DCHHS offering free flu vaccine

Zachary Thompson

Zachary Thompson

Beginning today (Wednesday, Nov. 18) the Dallas County Health and Human Services will be offering free seasonal flu vaccines for all uninsured and low-income Dallas County residents.

The vaccine provided by DCHHS is an all-in-one vaccine that protects against multiple flu strains, including H1N1, aka Swine Flu. The adult vaccine is available in the adult immunization clinic on the first floor of the DCHHS building, 2377 N. Stemmons Frwy. The children’s vaccine is available at all DCHHS clinics.

Clinic hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and no appointments are necessary. For information call 214-819-2162.

DCHHS Director Zachary Thompson said county officials have not yet received any reports of flu-related deaths so far this flu season, “but we know the virus is circulating in the community. More than 50 individuals have tested positive for the flu, and at least seven have been hospitalized.

Thompson said three children and 55 adults died in Dallas County during the 2013-14 flu season, and 19 adults died last flu season.

Dr. Christopher Perkins, DCHHS medical director/health authority, said everyone should get a flu shot once a year. “The flu vaccine is the best form of protection against the flu virus, which is why we are encouraging everyone to get the vaccine, if they haven’t already,” he said.

Perkins also encouraged everyone to “practice proper hand washing and other flu prevention methods.” More flu information is available at the DCHHS website.

—  Tammye Nash

Gallo’s new AIDS vaccine to begin human trials

Robert Gallo

Dr. Robert Gallo

Dr. Robert Gallo, the man who in 1984 first proved that AIDS is caused by HIV and who now runs the Institute of Human Virology, has spent the last 15 years developing an AIDS vaccine. And now that vaccine is about to begin tests in humans, according to an article in Science magazine by Jon Cohen.

The Phase 1 trial will involve 60 volunteers and will focus only on testing the safety of and immune responses to the vaccine. It is being held in collaboration with Profectus BioSciences, a biotech that recently spun off from IHV.

There have been more than 100 AIDS vaccines tested over the years, but Science notes that Gallo and his team have developed a vaccine with “an unusual method of protection.”

The magazine explained that the vaccine, called “the full-length single chain vaccine,” “contains a version of HIV’s surface protein, gp120, engineered so that it links to a few portions of a protein called the CD4 receptor. When HIV infects cells, gp120 first binds to the CD4 receptor on white blood cells and then ‘transitions’ in such a way that hidden parts of the virus are exposed, allowing it to bind to a second receptor on the immune cells called CCR5. Once bound to both receptors, HIV can enter the white blood cell and establish an infection. The IHV vaccine aims to generate antibodies that bind to HIV’s gp120 when it’s in this transitional state, ultimately blocking attachment to CCR5, aborting the infection process.”

Gallo, now 78, said the development of the “full-length single chain vaccine” has taken so much time because he and his team have done extensive testing in monkeys and have faced “the typical vaccine challenges” in creating a human-grade product. They have also had to scramble for funding, he said.

But the researcher also acknowledged that he and his team took more time to bring the vaccine to trial because “We wanted more and more answers before going into people.”

The vaccine development team is being led by George Lewis with IHV, and includes Anthony DeVico and Timothy Fouts.

—  Tammye Nash

25 ways to fight AIDS

Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day.

Wait! Before you click the ‘next’ button or scroll down your news feed hear me out: The LGBT community has been living with AIDS for three decades now. For people of my generation the message to get tested and use condoms has been stated and restated so many times that it has faded into the background with the result that, all too often, people do not take the steps they need to to protect themselves. Harris County is responsible for 30% of the new HIV/AIDS diagnosis in Texas and men who have sex with men account for 64% of newly diagnosed men statewide. The threat is not over, the fight is not over, AIDS still endanger the LGBT community.

But I don’t want to just talk about just condoms and testing (as important as they are). Fighting HIV/AIDS is easier than you might think. I present to you 25 ways, in no particular order, to fight AIDS in Houston.

25. If you’re over a certain age talk to a young LGBT person about how your life has been affected by HIV/AIDS. You might be surprised how eager we are to hear your stories.

24. If you’re under a certain age listen to an older LGBT person tell you how HIV/AIDS has affected their lives. I know you aren’t eager to hear their stories, but listen anyway. You may find that learning the history of your community is more empowering than you’d expect.

23. If you are a sexually active gay man or transgender woman participate in the Baylor College of Medicine’s HIV Vaccine Study.

22. Ask your local public or school library to put books about HIV/AIDS on the shelf, not just in the back room where they have to be requested. Access to accurate information is crucial in fighting the spread of the disease.

21. Post HIV/AIDS stories to facebook.

20. Ask your clergy person what your community of faith is doing to fight the pandemic.

19. Sign up for action alerts from the Texas HIV/AIDS Coalition at texashiv.org

18. Actually follow through when the action alerts from the Texas HIV/AIDS Coalition arrive in your in-box.

17. Volunteer for organizations that deal with communities at high risk for infection: high school dropouts, victims of sexual assault, the poor, the homeless and sex workers. Fighting AIDS means fighting the injustice in our society that all too often contributes to new infections.

16. Say AIDS out loud.

15. Ask political candidates what they will do to continue funding to fight HIV/AIDS.

14. Once they’re elected, ask those candidates why they aren’t doing more to continue funding to fight HIV/AIDS.

13. Remind yourself that it’s OK to be tired of hearing about HIV/AIDS.

12. Thank a person who volunteers their time to the fight.

11. Take a moment to remember the people we’ve lost.

10. Take a moment to think of the people we may loose if this pandemic isn’t stopped.

9. Take a HIV/AIDS healthcare worker to dinner.

8. Wear a red ribbon.

7. Recognize that wearing a red ribbon isn’t enough.

6. Work with communities other than your own. HIV/AIDS effects us all.

5. Get angry.

4. Get over your anger.

3. Donate to an HIV/AIDS Charity.

2. When you pass a mobile HIV testing center, thank the workers.

1. Don’t pretend the fight is over, and don’t let other people pretend it’s over either.

—  admin

Flu vaccines widely available throughout DFW area


Dallas County has received 530,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine to date. The vaccine is now available to all residents.

“Because of the improving vaccine supply and recent indications of decreasing demand for vaccine in the priority group populations in our community, DCHHS is now extending the offer of H1N1 vaccine to all Dallas County residents who desire to receive the vaccine,” said a post on the Dallas County web site.

The county recommends people in certain priority groups get the vaccine. Those groups are:

• Pregnant women

• People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age

• Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel

• Persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old

• People ages of 25 through 64 years of age who have chronic health disorders

Bret Camp of the Nelson Tebedo Health Resource Center said that last group includes people with HIV.

Flu vaccine is usually recommended for people over the age of 50, but H1N1 has not particularly hit that group hard yet this year. Researchers suspect that older people may have some immunity from an earlier, related strain of the virus.

Tarrant and Collin counties also report sufficient stockpiles of the vaccine to offer to all of their county residents.проверка поисковых запросов

—  David Taffet