Health News Roundup

The persistent racial disparities in HIV, targeting race-based stress to save babies’ lives, and more in this week’s roundup

health equity

Can targeting race-based stress and health care bias save babies’ lives?
Brie Zeltner, The Plain Dealer, July 20
First Year Cleveland, a collaborative aimed at reducing the region’s high infant mortality rate, is taking aim at the disproportionate burden of infant death in Cleveland’s black community. Last year, seven black babies died before reaching a year old for every one white baby, an unprecedented gap. A three-pronged approach to the problem will aim at understanding the impact of daily and pervasive structural racism, bias in the health care system, and what leads to losses for black families.

Despite progress, HIV racial divide persists
Mackenzie Rigg and Jake Kara, The Connecticut Mirror, July 23
Like thousands of other young, black men, Arthur Harris contracted HIV before he was 18. The virus, which can lead to AIDS if untreated, disproportionately affects African-Americans nationwide. This stubborn racial disparity persists in Connecticut: Black males in Connecticut were around nine times as likely as white males to be diagnosed with HIV in 2016, the latest year for which diagnosis data are available, on par with the national disparity that exists between the two groups.

linking care and community

In fight against HIV, outreach workers take ‘PrEP’ to the streets
Vanessa de la Torre, Connecticut Public Broadcasting, July 24
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, can lower the risk of getting HIV through sex by more than 90 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet six years after the federal government approved the daily blue pill for HIV prevention, Connecticut public health officials say they are still trying to put PrEP on people’s radars, and into the hands of those most vulnerable to contracting the virus. In Hartford, PrEP has an ambassador in Tatiana Melendez. Her official role is PrEP navigator, a job built on trust and savviness. On stage, she goes by another name: Lady Tatiana.

health care delivery

Health care industry branches into fresh meals, rides to gym
Tom Murphy, Associated Press, July 23
That hot lunch delivered to your door? Your health insurer might pick up the tab. The cleaning crew that fixed up your apartment while you recovered from a stroke? The hospital staff helped set that up. Health care is shifting in a fundamental way for millions of Americans. Some insurers are paying for rides to fitness centers and checking in with customers to help ward off loneliness.