Newly Diagnosed With Herpes

The blog post Newly Diagnosed With Herpes is available on: https://blog.meetpositives.com/

Living With Herpes and Dating Again

Herpes dating sites are increasing in popularity as people consider various way to deal with the challenges of dating with herpes.  A variety of articles have discussed the unique issues and obstacles people who are been recently diagnosed with herpes face and many of them encourage considering herpes dating sites.  The advice in these articles can be useful for people getting ready to get back into dating after having been diagnosed with herpes.

As a popular web MD article notes, in many ways dating with herpes is no different than dating before your diagnosis.  You still want someone who can appreciate all your wonderful qualities and see you as the fascinating and complex person you are.  Being diagnosed with herpes hasn’t changed any of that.  A herpes diagnosis does however mean one more major conversation that has to take place before having sex.  Webmd.com has some useful advice on when to tell a partner you have herpes.  They recommend not sharing this information on the first date, because you should give your date a chance to get to know you and see your wonderful qualities first.  They also don’t recommend trying to have the conversation when you’re just about to have sex.  It is best to discuss your diagnosis when both you and your partner are able to think clearly and rationally.  WebMD.com also has the helpful reminder that “kissing, cuddling, and fondling are safe, so you don’t have to tell before you do that.”

The article’s advice that rejection is always a risk in dating helps to put into perspective the fears many have that people won’t want to date them because of their herpes.  While it is indeed possible that there may be people who won’t want to date you because you have herpes, there are also a million other reasons people decide not to go out with each other.  If someone isn’t able to accept a medical condition that you have, then they weren’t the right person for you anyway.  That doesn’t mean rejection isn’t painful, but you have to try not to let it get you down or prevent you from putting yourself out there again.

One way to avoid worrying about rejection due to a herpes diagnosis is to intentionally date other people who already have herpes themselves.  This can be useful for finding both casual and more serious relationships.  WebMD.com points out that other people who already have herpes can be met using personal ads or dating services.  Websites that are specifically designed to connect people who have herpes is another option they recommend.  Using a herpes dating site takes away the pressure of having to discuss your herpes diagnosis.  Sex can happen if and when it feels natural in the relationship and you don’t have to worry about having a major conversation first.

Herpes is one of the most common STDs, but it can still have a major impact on your dating life.  Webmd.com’s helpful and compassionate article gives some good advice on how to continue dating after being diagnosed with herpes.

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Did You Know? 80% Women Have HPV Infection

Did You Know? 80% Women Have HPV Infection is courtesy of: https://blog.meetpositives.com

HPV: What You Should Know and How to Prevent HPV Infection

According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 14 million people including teens become infected each year with human papillomavirus. HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives.

HPV is a different virus than HIV and HSV (herpes). There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers. But there are vaccines that can stop these health problems from happening.

hpv-image

 

First seen on: (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mount-sinai-health-system/what-everyone-needs-to-kn_b_10734802.html)

What EVERYONE Needs to Know About HPV (Human Papillomavirus) and Vaccination

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is widely known as the virus that causes cervical cancer in women, but many people don’t realize it also leads to other life-threatening cancers that affect both men and women. For instance, it causes most oropharyngeal (throat) cancers, which are far more common in men and are expected to surpass the number of cervical cancers by the year 2020.

In the United States, about 20,600 females and 12,600 males are diagnosed with HPV-associated cancers each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fortunately, there is a vaccine that, when received early enough, can prevent most of these cancers.

What Is Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, affecting nearly all sexually active men and women at some point in their lives. There are many different subtypes of HPV. Some are low-risk, or benign (non-cancerous), though they can cause genital warts. Several others are high-risk, or malignant, having the potential to cause cancer.

Video Credit

HPV infections usually cause no symptoms or health problems, and most people clear the virus naturally through their own immune systems. Unfortunately, about seven percent of people with HPV do not, resulting in chronic infection.

How Is it Transmitted?

HPV is usually transmitted during sexual activity through contact between one moist mucosal surface—whether vaginal, anal, or oral—and another. It can also be spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact and, less likely, bodily secretions, such as through saliva when kissing.

What Kinds of Cancer Does HPV Cause?

Having a chronic infection with or repeated exposure to HPV in the cervix, genitals, anus, tonsil, or base of the tongue can predispose people to cancers in those areas later in life. High-risk HPV causes almost all cervical and anal cancers; a majority of tonsil and tongue-base (oropharyngeal) cancers; and a significant share of rare genital cancers, such as vaginal and penile cancers.

The HPV Vaccine

The HPV vaccine was initially created for preteen girls to prevent cervical cancer when they are older, but is now recommended for boys, as well, because the transmission process is a two-way street, and males can get HPV-related cancers, too. Since 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved three vaccines—Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix—to prevent infection with the high-risk HPV subtypes that cause the majority of cancers.

Who should get vaccinated? The vaccine is proven effective only if given before acquiring an HPV infection, which most people do shortly after becoming sexually active. That’s why the CDC recommends routine vaccination for all preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12, before they have engaged in any sexual activity and been exposed to HPV; however, vaccination may begin as early as nine years old.

For teenagers and young adults who have not previously been vaccinated, the CDC recommends vaccination up to age 21 for men, in general; and up to age 26 for women, men who have sex with men, and immunocompromised individuals, such as those with HIV.

The vaccine is not recommended for anyone older than 26 because by that age, those still sexually active have likely already been exposed to most high-risk HPV subtypes. The vaccine has been insufficiently studied in pregnant women, so they shouldn’t get vaccinated, either.

Is it effective? The HPV vaccine is highly effective at preventing infection with the most common cancer-causing HPV subtypes, but only when given prior to HPV exposure—in other words, before engaging in any sexual activity for the first time.

Is it safe? The HPV vaccine is very safe. It has been tested in tens of thousands of people, and many studies, including an analysis of more than 600,000 doses administered, show it is has a very low side-effect profile.

How much does it cost? The retail price is generally $130 to $140 per dose, but the actual cost may vary depending on your health care provider or insurance company. Most private insurers and Medicaid cover the cost of HPV vaccination in accordance with the CDC recommendations.

In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. However, in case that HPV does not go away, it can bring a serious health issue like genital warts and cancer. Whether symptoms occur or not can depend on the type of HPV virus involved in the infection. Here’s what you need to know about HPV Symptoms.

First Seen on: (http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-HPV.aspx)

Symptoms

There are more than 40 types of the virus that cause infections in the genital area. People do not always realise they have been infected with the virus as it does not always cause symptoms. Visible ways by which it is expressed are as genital warts which develop after sexual contact. When it is transmitted through skin to skin interaction in genital areas of the body, the virus is highly infectious.

Prevalence

A person only needs to have sexual contact with one person infected with the virus to become infected, although reducing the number of sexual partners can reduce the risk of this happening.

  • In the US, this virus is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Every year about 14 million people are newly infected
  • In the UK, it is the second most common sexually transmitted infection.
  • About 79 million Americans are infected with HPV

Effect of HPV on the body

HPV can result in changes in the cells and lead to abnormal tissue growth. Some forms of the virus can lead to cervical cancer in women after genital infection. The types of HPV that cause warts usually have a quick transition through the body whereas the types that cause cancer can stay in the body for lengthy periods. These will create pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions in the affected area.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer affecting women across the world. In 2012 alone, there were about 266,000 deaths and 528,000 new cases of cervical cancer.

