Posts tagged with Hiv

DCAP has expanded HIV testing hours!

Well, the word is out! DCAP is expanding its HIV testing hours starting next week, June 3rd! We will be open for walk-in rapid testing from 10:00AM - 6:00PM. This is a very exciting opportunity for individuals seeking HIV testing but work during our regular business hours.

You are welcome to contact Kt West, the HIV Prevention Coordinator at 785-843-0040 or dcapedu@sunflower.com

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National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day

National Youth HIV and AIDS Awreness Day (NYHAAD) is intended to be a wake-up call for America's youth. They are the first generation never to have known a world without HIV/AIDS. One in four new HIV infections in the U.S. is in a 13 to 24-year-old. Every month, 1,000 young people are infected with HIV. Sixty-three percent of millennials say the government should spend more on HIV/AIDS.

As the NYHAAD website puts it, "While there has been much talk about an AIDS-Free Generation, we know that it's not possible without our nation's youth. Young people and their allies are determined to end this epidemic once and for all, and this day is a way to acknowledge the great work young people are already engaging in to do so."

At DCAP, we invite all to an event to raise HIV awareness on Thursday, April 11 at "Abe & Jakes" Please join us at 7PM to see our Mr. Pharmacy Pageant in action!

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KU Alums Come Home Performance To Benefit Douglas County AIDS Project (DCAP)

We are very excited that the playwright and alum Bill Russell is returning to the University of Kansas to direct the production "Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens" this week. We would like to thank all current students, faculty, and alumni who make up the cast for offering this benefit to our community with the proceeds to be contributed to the Douglas County AIDS Project (DCAP).

The production is a part of Alums Come Home IV, a weekend-long event held by the Department of Theatre every five years. During that time alums return to the University of Kansas to participate in productions, teach master classes and workshops, and lead panel discussions with both students and faculty. "Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens" was developed in the late 1980s by Russell and Hood in response to the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt, a quilt patched together to memorialize those who have passed away from the illness, the play brings together characters both living and dead whose lives have been touched by HIV/AIDS. The characters create a cycle of poetry, using verse, music, and dance to tell their stories. Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, with book and lyrics by Bill Russell and music by Janet Hood, will be staged by the University of Kansas’ University Theatre on February 28 and March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and March 3 at 2:30 p.m. in the Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall.

Reserved seat tickets are on sale in the KU ticket offices: University Theatre, 864-3982, and Lied Center, 864-ARTS, and online at kutheatre.com. Tickets are $18 for the public, $17 for senior citizens and KU faculty and staff, and $10 for all students. All major credit cards are accepted.

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New Service: Rapid HIV Testing at Douglas County AIDS Project

The Douglas County AIDS Project is happy to announce that as of January we will now offer free rapid HIV testing by appointment.

DCAP is excited to have this opportunity to work very closely with the community to reduce the transmission of HIV in Douglas, Franklin and Jefferson Counties. We look forward to testing more individuals in the next year and expanding our services to more populations in this region.

The Clearview HIV 1/2 test can give you a rapid HIV test result in 15 to 20 minutes. This technology is ideal for those that would like to know their HIV status in a short period of time. The test is very simple to perform and requires a very small sample of blood that is collected by a finger prick.

Individuals that would like to schedule an appointment for rapid testing will need to contact our office and schedule an appointment. Interested persons should plan to schedule 30-45 minutes per appointment.

Please contact DCAP for more information: 843-0040 or visit: www.douglascountyaidsproject.org

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KU chemistry professor gets $1.38 million grant to study HIV vaccines

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A $1.38 million grant to a Kansas University chemistry professor will go toward research into the development of HIV vaccines, the university announced this week.

Heather Desaire, a professor of chemistry at KU, received the grant from the National Institutes of Health.

A research group led by Desaire, along with researchers at the Duke University Medical Center and Harvard Medical Center, will examine post-translational modifications — changes made to the proteins that make up a vaccine — in possible HIV vaccines, which could help developers determine which possible vaccines are most effective, according to a KU release.

