2018 HIV Report Release


The Philadelp

hia Department of Public Health (PDPH) reports promising reductions in new diagnoses of HIV. The number of newly diagnosed persons decreased 14.3% from 495 diagnoses in 2017 to 424 new diagnoses in 2018 with a notable decline of 35.8% in Black men who have sex with men (MSM); the City has experienced steady declines in new HIV diagnoses since the mid-2000s consistent with national trends.



The number of HIV diagnoses in Philadelphia has gone down, according to new date from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

The PDPH released the 2018 HIV Surveillance Report, which contains data reported through June 30, 2019.


By Max Bennett


The city has records of 19,011 people living with HIV, while another 2,019 people are estimated to have the virus without yet knowing. In 2018, Philadelphia’s 424 new HIV diagnoses were down from 495 new diagnoses in 2017. That continues a trend of steady declines since the mid-2000’s.


By Michael Tanenbaum

Youth E-Cigarette Restriction Announcement




As dozens of vaping-related lung illnesses are being investigated across Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley announced Wednesday that they will introduce legislation to ban flavored e-cigarettes and vape pods from stores that sell to minors.


By Nina Feldman


“No one knows what’s in these products,” Dr. Farley explained. “Even the FDA doesn’t know, because they haven’t required manufacturers to submit a list of ingredients.”


By Staff


Under the proposed bill, sales of various product types would be limited to adult-only stores that require patrons to be at least 18 years old.

The products listed in the legislation include e-cigarettes with more than 20 mg/ml of nicotine salts, e-cigarettes with flavorings and e-liquids with more than 20 mg/ml of nicotine salts or flavorings sold separately.


By Michael Tanenbaum

Philly Magazine

At a press conference on Wednesday, city health commissioner Tom Farley noted that 25 percent of high school seniors in Pennsylvania currently use e-cigarettes. (For comparison, less than five percent of the adult population currently vapes.) While the rate of teen vaping was previously declining in the state, the figure doubled from 2017 to 2019. “These teens are not smokers trying to quit,” Farley said, referencing the traditional argument made in favor of e-cigarettes. “These are kids getting addicted to an entirely new product.”


By David Murrell


Under this new legislation, e-cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes that contain higher levels of nicotine will only be sold in stores that service adults, not children or teens. Kenney said this is a crucial step to make since more and more kids are becoming addicted to e-cigarettes at a young age.


By Becca Glasser-Baker


Philadelphia is joining the crackdown on e-cigarettes as vaping-related illnesses are on the rise across the United States. Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Tom Farley announced new legislation proposing restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes to minors on Wednesday.


By Staff


But Farley noted that many children are going straight to e-cigarettes.

“More than 25% of 12th graders are now vaping,” said Farley. “These teens are not smokers. They’re getting addicted to an entirely new product. No one knows what’s going to happen to these children’s lungs if they use these products for years or decades. We don’t want any more young people clinging to life on a ventilator.”


By Bethany Ao


Philadelphia Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley said, “It was done aware of the risks of preemption. But on the other hand, we feel we have to act. So if companies want to take us to court, take us to court. We believe this is the right thing to do to protect our children.”


By Bob Brooks


E-cigarettes typically contain 59 milligrams of nicotine per millimeter of liquid. Stores owners that want to allow teens and children inside would have to limit e-cigarette sales to products with no more than 20 milligrams per millimeter–and no added flavoring.


By Pat Loeb


Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley also announced that “Behind the Haze,” a social media campaign spreading awareness on the dangers of vaping, is set to launch next week.

“It shows teens that e-cigarettes contain chemicals that are either of unknown risk or that are in fact known as carcinogens, meaning they can cause cancer,” Dr. Farley said.


By Rudy Chinchilla and David Chang

Philly Tribune

E-cigarette manufacturers are not required to submit a list of ingredients to the federal regulators, said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in a written statement.


By Michael D’Onofrio

First Human West Nile Virus Case of 2019




According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the city has had its first case of a person being diagnosed with the neurologic infection.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has announced that they have found West Nile virus activity in the mosquito population in at least 57 of the 67 counties in the state, including all counties in southeastern Pennsylvania.


By Max Bennett


Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley urged residents to take necessary precautions against the virus, a neurologic infection spread by infected mosquitoes.

“We all have a role in preventing the spread of West Nile virus,” Farley said in a statement. “And it’s easy to do: Wear mosquito repellent and dump out standing water.”


By John Kopp


There were 17 West Nile virus cases in the city last year.

To report mosquito problems, contact the health department at 215-685-9000.


By Staff


The first human case of West Nile virus in 2019 has been reported in Philadelphia, health officials announced Tuesday.

West Nile activity in mosquitoes has also been reported in 57 of 67 Pennsylvania counties to date including all counties in the southeastern part of the state, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health stated.


By Mari Schaefer


Health officials are working to control the mosquitos throughout the city and advise residents to take precautions to combat the virus.

“We all have a role in preventing the spread of West Nile virus,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said. “It’s easy to do: wear mosquito repellent and dump out standing water.”


By Staff

Maternal Motherhood Grant Award




“The highest cause of maternal mortality in Philadelphia is related to cardiovascular conditions,” said obstetrician-gynecologist Aasta Mehta, an adviser to the city Department of Health and a leader of its committee that reviews all pregnancy-related maternal deaths. “With Heart Safe Motherhood, we can monitor them much more rigorously and avoid hospital readmissions.”


By Marie McCullough

Synar Report Publication


PHILADELPHIA–According to the recently released 2018 Synar report, sales of tobacco to youth in Philadelphia more than doubled in 2018, compared to 2017. Driven by illegal sales by tobacco retailers throughout the city, the overall rate of youth tobacco sales in Philadelphia in 2018 was more than twice the state rate. Violations, meaning illegal sales of tobacco to underage buyers, occurred across retailer types, consistent with data from what the Health Department finds during their own compliance check program. The state’s Synar report is developed using the results of a survey during which trained, supervised teens aged 15-17 attempt to buy tobacco at a sample of retail stores across the state.



Illegal sales of cigarettes to young people in Philadelphia have more than doubled in the last year, reversing a two-year decline in the practice, the Philadelphia Public Health Department announced Tuesday.


By Mari Schaefer

Philly Voice

“These 2018 figures are unacceptable. After years of improvement, we were gratified to be making headway against illegal sales of tobacco to our city’s youth,” said Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, Philadelphia’s director of chronic disease and injury prevention.


By Michael Tanenbaum


Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, director of chronic disease and injury prevention at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health says the city is taking action.

“We are doing education with retailers in multiple languages in multiple formats, some of it’s face-to-face, some of it is email fliers that are designed and stress that this is against the law,” she said. “We’ve also increased the number of compliance checks that we do so people who are selling to youth are getting ticketed more often and each ticket is $250, so those are real penalties.”


By Lynne Adkins

Naloxone Giveaway Days

The City of Philadelphia, in response to an emergency that has taken the lives of thousands of Philadelphians, disrupted the lives of tens of thousands more, and affected the lives of each and every one of us, recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day. In honor of this day, and to save as many lives as possible, the Health Department will be holding a series of naloxone giveaway days in September. International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on August 31st every year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death.