Some countries routinely screen women for signs of the disease. In the UK, women aged between 25 and 64 years are invited for screening. Cervical cancer affects the less developed countries disproportionately with 85% of the burden of the disease resting with them. Other cancers caused by HPV include cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, head, and neck.

Here are some suggestions on how we can prevent HPV.

First seen on: (http://www.livescience.com/53799-what-is-hpv.html)

Prevention

cdc-vaccine
Image Credit

Using protection can lower the risk of transmission during sex. Protection, such as condoms and dams, should be used during any skin-to-skin sexual contact, though it isn’t fool-proof.

The HPV vaccine is the best way to prevent HPV. The CDC recommends that preteen boys and girls receive the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before the potential of being exposed to the virus. Also, when the vaccine is given to preteens, the vaccine produces a more robust immune response.

The HPV vaccine can be administered to women through age 26, and to men through age 21. The CDC recommends, though, that gay men and men with compromised immune systems (including HIV) get the HPV vaccine up to 26.

HPV vaccines are also the favored for the prevention of cervical cancer. A poll of 1,952 U.S. doctors by SERMO, a social media network for doctors, found that 55 percent polled favored state mandates for HPV vaccination. In addition, 92 percent of doctors confirmed that they would vaccinate their own children, despite recent controversy over the safety of the HPV vaccine.  

Side effects of the vaccine, when they do occur, are typically very mild. They include pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given, fever, headache, feeling tired or muscle or joint pain, said Genden.

“With all vaccines, it hurts to get a shot in the arm, but that passes,” said Pahud. “Teens also may faint after vaccination, but not due to the HPV vaccine itself, but the injection procedure. These findings are similar to the safety reviews of the other two recommended teen-vaccines, meningococcal vaccines and tetanus booster vaccines.”

You may also consider abstinence from Sexual activity including oral, anal, and vaginal sex to reduce the infections if you already are suffering from HPV. To get yourself protected from sexual diseases, always consider to make use of protections like condoms and talk to your partners if you feel like something is wrong or consult and get check by a professional specialist.

Are You Single And Have HPV?  Start Dating Again With Others Who Are Also HPV Positives, Click Here To Learn More!

 

Did You Know? Hepatitis is More Infectious than HIV

The following blog post Did You Know? Hepatitis is More Infectious than HIV was originally seen on:

Hepatitis B Virus is considered as one of the most infectious disease and people with HIV are also infected with hepatitis virus.

Recent data shows that one out of 20 people in the United States will get infected with hepatitis B (HBV) some time during their lives. Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than HIV.

So what is HBV and how can you get it? What are the symptoms and how can you make sure that you’ll be treated if you are infected?

hbv-infographics-meetpositives

First seen on: (http://www.sfcdcp.org/hepatitisb.html)

 

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV).  The natural course of hepatitis B disease is different from one person to another.

hepatitis-b-images

  • The first phase of disease, during the first 6 months after a person becomes infected, is called acute hepatitis B infection. During this phase, many people show no symptoms at all. Among those who do have symptoms, the illness is usually mild and most people don’t recognize that they have liver disease.
  • In 90% of persons who become infected as adults with hepatitis B, the immune system successfully fights off the infection during the acute phase — the virus is cleared from the body within 6 months, the liver heals completely, and the person becomes immune to hepatitis B infection for the rest of their life. In the other 10%, the immune system cannot clear the virus and hepatitis B infection persists past 6 months, usually for the rest of the person’s life. This persistent state is known as chronic hepatitis B infection.
  • When babies become infected at birth or during infancy, the percentages are reversed — only 10% clear the infection. The remaining 90% develop chronic hepatitis B infection.
  • In chronic hepatitis B infection, the liver becomes inflamed and scarred over a period of years. However, the speed at which inflammation and scarring take place varies between people. Some develop severe liver scarring (cirrhosis) within 20 years. In others, liver disease progresses slowly and does not become a major problem during their lifetime.
  • Another concern is the potential for liver cancer. Hepatitis B infection is the single most important cause of hepatocellular (liver) cancer.

Treatment with anti-viral drugs works for some people with HBV who are starting to develop liver damage. Whether treatment will be successful depends on many factors, and these are best discussed with a physician who specializes in liver diseases. When treatment is successful, liver scarring and the potential for liver cancer are reduced.

How do people get the HBV Virus?

Hepatitis B virus is found in the blood of people with HBV infection. It enters the body through blood-to-blood contact.

Reliable blood tests for HBV were developed many years ago. Since blood donors and blood products are tested for HBV, this is no longer the typical means of infection.

In many parts of the world, hepatitis B virus infects more than 8% of the population. HBV-infected women pass the infection to their babies during the birth process. People can also get hepatitis B by sharing needles for injection drug use, through sexual contact with an infected person, by an accidental needlestick with a contaminated needle, or from improperly sterilized medical, acupuncture, piercing, or tattooing equipment.

Who is at Risk for Infection?

  • Persons born in places where hepatitis B infection is common (especially China, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Amazon basin in South America).
  • Children of parents born in those places.
  • Injecting drug users
  • Hemodialysis patients
  • Health care and public safety workers who may have contact with blood
  • People having sex with an HBV-infected partner
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Those living in the same household with an HBV-infected person
  • Travelers to places where hepatitis B infection is common who will have extended, close contact with the local population.

 

How is Hepatitis B Prevented?

Testing & Vaccination

  • hepatitis-vaccineThe hepatitis B vaccine offers excellent protection against HBV. The vaccine is safe and highly effective. Vaccination consists of 3 doses of vaccine (shots) over the course of 6 months. Protection lasts for 20 years to life.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children should receive hepatitis B vaccine starting at birth. (AAP Policy).
  • The CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccine for persons traveling to countries where HBV is common (2008 Yellow Book).
  • If you have one or more risk factors for hepatitis B infection, you should get a simple HBV blood test. The blood test will determine whether you are:
  • immune to hepatitis B; or
  • susceptible to hepatitis B and need vaccination; or
  • infected with hepatitis B and need further evaluation by a physician
  • The basic test for acute HBV infection is called the “Hepatitis B Core IgM Antibody test.” People who have acute hepatitis B show positive IgM antibodies on this test.

Perinatal Hepatitis

California law requires testing of all pregnant women for hepatitis B infection

If the mother is HBV-infected, she will pass the infection to the baby during the birth process, unless the baby gets immunized within hours of birth

Giving the infant HBIG (hepatitis B immune globulin) and HBV vaccine right away will reliably prevent infection of the infant

Other family members should best tested for hepatitis B too, and given vaccine if they are not already infected or immune

Healthy Habits

The best way to prevent hepatitis B is with vaccination. Other ways to reduce your risk of getting hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV:

Do not inject drugs. If you do inject drugs, stop and get into a treatment program. If you can’t stop, never share needles, syringes, water, or “works”

Do not share personal care items that might have blood on them (razors, toothbrushes)

If you are a health care or public safety worker, follow universal blood/body fluid precautions and safely handle needles and other sharps

Consider the risks if you are thinking about tattooing, body piercing, or acupuncture – are the instruments properly sterilized?

If you’re having sex with more than one steady partner, use latex condoms correctly and every time to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including viral hepatitis and HIV.

After Exposure to Hepatitis B

  • Hepatitis B infection can be prevented by getting vaccine and HBIG (hepatitis B immune globulin) soon after coming into contact with the virus.
  • Persons who have recently been exposed to HBV should get HBIG and vaccine as soon as possible and preferably within 24 hours, but not more than 2 weeks after the exposure.
  • If you have recently been exposed to hepatitis B, you should immediately contact your doctor or call the Communicable Disease Control Unit at (415) 554-2830.

