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Am Fam Physician. 2002;65(3):369-371

HHS Awards $69 Million in Grants to Ensure Early HIV Care

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced 111 continuation grants totaling $69.4 million to health care organizations throughout the country to ensure that early human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) care is provided to low-income people and to the communities that need the services the most, particularly rural and remote areas. Grant recipients include community-based clinics and medical centers, hospitals, public health departments, and universities in 30 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The grants will help provide early intervention, outpatient health care, and related services to low-income people who have HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and to persons at risk of contracting HIV. The grants are funded under the Title III Early Intervention Services program of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, which is managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau. For a list of recipients, visit the HRSA Web site

New Web Site Offers CME on Bioterrorism Preparedness

Emergency department clinicians can now receive resource information and free online continuing medical education (CME) for courses on how to diagnose and treat rare infections and exposures to bioterrorist agents. The Web site (, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), currently offers five online courses through the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) for hospital-based physicians, nurses, radiologists, pathologists, and infection control practitioners. The courses cover identification of six potential bioterrorist agents and commonly associated syndromes, including anthrax, smallpox, botulism, tularemia, viral hemorrhagic fever, and plague, and include case-based scenarios and photos followed by multiple choice questions. Each course offers one hour of CME credit. Courses were developed by a diverse group of researchers and clinicians representing various fields, including emergency medicine, health administration, public health, nursing, and education.

In response to a request by the member journals of the Association of Medical Publications, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recently developed a Web site ( for bioterrorism preparedness that mirrors the AAFP's own bioterrorism Web page (

Merck Recalls Hepatitis A Vaccine VAQTA

Merck & Co. recently voluntarily recalled VAQTA (Hepatitis A vaccine, Inactivated) in prefilled syringes after re-tests revealed a decreased antigen content in some syringes that was below the established minimum specification. As a result, some patients who were vaccinated with the affected lots may be insufficiently protected from hepatitis A. Patients who may have received doses from the affected lots would have been vaccinated after May 29, 2001 with the adult formulation, and after August 9, 1999 with the pediatric/adolescent formulation. Merck requests that any stock of the recalled VAQTA in prefilled syringes be returned. Additional information on the recall, including a list of the affected lots, is available online For medical questions, call 800-672-6372; for shipping assistance, call 800-637-2579; and for questions about the recall process, call 800-668-4391.

Relationship Found Between Low-Income Living and Being Uninsured

According to the December 17 issue of Medicine and Health, results of a survey conducted between April 27 and July 29, 2001, by Princeton Survey Research Associates, showed that nearly 25 percent of adults were uninsured at some point during the past year, and that the majority of persons without coverage were adults with low or modest incomes. Seventy-five percent of people who were uninsured at the time of the survey and 63 percent of persons who were uninsured for part of the past year had an annual income of less than $35,000. Among persons uninsured at the time of the survey, only 2 percent had an income of more than $60,000; only 7 percent of persons who were uninsured for part of the year had an income of more than $60,000. Low-income adults, defined as those having a yearly income less than $20,000, had the highest rate of being uninsured. Low-income persons also have the smallest chance of obtaining insurance, with 35 percent of low-income workers citing that their employers did not offer insurance.

Partnership to Broaden Research Used In Consensus Conferences

The AHRQ and the Office of Applications of Research (OMAR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have formed a partnership to ensure that the panelists of NIH Consensus Development Conferences have the most up-to-date scientific evidence to support their proceedings. AHRQ will provide evidence-based reports on selected topics developed by its Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs) for Consensus Development Conferences in 2002 and 2003. The EPCs review all available, relevant scientific literature on clinical topics, produce evidence reports and technology assessments, conduct research on methodologies and the effectiveness of their implementation, and participate in technical assistance activities. OMAR works with the NIH institutes, centers, and offices to assess, translate, and disseminate the results of biomedical research that can be used in the delivery of health services. The first four topics and dates of the conferences are: Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for Diagnosis and Therapy, January 14–16, 2002; Management of the Clinically Inapparent Adrenal Mass (Incidentaloma), February 4–6, 2002; Management of Hepatitis C, June 10–12, 2002; Symptom Management in Cancer: Pain, Depression and Fatigue, July 15–17, 2002. A summary of each AHRQ Evidence Report developed for an OMAR conference will be available on the AHRQ Web site

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Copyright © 2002 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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