Trending News Today: Report Shows Drop in HIV Infections

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Findings from 2 studies showed that cooling caps may limit chemotherapy-induced hair loss in women with breast cancer, according to NPR. Hair loss is among the most common adverse events from chemotherapy, and represents a substantial concern of patients. This has led to a big market for cooling caps, but they have not been extensively studied in the United States and results have varied, NPR reported. Currently, DigniCap is the only FDA-cleared cooling cap. The results of the studies showed that at least half of the participants who used the DigniCap or the Paxman lost less than 50% of their hair. Although the findings show promise, further research is needed to determine whether there is any psychological benefit from using the caps, reported NPR. The average cost for the cooling caps is $1500 to $3000, depending on the number of chemotherapy cycles patients undergo.

New reports by the CDC revealed an 18% decline in the number of HIV infections in the United States between 2008 and 2014, but the number of infections rose among Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) and MSM aged 25 to 34 years. According to The Washington Post, infections fell from 45,700 in 2008 to 37,600 in 2014, with more significant drops seen among heterosexuals and individuals who inject drugs. The CDC attributes the progress to public education encouraging individuals to know their HIV status, use of antiretroviral therapy, and the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis. Unfortunately, the number of HIV infections increased by 35% in 2014 among MSM aged 25 to 34 years, from 7200 to 9700. Among Latino MSM and bisexual males of all ages, infections increased by 20%, from 6100 to 7300, the Post reported. The data was presented Tuesday at the Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections conference in Seattle, WA.

Humana will no longer offer health insurance coverage in state marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act. According to The New York Times, Humana is the first major insurance company to cast a no-confidence vote over individual health plans on the public exchanges for 2018. Humana has steadily been pulling back, selling policies in just 11 states for 2017. Last month, the company said the number of customers buying coverage through the exchanges fell to approximately 150,000 compared with roughly 12 million who initially signed up, the NY Times reported. The decision to withdrawal shortly followed the company’s announcement that it would no longer pursue a merger with Aetna. According to the NY Times, on the same day, Cigna filed a lawsuit seeking $13 billion in damages from Anthem after the Justice Department blocked the merger of the 2 companies.