Tag: health facts Friday

HIV Medications

The first treatment for HIV, Azidothymidine (AZT) or the generic name zidovudine was introduced in 1987. Though initially developed as a potential cancer therapy, it was included in a screening program to identify drugs that could treat HIV. Though AZT was an exciting medical development, there were serious side effects, so further testing and trials to guide dosage and develop new drugs were important next steps. In 1997, HAART became the new standard of treatment, which combined drugs from different categories that were tailored to the individual by their physician. Below are some of the categories of current drugs, and there are now brand-name pills that combine the medicine from several categories into a single pill instead of the up to 20 individual pills that used to be common!

What does current HIV medicine do?

  • Prevents HIV from making copies of itself (NRTI’s, NNRTI’s, PI’s,  integrase inhibitors) 
  • Block the virus from entering key immune response cells (fusion inhibitors, CCR5 Antagonists, post-attachment inhibitors)
  • Some drugs increase the effectiveness of other HIV medications

Antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection

In the 1990s- A picture of 20 pills with varying appearance and the text Up to 20 pills daily, taken at different intervals throughout the day

Today- a picture of a single pill and the text As little as 1 pill per day, delivering multiple drugs

The hashtag 35 Years of AIDS is at the bottom

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The Fight Against AIDS

The struggle around HIV/AIDS in the United States is an important part of our history. Reflecting on our past helps to show how far we have come and how far we still have to go. Life expectancy before HIV treatment was incredibly low, just 10-12 years of life after diagnosis. Now, people are living longer after diagnosis and life expectancy can reach the early 70s. Deaths from HIV/AIDS in 2014 were down 76% from peak rates in 1995. The Gay Men’s Health Crisis was the first provider of treatment and opened its doors in 1982. Currently, treatment centers can be found across the country. Early prevention was solely safe sex practices, while current medicine, PEP and PrEP, increase protection and decrease chances of transmission. Groups like ACT UP and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation were and continue to be an important part of the continuing fight to recognize and eliminate HIV.

The Reunion Project on November 23 is an event for people who identify as long-term survivors of HIV and is a reflection of our past, current experience, and the exciting current developments and innovations. There will be community, fun raffles and activities, food, and more! Register at http://bit.ly/3354cDQ

An infographic titled The Fight Against AIDS

Two columns labeled Then and Now

Then: Before treatments became available in the 1990s, life expectancy for HIV-positive people in the U.S. was 10 to 20 years after diagnosis

Now: With improvements in treatment, life expectancy is now in the early 70s for some groups. It is lower for other groups, such as nonwhites and those with a history of drug use or a weaker immune system.

Then: In the mid-1990s, people with HIV/AIDS took a complicated regimen of up to 20 pills per day to treat the disease.

Now: Medical advances made treatments more effective so that today, most people with HIV/AIDS take just one pill per day

Then: In 1995, more than 48,000 people died at the peak of the epidemic in the U.S., making it the leading cause of death among Americans ages 24 to 44.

Now: In 2014, 6,721 people in the U.S. died from HIV/AIDS.

Then:  In 1986, AZT, the first drug used to treat HIV/AIDS, began clinical trials.

Now: By 2015, 15.8 million people worldwide were on anti-retroviral treatment- medications that slow the progression of HIV.

Then: In 1982, the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the first provider of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in the U.S. opened in New York City.

Now: Today, there are testing clinics and service providers across the U.S. Find one near you at gettested.cdc.gov

Then: Until recently, the only way to lower your risk  of getting sexually transmitted HIV was to practice safe sex and use condoms consistently and correctly.

Now: In 2012, the FDA approved a medication called PrEP that helps reduce the odds of HIV infection in high-risk groups. You can reduce the risk of infection up to 72 hours after possible exposure by starting a medicine called PEP. It’s still important to practice safe sex.

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Diabetes Month

It’s the first day of National Diabetes Month! If you’re living with diabetes, knowledge and management are key to preventing further problems and living a full life. Eating healthily, staying active, and monitoring your blood sugar and general health are the basics of managing diabetes. Having a team of people, including friends, family, and doctors to support your care is a very good practice, and can help with problem solving and reducing risk of other problems with eyes, feet and teeth.

The Critical Path Learning Center has several workshops related to diabetes this month. Whether you live with diabetes, are at risk, or simply curious about who is likely to be at risk, these free workshops offer knowledge and resources.  One is even about what apps you can use to help manage your diabetes!  A full list can be found at https://critpath.org/community-workshops/. You can also call 267-428-7352. 

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Breast Cancer

1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime, is the 2nd leading cause of death for Native American women, and in some states is the leading cause of cancer-related death. General factors that increase risk are genetics, family history, breast density, and age. When the tumor is small and most treatable is when the least symptoms are present. Annual screenings are considered optional for people aged 40-44, are advised for people aged 45-54, and for those 55+ every year or two years. Suggested ways to help prevent and catch cancer early are breastfeeding, regular mammograms, weight management, exercise, regular breast exams, and limiting alcohol use.

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Flu Season

We’re heading into flu season, and October is a great time to get that vaccination. Though the flu is a relatively normal part of human life, it is important to remember that many people are hospitalized and die every year due to the influenza virus. The flu vaccine helps not only to reduce your chance of catching the virus, but also protects more vulnerable members of our communities. Children and infants, older adults, people who are immunocompromised, and people who are pregnant are all people we are helping to protect when we get a flu vaccine.

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IPV

IPV, or Intimate Partner Violence affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men. Even higher rates of IPV are true for certain populations of people. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the National Organization for Women report that LGBT people and women of color experience higher rates of intimate partner violence, yet those cases are underreported and the people involved do not receive supportive services. Over half of women living with HIV have experienced intimate partner violence.

