KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

As AIDS Conference Opens, Health Panel Urges Treatment Of All HIV Infections

Reuters: International Health Panel Says Treat All HIV Infections
An international health panel has recommended for the first time that all HIV patients be treated with antiretroviral drugs, even when the virus's impact on their immune system is shown to be small. The nonprofit International Antiviral Society-USA cited new evidence that untreated infection with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS can also lead to a range of other conditions, including cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. In addition, data have shown that suppressing HIV reduces the risk of an infected person passing the virus to another person (Beasley, 7/22).

The Washington Post: Everything’s Different (Almost) Since Last International AIDS Conference In U.S.
AIDS has killed 35 million people. It's caused physical pain and mental anguish for many who live with it. It’s created a generation of African orphans. It’s drained untold trillions of dollars from national economies and people’s pockets. There’s also one other way to describe the AIDS saga. It’s a success story (Brown, 7/21).

The Washington Post: For Americans With HIV, There Are Many Obstacles To Successful Treatment
"The issue of how to treat patients is a done deal. We know what to do," said John G. Bartlett, 76, who watched the AIDS epidemic unfold as head of the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1980 to 2006. Today, the big issues are how to find the patients, test them, get them into medical care and keep them there, provide them medicines, educate them and follow their progress. This cascade of challenges reflects both the peculiarities of this disease and medical care in the United States (Brown, 7/21).

The New York Times: In Washington, H.I.V. Testing Moves Beyond the Clinic
Angela Byrde, 27, is getting only the second H.I.V. test of her life — at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Her situation exemplifies what is wrong with Washington’s AIDS epidemic, and America’s — and what the nation’s capital is finally doing to fix that. As a diabetic with Medicaid coverage, Ms. Byrde has seen doctors several times a year since she was 12, but they never suggested that she be tested, even though she lives in a city with one of the country’s highest H.I.V. infection rates. Now the city, trying to find the estimated 5,000 Washingtonians who are infected but do not know it, is offering tests in grocery stores and high schools, on corners where addicts gather and even in motor vehicle offices. And it is paying people to take them (McNeil, 7/20).

NPR: Know Your HIV Status? D.C.'s Asking
Washington, D.C., has the highest rate of HIV infection in the nation, almost 3 percent. It's considered an epidemic. Health officials believe one way to halt the spread of the disease is to encourage people to get tested and "know their status." They hope this will encourage residents to seek treatment and reduce the chances of them passing on the virus (Cardoza, 7/21).

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