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Archive for December 1st, 2009

H.R. 3590 is on the Senate schedule for debate tomorrow. Open Congress is reporting that an Abortion amendment similar to the Stupak amendment is likely to be introduced by Senator Nelson. However, it’s thought that the Democrats will filibuster, thus forcing a 2/3 vote. They think they have it and can prevent the amendment’s inclusion. Check the link below:

http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/1381-Senate-Will-Vote-on-Controvesial-Abortion-Language

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Today the Senate confirmed the nomination of Jacqueline H. Nguyen to the Central District Court of California. Slanteyeforroundeye has this to say about her.

[..Judge Jacqueline Nguyen is currently a Superior Court Judge for the County of Los Angeles, a position to which she was appointed in August 2002. Judge Nguyen received her undergraduate degree from Occidental College in 1987 and her law degree from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1991. From 1991 to 1995, Nguyen worked in private practice where she specialized in civil litigation. From 1995 until August 2002, Nguyen was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California. During her tenure in that office, she served as Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Section. Judge Nguyen is being nominated to the United States District Court for the Central District of California and was rated well-qualified by the ABA…]

The Senate roll call vote is HERE. There has been an accumulation of four vacancies since 2006 in this District. Barbara Boxer has noted that three of our districts, including the CDCC are within the top ten yearly case filings in the country. As such there is a significant backlog of cases waiting for dispensation. The confirmation today of Judge Nguyen will help to ease the strain.

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If you missed what he said tonight, the NYT link to the prepared text is HERE.

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December 1st, The World Aids Day, as an event, was conceived in 1988. While it is a stand-alone event, it is also part of the 16 days Campaign for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Infection is often a component of violence done to women and children, and is a human rights issue. The UNAIDS Webpage, a portal to a wealth of information on HIV/AIDS, has the following announcement:

With “Universal Access and Human Rights” being the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day, the key slogans are:

* I am accepted.

* I am safe.

* I am getting treatment.

* I am well.

* I am living my rights.

* Everyone deserves to live their rights.

* Right to Live.

* Right to Health.

* Access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support is a critical part of human rights.

Among a series of events, tonight in New York the following ceremony will be held:

UNAIDS – World AIDS Day – “Lights for Rights”

When: Tuesday, December 1 – 6:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. (EST)

Where: Washington Square Park, New York City (5th Avenue at Washington Square Park North)

A stage will be set up between the arch and the fountain.

[The lights on the Washington Square Park Memorial Arch in New York City will be turned off during the event to remember those lost to AIDS and to symbolize how HIV stigma drives people with HIV into the shadows. After a brief period of darkness, the lights will turned back on to emphasize need to shine the light on human rights for those living with HIV/AIDS around the globe. Floodlights on the Empire State Building, clearly visible through the arch, will also be turned off and turned back on at the same time….]

Almost 60 million people have been infected with HIV since the beginning of the epidemic and 25 million have died. While the trend line of new infections has started to turn, new infections worldwide still outstrip treatment. For every two people beginning treatment, five new cases of infection are ascertained.

As to children, 14 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa are now orphaned. Only 37% of infected children in low and middle-income countries are receiving treatment.

The UNAIDS  knowledge center link HERE, is a wonderful overview of The UN’s program on HIV/AIDS.

Clicking on the UNAIDS link entitled AIDS Epidemic Update 2009, a report and fact sheet, as well as an outlook for 2010, that are very informative.

In addition, there is a page with “Fast facts about HIV”.

In California, a conference was held today on the budget cuts that are affecting the funding for AIDS programs, including California’s “AIDS Drug Assistance Program” (ADAP). Since these budget cuts will literally determine who lives and who does not, continuation of funding is critically important for at least 30,000 patients. At the same time concern over the rising cost of drugs is creating anger. Between 2000-2008 drug costs under this program raised 165%, yet only increased patient numbers by 49%. See the report below:

http://www.benzinga.com/press-releases/b48023/california%E2%80%99s-aids-drug-cuts-%E2%80%98life-or-death%E2%80%99-for-patients

California’s Office of Aids (COA), responsible for coordinating state programs, service and Activities relating to HIV/AIDS,

has a webpage devoted to HIV/AIDS, HERE.

Although they state that they are in the process of converting their statistics to comply with CDC requirements, they do have some statistics through April. According to them, throughout the country, HIV was not counted with AIDS from the beginning of the epidemic. Those changes are being made now?!? In any event, a pdf download indicates that while confidential AIDS Case reporting by name began in 1983, reporting procedures have changed over time. Code name only reporting, for HIV, enjoyed a brief period from 2002-2006. HIV surveillance reporting began in 2005, and HIV name reporting in 2006.

AIDS in California is continuing to climb, with 153,901 cases reported. HIV cases appear to be flattening at 41,1555, or 36,412 depending on which reporting method was used. One is loath to make assumptions on this figure however, since, rather than an actual flattening is could reflect our current recession and reflect reduced medical resources available to individuals.

Judging by the COA’s maps, HIV/AIDS is still a disease of the cities, with urban counties, like Los Angeles highest, then San Diego and San Francisco, then Alameda and Sacramento reporting the highest numbers for the 2009 year through April. Again, however, this data might also reflect better facilities and reporting methods.

It is still primarily a disease of white and black men/adolescents, although the 13,230 women/adolescents who were reported probably find cold comfort in this. Of that figure 6,273 reported infection due to sex with men. 669 pediatric cases and 400 pediatric deaths were reported.

In light of our current economy, and without health reform, it seems clear many more will suffer.  In Senate bill H.R. 3590, I found seven occurrences where the bill discusses HIV/AIDS. All but one of them refer to education and training. The other refers to research. So I am unclear at this point exactly where the money will come from that will actually help support state programs for drugs, or supplant them. Is HIV/AIDS one of those pre-existing conditions that will be folded into the entire program? The upcoming Senate debate will certainly be interesting in this regard.

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