Less than half of HIV-pos U.S. Hispanics getting proper care

From U.S. News and World Report

Even though Hispanics in the United States become infected with HIV at rates triple those of whites, less than half of Hispanics with the virus are receiving adequate treatment, a new report finds. The report, based on 2010 U.S. government health data, finds that while 80 percent of HIV-infected Hispanics do receive care soon after their diagnosis, only about 54 percent continue that care and only about 44 percent receive the virus-suppressing drugs they need to stay healthy.

The researchers, led by epidemiologist Zanetta Gant of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also found that only 37 percent of the more than 172,000 HIV-positive Hispanic adults in the United States have the virus under control. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. The findings “underscore the need for enhanced linkage to care, retention in care, and viral suppression for Hispanics or Latinos,” Gant’s team writes in the Oct. 10 issue of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
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More than half of gay and bi men haven’t been asked by a doctor to take an HIV test

Find free HIV testing locations near you by entering your zip code at http://hivtest.cdc.gov

Find free HIV testing locations near you by entering your zip code at http://hivtest.cdc.gov

From the New York Times

Gay men and their doctors aren’t talking enough about sex, and that’s making it harder to control the spread of H.I.V.

That’s the conclusion of a new survey of gay and bisexual men by the Kaiser Family Foundation released on Thursday. It found that 47 percent of the men have never discussed their sexual orientation with their doctors, and 56 percent have never been advised by a doctor to be tested for H.I.V.

For decades we’ve been hearing that H.I.V. is not a gay disease, and that’s true globally, but it’s a misrepresentation of the epidemic in the United States. That misunderstanding can lead to a complacency that furthers its spread, public health officials warn. A majority of new infections occur among men who have sex with men. Kaiser estimates that 12 to 13 percent of gay and bisexual men in the United States are living with H.I.V., more than 20 times the rate among the general population.

“It’s in the highest bracket of prevalence that you see in some of the hardest-hit countries in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Jen Kates, Kaiser’s director of global health and H.I.V. policy. “It’s not that America shouldn’t care about H.I.V., but that gay and bisexual men should care more.”

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Only 1 in 5 doctors offers routine HIV screening for patients

From Edge on the Net

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis shows that while most primary care physicians offer regular, routine HIV testing to gay and bisexual men, only 1 in 5 provides routine screening for all patients.

“Testing remains an important HIV prevention tool. It is the first step toward ensuring that those living with HIV get the treatment and care they need to protect their health and reduce their likelihood of transmission. Yet the majority of Americans have never been tested, and nearly 1 in 6 people who are HIV-infected do not know it,” writes the CDC in their analysis.

The CDC recommends that everyone be tested at least once — and for gay men, at least once a year — to ensure those living with HIV get the care and treatment they need to protect their health and reduce the likelihood of transmission.

Young people with HIV respond well to human papillomavirus vaccine

aidsmap.com reports…

The quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine worked as well for teens and young adults with HIV as it did for their HIV-negative counterparts, according to study findings presented the 20th International AIDS Conference last week in Melbourne.

Human papillomavirus is a common sexually transmitted infection that causes abnormal cell growth. High-risk strains, including type 16 and 18, can cause cervical and anal cancer. People typically become infected with HPV shortly after they become sexually active, regardless of HIV status. But HIV-positive people tend to harbour more HPV types, are less likely to spontaneously clear HPV and may experience faster disease progression from dysplasia (abnormal cell changes) to cancer.

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Rates of HIV infection still going up in U.S. among young gay males

From philly.com

A new report offers good and bad news about the AIDS epidemic in the United States: The annual diagnosis rate of HIV, the virus that causes the disease, has dropped by one-third in the general population but has climbed among young gay and bisexual males.

Significantly fewer heterosexuals, drug users and women were diagnosed each year with HIV, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the annual diagnosis rate more than doubled for young gay and bisexual males.

The push for safer sex may be falling on deaf ears in a generation too young to have seen the ravages of AIDS, said report co-author Amy Lansky, deputy director for surveillance, epidemiology and laboratory sciences at the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.

“It’s been more than 30 years since the first cases were reported,” she said. “It’s harder to maintain that sense of urgency.”

The report only looked at people diagnosed with HIV, and health officials think many more are infected with the virus but don’t know it. The statistics also don’t say anything about when these people were infected, making it hard to pinpoint trends in efforts to prevent transmission of the virus.

Still, “we’re making significant progress and seeing declines overall,” said Lansky. However, she added, the rising numbers of diagnoses among young men who have sex with other men are “a considerable problem.”

The AIDS epidemic began more than 30 years ago. While the last two decades have brought great advances in drugs that prevent AIDS from developing in HIV-positive people, an estimated 1.1 million people are still living with HIV in the United States, Lansky said. Officials believe about 16 percent of those people — or about 176,000 — don’t know they’re infected, she said.

In the new report, published in the July 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers examined HIV diagnoses in the United States from 2002 to 2011 in people aged 13 and older.

Although almost 500,000 people were diagnosed with HIV during that time, the annual rate of diagnoses fell from 24 out of every 100,000 people to 16 — a decline of 33 percent.

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HIV drug may boost suicide risk

From philly.com

sustiva 3A medication commonly used to treat HIV appears to double the risk that patients will develop suicidal thoughts or take their lives, new research contends. The finding concerns the anti-HIV drug efavirenz, which is marketed as Sustiva. Prior investigations indicated that efavirenz might boost suicide risk because of a negative impact on the central nervous system. The new investigation is the first to pinpoint a link to suicidal thoughts, attempts and completion, the researchers said.

“Efavirenz is a very important and effective antiretroviral medication that is the foundation for much of HIV therapy worldwide,” said study co-author Dr. Joseph Eron, of the University of North Carolina Center for AIDS Research at Chapel Hill. “Our study demonstrated a clear association between efavirenz and suicidality,” he said.

Although that risk seems very small, he said, it appears to be persistent, lasting as long as patients take the drug.sustiva 2 Antiretroviral treatment typically is lifelong, helping people with the AIDS-causing virus live healthier lives. “Clinicians should be aware of this ongoing risk, and talk to their patients to assess suicidality,” Eron added. That means looking for any history of depression or suicidal thoughts or attempts, the study noted.

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Study shows promise for those struggling with mental health and HIV treatment adherence

From thebody.com

A clinical review published in the peer-reviewed journal LGBT Health in early June by Jaclyn M. White, M.P.H., Janna R. Gordon, and Matthew J. Mimiaga, Sc.D., M.P.H., from Harvard and the Fenway Institute in Massachusetts, indicates that there may be relief at hand for HIV-positive gay men struggling with added mental health and substance abuse issues that can add difficulty to sticking to an HIV medication regimen. White et al concluded that interventions that combine both adherence counseling with standard cognitive behavioral therapy have made some headway with participants in several recent intervention trials.

Mental health issues, as well as substance use, can lend comorbidity to HIV — that is, an additional condition that compounds the effect of a primary disease. These factors can make adherence to medication more difficult than normal, though this connection is not yet well established.

White et al pointed out that concentration problems and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness behave as barriers to self-care behavior patterns that are required for optimal outcomes on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Optimal outcomes are measured by self-efficacy efforts; those who believe in their ability to manage their own condition are more likely to approach the 80%-plus adherence level required to thrive while living with HIV, according to White et al.

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