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December 3, 2013 at 7:35 PM
3 out of 4 Americans living with HIV don’t have their infection under control
Regarding your recent article, what a wonderful boon for humanity [“Obama reveals $100 million HIV research initiative,” News, Dec. 3].
And kudos for his pledge to support The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as long as the other countries do their part.
People don’t realize that the U.S. spends only a quarter of 1 percent of our total federal budget on global health.
Science has discovered that getting treatment to an HIV-infected person early enough can reduce the risk of infecting others by 96 percent. Science magazine named the AIDS treatment-as-prevention strategy as its 2001 “breakthough of the year.”
But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that about 3 out of 4 Americans living with HIV do not have their infections under control. Extremely drug-resistant TB has now emerged and has been documented in at least 77 countries, including our own.
Thank you, President Obama.
— Donna Schindler Munro, Bremerton
December 2, 2013 at 7:04 PM
Patients should be allowed admission to the center with the greatest expertise
After reading the article in Sunday’s paper about the insurance networks, it seems to me that there is an assumption on the part of everybody that one size fits all when it comes to hospital caregivers ["Policies’ limits shock shopper,” page one, Dec. 1].
This is simply not the case. During the 25 years I worked in one of the major Seattle hospitals, my area of expertise involved urology, nephrology, diabetes and organ transplantation. I had no experience in caring for burn patients, patients with severe trauma or patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Physicians depend on nurses to detect subtle changes in a patient’s condition and to report those changes back to the physician. Whether a patient lives or dies can depend on these observations. A nurse who has no experience with that patient’s particular problem is less likely to detect these changes.
October 29, 2013 at 7:33 PM
Young women should be aware of the risk of prescribed medication
An Oct. 24 Seattle Times article reported that the number of stroke victims has increased 25 percent during the past two decades with the increase in the U.S. occurring among the young and middle-aged [“Study: Strokes up among young,” News, Oct. 24].
The article failed to mention a plausible explanation of this increase of blood clots and strokes among young women — the widespread use of combined hormonal contraceptives, CHC’s. Recently marketed contraceptives containing drospirenone/ethinyl estradiol, such as YAZ, Zarah, Loryna and Gianvi, which promise to treat acne and symptoms of premenstrual disorder as well as provide contraception, have been especially popular with young women. Unfortunately they also carry with them a higher risk of blood clots and stroke.
According to the final report of the FDA on Combined Hormonal Contraceptives and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, issued on Oct. 27, 2011, “There has long been concern about the risk of both arterial and venous cardiovascular complications imparted by the use of combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs) in large part because of the prothrombotic effects of estrogen.
The FDA report found that the newer CHC’s, including pills containing drospirenone, the etonogestrel/estradiol vaginal ring, and the norelgestromin/ethinyl estradiol transdermal patch were all associated with an even greater risk of thromboembolism.
The fact that these CHC’s are prescribed to women as young as 10 to 14 years of age, who lack the sophistication to judge their risk, may explain the growing number of strokes among the very young.
Deborah Ummel, Bellevue
September 29, 2013 at 7:56 AM
What is the alternative?
For those who believe that defunding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) justifies the shutdown of the federal government and/or America’s default on its financial obligations by not raising the debt ceiling, please do one thing. [“Obamacare foe presses fight,” News, Sept. 25.]
Explain to the rest of us, who believe Obamacare is needed health-care reform, what health-care reform you would propose in its place. In the clamor about the adoption of a new fiscal year’s budget, raising the debt ceiling and defunding Obamacare, I’ve yet to hear what those who oppose Obamacare would replace it with.
Now, if you respond that health-care reform is unneeded in our country, then I would ask you, how do you compare America’s decline in the performance rankings with other developed countries in major health and health-care indicators?
America spends more per capita on the health-care industry than any other developed country, yet our outcomes are second tier. Why is that?
Finally, once you’ve answered these questions, why is the U.S. “defense” industry, and budget line, so sacrosanct in these budget discussions, when the U.S. spends nearly as much as the next 15 countries combined?
Robert Rench, Seattle
September 17, 2013 at 6:59 AM
My heart is aching for those people who don’t have diapers for their little ones. [“Lack of diapers creates problems for families,” News, Sept. 16.]
I know it is problematic to not be able to change babies’ diapers. But tell me this. Has anyone ever heard of cloth diapers that you use, wash and reuse continually?
