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October 21, 2009, 11:32 PM CT

Psychological trauma in HIV patients

Psychological trauma in HIV patients
The feeling of stigmatization that people living with HIV often experience doesn't only exact a psychological toll new UCLA research suggests it can also lead to quantifiably negative health outcomes.

As per a research findings reported in the recent issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, scientists from the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA observed that a large number of HIV-positive individuals who reported feeling stigmatized also reported poor access to care or suboptimal adherence to antiretroviral treatment (ART).

In fact, individuals who experienced high levels of internalized stigma were four times as likely as those who didn't to report poor access to medical care; they were three times as likely to report suboptimal adherence to HIV medications.

These findings were due, at least in part, to the poor mental health found among a number of of the participants. Scientists observed that HIV stigma was one of the strongest predictors of poor access to medical care and that both HIV stigma and poor mental health predicted suboptimal adherence to medication. Adherence to HIV medications is already known to lead to better health outcomes, including survival, among people living with HIV.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 8:32 AM CT

Major swine flu outbreak at US Air Force Academy

Major swine flu outbreak at US Air Force Academy
With the 2009 influenza season upon us, characterization of the epidemiology and duration of shedding for the nH1N1 virus is critical. Investigators from the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine Epidemiology Consult Service capitalized on a unique opportunity to gain valuable insights about the natural behavior of the nH1N1 virus, including shedding patterns, during a recent large-scale swine flu outbreak at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA). Their results are reported in an article published online on October 20, 2009 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine It is the first published study of its kind.

Findings from serial nasal washes indicated the presence of viable virus shedding among about one quarter of confirmed nH1N1 patients sampled on Day 7 from symptom onset. Further, being afebrile and asymptomatic did not guarantee the patient was no longer shedding viable nH1N1 virus; in fact, 19% of those who reported being symptom-free for greater than 24 hours were still found to have viable virus shedding. While viable virus shedding does not necessarily mean the virus can be transmitted, these findings do indicate that the virus may persist even after the individual is feeling well and has returned to work. Furthermore, the results of this study may assist development of appropriate protocols for isolation in high-risk settings or if the scale and/or severity of the current nH1N1 situation increases. The current study also provides groundwork to other researchers for further study of the shedding characteristics of the virus.........

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October 15, 2009, 5:39 PM CT

Girls aware of HPV vaccine's benefits

Girls aware of HPV vaccine's benefits
Contrary to concerns that the human papillomavirus vaccine might promote promiscuity, a national survey of girls and young women observed that the majority of respondents did not believe the HPV vaccine protected them against other sexually transmitted infections.

The study, conducted by University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Chicago researchers, appears online and in the recent issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health

The findings are reassuring in that girls and young women did not believe that the vaccine provided benefits beyond protecting them from HPV, said Dr. Rachel Caskey, assistant professor of pediatrics and general internal medicine at UIC and main author of the study. "We also observed that they did not believe that they could stop cervical cancer screening, or pap smears, which is critical".

Scientists used a national sample, representative of the U.S. population, to conduct an online survey of more than 1,000 females ages 13 to 26.

The data provide some of the first nationally representative estimates of both adolescents' and young women's adoption of the HPV vaccine, barriers to vaccination, and sources of information about HPV and the HPV vaccine, as per the researchers.

Knowledge about the HPV virus itself ran the gamut, said Caskey. Some people knew absolutely nothing and a few people were moderately informed. Knowledge about the HPV vaccine, however, was better.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 15, 2009, 5:31 PM CT

Misuse of antibiotics not the only cause of resistance

Misuse of antibiotics not the only cause of resistance
The perception that antibiotic resistance is primarily the undesirable consequence of antibiotic abuse or misuse is a view that is simplistic and inaccurate, as per a recent report by the American Academy of Microbiology. The reasons behind the spread of resistance are much more complex, including appropriate antibiotic use, lack of proper sanitation and hygiene, and even the environment.

The report, "Antibiotic Resistance: An Ecological Perspective on an Old Problem," is based on a colloquium convened by the Academy in October 2008. It states that resistance development is founded in the inevitability of microbial evolution. There are no scapegoats, and responsibility is partly due to medical practice, including patient demand, industrial practices, politics, and antibiotics themselves.