Since coming to KU’s chemistry department in 2002, Desaire has won a William T. Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation.

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Kansans urged to mark HIV Vaccine Awareness Day by getting tested

An HIV clinic was held Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, at the Kansas Union. A simple oral swab is used for the testing.

An HIV clinic was held Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, at the Kansas Union. A simple oral swab is used for the testing. by Kevin Anderson

Friday is HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment encourages all Kansans to get tested for HIV regardless of risk.

In 2010, 57 percent of the newly diagnosed HIV cases in Kansas were also diagnosed with AIDS.

“The first step in preventing HIV from becoming AIDS is to be tested and be tested early,” said Brenda Walker, director of KDHE’s Bureau of Disease Control and Prevention. “Those who first learn of their HIV status when they already have AIDS have less likelihood of keeping their immune systems healthy long term. Testing is crucial for people who are at risk for acquiring HIV. Knowing your HIV status is critical.”

Douglas County AIDS Project will be providing free and confidential HIV testing from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt. The testing will be provided on a walk-in basis; no appointments are necessary.

If you can’t make the event, DCAP provides free testing at its office, 2518 Ridge Court, Suite 101. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, call 843-0040.

Free testing also is available in Lawrence at:

Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, 200 Maine, Suite B, 843-0721.

• Haskell Health Center, 2415 Mass., 843-3750.

To find other locations, visit www.hivtest.org.

Each year, residents help raise awareness about the continued search for an HIV vaccine by wearing the red AIDS ribbon upside down so the ends of the ribbon form a ‘V’ for vaccine. 

For information about HIV/AIDS awareness events in Kansas, visit http://www.kdheks.gov/hiv.

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Health officials encourage HIV testing

Kevin Anderson/Journal-World Photo.An HIV clinic was held Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, at the Kansas Union. Candy and condoms were on hand to give away to those who got tested.

Kevin Anderson/Journal-World Photo.An HIV clinic was held Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, at the Kansas Union. Candy and condoms were on hand to give away to those who got tested. by Kevin Anderson

Olivia Burchett, education and outreach coordinator with the Douglas County AIDS Project, has a tough role: convincing people to get tested for a life-changing illness.

“It can be a pretty nerve-racking thing,” said Burchett Wednesday at the Kansas Union, where she performs frequent — and free — HIV testing. “It’s a scary thing. It does take a degree of self reflection.”

During weekly testings at Kansas University, Burchett said they may see only four or five people coming in for testing during a four-hour shift.

Burchett promises the testing is a quick and painless process. Instead of needles, Burchett uses oral swabs that are kept in someone’s mouth for several minutes.

“It’s easy,” she said. “Shouldn’t hurt, just tastes salty.”

Kevin Anderson/Journal-World Photo.Olivia Burchett, prevention coordinator with the Douglas County Aids Project, hosted an HIV clinic that was held Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, at the Kansas Union.

Kevin Anderson/Journal-World Photo.Olivia Burchett, prevention coordinator with the Douglas County Aids Project, hosted an HIV clinic that was held Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, at the Kansas Union. by Kevin Anderson

In two weeks, the results come in. And if someone does test positive, there’s a confirmation process using a secondary testing procedure. The key, in addition to prevention, is finding out early if someone has HIV, Burchett said. DCAP offers free counseling and case management, and most people can qualify for funding assistance for medications that can significantly prolong someone’s life. DCAP currently has about 70 HIV positive clients in their region, which encompasses Douglas, Franklin and Jefferson counties.

Tre Belton, a Phi Beta Sigma fraternity member and KU sophomore who helped coordinate the event, said he understands why some might shy away from the test, as no one wants to be seen getting an HIV test.

But, he doesn’t buy the argument that the fear or embarrassment should keep someone from taking care of their health.

“They can’t have any excuses,” said Belton of the free and frequent testing options. But “some people just don’t want to know.”

HIV information and facts

Where to Get Tested:

• Douglas County Aids Project, or DCAP, offers free testing Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at their offices at 2518 Ridge Court. For questions, call 843-0040.

