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HIV and AIDS

Explanation of HIV and Aids

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HIV is a virus that affects and alters the immune system, increasing the risk of other infections and diseases and their effects. Until diagnosis, the infection can progress to an advanced stage of illness called AIDS.

Recent advancements in treatment also mean that people living with HIV in countries with good access to health care develop AIDS very rarely until they receive treatment.

The life expectancy of a person carrying the HIV virus is now approaching that of a person tested negative for the virus, as long as they are actively adhering to a combination of drugs called antiretroviral therapy (ART).

A 2016 report by Kaiser Permanente indicated that the difference in life expectancy between HIV-positive people and HIV-negative people narrowed from 44 years to 12 years, between 1996 and 2016.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also advises that a person living with HIV may regain a high quality of life with care, and that as of mid-2017, 20.9 million people worldwide received ART.

In this post, we’re discussing the signs, causes and treatments of HIV and AIDS.

What is HIV?

While HIV is a life-changing disease, a person can live with it long and complete.
While HIV is a life-changing disease, a person can live with it long and complete.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that is a type of T cell that targets immune cells called CD4 cells.

These are white blood cells traveling around the body, identifying cell defects and abnormalities as well as infections. As HIV enters and infiltrates these cells, it diminishes the ability of the body to fight other diseases.

This increases opportunistic infections and cancers ‘ risk and effects. A person will bear HIV for a long time, though, without experiencing symptoms.

HIV is an infection that has lasted for decades. Yet receiving treatment and successfully treating the disease can prevent HIV from reaching a serious level and reduce a person’s risk of transmitting the virus.

What is AIDS?

HIV infection is the most advanced stage of AIDS. When HIV infection progresses into AIDS, it poses a greater risk of cancers and cancer.

Without treatment, as the immune system slowly wears down, HIV infection will likely develop into AIDS. Advances in ART suggest, however, that an ever-decreasing number of people advance to this level.

By the end of 2015, there were around 1,122,900 HIV-positive people. Figures from 2016 reveal, for instance, that medical professionals treated AIDS in an estimated 18,160 men.

Causes

People transmit HIV in bodily fluids, including:

  • blood
  • semen
  • vaginal secretions
  • anal fluids
  • breast milk

In the United States, the main causes of this transfer of fluids are:

  • anal or vaginal intercourse with a person who has HIV while not using a condom or PrEP, a preventive HIV medication for people at high risk of infection
  • sharing equipment for injectable illicit drugs, hormones, and steroids with a person who has HIV

A woman who is pregnant or recently born with HIV can pass the disease on to her child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.

In countries that have successful screening procedures in place for blood donations, the risk of HIV transmission by blood transfusion is extremely low.

Undetectable = untransmittable

Such fluids must contain enough of the virus to transmit HIV. If an individual has’ undetectable’ HIV, he or she will not transmit HIV to another individual, even after a fluid transfer.

Undetectable HIV is when the level of HIV in the body is so small, that it can not be identified by a blood test. People may be able to achieve undetectable HIV rates by following the recommended course of treatment closely.

It is important to confirm and monitor the undetectable status periodically using a blood test, as this does not indicate that the person is no longer HIV-positive.

Undetectable HIV depends on the person adhering to their treatment and on the effectiveness of the treatment itself.

Progression to AIDS

The risk of HIV progression to AIDS varies widely among people and depends on many factors including:

  • the age of the individual
  • the body’s ability to defend against HIV
  • access to high-quality, sanitary healthcare
  • the presence of other infections
  • the individual’s genetic inheritance resistance to certain strains of HIV
  • drug-resistant strains of HIV

Symptoms

Infections by other bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites also cause the more serious HIV symptoms.

For people living with HIV, these disorders appear to develop further than for people with healthy immune systems. A properly functioning immune system will protect the body from more advanced infection symptoms, and this mechanism is compromised by HIV.

Early symptoms of HIV infection

A man sweating
Sweats are an early sign of HIV but for years, many people do not know that they have the disease.

Many individuals with HIV show no symptoms until months or even years after they have contracted the virus.

About 80 percent of people, however, may experience a series of flu-like symptoms known as acute retroviral syndrome about 2–6 weeks after the virus comes in.

