Practice Tip of the Week: HIV Update
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Posted by: Nadia Tamez-Robledo
By Ellen Martin, PhD, RN, CPHQ
Director of Practice
Texas Nurses Association
A report last week published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the US is making progress on the fight against HIV, noting an 18 percent decline in the number of new U.S. infections between 2008 and 2014. There were sharp declines in some groups such intravenous drug users indicating that targeted prevention programs, such as needle exchange programs, are helping reduce new infections.
HIV Disparities in Women
The Feb. 3 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported progress lessening the disparity of HIV diagnosis in black women. There is still much work to be done. According to the report of 2015 data, black women were about 16 times more likely to receive a diagnosis of HIV infection than white women. Nationwide, black women accounted for 61% of new HIV diagnoses among women, compared with whites (19%) and Hispanics (15 %.)
HIV and Aging
Nurses may be surprised to learn that about 17 percent of the country’s new HIV diagnoses are among persons 50 and older. In Texas, 21% of new cases are in persons aged 45 or older. This has important implications for healthcare providers. Older people often have other health conditions that come with aging and are often sicker when HIV is diagnosed.
HIV in Texas
The Texas HIV Annual report , required by Texas Health and Safety Code, Section 85.041, is published by the Department of State Health Services in December each year. This report reviews targeted prevention efforts such as behavior change interventions and public information efforts. The report also includes services from routine screening, targeted testing, and support services such as drug assistance programs.
Other reports are available on the Department of State Health Services HIV/STD Program web page such as quarterly reports of new cases of HIV and AIDS. The most recent report is the 2nd quarter report which includes new cases from January through June 2016 reported as of December 2016. There were 2,248 new HIV cases and 1,050 new AIDS cases, a slight decrease from the same time frame in 2015. This report reveals that significant disparities persist, with 76% of new cases in the Black (40%) and Hispanic (36%) population.
Progress in Fighting HIV
Last week, an NIH news release reported that researchers have identified a protein that may be critical to initial infection and possibly linked to sustained remission. Participants are being enrolled in small early phase clinical trials testing whether the participants’ own immune systems can control HIV after stopping medications temporarily. Many researchers are continuing to work on an HIV vaccine.
State Health Policy and HIV Testing
House Bill 717 was filed this session. This bill relates to opt-out testing for HIV in certain routine medical screenings. The US Preventative Services Task Force recommends that clinicians screen adolescents and adults ages 15 to 65 for HIV infection at least once in their lifetime. The CDC recommends opt-out testing because an estimated 1 in 8 adults has HIV and is not aware they have it. The CDC recommends persons with risk factors be tested at least annually.
County Health Rankings and Roadmaps – A program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this handy resource includes information on HIV prevalence and many other health measures.
AIDS.gov is a resource for HIV and AIDS. They will be changing to HIV.gov sometime this spring.