"Antibiotic resistance is an international pandemic that compromises the therapy of all infectious diseases. At the present time, resistance essentially is uncontrollable. The reasons behind the establishment and spread of resistance are complex, mostly multi-factorial, and mostly unknown. The colloquium consensus was that efforts must target both the bacterial transmission and antimicrobial use," states colloquium co-chair, Jacques F. Acar, M.D. More research bridging medical, chemical, and environmental disciplines is needed now as per the Academy report.........

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October 15, 2009, 5:30 PM CT

Paradigm shift needed to combat drug resistance

Paradigm shift needed to combat drug resistance
When people travel, bacteria and other infectious agents travel with them. As about a billion people cross international borders each year, a number of more billions of the bugs come along for the ride.

However, the trend is contributing to substantial domestic and international public health threats and risks, as seen with SARS and more recently with the H1N1 flu virus.

In a paper published recently in Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID), a journal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a McMaster University infectious disease expert explores the relationship between population mobility, globalization and antimicrobial drug resistance.

In collaboration with a team of international scientists, Douglas MacPherson, an associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, assesses the link between human travel and the international movement of drug-resistant infectious diseases around the world.

Citing published data, the authors conclude that population mobility affects the spread and distribution of resistant organisms. But despite this, it has not been considered a primary factor in developing approaches for disease control. The authors propose a paradigm shift is needed to tackle the problem, as well as greater international collaboration and standardization across borders.........

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October 15, 2009, 5:19 PM CT

Treating HIV-AIDS patients with interleukin-2 is Ineffective

Treating HIV-AIDS patients with interleukin-2 is Ineffective
An international research team has demonstrated that treating HIV-AIDS with interleukin-2 (IL-2) is ineffective. As a result, the scientists recommend that clinical trials on this compound be stopped. Their finding was reported in the New England Journal (NEJM) in an article co-authored by 14 researchers, including Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC).

IL-2 is currently used as a complement to highly active antiretroviral treatment (known as HAART), which is administered to patients with HIV-AIDS. Since HAART controls replication of viruses in the blood, doctors thought that IL-2 would help regenerate more CD4+ immune cells, which serve as an indicator of viral progression. It was thought that IL-2 increased the natural immunity of patients by helping immune cells mature and multiply.

"Our results show that IL-2 has no effect on the development of AIDS or on patient survival," says Dr. Routy. "More precisely, while the presence of IL-2 leads to a faster increase of CD4+ immune cells, these cells are less functional than the CD4+ cells that regenerate naturally in patients who do not receive IL-2. This means that IL-2 therapy provides no benefit and does not prevent AIDS-related infectious diseases".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 6, 2009, 7:09 AM CT

Why HIV is more prevalent in African Americans?

Why HIV is more prevalent in African Americans?
HIV prevalence among African Americans is ten times greater than the prevalence among whites. This racial disparity in HIV prevalence haccording tosisted in the face of both governmental and private actions, involving a number of billions of dollars, to combat HIV. In the November 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examine factors responsible for the stark racial disparities in HIV infection in the U.S. and the now concentrated epidemic among African Americans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 45% of new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2006 occurred among non-Hispanic blacks. Among the 13,184 adolescents and young adults in The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative study, HIV seroprevalence was almost 0.5% among blacks 20 times that of whites.

While individual-level sexual behaviors can contribute to the disparity in HIV prevalence, these observed differences in individual behaviors do not fully explain the marked racial differences in HIV infection prevalence. Even when comparisons are stratified by education, poverty index, marital status, age at first sexual intercourse, lifetime number of sex partners, history of male homosexual activity, illicit drug use, injection drug use, and HSV-2 antibody positivity, HIV prevalence among African Americans exceeds that of whites, typically substantially.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 30, 2009, 6:42 AM CT

HIV-AIDS in American prison system

HIV-AIDS in American prison system
HIV/Aids is up to five times more prevalent in American prisons than in the general population. Adherence to therapy programs can be strictly monitored in prison. However, once prisoners are released, medical monitoring becomes problematic. A newly released study by Dr. Nitika Pant Pai an Assistant professor of Medicine and a medical scientist at the Research Institute of the MUHC suggests the majority (76%) of inmates take their antiretroviral therapy (ART) intermittently once they leave prison, representing a higher risk to the general population.

