• Category Archives Disease
  • Women for Positive Action Celebrates International Women’s Day 2014 by Launching New Educational Tool on ‘HIV and Young Women’

    In conjunction with International Women’s Day (March 8, 2014), a practical and educational tool on the topic of young women living with HIV has been developed by Women for Positive Action (a global, multidisciplinary group of experts committed to addressing the specific concerns of women living with HIV). This tool is designed to inspire community and healthcare representatives to tackle the evolving challenges and support the needs of girls living with HIV as they develop into young women (available for download here: http://bit.ly/1c9GpGV).

    “Young women aged 15-24 are particularly vulnerable to HIV, with infection rates twice as high as in young men. Unfortunately, gender inequalities, discrimination and lack of adequate targeted services often mean that these women fail to receive the services and support they need” explains Angelina Namiba, Project Manager for Positively UK and Women for Positive Action faculty member.

    In line with this year’s International Women’s Day theme of ‘Inspiring change’, Women for Positive Action faculty members, Lorraine Sherr, Mona Loutfy, Karine Lacombe and Angelina Namiba have designed the ‘HIV and Young Women’ tool to help motivate those caring for young women to look for new ways to assist them through their journey into adulthood and support them to lead full and productive lives. Emotional wellbeing, including depression, and anxiety, is just one of the challenges addressed. This can affect more than 60% of those with perinatally acquired HIV specifically, and 30-60% of women living with HIV overall;[1],[2] however peer, parent and teacher support are associated with better emotional health outcomes.[3] Other topics covered include sexual health and relationships as well as stigma and disclosure, with examples of how community-based initiatives and counselling approaches can support girls as they develop into young women and transition to adult care.

    “Young women born with HIV are surviving into adulthood and beyond and often have complex medical and psychological needs that should be managed appropriately to ensure ongoing participation of women in their own care and prevention of HIV transmission” explains Karine Lacombe, associate professor in the infectious and tropical diseases department of Saint-Antoine Hospital (AP-HP), France and Women for Positive Action faculty member. “Transition from paediatric to adult services, in particular, is a critical time for young women, and it is essential that the multi-disciplinary team support women to develop strong self-management and life skills in order to improve their outcomes.”

    Women for Positive Action are committed to exploring and addressing the challenges faced by women living with HIV and those involved in their care. For more information visit the website, http://www.womenforpositiveaction.org and keep up to date with Women for Positive Action activities through Twitter @WFPA_HIV.

    Notes to Editor

    Worldwide, over 60% of all young people (i.e. those aged 15-24 years) living with HIV are young women.[4] Infection rates in this group are twice as high as in young men, and account for 22% of all new infections.[5] However, with effective treatment many girls who acquired HIV perinatally are now living well into adulthood[6] and those acquiring HIV in adulthood have a near normal life expectancy.[7]

    Visit http://www.womenforpositiveaction.org for further information about Women for Positive Action and ongoing projects. Women for Positive Action is an educational program funded by AbbVie. All content is independently generated by the Women for Positive Action faculty experts reflecting their knowledge and opinions.


  • Personalized intervention for diabetes prevention

    NutritionQuest (http://www.nutritionquest.com), a health and wellness research company in Berkeley, CA has launched their latest online intervention program, which aims to change the course of patients with diagnosed pre-diabetes. The program, which features a highly individualized website, Android and iPhone apps, tailored emails, an interactive voice response coaching program, and tailored mailed newsletters, is the first of its kind to focus on diabetes prevention.

    Alive-PD (Prevent Diabetes) enables pre-diabetics to adopt the lifestyle changes that are proven effective in reversing the progression to diabetes. “The national Diabetes Prevention Program proved it’s possible to slow the progression of pre-diabetes through face-to-face behavioral interventions,” says Dr. Gladys Block, lead developer of the program, and Prof. Emerita of Public Health at U.C. Berkeley. “With Alive-PD we hope to demonstrate that pre-diabetics can achieve significant behavior change via a highly individualized, yet completely automated program.”

    Using a multi-modal approach that includes online, mobile, telephony, and traditional outreach components, Alive-PD can reach the millions of pre-diabetics who need help. “Most people know that they need to change their behaviors, but they need coaching and support throughout the process to be successful,” said Block.

    The intervention distills the expertise of behavioral researchers and diabetes educators into a 36-week program that automatically adapts intervention messages and program actions to reflect the level of user interaction. Those with successful interactions are rewarded and encouraged, while those who find behavior change more challenging receive specialized coaching.

    Features of the program include personalized activity planning tools, individualized goal setting and reporting, performance logging, specific dietary and activity advice tailored to patients’ self-reported behaviors, as well as engagement features including a points system, team play and challenges. The program promotes interaction via social media and the direct support of family and friends, and also includes traditional health education articles, infographics, and self-testing quizzes.

    A randomized trial of the program, conducted in collaboration with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI), has recently begun. Kristen Azar, RN, leads the study’s data collection component at PAMFRI, where over 300 people are being recruited. Volunteers for the study must be members of the PAMF health care organization, have a confirmed blood test of pre-diabetes, and be overweight. They will come to the clinic in Palo Alto three times to have their blood and other measurements made. Participants will be randomized to receive the Alive-PD program immediately or after a six-month delay.

    Development and testing of Alive-PD has been funded in part through a Fast-Track Small Business Innovation Research grant from the US National Institute of Nursing Research. Alive-PD is based on the behavioral approaches proven effective in a previous program, Alive!.