The initial symptoms of HIV infection might include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • joint pain
  • muscle aches
  • sore throat
  • sweats. particularly at night
  • enlarged glands
  • a red rash
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • unintentional weight loss
  • thrush

Such effects may also arise from the misuse of many types of viruses by the immune system.

However, people who experience several of these symptoms and know why they may have been at risk for HIV during the last 6 weeks should take a test.

Asymptomatic HIV

In many cases, symptoms may not arise for many years, despite the signs of acute retroviral syndrome.

The virus continues to develop during this time and causes immune system and organ damage. This slow process will continue for an average of about 10 years without a drug that prevents virus replication.

An HIV-positive person often has no symptoms, feels good, and looks well.

Strictly adhering to an ART course will interrupt the process and completely suppress the virus. Taking effective life-saving antiretroviral medicines can halt ongoing immune system damage.

Late-stage HIV infection

HIV weakens the ability to fight infection without treatment. The patient is vulnerable to serious illnesses. This level is called stage 3 HIV, or AIDS.

Signs of HIV infection at the late stage could include:

  • blurred vision
  • diarrhea, which is usually persistent or chronic
  • dry cough
  • a fever of over 100 °F (37 °C) lasting for weeks
  • night sweats
  • permanent tiredness
  • shortness of breath, or dyspnea
  • swollen glands lasting for weeks
  • unintentional weight loss
  • white spots on the tongue or mouth

The risk of developing a life-threatening disease greatly increases during late-stage HIV infection. By taking other medications alongside HIV treatment, a person with late-stage HIV can manage, prevent and treat serious conditions.

Opportunistic infections

In people with AIDS, toxoplasmosis, found in cat and animal feces, is a harmful opportunistic infection.
In people with AIDS, toxoplasmosis, found in cat and animal feces, is a harmful opportunistic infection.

HIV care is nowadays usually sufficiently effective to keep many infections at bay.

Late-stage HIV decreases the body’s ability to fight a variety of pathogens, illnesses, and cancers by decreasing immune system function. Infections that caused little or no health problems before AIDS may pose a serious health risk once the immune system has been compromised.

Physicians refer to these as opportunistic infections (OIs). A doctor will treat AIDS if any of those infections arise.

These include:

Candidiasis of the bronchi, trachea, esophagus, and lungs: As a fungal infection that normally occurs in the skin and hair, this often causes serious problems for people with AIDS in the esophagus and the lower respiratory tract.

Invasive cervical cancer: This type of cancer develops in the cervix and spreads through the body to other areas. Daily cancer care team checkups can help prevent cancer or reduce spread.

Coccidioidomycosis: Sometimes, in healthy people, people refer to the self-limited version of this disease as valley fever. The infection is caused by inhalation of the fungus Coccidioides immitis.

Cryptococcosis: Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungus that can infect any part of the body but most often gets into the lungs to cause pneumonia or swelling in the brain.

Cryptosporidiosis: This infection is caused by the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium which causes severe abdominal cramps and watery diarrhoea.

Cytomegalovirus disease (CMV): CMV can cause a variety of diseases in the body including pneumonia, gastroenteritis, and brain infection, including encephalitis. However, in people with late-stage HIV CMV retinitis is of particular concern, and it can infect the retina at the back of the eye, permanently removing sight. Retinitis from CMV is a medical emergency.

HIV releted encephalopathy: This brain disorder may be triggered by an acute or chronic HIV infection. Although doctors do not fully understand the cause, they consider it to be related to inflammation in the brain after infection.

Herpes simplex (HSV): Normally acquired or transmitted during childbirth, this virus is extremely common and seldom causes health issues or causes self-limiting recurrences in people with strong immune systems. However, in people with HIV, it can reactivate, causing painful cold sores around the mouth and ulcers on non-resolving genitals and anuses. The sores are an example of AIDS, rather than a diagnosis of herpes. HSV can also infect the breathing tube, lungs, or esophagus of people with AIDS.

Histoplasmosis: The Histoplasma capsulatum fungus causes extremely severe symptoms, similar to pneumonia, in people with advanced HIV. This disease can gradually spread histoplasmosis and may affect organs outside the respiratory system.

