In The News...
Medicare Expands List of Covered Preventive Services
to Include HIV Screening Tests
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced its final
decision to cover Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection screening for
Medicare beneficiaries who are at increased risk for the infection, including
women who are pregnant and Medicare beneficiaries of any age who voluntarily
request the service. The decision is effective immediately.
Under the recently passed Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act
of 2008 (MIPPA), CMS now has the flexibility of adding to Medicare's list of
covered preventive services, if certain requirements are met. Prior to this law,
Medicare could only cover additional
preventive screening tests when Congress authorized it to do so.
"Today's decision marks an important milestone in the history of the Medicare
program," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Beginning with expanding
coverage for HIV screening, we can now work proactively as a program to help
keep Medicare beneficiaries healthy and take a more active role in evaluating
the evidence for preventive services."
Under MIPPA, CMS can consider whether Medicare should cover preventive services
that Congress has not already deemed as covered or non-covered by law. Among
other requirements, the new services must have been "strongly recommended" or
"recommended" by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. For instance, the Task
Force graded HIV screening as "strongly recommended" for certain groups. More
information about the Task Force is available online athttp://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstfix.htm.
"Every adult should know their HIV status," said Dr. Howard K. Koh, HHS
assistant secretary for health. "This decision by Medicare should help promote
screening and save lives."
CMS uses the national coverage determination (NCD) process to make decisions on
these types of preventive services. This process provides transparency about the
evidence that CMS considers when making its decisions and allows opportunity for
the public to comment on CMS'
"Medicare's coverage of HIV screening tests is an important step forward in
protecting beneficiaries from the potentially devastating and life-threatening
complications of HIV and Acquired immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)," said CMS
Acting Administrator Charlene Frizzera.
AIDS is diagnosed when an HIV-infected person's immune system becomes severely
compromised or a person becomes ill with an HIV-related infection. Of the more
than one million estimated to have the HIV infection, the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention has estimated that about a quarter of them do not realize
they are infected. Without treatment, AIDS develops within 8 to 10 years. While
there is presently no cure for HIV, screening can help identify infected
patients so that they can receive medical treatment that could help delay the
AIDS for years.
More information about Medicare's new HIV screening benefit is available in CMS'
final decision memorandum. Read the final decision online at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/mcd/viewdecisionmemo.asp?id=229.
Black pastors vow to step up fight against HIV/AIDS
following conference in NYC
DEEPTI HAJELA Associated Press Writer
(AP) - NEW YORK-Black ministers called on the federal government to declare
HIV/AIDS among blacks a public health emergency and proposed legislation to
address the disease in their community.
Almost half of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States are among blacks.
Black men were diagnosed with the disease at a rate eight times that of white
men, while black women were diagnosed at a rate almost 23 times that of white
women, according to 2005 figures, the most recent available, from the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The church leaders also pledged to promote HIV/AIDS testing and awareness among
"Just as African-American clergy fervently came together 50 years ago to fight
for civil rights, we are banding together today to bring an end to HIV/AIDS and
its potential to obliterate our community," said Bishop T.D. Jakes, leader of
the Dallas megachurch, The Potter's House.
Jakes spoke at a two-day conference of black clergy organized by the National
Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. The event drew more than 150 members of the
clergy, politicians and medical professionals.
Ministers pledged to work with the Congressional Black Caucus on proposed
legislation titled the National HIV/AIDS Elimination Act that they hope to
introduce in Congress as early as January.
The act asks the president to declare HIV/AIDS among blacks a public health
emergency, a declaration that would trigger the use of certain funds and
resources against the disease, said commission president Debra Fraser-Howze.
Many conservative churchgoers are put off by the disease's association with
gays, but Jakes said the emphasis needs to be on saving lives, not theological
debates about homosexuality.
