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February 18, 2009
The American Academy of Pediatrics caused a brouhaha last year when it said that kids as young as 8 should be put on statin drugs if diet and exercise don't work to lower high cholesterol levels. Many of its own members wondered whether it was wise to put children on drugs that they'd have to stay on for several decades in the absence of pediatric studies showing that this approach is safe and effective at preventing future heart attacks. A new study, which may calm those worries, shows that fewer than 1 percent of American children ages 12 to 17 actually need these drugs anyway.
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February 12, 2009
We've heard the message: HIV is spreading rapidly, so the onus is on us to protect ourselves from getting infected in the first place. Still, even though HIV has been in the news quite a bit recently—especially since National Black HIV-AIDS Awareness Day on February 7—there are still clues that not everyone is listening. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey recently found that some gay and bisexual young black men admit to having risky sex. But there's also been encouraging news from basic research, including the potential that HIV might someday be eradicated via stem cell transplant.
The CDC's February 6 "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" gave the results of a small survey of young gay and bisexual black men living in Jackson, Miss., who were asked questions about the level of safety of their sexual activity. Jackson was selected because a sexually transmitted disease clinic there had reported a spike in HIV diagnoses among black men who had sex with men. Twenty of 29 survey respondents said they'd had unprotected anal intercourse during the 12 months prior to testing positive for HIV—and only three had thought themselves "likely" or "very likely" to get HIV in their lifetimes.