This month, the Lutheran Settlement House is putting on a rally titled “Men Can Prevent Violence“

October 16, 2019

11:00am – 1:00pm

Thomas Paine Plaza

Learn how to get involved, hear inspiring stories of men’s work to end DV, and enjoy snacks, resources, and entertainment.

The Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-866-723-3014

TTY: 215-456-1529

It is 24-hour, free, confidential, and anonymous

For more information the CDC and The Office of Justice have some reports:

(https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/index.html)

(https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw2018/info_flyers/fact_sheets/2018NCVRW_IPV_508_QC.pdf)

 

 

 

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Mental Illness Awareness Month

The National Alliance on Mental Illness celebrates the first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Month. About 1 in 4 adults experience mental illness in a year, and 1 in 17 adults lives with a serious mental illness. Some common symptoms to pay attention to for yourself or people you care about are:

  • Excessive emotions (worry, fear, sadness) including  extreme mood swings
  • Changes in sleeping, eating, or sexual habits
  • Difficulty perceiving reality, or changes in one’s own feelings, thoughts, or personality
  • Multiple physical ailments with no apparent cause (headaches, stomachaches, etc)
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Inability to complete daily tasks, or handle daily stress and emotion

For more information, and specifics on different mental health concerns, a wealth of resources is available at https://www.nami.org/. There are also mental health services at places like the Diana Baldwin Mental Health Center, PHMC Health Connection, The Family Practice and Counseling Network, and other Federally Qualified Health Centers around the city.

CALL THE NAMI HELPLINE: 800-950-NAMI

info@nami.org

FIND HELP IN A CRISIS OR TEXT “NAMI” TO 741-741

 

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Heart Attack Symptoms Vary

The Center for Disease Control cites heart disease as the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Men have a greater risk of heart attack, and tend to experience one at an earlier age. Regardless of gender, prevention through primary care, testing, and heart-healthy activities and diets are important.  Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack can be crucial. People have various warning signs of a heart attack, and in many cases men and women notice different symptoms. Nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, and chest, neck, or back pain are common symptoms. Others can include upper back pain, fainting, indigestion, and extreme fatigue.

Philadelphia Fight’s Men and Boys Health fair is this Saturday, come out and learn about important resources to stay healthy!

https://www.facebook.com/events/556518551554065/

 

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Watch Your Blood Pressure

The CDC puts the prevalence of hypertension, or high blood pressure, at 1 in 3 adults worldwide. That figure is true in the United States as well, according to the American Heart Association. Hypertension increases risk of strokes and heart attacks. The CDC warns that hypertension does not always have warning signs, so it is important to monitor your blood pressure regularly. You can do this at a doctor’s office, a pharmacy, or at home.

Head over to the Critical Path Learning Center on September 26 for a workshop for men on recognizing symptoms and treating hypertension. Register by calling 267-428-7352 or online at critpath.org/community-workshops

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Recovery Month

September is National Recovery Month and we want to recognize the work people have done and continue to do to recover from substance use disorders. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.7 million adults struggled with a substance use disorder in 2017. Substance use, treatment, and recovery are impacted by many factors and there are different programs working to address the complicated reality of treatment and recovery.  Collecting and analyzing data related to these complexities helps health professionals to develop and spread specific ways of intervening and supporting people who have more than one medical need. An example is the interaction of drug and alcohol use with HIV on possible transmission risk factors. Another overlap is that the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 24% of people living with HIV also need substance abuse treatment. Having data on the need for overlapping services helps to create a net of care for the people impacted by complex needs.

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Helping Those In Pain

In recognition of World Suicide Prevention day, today we have some information on how to help those we care about. The National Institute for Mental Health suggests these five ways of helping someone experiencing emotional pain. Ask how they are feeling; if they are considering suicide or self-harm. Keep them safe as is appropriate for your relationship and ability. Often this looks like the next three actions: be there for them, help them connect with professional support, and stay connected with your loved one.

The Diana Baldwin Mental Health Clinic (https://fight.org/programs/diana-baldwin-clinic/) at Philadelphia Fight! is one example of a professional resource for someone in need.

Non-crisis support like the Mental Health Partnership’s Peer Chat Line (https://www.mentalhealthpartnerships.org/program-objects/hmp-peerchatline) is confidential and a way to receive support and resources related to your mental health.

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Injection Drug Use and HCV

Injection drug use accounts for most of the incident infections with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the United States. HCV infection is a complex and challenging medical condition in injection drug users. Caring for patients who use illicits drugs presents challenges to the health-care world that require cultural competence, patience, and an understanding of the dynamics of substance use and addiction. Many programs and non-profit agencies are successfully integrating HCV care into health-care settings, however, there are still barriers to proper care for those impacted individuals. Join us next Friday, June 7th, 2019 for our webinar ‘Overcoming Barriers To HCV Care for People Who Inject Drugs’; register here at https://bit.ly/2GsfqcN today!

 

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Spotlight On

Karam Mounzer, MD

Dr. Mounzer identified two major gaps in the care of patients with HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection, and the complexity of multidrug-resistant HIV treatment. He is involved with many clinical trials focusing on drug development and better understanding of HIV immunopathogenesis with the Wistar Institute. He is involved in teaching and mentoring.

Learn More about Spotlight On
Dr. Karam Mounzer

Dr. Mario Cruz

Dr. Mario CruzDr. Cruz is a board certified pediatrician who serves as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He has presented and/or published in the fields of community violence and domestic violence prevention, quality improvement, behavioral health, curriculum development and mentorship. In 2019 he received the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Award for Innovations in Healthcare.


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