"Our focus right now is saving lives," he said. "Tomorrow we can save souls."AIDS
Action Council Praises Release of Latest State of AIDS in Black
America Report; Commends the Black AIDS Institute and
Supports Congressional Black Caucus’s Call to Action
WASHINGTON, Sep. 25, 2007 – AIDS Action Council
congratulates the Black AIDS Institute on today’s release of “We’re the Ones
We’ve Been Waiting For,” its latest report on the state of AIDS in Black America
and what black communities are doing about it. AIDS Action Council also welcomes
and supports the Call to Action issued today by Members of the Congressional
Black Caucus for a mobilization to end the epidemic in black America and for the
development of a national AIDS strategy in the United States.
The report provides an update on the HIV/AIDS epidemic’s impact on black
Americans, including the percentage of people living with AIDS in each state who
are African American, as of 2004. In 15 states, more than 50% of the people
living with AIDS are black. The report gives updates on HIV testing, prevention
efforts, and the state of treatment among black Americans and gives an overview
of what is being done to combat HIV/AIDS through the Black AIDS Mobilization.
“The latest report by the Black AIDS Institute starkly reminds us of the impact
that HIV/AIDS is having on black communities throughout our country,” said
Rebecca Haag, Executive Director of AIDS Action. “In the 27th year of this
epidemic, it is shameful that we have the numbers documented in this report,
highlighted by the fact that in 2004, 50% of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses were among
black Americans. This underscores further the need for a national AIDS strategy,
for which over 100 organizations are calling. The centerpiece of a national AIDS
strategy must be addressing and ending the epidemic in black communities
In releasing its report, the Black AIDS Institute also announced a major
initiative to test 1 million black Americans by Dec. 1, 2008. “We can do this
and we will,” stated AIDS Action Council Board member Tony Wafford, Vice
President of the Palms/African American Community Development Initiative. “This
campaign will allow us to do something different and innovative to get 1 million
African Americans tested for HIV.” The initiative will organize forums to
educate people about HIV testing and will test people in partnership with local
AIDS Action Council is committed to working in partnership with the Black AIDS
Institute, The Balm in Gilead, the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS
and other national, regional and local organizations to support the Black AIDS
Mobilization against HIV/AIDS including the HIV testing initiative. “We have
sound, evidence-based knowledge of what needs to be done,” said Haag. “We now
must mobilize all sectors of our country, including the next President, to act.”
Vaccination and Enrollment Are Discontinued in Phase II Trials of Merck's
Investigational HIV Vaccine Candidate
Interim Analysis of STEP Study Shows Vaccine was not Effective
Click here for the full story.
California Senate Passes Measure That Would
Provide Prison Inmates With Condoms To Help Reduce Spread of HIV
The California Senate on Thursday voted 21-18 to
approve a measure (AB 1334) that would provide prison inmates in the state with
condoms in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV, the Los Angeles Times reports
(McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, 9/7).
A similar measure (AB 1677) was vetoed last year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
According to the Times, there was a "largely partisan split" over the new
legislation. The bill, sponsored by Assembly member Sandre Swanson (D), would
require prison officials to allow agencies to distribute condoms and dental dams
to prison inmates. Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas (D) argued in favor of the bill,
saying it is needed to address the high number of HIV cases among prisoners. The
bill is needed to help the state "fight this dreaded phenomenon," Ridley-Thomas
said. Sen. George Runner (R) said distributing condoms would condone illegal
behavior. "It seems incredibly inconsistent for us to say that this behavior is
not acceptable in prisons and then to provide devices to assist in that
behavior," he said. Supporters of the new measure say they hope that they have
addressed the administration's concerns with the previous bill and that it will
be signed into law this year (Los Angeles Times, 9/7).
community through healthier travel choices...
Rainier Beach is getting In Motion this summer. King County Metro and local
non-profit organizations and merchants have teamed up to help Rainier Beach
residents get around the neighborhood by bus, bike, or on foot.
Here's how it works:
Beginning in late June and continuing until mid-September, people living in
Rainier Beach will have many opportunities to get In Motion -- by busing,
biking, walking and sharing rides. And everyone eligible who registers will
receive TEN METRO FREE RIDE TICKETS.
Click here to find out how.
One Stop for Haircut, Blood Pressure Check
SEATTLE, WA(2007-04-24)Hair salons
and barbershops have traditionally been gathering places for African Americans.
