Displaying items by tag: Health

Must develop vaccine to prevent HIV/AIDS infection, says NACO

  • Published in Health

With the fear of HIV/AIDS cases resurfacing in future, the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) has said that a vaccine for the deadly infection is imperative.

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent HIV/AIDS and Indian scientists are actively engaged in developing vaccines against the virus. “Despite the programme advancement, vaccine will remain important. You never know when the disease can resurface. Vaccine itself is the most effective prevention tool,” Dr KS Sachdeva, Deputy Director General, NACO, said.

“Advocacy for HIV/AIDS is in the evolutionary stage. This is one disease where the social context is more relevant that the treatment context. Standing at an inflexion point, one can say that much has been achieved. We are close to almost eliminating HIV/AIDS,” he said.

In 2015, HIV/AIDS prevalence in India was an estimated 0.26 per cent of total population. India has almost 2.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS. India’s HIV/AIDS epidemic is however slowing down, with a 32 per cent decline in new HIV/AIDS infections (86,000 in 2015), and a 54 per cent decline in AIDS-related deaths between 2007 and 2015.

“We are moving towards elimination but we will have some bottlenecks along the way. Vaccine will be welcomed as that will be an additional tool. We should not miss that momentum just because money is decreasing,” said Nicole Seguy, Team Leader for Communicable Diseases at the World Health Organisation, India country office.

Recently, Indian scientists have identified a new antibody against HIV/AIDS subtype-C from Indian patients. This finding will help design vaccines against HIV/AIDS in the future. Scientists said that when given along with retroviral drugs, such a vaccine will be able to reduce viral load in patients. This will also help in passive immunotherapy — killing low amounts of virus in patients who may have been accidently infected with the virus.

The Indian scientists have named the identified antibody as C11 since it is specific to subtype-C of HIV/AIDS virus. As much as 90 per cent patients in India and South Africa are affected by this subtype. Scientists took blood samples from a set of patients visiting All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi and YR Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education, Chennai, for treatment.


  • In 2015, HIV prevalence in India was an estimated 0.26 per cent of total population
  • The country has almost 2.1 million people living with HIV
  • The country’s HIV epidemic is slowing down, with a 32 per cent decline in new HIV infections (86,000 in 2015), and a 54 per cent decline in AIDS-related deaths between 2007 and 2015



May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month An Orthopedic Surgeon Weighs In

  • Published in Health


By John H. Velyvis, M.D

With more than two-thirds of U.S. adults overweight or obese, and over 17 percent of children and adolescents, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is the perfect time for all Americans to rededicate ourselves to the health benefits of an active lifestyle.  

The risks of being overweight or obese include chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, stroke, and some forms of cancer.  

While having a family history may make you more likely to develop any of these conditions as you age, there are several ways you can delay, improve and even avoid these diseases entirely. These include eating a healthful diet, staying within your recommended weight range and being active. 

As an orthopedic surgeon, I’ve cared for thousands of patients who suffer from osteoarthritis—the progressive deterioration of healthy cartilage in a joint. Almost half are overweight or obese, leading to increased wear and tear on their hip and knee joints. When you consider that every additional pound of body weight adds 5 pounds of pressure on each knee joint, it’s easy to see why excess weight compounds the problem.        

That’s why my first recommendation to these patients is often to lose weight to relieve the increased stress on their joints. I also urge sedentary patients to step up their activity levels. Just like any other part of the human body, cartilage needs to be used to stay healthy. Stronger muscles can also stabilize joints, reducing pain and inflammation.      

It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a new fitness regimen. Once you have the okay, remember any activity is better than no activity. Start slowly and don’t put yourself at risk. Build up your endurance gradually, making sure to stretch both before and after workouts. Most injuries I see happen when people aren’t physically ready for an activity. 

If you find it hard to exercise because of joint pain, doctors have a number of treatment options that can help relieve your symptoms, including physical therapy, medications and injections. If your pain continues, the next step may be minimally invasive surgery to diagnose and treat the problem.  

Should the pain start to affect your quality of life, partial or total joint replacement surgery may be your best choice. Joint replacement, the gold standard of treatment for advanced osteoarthritis for 40 years, is now better than ever with the introduction of robotic technology. 

What’s happening now with joint replacement is similar to what’s happened in the auto industry. Cars have been around for decades, but as the technology improves, so does the quality.   

Today’s joint replacement surgeons can now use the latest robotic-assisted surgical techniques to ensure the precise placement of joint implants, crucial to their long term success. Implants have improved dramatically, too, with newer models providing more natural results and lasting a lifetime.  

Better technology means even people with debilitating osteoarthritis don’t have to sit on the sidelines anymore. They can reduce their risk of serious disease and enjoy a more active lifestyle that helps get them in shape for life.    

For the rest of us? No more excuses. Let’s all commit to improving our health with a more active lifestyle during this year’s National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.   

Dr. John H. Velyvis is Medical Director of Robotic Orthopedic Surgery at Seton Medical Center in Daly City. Recognized as one of the most experienced orthopedic surgeons on the West Coast using robotic-assisted technology, Dr. Velyvis received his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Harvard University and his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. On days when he’s not seeing patients or performing surgery, Dr. Velyvis is often found on one of his favorite tennis courts.


Mariel De Leon: You’re not pro-life if you deprive women of better future

With the news that progestin-only pills are already disappearing from the shelves and combined oral contraceptive pills will soon follow, advocates for women's health and the Reproductive Health law are putting the pressure on the Supreme Court to lift the Temporary Restraining Order that is restricting the procurement and distribution of female contraceptives in the country.

Binibining Pilipinas International 2017 Mariel De Leon on Wednesday showed her support for the movement, turning to Twitter to urge the Supreme Court to make a favorable decision soon.

"TRO on contraceptives. Birth control pills are slowly going away. What will you do when they're all gone? Let's take our bodies back," the beauty queen posted.

She continued in two more tweets, "What about women with PCOS, acne, severe dysmenorrhea, irregular period, [et cetera]? What about our freedom of choice when it comes to family planning? What about women's health?"

De Leon tagged the official Twitter account of the Supreme Court (@SCPh_PIO) to alert them to the posts.

"You're not ‘pro life’ if you deprive women of something that's good for our health and our future," she declared in another tweet.

The Supreme Court issued the TRO in 2015, first only covering Implanon and similar implants. It was later expanded to cover pills, injectables, intrauterine devices, vaginal rings, and other brands

The petition was filed by Alliance for the Family Foundation, Philippines, Inc. (ALFI), in protest of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) the issuance of certificates of product registration to Implanon and Implanon NXT, contraceptive devices which they claim may induce abortions.

The court outlined in the TRO instructions for the FDA and the Department of Health to formulate rules and regulations for the screening, evaluation and approval of all contraceptive drugs and devices, as well as the purchase and distribution or dispensation of the products while "allowing the petitioners [ALFI] to be heard" in the process.  Aya Tantiangco/BM, GMA News

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