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis B?

After the virus enters the body, there is an incubation period lasting 1.5 to 6 months (average 4 months) until illness begins.  During the acute phase (first 6 months after infection) most persons have no symptoms or might experience a mild illness. Symptoms of acute HBV infection, when present, may include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Dark-colored urine, light-colored stools
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

During the chronic phase (> 6 months after infection) hepatitis B usually progresses silently, with no symptoms at all during the first 10-20 years. Signs of severe liver scarring (cirrhosis) may include:

  • Ascites (accumulation of fluid and swelling of the abdominal cavity)
  • Star-shaped vein pattern developing on the swollen belly
  • Jaundice
  • Itching
  • Easy bruising and bleeding

Chronic HBV infection can lead to serious liver disease, liver scarring (cirrhosis), and hepatocellular (liver) cancer.

Because symptoms of hepatitis B are usually absent, persons with risk for HBV infection should be tested.  If you think you have hepatitis B, or are at risk for hepatitis B, you should contact your doctor.

For better understanding about Hepatitis B, please watch the video below for the current update about prevention and treatments that can save your life.

Video Credit

If you were diagnosed with HBV, you should talk to your doctor if you will need to undergo treatment since not all chronic hepatitis B needs to be on medication. Your doctor might recommend rest and adequate nutrition and fluids while your body fights the infection. Make sure that you under all the treatment option before you decide to undergo one.

First seen on: (http://www.medicinenet.com/hepatitis_b/page7.htm)

What medications are used to treat hepatitis B?

Acute infection

Acute infection with hepatitis B usually does not require treatment. In rare cases, however, the infection may cause life-threatening liver failure. Patients with liver failure due to acute hepatitis B should be evaluated for liver transplantation.

Chronic infection

If a person is chronically infected with hepatitis B and has few signs or symptoms of complications, medications usually are not used. These patients are watched carefully and given periodic blood tests. One test measures the ‘viral load,’ that is, the amount of viral DNA in the blood. Doctors will recommend treatment if there are signs that the virus is beginning to cause damage or if the viral load is high. Another reason to prescribe medication is if the patient has a positive test for the Hepatitis B e-antigen (HBeAg) in the blood. HBeAg is associated with an increased risk of progression of liver disease and its complications.

In chronic hepatitis B, the goal of treatment is to reduce the risk of complications including cirrhosis and liver failure. However, it takes decades for complications to occur, which makes it difficult to study the effect of medications. As a substitute for waiting years to find out what happens, scientists have used tests like the viral load or liver function tests to evaluate if medicines are working. This is logical because it is known that people who have large amounts of the virus in their blood are at highest risk to get cirrhosis. Up to one-third of people with very high viral loads (more than one million viral copies per milliliter of blood) will develop cirrhosis over a decade, compared to only 4.5% of those with low viral loads (fewer than 300 viral copies per milliliter).

Medications can reduce the number of viruses in the body and may be able to eliminate the virus from the bloodstream. Logically, this should lead to them having a low rate of progression to cirrhosis (<1% per year), although large, long-term studies have not been done. Even in people who clear the virus from their blood, low numbers of viruses still live in the liver and other cells. Thus, the medications do not cure the disease, but they can prevent or delay complications and symptoms. People who have a good response to treatment can still transmit the virus. Doctors follow blood tests that measure viral load and liver function and they may recommend liver biopsies to evaluate if the medications are working.

The medications in current use for chronic hepatitis B include the interferons and nucleoside/nucleotide analogues. New agents are being developed although they are still under investigation and considered experimental. There are no accepted guidelines that tell how every patient should be treated. As a result, treatment is individualized.

Interferon

interferon-wiki
Image Credit

Interferon-alpha has been used to treat hepatitis B for more than 20 years. Interferon-alpha is a naturally occurring protein that is made in the body by white blood cells to combat viral infections. In addition to its direct anti-viral effects, interferon works against the hepatitis B virus by stimulating the body’s immune system to clear the virus. Compared to older interferon alpha agents, pegylated interferon alpha, marketed as Pegasys or Pegintron, has a more convenient dosing schedule, may be slightly more effective and suppresses the virus for a longer period of time. Pegylated interferon alpha is given once a week for 48 weeks.

 

  • A significant reduction in the viral load or elimination of detectable viral DNA from the blood occurs in 25%-37% of people during treatment.
  • Blood tests for liver functions normalize in approximately 23%-39% people treated with interferon or pegylated interferon.
  • People who have significant abnormalities in liver function before therapy are more likely to respond to treatment.
  • Those who have normal liver blood tests before treatment are less likely to respond to interferon therapy.
  • Liver biopsy results show improvement in about one-third of patients

Only 27% to 34% of people who have Hepatitis B e-antigen (HBeAg) in their blood will be able to eliminate HBeAg and produce antibodies against the HBe antigen after treatment with interferon. Relapse may occur after treatment is stopped.

Sustained response (undetectable viral load in the blood, normal liver function tests) occurs in approximately 15% to 30% of patients after the drug is stopped. Although this is not a cure (some virus still lives in the liver and elsewhere), people with sustained response are at low risk for complications of liver disease. If the responder’s immune system is compromised, for example through the use of steroids or acquiring HIV, the disease can recur. Periodic monitoring of blood tests can help confirm that the response continues to be sustained.

Interferon side effects

Interferon causes several side effects including:

 

  • fatigue, generalized muscle aches, fever, chills and loss of appetite. These flu-like symptoms occur in approximately 80% of treated patients;
  • mood swings, depression, anxiety and other neuropsychiatric effects may occur; and
  • thyroid gland abnormalities resulting inhypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone);
  • significant suppression of thebone marrow and production of blood cells;
  • infection;
  • or hair loss may occur.

The side effects may be severe enough that the patient is unable to continue treatment. During treatment, the normal immune response to the virus is stimulated and may cause worsening inflammation in the liver. This is normally a good sign showing that the interferon is working, but more extreme responses may in rare cases cause liver failure. Thus, physicians will monitor blood tests closely during therapy. People with unstable liver disease due to cirrhosis usually should not take interferon because of the increased risk of liver failure.

Nucleoside/nucleotide analogues

 

Nucleoside/nucleotide analogues (NAs) are man-made chemicals that mimic the nucleosides and nucleotides that are used for making DNA. When the virus tries to use the analogues to make its own DNA, it is unable to make the DNA and, therefore, cannot reproduce. Examples of these agents include adefovir (Hepsera), entecavir (Baraclude), lamivudine (Epivir-HBV, Heptovir, Heptodin), telbivudine (Tyzeka) and tenofovir (Viread).

Unfortunately, the hepatitis B virus may become resistant to NAs over time (see below). Adefovir may be effective against strains of virus that have become resistant to lamivudine and may be added to lamivudine when resistance appears. Simply switching from one NA to another is not recommended because this leads to virus strains that are resistant to multiple medications.

Currently, the optimal duration of treatment with nucleoside/nucleotide analogues is uncertain. people with HBeAg may be treated until six months after the HBeAg disappears from the blood and is replaced by antibodies (anti-HBe), if this occurs. In people without HBeAg, the endpoints are less clear. Some experts advocate treating until the viral load (viral DNA) is undetectable and the surface antigen (HbsAg) has been cleared from the blood. Others suggest continuing medications for prolonged periods to suppress the virus. All of these strategies are hampered by the risk of the virus becoming resistant to the medications. Patients who discontinue treatment with NAs should be monitored carefully for recurrent hepatitis, which may be severe.