That's why they've been asked to become educators about stroke and heart
disease. KPLU health and science reporter Keith Seinfeld dropped in on a
training session in a south Seattle barbershop.
Visit this link for the full story:
Ground Breaking HIV/AIDS Related Talk Show Celebrates First
October 10, 2006
Kansas City, MO – Word 4 The Soul Ministries A Closer Look will be celebrating
it’s first year October 20, 2006 on KGGN Gospel 890AM.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans
make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but they constitute half of those
diagnosed with HIV.
Produced by Word 4 The Soul Productions, A Closer Look was created to give
Kansas City's African American community a forum to talk candidly about the
disease that so disproportionately affects them, the radio show is devoted to
the topic of HIV/AIDS and the social issues that impacts this disease. It airs
weekly on the AM dial and online at www.kggnam.com. The purpose of the show is
to educate the African American community as well as all communities and to help
recruit people of color to the HIV field.
Over 60 shows have aired so far, and, "We are still keeping it spiritual,
educational and entertaining” said Gerald Palmer, host of A Closer Look. Not
only has he received comments from people around the country and on the street,
Palmer's secondary target group, health care professionals, have been requesting
to be on-air guests.
Palmer is a licensed minister and holds a degree in Social Work. His passion for
HIV/AIDS grew out of an experience he had five years ago when he worked as an
HIV case manager. He was visiting a patient who was in the intensive care unit.
Doctors were getting ready to disconnect life support.
"There was no family or church members around for his last hours," Palmer
recalled. When he witnessed the patient die, he told himself he would make sure
other people with HIV/AIDS did not die alone. So he is giving them a voice every
Friday at 3:15 p.m. CST on KGGN Gospel 890 AM.
He said he chose a Gospel radio station because he knows that the best way to
reach the black community is through the church; and the best way to reach the
church is through Gospel radio.
The 30-minute live show features HIV experts as well as people living with AIDS.
Show topics have included youth and HIV, social stigmas on the disease, the
churches response to the epidemic, etc.
While A Closer Look has proven successful since its debut in 2005, challenges
exist, Palmer said. "The stigma attached to HIV/AIDS still looms large, many
listeners express that they want to call in, but they don’t want others to get
the wrong impression “he said.
Despite the challenges A Closer Look will welcome a new season with a new
Co-Host, LaMonica Moore, and a new sponsor Ja’Lee’s Barbershop 7538 Raytown Rd,
Sponsorship/advertisement opportunities are available for the radio show. Please
contact Minister Gerald Palmer at 816-729-9541 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did You Know:
* During 2001-2004, the rate of HIV/AIDS diagnoses for African Americans
decreased, although the rate for African Americans was still the highest rate
for all racial and ethnic groups.
* The primary mode of HIV transmission among African American men was sexual
contact with other men, followed by heterosexual contact and injection drug use.
* The primary mode of HIV transmission among African American women was
heterosexual contact, followed by injection drug use.
* Of the estimated 145 infants perinatally infected with HIV, 105 (73%) were
Patti LaBelle and Diabetes
The first lady of R&B is waiting for her pink nail
polish to dry. It's a tiny, rare chunk of time for Patti LaBelle to talk about
the things that are important to her: food, music, family and, well, food.
The chart-topper who began her career in the '60s with Patti LaBelle and the
Bluebelles is a busy woman. She's on the road with that powerful, distinctive
voice. Her long-awaited gospel CD, "The Gospel According to Patti LaBelle" is
scheduled for release Oct. 17. And she's busy reminding us about diabetes via
commercials for a blood-glucose monitoring system.
For the complete story from the Seattle
Donate $1-dollar... Drink a bottle of our water...
Written by Roshanne Redmond,
Saturday, 03 June 2006
The National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses (NCPS) launches a major fund-raising
campaign to help in their on-going efforts to address health diseases. Members
of this non-profit organization are praying that their "Donate $1-dollar...
Drink a bottle of our water..." fundraiser will spread across this nation
literally like "wild-fire" and help them continue doing the good work they have
done in the health field for the past 5-years.
