Health Highlights: June 28, 2012

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

CDC Launches Free Drugstore HIV Testing

Drugstore testing for HIV may someday become routine if a government-sponsored pilot program catches on across the United States.

Free rapid HIV tests -- like those used in doctor's office and health clinics -- are available now at seven sites around the country, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday that it plans to add 17 more pharmacies and in-store clinics in cities and rural regions, the Associated Press reported.

"By bringing HIV testing into pharmacies, we believe we can reach more people by making testing more accessible and reduce the stigma associated with HIV," Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's HIV prevention program, said in a statement.

The HIV saliva test, which involves swabbing the mouth, provides preliminary results in 20 minutes. Customers with positive results will be referred for laboratory testing and, if the results are confirmed, counseling and treatment, the AP said.

While gay men and injectable drug users are considered at highest risk, the CDC currently recommends all teenagers and adults up to age 64 get tested at least once. The agency estimates that one-fifth of the 1.1 million Americans infected with HIV don't know they carry the virus that causes AIDS.

CDC, which is training drugstore personnel to administer the tests, will review the program results next summer.

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Bagged Salads Recalled From Kroger, Wal Mart Stores

The Dole company is recalling fresh bagged salads from Kroger and Wal Mart stores across six states due to potential contamination with listeria, the company has announced.

No illnesses have yet been reported in the "precautionary" recall of 1,077 cases of bagged salads that were distributed in Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

The products under recall include Kroger Fresh Selections Greener Supreme coded N158 211B 1613 KR04 with Use-by date of June 19 and UPC 11110 91039; Kroger Fresh Selections Leafy Romaine coded N158 111B KR11 with Use-by date of June 19 and UPC 11110 91046; and Wal Mart Marketside Leafy Romaine coded N158111B with Use-by date of June19 and UPC code 81131 02781.

The Product Code and Use-by dates are located in the upper right-hand corner of the salads' packaging, and the UPC is found on the reverse side of the package.

Dole is asking that consumers who have these products discard them. Retailers and consumers can find out more by calling Dole at 1-800-356-3111.

Listeria monocytigenes can trigger illness with symptoms such as fever, muscle ache and gastrointestinal symptoms, with pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems most at risk for serious illness.

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Low Testosterone Not Part of Normal Aging: Study

Factors other than aging are likely responsible for the drop in testosterone some older men experience, a new study finds.

Researchers in Australia tracked the testosterone levels of more than 1,500 men, ages 35 to 80, who had their testosterone levels sampled at clinic visits spaced five years apart, UPI reported.

The study found that testosterone levels didn't undergo a steep decline -- instead they only fell less than 1 percent per year. And certain health or lifestyle factors seemed linked to those slight declines.

"Men who had declines in testosterone were more likely to be those who became obese, had stopped smoking or were depressed at either clinic visit," lead author Dr. Gary Wittert, professor of medicine at the University of Adelaide in Adelaide, said in a statement. "While stopping smoking may be a cause of a slight decrease in testosterone, the benefit of quitting smoking is huge."

Wittert and his team believe, therefore, that a drop in testosterone is not an inevitable part of the aging process in men.

The study was presented at the Endocrine Society's 94th annual meeting in Houston.

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Posted: June 2012


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