June 2009 MedBytes: Human Immunodeficiency Virus

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Tex Med. 2009;105(6):56.  

In Texas, 62,000 people were living with HIV and AIDS in 2007. Annually, the number of newly reported HIV and AIDS diagnoses in Texas is about 4,600, while each year approximately 1,300 Texans die from the devastating diseases. Testing and screening for HIV infection are key to preventing the disease's spread. These resources contain tools physicians can use in fighting HIV.

American Medical Association
Through its Web site,  www.ama-assn.org , the American Medical Association updates physicians on the latest HIV information, with facts about the most important aspects of HIV infection, transmission, and treatment. The  HIV Web page  has some valuable tools for physicians. Resources include a statement on the AMA's  sterile syringe sales policy , information on  new treatments  approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and  coding guidelines  for routine HIV testing.

Texas Department of State Health Services
The HIV and sexually transmitted disease (STD) Web site of the Texas Department of State Health Services,  www.dshs.state.tx.us/hivstd , features resources physicians can use to assist them in caring for HIV-positive patients. Under Healthcare Providers, the  Disease Reporting  link has details on reporting forms and rules, as well as a list of notifiable conditions. The  Testing and Treatment Guidelines  page covers clinical management of HIV, AIDS, and STDs; protocol for treating HIV-positive pregnant women; HIV counseling and referral guidelines; and information on HIV screening of pregnant women. Additional resources include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's standards for the treatment of HIV and STDs, a list of HIV and STD service providers in Texas, and guidance for quality assurance and improvement.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Managing the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the United States by working with community, state, national, and international partners in surveillance, research, and prevention and evaluation activities is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) public health mission. The CDC Web site,  www.cdc.gov/hiv , has an overwhelming amount of information on HIV and AIDS. The  A to Z Index  covers everything from African-Americans to rapid testing to youth. The  e-publications  address health issues such as what health care workers need to know about exposure to blood and new approaches to preventing blood-borne infections among injection drug users.  Brochures  can be shared with patients and contain information on living with AIDS, taking part in research studies, and more. Set aside some time to explore the site's key resources, fact sheets, slide sets, podcasts, journal articles, reports, recommendations and guidelines, and many other tools.

National Institutes of Health
One of the unique characteristics of the National Institutes of Health's Web site,  www.aidsinfo.nih.gov , is its drug database. Physicians can find details on drugs used for HIV and AIDS treatments by alphabetical search or drug name. The site also has links for FDA-approved drugs and investigational drugs. Physicians can access research studies on drugs, vaccines, and other new or existing treatments for HIV and AIDS in the  Clinical Trials  portion of the Web site. The  Health Topics  page has information physicians can share with specific patient populations, such as minorities, Hispanics/Latinos, alcohol and other substance users, caregivers, deaf and hard of hearing, inmates, adolescents, and seniors. Resources for physicians include  cross-cultural educational toolshotlines , and  training guides  for treating and managing patients with HIV and AIDS.

Health Resources and Services Administration
The Health Resources and Services Administration Web site,  http://hab.hrsa.gov , outlines the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, a federal program that provides HIV-related health services to more than half-a-million people each year by working with cities, states, and local community-based organizations. The  Clinical Guidelines  portal directs you to publications on guidelines for treating HIV in adults and adolescents, pregnant women, and infants. Guides also cover prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections in HIV-infected and -exposed adults, adolescents, and children. And the site contains PDFs on  health care worker management  of occupational exposures to HIV.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, e-mail  Crystal Conde . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  

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