NCPS Flint Chapter Complete HIV/AIDS Training
Written by Roshanne Redmond - NCPS,
Monday, 01 May 2006
The Michigan chapter of the National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses (NCPS) held a
2-day HIV/AIDS train-the-trainer session for area pastors' wives and community
stakeholders. Following a recent HIV/AIDS Summit focusing on women and girls,
Michigan pastors' spouses pooled their resources and talents to host 2-day
training classes, using NCPS' HIV/AIDS: A Manual for Faith Communities.
New York Times Reports:
HIV is Linked to a Subspecies of Chimpanzee
The riddle of the origin of the AIDS virus has apparently been solved, according
to an international team of scientists who reported today that they had traced
its roots to a related virus in a subspecies of chimpanzee in Africa.
Battling a Black Epidemic
At home: AIDS now threatens tens of thousands of African-Americans, many of them women, in big cities and small towns alike. A community in peril tries to save itself.
Black Churches Unite to Raise
The Seattle Times
reported on AARTH and the Faith Community Covenant. See the
Kaiser Network Reports on AARTH
AIDS poses quandary for
By IVAN GALE
c. 2005 RELIGION
Black clergy in
America have long been
on the front lines of
community. But the
church's role in the
increasing crisis of
AIDS in black America
remains an unresolved
Over the last decade,
the rate of new HIV
infections among whites
has held steady while
the rate has doubled for
blacks. Though they
constitute just 12
percent of the
population, blacks make
up 40 percent of
Americans living with
the virus, and account
for 50 percent of new
infections, according to
the U.S. Centers for
The issue is a
delicate one for black
AIDS Activists Walk, But the Shoes Talk
8,000 Pairs Represent Daily Deaths
By Petula Dvorak
They were piled in front of the White House yesterday by the
red kitten heels, tan Timberland boots and a baby's white
shoes, among others. Activists carried about 8,000 pairs of
shoes down Pennsylvania Avenue to Lafayette Square to remind
anyone watching -- they hoped President Bush was
among them -- that 8,000 people die of AIDS-related
illnesses worldwide every day, and that the victims are as
many and as varied as the sandals, wingtips and sneakers the
protesters brought with them.
"I'm not really who you'd expect to be HIV-positive," said
24, of Billings, Mont. "I found out when I was 20 and trying
to get into the
Navy. It's the kind of thing that happens in big cities, not
the man who infected me also infected my best friend and six
Swanberg visited Washington for her first time to speak to
Congress and march in the protest because she said she
believes that AIDS funding, prevention and awareness has
dimmed on the public's radar.
She marched with the Campaign to End AIDS, a new
organization that is
reflecting a shift in the makeup of the AIDS activism
"Way back when, the activists were usually gay, white men,
educated," said Eric Sawyer, who helped found one of the
most prominent AIDS activist groups, ACT UP, in the late
1980s. "Today we've got African
American churchwomen from the South walking with someone
straight out of prison, walking with an Asian Harvard
About 3,500 people took part in the march, organizers said.
David Harris of Nashville slung a pair of black and white
two-tones over his shoulder and began singing in a honey
baritone: "One of these days these boots are gonna walk all
over you," as he marched from Freedom Plaza, carrying a
poster of a boot stomping on the words "End AIDS." "I'm
tired of seeing my friends and loved ones infected and
affected by this virus," Harris said. He is the housing case
manager for Street Works, an agency that works to prevent
sexually transmitted diseases in the city.
Harris and Ron Crowder, the group's executive director,
made their first visits to Washington this week to tell
members of Congress what they're
seeing on the streets. "We know AIDS affects people from
Yale and people from jail," Crowder said. "It's now a
disease of people from park benches to Park Avenue. And we
hope to get our message through to Congress and the Bush
Fatima Prioleau, 42, rounded up about 30 people from
churches in New York to take a bus to Washington. "People of
faith are concerned about this epidemic, but there is
silence," said Prioleau, a math teacher and mother of five
who has been HIV-positive for about 13 years. "Our goal is
to break that silence in the church." Tim Murphy, one of the
organizers of the Campaign to End AIDS, said the idea for a
more diverse and textured coalition had been percolating for
a couple of years. "There's a general public perception
that AIDS is not a problem right now," he said. "This is not
1989. We have the tools to treat this now. They're just not
accessible for a huge percentage of the population."