• DCAP also offers free testing at frequent events. Check douglascountyaidsproject.org for upcoming dates.

• Lawrence Douglas County Health Department, 200 Maine. Testing offered between 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m., on a sliding scale fee.

• Personal physician’s office for a fee.

The Process:

• DCAP uses oral swabs — placed inside a patient’s mouth for several minutes — to test for HIV.

• After the test, confidential courier transports the specimens to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment lab.

• If the lab’s initial testing of the oral swab is positive for HIV, another more specific test is used to confirm the results. DCAP receives results in about 10 to 14 days and will call the patient for notification.

If You Test Positive:

• Will be referred into short-term case management at KDHE to help coordinate medical services and refer for counseling if needed.

• HIV positive individuals needing financial assistance for health care and medications can enroll in several assistance programs. To be eligible, an HIV positive person in Kansas must have an income under the 300th percentile of the 2011 poverty level, or about $32,000.

• Once an individual tests positive, that information is confidentially kept on record for statistical purposes.

Moving forward

• Health officials will encourage those who test positive to notify other sexual partners who have may have been infected.

• Continued case management is available through DCAP.

HIV by the numbers

• There were about 2,500 people with HIV in Kansas in 2009, and 92 in Douglas County.

• Between 2000 and 2008, the number of Kansans with HIV more than doubled.

  • Statistics provided by the KDHE
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KU engineering professor developing gel that can better protect from HIV

Sarah Kieweg, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Kansas University, has received a $1.3 million grant to expand her research into developing a gel for women that can boost protection from HIV.

Sarah Kieweg, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Kansas University, has received a $1.3 million grant to expand her research into developing a gel for women that can boost protection from HIV.

Sarah Kieweg, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, recently received a $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to expand her research into developing a gel for sexually active women that can boost protection from HIV.

“This microbicidal gel needs to protect all the vaginal surfaces. It needs to be spreading where it needs to go and keeping the drug where it needs to be, so the basics of the research involve examining the fluid mechanics of how that gel will spread around,” Kieweg said in a news release.  “It’s a very complex problem with a very complex approach, but I really want to improve women’s health, so it’s a worthwhile challenge to tackle.”

Kieweg’s team is using computer modeling and other methods to create an instrument to assist in predicting how the gels will move in an effort to make the microbicidal substance as effective as possible. Kieweg hopes the gel also will have the ability to prevent other diseases such as chlamydia.

Sarah Kieweg

Sarah Kieweg

Kieweg's research partners are:

• Kyle Camarda, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering

• Scott Hefty, assistant professor of molecular biosciences

• Carl Weiner, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at KU Medical Center

•Stevin Gehrke, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering

“Health care innovation — whether through new cures, new treatments or through novel means of prevention — has far-reaching advantages for our society. Assistant Professor Kieweg’s research in this area could have significant benefits to women around the world. This is exciting research, and we look forward to her continued success in this crucial area.”

— Dean of Engineering Stuart Bell

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

• There were 11,200 new HIV infections among women in the United States in 2009.

• 1 in 139 women will be diagnosed with HIV infection at some point in her lifetime.

• Most women are infected with HIV through heterosexual sex. Some women become infected because they may be unaware of a male partner’s risk factors for HIV infection or have a lack of HIV knowledge and lower perception of risk.

• There were 8,647 AIDS diagnoses among women in 2009.

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New AIDSVu map “clearest picture yet” of HIV in U.S. counties and states

It is indeed an amazing view, by state, county, gender, and age, of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. The site was launched today, but the disease been with us for 30 years, and is still - and will be -- affecting hundreds of thousands of people's lives.

The AIDSVu site is designed to be useful and help prevent more infection, says Dr. Patrick Sullivan, associate professor of epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Sullivan led the project that developed AIDSVu. Basically, he says in a video on the site, AIDSVu shows that for people living in many areas of the country, HIV is all around, which means that if you're between the ages of 13 and 64, the CDC recommends you be tested for HIV. "That's especially important if you're living in a place where a lot of people are living with HIV," he says.

