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Friday, June 24, 2011

30th Commemoration of HIV/AIDS

National HIV Testing Day (NHTD): June 27


Thirty years ago this June, an article reporting the first known cases of what we now call AIDS was published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Since then, extraordinary progress has been made in treating and preventing HIV, and annual new infections have fallen by more than two-thirds since the height of the epidemic.

Despite this progress, HIV remains a crisis in our country. Over the last three decades, prevention efforts have helped reduce new infections and treatment advances have allowed people with HIV to live longer, healthier lives. But as these improvements have taken place, our nation's collective sense of crisis has waned. Far too many Americans underestimate their risk of infection or believe HIV is no longer a serious health threat, but they must understand that HIV remains an incurable infection. Today, the most infections are among people under 30—a new generation that has never known a time without effective HIV treatments and who may not fully understand the significant health threat HIV poses. The reality remains that about 50,000 new infections occur each year in the U.S. and, today, more than one million people are living with HIV in our nation. Reducing HIV rates in the U.S. is not only possible – it’s imperative – and new advances in HIV prevention hold promise in changing the course of this epidemic.

How can I find out more about HIV and AIDS?
You can call CDC-INFO at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636); TTY access 1-888-232-6348. CDC-INFO is staffed with people trained to answer your questions about HIV and AIDS in a prompt and confidential manner in English or Spanish, 24 hours per day. Staff at CDC-INFO can offer you a wide variety of written materials and put you in touch with organizations in your area that deal with HIV and AIDS.

On the Internet, you can get information on HIV and AIDS from www.AIDS.gov or www.cdc.gov/hiv


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Sunscreen Labels to Help you Get the Best Protection

Beginning next summer the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is changing sunscreen labels to make it easier for you to pick a product that offers the protection level you want.  The labels will clearly tell whether a sunscreen protects against sunburn, skin cancer and signs of premature skin aging; and whether it is a broad spectrum product.

Broad spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher will protect against all three.  Anything less than 15 SPF will only protect against sunburn and soon will be labeled with a warning that reads "Skin cancer/skin aging alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.  This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging".  Future labels will also include information on how much time a user can expect to get the declared SPF level of protection while swimming or sweating. 

Spending time in the sun increases the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.  To reduce this risk, consumers should regularly use sun protection measures including:
  • Use sunscreens with broad spectrum SPF values of 15 or higher regularly and as directed.
  • Limit time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense.
  • Wear clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun; for example, long-sleeved shirts, pants, sunglasses, and broad-brimmed hats.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, more often if you’re sweating or jumping in and out of the water.
Follow this link for more information on sunscreen, basic information on skin cancer and skin safety.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Improve the Air Quality this Summer

The Air Quality Index is a tool used to express the local air quality on a daily basis to help you determine if there are any health risks.  The AQI is expressed on a scale from 0 to 500 with the higher scores indicating greater levels of air pollution and health concerns.  There are six color coded AQI categories that range from "good" to "hazardous".  Follow this link to check the air quality in your area and obtain important information.

Some groups (children, older adults, and people with lung or heart disease) are more sensitive to poor air quality and may need to take extra precautions by avoiding prolonged periods or heavy outdoor activity. 

You can take steps to improve the air quality index this summer by:
  • Refueling your car after dusk
  • Limiting engine idling
  • Avoiding using gas powered lawn equipment
  • Conserving electricity and set your air conditioner at a higher temperature
  • Combining trips or using public transportation