Chronic intestinal isosporiasis: Isospora belli parasite can enter the body through infected food and water, causing diarrhea, fever, vomiting, weight loss, headaches and abdominal pain.

Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS): Kaposi’s herpesvirus sarcoma (KSHV), also known as the human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), causes cancer that causes irregular blood vessels to develop anywhere in the body. It can be extremely dangerous if KS enters tissues, such as the intestines or lymph nodes. KS appears on the skin surface as close lilac or pink dots. We may be level, or elevated.

Lymphoma: People refer to lymphoma as cancer of the lymph nodes and lymph tissues, and many different types of cancer -occur. Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, however, have strong connections to the HIV infection.

Tuberculosis (TB): This disease is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and may be transmitted to droplets if a person with an active infection sneezes, coughs, or talks. Tuberculosis causes severe lung infection, weight loss, fever, and fatigue, as well as infecting the brain, lymph nodes, bones, or kidneys.

Mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium avium and Mycobacterium kansasii: naturally occurring in the environment, these bacteria pose few problems for people with fully functioning immune systems. Nevertheless, they can spread throughout the body and cause life-threatening health problems for HIV-positive people, particularly in their later stages.

Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PJP): A pneumocystis jirovecii infection induces breathlessness, dry cough and high fever in people with suppressed immune systems including those with HIV.

Recurrent pneumonia: Several different infections can cause pneumonia but one of its most dangerous causes in people with HIV is a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. Vaccines for this bacteria are available and every person who has HIV will receive Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccination.

Progressive multifocal encephalopathy (PML): The John Cunningham virus (JC) occurs in a large number of people, typically lying dormant in the kidneys. Nonetheless, the JC virus affects the brain of people with compromised immune systems, often due to HIV or drugs such as those for multiple sclerosis (MS), leading to a severe conditon called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). PML can potentially be life-threatening, causing paralysis and cognitive problems.

Recurrent Salmonella septicemia: This type of bacteria also enters the body in contaminated food and water, circulates throughout the body and overpowers the immune system, causing nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

Toxoplasmosis (toxo): Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite inhabiting warm-blooded animals including cats and rodents and leaving the body in its feces. People acquire the diseases by inhaling infected dust or consuming tainted foods, but this may also occur in commercial meats. T. Gondii causes severe lung, retina, back, liver, pancreas, brain, testicles and colon infections. Be sure to wear protective gloves when changing cat litter and then wash the hands thoroughly afterwards.

Wasting syndrome: It occurs when a person loses 10 percent of their muscle mass involuntarily through diarrhea, fatigue, or fever. Fat loss may also be part of the weight loss.

Prevention

Preventing OIs is essential to improving late-stage HIV life expectancy. A person living with the disease must take precautions apart from controlling the HIV viral load with drugs, including the following steps:

  • Wear condoms to prevent other STIs.
  • Receive vaccinations for potential OIs. Discuss these with your primary care physician.
  • Understand the germs in your surrounding environment that could lead to an OI. A pet cat, for example, could be a source of toxoplasmosis. Limit exposure and take precautions, such as wearing protective gloves while changing litter
  • Avoid foods that are at risk of contamination, such as undercooked eggs, unpasteurized dairy and fruit juice, or raw seed sprouts.
  • Do not drink water straight from a lake or river or tap water in certain foreign countries. Drink bottled water or use water filters.
  • Ask your doctor about work, home, and vacation activities to limit exposure to potential OIs.

Antibiotic, antifungal, or antiparasitic drugs can help treat an OI.

HIV and AIDS myths and facts

Some myths exist about HIV that are harmful to people with the virus and are stigmatizing.

The following cannot transmit the virus:

  • shaking hands
  • hugging
  • kissing
  • sneezing
  • touching unbroken skin
  • using the same toilet
  • sharing towels
  • sharing cutlery
  • mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or other forms of “casual contact”
  • the saliva, tears, feces, and urine of a person with HIV

Diagnosis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 1 out of every 7 HIV-positive Americans do not know their HIV status.

Being aware of the HIV status is vital for starting treatment and preventing more severe immune problems and subsequent infections from occurring.

