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Sexual Risk & Men Who Have Sex With Men

Sexual Risk & Men Who Have Sex With Men

In recent years, annual increases have been observed in the number of HIV infections among men who have sex with men (MSM). Understanding trends in sexual risk behaviors among MSM may help shed light on why these increases are occurring and help clinicians develop interventions to address the issue. Analyzing the Data on Sexual Risk Behaviors To gain a better understanding of the trends in sexual risk behaviors among MSM, Gabriela Paz-Bailey, MD, PhD, and colleagues analyzed 2005, 2008, and 2011 data from nearly 30,000 MSM from 20 major cities in the United States. “One-third of HIV-positive MSM who did not know they were infected reported having sex without a condom with someone they perceived to be HIV negative or whose HIV status was unknown,” says Dr. Paz-Bailey. “However, we found that this rate was 60% lower for men who knew they were HIV positive.” The percent of men who did not know their current HIV status increased with longer periods since they were last tested. “Only 4% of those who were tested within the past 3 months were HIV-positive but unaware of their infection, compared with 5% and 7% of those tested in the past 4 to 6 months or 7 to 12 months, respectively,” says Dr. Paz-Bailey. Over the study period, the percent of MSM who reported having sex without a condom at least once in the previous 12 months increased from 48% in 2005 to 57% in 2011. “It could be that with effective treatment now available, HIV is not seen as big a threat as it once was,” says. Dr. Paz-Bailey. “Research indicates that people...
Updating Pneumococcal Vaccine Recommendations

Updating Pneumococcal Vaccine Recommendations

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria (also referred to as pneumococcus). These bacteria can cause many types of illnesses, including pneumonia, meningitis, and ear, sinus, and bloodstream infections. Pneumococcus is spread when people cough, sneeze, and/or are in close contact with others who are infected. Symptoms depend on the part of the body that is infected. They can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, stiff neck, and confusion and disorientation. Symptoms may also include sensitivity to light, joint pain, chills, ear pain, sleeplessness, and irritability. In severe cases, pneumococcal disease can cause hearing loss, brain damage, and death. Pneumococcal disease is a leading infectious cause of serious illness among older adults in the United States. Studies have identified certain patient groups that are more likely to become ill with pneumococcal disease. These high-risk groups include adults aged 65 and older and children younger than 2 years of age. People with weakened immune systems (eg, those with HIV/AIDS), those with chronic illnesses (eg, diabetes, heart disease, and asthma), and individuals who smoke cigarettes are at increased risk for getting pneumococcal disease. Vaccines Have Helped The incidence of pneumococcal infections among children and adults in the U.S. has dropped since a 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) was initiated for routine use among infants in 2000 and was later replaced by the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) in 2010. “For decades, the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) has been recommended for use in adults aged 65 and older for the prevention of pneumococcal infections,” explains Tamara Pilishvili, MPH. More recently, the FDA approved PCV13 for use...
Who Broke The American Healthcare System?

Who Broke The American Healthcare System?

Healthcare is a hot topic in the media these days. Yet, few people are satisfied with the way it is working. Many claim that the American healthcare system is broken. Patients are increasingly frustrated with finding a doctor, getting tests and medications they need, and paying for out-of-pocket expenses. Numerous doctors are disenchanted with their career choice, and burnout is a common complaint. Frequently, doctors are now looking to retire early or for alternate career paths. Treating patients has become unfulfilling for many due to administrative burdens, increasing government regulations, and overbearing insurance over-sight. Doctors fight daily to get procedures and medications covered that their patients need. Most often, the battle is with someone who is not even a doctor or has any clue about the patient. These daily battles become wearing. Additionally, doctors now have to fight on a more abundant basis to get paid for services they provided. Their incomes are stagnant or shrinking while overhead costs are soaring. Increasingly, doctors are selling out their practices and joining large groups and hospitals. “When I go in the exam room and close the door, I face my patient and am again reminded of why I became a doctor: to alleviate suffering.”   Many people look to put blame on doctors for the broken healthcare system. Yet, it has been years since doctors truly had any control over it. More often these days, doctors are treated like pawns and servants, our independence and integrity being worn away and questioned. But, who really is to blame for the broken healthcare system? 1. Commercial insurance companies who have no oversight and...
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