One of the state’s foremost HIV/AIDS public health officials has told a panel of state lawmakers Wednesday that the state’s health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act, Kynect, is helping patients who have the virus.
Despite gains in treating the virus, it still disproportionately affects African-Americans and Hispanics.
According to data from the Kentucky Department for Public Health, African-Americans make up 38 percent of newly diagnosed HIV cases despite representing only eight percent of the state population.
Kraig Humbaugh, senior deputy commissioner for the department, told members of the Joint Committee on Health and Welfare that those figures mirror a national trend. His only explanation for the difference lies in the risk factors listed by the data.
Kentucky health officials say flu cases are being seen earlier this year. State epidemiologist Dr. Kraig Humbaugh says it's hard to predict if that could mean a more severe flu season or if we'll reach peak season earlier. "We've already reached what we call a regional level of flu activity in the state and that's one level away from widespread and that's the highest category," explains Humbaugh.
Flu season in Kentucky typically peaks in January or February. The earliest flu activity this season was reported in August in eastern Kentucky. Dr. Humbaugh says the number of statewide cases has climbed over the past few weeks.
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of six months.
State Health Officials in the Commonwealth are calling on parents to take steps to be certain their children have been immunized for a variety of diseases. This is National Immunization Awareness Month, and State Epidemiologist Kraig Humbaugh says its important not to become complacent about the issue.