Is there a preferred treatment for chronic hepatitis B?

There are no clear guidelines to recommend which agent to use first in treating chronic hepatitis B, as there are multiple options. Interferon is given for a defined period of time and may have a more prolonged response after the medication is discontinued than NAs. However, interferon is given as an injection, and side effects often are troublesome. NAs are given as a pill and have few side effects, but the duration of treatment is unclear, and prolonged therapy (years) may be required. NAs may be preferred in patients with unstable disease and cirrhosis because they are thought to be less likely to cause serious flares of hepatitis with more severe liver disease.

It is very important to find out if you have been infected hepatitis B because this virus can lead to serious illness. Most of people doesn’t show any symptoms if they have been infected that’s why it’s important to take precautions against it. For Pregnant women who have been infected with the virus it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor as you may need extra care and medications. There’s a possibility of passing the virus to your child at the time of birth but the risk can be reduced once the baby is vaccinated. .

 

 

 

Did You Know? Hepatitis is More Infectious than HIV

The following blog post Did You Know? Hepatitis is More Infectious than HIV was originally seen on:

Hepatitis B Virus is considered as one of the most infectious disease and people with HIV are also infected with hepatitis virus.

Recent data shows that one out of 20 people in the United States will get infected with hepatitis B (HBV) some time during their lives. Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than HIV.

So what is HBV and how can you get it? What are the symptoms and how can you make sure that you’ll be treated if you are infected?

hbv-infographics-meetpositives

First seen on: (http://www.sfcdcp.org/hepatitisb.html)

 

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV).  The natural course of hepatitis B disease is different from one person to another.

hepatitis-b-images

  • The first phase of disease, during the first 6 months after a person becomes infected, is called acute hepatitis B infection. During this phase, many people show no symptoms at all. Among those who do have symptoms, the illness is usually mild and most people don’t recognize that they have liver disease.
  • In 90% of persons who become infected as adults with hepatitis B, the immune system successfully fights off the infection during the acute phase — the virus is cleared from the body within 6 months, the liver heals completely, and the person becomes immune to hepatitis B infection for the rest of their life. In the other 10%, the immune system cannot clear the virus and hepatitis B infection persists past 6 months, usually for the rest of the person’s life. This persistent state is known as chronic hepatitis B infection.
  • When babies become infected at birth or during infancy, the percentages are reversed — only 10% clear the infection. The remaining 90% develop chronic hepatitis B infection.
  • In chronic hepatitis B infection, the liver becomes inflamed and scarred over a period of years. However, the speed at which inflammation and scarring take place varies between people. Some develop severe liver scarring (cirrhosis) within 20 years. In others, liver disease progresses slowly and does not become a major problem during their lifetime.
  • Another concern is the potential for liver cancer. Hepatitis B infection is the single most important cause of hepatocellular (liver) cancer.

Treatment with anti-viral drugs works for some people with HBV who are starting to develop liver damage. Whether treatment will be successful depends on many factors, and these are best discussed with a physician who specializes in liver diseases. When treatment is successful, liver scarring and the potential for liver cancer are reduced.

How do people get the HBV Virus?

Hepatitis B virus is found in the blood of people with HBV infection. It enters the body through blood-to-blood contact.

Reliable blood tests for HBV were developed many years ago. Since blood donors and blood products are tested for HBV, this is no longer the typical means of infection.

In many parts of the world, hepatitis B virus infects more than 8% of the population. HBV-infected women pass the infection to their babies during the birth process. People can also get hepatitis B by sharing needles for injection drug use, through sexual contact with an infected person, by an accidental needlestick with a contaminated needle, or from improperly sterilized medical, acupuncture, piercing, or tattooing equipment.

Who is at Risk for Infection?

  • Persons born in places where hepatitis B infection is common (especially China, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Amazon basin in South America).
  • Children of parents born in those places.
  • Injecting drug users
  • Hemodialysis patients
  • Health care and public safety workers who may have contact with blood
  • People having sex with an HBV-infected partner
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Those living in the same household with an HBV-infected person
  • Travelers to places where hepatitis B infection is common who will have extended, close contact with the local population.

 

How is Hepatitis B Prevented?

Testing & Vaccination

  • hepatitis-vaccineThe hepatitis B vaccine offers excellent protection against HBV. The vaccine is safe and highly effective. Vaccination consists of 3 doses of vaccine (shots) over the course of 6 months. Protection lasts for 20 years to life.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children should receive hepatitis B vaccine starting at birth. (AAP Policy).
  • The CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccine for persons traveling to countries where HBV is common (2008 Yellow Book).
  • If you have one or more risk factors for hepatitis B infection, you should get a simple HBV blood test. The blood test will determine whether you are:
  • immune to hepatitis B; or
  • susceptible to hepatitis B and need vaccination; or
  • infected with hepatitis B and need further evaluation by a physician
  • The basic test for acute HBV infection is called the “Hepatitis B Core IgM Antibody test.” People who have acute hepatitis B show positive IgM antibodies on this test.

Perinatal Hepatitis

California law requires testing of all pregnant women for hepatitis B infection

If the mother is HBV-infected, she will pass the infection to the baby during the birth process, unless the baby gets immunized within hours of birth

Giving the infant HBIG (hepatitis B immune globulin) and HBV vaccine right away will reliably prevent infection of the infant

Other family members should best tested for hepatitis B too, and given vaccine if they are not already infected or immune

Healthy Habits

The best way to prevent hepatitis B is with vaccination. Other ways to reduce your risk of getting hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV:

Do not inject drugs. If you do inject drugs, stop and get into a treatment program. If you can’t stop, never share needles, syringes, water, or “works”

Do not share personal care items that might have blood on them (razors, toothbrushes)

If you are a health care or public safety worker, follow universal blood/body fluid precautions and safely handle needles and other sharps

Consider the risks if you are thinking about tattooing, body piercing, or acupuncture – are the instruments properly sterilized?

If you’re having sex with more than one steady partner, use latex condoms correctly and every time to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including viral hepatitis and HIV.

After Exposure to Hepatitis B

  • Hepatitis B infection can be prevented by getting vaccine and HBIG (hepatitis B immune globulin) soon after coming into contact with the virus.
  • Persons who have recently been exposed to HBV should get HBIG and vaccine as soon as possible and preferably within 24 hours, but not more than 2 weeks after the exposure.
  • If you have recently been exposed to hepatitis B, you should immediately contact your doctor or call the Communicable Disease Control Unit at (415) 554-2830.

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis B?

After the virus enters the body, there is an incubation period lasting 1.5 to 6 months (average 4 months) until illness begins.  During the acute phase (first 6 months after infection) most persons have no symptoms or might experience a mild illness. Symptoms of acute HBV infection, when present, may include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Dark-colored urine, light-colored stools
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

During the chronic phase (> 6 months after infection) hepatitis B usually progresses silently, with no symptoms at all during the first 10-20 years. Signs of severe liver scarring (cirrhosis) may include:

  • Ascites (accumulation of fluid and swelling of the abdominal cavity)
  • Star-shaped vein pattern developing on the swollen belly
  • Jaundice
  • Itching
  • Easy bruising and bleeding

Chronic HBV infection can lead to serious liver disease, liver scarring (cirrhosis), and hepatocellular (liver) cancer.

