“We noticed that the people who were at highest risk were not as aware of PrEP,” said Greg Seaney-Ariano, of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. In the last five years alone, there has been a 17% increase in Latinos with HIV diagnoses, according to the department.
By Miguel Martinez-Valle and Eddi Cabrera Blanco
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“It is alarming that most people are not aware of getting tested for HIV and being treated for HIV,” said Maria Seno, supervisor of the AIDS Activity Coordinating Office (AACO) education program. , a division of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health whose focus is AIDS prevention and help for people living with the disease.
Lack of knowledge has resulted in a 17 percent increase in the number of Latinos diagnosed with the virus in the last 5 years.
The frequency of HIV in the Latino community is 10 times higher than that of the general population in Philadelphia. Two out of 10 people diagnosed in 2017 were Latinos.
“What is alarming is the fact that we have the treatment, we have the knowledge to not only protect individuals who do not have HIV but also prolong life and quality of life for those who are living with HIV,” said Seno.
By Miguel Martinez-Valle and Rudy Chinchilla
But Philadelphia’s deputy health commissioner, Caroline Johnson, said the windy day helped clear the air of any pollutants that could have affected city residents.
“Based on aggressive sampling of air quality in the region of PES, we found nothing of concern, and we see no evidence that there’s been an impact on the health of the public in Philadelphia,” Johnson said.
By Susan Phillips and Dana Bate
Deputy Health Commissioner Caroline Johnson said Air Management Services has been doing “aggressive” monitoring of chemicals associated with fires and burning fuel.
“They have been doing daily inspections in the community and along the fence line of PES (Philadelphia Energy Solutions), and all of those have been negative,” she said, adding there’s no evidence of any other public health effects.
By Pat Loeb
Dr. Caroline Johnson said Health Department staff have been conducting “very aggressive” air quality monitoring in neighborhoods surrounding Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ Girard Point refinery since Friday morning.
By Vince Lattanzio
Dr. Caroline Johnson, a deputy health commissioner for the city, said experts had been carefully checking air quality for any increase in noxious chemicals and found none. On Friday, she said, tests showed very minor elevations of acetone and ethanol, but those quickly abated.
She noted that there was no evidence of any release of hydrogen fluoride, a deadly chemical used in refining. Nor, she said, was there any spike in visits to area emergency rooms for breathing problems.
By Willliam Bender and Craig McCoy
While the scene at PES is still active, there is no threat to the community, officials said.
Health officials said air quality monitoring is ongoing.
By Max Bennett
The city’s deputy health commissioner said Tuesday that aggressive air monitoring has turned up nothing of note and that emergency rooms have not reported increases in people with respiratory distress.
Dr. Caroline Johnson also said air samples tested for 61 chemical compounds found “very minor” elevations of acetone and ethanol Friday but nothing since then.
Health concerns: Mayor Jim Kenney notes that “there are no findings that would suggest a threat to public health.” Dr. Caroline Johnson, a deputy health commissioner for the city, said hydrogen fluoride was not released.
By Patricia Madej
Philly’s Department of Public Health reported Friday that they took samples of the air with hand monitors right outside the plant and through the neighborhood, looking for hydrocarbons, combustibles, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon monoxide. All tests came back negative, said the health department’s communications director James Garrow.
The department conducted 18 more tests over the weekend, all of which came back negative, he said Monday.
On Saturday and Sunday the department also took grab samples and tested the air around the plant for 61 different volatile compounds. All 61 compounds came back as being below legal limits, though two compounds—acetone and ethanol—were reported as being higher than usual, Garrow said.
By Anna Merriman
As the percentage of HIV positive people in Philadelphia’s Latinx community increases, community members are working to stop the stigma around HIV and promote safe practices and free testing.
By Miguel Martinez-Valle
But something happens when civilians receive greater access to the life-saving drug: Its usage becomes harder to track. That’s because when more naloxone gets in the hands of private civilians, many of whom may be drug users themselves, they’re able to administer the drug — usually Narcan, the brand-name for the version given nasally — before paramedics arrive on the scene. And increasingly, health department officials say, paramedics aren’t being called at all. “People using drugs are doing this all the time and not reporting it,” says Allison Herens, the health department’s harm reduction coordinator, who performs naloxone trainings and tracks its use citywide.
By David Murrell
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control, CVS Pharmacy, and a host of local organizations will be holding free, confidential HIV testing clinics at the CVS on Broad and Girard Streets. National HIV Testing Day is Thursday, June 27. This annual event encourages people to get tested for HIV, to know their HIV status, and to start HIV treatment right away if they have HIV.
Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health is offering free HIV tests this week.
The free, confidential testing clinics will be offered at the CVS on the corner of Broad Street and Girard Avenue in North Philadelphia.