A breakthrough HIV treatment that could slash infection risks has eluded thousands of primary care doctors and nurses, frustrating national efforts to stop the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned.

The CDC estimates 34 percent of those care providers haven’t heard that the anti-viral pill Truvada may help prevent HIV infection. The federal Food and Drug Administration in 2012 approved the protective therapy, which researchers say can cut the odds of infection by more than 70 percent in high-risk people. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at the Atlanta-based CDC, urged “collaborative action from clinicians, medical and professional associations and groups that implement HIV-prevention efforts.”

 

Light may help major depression

Bright light therapy has been used effectively for seasonal affective disorder, the kind of depression that comes at a specific time of year, often the dark days of late fall and winter, and then lifts. A study found that it may work to treat nonseasonal depression as well.

Researchers randomly assigned 122 patients with major depression, ages 19 to 60, to receive one of four treatments: 30 minutes of daily exposure to fluorescent light, 20 milligrams of Prozac daily, both light and Prozac, and a dummy pill and exposure to an electric air purifier. The study, in JAMA Psychiatry, lasted eight weeks.

Using scales of depression severity, the researchers found improvements in all four groups. The difference between Prozac alone and the placebo was not significant, but light therapy alone was significantly better than the placebo, and light therapy with medication was the most effective treatment.

 

Race a factor in ER pain treatment

White patients receive more pain treatment in emergency rooms than black Americans and other minorities, a study reports.

Researchers studied four years of data collected nationwide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They used a sample of 6,710 visits to 350 emergency rooms by patients 18 and older with acute abdominal pain.

White and black patients reported severe pain with the same frequency — about 59 percent. But after controlling for age, insurance status, income, degree of pain and other variables, the researchers found that compared with non-Hispanic white people, non-Hispanic blacks and other minorities were 22 to 30 percent less likely to receive pain medication. Patients were also less likely to receive pain medicine if they were older than 75 or male, lacked private insurance or were treated at a hospital with numerous minority patients. The study is in the journal Medical Care.

News services