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Posts Tagged ‘HIV+

Southern U.S. Needs To Do More To Address HIV/AIDS Among Hispanics

“Demographers have noted that the South is one of the regions that have seen the most rapid influx of Latino workers,” Marisa Trevio, who writes the blog “Latina Lista,” writes in a USA Today opinion piece. She adds, “So with a steady influx of Latinos, and a growing number of them contracting HIV/AIDS, why aren’t states making inroads via aggressive public awareness campaigns in attacking this preventable and treatable disease?”

According to Trevio, a recent study from the Latino Commission on AIDS “found that HIV/AIDS cases are rising at alarming rates among the two million Latinos in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.” She adds, “Prevention education isn’t keeping pace.” Trevio writes that public awareness efforts likely are not having much effect among Hispanics because the “targets of these messages — which include legal and undocumented workers — don’t trust the messenger.” A report from Progressive States Network found that “every state identified by the study, with the exception of Alabama, has passed policies criminalizing undocumented immigration,” according to Trevio. “These laws intimidate people from seeking any assistance,” she writes, adding, “For example, South Carolina passed a series of laws that include establishing a hotline to report suspected nonresidents and making it a crime to transport or harbor undocumented immigrants.” The report found that as a “result of this anti-immigrant climate and the high rate of people without health insurance,” many HIV-positive Hispanics do not “seek medical attention until they are in its late stages,” Trevio writes.

However, some “states are trying to confront this crisis,” according to Trevio, who adds that North Carolina in October “conducted a bilingual campaign to encourage people to get tested. Even so, the report found that these states didn’t have enough bilingual professionals to address the crisis.” Trevio writes that the study “made several recommendations, all rooted in communication. Whether it’s utilizing more Spanish-language media to market prevention programs, training more people to speak Spanish, partnering with Latino organizations to replicate their successful programs or connecting with Hispanic religious and community leaders, it all comes down to opening lines of communication to a population that has been forced to stay in the shadows of society.” She concludes, “For their health and for the health of the country, these Latinos must come forward — and the sooner the better”

Written by kickingalion

December 19, 2008 at 4:43 pm

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Nigeria: Two Million Children Orphaned by AIDS/HIV

Written by kickingalion

December 17, 2008 at 4:25 pm

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The Future of AIDS

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV. Three-fourths of patients are male. Roughly 70 percent of HIV positive individuals are 25 to 49. 25 percent are 50 and older.


Robert Gallo, M.D., HIV Director of the Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, helped discover the AIDS virus in the 1980s. He also developed the blood test to detect the virus. Gallo says, scientists have come a long way in AIDS treatment. 15 to 20 years ago, patients with HIV/AIDS had few treatment options and most lived only five to ten years after diagnosis. Today, there are six different classes of drugs and more than 30 medications. Although there is still no cure, the current medications can help control reproduction of the HIV virus and slow progression of the disease. And Gallo says many HIV positive patients are living for decades after their diagnosis. He believes a vaccine to protect against AIDS may soon be available.


HIV Treatment Compliance


One of the most important factors in living with HIV is medication adherence. Missing a dose of medication, or not taking it correctly, can give the virus time to reproduce. In addition, the virus may gain strength, and start to resist the effects of the medication. Drug-resistant strains can be transmitted to others through risky behaviors, limiting treatment options for newly infected patients, as well. While doctors may be able to try a different treatment regimen, the virus may eventually become resistant to all therapies.


The JACQUES Initiative


The JACQUES Initiative was started by the Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine to improve medication compliance among HIV positive patients. The goal of the program is to provide patients with whatever resources they need to stick with their treatment.


Derek Spencer, N.P., HIV Specialist with the Institute of Human Virology, says fear of HIV or the stigma associated with infection can influence treatment compliance, or keep some patients from seeking treatment. The JACQUES Initiative emphasizes HIV/AIDS education to dispel misconceptions, reinforce the serious nature of the disease and teach clients about the importance of taking their medication. Family members, friends and neighbors may be included in the educational program to provide support and assistance for the patient.


The JACQUES Initiative also provides clinical management and intensive treatment support. Patients can drop in at any time to have lab tests and exams to help monitor progression of the disease. In some cases, HIV patients may take their medication in front a clinician to ensure compliance (a program called direct observation therapy). Clients can also get medications for other conditions they may have, like high blood pressure or diabetes.


