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Oklahoma Receives New State President August 26, 2008

Posted by Reginald Johnson in Business, Domestic Issues, Homeland Security, Military.
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Maj. General Leo J. Baxter, USA Retired, has been appointed as Oklahoma State President, AUSA.  The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) made the announcement today.

Known as the only non-profit Association that represents all constituents of the Army, AUSA is excited of the new appointment.  AUSA represents active and reserve component soldiers and their families, retirees, Department of the Army civilians, the business community, and anyone interested in the land component of national security.

Baxter’s new job as a state president will require Baxter to assist the Fort Sill and Oklahoma City chapters in the dual AUSA mission of being the “Voice for the Army and Support for the Soldier.”   He will also work with the state legislature on state issues of concern to members. Basically, he will be the voice of the AUSA in Oklahoma.

The AUSA press release gives a short biography of Maj. General Baxter, Retired.:

“…Baxter retired in 2000 after 31 years of active duty.  Since then he has served the local community and the State of Oklahoma on numerous boards and commissions.  He was appointed by Gov. Frank Keating to membership on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma State Board of Career and Technology Education, serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a non-profit think tank promoting free enterprise and limited government, and is the president of the United States Field Artillery Association, with membership in 79 chapters worldwide.  He also serves as a member of the State leadership committee for Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.”

If you have any questions about the AUSA or would like to receive their press release, please contact:  John Grady, AUSA’s Director of Communications, (703) 907.2613

HIV Attacking Washington, DC August 25, 2008

Posted by Reginald Johnson in AIDS, African-American, Blacks, Culture, D.C., Government, Life, Medical, Minority Issues, Washington.
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Last year the Washington Post announced that the District of Columbia’s HIV rate has officially reached ‘Modern Epidemic’ numbers. The study revealed that more than 80 percent of recent cases were among black residents.

The first statistics ever amassed on HIV in the District showed that HIV in DC has reached a remarkable size.

The report says:

“The numbers most starkly illustrate HIV’s impact on the African American community. More than 80 percent of the 3,269 HIV cases identified between 2001 and 2006 were among black men, women and adolescents. Among women who tested positive, a rising percentage of local cases, nine of 10 were African American.

The report amasses 120-pages. Prior to this report there has not been a major AIDS update in DC since 2000. HIV has once been considered a gay disease, but has moved into the general population. HIV has spread through heterosexual contact in more than 37 percent of the District’s cases detected in that time period, in contrast to the 25 percent of cases attributable to men having sex with men.

It blows the stereotype out of the water. People now see that in the District of Columbia, HIV is everybody’s disease. The new numbers are a statistical snapshot, not an estimate of the prevalence of infection in the District, which is nearly 60 percent black. One in 20 city residents is thought to have HIV and 1 in 50 residents to have AIDS, the advanced manifestation of the virus.

Almost 12,500 people in the District were known to have HIV or AIDS in 2006, according to the report. Figures suggest that the number of new HIV cases began declining in 2003, but the administration said the drop more likely reflects underreporting or delayed reporting. A quarter-century into the epidemic, the city’s cumulative number of AIDS cases exceeds 17,400.

District health officials have long been faulted for the lack of HIV information and lagging AIDS data. Not until forced by federal funding requirements did the health department start tracking HIV.

Until that began in 2000, critics said, neither the government nor organizations responding to the disease knew whether their dollars and efforts were effectively addressing the problem.

The report notes that its comprehensive picture “offers the District a new tool to help improve the scope, quality and distribution of care and treatment and prevention services.”

HIV information is particularly valuable because it represents the most recent infections and can indicate changes in transmission patterns. It is mainly collected through the investigation of cases forwarded by laboratories and health-care providers.

The compilation signifies a major step forward for the HIV/AIDS agency, which has gone through repeated program and leadership upheavals in recent years. “For us, this is a milestone,” said Hader, its third administrator since 2004.

A letter from Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) accompanies the release: “We must take advantage of this information with the sense of urgency that this epidemic deserves.”

The District’s AIDS rate is the worst of any city in the country, nearly twice the rate in New York and more than four times the incidence in Detroit, and it has been climbing faster than that of many jurisdictions.

One explanation might be the high percentage of infected residents labeled “late testers,” people who learn they have AIDS within a year of the HIV diagnosis. Although the proportion of adults and adolescents screened for HIV is greater in the city than nationally, the finding raises questions about the strategy of the District’s “know your status” campaign.

People who learn of their infection late face serious consequences. By the time symptoms arise or infections occur, their immune systems have suffered considerable damage. They face increased medical costs and death rates.

More than two-thirds of local AIDS cases fell into this category during the past decade, according to the report, compared with 39 percent of cases in the United States. I think that’s dramatic information for our care and treatment providers.

No longer is HIV a crisis primarily among younger adults. Starting in 2004, the number of new HIV cases among men and women ages 40 to 49 outpaced every other age group in the city. But the data made public today expose an alarming dimension of pediatric HIV. Each of the three dozen District children to test positive in the past five years was infected during birth.

Many people in the district are pushing for routine HIV testing during pregnancy, quick-results oral swabs during labor and “fast tracking” of the antiretroviral drugs that can prevent transmission during delivery.

The administration said it wants to use the report to begin asking and answering, “What next?” Given the scope of HIV and AIDS in the District, health leaders say they can’t focus on just one aspect of the disease or one at-risk group.


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