Because symptoms of hepatitis B are usually absent, persons with risk for HBV infection should be tested.  If you think you have hepatitis B, or are at risk for hepatitis B, you should contact your doctor.

For better understanding about Hepatitis B, please watch the video below for the current update about prevention and treatments that can save your life.

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If you were diagnosed with HBV, you should talk to your doctor if you will need to undergo treatment since not all chronic hepatitis B needs to be on medication. Your doctor might recommend rest and adequate nutrition and fluids while your body fights the infection. Make sure that you under all the treatment option before you decide to undergo one.

First seen on: (http://www.medicinenet.com/hepatitis_b/page7.htm)

What medications are used to treat hepatitis B?

Acute infection

Acute infection with hepatitis B usually does not require treatment. In rare cases, however, the infection may cause life-threatening liver failure. Patients with liver failure due to acute hepatitis B should be evaluated for liver transplantation.

Chronic infection

If a person is chronically infected with hepatitis B and has few signs or symptoms of complications, medications usually are not used. These patients are watched carefully and given periodic blood tests. One test measures the ‘viral load,’ that is, the amount of viral DNA in the blood. Doctors will recommend treatment if there are signs that the virus is beginning to cause damage or if the viral load is high. Another reason to prescribe medication is if the patient has a positive test for the Hepatitis B e-antigen (HBeAg) in the blood. HBeAg is associated with an increased risk of progression of liver disease and its complications.

In chronic hepatitis B, the goal of treatment is to reduce the risk of complications including cirrhosis and liver failure. However, it takes decades for complications to occur, which makes it difficult to study the effect of medications. As a substitute for waiting years to find out what happens, scientists have used tests like the viral load or liver function tests to evaluate if medicines are working. This is logical because it is known that people who have large amounts of the virus in their blood are at highest risk to get cirrhosis. Up to one-third of people with very high viral loads (more than one million viral copies per milliliter of blood) will develop cirrhosis over a decade, compared to only 4.5% of those with low viral loads (fewer than 300 viral copies per milliliter).

Medications can reduce the number of viruses in the body and may be able to eliminate the virus from the bloodstream. Logically, this should lead to them having a low rate of progression to cirrhosis (<1% per year), although large, long-term studies have not been done. Even in people who clear the virus from their blood, low numbers of viruses still live in the liver and other cells. Thus, the medications do not cure the disease, but they can prevent or delay complications and symptoms. People who have a good response to treatment can still transmit the virus. Doctors follow blood tests that measure viral load and liver function and they may recommend liver biopsies to evaluate if the medications are working.

The medications in current use for chronic hepatitis B include the interferons and nucleoside/nucleotide analogues. New agents are being developed although they are still under investigation and considered experimental. There are no accepted guidelines that tell how every patient should be treated. As a result, treatment is individualized.

Interferon

interferon-wiki
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Interferon-alpha has been used to treat hepatitis B for more than 20 years. Interferon-alpha is a naturally occurring protein that is made in the body by white blood cells to combat viral infections. In addition to its direct anti-viral effects, interferon works against the hepatitis B virus by stimulating the body’s immune system to clear the virus. Compared to older interferon alpha agents, pegylated interferon alpha, marketed as Pegasys or Pegintron, has a more convenient dosing schedule, may be slightly more effective and suppresses the virus for a longer period of time. Pegylated interferon alpha is given once a week for 48 weeks.

 

  • A significant reduction in the viral load or elimination of detectable viral DNA from the blood occurs in 25%-37% of people during treatment.
  • Blood tests for liver functions normalize in approximately 23%-39% people treated with interferon or pegylated interferon.
  • People who have significant abnormalities in liver function before therapy are more likely to respond to treatment.
  • Those who have normal liver blood tests before treatment are less likely to respond to interferon therapy.
  • Liver biopsy results show improvement in about one-third of patients

Only 27% to 34% of people who have Hepatitis B e-antigen (HBeAg) in their blood will be able to eliminate HBeAg and produce antibodies against the HBe antigen after treatment with interferon. Relapse may occur after treatment is stopped.

Sustained response (undetectable viral load in the blood, normal liver function tests) occurs in approximately 15% to 30% of patients after the drug is stopped. Although this is not a cure (some virus still lives in the liver and elsewhere), people with sustained response are at low risk for complications of liver disease. If the responder’s immune system is compromised, for example through the use of steroids or acquiring HIV, the disease can recur. Periodic monitoring of blood tests can help confirm that the response continues to be sustained.

Interferon side effects

Interferon causes several side effects including:

 

  • fatigue, generalized muscle aches, fever, chills and loss of appetite. These flu-like symptoms occur in approximately 80% of treated patients;
  • mood swings, depression, anxiety and other neuropsychiatric effects may occur; and
  • thyroid gland abnormalities resulting inhypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone);
  • significant suppression of thebone marrow and production of blood cells;
  • infection;
  • or hair loss may occur.

The side effects may be severe enough that the patient is unable to continue treatment. During treatment, the normal immune response to the virus is stimulated and may cause worsening inflammation in the liver. This is normally a good sign showing that the interferon is working, but more extreme responses may in rare cases cause liver failure. Thus, physicians will monitor blood tests closely during therapy. People with unstable liver disease due to cirrhosis usually should not take interferon because of the increased risk of liver failure.

Nucleoside/nucleotide analogues

 

Nucleoside/nucleotide analogues (NAs) are man-made chemicals that mimic the nucleosides and nucleotides that are used for making DNA. When the virus tries to use the analogues to make its own DNA, it is unable to make the DNA and, therefore, cannot reproduce. Examples of these agents include adefovir (Hepsera), entecavir (Baraclude), lamivudine (Epivir-HBV, Heptovir, Heptodin), telbivudine (Tyzeka) and tenofovir (Viread).

Unfortunately, the hepatitis B virus may become resistant to NAs over time (see below). Adefovir may be effective against strains of virus that have become resistant to lamivudine and may be added to lamivudine when resistance appears. Simply switching from one NA to another is not recommended because this leads to virus strains that are resistant to multiple medications.

Currently, the optimal duration of treatment with nucleoside/nucleotide analogues is uncertain. people with HBeAg may be treated until six months after the HBeAg disappears from the blood and is replaced by antibodies (anti-HBe), if this occurs. In people without HBeAg, the endpoints are less clear. Some experts advocate treating until the viral load (viral DNA) is undetectable and the surface antigen (HbsAg) has been cleared from the blood. Others suggest continuing medications for prolonged periods to suppress the virus. All of these strategies are hampered by the risk of the virus becoming resistant to the medications. Patients who discontinue treatment with NAs should be monitored carefully for recurrent hepatitis, which may be severe.

Is there a preferred treatment for chronic hepatitis B?

There are no clear guidelines to recommend which agent to use first in treating chronic hepatitis B, as there are multiple options. Interferon is given for a defined period of time and may have a more prolonged response after the medication is discontinued than NAs. However, interferon is given as an injection, and side effects often are troublesome. NAs are given as a pill and have few side effects, but the duration of treatment is unclear, and prolonged therapy (years) may be required. NAs may be preferred in patients with unstable disease and cirrhosis because they are thought to be less likely to cause serious flares of hepatitis with more severe liver disease.

It is very important to find out if you have been infected hepatitis B because this virus can lead to serious illness. Most of people doesn’t show any symptoms if they have been infected that’s why it’s important to take precautions against it. For Pregnant women who have been infected with the virus it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor as you may need extra care and medications. There’s a possibility of passing the virus to your child at the time of birth but the risk can be reduced once the baby is vaccinated. .