The site provides a quick lookup to find an HIV testing site near you, information about state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs and how to get involved in community volunteer programs. A snappy one-minute video marches through eye-opening AIDS facts, including that 230,000 people don't know that they have HIV, and that one person is infected every 9.5 minutes.

Here's an explainer of how the map was put together and what it means.

There's a more detailed explanation of how the data was gathered, processed and should be interpreted on the data section of the site. For example, they advise caution in interpreting data from counties that contain institutions such as prisons and military bases, because that can inflate the county rate and case count. And, to protect the privacy of people who are living with HIV, the map doesn't display rates and case counts when the number of those infected with HIV are less than five, and/or there are less than 1,000 people living in the county.

The map will continue to be updated. That's useful -- those states appearing in dark gray don't have their data displayed yet.

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KU graduate talks about work in impoverished area of Tanzania, how Lawrence fundraiser will help

Jenny Peck and Geoff Knight, both Kansas University graduates, are pictured in a village in Mufindi, Tanzania, where they work. In March 2011, they stood in front of a house where women gather to weave baskets. All of the women are HIV positive or are caring for children who are orphans because of HIV. Their baskets will be sold during a fundraising event Saturday evening at The Oread.

Jenny Peck and Geoff Knight, both Kansas University graduates, are pictured in a village in Mufindi, Tanzania, where they work. In March 2011, they stood in front of a house where women gather to weave baskets. All of the women are HIV positive or are caring for children who are orphans because of HIV. Their baskets will be sold during a fundraising event Saturday evening at The Oread.

Two Kansas University graduates are working to improve the lives of people in Mufindi, Tanzania, where poverty and HIV are prevalent.

Jenny Peck, 28, and her husband, Geoff Knight, 29, have been working in the country since 2008, and they enjoy it.

“It is very different, but it’s a very wonderful place to live,” she said. “The poverty level there is outstanding, and yet you go visit a home and they will go to their gardens and give you whatever they can. They will send you home with a chicken or a bag of potatoes just for visiting.”

The two work for a nongovernmental organization called Foxes Community and Wildlife Conservation Trust. It was founded in 2005 to:

• Provide shelter, education and medical care for orphans and foster families.

• Curtail the spread of HIV-AIDS.

• Teach life skills such as language, financial, vocational and self-sufficiency.

• Create hope for future generations.

Geoff Knight, a Kansas University graduate, met with women in Mufindi, Tanzania, who make baskets to earn income. These women are either HIV positive or caring for children who are orphans because of HIV.

Geoff Knight, a Kansas University graduate, met with women in Mufindi, Tanzania, who make baskets to earn income. These women are either HIV positive or caring for children who are orphans because of HIV.

Knight oversees building projects and makes sure donations are being allocated correctly to the projects that they were earmarked for.

Peck manages a children’s village, where children live if they are orphans or their parents are unable to care for them. There are about 60 children living there now.

She also is community outreach coordinator, and among her duties are educating women about HIV and getting tested. She said 45 percent of women, ages 20-60, are HIV positive there.

Peck said the organization has a program that provides milk powder to women who are HIV positive.

“There are no cows in our area. There’s no goats to provide milk, so we have to resort to milk powder,” she said. “It’s very, very expensive. One can lasts maybe three to four days for an infant and one can costs $12 to $15 — no villager is going to be able to afford that. It may be half of their monthly salary.”

Jenny Peck, a Kansas University graduate, is holding Melania, one of the children at the children's village in Mufini, Tanzania. They were at a clinic where Melania was getting tested for HIV/AIDS. She was negative.

Jenny Peck, a Kansas University graduate, is holding Melania, one of the children at the children's village in Mufini, Tanzania. They were at a clinic where Melania was getting tested for HIV/AIDS. She was negative.

