Politico — From opioids to HIV — a public health threat in Trump country
The next HIV epidemic in America is likely brewing in rural areas suffering under the nationwide opioid crisis, with many of the highest risk communities in deep red states that voted for President Donald Trump. Federal and state health officials say they are unprepared for such an outbreak, and don’t have the programs or the funding to deal with a surge in HIV cases. And given how little screening for HIV there is in some rural counties, they worry it may have already begun.

The Washington Post — Cigarette taxes are the best way to cut smoking, scaring Big Tobacco
Health experts agree that raising taxes is the most effective way to reduce tobacco use. The U.S. surgeon general, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have all concluded that raising taxes helps large numbers of smokers to quit and have loudly advocated doing so. But many states — Missouri, Kentucky and Georgia among them — have not significantly increased their cigarette fees in decades, bowing to pressure from tobacco lobbyists and an ingrained antipathy among conservatives to raising taxes of any kind.

The New York Times — Why has the EPA shifted on toxic chemicals? An industry insider helps call the shots
The EPA’s abrupt new direction on legacy chemicals is part of a broad initiative by the Trump administration to change the way the federal government evaluates health and environmental risks associated with hazardous chemicals, making it more aligned with the industry’s wishes. It is a cause with far-reaching consequences for consumers and chemical companies, as the EPA regulates some 80,000 different chemicals, many of them highly toxic and used in workplaces, homes and everyday products. If chemicals are deemed less risky, they are less likely to be subjected to heavy oversight and restrictions.

Stat — FDA approves a new vaccine for shingles that provides broad protection
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a second shingles vaccine, giving pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline a go-ahead to market Shingrix in the United States.The FDA approval marks the second regulatory green light for the vaccine in a week’s time. Last Friday Shingrix was approved for sale in Canada. Regulatory filings are also in the works for the European Union, Australia, and Japan, GSK said.

Reuters — Short on staff: nursing crisis strains U.S. hospitals
Hospitals nationwide face tough choices when it comes to filling nursing jobs. They are paying billions of dollars collectively to recruit and retain nurses rather than risk patient safety or closing down departments, according to Reuters interviews with more than 20 hospitals, including some of the largest U.S. chains. In addition to higher salaries, retention and signing bonuses, they now offer perks such as student loan repayment, free housing and career mentoring, and rely more on foreign or temporary nurses to fill the gaps.