CDC Officials Advise Louisiana Health Workers to Alter Approach to Fighting HIV/AIDS at Annual Conference
As the "face" of HIV/AIDS in Louisiana changes, public health workers must alter their approach to fighting the disease, health officials said during the state's annual meeting on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted disease, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports. Dr. Ron Valdiserri, deputy director of the CDC's National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, explained to attendees of the conference, which was sponsored by the Louisiana Office of Public Health's HIV/AIDS Program and STD Control Program, that the HIV/AIDS "experience" is "profoundly different" than it was 10 years ago, adding that HIV-positive individuals now live longer and lead higher-quality lives. However, he said that because HIV-positive people are living longer, the chance that they may transmit the virus to someone else is higher. Beth Scalco, administrative director of the OPH HIV/AIDS program, added that 75% of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the state are among African Americans. In addition, "high-risk heterosexual contact" is now the fastest growing HIV-exposure category. Valdiserri said that "it is imperative that we not let down our guard on prevention efforts" because no cure or vaccine exists for either HIV or AIDS (Smith Anderson, Baton Rouge Advocate, 11/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.