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Tuberculosis outbreak among transgendered leads to CDC warning
ATLANTA (AP)—A tuberculosis outbreak among transgender people living in Baltimore
and New York City may be spreading, the government said April 20. The CDC confirmed
26 active cases and 37 dormant cases of tuberculosis, most of them connected to transgender people in the two cities. The CDC uses the term "transgender" to encompasses cross-
dressers, those who have undergone sex-change procedures and individuals who are planning to undergo sex-change operations. All of the cases in Baltimore were men, except lor
four women who were either family members of the men or health care workers who treated them. The government said 62 percent of the tuberculosis pahents tested positive for
HfV, making them especially susceptible to TB. "Frequent travel and social network links
identified among the Baltimore and NYC cases have raised concern that this strain... may
be circulating in other cities among young, mobile transgender persons with HIV infection,"
the CDC said in a report. The CDC is checking for additional cases linked to the same strain
in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
European health agency issues warning on AIDS drug Viramune
BRUSSELS—The European Medicines Evaluation Agency has issued a warning about
use of the AIDS drug Viramune, following reports of potentially fatal side effects, Reuters
news service reported April 19. The European Union's drug administration said in an April
12 statement that pahents and doctors must take special care in the first eight weeks of
using Viramune, also called nevirapine. The EMEA said that some users.of the drug had
suffered severe skin and liver reactions and some had died. It said patients with a history
of skin and liver complaints should not use Viramune. South Africa recently halted trials of
another AIDS drug being administered in combination with nevirapine following the
deaths of five women in one trial.
On-line survey finds depression to be gays' top health concern
NEW YORK—Depression tops the list of health concerns for lesbian and gay men,
according to a health survey released by GayHealth.com. The survey ranked depression as
the top health concern, even surpassing HIV, for both lesbians (35 percent of those surveyed)
and gay men (32 percent of those surveyed). Compared with a similar study among heterosexuals, gay men and lesbians are twice as likely than their heterosexual counterparts to be
concerned about depression. The rest of the top five for gay men include prostate and testicular problems, HIV, sexually transmitted disease, and hepatitis; for lesbians, breast cancer, cervical cancer, menstrual pain and estrogen replacement followed depression as major
health concerns. GayHealth.com is a new web-site devoted exclusively to gay health issues,
and operated by gay medical professionals. The survey was used to launch the site April 15.
Health officials use lowrider car to bring AIDS message to Latinos
SACRAMENTO (AP)-The California
Department of Health Services is sending a
customized lowrider car across the state as a
"moving billboard" to teach Latino youths
about safe sex and AIDS. A Modesto car club
added hand-painted AIDS prevention murals
and slogans in Spanish and English to the
sides of the 1953 Chevy Bel Air. The vehicle
also features special hydraulics, chrome rims,
a sound system and upholstery. Latinos
account for nearly a third of new AIDS cases
in California, state officials said. California
Director of Health Diana Bonta said the
lowrider will travel to cultural events and car
shows for the next 18 months in an attempt to
reach out to Latino youths. It was unveiled
April 17 in Los Angeles by Bonta, Latina talk show host Cristina Sarlegui of Univision, and
Ricardo Gonzalez, publisher of lozvrider Magazine. Its first official stop will be April 30 at
Sacramento's Festival de la Familia.
High-fiber diet does not reduce colon cancer risk, studies say
ATLANTA—A high-fiber diet does not prevent the polyps that can lead to colorectal
cancer, according to two large studies published in this week's New England Journal of
Medicine, CNN reported. Each year 130,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 56,000 die from the disease. Previous research suggested a high-fiber diet could
reduce a person's risk of colorectal cancer, but those studies did not directly measure the
anti-cancer effects of a high-fiber diet. "There may be many reasons to eat a diet that is low
in fat and high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables or to supplement the diet with a food high in
cereal fiber, but preventing colorectal adenomas, at least for the first three to four years, is
not one of them," said Dr. Tim Byers of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in
an accompanying editorial. The study authors did express concern that the three-year
study may have not been long enough to see a difference in polyp development.
—From staff and wire reports
A hand-painted lowrider cor similar to this
one is being used to help educate Latino
youths in California about safe sex and AIDS.