    Pre-diabetes is an often undiagnosed medical condition in which one’s blood sugar is elevated (100 to 125 mg/dl) but still below the diabetic level. Around 79 million American adults have pre-diabetes, and without treatment, half of those will become diabetic within 10 years. “We intend to change that”, adds Block, “by applying the principles of effective behavior change in an intensive, automated intervention program.”

    Because it is fully automated, Alive-PD has the ability to reach very large numbers of pre-diabetics at low cost, and with little administrative burden for adopting organizations. Alive-PD is now available, to individuals and to organizations, through NutritionQuest. www.nutritionquest.com, 510-704-8514. More information can be found at www.nutritionquest.com/company/news.


  • Mammography Screening Intervals May Affect Breast Cancer Prognosis

    In a study of screening mammography-detected breast cancers, patients who had more frequent screening mammography had a significantly lower rate of lymph node positivity—or cancer cells in the lymph nodes—as compared to women who went longer intervals between screening mammography exams. Results of the study were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

    In its earliest stages, breast cancer is confined to the breast and can be treated by surgically removing the cancer cells. As the disease progresses, breast cancer cells may spread to the lymph nodes and then to other areas of the body.

    “On its pathway to other places in the body, the first place breast cancer typically drains into before metastasizing is the lymph nodes,” said Lilian Wang, M.D., assistant professor of radiology at Northwestern University/Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Ill. “When breast cancer has spread into the lymph nodes, the patient is often treated both locally and systemically, with either hormone therapy, chemotherapy, trastuzumab or some combination of these therapies.”

    Historically, healthcare organizations, such as RSNA and the American Cancer Society (ACS), have recommended annual screening with mammography for women beginning at age 40. However, in 2009, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) announced a controversial new recommendation for biennial screening for women between the ages of 50 and 74.

    “Our study looks at what would happen if the revised guidelines issued by USPSTF were followed by women,” Dr. Wang said.

    The retrospective study, conducted at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, included 332 women with breast cancer identified by screening mammography between 2007 and 2010. The women were divided into one of three groups, based on the length of time between their screening mammography exams: less than 1.5 years, 1.5 to three years and more than three years. There were 207, 73 and 52 patients in each category, respectively.

    Controlling for age, breast density, high-risk status and a family history of breast cancer, the researchers determined that women in the less than 1.5-year interval group had the lowest lymph node positivity rate at 8.7 percent. The rate of lymph node involvement was significantly higher in the 1.5- to three-year and over three-year interval groups at 20.5 percent and 15.4 percent, respectively.

    “Our study shows that screening mammography performed at an interval of less than 1.5 years reduces the rate of lymph node positivity, thereby improving patient prognosis,” Dr. Wang said. “We should be following the guidelines of the American Cancer Society and other organizations, recommending that women undergo annual screening mammography beginning at age 40.”

    For patient-friendly information on mammography, visit RadiologyInfo.org .


  • Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia (FMS) is also called myalgia, chronic rheumatism and fibrosis. Many physicians previously referred to Fibromyalgia as a psychological condition. However today, it is acknowledged as a real disease and a major cause of disability.

    Since there is no specific medical test for fibromyalgia, it is not diagnosed until all other causes of the patient’s symptoms are ruled out.

    Fibromyalgia is recognized as a syndrome with a definite set of symptoms and signs that happen together. The universal definition requires tender points to be present in all 4 quadrants of the human body with continuous, widespread pain that has occurred for at least 3 months. FMS can occur to any person at any age and there does appear to be a genetic component. More women have FMS than men.


  • Which Medications Are Used To Treat Genital Warts?

    You can find genital wart treatments in both over the counter and by prescription medications. Most doctors will tell you that over the counter remedies are to be avoided. These medications to treat genital warts often contain chemicals that can be abrasive or damaging to the skin.

    The most common prescription medications used to treat genital warts are Podofilox, imiquimod, and TCA. Podofilox is available as either a liquid or a gel. This medication works by killing the genital wart tissue. You can use it at home, and it has been effective in about 65% of the cases where it has been used. Doctors often prescribe Podofilox because it’s safe and easy to apply. However, in the case of a pregnant woman treating genital warts, Podofilox can be harmful and may be a factor in causing birth defects.

    Sometimes doctors prescribe a cream that contains imiquimod. This is another remedy that you can apply yourself at home. Imiquimod medications often cost more than Podofilox, but they are safer. Imiquimod fights genital warts by lending a helping hand to your immune system. It has been proven effective in about half of the cases where it has been used.

    TCA, or trichloracetic acid, is a remedy that must be used at the doctor’s office. It is a caustic agent, and because it can be harmful to the skin, it cannot be used at home. The doctor puts TCA directly on the warts and it kills them. TCA is considered the most effective of the three treatment methods, but it is inconvenient and requires weekly trips to the doctor until the warts are gone.

    There is also a medical procedure that can be used to treat genital warts along with a prescription medicine. This is alpha interferon, an anti-viral that is injected into the wart tissue. It is often not used because it is expensive and is not effective in preventing further wart outbreaks.

    When considering treatment, remember that there is no cure. Genital warts are caused by the HPV virus, and getting rid of the warts does not do anything about the virus itself. Even after successful treatment for genital warts, you may experience outbreaks again in the future. Your doctor will recommend what he or she thinks is best, depending on the nature of your genital wart outbreak.

    For more information, consult NIAID, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a specialized part of the National Institutes of Health. NIAID works to research, prevent and treat sexually transmitted disease like AIDs and HPV. You can find more detailed information on genital wart treatment by consulting their website.