 

 

 

Did You Know? STD & STI Contraction

Did You Know? STD & STI Contraction was originally published on: www.blog.meetpositives.com

What are the Chances of Getting An STD/STI?

Getting STD is a real possibility if you’re sexually active. This is the reason why it is so important to get tested regularly and be honest with any new partners about your sexual activity.

Sexually transmitted diseases are becoming increasingly common throughout the country and it shows that one in two sexually active persons will have an STD/STI by the age of 25.

picture of couple holding hands

First seen on: (https://www.stdcheck.com/blog/std-and-sti-whats-the-difference/)

When talking or reading about sexual health, the term STI is becoming more and more common. If it has made you wonder what the difference between an STI and an STD is, you’re not alone!

std-vs-sti

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An STI is a sexually transmitted infection, and an STD is a sexually transmitted disease.

Both are essentially the same thing and the terms are used interchangeably. The usage of STI is becoming seemingly more preferred by the health world thanks in part to a less negative stigma. STDs have been around forever– think back to junior high health classes. But the phrase “STI” doesn’t yet have the same negative connotation attached to it, so doctors and health advisors are more than happy to refer to them as infections rather than diseases.

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However, technically, STIs and STDs differ slightly— Having an STI means that an individual has an infection, but that it has not yet developed into a disease. Take HPV (human papillomavirus) for instance: Typically a woman with HPV does not have any symptoms, but she carries the virus. She has an STI; but if she develops cervical cancer from HPV, she now has an STD since cancer is a disease.

The real question here is: What’s the difference between infection and disease? An infection is often the first step of a disease and occurs when either bacteria, viruses or microbes enter the body and start multiplying. The disruption of normal body function or structure, especially when signs and symptoms appear, is considered disease (as long as the cause is not the result of a physical injury).

This means, medically speaking, that all STDs start out as STIs.STIs that progress into disease are STDs.

Many STIs show no symptoms at all, so those individuals don’t know they have them– This is why getting tested is so important!

Are You STD Positive? Start Dating Again With Others Who Are Also Positive, Click Here To Learn More!

 

So how long should you wait until you decide to get tested after having sexual intercourse with a questionable partner, in order to have the most accurate results?

First seen on: (http://www.bustle.com/articles/154381-when-should-i-get-tested-for-stds-5-times-you-should-head-to-the-clinic)

Before you think about getting tested, it’s important to understand how these tests actually work. STIs only show up on the tests a few weeks after a potential incident. This is because these tests often aren’t looking for the virus or bacteria in your body. Instead, they search for the antibodies your immune system has created to fight off the invading infection. It takes your body a few days to create these antibodies, which means it takes time for the test to pick up on them.

When Should I Get Tested?

1. Routinely

11120Everyone should be getting tested for STIs routinely. What “routinely” means really depends on your lifestyle, but it can be anywhere from every year to every three months. It depends on how many sexual partners you have — if you’re only sleeping with one person and you don’t have any slip-ups with other people, then you’re probably on the annual testing routine. If you’re having sex with several people, you’re probably more on the every three months track. Talk to your doctor about how often you should be getting tested based on the type of relationships you have.

2. Before (Or After) You Sleep With Someone New

If you have a new partner you’re planning on taking home, it’s a good idea to get tested beforehand so you can give them accurate information about your status. You can even consider going to get tested together! I know that might sound horrifyingly stressful, but lots of couples actually do it. Some even find it sexy. And even if you don’t get tested together, it’s a good idea to talk about your statuses — how long ago did each of you get tested? Did you test positive for anything that last time? Is it maybe time to get tested again, either together or separately?

3. … Even If You Use Condoms

mens-condomEven if you use condoms, you still need to get tested to know your status. That’s because condoms aren’t 100 percent effective. There are a couple of reasons why condoms don’t provide complete protection. First off, even if you use condoms correctly every time you have sex, they are only 98 percent effective against pregnancy, and most people don’t use them correctly every time (hey, no one’s perfect), so the typical use efficacy rate is 82 percent. While we don’t have an easy percentage to talk about STIs, research has found that condoms are very effective in preventing STIs spread by body fluids (mainly semen, pre-cum, and vaginal fluid). They also reduce your risk for getting STIs spread through skin contact, because they cover the skin of the penis. So if infected skin in question happens to be covered by the condom, then you’re more likely to not get an STI if you use a condom.

If you use condoms every time you have sex and you put them on correctly every time, you’re doing the best you can to protect yourself from both pregnancy and STIs — but because condoms aren’t completely effective, you’re still dealing with a bit of risk if your sexual partner has an STI. So if you’re hooking up with someone whose status you don’t know, even if you used a condom, it’s a good idea to get tested. Just remember about the lag time for STI tests — if you have sex with a new lover on Sunday morning, you need to wait a couple weeks to get tested to get an accurate result for anything you could have gotten from that new person.

4. After Unprotected Sex

In addition to getting tested routinely, it’s important to get tested after you have an incident that you think could have exposed you to an STI. This can be a condom breaking, having unprotected sex (it happens to the best of us), or being the victim of sexual assault. If, whether intentionally or unintentionally, you have protected sex, you may have put yourself at risk for getting an STI. If this is you, don’t panic. Tell your doctor, and she’ll let you know when to come in for testing.

5. If You’re Not Feeling Great

herpes-injection-vaccineI don’t want you going down the rabbit hole of Internet self-diagnosis, but here we go. All STIs have potential side effects, such as genital redness or itching, pain during urination, pain during sex, or flu-like symptoms. I saypotential because a lot of people are asymptomatic, which means they don’t feel any different even though they have an infection. If you’re feeling not-great, particularly in your nether region, describe your symptoms to your doctor. You could have an STI (or just about a million other things). She will test you to make sure, and then give you the treatment you need to feel better.

If your partner starts showing symptoms that sound like they could be an STI, you might want to accompany them to the clinic, and also get tested yourself. If your partner is positive for an STI, it doesn’t mean you are too — but it could. Knowing earlier means you can get treatment earlier. For more highly communicable STIs, sometimes providers will give treatment to the person testing positive and their sexual partner(s), so that their patient doesn’t get cured only to get reinfected the next time they have sex.

 

You may think whether you should get tested for STD. You may also think if your partner needs a test too. Or you just want to learn more about STD testing. Whatever the reason may be, the information you have the better you can protect your sexual health.

Did You Know? STD Reports and Cases are Required in US

Did You Know? STD Reports and Cases are Required in US was originally published to: https://blog.meetpositives.com/

What are the Most Common STD Diseases?

Have you heard about reportable disease?  Yes, they are considered to be important enough to be track and reported. When your doctor diagnosed you with a reportable disease the health care provider must notify a certain agencies of the occurrence of a new case of this disease.

Of the STDs/STIs that are diagnosed, only some (gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, hepatitis A and B) are required to be reported to state health departments and the CDC.

First seen on: (http://www.dhhs.saccounty.net/PUB/Pages/Disease-Control-Epidemiology/GI-STD-Control.aspx)

The Disease Control and Epidemiology unit monitors the rates of reportable sexually transmitted diseases. These include gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. In addition, Hepatitis B, AIDS, and other reportable infections that are sexually transmissible are counted. The rates of these infections are measured in order to evaluate the health of the community and to determine how to direct screening and education approaches against these diseases. In some instances, specially trained staff confidentially notify contacts of persons with sexually transmitted diseases in order to recommend testing and treatment.

