Published on 9 October 2017
- HEALTH INSURANCE: HEPATITIS AND HIV
- Insurance Testing Costs
- HIV / AIDS
- California Laws about Doctors Reporting HIV Incidence and AIDS Patients’ Names
- Home Testing
- Prognosis for Infants and Young Children
- Importance of Keeping Young Children Alive, in Case Some Have Genes That Are More Immune
- On Development of Disease Resistance in a Population During the Course of a Pandemic
- Suggestion to Establish AIDS Babies Foster Care Programs
I have been looking into hepatitis and HIV, which I feel are currently under-tested and underdiagnosed, both among our transient community and among our community at large, including newborns, preschoolers, and elementary school children.
HEALTH INSURANCE: HEPATITIS AND HIV
It looks like Medicare and Medicaid may or may not cover the needed tests and treatments, depending on what coverages you have, and what state you live in.
It looks like undocumented immigrants aren’t covered … See https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/outreach-and-enrollment/downloads/overview-of-eligibility-for-non-citizens-in-medicaid-and-chip.pdf …
Insurance Testing Costs
I recently had an annual blood test done, and it came back from the testing laboratory (which is the major supplier of test results in the Los Angeles area) with a $980 price tag, apparently because it had not passed through my typical health insurance hurtles. Surely we must find a more reasonably priced source of laboratory testing than this.
There was also an unexpected, but much more reasonable, charge from my doctor’s office for treatment.
Henceforth I will ask about the cost before getting tests or treatments at a doctor’s office, so as not to be taken by surprise after the fact.
It looks like hepatitis A and B vaccines are available, and recommended.
I read that there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but testing is recommended for people born between 1945 and 1965, and there is a treatment. See http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4075.pdf
Blood tests are available.
For hepatitis A, treatment consists of bed rest, abstinence from alcohol, and medications for symptomatic relief.
Drugs are used to treat hepatitis B and C. If there is liver failure, then liver transplants are suggested, so I expect early detection and treatment might be important.
Apparently, currently no vaccine has been proven effective against HIV: See “HIV Vaccine” in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV_vaccine ..
It looks like annual tests for HIV are recommended. It may be difficult to convince your doctor’s office to test you for HIV, if they feel you are not at high risk, according to the criteria provided to them.
I recently had the experience of summoning up the courage to ask my doctor’s office to test me for HIV; then the doctor’s office said they had done so. I later called, and the office said I had negative test results … meaning I had not been exposed to HIV.
Then I got the test results from the lab, sent to me as a separate bill by mistake, and it looked like I had not been tested for HIV after all.
Then I called the doctor’s office, and they reversed their position; the new answer was that I had not been tested after all.
My thought on this is that doctors may be dealing with the social stigma of HIV/AIDS testing, just as are the rest of us. In this case, it could be that my doctor decided I didn’t need the test, and that a little white lie would suffice.
California Laws about Doctors Reporting HIV Incidence and AIDS Patients’ Names
I’ve read, in a 2003 document, that California doctors were being required to report positive HIV diagnoses to the California Department of Health (but not the name of the positive person). I also read that, at that time, doctors with patients diagnosed with AIDS were required to report their patients’ names to the California Department of Health. (1)
I feel this law about reporting a patient’s name to the California Department of Health had to do with social stigma about AIDS being a disease of M2M men, intravenous drug users, and sex workers. That incidence among youth and women is low, may have to do with their being overlooked in testing because of risk factor indicators. The military may also be more at risk than it was previously thought to be.
That social attitudes towards this illness are becoming more understanding is evidenced by a new California law to go into effect 1 January 2018, reducing the offense of a HIV-positive person having sex with someone without telling them from a felony to a misdemeanor.
If the name reporting law is still true, it may be one reason why doctors are slow to test for HIV or AIDS at their patients’ request.
If testing is not covered by your insurance, or if you aren’t able to convince your doctor to test you, then reasonably priced test kits may be bought at Rite Aid or CVS.
The saliva test, I’ve read, is only 90% effective, and one must wait a month after possible exposure before testing. However, if you pay for it in cash, out of concern for the social stigma of so much as taking such a test, and if you pick a pharmacy far from your home, or get someone else to purchase it for you, then you may be at less risk of exposure to social stigma through loss of anonymity.
The blood test is more expensive and said to be more accurate; it must be sent off to a lab for the results, and so, unless you send the test under someone else’s name to the lab, there woiuld be greater risk of loss of anonymity.
For those diagnosed with HIV, I’ve read that ongoing traditional medical treatments, even while asymptomatic, increases life expectancy. (2) The difficulty is, these treatments may or may not be covered by your health insurance.
Prognosis for Infants and Young Children. Further, the prognosis for infants and young children who contract HIV apparently is less optimistic than that for adults who contract it. Despite this, I feel that we must do all that we can to preserve the good health of our children who have had the misfortune of being exposed to the HIV virus.
Importance of Keeping Young Children Alive, in Case Some Have Genes That Are More Immune
I’ve read that, here and there in the world recently, there have been suggestions, or even policies, of euthanizing AIDS babies. This type of policy must surely be based on the short-term goal of cost cutting, more than on the welfare of these children, who, I feel, deserve to live out their lives, no matter how short. That human life is very precious is one of my core beliefs.
On Development of Disease Resistance in a Population During the Course of a Pandemic.
From the standpoint of humankind as a whole, and looking to our future: There are bound to be some AIDS babies who are immune, as with any pandemic, and these children will be our hope for the future, if they are not euthanized, but instead provided with the best possible health care. (3)
During the influenza epidemic of the early 1900s, for instance, many Americans of all ages died of the flu, but those who survived had greater immunity. Thus today, very few people, except for the very young and the very old, are likely to die of the flu.
In the same way, in future days, we will no doubt be a nation with far greater immunity to hepatitis A, B, and C, and to HIV/AIDS.
Suggestion to Establish AIDS Babies Foster Care Programs
Sometimes moms of AIDS babies are unable or unwilling to care for them. In that case, I wonder if maybe a few children could be placed with foster parents … maybe even HIV positive foster parents? … who might receive a financial supplement for their care.
If there are states or counties that are unable or unwilling to set up foster care programs for these children, then I wonder if other states or counties might be willing to undertake their care. Perhaps a non-profit such as the Red Cross might be willing to set up such an interstate care program, for these very vulnerable children?
In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars
(1) See “HIV/AIDS Discrimination: Are You Breaking the Law?” http://ens.lacity.org/dod/indexpage/dodindexpage169423897_10062004.pdf ..
(2) See “Early HIV treatment hailed even for asymptomatic patients: Evidence previously indicated an increased risk of cardiovascular and renal disease,” Thomson Reuters Posted: Jul 21, 2015 11:01 AM ET Last Updated: Jul 21, 2015 11:24 AM ET, http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/early-hiv-treatment-hailed-even-for-asymptomatic-patients-1.3161686 ..
FOR MORE INFORMATION
- How Hepatitis and HIV are transmitted: “HIV and Viral Hepatitis Factsheet,” from the Centers for Disease Control, https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/library_factsheets_hiv_and_viral_hepatitis.pdf ..
- “Viral Hepatitis,” by the Centers for Disease Control, https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm ..
- “HIV/AIDS, from the Centers for Disease Control, https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/ ..
- “Los Angeles County Five-Year Comprehensive HIV Plan (2013-2017), March 2013, http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/dhsp/Reports/HIV/LAC-ComprehensiveHIVPlan2013-2017.pdf ..
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