This is Public Health

Get Out Ahead

April 9th, 2014

Health IT

Prevention is now a nationwide priority, and as the public health system evolves, there are more options than ever when it comes to preventive health measures.  Public health and clinical health professionals must work collaboratively to help individuals identify and pursue the best preventative health options.

Read more about today’s National Public Health Week theme: Get Out Ahead.

April is STD Awareness Month

April 10th, 2013

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Every year sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, cost the U.S. health care system $17 billion—and cost individuals even more in immediate and long-term health consequences. April is STD Awareness month, an annual observance to call attention to the impact of STDs and promote STD testing across the United States.

A new campaign targeted at Baton Rouge youth is helping to raise awareness about getting tested in Louisiana about these startling statistics. Check it out online here, or on Facebook for more information.

To read the CDC’s full story, click here.

Dr. Russell Brewer, Director of HIV, STDs, and Reproductive Health at LPHI, recently wrote a blog post detailing the MSM Global Forum pre-conference from his perspective. While his post can currently be found on the AIDS United site, Stay Healthy Louisiana is pleased to share his words with our readers.

“The theme of the MSM Global Forum pre-conference held on July 21, 2012 was “From Stigma to Strength.” This theme could not be more fitting given that MSM from all corners of the world experience stigma, homophobia, criminalization, and discrimination in their everyday lives. These experiences affect their ability to access HIV prevention, care, and treatment services. The MSM Global Forum pre-conference began with an announcement by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) that she has introduced a new bill called “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic Act of 2012″ that lays out a policy and financial framework to creating an AIDS- free generation in the United States and worldwide. It’s great to see policy makers taking a leadership role in ending the HIV epidemic.

The introduction of the next speaker (the Hon. Michael Kirby with the Global Commission on HIV and the Law) by Robert Suttle, Assistant Director of the SERO project (www.seroproject.com) provided a face and story of an individual (Robert Suttle) who was convicted and incarcerated in Louisiana for HIV non-disclosure. I’ve read about HIV criminalization and how it perpetuates stigma but I’ve never actually heard a story from someone who was impacted by this law. The presentation that followed by the Hon. Michael Kirby really hit home for me in terms of the devastating impact of HIV among MSM not only in the United States but also globally and how laws that criminalize MSM will continue to fuel the epidemic. For example, Michael Kirby mentioned that 60% of new infections in the world are among MSM and fewer than 10% of MSM worldwide have access to treatment and preventive services. In addition, 41 of 54 countries that are part of the Commonwealth still criminalize MSM. We need leadership, education, and mobilization to help repeal these laws.

Later on during the day, Maurice Tomlinson, Legal Advisor with AIDS Free World gave the first Robert Carr Memorial Lecture to pay tribute to the life and legacy of the late LGBT activist Dr. Robert Carr.  Maurice describes himself as an accidental activist.  He actually wanted to be a patent lawyer but instead ended up being an advocate for all forms of marginalization that provide a safe harbor for HIV.  Maurice talked about his efforts to challenge the anti-buggery (male same sex intimacy) law in Jamaica.  In a recent survey, 82% of Jamaican people indicated that they were prejudiced against gay people. Maurice mentioned that in order for the law to be repealed, there needs to be ground swell support in the country and for the last few years, he and other activists have embarked on a plan to change the hearts and minds of Jamaicans through public education, walks and stands for tolerance, and other strategies. His presentation could not have stressed more the importance of challenging and repealing  human rights violations in order to end stigma and discrimination; and create safer and more tolerant environments that enhance access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care services.”

A bill that would require the teaching of sex education in public schools narrowly failed again recently in the state House Education Committee. Under current law, local school districts have the option of offering sex education classes but it is not a requirement. The proposal, House Bill 820, would require “age-appropriate” instruction on human sexuality.

For more information about sex education and preventing teen pregnancy, check out 4RealHealth, a program of the Orleans Teen Pregnancy Prevention Project.

Click here to read the full story from The Advocate.

A report released Tuesday by the National Center for Health Statistics showed the teenage birth rate for American teenagers fell 9% from 2009 to 2010. The national level, 34.3 teenage births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15-19, is the lowest since 1946.

The rates dropped across all racial and ethnic groups, and nearly all states.

Check out the full article on CNN’s website.

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A recent CD study has shown that, while the teen birth rate is continuing to fall, many teen mothers continue to be uneducated about their chances of getting pregnant.

The Times-Picayune has a great summary of the study that can be found here.

The full CDC study can be located here.

heart

Crushing pressure and radiating pain in the left arm are well-known signs of a heart attack, but recognizing lesser-known and subtle warning signs that can occur months prior to a heart attack could save your life. Neck pain, sexual problems, dizziness or shortness of breath, persistent heartburn or indigestion and jaw or ear pain are all early warning signs associated with heart trouble. Read more about these early symptoms of an unhealthy heart.

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The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals STD/HIV Program and the Black AIDS Institute kick off their week-long “Louisiana > Aids Testing Tour, on the Road to the Essence Music Festival” in time for National HIV Testing Day (June 27) and Essence Music Festival. With free and confidential HIV screenings held in six cities, the tour will raise awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS in black communities, encourage testing, and fight the stigma associated with STDs and HIV. Attendees will also have the chance to win a five day cruise and Essence Music Festival tickets. For more information on National HIV Testing Day events or locations for HIV screening, contact the Louisiana Statewide STD/HIV/AIDS information hotline at 1-800-99AIDS9 (or 1-800-992-4379) or visit www.hiv411.org/.

sex-education

A new study suggests that oral cancer rates on the rise in men could be the result of exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV) during oral sex with women. HPV is the same sexually transmitted virus responsible for the vast majority of cases of cervical cancer in women. While Gardasil, one of the two major vaccines used to prevent HPV, was approved for women between the ages of 11 and 26 in 2006, it wasn’t approved for use in males in the United States until 2009, which has put men behind the curve. Read more about the risk of oral cancer from oral sex or visit the Planned Parenthood website for a wide variety of resources and tips for safe sex practices.

county-health-rankings-full-report

The University of Wisconsin has released its second annual report ranking the health of all 64 Louisiana parishes, with St. Tammany parish ranked as the healthiest and East Carroll parish as the least healthy in the state. The report shows how multiple factors influence health, including smoking, obesity, binge drinking, teen pregnancy and more. The report also stresses the importance of community leaders and nontraditional partners coming together to improve the health of their residents and communities. View the report online at www.countyhealthrankings.org to see how Louisiana parishes compare to each another.