who have sex with men since 2000. In 2014, 83 percent of male cases of syphilis were from gay or bisexual men.

Not surprisingly, young people are at the highest risk of acquiring an STD. The data found that people between the ages of 15 and 24 made up almost two-thirds of all reported cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea, but CDC researchers say there may be even more undetected cases.

Unfortunately, women are the most impacted by these increases. “In terms of anatomy, ****s leave women more exposed and vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) than male anatomy, since the **** is covered with skin which serves as a good barrier for several STIs,” Herbenick explains. “Then there are issues of gender and power, and many women feel unable to insist on condom use, even when they want to use a condom.”

Related: Signs You Have One of the 3 Most Common STDs

The news sounds disturbing — and it is, sexual health expert and certified sex  therapist Kat Van Kirk, PhD, tells Yahoo Health.

“Unfortunately I am not surprised by these findings,” she says. “Many smaller communities have noticed a rise in STDs just this year. I have also noticed a much more lackadaisical attitude from clients in regards to STD transmission in the last year.”

Debby Herbenick, PhD, associate professor at Indiana University School of Public Health and author of “Sex Made Easy” echoes the sentiment, telling Yahoo Health that the findings are “very important.”

But why is this happening? Herbenick says a few factors may be at play, and a relaxed attitude toward condom use and testing for sexually transmitted infections are largely to blame.

Better STD medications and a lowered fear of contracting an STD, including HIV, may also be a factor. “While the availability of the HIV prevention drug Prep has been hugely beneficial, it has also led to lower condom use and therefore higher rates of other STDs which the medication does not protect users from,” Van Kirk says.

Increased use of Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs), which include intrauterine devices and implants, could be to blame as well, Herbenick says. “They are wonderful for preventing pregnancy but don’t do anything in terms of STI prevention,” Herbenick says. Women who use LARCs may feel that they’re protected, she explains, even though they’re not.

Related: Introducing an STD You’ve Never Heard Of

Inconsistent sex education standards across the U.S. and an increase in casual hookup sex could also be factors, says Van Kirk.

But experts say there are several solutions — and they’re all fairly easy to implement.

The biggest: Use condoms. Herbenick encourages people to use condoms for at least one month longer than they feel they should with a new partner and never to stop using condoms until they and their partner have both been tested for STIs.

Herbenick also stresses that more people need to be tested for STDs, including those who recently had a break-up or divorce, people who have never been tested, people who have been cheated on or have cheated on a partner, and those who are entering a new relationship.“I cannot encourage STI testing enough!” Herbenick says.

For more information on the new data, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

Let’s keep in touch! Follow Yahoo Health on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Have a personal health story to share? We want to hear it. Tell us atYHTrueStories@yahoo.com.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CDC official: Gay men’s disease rates highest since 1980s HIV/AIDS outbreak

Men who have sex with men face a syphilis infection rate at the highest it’s been since the 1980s, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official.

“We’re concerned about our high levels of syphilis among men who have sex with men – really we’re back to the level of disease – burden of disease – in gay men that we were seeing before HIV in this country,” said Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, at an event lobbying for federal funding to fight sexually transmitted diseases in the United States. The comments were reported by CNS News.

Some groups bear a disproportionate burden of STDs, according to a 2014 CDC fact sheet, and “While anyone can become infected with an STD, certain groups, including young people and gay and bisexual men, are at greatest risk.”

In a section of the fact sheet on the “Troubling rise in syphilis infections among men, particularly gay and bisexual men,” the CDC wrote, “Trend data show rates of syphilis are increasing at an alarming rate (15.1 percent in 2014). While rates have increased among both men and women, men account for more than 90 percent of all primary and secondary syphilis cases. Men who have sex with men (MSM) account for 83 percent of male cases where the sex of the sex partner is known.”

According to the CDC, “Having more sex partners compared to other men means gay and bisexual men have more opportunities to have sex with someone who can transmit HIV or another STD.”

In 2013, Vancouver Coastal Health and the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control said that levels of syphilis infections in homosexual and bisexual men were the highest they’d been in more than 30 years in the Vancouver area.  In 2015, the Public Health England also released a study indicating a sharp increase in syphilis and gonorrhea among gay men.

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

New Map Reveals HIV Risk Greatest in Southern Cities for Gay, Bisexual Men

A map documenting HIV rates for gay and bisexual men has revealed they are most at risk for becoming infected in multiple southern cities, according to a report being presented today by Emory University researchers.

The cities with the highest rates included Columbia, South Carolina, El Paso, Texas, and Jackson, Mississippi. In these cities, more than 25 percent of men who have sex with men (MSM) had been diagnosed with HIV.

“This is really the first time we’ve been able to examine the HIV infection burden ... at such fine levels of geography,” Eli Rosenberg, assistant professor of epidemiology at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, said during a news conference today.

According to the report, the South is home to 21 of the 25 metropolitan areas with the highest HIV prevalence among MSM. The analysis provides “new evidence” of a growing disparity between the HIV epidemic in the South relative to the rest of the U.S. -- but it is unclear whether this says more about rising transmission rates in the South, or public health successes in other regions.

