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Social Media as an Effective Tool for Preventing STD and HIV Infection

Facebook and other social networking technologies could serve as effective tools for preventing HIV infection among at-risk groups, new UCLA research suggests

 

In a study published in the February issue of the peer-reviewed journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases, researchers found that African American and Latino men who have sex with men voluntarily used health-related Facebook groups, which were created by the study's investigators, to discuss such things as HIV knowledge, stigma and prevention and ultimately to request at-home HIV testing kits.

"Researchers, policymakers and public health professionals are hoping that social media can be used as a tool for improving health research and solving health and HIV prevention-related issues," said principal investigator Sean Young, an assistant professor of family medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "This study helps direct us toward that goal by suggesting that participants will use social media to learn about HIV prevention and that those who talk about HIV prevention over social networking groups are not just talking about it -- they are acting on their words by getting an HIV test."

The study also demonstrates that social networking can be a useful tool for collecting and analyzing data, added Young, who is a member of the Center for HIV Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services (CHIPTS) at UCLA.

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Treating Hepatitis C Infection in Prison Is Good Public Policy

Incarcerated patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are just as likely to respond to treatment for the disease as patients in the community,

 

according to findings published in the October issue of Hepatology, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. The study from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) in Madison found that HCV patients in prison were just as likely to achieve a sustained viral response (SVR) as non-incarcerated patients.

Medical evidence reports that chronic HCV is the leading cause of end-stage liver disease (ESLD) and liver disease mortality in the U.S. Further studies have shown the risk of developing cirrhosis due to chronic HCV ranges between 5 and 25 percent over a 25 to 30 year period. Consequences caused by chronic HCV are major public health concerns within the U.S. prison system, with research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating up to 31 percent of U.S. inmates have chronic HCV, compared to just two percent of the general population in this country.

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New Otago study focuses on health aspects of toxic site clean-up

University of Otago researchers have received a Health Research Council of New Zealand and Ministry of Health partnership research grant to conduct an epidemiological study of the former Fruitgrowers Chemical Company site in Mapua

 

The project will be conducted over a two-year period and will be the first multidisciplinary exploration of health outcomes associated with soil remediation at a chemically contaminated site in New Zealand.

The Mapua site was classified as a highly contaminated site and soil remediation began in 2004 and was completed in 2008. There have been local health concerns raised about chemical exposure during the remediation work.

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