DHEC in the News: World Aids Day, Supermoon, flu

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

New HIV prevention program launched in time for World AIDS Day

Every month in South Carolina, 66 people are diagnosed with HIV or AIDS.

With nearly 19,000 South Carolinians infected with HIV or AIDS, the state ranks eighth nationally in the rate of AIDS cases and 10th in HIV cases.

So as people around the globe mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, state health officials have launched an initiative to reduce the number of new infections through better health care and prevention.

Called “Stop the Epidemics,” the effort also targets sexually transmitted diseases and Hepatitis C, which has tripled in the past five years, with millennials making up the fastest growing group of those infected.

General Interest

Supermoon coming to South Carolina skies Sunday; meteor shower in mid-December

Up in the sky on Sunday will shine the year’s only Supermoon. The skies should be mostly clear. The full moon could bring flood tides.

A week later, the heavens will blaze with a Geminid meteor shower. In the midst of the shower, NASA astronaut and Citadel graduate Randy Bresnik returns to Earth.

Supermoons are full moons that appear larger than usual because they arrive when the full moon is at perigee, or a point closest to earth in its oval-shaped orbit.

Australia’s flu season has US health officials bracing for a bad winter, and wishing for a new vaccine

The flu season is just getting underway in North America, but if Australia’s experience with influenza is any guide, we’re in for a miserable winter.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Wednesday that the United States could experience a “relatively severe influenza season.” If so, it would extend a run of bad luck that began in 2014, when the available flu vaccines proved to be a poor match for the most common viruses in circulation.

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