Hiv Infection, Wisconsin, Dr John discussed on Wisconsin's Weekend Morning News
The world continues to focus on the importance of ongoing research early detection as we are addressing a really a leading public health challenge in the world age this weekend. We had a chance to sit down and speak a link with Dr Steven A, John PHD assistant, professor Medical College of Wisconsin part of the department of psychiatry and behavioral medicine center for age intervention research. Dr John just does a beautiful job of breaking it down. So we can appreciate not only the challenge of age on a global situation. But also some of the breakthrough stuff going on in the lab right now. Well, Dr John first of all help us appreciate the relationship between HIV and aids itself, if you would sure well, I thanks for having me, Mark. I think the main thing is that aid stands for choir immune deficiency syndrome, which is. Caused by the virus HIV which stands for human immunodeficiency virus. So ages of is the last phase of the HIV infection in the body. What actually happens when that transition occurs as just a total breakdown in the immune system. Dr. Well, h attacks the body's immune system, which is the primary system. Our bodies have for fighting off infections in his eases. And if HIV is untreated a person's immune system breaks down over time. And we assess phases of HIV aids in stages and aids is the last phase when the body has very few t cells, or which are the ones that fight off infections, and when the immune system breaks down you're susceptible to all kinds of things. I am. I correct. Yes. This is when you become more susceptible to what we call opportunistic infections or some more rare infections. So that's one of the ways that HIV was initially a sort of identified early in that pedantic, doctor how common is aids itself in Wisconsin right now. Sure. The most recent statistics, we have our that. There are about six thousand people living with HIV in Wisconsin. And this is from the end of twenty sixteen and in two thousand seventeen there were two hundred and fifty nine new HSE diagnoses in Wisconsin. And I should say that in general, Wisconsin has fewer new HIV diagnoses compared to other states, especially compared to those in the south where the HIV epidemic currently much more severe. I would also like to say it's worth mentioning, however that we still have a lot of work to do to fight HIV, particularly here in Milwaukee. For instance, the rate of HIV infections within the city of Milwaukee nearly four times greater than that of the state of Wisconsin and above the national average and some groups of people are disproportionately affected, including our young black game bisexual men here in Milwaukee. And nationally why is it higher in Milwaukee? What's happening here, sir? Well, I just think that we have some different landscapes for access to care. So and we have a historically higher rate of bacterial sexually transmitted infections as well. So I think it just has to do with some of the network level prevalence. So we need to focus on increasing access HIV testing to get individuals diagnosed and linked to care. I know the testing is one of the is at the heart of your ongoing research. Dr and kids are kids are actually made available for testing at home for the patient. His or herself to do the testing explain that to me. Sure. So we now have HIV self testing kits that can be purchased over the counter without a prescription at local pharmacies, and you can even purchase these on Amazon. So even if we have issues with getting to a clinic for HIV testing and counseling we can still find ways to increase access by promoting the use of these self testing kits as well. Do you recommend them? Do you? Do you have good faith in in the the home kits? I do. There are a few caveats. I the testing that you get at a clinic based setting we like to talk about window periods of win. You might have been exposed to HIV, and when we can detect HIV with a test and currently the over the counter tests have have about a three month window period, which means you could have been exposed to HIV two months ago. And that tests might not notice it. But if you go to a clinic, we have much shorter window periods, which means that you can detect more acute or new infections. So while it does help increase a lot of access. We do have some concerns about their use as well. And how often should adults test themselves or have the test being done during their annual exam, for example. Well, I think the CDC recommends that individuals who are engaging in sexual activity be tested every about every six months, and then individuals who are at higher risk should be tested for HIV, perhaps every three months or so wouldn't a typical patient checks in for an annual exam annual exam as part of that has blood work done in the lab is is part of the blood screened for HIV as part of a normal order from the physician or not necessarily. Well, I'm not entirely sure what the normal protocols are buyer, local hospitals. But a lot of times we do have there is opt out screening. So you are tested for HIV unless you opt out of it. But I'm not familiar with the local protocols here is I am public health and not an MD if that makes under understand doctor while you're helping us a lot here. And better understand this issue. We're very grateful for it. In terms of advances being made in prevention and treatment overall for rates. Are we coming on that in your opinion as a professional researcher and in public health leader? Well, I think we are making really some great leaps and both prevention and treatment. So we have now it should be medications that can be taken before voter ID to help prevent you from getting HIV, and we call this pre exposure prophylaxis. So this has been available since two thousand twelve and approved by the FDA, and basically you can take a pill once a day to prevent your risk for HIV if you're ever exposed, and I like to think of these as being comparable to malaria pill, for instance, before international travel to some parts of the world has breakthrough stuff. Dr breakthrough stuff. It definitely is. And I think that there is a lot of future work being done to try to advance prep in particular. There are new drug formulations that allow that a lot of different dosing. So. There are some clinical trials ongoing with long acting injectable since that I've taken a daily pill. Individuals could get an injection about every eight weeks and a lot of our trajectory of research and new dosing formulations for prep is very similar to that of contraception for women, as we know that there is a menu of options for for how women can prevent pregnancy. Unfortunately, we only have about fifteen seconds left. Is there a cure doctor or is that still yet to come and actual cure? There is not a cure yet for HIV. But we know that individuals who are living with HIV can be treated successfully and live long healthy lives. So appreciative of your ongoing research or guidance and your public health leadership. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me, Mark. Dr Steven John. Thank you, sir. Take care now. Yeah. Dr John just doing some great leadership in public health and research just getting the word out on the challenge of aids an global on a global level, and certainly here right here in Wisconsin. Okay. Coming up.