Knight’s family, who lives in Lawrence, and other local friends have organized “Mufindi Day in Lawrence” on Saturday to help raise money for the organization. Peck said the money will help provide milk powder and a new home-based care program. The program will train Tanzanians, who have little or no medical background, to provide HIV education and testing during home visits.

Peck and Knight work with about 35,000 people in 16 villages, and there is no hospital or medical center. There are just five dispensaries that provide very basic care. She said women often have their children at home.

“There’s no health care in our area right now that is appropriate,” she said.

But, she said, plans are under way to build a health center and hospital, and they are raising money.

Peck said her work is like a dream come true. It’s the kind of work that she’s wanted to do since she was 12.

After graduating from KU, she joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to Mufindi. While there, she met the founders of Foxes Community and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Knight and Peck dated for about one and a half years while at KU.

“Geoff followed me all the way around the world," she said. Now, they have two children, ages 17 months and 10 weeks.

“We love it. If it were up to us, we would spend the rest of our life there trying to create projects that are sustainable for the community,” she said. “But if we do our jobs successfully, they won’t need us anymore.”


MUFINDI DAY IN LAWRENCE

Lawrence residents have organized a 5K race and “Cocktails for a Cause” on Saturday, May 14, to provide care for people in Mufindi, Tanzania.

The 5K race begins at 8 a.m. at Hollywood Southwind 12 Theatre, 3433 Iowa. Cost is $25 and then $30 on race day. It is a timed race, and there will be medals and refreshments.

Pre-register and packet pickup will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Gary Gribbles Running Store, 839 Mass. Race day registration and packet pickup is from 6:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. at the theater. For more information or to register online, visit mufindiorphanslawrence.com.

“Cocktails for a Cause and Silent Auction” will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Oread, 1200 Oread Ave. The silent auction will include local items as well as woven baskets, textiles, jewelry and other crafts made by the people of Mufindi. The Oread is donating a portion of proceeds from each “Mufindi Martini” to the cause.

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State health officer gives Top 10 challenges facing Kansans in 2011

The state health officer wants to reduce the demand for medical services: tests, doctors and hospitals.

That would mean Kansans are living healthier, more productive and longer lives. It also would relieve the growing burden of health care costs on taxpayers, insurance payers and everyone else.

“As a country, we’ve got a bigger burden than anyone else in the world in having to cover that cost, which is a sixth of our whole economy,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, also health director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The good news is that there’s a lot public health can do at the local and state levels to reduce demand.

Here’s what he considers the Top 10 health challenges — in no specific order — in Kansas, and how they can be addressed:

Kansas State Health Officer Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips on Dec. 13, 2010, holds a cigarette during a news conference on a new government report that shows the immediate health risks linked to smoking. He said everytime a Kansan lights up they should ask him or herself if this is the cigarette that will give them a deadly disease.

Kansas State Health Officer Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips on Dec. 13, 2010, holds a cigarette during a news conference on a new government report that shows the immediate health risks linked to smoking. He said everytime a Kansan lights up they should ask him or herself if this is the cigarette that will give them a deadly disease. by Scott Rothschild

1. Tobacco use

One in six Kansans are addicted to tobacco.

Eberhart-Phillips would like to see more activism and advocacy in protecting youth from developing the addiction.

He is hoping the state, with the help of new Gov. Sam Brownback, will increase cigarette taxes to discourage kids from smoking and to give adult smokers the nudge that they need to quit smoking. He has talked to Missouri’s state health officer, who plans to push for a cigarette tax increase as well. Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax in the country.

Also, “we need to preserve, protect and potentially enhance the Indoor Clean Air legislation, and really make it embedded in our culture that public places are not places to release toxic chemicals,” Eberhart-Phillips said.

2. Obesity and the chronic diseases associated with it

Sixty-two percent of Kansas adults are overweight or obese, and one of the most common diseases related to being overweight is diabetes.

“What ought to be a relatively rare disease now affects as many as one in seven Kansas adults,” Eberhart-Phillips said. A new study projects that will increase to one in three by 2050.