2005 The Washington Post Company
A Conspiracy of Silence
NNPA News Service
Ok, I admit it. I've been in denial. AIDS is
in fact a conspiracy to kill black people.
I finally realized the truth in June, when the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention reported that African
Americans represent about half of all people living with HIV
in the country. We are only 12 percent of the population.
If that fact is not enough to get you thinking, also notice
that 69% of new female HIV infections are among African
American women and, most horrifying, that a new five-city
study found 46% of black gay and bisexual men already
With numbers like that, there's got to be a something fishy
going on. The question, however, is whose conspiracy is it?
Alarming AIDS Case Needs Closer Scrutiny
NEW YORK — On the day after an announcement
that a rare strain of the AIDS virus was found in a
New York man, scientists said much work needed to be
done to assess how dangerous the virus is.
SOURCE: The New York Times
But, they quickly added, anything that scares
people away from using methamphetamine and having
unprotected sex with strangers is a useful
Even doctors who joined New York health officials
in making the announcement Friday said that it may
have been misinterpreted, because it is impossible
to say that an especially virulent bug is spreading
when only one person is known to have it, and that
person has been followed for only a few weeks.
National Institutes of Health
Blacks at Higher Risk for Death from Heart Failure
The results of a new study suggest that black patients with congestive heart failure are at higher risk for death and for worsening of their disease than similarly treated white patients.
"Congestive heart failure is a devastating disease affecting 600,000 black patients. If research confirms a difference between black and white survival and identifies the underlying cause of this difference, we may see improved treatment of blacks with heart failure and a greater understanding of this disease among all patients," said Dr. Claude Lenfant, Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHBLI), which funded the study.
Hepatitis C Drugs
Found LesEffective in Blacks
A treatment for the liver disease hepatitis C is far less effective among African-Americans than it is among whites, researchers said on Wednesday.According to a study in this week's New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Duke Univer-
sity Medical Center found 52 of 100 non-Hispanic whites showed no evidence of the hepatitis virus in their blood six months after treatment with the combination of peginterferon alfa-2b and ribavirin. The response rate was just 19 percent among the 100 African-American volunteers in the study. The reason the treatment is less effective in blacks is unknown and more research is necessary, said Andrew Muir, the study's chief author. He said African-American patients should be warned that the drugs may not be effective, but they should continue to be considered for treatment. Nearly all the volunteers in the study suffered from the most common form of hepatitis C, one that is difficult to treat.
More Than a Million in U.S. Live With HIV
ATLANTA Jun 13, 2005
— More than a million Americans
are believed to be living with the virus that causes AIDS, the
government said Monday in a report that reflects both a victory and a
failure at combating the disease.
While better medicines are keeping more people with HIV alive,
government health officials have failed to "break the back" of the AIDS
epidemic by their stated goal of 2005. This is believed to be the first
time the 1 million mark has been passed since the height of the epidemic
in the 1980s.
Study on Disparities in Maternal and Infant Health
health disparities between different racial/ethnic
subgroups is a national priority. Even at the earliest stages of pregnancy,
disparities in health are evident. A new study documents persistent
disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy, prenatal care, and
breastfeeding in California between women of different incomes, educational
and racial/ethnic groups. While, overall, the state experienced an
improvement in these maternal and infant health measures, the aggregate
improvements masked persistent gaps between different groups of women.
SOURCE: Kid's Health
Overweight an Important Factor in Increasing Rates of High Blood Pressure Among Children and Teens
SOURCE: National Institutes of Health
Stroke Recovery Rates Slower for African Americans
SOURCE: United Press International
OTC Pain Medications Can Be Dangerous
SOURCE: National Institutes of Health
African American Teens at Greater Risk of Tobacco Addiction