Tuesday, November 25, 2008

HIV/AIDS Awareness Of Auto Rickshaw Drivers In Ludhiana

I recently came across this interesting journal article discussing what the level of HIV/AIDS knowledge is among rickshaw drivers in Ludhiana.
The study was conducted on auto rickshaw drivers who were currently driving the vehicle. Seven main points of Ludhiana city were identified. Out of 1050 auto rickshaw drivers contacted, 600 agreed to participate. The knowledge about HIV/AIDS was assessed by using structured interview schedule. The interview schedule mainly focused on studying the awareness about modes of transmission, source of information, curability of disease and blood testing. [link]
The results suggest that although some knowledge does indeed exist, it is low and there is a need for further intervention for this risk group. As with other studies, knowledge increases with education.
Out of total 600 Auto rickshaw drivers, 384 (64.0%) had heard about HIV/AIDS. Awareness level increased with increase in educational status. Out of 384, 74.2% drivers knew that unprotected sex is the main mode of transmission. TV (63.0%) was the common media as source of information. Only 36.2% knew that the disease is not curable.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

[Un]natural Mehndi Tattoos

Dermatologists are warning that the henna tattoos, sold everywhere from beachside stands to carnivals to cruise ships, may contain a harmful chemical known as para-phenylenediamine, or PPD. Used to make the temporary tattoos last longer, PPD has been associated with major skin problems including rashes, blistering and even permanent scarring.

At the American Academy of Dermatology's Summer Academy Meeting 2008 in Chicago, dermatologist Sharon E. Jacob, M.D. of the University of California at San Diego pointed out that henna used for temporary tattoos is made from the lawsonia inermis plant. Temporary coloring of the skin with natural henna is considered harmless and only lasts for a few days. To darken the tattoo (making it more visible and long-lasting) some henna tattoo artists are adding PPD, usually used for black hair dye, into the henna mix.

The FDA prohibits direct application of PPD to the skin because of its known health risks. However, since the tattoo industry is not regulated, people, including children, are still getting black henna tattoos and potentially exposing themselves to serious medical problems. Dr. Jacobs advised that if you do choose to get a henna tattoo, do so only if you can be sure that only vegetable henna is used.