Friday, July 16, 2004

The BBC reports  that the 2004 U.N. Human Development report found some scary yet probably not surprising facts about the spread of HIV and AIDS in African nations. HIV and AIDS have basically dropped life expectancy in countries like Zambia and Zimbabwe to less than 33 years old. Because people are dying during what would usually be productive years of study and work, not only the nation's healthcare and the quality of life of it's infected citizens is affected, but also the economic status as well.
I've updated the "Nursing" section of the links to include the U.N. AIDS website, in case you're like me and want to know how the U.N plans to assist these countries during this rather horrifying epidemic. This links section will now be known as "Nursing and Health Care Sites" to incorporate more informative sites under one section. 
In other HIV-related health news, the FDA has recently approved a rapid HIV test kit, that uses a patient's saliva to test if HIV+ antibodies are present. The patient wipes an absorbant pad along his/her upper and lower outer gums. The pad is attached to a plastic stick, and if HIV antibodies are detected, two reddish-purple lines appear in a window (it sounds almost like the same apparatus as a home pregnancy test). The results appear in about 20 minutes and are 99% accurate. Anyone who tests positive will then take the traditional ELISA HIV blood test as a follow-up. Right now, the test is being used in labs, but the FDA is expected to approve it for wider use pretty soon.   

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