Why is it important to know about STDs? 
STDs can have serious consequences, including infertility, adverse effects on unborn children, and even death. An increased risk of cervical cancer has been linked with at least one type of STD. It is important to diagnose and treat STDs, both to preserve the health of the individual and to prevent the spread of the disease to others.
How many STDs are there?
There are many sexually transmitted diseases, though certain ones are better known because they are either common, serious or both. The most well known STDs include syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes genitalis. Other sexually transmitted diseases include trichomonas infection, genital warts, pubic lice (“crabs”), lymphogranuloma venereum, chancroid, and granuloma inguinale.
STDs include infections that are not strictly transmitted by sexual means but can be spread in other ways, including sharing needles, fecal contamination, and skin-to-skin contact. An important example is HIV infection (the virus that causes AIDS). Other examples of infections that can be transmitted to varying degrees through sexual contact are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, amebiasis, cytomegalovirus, cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis and scabies.
Which STDs must be reported to the Health Department? 
California State law requires many communicable diseases to be reported to the Public Health Department. Among them are the following STDs:
image of common std diseases
  • gonorrhea-stdGonorrhea
  • Syphilis (infections, latent (early & late), late stages & congenital)
  • Chlamydia
  • Chancroid
  • Non-gonococcal urethritis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • AIDS
  • HIV
  • Viral Hepatitis (A,B and C)
  • Amebiasis
  • Giardiasis
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Lymphogranulom venereum (LGV)

Which STDs are not reported to the Health Department?

The following infections can result from intimate or sexual contact with an infected person. Health professionals are not required to report these cases to the Public Health Department:
  • Herpes genitalis
  • Trichomonas infection
  • Genital warts
  • Pubic lice (“crabs”)
  • Granuloma inguinale
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Scabies

Is reporting of STDs confidential? 

Yes. All reports are handled as highly confidential.
What type of assistance is available for partner notification?
Persons who are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease are encouraged to notify their partners and refer them for evaluation and treatment. This is often easier said than done. However, the person with the infection is the only one who is truly knowledgeable about who has been exposed.
The Disease Control and Epidemiology unit of the Health Department, in conjunction with the California Department of Health Services STD branch routinely carries out partner notification in cases of syphilis and gonorrhea. There are efforts to locate and offer evaluation and treatment of persons with other STDs, depending upon the circumstances.
Special laws apply to notification of contacts of persons with HIV infection and AIDS. For more information, please contact the State Office of AIDS at (916) 445-0553.
Physicians may seek the assistance of the public health officer in notification of their patients’ contacts, if patient education alone fails to prevent the patient from placing others at risk.
Protecting patients confidentiality can sometimes be a challenging task. However, we have 2 option for STD/STI testing. First is the Anonymous vs. Confidential Testing. So let’s check what’s the difference with these two.

First seen on: (http://www.c-uphd.org/anonymous-confidential.html)

Your name is not used during the testing process; instead, an anonymous number is used to identify you and to attach you to your results.

anonymous-hiv-testing

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  • Test results are not documented in your medical chart.
  • If you are HIV+, it is your decision to access healthcare to help with the HIV illness.
  • Your HIV appointment can be done during a routine STD screening visit. Anonymous testing for HIV is separate from STI testing (chlamydia, etc.) and is also available by a separate appointment.
  • Results must be given in person, a week following the initial testing visit (i.e., not over the phone).

What a confidential (documented) HIV test means for you at Public Health:

  • Confidential testing is done through our STD clinic services.
  • Test results are NOT documented in the patient’s medical chart.
  • If you are HIV+ it is your choice to seek further health care for HIV illness.
  • As with other medical information contained in your medical chart, HIV information is kept confidential, meaning – no one can see this information without a specific written release, signed by you. *(unless you are under 18 years of age).
  • Results must be given in person, a week following the initial testing visit (i.e., not over the phone).
  • Your name, address, telephone number, and test result are kept separately from your HIV medical records.

 

NOTICE: Illinois now requires that those conducting confidential HIV tests report the names of those who test positive to the state health department. This information is CONFIDENTIAL. No one who works for Public Health or for the state may disclose your HIV status without your written permission. Your privacy is protected by law. ANONYMOUS tests results are NOT reported to the state.

Anonymous testing is recommended for the following persons:

  1. A man who has had sex with other men.
  2. A person who has had sex with a man who has had sex with other men.
  3. Anyone who has received drugs, money or something of value for sex.
  4. A person who has used needles to shoot drugs.
  5. Anyone who has had sex with someone who uses needles.
  6. Had sex with someone who is HIV positive.
  7. A person diagnosed with 2 or more sexually transmitted diseases in the past 12 months.
  8. A person with six or more partners a month.

Being sexually responsible is very important part of sex life. This entails that you understand the risk and you know that you gotta find away to reduce them. If the test result is negative, you’ll probably breathe a sigh of relief. However, if you test positive for an STD you better get the treatment right away to avoid complications and serious illness.

 

States with the most STD and STI infections

The article States with the most STD and STI infections is republished from: https://blog.meetpositives.com

Rates of Chlamydia Infection in US

Every year, a large number of U.S. youth get sexually transmitted infections (STDs) and the most common out of the three well known STDs among young people in the United States is Chlamydia which can damage a woman’s reproductive system making it difficult or impossible for her to get pregnant later on.

Most people are not aware that they have Chlamydia because the symptoms will begin in 5 to 10 days after you got the infection. Because Chlamydia has few symptoms or does not show symptoms at all it can sometimes be untreated for a long time which can become a serious threat to your health.

Almost, 20 million Americans catch an STD every year and the proportion of new infections that are in people ages 15-24 is 50%. The rates of Chlamydia infection differ by state and this map shows the cases in by state.

50-states-map-chlamydia-infographics

First seen on: (http://www.livescience.com/48100-sexually-transmitted-infections-50-states-map.html)

Sexually transmitted diseases are one major group of diseases that make for ongoing hidden epidemics: In the United States alone, there are nearly 20 million cases of new sexually transmitted infections yearly, from just eight viruses and bacteria, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

std-in-the-us

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The eight most common STDs in the U.S. are chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B virus (HBV), genital herpes, HIV, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis and trichomoniasis. About 50.5 million of these current infections are in men, and 59.5 million are in women, according to the CDC’s 2013 report, in which the researchers looked at 2008 data.

The most current data estimates that about 1.8 million people have chlamydia, as opposed to 1.6 million in the previous study. But because estimates have a margin of error, the current rate should not be interpreted as an increase, Torrone told Live Science.

Chlamydia

chlamydia-stdChlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the United States. But most people with chlamydial infections may not show any symptoms, and so the number of actual infections is much higher than the number of those reported, which was 1.4 million in 2012, or a rate of 457 cases per 100,000 people.

It is easy to cure chlamydia – it is a bacterial infection treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, the infection can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant. An untreated chlamydial infection can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (an infection of the reproductive organs), in about 10 to 15 percent of infected women, and lead to infertility.

Rates of chlamydial infection differ by state. In 2012, chlamydia rates ranged from 233 cases per 100,000 people in New Hampshire to 774 in Mississippi and 1,102 in the District of Columbia per 100,000 people.

Gonorrhea

gonorrhea-stdGonorrhea is the second most commonly reported STD in the United States, and it is especially common among people ages 15 to 24, according to the CDC. Gonorrhea can affect the genitals, rectum and throat, and can be cured with the right medication. Left untreated, the bacterial infection can lead to significant health problems, such as infertility and chronic pelvic pain.

