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California

New Target For Hiv/Aids - Women And Adults Ages 47-65

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections continue at high levels, with an estimated 56,300 Americans becoming infected each year.

Additionally, more than 18,000 people with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) still die each year in the United States.

While major strides have been made in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, the disease continues its devastating effects on all sectors of American society. The impact however, has become increasingly more serious among women and adults between the ages of 47- 65.

The CDC reports that in 2007 more than a quarter of HIV diagnoses in the United States were among women and girls aged 13 years and older. Women are more likely to be infected through sex with a male partner. Minority women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV infection. The rate of new HIV infections for African American women is nearly 20 times the rate for white women. The rate of new HIV infection among Hispanic women is nearly four times that of white women. In San Bernardino County, African American and Hispanic women together accounted for 83% of HIV diagnoses among women in 2009 and 14% of all HIV diagnoses.

Many factors contribute to the increasing rates of HIV infection in adults aged 47-65. One contributing factor is that older adults have often been overlooked by targeted education and prevention messages.

Sexually active adults between 47-65 years of age may use condoms less often due to a lower concern of pregnancy, thereby increasing their risk for HIV. The use of sexual enhancement medications among this age group also contributes to the increased risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections, including HIV. Further, the lack of communication between adults and their doctors regarding sexual practices contributes to a perceived low HIV risk among this group and a lack of testing. In 2008 adults 50 years of age and older represented 17 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States, Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health attributes this to “the simple reason that older people don’t get tested for HIV on a regular basis.”

Although HIV is a manageable disease, education and prevention continue to be the ultimate goal in stopping the spread of infection among all groups, especially women and adults ages 47-64. It is important to be aware of specific challenges faced by women and adults ages 47-64 and to ensure that they are informed and know how to protect themselves from infection. Dr. Ohikhuare states that, “Testing is key in HIV prevention and I encourage everyone to make HIV testing part of their routine medical care.”

For more information about HIV/AIDS and testing, call the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health AIDS Program at (800) 255- 6560, or visit the website at www.KnowSBC.com.

ACS Encourages African-Americans 50 and Older to Test for Colon Cancer

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The American Cancer Society encourages African Americans 50 and older to make getting tested for colon cancer a priority. Approximately 2,000 African American men and women in California are expected to be diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011.

Colorectal cancer (commonly referred to as colon cancer) can actually be prevented through screening, which allows doctors to find polyps in the colon and remove them before they turn cancerous.

Regularly scheduled cancer screening can save lives and help achieve the American Cancer Society’s goal of creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

For those seeking assistance visit cancer.org or call 1.800.227.2345 for free information and details about free cancer patient/caregiver support programs.

Screening for colon cancer has been proven to reduce deaths from the disease both by decreasing the number of people who are diagnosed with it and by finding a higher proportion of cancers at early, more treatable stages. Colon cancer rates in California have declined rapidly in the last two decades. Incidence rates of colon cancer in California declined significant ly for all four major racial/ethnic groups since 1988 – a decrease of 27% among non- Hispanic whites, 18% among African Americans, 14% among Asian/Pacific Islanders and 7% among Hispanics.

While incidence of colon cancer is declining, screening rates among African Americans remain low.

“We have an opportunity to significantly reduce California death rates from colon cancer through regular screening,” said Dr. Donald Henderson, American Cancer Society volunteer and colon cancer expert. “And, this cancer can be prevented through early detection and removal of polyps. We hope that people will use March – National Colon Cancer Awareness Month – as an opportunity to make screening a priority and talk to their doctors, family members and friends about getting tested. By doing so, they are taking a key step toward staying well.”

An estimated 14,775 total cases of colorectal cancer are expected to occur in California in 2011, and an estimated 5,090 deaths. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women.

Risk factors for colon cancer include a personal family history of the disease.

The American Cancer Society recommends the following tests to find colon cancer early:

Tests That Detect Precancerous Polyps and Cancer

• Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, or

• Colonoscopy every 10 years, or

• Double contrast barium enema (DCBE) every 5 years, or

• CT colonography (CTC) every 5 years Tests That Primarily Detect Cancer

• Annual guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) with high test sensitivity for cancer, or

• Annual fecal immunochemical test (FIT) with high test sensitivity for cancer, or

• Stool DNA test (sDNA), with high sensitivity for cancer, interval uncertain. Because of a greater potential to prevent cancer, the tests that have a higher likelihood of finding both polyps and cancer are preferred if patients are willing to use them and have access.

