Tag Archive: disease

Prince Harry raises HIV awareness

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RAISING AWARENESS: If two blue spots had appeared on the tray, Prince Harry would have had to undergo further tests (Pic credit: Terrence Higgins Trust’s Twitter)

RAISING AWARENESS: If two blue spots had appeared on the tray, Prince Harry would have had to undergo further tests (Pic credit: Terrence Higgins Trust’s Twitter)

Royal tests himself live on Facebook

In an effort to raise awareness about HIV and encourage others to get checked out too, Prince Harry has been tested for the disease.

There are more than 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK.

Harry, who has recently made highlighting the issue of HIV a major element of his public work, visited a sexual health clinic for the simple finger-prick procedure.

The prince walked into a sexual health clinic in Burrell Street, central London, to receive his test, which was filmed live on Facebook.

He had to wait only a few moments to get his results, while his blood sample was mixed with chemicals and poured into a test tray.

The negative result was indicated by a blue spot seen in the tray.

However, if two spots had appeared he would have needed further tests to confirm if he was HIV positive.

The procedure was carried out by Robert Palmer, a lead health adviser and psychosexual counsellor, who said the prince was ‘anxious’.

Asked about the significance of a member of the Royal Family getting tested for HIV, Mr Palmer added: “It means this is a test for everybody - it doesn't matter who you are, it's a good idea to have an HIV test.”

Ian Green, chief executive of HIV-awareness charity, Terrence Higgins Trust, said the moment was ‘ground-breaking’.

He added: “Not only does it show His Royal Highness’s genuine and personal commitment to tackling the HIV epidemic, it will amplify a message to millions all over the world: testing for HIV is easy, quick and nothing to be feared.

“We have a real opportunity to end HIV transmissions in the UK, but it starts with each person knowing their HIV status.

“Too many people are either put off testing by the stigma that still surrounds HIV, or simply do not think HIV is an issue anymore.”

He said the Royal had ‘normalised’ testing to a global audience.

For those aged over 15 years old, the average HIV prevalence in the UK  is 1.9 per 1,000 population.

However for gay men the rate jumps to 48.7 per 1,000. Black African women are the second most at-risk group with a prevalence rate of 43.7 per 1,000.

Latest figures from Public Health England in 2014 estimated 18,100 people were unaware of their infection and at risk of unknowingly passing on the virus.

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India maps prevalence of killer disease

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KILLER: TB kills over 750 people a day in India and some strains are becoming drug resistant

KILLER: TB kills over 750 people a day in India and some strains are becoming drug resistant

Government officials will map how common drug-resistant TB is by December

Tuberculosis continues to be the number one infectious disease in India, and one of the greatest public health challenges, killing one person every two minutes, nearly 750 every day.

Two senior government officials said that by December, the country plans to release the results of its first-ever survey mapping how common drug-resistant TB is.

Such resistance has been described by the World Health Organisation as a major global threat to the treatment of the lung disease, which spreads through coughs and sneezes.

After China, India is estimated to have the largest number of such drug-resistant TB cases.

According to Reuters, the country has so far estimated the prevalence of drug-resistant TB only by conducting shorter, state-wide surveys.

It started a nationwide survey in 2014 with the aim of tracking 5,214 patients under the country's TB-control program.

The survey results would help improve detection of drug-resistant TB cases by making clear where it spreads in the largest number and inform the country's future TB-control strategy, said Sunil Khaparde, deputy director general of the national program.

While India has an estimated 2.1 million TB patients, only half of them are under the national program.

Many opt for private care over a strained public health system, which suffers from poor infection control and a lack of funding.

Director of Treatment Action Group, a New York-based policy think tank working on TB treatment access in India, Erica Lessem, said the survey would not cover those outside the national program. Yet, the results would be ‘incredibly important’.

Improvements in detecting drug-resistant TB in India would have a ‘huge global impact’ Lessem said. “One of the major problems with drug-resistant TB worldwide is that we are not able to detect enough cases ... we are missing hundreds of thousands of patients who can transmit it to others,” she added.

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