State of teh Science Heading

April 22, 2014

We are starting a new Blog Series that will bring you state of the science and health equity findings, as well as community reactions to scientific breakthroughs.  Keep us posted of what you are reading and we will do the same!

HEARD Logo Gay Men Divided Over Use of HIV Prevention Drug

This article has gone viral across Facebook and pulls together arguments for and against using HIV treatment drugs to prevent transmission. The past few months the Commission has hosted several Town Halls where we are hearing version of this across the country. Know the debate and participate!

From the article: “It’s the Truvada conundrum: A drug hailed as a lifesaver for many people infected by HIV is at the heart of a rancorous debate among gay men, AIDS activists and health professionals over its potential for protecting uninfected men who engage in gay sex without using condoms…”

HEARD LogoCommunity-based HIV prevention can boost testing, help reduce new infections

We talk a lot around here about comprehensive prevention – meaning using a mix of different types of interventions to have a greater impact. This is a key strategy in CDC’s approach to HIV prevention and is well documented in public health field in areas such as preventing traffic fatalities (e.g. seatbelts, speed limit, driver’s license, child safety seats). This new article is provides support that comprehensive prevention (in this case community mobilization, mobile HIV counseling and testing, combined with post-test support services) leads to increased HIV testing, decreased risk behaviors, and a modest reduction in HIV infection.

From the article: “Communities in Africa and Thailand that worked together on HIV-prevention efforts saw not only a rise in HIV screening but a drop in new infections, according to a new study in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet Global Health.”

HEARD Logo New Obamacare Patients Stock Up on Drugs, Except Birth Control
As today is the last day for open enrollment for the Health Exchanges (without penalty), what do we know at this point about who are the 7.5 million individuals hwo have indeed enrolled in the exchange? Well, based on this report by prescription provider Express Scripts, there are much higher rates of individuals in the exchanges who have accessed expensive specialty medications, such as those for HIV and multiple sclerosis, compared to those in employee covered plans.  What does this mean? Well, it could mean that people who are now getting coverage under the exchange are people who need life-saving treatment that could not get it before. Good news, right?

From the article: “The report from prescription provider Express Scripts shows many more new patients than usual filled prescriptions for drugs that fight the AIDS virus, for pain medications, for pricey specialty medications to treat chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, for anti-seizure drugs and for antidepressants…”

HEARD Logo Multiple Disadvantaged Statuses and Health: The Role of Multiple Forms of Discrimination
Past research shows that discrimination indeed impacts a person’s health outcomes. But what is the case when someone has multiple stigmatized characteristics? This comes up a lot in our work, for instance being an immigrant, gay, and HIV+, our clients can experience discrimination on multiple levels. This relates to the first article in this post – the discrimination or judgment within the gay community around using HIV drugs to prevent transmission.  Read on to uncover recent research on how multiple levels of stigma and discrimination impact an individual’s physical and mental health.

From the abstract: The double disadvantage hypothesis predicts that adults who hold more than one disadvantaged status may experience worse health than their singly disadvantaged and privileged counterparts… The results suggest that multiply disadvantaged adults are more likely to experience major depression, poor physical health, and functional limitations than their singly disadvantaged and privileged counterparts. Further, multiple forms of discrimination partially mediate the relationship between multiple stigmatized statuses and health. Taken together, these findings suggest that multiply disadvantaged adults do face a “double disadvantage” in health, in part, because of their disproportionate exposure to discrimination.”

HEARD Logo NIH releases comprehensive new data outlining Hispanic/Latino health and habits
Are you writing a grant, report or newsletter and need some data to help paint a picture of health among Latinos? This report summarizes the study findings that assessed cardiovascular disease and risk factors for cardiovascular disease among 16,415 Hispanic/Latino adults. The finding show difference between Latino nationalities across various factors, including smoking, obesity, diabetes, health insurance, diet and exercise, to name a few.

Excerpt: “Although Hispanics represent 1 out of every 6 people in the U.S., our knowledge about Hispanic health has been limited,” said Larissa Avilés-Santa, M.D., M.P.H, a medical officer in the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and project officer of the HCHS/SOL. “These detailed findings provide a foundation to address questions about the health of the U.S. Hispanic/Latino population and a critical understanding of risk factors that could lead to improved health in all communities.”… – from NIH Press Release

Written By: Emily Klukas
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The Institute for Latinx Health Equity is a growing collaborative of public health researchers, behavioral scientists, community leaders, capacity building specialists and social justice advocates. We strive to disseminate information about issues pertinent to health disparities and inequity. Follow us, join us, comment and add your voice to ours.

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