February 13th, 2013
05:03 PM ET
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
December 11th, 2012
02:57 PM ET
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
November 27th, 2012
01:52 PM ET
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
November 20th, 2012
02:17 PM ET
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
November 19th, 2012
05:03 PM ET
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.
August 21st, 2012
10:15 AM ET
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%.
July 24th, 2012
01:54 PM ET
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.
July 19th, 2012
10:37 AM ET
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.
July 16th, 2012
03:30 PM ET
Adults who do not have HIV but are at risk of getting the disease will now be able to take a drug to reduce their chance of getting infected. For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug for this use on Monday.
The drug is Truvada, an antiretroviral medication made by Gilead Sciences, Inc., which was already approved by the FDA in 2004 to help control HIV infection.
Truvada is a combination of two HIV medications - emtricitabine (Emtriva) and tenofovir (Viread) - into one pill that is taken once a day. As a treatment for HIV, it is always used in combination with other HIV drugs.
July 11th, 2012
05:45 PM ET
A drug widely used to treat HIV is also highly effective at preventing infection in HIV-free individuals - as long as those individuals take the drug every day as prescribed, newly released trial data shows.
The drug, an antiretroviral pill known as Truvada, interferes with the replication of the most common HIV virus and can reduce the risk of new infection by 62% or more if taken consistently, according to the results of three studies published today on the website of the New England Journal of Medicine.
In May, based on these and other studies, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee recommended that the agency approve Truvada for men who have sex with men, people whose romantic partner is HIV-positive, and other high-risk groups. If approved, Truvada would be the first drug indicated for the prevention of sexually transmitted HIV.
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.