In addition to screening, healthy lifestyle behaviors can reduce risk of colon cancer. Studies show that being overweight or obese increases risk of colon cancer, and people whose diets include a high amount of red and processed meats are at increased risk. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on five or more days of the week; and consume a healthy diet that includes five or more servings of vegetables and fruits each day, whole grains (instead of processed grains and sugars), limited alcohol and processed and red meats, and control led port ion sizes. Smoking also increases risk of colon cancer. A 2009 study from the American Cancer Society found that long-term smoking (smoking for 40 or more years) increases colon cancer risk by 30 to 50 percent

. The Society has proven smoking cessation programs – Freshstart® and the Quit For Life® Program operated by Free & Clear®.

Thanks to improvements in prevention, early detection, and treatment, more than a million people in the U.S. count themselves as survivors of colon cancer. Whether you’re worried about developing colon cancer, making decisions about your treatment, or trying to stay well after treatment, the American Cancer Society can help.

Visit cancer.org or call 1.800.227.2345 for details.

I.E. Teen Joins 'Hollywood' Sweet Sixteen Celebration

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By Angela Reliford –

Brittany Rose Cole Stanis daughter of Hollywood celebrity Bern Nadette Stanis, known for her role as Thelma in the popular 70's sitcom “Good Times”, recently celebrated her 16th birthday at the Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica with many friends and family and Inland Empire resident Jessica Reliford.

"I am so excited!" Brittany stated with a smile on her face as she greeted each one of her guests.

"She's been waiting for this moment for the last 16 years," stated her mother as she laughed and stood proudly watching her daughter shine.

While it is true that the 4 foot 11 inch Hollywood beauty is very petite she is no way small in personality. Like her mother she is a very warm, friendly, genuine and sincere person. Not only does she possess beauty and grace but the 10th grade honor roll student is very well eduacated sporting a 4.2 GPA to prove it.

"She wants to become a doctor and attend Duke University in Durham, NC but she also has a beautiful voice and she wants to become a singer as well,"stated her mother.

"When Brittany was eight years old Earnest Thomas hired Freda Payne as a character for a show called Black Love and Brittany watched Freda and imitated her moves. One day we hosted a Valentine’s Day special and Brittany came to me and said mommy I want to sing on the show. I didn't take her seriously at first. I thought she would be scared and would want to back out but she didn't. I'm the one that was nervous. She was not shy at all. I didn't have to push her or anything she did it all on her own. She sung L.O.V.E by Nat King Cole beautifully," recalls her mother.

When asked when can we expect to hear more about Brittany’s musical talent Bern Nadette replied "When she is ready, I'm going to help cultivate her talent and go from there."

Among celebrities that attended were Actor Earnest Thomas who portrays Mr. Ohmar on Everybody Hates Chris and best know for his character Raj on What’s Happening, Eric J. Chambers, Executive Producer and host of the Jazzspel Gospel show on the Word Network.

"Her party was awesome, One of the best I’ve been to. The Hello Kitty theme was really cool and all the decorations were very nice. I'm glad Brittany and I are friends. She is a very sweet person and we share the same goals of becoming a doctor so hopefully we can help each other out," replied Jessica Reliford

Report: H1N1 Hospitalizations Higher But Vaccinations Lower for Minorities

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H1N1 flu hospitalization rates for African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indian/Alaska Natives were nearly two to one higher than rates for Whites during the 2009-2010 flu season, according to a new report, Fighting Flu Fatigue, from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH). At the same time, both H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccination rates were lower for African Americans and Hispanics than for Whites.

During the 2009-2010 flu season:

• African American hospitalization rates were 29.7 per 100,000 people compared to White hospitalization rates of 16.3 per 100,000 people. Hispanic hospitalization rates were 30.7 percent per 100,000 people;

• H1N1 vaccination rates were 9.8 percent lower for African- American adults and 4.2 percent lower for African-American children than for Whites;

• Seasonal flu vaccination rates were 16.5 percent lower for African-American adults and 5.6 percent lower for African-American children than for Whites;

• H1N1 vaccination rates were 11.5 percent lower for Hispanic adults than for Whites, although rates were 5.5 percent higher for Hispanic children; and

• Seasonal flu vaccination rates were 21.7 percent lower for Hispanic adults and 2.6 percent lower for Hispanic children than for Whites.