HIV blood tests and results

A doctor can take a specific blood test to check for HIV. A positive outcome means they found HIV antibodies in the bloodstream. Before a positive result is provided the blood is retested.

Early testing and diagnosis is critical following potential exposure to the virus, and greatly improves the likelihood of successful treatment. There are also customized test kits available.

It may take 3-6 months for HIV to appear in the test and re-testing may be required for a definitive diagnosis. People at risk of infection may get an immediate check within the last 6 months. Usually, the test provider will recommend a further test within a few weeks.

Treatment

Apparently there is no treatment for HIV or AIDS.

Therapies, however, may avoid the progression of the disease and give most people living with HIV a chance to live a long and relatively healthy life.

It is important to start ART early on when the virus progresses. According to the WHO recommendations from June 2013, this increases quality of life, extends life expectancy and reduces the transmission risk.

More effective and better tolerated therapies have emerged that, by taking as little as one pill per day, can improve general health and quality of life.

A person living with HIV can reduce his or her viral load to such an extent that it can no longer be detected in a blood test. Upon reviewing a number of large trials, the CDC concluded that individuals without detectable viral load “currently have no chance of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.”

Medical professionals refer to this as undetectable= untransmittable (U= U).

Antiretroviral drugs

HIV treatment involves antiretroviral medicines that counter the HIV infection and slow down the body’s spread of the virus. People living with HIV typically take a combination of medications called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), or antiretroviral combination therapy (cART).

A variety of antiretroviral subgroups exist, such as:

Protease inhibitors

Protease is an enzyme which must be expressed by HIV. Such drugs bind to, and block, the virus, stopping HIV from making copies of itself.

These include:

  • atazanavir/cobicistat (Evotaz)
  • lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra)
  • darunavir/cobicistat (Prezcobix)

Integrase inhibitors

To order to kill T cells, HIV requires integrase, another enzyme, Integrase blocks this drug. These are often the first line of treatment for many people due to their effectiveness and minimal side effects.

Integrase inhibitors include:

  • elvitegravir (Vitekta)
  • dolutegravir (Tivicay)
  • raltegravir (Isentress)

Nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs)

Such medications, also known as “nukes,” interact with HIV when attempting to replicate it.

This class of drugs includes:

  • abacavir (Ziagen)
  • lamivudine/zidovudine (Combivir)
  • emtricitabine (Emtriva)
  • tenofovir disproxil (Viread)

Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs)

NNRTIs work in a similar manner to NRTIs, making replication of HIV harder.

Chemokine co-receptor antagonists

Those drugs block the entry of HIV into cells. Physicians in the U.S., though, often don’t recommend these because other medications are more efficient.

Entry inhibitors

Entry inhibitors hinder the entry of HIV into T cells. HIV can’t replicate without exposure to those cells. As with antagonists of chemokine co-receptors, they aren’t normal in the US.

People use a mixture of these medications often to cure HIV.

A medical team must customize may patient to the exact mix of drugs. HIV care is typically lifelong, effective and dependent on daily dose. A person living with HIV will regularly take pills. May ARV class has different side effects, but may have common side effects including:

  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • skin rashes

Complementary or alternative medicine

While many people with HIV seek complementary, alternative, or herbal treatments, such as herbal remedies, there is no evidence to confirm that they are successful.

Mineral or vitamin supplements may offer some benefits in overall health, according to some limited studies. Discussing these options with a health care provider is important because some of those options, including vitamin supplements, that interfere with ARVs.

Prevention

Healthcare professionals suggest measures on the following to avoid contracting HIV.

Sex using a condom or PrEP: having sex without a condom or other preventive measures such as PrEP may raise the risk of transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) significantly.

Using condoms or PrEPs during any sexual act with a person outside of a secure relationship in which there is no HIV in either partner.

In its 2019 guideline , the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that doctors should prescribe PrEP only for people with recent negative HIV test results. They tell people with a high HIV risk who are registered for PrEP should take it once a day.

The Task Force recommends only one PrEP formulation in the Guidelines, which is a combination of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine.