Some cloth diapers could be distributed to these people with instructions on how to fold and wash the diapers, if anyone can still remember the procedure.
My husband and I raised three boys, and never used disposable diapers.
Isn’t it so much better for the environment to use the old-fashioned, regular cloth diapers?
Mary Hickey, Oak Harbor
August 19, 2013 at 4:32 PM
King County is taking action
With one in five students in King County overweight or obese, we agree with Marilyn McKenna’s concern that having healthy foods in schools is a critical component to addressing the childhood obesity epidemic. [“Guest column: Curbing childhood obesity starts with school lunches,” Opinion, Aug. 14.]
Six school districts with high obesity rates (Seattle, Highline, Tukwila, Renton, Kent and Auburn) are working together to change the school nutrition landscape, thanks to a federal grant focused on community health.
Seattle Public Schools facilitates the group working to update and strengthen school nutrition and physical activity wellness policies and implement new regulations for foods sold outside of the cafeteria. These districts are offering more fresh fruits and vegetables. More than 400 cafeteria staff from 12 school districts in the county have completed the culinary and nutrition training known as “discover. cook. nourish.”
The Harvest of the Month program teaches elementary students about Washington-grown foods on the menu. Kent, Renton and Auburn are working on a Farm-to-School program to purchase and promote locally-grown produce from farmers.
Parents and community members can help by getting involved in shaping school wellness policies.
Wendy Weyer, Seattle Public Schools, and Donna Oberg, Public Health Seattle & King County
August 2, 2013 at 4:16 PM
A domestic issue
Seattle, we’re a proactive city, or so we’d like to think. We’re a supportive and accepting city, or so I thought. We’re educated, we raise awareness, and we take care of business to keep our community safe and healthy … right?
We have a problem. It’s a very discriminatory problem; it has a specific body of people who are disproportionally affected. Seattle has a closeted epidemic among its young gay population.
Seattle is home to more than 5,500 people living with HIV or AIDS. Almost 90 percent of those affected are men. Of those men, men having sex with men account for nearly 70 percent of the incidence.
Our local youth are becoming infected. AIDS isn’t foreign. It’s domestic. It’s in Seattle. And our children will be infected, because we like to think that we’re bigger than it. We aren’t.
Nina Cook, Seattle
July 10, 2013 at 7:00 AM
It is time to act
The time is now. Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is the most expensive disease in America. By 2050, it could bankrupt our health-care system.
I live with Alzheimer’s every day, both personally and professionally. My mother lived with dementia for nearly 20 years before her death. Like more than 50 percent of those currently living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, she was never formally diagnosed. My father, now 97, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 15 years ago.
I am not alone. In 2010, there were approximately 110,000 Washingtonians living with Alzheimer’s disease, being looked after by more than 300,000 caregivers, mostly unpaid family members. We expect those numbers to triple by 2050. Alzheimer’s is now the third-leading cause of death among seniors in Washington.
We are at a critical moment in the Alzheimer’s epidemic. It is incumbent upon our nation’s leaders to ensure the promise of the country’s first-ever National Alzheimer’s Plan. Sen. Patty Murray is a leading advocate for improved health-care quality and coverage. Please join me in urging her, as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to support full implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Plan with vital resources for Alzheimer’s research, education, outreach and caregiver support.
Bob Le Roy, president and chief executive officer, Western & Central Washington State Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Seattle
July 1, 2013 at 7:30 PM
More tolerance should be used in discussion of human health
Froma Harrop’s column [“Column: Healthy living? Fat chance,” Opinion, June 30] was more along the lines of an Internet forum comment than the work of a professional journalist.
Her writing is based on hate and intolerance, rather than fact. Her readers deserve better.
Margaret McVey, Freeland
May 23, 2013 at 6:03 AM
The real impacts of fluoride
The story about Portland’s vote on water fluoridation included the unsupported claim that Seattle, with fluoridated water, has half the number of cavities in children than does unfluoridated Portland [“Fluoridated water? Not all Portlanders will drink to that,” NWMonday, May 20].
In fact, studies around the world have shown that fluoridation of water makes no significant difference at all in cavity rates. What has also been learned is that fluoridation is linked to increased rates of numerous health problems, from brittle bones to thyroid disorders to stroke and diabetes.
Recent studies from China have shown a direct link between fluoride in the water and reduced IQ in children.
These are among the reasons why most of the world has now ended the practice of adding fluoride to their water. When is Seattle going to wake up?
Ben Collet, Seattle
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