Women's Health Snapshots
Half of the public skimped on health care last year. Respondents to a Kaiser Family Foundation health tracking poll reported resorting to means including using home remedies and over-the counter drugs in-stead of visiting a doctor, passing on dental care, not filling prescriptions, skipping or halving prescription doses, and postponing surgery. When medical care could not be postponed, respondents fell behind on other bills, went into debt, and depleted their savings to cover health care costs. Even those with insurance are feeling vulnerable; one-third of respondents worry that they will lose coverage. Authors posit that current economic anxieties have finally created a positive climate for health reform. With many more Americans affected by the health care environment, the direct benefits of reform are more apparent. The authors suggest that fewer people feel they would be negatively affected by reform, and that more people are ready for change -- specifically change that would lower their health costs.
Kaiser Family Foundation, February 09
Despite years of struggle by women’s health activists against unnecessary hysterectomy, Black women still have higher hysterectomy rates than White women. Researchers used a subset of the Coronary Artery Risk Development Young Adults Study (CARDIA), which examines risk factors for heart disease, to analyze data from 1,863 Black and White women from 2000—2002. Three-quarters (78%) of the women undergoing hysterectomy were Black, 22% were White. Surprisingly, while Black women were more likely to have fibroids that White women, this difference did not explain the higher number of hysterectomies among the former group. The researchers could not attribute the racial differences to commonly measured psychosocial, socioeconomic, or other demographics. Biological differences, cultural factors, religious beliefs, and/or environmental attributes may also affect these rates. Re-searchers noted, however, that Black women’s access to information about alternatives to hysterectomy particularly warrants further study.
American Journal of Public Health, February 2009
At least 3% of residents in the District of Columbia have HIV/AIDS, a rate far above the 1% threshold that the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines as a “generalized and severe epidemic”. Since 2006, rates increased 22% , touching every race and gender in the city. Of those who are HIV-positive, 76% are Black, 70% are men, and 70% are over 40. One in 10 residents aged 40--49 is infected, which will have a direct effect on DC’s health care system. Specific populations are at increased risk for infection: Black men had an infection rate of nearly 7%, Black women of 3%, both distressingly high. Poverty and HIV/AIDS go hand-in-hand: 60% of those with HIV/AIDS make under $10,000 annually, and 43% are unemployed. Men having sex with men was the primary mode of transmission for White men (78%) and Latinos (49%); heterosexual transmission was the primary mode of transmission for Black women (58%). Since the data are based on test results, the authors cautioned that the real number of HIV-positive residents is likely to be far higher.
District of Colombia HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Update 2008, March 2009