Mobile Version - January - February 2016

From the Director Dr. Jonathan Mermin

Happy New Year! A number of recent developments for 2016. Overall, the annual number of HIV diagnoses in the United States are down by 19 percent over the last 10 years. The steepest declines were among black women. New analyses also show diagnoses for young black gay and bisexual men, a group that had seen increases in incidence previously, have been stable over the past few years. Also, in the federal budget for 2016, Congress modified the restrictions on federal funding of syringe services to allow funds to be used for programs under certain circumstances. CDC received an increase for the President’s Combatting Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria (CARB) initiative, and some of this increase will be used to fight antimicrobial resistant tuberculosis and gonorrhea. Four recent clinical trials of a 12-week course of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir showed high efficacy in treating patients with Hepatitis C infection. I look forward to more progress in 2016 and to hearing about your work, challenges, and successes.

2014 School Health Profiles Published

The 2014 School Health Profiles report was published last month. The report shows that a low percentage of schools teach all 16 sexual health education topics identified by CDC as essential, and the percentage varies widely by state for both high school and middle school students. While most middle school students aren’t sexually active, data from CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) indicate that 30% of 9th graders are already sexually experienced, and 7% have had 4 or more partners. The data show the need for school systems to reach youth with information and skills so they know how to make informed, healthy choices before they become sexually active. Students should receive age-appropriate instruction across key areas of sexual health in high school and middle school.

CDC Launches HIV Risk Reduction Tool

CDC released recently a pilot version of the HIV Risk Reduction Tool (HRRT). The tool features an interactive module that enables users to compare the risks of different sexual activities and to see how one or a combination of prevention methods – such as condoms, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), or HIV treatment for those living with HIV – could reduce the risk of HIV. Users can also customize the information to see risks for discordant couples. Issued as a beta release, CDC anticipates continued refinements and updates as user feedback and new advances in prevention science are made.