He said it can be addressed by improving access to healthy foods at schools, workplaces and restaurants, and by creating infrastructure that encourages walking and bicycling.

“We need more development like Massachusetts Street and less like 23rd Street in our cities, or South Iowa even gets me more annoyed. I cannot go from one store to another unless I first get in my car, even though everything I need is down there,” he said.

Kansas is in the top third of states for adult obesity rates, according to a survey released in June 2010.

Kansas is in the top third of states for adult obesity rates, according to a survey released in June 2010.

3. Fatal injuries

Too many Kansans die before they reach retirement age because of injuries, he said.

He said increased seat-belt use, helmet use and suicide prevention are a few efforts that could help reduce the problem.

In some states, he said, seat-belt use is 90 to 95 percent. In Kansas, it’s 75 to 85 percent.

“In our rural communities where the risks are the highest and the deaths are the most common, it’s much lower than that,” he said.

About one Kansan dies every day from suicide.

“Lawrence has a lot of activists in the area, and they are right,” he said. “This is a problem that we’ve neglected for too long, and it really is going to take some cultural change.”

Karen Smart, Lawrence, talks about her late son Jacob Wessel after attending a National Survivors of Suicide Day event Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, in downtown Lawrence. Her son died by suicide on April 19, 2010, at age 15. She made a mini-collage of Jacob's pictures, at left.

Karen Smart, Lawrence, talks about her late son Jacob Wessel after attending a National Survivors of Suicide Day event Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, in downtown Lawrence. Her son died by suicide on April 19, 2010, at age 15. She made a mini-collage of Jacob's pictures, at left. by Richard Gwin

4. Environment

Eberhart-Phillips said childhood lead poisoning and prairie burning are concerns.

“We had 140 cases of lead poisoning in our most recent year: 2008. Two-thirds of those were under age 2, when it’s going to have the most lifelong impact on their brain development and ability to learn,” he said.

He said the seasonal, controlled prairie fires can push air quality measures to unsafe levels. The state is studying the issue to see if it is a health risk, especially for people with asthma, heart disease or other illnesses.

“We want to make sure we are not adversely affecting people’s health and find maybe better ways to do that,” he said.

5. Infant mortality

Eberhart-Phillips said the United States has a higher infant mortality rate than other developed countries.

To make matters worse, Kansas’ rate is high among the states.

“We used to do better than the rest of country, and now we are 20 percent higher than the rest of the country,” he said. “That’s pretty alarming.”

Gabriel Bush is held by his father, Russ Bush of Lawrence, Oct. 14, 2010, at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. LMH is part of a statewide collaborative effort to educate parents and caregivers about safe sleep habits for infants. It encourages parents to watch a new video, "ABC's of Safe Sleep." The video talks about the importance of placing an infant alone, on its back, and in a crib for safe sleep.

Gabriel Bush is held by his father, Russ Bush of Lawrence, Oct. 14, 2010, at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. LMH is part of a statewide collaborative effort to educate parents and caregivers about safe sleep habits for infants. It encourages parents to watch a new video, "ABC's of Safe Sleep." The video talks about the importance of placing an infant alone, on its back, and in a crib for safe sleep. by Kevin Anderson

6. HIV and STDs

Eberhart-Phillips said there have been significant increases in HIV cases and sexually transmitted diseases.

Ninety new HIV cases were reported in 2008, a 34 percent increase from four years earlier.

There have been 7,700 cases of chlamydia — an STD that can cause infertility and other problems — among young adults, ages 15 to 24, per year.

“A lot of work needs to go into it preventing this,” he said.

7. Immunization

Kansas has gone from ninth worst in the country when it comes to immunization rates to seventh best.

Still, he said, there are a lot of unimmunized children, and that can lead to outbreaks. For example, in some parts of the country, whooping cough has surged to levels not seen in 50 years.

“It could well come to Kansas,” he said.

He said the state is “woefully insufficient” in adult vaccination. He is especially disturbed by the number of health providers who don’t receive a flu shot.