Drug injection and needle sharing: A key factor for HIV transmission in developed countries is intravenous drug use. Users may be exposed to HIV and other viruses such as hepatitis C while sharing needles and other drug equipment.

Many social interventions may help to reduce infections as a result of drug misuse, such as needle-exchange programmes. Recovering from a substance use disorder can for many reasons improve health quality of life, but it can dramatically reduce future HIV exposure.

People who take drugs using a needle should use a new, unused, unshared needle.

Body fluid exposure: By taking precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to contaminated blood, a person can limit their potential exposure to HIV;

In circumstances where exposure to body fluids is a possibility, health care workers should use gloves, masks, protective eyewear, shields and gowns.

The risk of infection can be minimized by regular and thorough washing of the skin immediately following contact with blood or other body fluids. Healthcare functions should follow a set of protocols for avoiding transmission known as universal precautions.

Pregnancy: Many antiretrovirals during pregnancy can cause harm to an unborn fetus.

Nevertheless, a successful, well-managed treatment plan will prevent transmission of HIV from mother to fetus. Delivery may be possible by Caesarean section.

Women who are pregnant but suffer from HIV may also transmit the virus by breast milk. However, taking the right medication regimen on a regular basis significantly reduces the risk of virus transmission.

Consult with a health care provider about all choices.

Education: It is important to teach people about known risk factors so they can be prepared with the resources to prevent HIV.

Living with HIV

Man drinking juice
An HIV-positive person can live a complete and healthy life as long as they stick to treatment.

Because of the additional risk of other illnesses and diseases, people living with HIV must make adjustments to the lifestyle to manage their decreased immunity.

Adherence: It is absolutely essential to take the HIV drug as prescribed for effective treatment. Missing just a few doses could put the treatment in jeopardy.

Program a regular, methodical regimen around any current lifestyle and schedule to suit the treatment plan. Treatment plans can differ between persons. People often refer to “compliance”

HIV medicines that cause particularly severe side effects which often discourage adherence by people.

When side effects get too serious, speak to your medical team instead of just stopping the drug. We should switch the diet to a more acceptable drug.

Public health: It is important to take steps to avoid illness and other infections. People living with HIV should strive to improve overall health by regular exercise, a healthy, nutritious diet, and any medications, including tobacco, should cease.

Additional precautions: People living with AIDS should take extra precautions, particularly around animals, to avoid any exposure to infection. Evite interaction with animal feces and litter for dogs.

Doctors also prescribe thorough and constant hand washing. Antiretrovirals necessary certain precautions that are required.

Constant contact with doctors: HIV is a lifelong condition, so it is vital to have regular contact with a health care provider to monitor treatment in accordance with advancing age and conditions. The healthcare team must monitor treatment periodically and change it accordingly.

Psychological effects: Current myths about AIDS and HIV are fading with growing awareness of the disease.

Yet in other parts of the world, stigma about the disease remains. HIV-patients can feel excluded, abused and lonely.

A diagnosis of HIV can be very distressing and anxiety or depression is current. If you feel anxious, or have depression symptoms, seek immediate medical help.

Takeaway

HIV is an ill-understood and potentially dangerous disease which reduces the immune system’s effectiveness in fighting other infections.

Modern medicine developments in people living with HIV can have an almost normal life expectancy and an active lifestyle. For the most effective results, a person receiving antiretroviral therapy must adhere strictly to his / her regime.

HIV transmits during sex, or blood, in corporal fluids such as semen or vaginal secretions. In the U.S., HIV most often transmits without a condom or PrEP by sexual intercourse, and exchanges needles while injecting drugs.

And, if a person has a viral load that can not be identified by HIV testing, they can’t pass the virus on to another person.

As HIV progresses, for example in cases where a person is unaware of their HIV status or is not receiving treatment, it may progress to a late stage known as AIDS.

AIDS can open the door to a variety of infections known as opportunistic infections which pose a serious health risk. These are serious or prolonged presentations of infections that in a person with good immune function will normally resolve quickly.

Others may occur because of the microbes that occur naturally in the atmosphere and would not usually cause any infection.

By adhering to medication, a person living with AIDS will revert the disease to HIV.

If you believe you have recently been exposed to the virus, click here to find your nearest test facility.