Spencer says in the first year of the program, roughly 70 percent of clients were experiencing treatment failure. Now, in a complete reversal, he says, 75 percent of patients are sticking to their treatment plans and continue to do well one year later.


The JACQUES Initiative also provides support to help clients succeed and thrive. In addition to advocating for early testing and prompt treatment, patients are given the opportunity to complete a GED, bachelor’s degree or other advanced education and training to improve all aspects of their lives. A few other hospitals around the country are now starting to adopt some of the JACQUES Initiative programs. For information about the JACQUES Initiative:


    For general information about HIV or AIDS:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Written by kickingalion

    December 13, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Examining Discrimination Against HIV+ People

    Written by kickingalion

    December 13, 2008 at 4:33 pm

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    Moscow Mayor Announces Ban on Gay Pride Parades Will Continue, Says Events Contribute to Spread of HIV

    Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov on Thursday announced that the city will continue to ban gay pride parades, saying that the events could contribute to the spread of HIV, RIA Novosti reports. Luzhkov said the city has “banned and will continue to forbid this propaganda by sexual minorities, as they could turn out to be one of the factors in the spread of HIV infections.” He added that “[c]ertain homegrown democrats believe that sexual minorities can be a primary indicator and symbol of democracy, but we will forbid the dissemination of these opinions in the future as well.” Luzhkov, who has been mayor of Moscow since 1992, said although he is aware that criticism for the decision will be directed at authorities, “each particular society has its own views.” RIA Novosti reports that Luzhkov in the past has called gay pride parades “Satanic” and said that they will never be allowed in the city (RIA Novosti, 12/4).

    Luzhkov’s comments have drawn criticism from Russian gay rights advocates, such as Nikolai Alexeyev, who said the mayor’s comments are “contradictory” and that countries can fight HIV/AIDS more effectively if they have prominent communities of men who have sex with men, the AP/Boston Herald reports (AP/Boston Herald, 12/4). Reuters reports that homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but “tolerance is not widespread” (Kilner, Reuters, 12/4). In addition to his comments on gay pride parades, Luzhkov also said that condoms are an unreliable HIV prevention measure. He said, “Certain manufacturers state that condoms are reliable protection against AIDS, but modern science has proven this is untrue” (RIA Novosti, 12/4).

    Written by kickingalion

    December 8, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    China pledges to fight AIDS discrimination

    Chinese health authorities and the U.N. AIDS agency pledged to fight discrimination against people with the disease in China with the unveiling Sunday of a massive red ribbon, the symbol of AIDS awareness, at the Olympic Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing.

    Organizers said the fear of being stigmatized at work or in their communities is discouraging many people at risk of HIV infection from being tested. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

    After years of denying that AIDS was a problem, Chinese leaders have shifted gears in recent years, confronting the disease more openly and promising anonymous testing, free treatment for the poor and a ban on discrimination against people with the virus.

    State television Sunday showed Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visiting a village hit particularly hard by AIDS in eastern China’s Anhui province. Wen, who makes such annual visits to mark World AIDS Day, observed Monday, held hands with children orphaned by AIDS and spoke to patients in beds.

    The topic, however, still remains very sensitive and authorities regularly crack down on activists and patients seeking more support and rights.

    “About half of all Chinese would not want to share a meal with a person with HIV/AIDS, and a quarter would not want to shake hands,” said Dr. Bernhard Schwartlander, country coordinator of UNAIDS in China. “People will not come forward to be tested. They won’t benefit from treatment. They won’t talk to their partners and colleagues about HIV/AIDS — putting themselves and others potentially at risk for HIV.”

    Schwartlander was speaking at the Bird’s Nest stadium, a main Olympic venue, during the unveiling of a 66-foot by 50-foot (20-meter by 15-meter) banner on which the red AIDS awareness ribbon was printed.

    “Stigma and discrimination are major obstacles in an effective response to AIDS. We need to engage all sectors of society in China to combat these issues and work together to stop the disease,” said Minister of Health Chen Zhu. He did not specify any steps they would take.

    Official estimates put the number of people living with HIV in China at about 700,000, with around 85,000 people with full-blown AIDS, UNAIDS said in a statement. But the number of officially reported HIV cases remains only 264,302 — far lower than the estimated total, in part because of reluctance to seek testing.

    –Associated Press

    Written by kickingalion

    November 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm

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