Arizona Family Health Partnership (AFHP) is using a one-time $248,626 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant for Zika prevention and protection training as well as counseling and education primarily targeting women of reproductive age who are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant anytime soon.
“It is critical to talk about Zika in the context of the infection’s impact on quality reproductive and sexual health and in making decisions about birth control options,“ said AFHP CEO Brenda “Bré” Thomas in a news release. “To date, much of the focus of Zika prevention education has been directed to surveillance, bug spray and removing standing water as well as for populations other than women who are not pregnant or planning to get pregnant.”
As part of the prevention component, AFHP has purchased more than 270,000 condoms for distribution to Title X-funded health clinics, safety net and health care providers statewide. Condom kits will include a desk-top bin and condoms with a resupply available as needed, and Zika prevention materials.
AFHP is the only Arizona organization providing this focused training and prevention to the medical community including advanced practice nurses, primary care physicians, OB/GYN’s, pediatricians and community health workers, among others.
CDC: High Presence of Zika Expected in Arizona
According to the most recent maps from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Arizona is expected to experience a high presence of Zika-carrying mosquitos in counties where more than 1.2 million women meet the Title X sliding fee scale criteria of up to 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Line. This includes women ages 13 to 44 who are sexually active but not pregnant or planning to be.
New Study: Most Americans Know Little About Zika
A new study by The March of Dimes and NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent research institution, finds significant gaps in Americans’ understanding of the Zika virus, including the ways it is transmitted and its health consequences.
The CDC reports over 16,000 cases of Zika in the U.S. and its territories as of Aug. 31. 95 percent of Americans say they have heard at least a little about Zika, but fewer than 6 in 10 know about sexual transmission of the disease and only about half are aware of the symptoms or tests for Zika.
The poll also shows that 85 percent of Americans have received information about Zika from television or radio news, but only 39 percent trust that source. Americans are most trusting of Zika information from the CDC, their personal doctor and their state or local public health departments, but few have received information from these sources.
The poll also points out that while few adults know about Zika treatments, about 3 in 4 adults recognize the need to delay pregnancy in certain situations including living in an area affected by Zika, a woman having sex without a condom with an infected man or traveling to areas affected by Zika.
“Younger adults age 18 to 40 are less likely than those 41 and over to be aware of when women should postpone being pregnant,” according to an issue brief about the poll.
Zika Response: Americans Changing Pregnancy Plans or Abstaining From Sex
In response to the Zika virus, some Americans in childbearing years (ages 18 to 40), say they have taken steps to avoid pregnancy. “13 percent of adults in this age group, including 16 percent of women and 10 percent of men, say they have abstained from sex to prevent pregnancy. 24 percent say they have used condoms or other forms of birth control, with women being more likely than men to say so (28 percent vs. 20 percent,” according to the issue brief.
AFHP Team Well Prepared to Provide Training
Already highly regarded for its training programs, led by the AFHP Clinical Program Manager and a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner, AFHP recently added a Zika presentation to its roster to address women avoiding pregnancy, women who are trying to get pregnant and women already pregnant as well as to address the role men play in Zika transmission.
Trainings will be county based; customized based on the needs, background and qualifications of the trainees; and will include webinars for rural and tribal-based providers, if needed. AFHP also is developing a materials toolkit “to teach clients and community service providers about the importance of barrier methods and preventing pregnancy in the case of Zika infection,” Thomas said.
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Copyright 2016 Southern Arizona News-Examiner