"Over a period of 9 years, we studied 512 HIV positive repeat offender inmates from the San Francisco County jail system," says Dr. Pant Pai. "Our results show that only 15% continuously took their ART between incarcerations or after their release." As per the study, reported in the journal PLoS one, these figures highlight a lack of effectiveness on the part of medical monitoring services for these people outside prison.

"Taking ART intermittently is a problem because it depletes the CD4 count - the immunizing cells that fight infection and increases the probability of developing resistance to the virus," says Dr. Pant Pai. "The risk for rapid disease progression becomes higher and presents a risk for public health transmission of HIV to their partners." As per the study those on intermittent treatment were 1.5 times more likely to have higher virus load than those on continuous treatment; those who never received treatment were 3 times more likely to have a higher VL.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 29, 2009, 10:43 PM CT

Explaining HIV spread in Central and East Africa

Explaining HIV spread in Central and East Africa
The gradient of colors indicates the estimated travel time to the nearest city with a population of more than 500,000, with yellow at one extreme indicating short travel times and red at the other extreme indicating long travel times. The graphic explains accessibility factors affecting the spread of HIV from central to east Africa. The virus was circulating at stable levels in the urban centers of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but these centers were isolated. Once the virus reached east Africa, connectivity between population centers combined with better quality transportation networks and higher rates of human movement caused HIV to spread exponentially.

Credit: Andrew J. Tatem/University of Florida

Researchers studying biology and geography may seem worlds apart, but together they have answered a question that has defied explanation about the spread of the HIV-1 epidemic in Africa.

Writing in the recent issue of AIDS, a research team led by researchers at the University of Florida explained why two subtypes of HIV-1 the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS held steady at relatively low levels for more than 50 years in west central Africa before erupting as an epidemic in east Africa in the 1970s.

Essentially, the explanation for the HIV explosion obscured until now involves the relative ease with which people can travel from city to city in east Africa as opposed to the difficulties faced by people living in the population centers of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the point where HIV emerged from west central Africa in its spread to the east.

Later, as the epidemic raged in the east, cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo a vast country almost as big as all of Western Europe remained disconnected and isolated, explaining why the virus affected only about 5 percent of the country's population, a level that has not changed much since the 1950s.

"We live in a world that is more interconnected every day, and we have all seen how pathogens such as HIV or the swine flu virus can arise in a remote area of the planet and quickly become a global threat," said Marco Salemi, an assistant professor of pathology, immunology, and laboratory medicine at the UF College of Medicine and senior author of the study. "Understanding the factors that can lead to a full-scale pandemic is essential to protect our species from emerging dangers".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 29, 2009, 8:03 AM CT

More effective mode of delivery for measles vaccine

More effective mode of delivery for measles vaccine
Worldwide, there are estimated to be 10 million cases of measles and 197,000 deaths from the disease each year. While vaccines exist to protect children against measles, the vaccines are often difficult to store, costly to transport and appears to be prone to contamination when shipped to developing countries. Research to be presented at the 2009 American Association of Pharmaceutical Researchers (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition will reveal new methods for delivering measles vaccines that could potentially reduce costs and improve safety.

"Vaccination has become controversial in some international communities which believe vaccines might be hazardous," said Robert Sievers, Ph.D., from the University of Colorado and one of the study's principal investigators. "However, in a number of parts of the world, the disease itself is a serious hazard, killing hundreds of thousands of children each year." .

While a liquid vaccine using a hypodermic needle is presently the only way to prevent the disease, Dr. Sievers' study shows promise for a new method that allows the patient to inhale a finely-powdered. In order to produce the inhalant, the weakened measles virus must be mixed with high-pressure carbon dioxide to produce microscopic bubbles and droplets, which are then gently dried to produce an inhalable powder. The powder is then puffed into a small inhaler-like device and administered. The aerosol vaccine was shown effective in test animals, and human trials are expected to begin next year in India, where more than half of the world's measles cases occur.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have found a genetic marker that may identify individuals at greater risk for life-threatening infection from the West Nile virus. Results of the study are reported in the Nov. 15 print edition of Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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