Article taken from November/December Newsletter 2013

The use of home testing kits for Chlamydia and gonorrhea could help overcome barriers to STD testing and help get people treated faster. The L.A. County Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Program’s “I Know” campaign encouraged women to order a free home STD testing kits and get their results either online or by phone. The program targeted young African American and Latina women, who may face higher barriers to care. In its 1st year, the 2,927 kits were distributed and 1,543 testable specimens received, of which 7.9% tested positive for Chlamydia and 1% for gonorrhea. Among 12-to-25-year-old women, the at-home testing rate was four times the average per-clinic testing rate at 12 local STD clinics. As hoped, young women of color ordered the most kits; the program was the least successful among Spanish speakers, women under 20, and women with gonorrhea. With improvements, the program could expand free and accessible STD testing for those who are at higher risk and/or face barriers to testing services.
American Journal of Public Health, August 2013

Hispanics are poorly represented in clinical trials despite their growing numbers in the U.S. and the fact that 75% express interest in participating in doctor-recommended clinical trials. While 30% of enrollees in National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) clinical trials are people of color, only 7.6% are Hispanics (African Americans comprise 15% of study participants). And, although cancer is Hispanics’ leading cause of death, they make up only 2¬–5% of participants in the nation’s 12,000-plus cancer trials. The low rates could be due to language barriers or cultural factors. A Texas program shows that using a “promotores” model (where individuals are trained to reach out to their community) can increase Hispanic participation in trials. During an NIH-funded trial on breast and cervical cancer treatment that ran from 2008 to 2013,promotores successfully recruited a significant number of Hispanic women, totaling 70% of the 500 study participants. Use of community outreach workers can help ensure that clinical trials include representation from all who might benefit from the research findings.
American Public Health Association, September 2013

A new estimate quantifies the scale of the HIV/AIDS epidemic among Black men who have sex with men (MSM) and finds that huge investments are needed to meet the needs of this population. Researchers estimate that there are approximately 735,690 Black MSM in the United States, 27% of whom (195,313) are living with HIV or AIDS. Fully one-quarter of those who are infected do not know their sero-status. Among Black MSM who know their sero-status, only 22% (43,390) are on antiretroviral treatments and have an undetectable viral load. To meet this epidemic, and reach the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, researchers estimate an investment of $2.475 billion is needed for housing, diagnostic services, care and treatment, and prevention services. The researchers express the hope that the new health care law will help people living with HIV/AIDS to access health care.
AIDS and Behavior, July 2013