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Stigma gets in the way of HIV testing in Navajo populations
Date: 2013-05-21 18:54:48

Sometimes, the stigma surrounding sexually transmitted diseases may keep people from utilizing STD testing services. This is why people need to know that there are ways they can get tested that are confidential, without ever having to step foot in their local doctor's office. This may be particularly important for people living on the Navajo Indian reservation in New Mexico, since researchers claim that HIV numbers are up in the area, and social stigma may be keeping residents from getting tested.

According to The New York Times, a report released in April by the federal Indian Health Service discovered 47 new cases of HIV in 2012, which is a 20 percent increase from 2011. This lead to health officials discovering that, since 1999, there has been a five-fold increase in HIV cases on the reservation.

An alarming trend... Full Story

Guidelines for HIV testing change
Date: 2013-05-03 14:06:45

As with most conditions, HIV is most easily treated when it is caught in the early stages. This is why it is so important for people to regularly use STD testing services and get screened for HIV and other viruses and infections. Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force finalized its guidelines for HIV testing, and declared that all individuals between the ages of 15 and 65 should be screened for this virus at least once.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the recommendation was made to address the fact that people respond best to HIV treatments the earlier they receive them, but this condition has almost no symptoms in the beginning. Due to the lack of early HIV symptoms, it's necessary for people to get tested regularly even if they do not feel ill.

"HIV is a critical public health problem, and there are still 50,000 new infections per year," said Doug Owens, M.D., a task force member and professor of medicine at Stanford University, told the L.A. Times. "There's very good evidence that treatment is effective when given earlier, at a time when people are often asymptomatic. So the only way they would know that they had HIV, or that they needed treatment, is to be screened."

Evidence for screening... Full Story

Bill Gates calls for the creation of a better condom
Date: 2013-05-01 12:17:32

There are only two ways that people can reduce their chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease - they can practice abstinence or use a condom during sex. Unfortunately, many people do not use condoms, and when these individuals utilize STD testing services, they may discover that they have an infection or virus. In an effort to increase condom use worldwide, Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates is offering $100,000 to anyone who has a feasible plan for creating a condom that enhances sexual pleasure, rather than diminishing it.

The Atlantic recently reported on Gates' offer and the motivations behind it. According to the news source, most people who do not use condoms say that it is because these contraceptives make sex less pleasurable. The Atlantic explained that research has shown that only 60 percent of sexually active U.S. teenagers report using condoms, and that number actually declines as people get older.

A worldwide issue... Full Story

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