The Vermillion Rotary Club held its weekly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at the Neuharth Center on the USD campus. President David Hussey opened the meeting and Rev. Mercy Hobbs gave the invocation.
Following a round of singing, introduction of guests, and announcements, Rotarian Bill Richardson introduced Dr. Christine Cagle as our speaker for the day. Dr. Cagle serves as the associate director for policy and planning in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention in the National Center for HIV/AIDS, viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As the associate director for policy and planning, Dr. Cagle is responsible for policy strategies and support for 10 division branches that range from research and surveillance to program and evaluation.
Another primary responsibility is developing responses to Congressional inquiries on HIV prevention activities and programs and working with Congressional staffers on various aspects of HIV policy and managing the Minority AIDS Initiative Program, and HIV prevention program and specific appropriations from Congress that began in 1979.
Dr. Cagle began with a brief outline of the organizational structure of the CDC and the National Center for HIV/AIDS. She stated that the estimated number of new cases and deaths over the period of 1995-2005 has declined because of better diagnosis and treatment and that the surviving population is increasing.
However, she also said that CDC estimates that 25 percent of those infected are not aware of their infections and that this 25 percent result in 54 percent of new infections. Once people are aware of their infections, they change their behavior to prevent infecting others.
She stated that male-to-male contact is the highest risk group followed by high-risk heterosexual contact and then injectable drug use. Estimated rates of infection seem to be highest in high-density populations. In South Dakota it is 19 per 100,000 population while in New York it is 460 per 100,000.
New diagnosis by population indicates 49 percent among African Americans who make up 13 percent of the total population, 31 percent among the white population with the remainder between Hispanic and Asian population. New cases are highest among males (81 percent) ages 25-44.
One of the goals of the CDC is to eliminate, prevent, or control disease, death and disability. This also means trying to increase the quality of life and years of healthy living and eliminate health disparities.
Some of the initiatives Dr. Cagle outlined are revised testing recommendations. They would like to see testing made routine and ensure that effective treatment is available.
Prevention successes include mother to child HIV testing, awareness of dangers of injection drug use, blood screening, rapid testing technology, and improved ability to monitor outbreaks.
She then answered questions from those present.