Tag Archive for needles

Hep C Tests for Baby Boomers?

hepatitis_c

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made the recommendation to find hundreds of thousands of people who have the infection, which greatly increases their chances of developing cirrhosis and liver cancer, but don’t know it. If you didn’t know, Hep C kills more Americans each year than AIDS and is the leading reason for liver transplants. Wow, we here at ARE knew that it was bad but didn’t realize how bad.

The hepatitis C virus is transmitted by blood, usually through intravenous drug use or transfusions, before a blood test for it became widely available in 1992. Extremely small amounts of the virus are able to cause infection. Some experts believe that rolled-up dollar bills used to snort cocaine and passed person-to-person can carry enough infected blood to transmit the virus.

Epidemiologists estimate that about 3.2 million Americans are infected with hepatitis C, 75% of baby boomers. The disease kills at least 15,000 people a year.

The CDC’s strategy calls for a one-time voluntary blood test for everyone born from 1945 to 1965. The test would be done by doctors, clinics and hospitals as part of routine medical care. Hepatitis C tests now target mostly people who report high-risk activities or show signs of abnormal liver function. The strategy could identify 800,000 new cases in baby boomers and prevent 120,000 hepatitis-related deaths in that age group.   Treatment of hepatitis C infection takes at least six months and consists of pills and a weekly injection. The cure rate used to be less than 30%; with a new three-drug strategy, it can be as high as 75%.

So if you’re in this mature age group and are worried about Hep C, get yourself tested.

Phillip Bailey (NVA Reporter) & Tom Thayer

infohttp://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/cdc-recommends-hepatitis-c-tests-for-all-baby-boomers/2012/05/18/gIQAmRoWZU_story.html

Baby Boomers, Hepatitis C & HIV/AIDS

Hepatitis-C

We have seen the trend of Hepatitis C infections rising locally in the Winchester, VA area.  Winchester is known as a ‘recovery’ town much to the dismay of local officials.  More U.S. residents are now dying of hepatitis C complications than HIV-related illnesses, according to data summarized in the February issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. The future looks particularly bright for people living with hepatitis C, on account of the anticipated arrival of new treatments that are expected to substantially improve disease-free survival rates

Kathleen Ly, MPH, and her colleagues of the CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, based their data involving 21.8 million deaths reported to the National Center for Health Statistics between 1999 and 2007.

Roughly 12,700 HIV-related deaths were reported to the National Center for Health Statistics in 2007. More than 15,000 HCV-related deaths were reported to the center that year.

Most viral hepatitis deaths occurred in people in the prime of their lives. About 59% of people who died of complications related to hepatitis B were baby boomers—men and women between the ages of 45 and 64. The impact of chronic hepatitis C was even more substantial: Almost 73% of the deaths related to HCV were in baby boomers.  Another story about baby boomers and the medical issues that group is facing.  Wake up boomers, get educated-don’t get infected.

Tom Thayer

info: http://www.hepmag.com/articles/hiv_hcv_deaths_2501_21929.shtml

 

From Russia With Love & HIV-Nika’s Story

Nika Moscow

With HIV spreading at alarming rates in other countries, this story was touching due to this young girls story about her discovery of having HIV/AIDS to her relationships.  Here are a few highlights.

Nika had told the reporter that she got it (HIV) from someone else, which is obvious, but she couldn’t recall how it had happened—either through a needle or sex.  Nika said, “I never used condoms and when I found out, I never even heard of HIV. They told me I would die within two years time. All I did was cry as soon as I thought of the idea of dying. On the other hand it gave me all the more reason to just continue my self-destructive life-style. So I kept on using drugs, sharing needles, having sex without any sort of protection, for I was so afraid, I couldn’t talk about it or even accept it.” Nika eventually joined a rehab program and slowly began to rebuild her life.
At that time Nika became involved with a young man at that time—with whom she lived together—she didn’t dare to tell him she found out she was HIV positive. This meant that she was conscious of passing it (HIV) to him, but being afraid of losing him or being left on her own, she couldn’t find the courage to either tell him or to stop the relationship.  The reporter Frech says. “She’s come to peace with it now, and is convinced of living a miracle since she almost died, while doing drugs, on two occasions.”

The reporter has kept in touch with her after leaving Russia years ago. Nika had stopped using drugs nine years ago and still lives in Moscow. She’s doing well and taking it day by day. In one very moving part towards the end of Frech’s film on Nika, she looks at the camera with confidence and says, “I am Nika and I am HIV positive.”

Its a powerful story that needs to be told about stuggles all over the world involving HIV/AIDS.

Tom Thayer

Read more: http://lightbox.time.com/2011/12/27/nikas-journey-growing-up-with-hiv/#ixzz1hkXar4Vr

China and its Growing HIV Problems

China

China has long a history of trying to keep any information from leaving its borders if its negative.  And of all, HIV is a huge embarrassment to admit.  Recently, China has been forthcoming regarding its HIV problems but the West feels its a lot worse than they want to admit. 

The Government has said there are 650,000 HIV/AIDS cases, half of them among intravenous drug users, out of a nation of 1.3 billion people. (Although this overall estimate of HIV and AIDS cases was lowered in January 2006 – in a report put together by the Chinese Government, the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV(UNAIDS) – from 840,000 to 650,000. Epidemiology experts have said that 1.5 million infected with HIV is closer to the true figure.

According to China’s health ministry, there are now 264,302 registered cases of HIV/AIDS in September 2008, up from 183,733 in 2006, with 34,864 deaths. But the real figures are likely to be much higher as testing and surveillance techniques are limited, especially in the countryside, and entrenched discrimination may have discouraged many from reporting.  HIV spread steadily from Yunnan into neighboring areas and along the major drug trafficking routes, then from injecting drug users (IDUs) to their sexual partners and children. In the mid-1990s, the occurrence of a second major outbreak in commercial plasma donors in the east-central provinces became apparent. Plasma donors were paid to donate blood, the plasma removed, then the red blood cells re-infused to prevent anaemia. Reuse of tubing and mixing during collection and reinfusion led to thousands of new infections. At the same time, HIV was also spreading through sexual transmission. By 1998, HIV had reached all 31 provinces and was in a phase of exponential growth, which, by 2005, had culminated in an estimated 650,000 infections.
A country that dictates over everyone life is now hiding the fact that it has a major epidemic on its hands and will continue to spread to nearby countries.
Tom Thayer

Tattoo HIV Scare Overseas

tattoo-needles1

This story just hit the news today about a recent HIV tattoo scare in Bali.  Tattoo’s are a work of art but make sure you get a reputable business & artist.

Travelers who have gotten tattoos or piercings while in Bali are being warned to seek medical advice after a Western Australian man reportedly contracted HIV during a recent holiday trip.

While investigations are still underway into this particular case, the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) warns that to avoid infections from HIV and viral hepatitis, individuals should not share needles for tattoos, body piercings, or other injections.

America’s Food and Drug Administration has also recently launched new tattoo studies to investigate a chemical in black ink called benzo(a)pyrene, which has been shown to cause skin cancer in lab animals and malignant melanomas in some tattoos.  If you’re going to get a tattoo, remember that getting a permanent tattoo is an invasive procedure that requires breaking the skin and coming into contact with blood and body fluids, stated WebMD.

Regardless of where you get your tattoo, make sure all needles are removed from a sterile single-use package before use, and that your artist washes his or her hands and wears sterile gloves.
Inspect the studio: a good rule of thumb beforehand is to check the restroom for cleanliness. Also be sure the tattoo area has clean, hard surfaces without excess clutter. WebMD also advises that to stay healthy when getting a tattoo, don’t drink alcohol or take medications (especially aspirin) the night before or while getting your tattoo. After getting a tattoo, carefully follow healing instructions, especially if you’re required to use antibiotic ointment.

Tom Thayer

info: http://news.yahoo.com/bali-hiv-scare-fuels-concern-over-tattoo-safety-150500651.html

Myths of Contracting HIV/AIDS

waiting-room

Can you contract HIV/AIDS in waiting rooms? NO, but this is question that gets asked recently from people worried about being exposed to HIV+ patients.

All health professionals are required by law to follow certain anti-infection procedures. Known as “universal precautions for infection control,” these procedures are designed to keep both patients and health care professionals safe from blood-borne illnesses like HIV. So, the chances of being hit by your mailman is greater that contracting HIV. 

What about blood transfusions? Fortunately, HIV screenings instated by the U.S. Public Health Service have dramtically reduced HIV in the American blood supply. The risk of HIV transmission through a blood transfusion really stopped in the 1980s when blood screening was implemented. 

The real threats are injecting drugs with needles and having unprotected sex with someone who could have the disease.  Its good to take precautions but you don’t have to panic is you see a drop of blood somewhere.

Tom Thayer