Posts Tagged ‘AIDS’


Tragic Plane Crash, Truvada Concerns, Changing Infection Rates: AIDS/HIV Issues in the News

July 21, 2014

Truvada / via Wikimedia Commons

By Jacob Molyneux, AJN senior editor

There have been a number of recent high-profile news stories as well as some notable new research related to HIV/AIDS and its treatment and prevention.

First, AJN would like to add its voice to those expressing heartfelt regret at the deaths of a number of prominent and widely respected HIV advocates and researchers in the Malaysia Airlines jet that appears to have been shot down over Ukraine last week.

The Truvada controversy. Those who who died on the plane had been heading to an international conference in Melbourne, Australia, where one of the hot topics under discussion would be the pros and cons of the continuing expansion of the use of the antiretroviral drug Truvada beyond the treatment of existing HIV infection to long-term prophylactic use by the uninfected.

The topic is particularly timely here in New York where Governor Cuomo last week announced that New York State would make Truvada a centerpiece of its HIV-prevention strategy. The drug, taken every day, is more than 90% effective in preventing infection, but, as an NPR story recently described, a number of experts have raised concerns about widespread long-term use of Truvada for HIV prevention, noting

  • serious potential side effects of Truvada.
  • the $1,300/a month cost of the drug.
  • the reduction in the use of condoms by some of those taking Truvada, which could lead to higher rates of other sexually transmitted diseases.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Nursing, HIV/AIDS, Continuity of Care, Treatment Advances, and the ACA: The Essentials

March 6, 2014

As the Affordable Care Act takes effect, a timely overview in AJN of recent developments in screening, treatment, care, and demographics of the HIV epidemic


The ‘cascade of care’ (from the AJN article)

The newly released March issue of Health Affairs is devoted to looking at the ways the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect Americans with HIV/AIDS and those who have recently been in jail. One crucial feature of the ACA is that it prevents insurance companies from refusing coverage to those with a number of preexisting conditions. If you have a preexisting condition and don’t get insurance through work, you know how important this is.

Unfortunately, a large majority of those with HIV and AIDS do not have private health insurance. One article in the March issue of Health Affairs draws attention to the plight of the 60,000 or so uninsured or low-income people with HIV or AIDS who will not receive health insurance coverage because their states are among those that have chosen to opt out of the ACA provision that expands Medicaid eligibility. This means many patients in these states may lack consistent care and reliable access to life-saving drugs.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) improves patient quality of life and severely reduces expensive and debilitating or fatal long-term health problems in those with HIV/AIDS. As noted in AJN‘s March CE article, “Nursing in the Fourth Decade of the HIV Epidemic,”

The sooner a patient enters care, the better the outcome—especially if the patient stays in care, is adherent to combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), and achieves an undetectable viral load.

The authors, pointing out that only 66% of those with HIV in the U.S. are currently “linked to care” and, of these, only about half remain in care, argue that

“[e]ngaging and retaining people with HIV infection in care is best achieved by an interdisciplinary team that focuses on basic life requirements, addresses economic limits, and treats comorbid conditions such as mental illness and hepatitis C infection.”

But there’s a lot more in this article about screening, advances in drug therapy, treatment, and epidemiology that all nurses will need to know as the ACA brings more HIV-infected patients into every type of health care setting. Here’s the overview, but we hope you’ll read the article itself, which is open access, like all AJN CE features: Read the rest of this entry ?


AJN’s March Issue: New Series on Systematic Reviews, HIV Update, C. Diff on the Rise, Sexual Assault, More

February 28, 2014

AJN0314.Cover.OnlineAJN’s March issue is now available on our Web site. Here’s a selection of what not to miss, including two continuing education (CE) articles that you can access for free.

Advances in HIV testing and treatment. The photo on our cover, showing members of  Sexy With A Goal (SWAG), a program provided for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals affected by HIV and AIDS by the AIDS Service Center of New York City’s Lower East Side Peer Outreach Center, reflects the changing face of the AIDs epidemic. Thirty years ago, a diagnosis of HIV was tantamount to a death sentence. But the young men on our cover prove that this is no longer the case. With advances in treatment and patient advocacy, education, and support, HIV is now a chronic, manageable disease. A CE feature, “Nursing in the Fourth Decade of the HIV Epidemic,” discusses HIV epidemiology and policy in the United States, the HIV care cascade, advances in HIV testing and treatment, and how nurses can continue to have a positive impact on the HIV epidemic.

If you’re reading AJN on your iPad, you can watch a video describing one author’s early experience with an HIV-infected patient by tapping on the podcast icon on the first page. The video is also available on our Web site. A

New option for victims of sexual assault. Until recently, survivors of sexual assault were not entitled to a free medical forensic examination unless they reported the assault to law enforcement. The authors of “Giving Sexual Assault Survivors Time to Decide: An Exploration of the Use and Effects of the Nonreport Option,” March’s original research CE, studied the implementation of the new nonreport option, exploring its impact on survivors, the criminal justice system, and sexual assault nurse examiners. If you’re reading AJN on your iPad, you can listen to a podcast interview with the author by tapping on the podcast icon on the first page. The podcast is also available on our Web site.

New series on systematic reviews. Since the advent of evidence-based practice in health care, nurses and other clinicians have been expected to rely on research evidence to inform their decisions. But how does one uncover all the evidence relevant to a question? “Systematic Reviews, Step by Step: The Systematic Review: An Overview,” the first article in a new series from the Joanna Briggs Institute, provides a synopsis of the systematic review as a scientific exercise, and introduces nurses to the steps involved in conducting one. Read the rest of this entry ?