The flu is preventable with a vaccine – yet , each year, between 3,000 and 49,000 Americans die from flu-related illnesses (based on a review of deaths from 1976 to 2007) and the flu contributes to more than $10 billion in lost product ivi ty and direct medical expenses and $16 billion in lost potential earnings each year in the United States. Fighting Flu Fatigue examines lessons from the H1N1 pandemic to inform future flu policies and prevention in the United States.

“Following the H1N1 pandemic, we could take two different paths,” said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH. “We could go back to a national complacency around the flu or we could build on the momentum of the pandemic response efforts to help spare millions of Americans from suffering yearly from the flu. Building on the work we’ve done would also better prepare the country for future disease outbreaks we may face.”

Last flu season, during the pandemic, flu vaccination rates reached historical highs. Around 44 percent of children ages six months to 17 years received the seasonal flu vaccination and around 40 percent of children received the H1N1 vaccine in 2009-2010. In prior years, childhood flu vaccination rates had been around 24 percent. In 2009- 2010, approximately 40 percent of adults were vaccinated against the seasonal flu, compared to past years where vaccination rates had been around 30 percent. The adult H1N1 vaccinat ion rates were approximately 27 percent, but these rates were deflated because of the limited availability of vaccine in the beginning of the outbreak.

In 2010, for the first time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that all Americans older than six months should get vaccination against the flu. To further combat the flu, increase vaccination rates and build on the momentum from the H1N1 response, the report recommends creating a major campaign that provides:

• Education about the need for flu shots, focused on why everyone should get immunized and the safety of the shots;

• Increased easy access to flu shots, even to people who are uninsured or do not receive regular medical care; and

• Incentives for health care workers to be vaccinated. Last season, only 62 percent of health care workers were vaccinated against the seasonal flu and only 37 percent received an H1N1 flu shoot by January 2010.

Edison International Expands Annual Scholars Program

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In celebration of its 125th anniversary, Edison International is expanding the number of awardees in its signature scholarship program to include students in 14 states where the company generates and distributes electricity, and has changed requirements so recipients can attend any accredited university in the U.S.

“We recognize the significance of a college education, and expanding this program allows more young people to pursue academic opportunities,” said Theodore F. Craver Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, Edison International. “These scholarships will help broaden students’ educational experiences, providing a solid foundation that will serve them well in an increasingly competitive employment environment.”

This year, the Edison Scholars program will award 125 scholarships to coincide with the company’s landmark anniversary. Previously, the company offered up to 75 scholarships annually and they were available only to eligible residents in the service territory of Edison’s subsidiary, Southern California Edison (SCE).

Scholarship applications will be accepted from eligible students living in SCE’s service territory in California, as well as students in designated schools in Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming — where Edison International’s Edison Mission Group (EMG) and Midwest Generation provide service. The application deadline is March 15. Winners will be notified by June.

For the first time in the program’s history, selected scholarship recipients may attend any accredited four-year college or university in the country.

The Edison Scholars program focuses on students studying science, technology, engineering and math. Each selected high school senior will be awarded a $2,500 college scholarship. Awards are renewable an additional three years for a total of $10,000, provided recipients meet all eligibility requirements.

Applicants must:

· Be high school seniors who live, or attend a public or private school, in areas serviced by SCE, or attend an eligible high school in the designated area surrounding SCE’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

· Be high school seniors who attend an eligible school in designated areas serviced by EMG and its subsidiaries.

· Be planning to attend an accredited four-year college in the U.S.

· Be full-time students majoring in math, physics, chemistry, engineering, materials science or computer science/ information systems.

· Have a cumulative grade point average of 2.8 or higher.

· Be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.

· Demonstrate financial need.

Since 1993, Edison International has awarded nearly $2 million in scholarships to more than 300 students. To download an application and get more details about the Edison Scholars program, including lists of eligible schools and colleges, please go to www.edison.com/edisonschol ars.

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