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HIV and AIDS

Bacterial vaginosis: What to know

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Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is caused by an imbalance in the amount of good and bad bacteria in the vaginal area. It can cause irritation in the vaginal area, peculiar discharge, and a distinct odor, among other things.

Although the body may be able to remove BV on its own, the condition might increase the risk of additional health problems if left untreated. Because of this, and because the symptoms can be unpleasant, anyone experiencing BV symptoms should seek medical help.

This article discusses the symptoms of BV, as well as the causes, consequences, and home cures and therapies. It also looks at how to avoid BV and how to tell the difference between BV and a yeast infection.

Causes

The imbalance in the populations of helpful and dangerous bacteria that naturally exist in the vaginal canal causes BV.

Imbalance can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • not using a barrier method, such as a condom, during sex
  • being pregnant
  • recently using antibiotics
  • having sex with a new partner
  • having sex with multiple partners
  • douching

After sex with a new partner, BV is common. Although BV is not a STI, it can raise your chances of getting one.

The role of bacteria

Bacteria can be found in every part of the body, but only some of them are hazardous. When there are more hazardous bacteria than good bacteria in a given region, health issues can occur.

The majority of bacteria in the vaginal area are beneficial, whereas BV develops when the quantity of dangerous bacteria increases.

Lactobacilli bacteria should be present in the vaginal canal. Lactic acid is produced, making the vagina slightly acidic. This prevents the growth of potentially hazardous germs.

Lactobacilli deficiency might cause the vagina to become less acidic. Harmful bacteria can grow and thrive in the vaginal environment if it is not acidic enough.

Experts are still puzzled as to how these dangerous bacteria are linked to BV.

Risk factors

BV can affect everyone who has a vagina. These variables can enhance your chances of getting it:

  • washing underwear with a strong detergent
  • having sex with a new partner
  • having multiple sex partners
  • using certain feminine hygiene products, such as vaginal deodorants and douches
  • using a perfumed bubble bath
  • using some scented soaps
  • bathing in water that contains antiseptic liquids
  • smoking

BV cannot be obtained from the following sources:

  • swimming pools
  • bedding
  • toilet seats

Symptoms

The most frequent vaginal condition in women of reproductive age is BV.

Approximately 50–75 percent of females with BV show no signs or symptoms. If this happens, it usually results in changes in vaginal discharge, such as an increase in volume. A burning or itchy sensation in the vaginal area is also possible.

Vaginal discharge in BV patients may include:

  • a strong, unpleasant smell, often described as fishy
  • a gray or white color
  • a watery, thin consistency

A burning feeling during urination and itching around the exterior of the vagina may also occur, though this is less common.

Complications

Although BV is not hazardous in and of itself, it can increase the risk of various health problems.

Health issues in general

Pregnancy complications

Possible complications of BV during pregnancy include:

  • early or preterm delivery
  • loss of pregnancy
  • the amniotic sac breaking open too early
  • postpartum endometritis, which is irritation or inflammation of the lining of the uterus after delivery
  • chorioamnionitis, which is inflammation of the membranes around the fetus

Chorioamnionitis increases the chances of a premature birth significantly. If the child survives, he or she is more likely to develop cerebral palsy.

Fertility complications

BV may increase the chances of having trouble conceiving. It also raises the chance of health problems that can impact fertility.

Complications that may arise include:

  • Unsuccessful in vitro fertilization (IVF): Any IVF therapies may be less likely to succeed if a person has BV.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: This is an infection and inflammation of the upper female genital tract that can lead to serious consequences, such as infertility.
  • Tubal factor infertility: Damage to the fallopian tubes, which connect the ovaries to the uterus, causes infertility.

Treatment

BV can occasionally go away on its own. The symptoms, however, can be mistaken for those of other health problems including gonorrhea or trichomaniasis. Furthermore, untreated BV might cause difficulties, particularly during pregnancy.

As a result, obtaining a professional diagnosis is critical to ensuring that the treatment is effective.

In addition, BV may raise the risk of problems after a hysterectomy or some forms of abortion. Some clinicians urge that everyone who has these procedures has BV treatment, regardless of whether or not they have BV symptoms.

