The CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Due to a reduction in funding and competing government priorities the daily CDC HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention News Update (PNU) service is being discontinued as of June 30, 2014. Between now and June 30, the PNU frequency will change to three times per week. While the government understands the convenience of this service for our stakeholders we hope that you will be able to utilize one of the available news alerts from search engines such as Google and Yahoo to receive disease specific news.
Empire State News reported that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced a plan to decrease new HIV infections. New York has had 3,000 new HIV diagnoses so far for 2014, which is a drop from 14,000 in 1993. The plan hopes to reduce new infection to 750 by 2020; this would be approximately the same as the number of TB diagnoses the state reports annually.
Cuomo’s three-point program, called “Bending the Curve,” will focus on “identifying persons with HIV who remain undiagnosed and linking them to healthcare; linking and retaining persons diagnosed with HIV to healthcare and getting them on anti-HIV therapy to maximize HIV virus suppression so they remain healthy and prevent further transmission; and providing access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for high-risk persons to keep them HIV-negative.”
Although the program will result in higher medication costs, the program is expected to pay for itself because of lower transmission rates. The prevention part of the program will save approximately $400,000 in lifetime medical costs and is expected to save the state an additional $317 million and prevent more than 3,400 new cases.
According to Relief Web, Kenya is reporting a significant rise in hepatitis B virus (HBV) among blood donors. HBV cases are now triple the HIV rate in the East African country, and co-infection also is increasing. No studies have yet been done to identify a reason for the increase, but health officials are concerned by the fact that rates are increasing for everyone. “Given that blood donors are a highly selected population, researchers contend that the prevalence in the general population may be much higher,” said Professor Elijah Songok, head of the Infectious and Parasitic Diseases Research Program at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).
KEMRI researchers also are encouraging testing for all pregnant women since the prevalence rate in this group is approximately 10 percent. HBV, a blood-borne infection that can lead to cirrhosis or cancer and is more infectious that HIV, is transmitted through blood, semen, or vaginal fluids, and can spread from a mother to child at birth. Effective HBV vaccinations are not always accessible to vulnerable populations.
Global health experts estimate that 150 million people have chronic HBV. Persons co-infected with HBV and HIV have higher viral loads, increased rates of liver disease, and respond more poorly to antiretroviral drugs. Kenya’s Ministry of Health is partnering with other health organizations to create a public awareness program leading up to World Hepatitis Day on July 28. Some activities will include HBV testing and vaccinations, as well as a two-day stakeholder forum to focus on prevention and treatment.
Infection Control Today reported that to find treatment for drug-resistant TB, researchers from the United States and India have modified the anti-TB drug rifampicin to create a new compound, 24-desmethylrifampicin. The new drug has greater antibacterial activity than rifampicin in treating multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB). The researchers used genetic modification and synthetic drug development to make the new compound. They have only developed the compound in the laboratory and is not yet available commercially. The drug requires additional development and testing before it can be considered ready to be used for humans.
The researchers used their understanding of the process of how drug resistance develops when the bacterial RNA polymerase enzymes mutate. They then modified the drug so it could bind to the mutated enzyme and be effective. Since rifampicin is such an important drug in TB treatment, the researchers anticipate using the technology to create additional antibiotics to treat rifampicin-resistant TB disease as well as other serious diseases. According to Taifo Mahmud, a professor in the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University and an author of the study, “Understanding this whole process should allow us to create not just this one, but a range of different analogs that can be tested for their efficacy as new antibiotics.”
The full report, “Modification of Rifamycin Polyketide Backbone Leads to Improved Drug Activity Against Rifampicin-Resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis,” was published online by the Journal of Biological Chemistry, (2014; doi:10.1074/jbc.M114.572636).
The Times-Herald reported that a coalition of Solano County organizations in northern California is working together to bring down the region’s high STD rates with a program entitled the Education, Testing, and Treatment project, also known as ET2 or ET Squared. The alliance, which received a $225,000 grant from the county board of supervisors, consists of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Solano County Public Health, and Planned Parenthood. "We're already behind," said Jimmie Jackson, president of NAACP’s Vallejo chapter.
Statistics by a Public Health Institute 2012 study show that Solano County is ranked fourth highest for chlamydia infections in the state. Black youth ages 15 to 19 are 15–26 times more likely to contract chlamydia than other populations.
ET2’s first phase will consist of community engagement and dissemination of information with local groups, including barber shops and black churches. Youth focus groups will help the coalition build more streamlined messages to target at-risk populations accurately. The second phase will include STD testing and treatment. Kathi Hill, engagement coordinator for the project, believes ET2 may have national implications because the groups involved have not previously joined forces.
The Examiner reported that AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc. (AFH) is accepting applications for its Sport4Life Scholarship. The Sport4Life event calls on both amateur and professional athletes to help in efforts to raise HIV/AIDS awareness. AFH will award a portion of funds raised from the Sport4Life event to an HIV-positive student, or a student who has been affected by HIV/AIDS. Scholarship applicants either must attend or plan to attend an accredited post-secondary school in the fall of 2015. Students currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate course of study, or having one or more years of school remaining also may apply. Scholarship applicants must demonstrate leadership in community and school activities, scholastic achievement, and proof of HIV status. To apply for the scholarship, postmark the application and required attachments before July 5, 2015, to Sport4Life Scholarship at 6260 Westpark Drive, Suite 100, Houston, Texas 77057, or send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information on Sport4Life, visit www.aidshelp.org or call (713) 623–6796.
The Tennessean reported that in conjunction with World HIV Testing Day on June 27, Tennessee’s Davidson County Jail screened approximately 900 inmates for HIV. The correctional facility held the testing event on June 28 as part of health nonprofit Nashville CARES’s Linkage-2-Care program, a three-part initiative that includes testing, educating, and advocating for HIV-positive inmates. Nashville CARES stated that the event was the largest single-day testing event at a correctional facility. According to Lisa Binkley, lead corrections navigator coordinator with Nashville CARES, the inmates are “a marginalized population” that does not have a lot of control over their healthcare. Testing them for HIV now could help them keep the disease manageable with medication. Aside from testing, the Linkage-2-Care program provides education on how to stay safe within the jails and prison facilities and outside when released. For those identified as HIV-positive, the program links individuals leaving correctional facilities with medical care and other needed services.
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