“Of all people, they ought to know better,” he said. “So, that certainly is an area of concern.”

Nancy Reese, center, and her husband, Jim, stopped to get their flu shots from volunteer Barbara Schnitker Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, during Lawrence's first drive-through flu shot clinic.

Nancy Reese, center, and her husband, Jim, stopped to get their flu shots from volunteer Barbara Schnitker Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, during Lawrence's first drive-through flu shot clinic. by Kevin Anderson

8. Oral health

One in four Kansas children suffer from untreated tooth decay, which hinders their ability to perform well in school.

“We are one of the worst states in the nation in terms of fluoridating our water, which would be a cheap and effective way to undo much of that decay,” Eberhart-Phillips said.

Only 44 percent of Kansans get fluoridated water in their homes. City of Lawrence residents get fluoridated water.

Also, many communities lack primary care dental services. Fourteen counties don’t have a dentist, and another 14 don’t have enough dentists to serve their populations.

Dr. Cheryl Biesterfeld, left, and dental assistant Kristin Parrish work on 11-year-old Ethan Bryan, Lawrence, at the Douglas County Dental Clinic on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2010. The clinic helps fill a need in the region by accepting Medicaid patients because so few dentists do.

Dr. Cheryl Biesterfeld, left, and dental assistant Kristin Parrish work on 11-year-old Ethan Bryan, Lawrence, at the Douglas County Dental Clinic on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2010. The clinic helps fill a need in the region by accepting Medicaid patients because so few dentists do. by Kevin Anderson

9. Health care-associated infections

Every year, Americans contract 1.7 million infections while being treated in hospitals. These infections cost the country between $30 and $40 billion per year.

They are associated with about 99,000 deaths annually.

If these were counted as a cause of death, Eberhart-Phillips said it would be the sixth leading cause of death and largely preventable.

“We are going to find out how many there are in Kansas for certain types with a voluntary surveillance system that’s being set up now,” he said.

10. Access to quality care

One in eight Kansans have no health insurance. This doesn’t include those who are underinsured.

“The under-insurance problem, in some ways, is even bigger in that they are not counted as uninsured but they may as well be because the costs are preventing them from getting the care that they need,” Eberhart-Phillips said.

He said the Affordable Care Act’s goal of getting more Americans insured won’t work unless demand for medical services is reduced.

“We can’t add 32 million people if we are all going to be as sick as we are in 2010, because there isn’t enough money to pay for the health care,” Eberhart-Phillips said.

“We have to make it so you have less reason to use hospital services and you get more treatment on an outpatient basis, or you simply don’t need it at all because your environment has so well supported you in your active living and healthy eating and smoke-free lifestyle that you don’t come down with the diseases that are costing us so much now.”

Lawrence resident Ansib Chaudhry has his vitals taken by Health Care Access volunteer Nan Wang before being checked out by a doctor for some potentially fractured facial bones Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010, at Health Care Access, 330 Maine. The clinic provides medical care for low-income, uninsured Douglas County residents.

Lawrence resident Ansib Chaudhry has his vitals taken by Health Care Access volunteer Nan Wang before being checked out by a doctor for some potentially fractured facial bones Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010, at Health Care Access, 330 Maine. The clinic provides medical care for low-income, uninsured Douglas County residents. by Nick Krug

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Douglas County AIDS Project to offer free HIV testing as part of national event

March 20 is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

To mark the event, the Douglas County AIDS Project is offering free HIV testing and information from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.

American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians make up 1.2 percent of the national population, yet this group had the third largest rate of AIDS diagnosis, followed by blacks and Hispanics.

According to the Indian Health Service, American Indians and Alaska Natives face other public health disparities, including substance abuse and sexually transmitted diseases. These behaviors put the population at higher risk for HIV transmission.

“Not all infected persons may be aware of their status, creating great obstacles for HIV prevention,” said Sandra Springer, interim director of the HIV/AIDS program at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “Reaching Native populations with messages about HIV prevention and education is vital to community health and vitality.”

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