Male partners are rarely in need of treatment. BV, on the other hand, can be passed from a male to multiple female sexual partners.

We’ll look at several BV therapy options below.

Antibiotic medication

Antibiotics are successful in up to 90% of instances with BV Trusted Source, although the condition usually returns after a few weeks.

A doctor may prescribe the antibiotics listed below to treat BV.

Metronidazole

The most common antibiotic treatment for BV is metronidazole.

It’s available in the following formats:

  • Gel: This gel is applied to the vaginal area once a day for five days.
  • Single dose: Solosec (secnidazole) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 for the treatment of BV. This is the only oral BV therapy available in a single dose. A 2-gram (g) packet is sprinkled upon food.
  • Oral tablets: For 7 days, people usually take these twice a day. Tablets are the most effective medication, according to doctors, especially if the person is breastfeeding or pregnant.

Metronidazole has a negative interaction with alcohol. This combination can make a person sick and cause nausea and vomiting.

Clindamycin

Clindamycin is an antibiotic that can be used instead of penicillin. It might work if metronidazole doesn’t work or if the infection comes back.

Clindamycin cream is the first-line treatment that is applied to the vagina. This is done every night for seven days.

Instead, doctors may recommend clindamycin tablets, which must be taken twice a day for seven days, or clindamycin ovules, which must be inserted into the vaginal canal at bedtime for three days.

Due to the fact that clindamycin ovules and cream degrade latex, barrier contraceptive methods may be less effective during treatment.

These are some examples of these methods:

  • cervical caps
  • diaphragms
  • latex condoms

Xaciato, a novel clindamycin gel, was recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of BV in females aged 12 and up.

Tinidazole

Tinidazole is an antibiotic that can be used to treat BV if metronidazole fails if the condition recurs.

A 2-g oral dose is taken once a day for two days. Alternatively, they can take a 1-g dosage once a day for five days.

To reduce the risk of gastrointestinal adverse effects, anyone taking this medication should avoid alcohol and take their doses with meals.

Treatment for recurring symptoms

Within 12 months of treatment, current treatments are linked to recurrence rates of more than 50% .

Doctors may prescribe a prolonged course of metronidazole for recurrent BV. If this doesn’t work, a metronidazole vaginal gel may be prescribed. This can be used every day for ten days or twice a week for three to six months.

While there is no universal agreement on the optimum technique, treating recurrent BV usually necessitates a longer treatment time.

Home remedies

Probiotics are one home cure that may aid in the treatment of BV. These are helpful bacteria that are alive. Some beneficial yeasts are also referred to as “probiotics.”

Multiple research have shown that probiotics can help cure and prevent BV, according to a 2021 review.

Certain probiotics can help restore the natural balance of bacteria in the vaginal canal by increasing the quantity of vaginal Lactobacilli.

Probiotics include the following:

  • intravaginal L. fermentum RC-14
  • intravaginal L. acidophilus
  • intravaginal L. rhamnosus GR-1
  • oral Lactobacillus acidophilus

Still, further research is needed to determine the most effective dosages, treatment durations, and administration routes.

Because untreated BV can lead to serious consequences, anyone experiencing symptoms should cause therapy from a healthcare expert. A person might also inquire about the benefits of taking a probiotic.

BV vs. yeast infection

Vaginal candidiasis is the medical term for a vaginal yeast infection.

BV is not the same as a yeast infection, which is caused by an overgrowth of the Candida fungus. BV, on the other hand, is a bacterial condition.

Both of these problems might cause comparable symptoms. A yeast infection can lead to the following symptoms:

BV causes watery, white or gray vaginal discharge with a fishy odor. A yeast infection usually causes in a thick, creamy, and odorless vaginal discharge. It might taste like cottage cheese.

Because a yeast infection is a fungal infection and BV is a bacterial infection, they need to be treated differently. As a result, getting a professional diagnosis is critical before addressing the symptoms.

Diagnosis

From a person’s statement of symptoms and a physical examination, a healthcare expert may be able to diagnose BV.

They may obtain a small sample of vaginal discharge during the examination and send it off for analysis. The doctor may also check the vaginal pH balance to see how acidic it is.

