Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 9:31 am
Whether or not you'll someday get cancer or any disease can feel like a roll of hundreds of dice. Calculating the odds -- and knowing what they mean -- is tricky.
Credit Katie Harbath / Flickr
Online risk calculators are all the rage these days among public health groups trying to get us to change our unhealthful ways. The World Health Organization developed an online tool that lets you estimate your personal risk of cracking a hip in the next 10 years, for example. You just plug in data about yourself, your lifestyle, and your family medical history.
Somalia hadn't had a case of polio for nearly six years. But in the past few months, the virus has come back. Now the East African country has the worst polio outbreak anywhere in the world.
Twenty new cases of polio were reported this week in Somalia by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. That brings the total number of cases in the Horn of Africa to 73. The rest of the world combined has tallied only 59 cases so far this year.
Sickle cell anemia may not be as well-known as, say, malaria, tuberculosis or AIDS. But every year, hundreds of thousands of babies around the world are born with this inherited blood disorder. And the numbers are expected to climb.
The number of sickle cell anemia cases is expected to increase about 30 percent globally by 2050, scientists said Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where the disease is most common, will be the hardest hit.
A woman waits to get AIDS drugs on April 8 at a clinic in Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa, about 55 miles north of Johannesburg. New WHO guidelines say patients should start HIV treatment much earlier, before they become extremely sick.
The World Health Organization has issued revised guidelines saying that people with HIV should be put on antiviral drugs far earlier than was previously recommended. The hope is that most patients would get started on treatment before they begin to get extremely sick.
It's a move that could have huge implications for African nations where millions of people are infected with HIV. In South Africa roughly 5.5 million people are living with HIV — more than any other country in the world. South Africa also has more people in treatment than anywhere else.
Women in Bangalore, India, make red ribbons at an HIV support center in November 2012.
Credit Manjunath Kiran / AFP/Getty Images
Getting people on HIV drugs even before they get sick helps them live longer and slows the spread of virus, the World Health Organization said Sunday.
The number of new HIV infections has dropped by 20 percent worldwide since the push to expand HIV treatment worldwide began in 2002. The medications prevented about 4 million deaths from AIDS-related problems in developing countries, the WHO report says.