Overall, gay and bisexual men are more than 57 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than other men in the U.S., the study authors said.

“Where HIV is most a problem are places that are failing gay men,” said George Ayala, executive director of the Global Forum on MSM and HIV, a leading advocacy group that was not involved in the report.

Where health systems fail, according to Ayala, is in the process of identifying people who have HIV and immediately linking them with care. Gay and bisexual men may be more likely to face additional barriers such as poverty and stigma, he said.

Because federal and state funding for HIV prevention can be directed to where the disease hits hardest, knowing where HIV is most concentrated may enable public health agencies and local organizations to tweak how they distribute resources at the local level, according to Rosenberg.

“We really want this to be a tool for public health practitioners and policy makers,” he said.

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes the prevalence of HIV among different races and age groups, it reports only the raw number of cases among MSM. The Emory researchers used other national surveys, such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, to estimate where MSM were distributed across the country.

Estimates of MSM by race are also not available, though the CDC estimated in February that half of black MSM and a quarter of Latino MSM will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.

“To stop the spread of HIV in the U.S., we have to understand how, where, and among whom the epidemic is striking the hardest,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, said during today's news conference.

Mermin said that a major focus of HIV prevention programs will be expanding access to HIV testing, treatment, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), especially among gay and bisexual men of color and transgender individuals. The CDC earmarks targeted funds as a supplement to state and local health departments.

According to one CDC study, these programs could prevent up to 70 percent of new infections over the next five years.

That's why experts say it is important that southern states and cities get on board. CDC data show that the South lags behind the rest of the U.S. when it comes to HIV-positive people getting the treatment they need, or even knowing they’re infected in the first place, Mermin said.

“You see disease concentrated in places that are poorly supported in terms of health infrastructure,” said Ayala. “Those things are really an important part of the story to tell about HIV in the United States."
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WHO urges shift in STD treatment due to antibiotic resistance
Growing resistance to antibiotics has complicated efforts to rein in common sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis, the World Health Organization warned Tuesday as it issued new treatment guidelines.

Globally, more than one million people contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or infection (STI) every day, WHO said.

"Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis are major public health problems worldwide, affecting millions of peoples' quality of life, causing serious illness and sometimes death," Ian Askew, head of WHO's reproductive health and research division, said in a statement.

WHO estimates that each year, 131 million people are infected with chlamydia around the globe, 78 million with gonorrhoea and 5.6 million with syphilis.

As HIV patients get older, the drugs that saved them are now wreaking havoc
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drug-Resistant “Super Gonorrhea” on the Rise
By anh-usa on October 11, 2016

Here’s the latest threat in the antibiotic-resistant era. Action Alert!

US health officials have identified a cluster of cases of drug-resistant gonorrhea infections. The new superbug is resistant even to the two-antibiotic combination that is used when other drugs fail.

To give you an idea of the scope of the problem this presents, consider that gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported infectious disease—which means that about 800,000 Americans a year could eventually be faced with gonorrhea that is untreatable by conventional medicine. And of course nobody will tell them about natural treatments.

The symptoms of gonorrhea are numerous and painful enough, but left untreated, it can also cause other serious health problems. In women it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which in turn can cause long-term abdominal pain, infertility, ectopic pregnancies (pregnancy outside the womb), and scarring that blocks the fallopian tubes. Untreated gonorrhea can cause infertility in men. In rare cases, it can spread to the blood and joints, and lead to death. It also may increase the likelihood of contracting HIV.

Some people do not experience symptoms right away, so the disease goes undetected.

This is the latest in a long series of deadly antibiotic-resistant bugs, and the number is predicted to keep growing. Superbugs kill an estimated 700,000 people globally each year, but even that number may understate the problem. A recent news report suggests that thousands of deaths from superbugs in hospitals are going unreported—doctors are conveniently leaving infections acquired in hospitals off of death certificates.

Unfortunately, health officials across the world are looking in the wrong places for solutions.

At a recent United Nations meeting on the issue of antibiotic resistance, Norway’s prime minister spoke approvingly of her country’s policy of vaccinating salmon hatchlings as a means of curbing antibiotic use in farmed salmon. In other cases, health authorities point to new drugs under development for signs of hope. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seem to be putting all their eggs in this one basket, hoping that an oral antibiotic currently under development will become the new drug of last resort to treat gonorrhea—until of course bacteria become resistant to that drug, too. And newer antibiotics often come with horrific side effects.

Once again, government health officials refuse to acknowledge the power of natural medicine to treat these infections—presumably because they are not patentable and cannot make money for the pharmaceutical industry.

We’ve reported before on some natural antibiotics, such as essential oils and colloidal silver. Note too that natural treatments used in conjunction with antibiotics can make the drugs more effective or effective again, in cases where this is necessary. Patients should of course consult with an integrative doctor to determine the best course of treatment for bacterial infections.

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