It is estimated that more than 800,000 new infections occur each year. In 2012, there were 334,826 cases reported in the United States, which is a rate of 107 cases per 100,000 people. Rates by state ranged from 8 per 100,000 in Wyoming, to 230 in Mississippi and 389 in the District of Columbia per 100,000 people.

Syphilis

syphilis-stdAlthough syphilis was nearly eliminated from the United States about a decade ago, the number of cases is on the rise again, according to a 2014 report from the CDC.

Syphilis is easy to cure in its early stages, but can cause long-term problems if the bacterial infection is left untreated. Symptoms of syphilis can vary depending on the stage of the disease. The first two stages, during which the condition is most contagious, are known as primary and secondary syphilis.

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In 2012, the 15 states and the District of Columbia that had the highest rates of primary and secondary syphilis accounted for 70 percent of all U.S. cases. The national rate of syphilis is currently estimated at 5 cases in every 100,000 people.

So what’s the real score for these infections?  And what do we do to prevent or reduce the risk of infection?

First seen on: (http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2015/std-surveillance-report-press-release.html)

Reported Cases of Sexually Transmitted Diseases on the Rise, Some at Alarming Rate

Reported cases of three nationally notifiable STDs – chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis – have increased for the first time since 2006, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the 2014 STD Surveillance Report.

The approximately 1.4 million reported cases of chlamydia, a rate of 456.1 cases per 100,000 population, is up 2.8 percent since 2013. Rates of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis – the most infectious stages of syphilis –and gonorrhea have both increased since 2013, by 15.1 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively. In 2014, there were 350,062 reported cases of gonorrhea (a rate of 110.7 per 100,000) and 19,999 reported cases of P&S syphilis (for a rate of 6.3 per 100,000).

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STDs continue to affect young people—particularly women–most severely, but increasing rates among men contributed to the overall increases in 2014 across all three diseases.

“America’s worsening STD epidemic is a clear call for better diagnosis, treatment, and prevention,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention. “STDs affect people in all walks of life, particularly young women and men, but these data suggest an increasing burden among gay and bisexual men.”

Research needed to better understand increases among gay and bisexual men

P&S syphilis among men who have sex with men (MSM) has been increasing since at least 2000. In 2014, rates of P&S syphilis increased among MSM, who account for 83 percent of reported cases among men when the sex of the partner is known. Also concerning is that more than half of MSM (51 percent) diagnosed with syphilis in 2014 were also HIV-positive. Infection with syphilis can cause sores on the genitals, which make it easier to transmit and acquire HIV.

Syphilis is currently the only STD for which information on the sex of the sex partner is reported. However, a growing body of evidence indicates that MSM are experiencing similar increases in gonorrhea and chlamydia infections– underscoring the need to further understand what is contributing to the rise.

Gay and bisexual men face a combination of social, epidemiologic, and individual risk factors that can fuel high levels of STDs. Higher prevalence of infection within sexual networks increases the likelihood of acquiring an STD with each sexual encounter. Additionally, barriers to receiving STD services such as lack of access to quality health care, homophobia, or stigma may all contribute to greater risk for this population. CDC recommends screening at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea for all sexually active MSM.

To better identify and address specific challenges facing gay and bisexual men, CDC is concentrating research efforts to better identify and address specific challenges facing gay and bisexual men, developing educational resources for providers to engage them in sexual health services, and improving efforts to offer more culturally relevant care.

Young people still disproportionately affected by STDs

The 2014 data also show that youth are still at the highest risk of acquiring an STD, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea. Despite being a relatively small portion of the sexually active population, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 accounted for the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea in 2014 and almost two thirds of all reported cases. Additionally, previous estimates suggest that young people in this age group acquire half of the estimated 20 million new STDs diagnosed each year.

Despite recommendations from the CDC and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for annual chlamydia and gonorrhea screening for sexually active women younger than 25, experts believe far too many young people are not tested, and therefore don’t know they are infected.

“The consequences of STDs are especially severe for young people,” said Gail Bolan, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention. “Because chlamydia and gonorrhea often have no symptoms, many infections go undiagnosed and this can lead to lifelong repercussions for a woman’s reproductive health, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.”

Preventing STDs among youth is a key priority for CDC. CDC encourages the use of expedited partner therapy (offering treatment to the sex partners of patients diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea without a prior medical exam) where legally permissible, recommending the most effective treatment options, and providing resources to state and local health departments to support on-the-ground STD prevention efforts.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has implemented a National Coverage Determination to ensure STD screening services are covered under Medicare Part B. Most plans must provide coverage for recommended sexually transmitted infection preventive services without cost-sharing under the Affordable Care Act. The Health Resource and Services Administration funds health centers to offer an array of STD prevention services and appropriate treatment.

To reduce STDs, Americans must take steps to protect themselves. For sexually active individuals, testing and treatment according to CDC’s recommendations, using condoms consistently and correctly, and limiting the number of sex partners are all effective strategies for reducing the risk of infection and consequences to health.

The large number of infections acquired by persons with STD create a substantial economic burden. STD cases in United States is alarming and programs are being implemented to all the infected individuals. To better understand the STD/STIs, several programs as well as sex education are being implemented for youth and seniors on how they can contract the disease and how it will affect their living. Regular check up and prevention are the most common to do in order to prevent the disease spread to others!

First seen on: (https://mic.com/articles/100634/which-state-has-the-most-stds-check-these-maps#.GCYrKMpl7)

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, approximately 20 million new sexually transmitted infections are reported each year, split between eight commonly transmitted conditions: HPV, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, genital herpes, syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B. LiveScience reports the CDC’s best estimate is that 110 million Americans, or about 1 in 3, suffer from these conditions at any particular moment. And the infections cost around $16 billion to treat each year.

It’s what LiveScience calls America’s “hidden STD epidemic.” The most recent estimates are from 2012, and the CDC illustrated the problem in several squick-inducing graphs below. They likely underestimate the problem, as only a fraction of cases are reported to the federal government. Young people in the 15-24 age range are particularly vulnerable, receiving a disproportionate 50% of all new infections.

Chlamydia is even more common, with a national rate of 453.5 infections per 100,000 people. But much of the country soars well above that rate, like New York’s rate of 517 infections per 100,000 and Mississippi with 774. Most of the South, Southwest and mid-Atlantic fares poorly. It’s pretty bad — the CDC reports that “This is the largest number of cases ever reported to CDC for any condition.”

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Then there’s syphilis, which actually comes with some good news: It’s comparatively rare, with an incidence rate of 5.1 per 100,000.

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U.S.T.D: So yes, it seems certain regions of the country have serious problems with STDs. But knowing is half the battle. The CDC data raises awareness of elevated levels of STDs so people can seek proper testing and treatment. For example, a government report from June estimated that up to 400,000 out of the 1.8 million people with chlamydia don’t know about it.

The same report also found that STDs disproportionately affect minorities: Black teenage girls who are sexually active have an 18.6% chance of having an STD, while white teenage girls have a rate of 2.4%. The CDC adds that in 2012, the chlamydia rate was 6.8 times higher for blacks than whites.

The majority of STDs either do not produce any symptoms or signs, or they produce symptoms so mild that they are unnoticed. It would be best to  have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider and ask whether you should be tested if you are a sexually active women younger than 25 years, or an older woman with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners.