Minority Women with HIV or AIDS May Suffer From Violence at the Hands of Intimate Partners, Delaying Necessary Treatmen

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Today concludes the 2015 National HIV Prevention Conference – a national conference to share advances, strategies and accomplishments in HIV prevention and care. You can follow along with a number of interesting talks and presentations on social media #NHPC2015. Similarly, Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Health Policy recently published findings regarding women who are a growing risk group that suffer from the illness and face barriers in seeking and receiving care.

Minority Women with HIV or AIDS May Suffer From Violence at the Hands of Intimate Partners, Delaying Necessary Treatment

Brigid McCaw, MD, MPH, MS, Medical Director for Kaiser Permanente’s Family Violence Prevention Program

An interview with Brigid McCaw, MD, MPH, MS, Medical Director for Kaiser Permanente’s Family Violence Prevention Program.

Although the U.S. has made progress in identifying and treating HIV and the late symptoms of the infection, AIDS, women are a growing risk group that suffer from the illness and face barriers in seeking and receiving care.  Recent studies have shown that violence against women – specifically violence at the hands of an intimate partner – may be an important cause of this gender-based disparity in care for people with HIV/AIDS.

In 2013, out of more than 47,000 newly HIV-positive individuals in the U.S., nearly 20 percent were women, with 86.6 percent of their infections coming from heterosexual contact. Those from minority backgrounds were disproportionately affected, with close to 6,000 new diagnoses in African American women and 1,400 in Hispanic/Latinas. And while the number of women with HIV/AIDS is growing, only 45 percent of women living with HIV are engaged in care, and even fewer, 32 percent, have the virus under control.

– Read the full article here.

Summer is fun. Here’s how to keep it safe, too.

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Excited about the arrival of summer? For good reason. Warmer weather brings with it favorite activities — vacations, swimming, camping, cookouts and lazy days in the sun.

To access a full-size PDF of perfect for printing, click here.

To access a full-size PDF of this infographic perfect for printing, click here.

But summer also means something less fun: an increase in visits to the emergency room. With kids out of school and spending more time outdoors — and especially around Independence Day — safety becomes a very real concern.

To help protect yourself and your family this 4th of July holiday weekend and in the coming months, here are highlights from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Red Cross and Kaiser Permanente on how to have a safe — and fun — summer.

Water Safety

Swimming and cooling off in the pool is one of the best things about summer. Be smart, and do it safely:

Spending Time in the Sun and Heat

When you’re spending time in the sun – or even if you are in the shade but the temperature is climbing – protect yourself from the sun’s rays and the summer heat.

  • Heat-Related Illnesses. Take them seriously and drink plenty of water. Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke escalate quickly and can be especially serious in children and the elderly.
  • Know Your SPF. Not all sunscreens are created equal. Learn why.
  • Sun Safety and Skin Cancer. Guard yourself and your family against the long-term dangers of the sun.

Healthy Getaways

Whether you’re taking a road trip with friends and family or the vacation of your dreams, plan ahead for a safe time away from home.

  • Camping. Keep campouts fun by planning ahead. Learn the ins and outs of insect repellent, safe food and water, campfires and cookouts, and emergency preparedness.
  • Travel. Before you embark on your journey, let your travel clinic or physician help. From vaccines to prescription medication, learn how to plan your travels with your health a priority.

Cooking and Eating

  • Summer Food Safety. Find out how to best protect you and your family from food poisoning, foodborne illnesses, cross contamination — and learn and the importance of cooking temperatures.
  • Grilling Safety Tips. When dealing with open flames, propane, charcoal or starter fluid, help prevent burns, injuries and damages with these precautions and general guidelines.

Injury Prevention

  • Sports. Know how to help your children prevent injuries from sports and recreational activities — including using the right protective gear or equipment.
  • Technology and Youth Violence. Learn more and talk with your kids about the emerging public health problem of “electronic aggression” among young people.

Bottom Line: Be Prepared

Even with the best planning, accidents still happen. You can ensure you’re ready to help if the need arises with professional training. Find a Red Cross class in First Aid and CPR near you and get certified — or take a refresher course.

Stay Safe This Summer

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While most of us look forward with great anticipation to summer’s long days filled with warmth and fun, there is a less sunny side to the story: ER visits actually peak in the summertime months.

kp-infographic-2015-er-summer-months-550x730Fear not: There are things we can each do to plan ahead and protect our family and ourselves. From heat-related illness to water safety, travel to cookouts, this piece from our friends at KP Share has it covered — not to mention a handy infographic perfect for printing out and putting up on the fridge as a reminder (you can also click on the image for a larger, printer-friendly version).

Check out all of the resources and tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Red Cross and Kaiser Permanente in the full article.

How’s Your Gut?

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With March being Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a good time for each of us to pause and consider the health of our digestive system.

“All About Our Guts,” one of the most popular episodes in the Total Health Radio series, helps with that. Expert guest T.R. Levin, MD, a gastroenterologist with Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, covers all the topics you’re wondering about: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the potential benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet, why fiber is so important — even colonoscopies (and how to help encourage the one you love to go ahead and have that procedure done).

Here is exclusive bonus content.

Still want more? Check out the episode’s official page. And you can hear Dr. Levin talk about the FIT test – a non-invasive screening for colorectal cancer you can do in the privacy of your own home – in this video.

One of the Deadliest Cancers: Is Someone You Love at Risk?

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Did you know that the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women combined is colorectal cancer? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 140,000 people are diagnosed with it each year, and more than 50,000 die from it. Those are some sobering statistics.

The good news? This type of cancer is highly preventable, mainly due to screenings — starting at age 50 — that can often find precancerous polyps and early-stage cancer. Early diagnosis allows treatment to be most effective.

We can each further reduce our risk by staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, drinking alcohol in moderation, and not smoking.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and if you are looking for ways to get the word out and encourage screenings among friends and loved ones, Healthfinder.gov has a great toolkit. Web resources and sample communications are available, as well as a quiz that assesses your risk of developing colorectal cancer and a calculator that helps identify how much fiber you should consume each day.

For a first-hand account of how an at-home screening test (yes, they are available!) saved one woman’s life, check out this video from Kaiser Permanente’s Care Stories site.

American Heart Month is Here — How’s Yours?

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Here’s an important question: How is your heart?

How about that of your significant other?  Your mom’s and your dad’s?  Your best friend’s?

February is American Heart Month, and considering heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States — causing one in four deaths each year — it’s a topic worth our attention.

Luckily, there’s plenty of great information available on heart health, including this episode of Total Health Radio:  “How’s Your Heart? Understanding Your Risk.”

Looking for more information on how to show your heart some love? Check out this piece on Five Easy Steps for Taking Care of Your Heart. Or this infographic illustrating five ways to be both sweet and healthy on Valentine’s Day.

And finally, if you are looking for ways to promote heart health in your own workplace or organization, healthfinder.gov’s American Heart Month toolkit may be just what you need.

Let’s take care of our hearts — not just on Valentine’s Day, but all year long.

For the Teen in Your Life — Listen!

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Did you know that every year, nearly 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner?  The startling truth is that one in three adolescents is a victim of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. These are sobering statistics — especially if there is a teenager in your life that you care about.

Yes, February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  We all owe it to the teens we love to listen — and share — this eye-opening episode of Total Health Radio, “Dating Violence:  Is Your Teen at Risk?”

In this show, Alexa Sueda, MD, talks about what teen dating violence looks like and some of the warning signs parents and friends should be watchful for. And Nancy Schwartzman, the inventor of the groundbreaking and award-winning Circle of 6 mobile app, talks about ways that young women can both prevent and cope with sexual abuse.

For more on this important topic, you can follow the conversation all month on Twitter via hashtag #teenDVmonth.

How Food Affects Your Mood: What You Need to Know

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Many of us resolved on January 1 to make some changes to our eating in an effort to improve our physical health.  But are we familiar with what effect those changes may have on our moods?

The latest episode of Total Health Radio explores this — how what we eat can affect our brain chemistry and therefore our emotions.  Learn tips for increasing dopamine and serotonin and how to stave off crashing after too many refined carbohydrates.  It’s a great listen — check it out.

How Practicing Mindfulness Can Help You Through the Holiday Season Stress

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With all the joy the holiday season brings, most of us know that this time of year carries it with it something else, as well:  Stress.

A little bit of stress can be fine.  A lot of stress — including the challenges of shopping for gifts, baking, party-planning, family tensions and unrealistic expectations — is bad all around.  Bad for the mind and the spirit, certainly, but mental stress can lead to physical health problems, too.  So learning to manage the hectic nature of our lives over the coming weeks is important.

To that end, we’re sharing this episode of Total Health Radio, which is all about Mindfulness.  If you can pay attention — without judgment (that’s key!) — to how you are feeling, it’s the first step to regulating your emotional reactions to the stressors in your life.  Check it out.

For exclusive bonus content — including interview excerpts on overcoming barriers to mindfulness as well as the top three things you can do to introduce mindfulness into your life, visit the episode’s official page at totalhealthradio.org.

Falling for Autumnal Eats

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Pumpkinmuffin_cbIf you are like most people, you love fall — one survey claims that it’s the season Americans like best.

Many appreciate this time of year because of the autumnal climate.  My own theory?  It’s the food.

Fall is the time of year when we feel emboldened to use spices that may come on too strong during spring and summer.  The aromatic earthiness of nutmeg.  The zingy bite of cinnamon.  The cozy warmth of cloves. Resonant spices that just make us feel good.

The Food for Health bloggers know this well.  That’s why they’ve welcomed the fall season with a recipe for Pumpkin Muffins. Kate Land, MD, the recipe’s author, says these are, “healthy, hearty and perfect for breakfast.”

Check out the recipe over at the Food for Health blog.  And follow Dr. Land on Twitter: @KPkiddoc.