A Face in a Village: Remembering a First Encounter with AIDS in Africa

February 8, 2012

We’d already guessed there was a problem at the health post—we hadn’t received the last several monthly statistical reports. As a Peace Corps volunteer in the Central African Republic in the early 1990s, I reviewed these reports as part of my job at the regional health office. Another part of my job was to join a supervisory team as it traveled over dirt roads to check on health facilities from hospitals down to the village health posts staffed by a single nurse. A few months into my assignment, on our way to the provincial hospital, the team decided to stop by this particular health post to find out why we weren’t receiving reports.

That’s from “A Face in a Village,” the February Reflections essay in AJN by Susi Wyss, the author of a well-received recent novel, The Civilized World (Henry Holt, 2011). Set in Africa, the novel, like this essay, was inspired by the author’s international health career. In this essay, Wyss recalls a vivid first encounter with the ravages of AIDS and the hopelessness it inspired. (Click through to the PDF version for a cleaner read.)—JM, senior editor


Remembering the Big Picture, Hypothermia, Nursing Books of the Year

January 20, 2012

From its earliest beginnings, nursing has embraced a holistic view of health. What we eat, the environments in which we work and live, our social relationships—all these influence health. Yet, as nurses, many of us shy away from looking at the big picture; instead we narrow our focus, addressing only the immediate problems of this patient, this family. It’s true that many patients treated in hospitals or outpatient clinics are there only for a short time. But how will such patients and their families fare in the long run if they lack access to public transportation to get to their follow-up appointments? How can patients recover from illness when they must choose between paying the mortgage and filling prescriptions?

That’s an excerpt from “Voices Rising,” the editorial in the January issue of AJN by Shawn Kennedy, editor-in-chief. We hope you’ll take a moment to read the whole thing and give it some thought.

Also in the January issue, you’ll find plenty of reading suggestions in the AJN 2011 Book of the Year Awards; a CE on the causes, diagnosis, and management of hypothermia; and a great deal more, including a feature, “Cardiac Catheterization Through the Radial Artery,” that advocates the use of the transradial artery rather than the femoral artery for cardiac catheterization in certain situations.—JM, senior editor


Military Metaphors, Unnecessary Admissions, New Blogs, Keeping Secrets

September 29, 2011

It’s a common scenario: a 90-year-old resident of a U.S. nursing home — call her Ms. B. — has moderately advanced Alzheimer’s disease, congestive heart failure with severe left-ventricular dysfunction, and chronic pain from degenerative joint disease. She develops a nonproductive cough and a fever of 100.4°F. The night nurse calls an on-call physician who is unfamiliar with Ms. B. Told that she has a cough and fever, the physician says to send her to the emergency room, where she’s found to have normal vital signs except for the low-grade fever, a normal basic-chemistry panel and white-cell count, but a possible infiltrate on chest x-ray. She is admitted to the hospital and treated with intravenous fluids and antibiotics. During her second night in the hospital, Ms. B. becomes confused and agitated, climbs out of bed, and falls, fracturing her hip. One week after admission, she is discharged back to the nursing home with coverage under the Medicare Part A benefit. The episode results in about $10,000 in Medicare expenditures, as well as discomfort and disability for Ms. B.

There is an alternative scenario, however . . .

That’s from an article in NEJM called “Reducing Unnecessary Hospitalizations of Nursing Home Residents.” In any health care system of as much complexity as ours, there’s bound to be a huge amount of waste. The article gives a good example of how the skills of NPs might be put to excellent use both saving a lot of money for Medicare and making the lives of nursing home residents a whole lot nicer. It may be cheaper, but it’s not “rationing”—it’s rational.

Now a matter of language rather than money: the Viewpoint essay by Kathleen Thies in the October issue of AJN is about the use of military language to refer to nursing staff. Here’s how it begins, and you can click the link to read the whole article, including the author’s suggestion for an alternative terminology. We’d love to know whether the author’s perspective resonates with you:

How often have you heard the term frontline staff used to refer to direct care nurses and others working at a patient’s bedside? It conjures images of the great world wars, of soldiers marching across battlefields to fight the enemy. The infantry are invariably young, dispensable, interchangeable. Commands are issued by generals and passed down through the ranks. No questions are asked.

Blog roll update: We’ve added some interesting new blogs to our blogroll (they’re not new blogs, actually, just new to our blogroll). A few of them are by MDs, such as The Carlat Psychiatry Blog and Movin’ Meat, and a couple of are by nurses, such as madness: tales of an emergency room nurse, which has a good short post about why it doesn’t always help to be a nurse when your family member is in the hospital (there have been a few posts on this topic lately in different venues, I think?). Also added: The Nursing Ethics Blog, which is run by two people, a nursing professor/ethicist and a philosopher. It should be interesting to explore.

As the editor of the Reflections column (and this blog), I read hundreds of submissions each year about dying patients, with a subgenre of submissions devoted to dying infants or miscarriages. Read the rest of this entry ?


A Primary Source Reminder from the Early Days of HIV/AIDS

June 6, 2011

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

Last week, I received a press release from the National Institutes of Health noting the publication 30 years ago of the first ‘official’ report that many consider to have heralded the beginning of the AIDS epidemic—a report in the MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report), a publication of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and Kaposi’s sarcoma in otherwise healthy young men who all happened to be gay.

This report (which included various causative theories, including speculation that the weakened immune system among these gay men might somehow have resulted from the use of lifestyle drugs such as amyl nitrate!), seemed late in coming for those of us who’d been seeing unusual infections among gay men since the mid-1970s.

In 1975, I became aware of these young men when they started coming for diagnostic consultation with the physicians I worked with in a private hematology–oncology practice in New York City. No one could figure out why they had developed opportunistic infections that were normally seen only in patients who’d been on chemotherapy or who had other immune disorders. We talked about the fact that similar cases were being seen at the (now defunct) St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Greenwich Village. Read the rest of this entry ?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,930 other followers

%d bloggers like this: