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Meningitis vaccines urged before NYC Pride events
The 2012 Gay Pride parade in New York. Health officials are urging men to be vaccinated against meningitis this year.
June 17th, 2013
06:23 PM ET

Meningitis vaccines urged before NYC Pride events

While meningitis has reached an all-time low in the United States, an op-ed in this week's Annals of Internal Medicine highlights cases of a deadly meningitis strain among men who have sex with men.

Cities including New York, Toronto, and San Francisco have launched public awareness campaigns to promote vaccination, but the authors also call on physicians to assess the risk to their patients and discuss the strain.

Since August 2010, 22 cases have been reported in New York City among men who have sex with men. More than half of those were already HIV positive. Seven men died.  In fact, in New York City last year, men who have sex with men were 50 times more likely than the general population to be infected with the virus, according to city health officials.

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Antiviral drugs help prevent HIV infection in IV drug users
June 12th, 2013
06:01 PM ET

Antiviral drugs help prevent HIV infection in IV drug users

Treating intravenous drug users with antiviral drugs may reduce their chances of HIV infection, according to a new study published Wednesday in the British medical journal The Lancet.

The Bangkok Tenofovir Study was done in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2005-2013. It was run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with the Thailand Ministry of Public Health.

Researchers recruited more than 24,000 people at 17 sites. Half took the pill tenofovir - an antiretroviral drug – daily, while the other half got a placebo. Participants were followed for about four years. Researchers found those taking the drug cut their chances of infection by 49% almost in half - approximately 49%.

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CDC: 20 million new sexually transmitted infections yearly
A vaccine can help protect preteen boys and girls against some types of human papillomavirus that can lead to disease.
February 13th, 2013
05:03 PM ET

CDC: 20 million new sexually transmitted infections yearly

There are about 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) each year in the United States, costing some $16 billion in direct medical costs, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Young people are disproportionately affected, the agency said, with half of all new infections occurring in people ages 15 through 24.

"In general, CDC estimated the total number of infections in the calendar year, rather than the number of individuals with infection, since one person can have more than one STI at a given time" or more than one episode of a single STI, officials said. But "CDC used conservative assumptions in generating its estimates, so the true numbers of STIs in the United States may be even higher than estimated."  FULL POST

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Filed under: CDC • Conditions • HIV/AIDS • HPV • Living Well • Sex

December 11th, 2012
02:57 PM ET

HIV helps put girl's leukemia in remission

An experimental treatment in which researchers reengineer a patient's own immune system to attack cancer cells seems to have worked in a 7-year old girl named Emma Whitehead. The acute lymphoblastic leukemia that almost claimed Whitehead's life is now in remission.

Whitehead received the treatment, called T-cell immunotherapy, in April. First doctors drew Whitehead's blood, separated out white blood cells called T-cells, and then, using a disabled AIDS virus to transmit genetic material, made the T-cells capable of identifying and attacking leukemia cells.

Finally, the genetically modified T-cells were transfused back into Whitehead, where they went to work wiping out her leukemia to below the level of detection, a process that can itself be deadly. FULL POST


CDC: Half of young people with HIV don't know it
November 27th, 2012
01:52 PM ET

CDC: Half of young people with HIV don't know it

Almost a quarter of new HIV cases are seen in young people, and more than half of them don't know they're infected, says a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

According to the report, more than 12,000 new cases occurred in young people aged 13 to 24 in 2010, and close to 60% of them did not know their HIV status.

"That so many young people become infected with HIV each year is a preventable tragedy," wrote CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden in the report. FULL POST


UNAIDS: Rate of new HIV infections drops by half in 25 countries
Volunteers in Taiwan join a human chain in the form of a red ribbon for HIV/AIDS for World Aids Day 2011.
November 20th, 2012
02:17 PM ET

UNAIDS: Rate of new HIV infections drops by half in 25 countries

New HIV infections have dropped more than 50% in 25 low- and middle-income countries, according to a new World AIDS Day report by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

There were 700,000 fewer new infections last year than in 2001, according to the report "Results."  More than half of the countries reporting fewer infections are in sub-Saharan Africa, the region with some of the highest number of HIV cases in the world.  Infection rates have dropped dramatically in Malawi (73%), Botswana (71%), Namibia (68%) Zambia (58% ), Zimbabwe (50%) and by 41% in Swaziland and South Africa, for example.

Along with these reductions, AIDS experts say the number of people getting antiretroviral treatment increased 63% in the past two years.  Sub-Saharan Africa treated a record 2.3 million people, and the number of people treated in China jumped 50% last year. FULL POST


New draft recommendations issued for HIV testing
A woman takes a home test to detect HIV. A task force of experts has expanded its recommendations for who should be tested.
November 19th, 2012
05:03 PM ET

New draft recommendations issued for HIV testing

Teens and adults aged 15 to 65, as well as all pregnant women, should be tested for HIV according to new draft recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

The new recommendations include pregnant women who show up at a hospital in labor but don't know their HIV status, and younger adolescents and older adults who are at increased risk of HIV.

In 2005, the task force recommended screening for all adolescents and adults at increased risk and all pregnant women. No recommendations were made regarding routine testing in that same population who were not at an increased risk.

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Decline in circumcisions could cost billions
Declining circumcision rates in the United States could wind up costing billions later, researchers warn.
August 21st, 2012
10:15 AM ET

Decline in circumcisions could cost billions

As the number of American parents increasingly leave their baby boys uncircumcised, HIV and other sexually transmitted disease rates are likely to climb, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, and the costs associated with those diseases could reach into the billions.

"The medical benefits of male circumcision are quite clear," said Dr. Aaron Tobian, an assistant professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins and lead author of the study published Monday in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. "But while the medical evidence has been increasingly more positive, male circumcision rates in the U.S. have been decreasing."

Specifically, he says, circumcision rates had been fairly stable in the 1970s, at about 79%. By 1999, he says less than 63% of boys had the procedure, and by 2010, the rate had dropped to 55%.

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July 24th, 2012
01:54 PM ET

Experts address HIV problem among African American men

Thousands are gathering in Washington this week for the International AIDS Conference - the first time in 22 years the conference is being held in the United States, thanks to the lifting of a ban that forbade people with HIV from entering the country.

The conference is bringing the world's largest assembly of experts together to discuss the latest developments regarding HIV/AIDS. One of the problems they'll address is the much higher rate of HIV infection among black men who have sex with men.

An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States live with HIV, and one in five of those people are unaware, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. African American men who have sex with men carry the most severe burden of HIV in the U.S., accounting for 44% of all new HIV cases in the U.S.
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Gay, bisexual black men at high risk for HIV
July 19th, 2012
10:37 AM ET

Gay, bisexual black men at high risk for HIV

Only one in 500 Americans is a black gay or bisexual male, but black men who have sex with men (MSM) account for one in four new HIV infections in the United States, according to a new report by the Black AIDS Institute (BAI).

Just days away from the first International AIDS Conference to be held on U.S. soil in 22 years, the BAI, a national think tank focused on African-Americans, released a somber account detailing how the virus continues to disproportionately infect and kill young black men who have sex with other men.

Save lives: End the HIV stigma

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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