Friday, February 18, 2011

Update on HIV, STDs, and Viral Hepatitis

The Maine HIV, STD, and Viral Hepatitis program has updated its web site. For easy access to information and resources, check out

The Sixth Annual Comprehensive Sexuality Education Conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 7 at the Augusta Civic Center.

Keynote speaker is Pamela Wilson, M.S.W., author of Our Whole lives: Sexuality Education for Grades 7-9. Workshops focus on foundational knowledge and skills, networking opportunities, and innovative ideas to put into practice.

The cost is $40 before March 18 and $50 after March 18.

The conference is co-sponsored by: Family Planning Association of Maine; Maine Department of Education; Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention, an Office of the Department of Health & Human Services; New Beginnings; University of Maine Farmington; and the Maine Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.

For more information and to register:


The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has released the report HIV Screening and Access to Care: Exploring the Impact of Policies on Access to and Provision of HIV Care. The report examines how Federal and State laws and policies and private health insurance policies affect entry into clinical care and the provision of continuous and sustained care for people with HIV.

US CDC has published an article on disparities in HIV diagnoses among African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities.


US CDC published the article Discordant Results from Reverse Sequence Syphilis Screening” in the MMWR.

Viral Hepatitis

US CDC has made new patient education materials related to hepatitis available on its website.

The following articles have been published in the MMWR:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update on Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Recommended Immunization Schedules for Children

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has issued its annual Recommended Immunization Schedules for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 Years:

National Vaccine Plan

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has unveiled a new National Vaccine Plan to enhance coordination of all aspects of federal vaccine and immunization activities. Its goal is to ensure that all Americans can access the preventive benefits of vaccines.

Tdap Vaccination Strategies

Representatives from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America co-authored a report titled Tdap Vaccination Strategies for Adolescents and Adults, Including Health Care Personnel, which is available at

The report is intended to help health care organizations of all types (hospitals, long term care facilities, ambulatory settings, home health organizations, etc.) improve Tdap vaccination rates.

The report notes that some important changes to the previously published ACIP recommendations were approved at the October 2010 ACIP meeting:

  1. For adults ages 65 years and older, a single dose of Tdap vaccine may be given in place of a tetanus and diphtheria toxoids (Td) vaccine in persons who have not received Tdap.
  2. Adults ages 65 years and older who have or anticipate having close contact with an infant age less than 12 months should receive a single dose of Tdap to protect against pertussis and reduce the likelihood of transmission of pertussis to infants age less than 12 months.
  3. Tdap can be administered regardless of the interval since the last tetanus- or diphtheria-containing vaccine.
  4. Children ages 7 through 10 years who are not fully immunized against pertussis and for whom no contraindication to pertussis vaccines exists should receive a single dose of Tdap to provide protection against pertussis. If additional doses of tetanus and diphtheria toxoid–containing vaccines are needed, then children ages 7 through 10 years should be vaccinated according to catch-up guidance.

PCR Diagnosing of Pertussis – Best Practices

US CDC has issued a Health Alert on the best practices for health care professionals related to the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for diagnosing pertussis in light of the continuing resurgence of pertussis and the likelihood that health care professionals will see more patients with suspected pertussis.

Influenza Update

Flu is widespread in Maine. In the week ending Feb. 12, there were seven new outbreaks – one in a long term care facility and six in K-12 schools. It is not too late to be vaccinated against the flu this season. To obtain flu vaccine, contact your health care provider, or look up clinics at or

Weekly updates on flu activity are available

Friday, February 4, 2011

What do you know about cardiovascular disease?

It’s American Heart Month and this month’s edition of US CDC’s Vital Signs focuses on cardiovascular disease and what we can do to increase control of high blood pressure and cholesterol -- reducing the number of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Today is National Wear Red Day, established to raise awareness about heart disease in women. Heart disease is the number one killer of women. It can begin early, even in the teen years. A woman's risk for heart disease rises between the ages of 40 and 60. No matter how old you are, you can take steps to lower your risk for heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease claims the lives of more than 800,000 adults each year, 150,000 of whom are under the age of 65. Every 39 seconds, an adult dies from a cardiovascular disease such as a heart attack or stroke. Know what to ask your doctor if you have high blood pressure. Know the signs and symptoms of heart attack.

Managing your cholesterol is another way to help keep your heart healthy.

Check out My Life Check from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. For more information on cardiovascular health, visit