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Sir Elton the editor on World Aids Day; ‘discriminatory’ referring by GPs and kidney disease timebomb

By Laura Passi

Our roundup of health news headlines on Wednesday 01 December

The Independent has a World Aids Day edition and has been guest edited by none other than… Sir Elton John. All proceeds of which will go to The Elton John Aids Foundation.

The paper reports a discovery by scientists at Harvard University, that one in four people infected with the Aids virus in Southern Africa are 'hyper-infectious super-carriers'. A plan has been drawn up to target these individuals and treat them with a ‘powerful cocktail of antiretroviral drugs which should limit their ability to transmit HIV to their sexual partners.'

Almost as if the Daily Mail is making an active bid to win Pulse's Pantomime Villain of the Year award, they give us: ‘Older poorer and female? You're less likely to be referred to a specialist by your GP'

According to the Daily Mail ‘your age, gender and how much you earn may act against you, according to a study.' Research from the King's Fund and University College London found that ‘found older patients were less likely to be referred than younger ones as were women and those from poorer backgrounds.' Although the researchers do not know why and sadly, couldn't tell the Mail that this was ageism ‘because older people could be telling their GP they do not want to go to hospital.'

Commonly used antidepressants may raise heart disease risk' say The Daily Telegraph. The research conducted by University College London (they've been busy this week) found ‘old style anti-depressant drugs were linked with a 35% increased risk of cardiovascular disease.'

Old-style drugs refer to tricyclic antidepressants have a number of side affects ‘they are linked to increased blood pressure, weight gain and diabetes and these are all risk factors for CVD.'

However, Amy Thompson, British Heart Foundation, said: ‘The results of this research should be interpreted with caution. The study wasn't originally set up to assess the effect of antidepressants on heart disease risk, but it raised some questions.'

We finish with a premonition from the Daily Mirror: ‘Britain 'facing kidney disease time bomb''. The newspaper claims the rate of kidney failure is rising by 5% each year but a 'funding drought' is preventing the development of new treatments. Professor Neil Turner, chairman of Kidney Research UK, has wielded one of the most powerful media cliché to warn us that, this is the ‘UK's next health-related ticking time bomb'.

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know, and we'll update the digest throughout the day...

Daily Digest - 01 December 2010