Breast cancer rates are declining, but some groups have seen a more significant decline than others, with race, ethnicity and economic background playing a part. According to a new national study, the only significant decline in breast cancer rates occurred among white, non-Hispanic women, 50 and older, who live in affluent countries and who have the kind of tumors that an estrogen-rich environment will nourish. Breast cancer rates declined by as much as 10 percent annually in this group. The study, which appears online and in the April supplement of the American Journal of Public Health, relied on data obtained from 13 U.S. population-based cancer registries for 1992 to 2005, and analyzed trends among 350, 000 cases, looking at race/ethnicity and socioeconomic position, as well as age at diagnosis and breast cancer tumor characteristics.
Although a recent study found that sex education emphasizing abstinence "may work better" than other models, "chastity zealots might want to hold off on the celebrations, " Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks writes. She notes that according to the study's authors, the curriculum "was designed to be 'not moralistic'" and "stressed the health risks of sex and taught students how to resist peer pressure." Banks writes that while the curriculum "strikes me as a common-sense approach for kids so young they can imagine getting sick better than they can envision getting pregnant, " what "shocked me most was not that abstinence classes helped delay the start of sex -- but that it was too late for so many of these middle-school students.
Treating herpes in HIV-positive patients does not lower the risk that they will transmit HIV to their partners, despite the fact that herpes treatment has been shown to lower the level of HIV in the blood, according to a study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, the New York Times reports. Scientists are unsure why the herpes drug acyclovir lowers the level of HIV in the blood. Lead author Connie Celum, a professor of global health at the University of Washington, said although this effect was known, "no one knew whether that would be enough to reduce HIV transmission." For the study, researchers screened 50, 000 couples at 14 sites across Africa, selecting 3, 400 couples in which one partner had both HIV and herpes.
NPR's "Tell Me More" recently featured a discussion about a new study that found that more young teens in an experimental abstinence-only sex education program delayed sexual activity for two years than teens in a comprehensive program or teens who did not participate in a program. In the segment, host Michel Martin discussed the findings with Loretta Jemmott, a co-author of the study and professor at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Nursing. Jemmott said that the message of the study's abstinence-only program was "different" than abstinence-until-marriage programs. She added, "Our program didn't focus on the moralistic issue of waiting until marriage.
Also In Global Health News: Pakistan IDPs; HIV And Herpes; Ending FGM; WFP Budget In Afghanistan; Cholera In PNG
U.N. Launches $538M Aid Appeal For Displaced Persons In Pakistan The U.N. launched an international appeal Tuesday, calling for $538 million to provide aid in Pakistan for "hundreds of thousands of people displace[d] by army clashes against the Taliban, " the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (Toosi, 2/9). Agence France-Presse writes: "The appeal focuses on funds needed to implement the Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan (PHRP) 2010, which the United Nations, international and local aid groups have drawn up with the cash-strapped Pakistan government." Martin Mogwanja, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Pakistan, said, "Considering that the number of IDPs (Internally Displaced People) from Orakzai agency has risen nearly tenfold in the last two months, the emergency in Pakistan seems far from over" (Gilani, 2/9).
MAC AIDS Fund Survey Reveals 73 Percent Of Women Unaware Of Their Current HIV Status False Sense Of Security Prevents Most Women From Taking Control
The MAC AIDS Fund (MAF) launched its latest VIVA GLAM campaign, a women's initiative aimed at strengthening the service network and resources available to women living with and at risk of contracting HIV. MAF commissioned nationwide surveys to gauge perceptions of HIV/AIDS and its impact on women through the lens of the American consumer and nation's leading experts. This side-by-side comparison was a crucial step in assessing key areas fueling the spread of HIV/AIDS in women and outlining potential solutions. As a result of the startling finds, MAF is supporting programs in the United States, Canada and internationally with a commitment of more than $2.