Stigma and lack of awareness stop young people testing for sexually transmitted infections

The Conversation, 29 June 2017
Author: Hayley Denison
“Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have afflicted humans for as long as records exist, but despite significant medical advances, we are not managing to keep them at bay. Instead, we see rising infection rates and even the re-emergence of some old foes, including syphilis. Young people are disproportionately affected by STIs. In New Zealand, 67% of chlamydia cases and 57% of gonorrhoea cases are among people between the ages of 15 and 24. This is not solely due to sexual behaviour. Researchers identified several barriers that stop young people from being tested for STIs.”
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Zika vaccine research: guidance for including pregnant women

Wellcome Trust, 29 June 2017
Source: Wellcome
“Zika infection in pregnancy can have devastating effects on normal fetal development. But pregnant women are often automatically excluded from vaccine trials over safety concerns. New guidance for including pregnant woman and their babies in Zika vaccine research has been published today. The guidelines argue that those most at risk from the virus – pregnant women and their babies – should be at the centre of Zika vaccine development.”
Find article here.

Preventing The Spread Of HIV With One Simple Gadget

Forbes, 28 June 2017
Author: Lee Bell
“In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS cited that Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision can reduce the risk of HIV infection by approximately 60 percent in high risk areas such as Sub Saharan Africa. So to save millions of lives and billions of dollars in long-term HIV/AIDS healthcare costs, UNAIDS is leading a campaign that involves the circumcision of 27 million men. But how do you get million so men to willingly opt into such a personal and potentially dangerous procedure? You invent a device that makes it easy, painless and cheap.”
Find article here.

Unable To Arrest Opioid Epidemic, Red States Warm To Needle Exchanges

KHN, 14 June 2017
Author: Shefali Luthra
“A coalition — composed of public health advocates, former addicts and the law enforcement officers who used to harass and arrest them — bent on battling sky-high rates of opioid abuse. With the goal of curbing the spread of disease and preventing overdose, the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) has helped legalize needle exchanges, enabled safe disposal of used syringes and enacted protections for people who carry drug paraphernalia. The shift is at odds with national rhetoric. U.S. Attorney General has instructed his state counterparts to take a hard line in the war on drugs, encouraging arrest and jail time for relatively low-level infractions. But even some of the most conservative corners of the country are moving in the other direction.”
Find article here.

Polio outbreaks in DRC set back global efforts to eradicate the disease

The Guardian, 15 June 2017
Author: Ruth Maclean
“Two separate outbreaks of polio in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have set back global efforts to eradicate the debilitating disease. The World Health Organisation last week said the virus had also come back in Syria. But the known cases could be just the tip of the iceberg: for every case of polio that is diagnosed, epidemiologists say there are 200 “silent infections” – people who have no symptoms but can pass the disease on to others.”
Find article here.

Tick for tougher laws to target unsafe health facilities

Queensland Government, 23 May 2017
“Health authorities now have the power to take stronger, swifter action against facilities found to be putting people at risk of developing serious infections. Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said tough new legislation passed in State Parliament tonight gives the state’s health officials the power to better monitor health care facilities and investigate potential infection control breaches.”
Find media statement here.

Safe space for illegal drug consumption in Baltimore would save $6 million a year

Eurekalert, 25 May 2017
Source: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
“A new cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and others suggests that $6 million in costs related to the opioid epidemic could be saved each year if a single “safe consumption” space for illicit drug users were opened in Baltimore. It would also reduce overdose deaths, HIV and hepatitis C infections, overdose-related ambulance calls and hospitalizations – and bring scores of people into treatment, they found.”
Find article here.

How do we choose who gets the flu vaccine in a pandemic – paramedics, prisoners or the public?

The Conversation, 24 May 2017
Author: Connal Lee
“Ideally, everyone who needs to be immunised against influenza has access to the flu vaccine. But in a pandemic, initially there will be more people needing protection than there are doses. The potential impact of a pandemic is difficult to predict. In a pandemic, vaccines may not be available immediately and could take four to six months to produce. Once available, difficult distribution decisions arise. So how do authorities decide who to vaccinate first? Is it based on who’s most vulnerable? Who would benefit most? Or are other factors at play?”
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Yes, Drug Laws Absolutely Hurt HIV Prevention and Treatment

NewsWeek, 17 May 2017
Author: Jessica Wapner
“When it comes to HIV risk factors, IV drug use is catching up to sex. Among people who inject drugs, an estimated 13 percent have HIV. About 30 percent of new infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa are the result of sticking dirty needles into vulnerable veins. In 2014, more than half of new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and central Asia were due to drugs. In the Middle East and northern Africa, nearly one-third of infections occurred by this route. A newly published report in Lancet HIV confirms the long-suspected assertion that the war on drugs is only making matters worse. The study provides concrete evidence that drug laws are harmful to preventing and treating HIV.”
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Italy is set to make vaccinations for school children compulsory

The Independent, 16 May 2017
Author: Harriet Agerholm
“Italy is set to ban non-vaccinated children from starting state schools “by the end of next week”, according to the country’s health minister. Revealing the plan, Ms Lorenzin said the fall in vaccinations across Italy was “an emergency generated by fake news”. Cases of measles rose more than fivefold across Italy in April compared to the same month last year, according to National Health Institute figures. Health authorities issued repeated warnings over a rise of infectious diseases in the country, as a movement against vaccinations grew.”
Find article here.