For those who are sexually active, condoms are widely recognized as the most effective method for preventing HIV and other diseases, if used correctly. But a fact sheet with “unapproved condom imagery” was taken down from a federal website, KHN has learned.
KHN Midwest editor and correspondent Laura Ungar shares her expertise on Vice President Mike Pence’s public health track record as he leads the nation’s novel coronavirus response. Ungar covered a 2015 Indiana HIV outbreak and its fallout amid Pence’s tenure as governor.
In February 2015, an unprecedented HIV outbreak fueled by intravenous drug use hit the small city of Austin, Indiana. Under pressure, then-Gov. Mike Pence reluctantly allowed a syringe exchange. Five years later, HIV is undetectable in most of the outbreak patients. Still, the lessons haven’t been learned nationwide. Fewer than a third of the 220 counties deemed by the federal government as vulnerable to similar outbreaks have active syringe-exchange programs.
Chinese doctors and public health officials are turning to a variety of drugs as they seek an effective treatment for patients sickened by the novel coronavirus. The evidence behind some of these medicines is flimsy, researchers acknowledge, but human trials are the only way to know whether these drugs work.
Indiana was ground zero for shifting ideas about needle exchanges after a small town had an HIV outbreak in 2015 brought on by needle-sharing. But even as other parts of the country start to embrace needle exchanges amid the ongoing opioid epidemic, the sites remain controversial in Indiana. Only nine of the state’s 92 counties have them, after a series of closures and reopenings.
Called “Ready, Set, PrEP,” the federal program will provide medication that can reduce the chances of getting AIDS to at-risk patients who don’t have insurance.
Legislation that takes effect next July will let people buy the medications without a prescription for a limited period. Medical professionals say it’s a step in the right direction but will not significantly increase the use of the medicine without additional efforts.
It’s November, do you know where your HHS spending bill is? Still stuck in Congress. Meanwhile, lawmakers move ahead on restricting tobacco products for youth while the administration’s proposal is MIA. Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more health news from the week. Also, Rovner interviews Dan Weissmann, host of the podcast “An Arm and a Leg.”
Health officials and AIDS advocates in San Francisco have endorsed a new regimen for PrEP medication: to be taken only immediately before and after sex, thus reducing cost and potential side effects. The standard regimen is one pill a day for an open-ended period.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that people who are at high risk of contracting HIV take PrEP, a preventive treatment. The decision means most health plans will be required to cover the drugs without charging patients. But the recommendation doesn’t apply to the other clinical and lab services people need.