Red Ribbon Report

Red Ribbon Report

PARTNER NOTIFICATION NEWS

After several states passed their own laws regarding partner notification about HIV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finished a draft document making recommendations about the issue. The CDC reports that it created the guidelines so that partner notification services will be more than simply a one-time notification. The guidelines also address controversial issues such as confidentiality. Federal laws require states to make an effort to notify people potentially infected with HIV, but a lack of CDC guidelines has hindered efforts, the agency says. The guidelines suggest partner counseling and referral services, a comprehensive program that recommends long-term counseling and support for a lifelong medical condition. Guidelines also suggest client-centered counseling and support for people who want to notify partners themselves. … Meanwhile, the Canadian government has ruled that any person with HIV must notify a partner before unprotected sexual intercourse. The infected person will face jailing if he fails to do so. HIV activists in that country are reluctant of the law because they do not want to see a disease such as HIV criminalized.

LAW AND PUBLIC POLICY

HIV-infected prison inmates present unique challenges to clinicians, since the population is closely contained and often includes people at high risk for the disease. Statistics gathered at the end of 1995 show that the AIDS rate among prisoners in the United States was six times higher than that of the rest of the population. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation requiring that officials administer HIV tests to federal inmates who will serve at least 6 months in prison. Some groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, worry that the testing will not be accompanied by treatment. … Perhaps the HIV rate among prisoners will drop considering research revealing that heroin and other injection drug use among suspected offenders may be on the decline. A recent study done by the National Development and Research Institutes in New York City discovered that drug use among arrested subjects in 23 urban areas had declined. Researchers were surprised by the study’s findings because other reports say that heroin use is actually on the rise in the population of young drug addicts.

PHARMACEUTICAL NEWS

After discovering that dosing three times per day is better than twice-a-day dosing, Merck announced that it was stopping research on its twice-daily indinavir (Crixivan) drug regimen. The research studied Crixivan dosed twice a day as it works in combination with 3TC and AZT. Merck says patients currently taking that combination should continue taking Crixivan three times a day. The company is going to continue research on twice-daily dosing with other protease inhibitors.

AIDS AROUND THE WORLD

The mainstream media frequently reports on the incidence of HIV in Africa, India and the United States. But officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) predict that by 2000, the Western Pacific region of the world will have 1.5 million cases of HIV. According to the WHO, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis make up 35 million new STD cases in the Western Pacific each year, and affect approximately 2% to 5% of people who are sexually active. … News reports from China say that the country’s first condom vending machine is so successful that more machines will be placed in other cities in the country. Vendors placed the first machine in the town of Shenzhen, where prostitution is widespread. … Physicians in Ireland warn that they are seeing an increase in mothers who contracted HIV through heterosexual sex, and that there will be an increase in babies born with HIV if preventive action is not taken. They report that from 1987 to 1988, 74% of HIV-infected mothers were IV drug users and 26% contracted HIV through heterosexual contact. A decade later, the number of HIV-infected women who were drug users dropped to 30%, while those who contracted HIV through heterosexual contact rose to 70%.

Send your AIDS news to: Christine Leccese, ADVANCE for Nurse Practitioners, 2900 Horizon Drive, King of Prussia, PA 19406-4025; fax: (610) 278-1425; e-mail: cleccese@merion.com

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