A doctor may request diagnostic testing if a person is sexually active and suspects they have a STI. These may entail collecting sample cells from the vaginal wall using a swab or a small plastic loop.

Prevention

Because the actual causes of BV are unknown, there is no surefire strategy to prevent it.

These strategies, on the other hand, can help minimize the risk of BV:

  • not using scented soaps or vaginal deodorants
  • washing underwear in gentle detergents
  • using a barrier method of protection, such as a condom, during sex
  • avoiding douching
  • avoiding perfumed bubble baths

Conclusion

BV is a frequent condition caused by an imbalance in the amount of beneficial and dangerous bacteria in the vaginal area.

Experts aren’t sure whatcauses causing the problem. However, certain circumstances, such as the use of feminine hygiene products and having sex with a new partner or numerous partners, appear to raise the risk.

Untreated BV can raise the risk of STIs and cause severe difficulties, including pregnancy and fertility issues.

BV symptoms might sometimes be mistaken for those of other illnesses that require different treatments. As a result, anyone experiencing BV symptoms should seek medical advice before attempting any treatment or solution.

Sources:

  • https://www.solosec.com/bacterial-vaginosis/about-bv
  • https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/bacterial-vaginosis
  • https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/default.htm
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4807032/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31403349/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459216/
  • https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/genital/index.html
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0078015/

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HIV and AIDS

Scientists plot the gap between HIV patients and care

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HIV patients and care

According to a new study published this week in the open-access journal PLOS Global Public Health by Diego Cuadros of the University of Cincinnati and colleagues, 7 million people living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa live more than 10 minutes away from health care services, and 1.5 million people living with HIV live more than 60 minutes away from a healthcare facility.

For decades, HIV/AIDS has been a prominent cause of morbidity and mortality in parts of Africa. Despite efforts to raise the proportion of people diagnosed with HIV who receive antiretroviral medication (ART), in 2019, between a quarter and half of all HIV patients in Africa did not receive ART, depending on the location. To improve these figures and fulfill global targets for HIV treatment rates, geographical barriers must be removed and access to health facilities must be improved.

Researchers looked at data on the number of people living with HIV in 47 African nations, population distribution within these countries, and healthcare facility locations in the new study. They were able to figure out how far HIV patients live from care, using either motorized transportation or walking alone, for every 5-kilometer square by integrating this data.

According to the map, 90.5 percent of the total geographical area assessed was more than 10 minutes away from the nearest healthcare facility, with 7 million people living with HIV (35 percent of HIV patients) in this area. 74.6 percent of the land area was more than 30 minutes away from healthcare (with 3 million people living with HIV accounting for 15.6 percent of patients), and 58.9% of the land area was more than 60 minutes away (containing 1.5 million people with HIV, 7.6 percent ). The figures varied per country, with only 1.6 percent of Swaziland’s population living within 60 minutes of healthcare, compared to more than 90 percent in Sudan and Mauritania. When walking time was used instead of motorized transportation time, the results were likewise different; 33.0 percent of HIV-positive people (or 6.6 million people) resided more than a 60-minute walk from the nearest healthcare center.

The findings and new map, according to the authors, can help establish cost-effective policies for HIV interventions in underprivileged areas. Alternatives to improved accessibility, such as varied service delivery or mobile outreach for HIV services, could be offered for places where people are far from healthcare facilities.

The authors continue:  “Unequal access to healthcare facilities and structural inequality are just some of the systemic hurdles many communities face. This issue is deeper in regions suffering a generalized HIV epidemic like Africa, where more than 1.5 million people living with HIV are located in underserved rural communities”

Source:

PLOS

Journal reference:

Kim, H., et al. (2021) When distance matters: Mapping HIV health care underserved communities in sub-Saharan Africa. PLoS Global Public Health.

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Dentistry

What happens to the tongue when you have HIV?

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Infection of HIV is caused by a virus that targets the immune system, resulting in a wide range of symptoms. The virus has the potential to infect and damage every organ in the body, including the skin, as well as the neurological, respiratory, and digestive systems. It can also raise the likelihood of acquiring oral health problems in a person’s lifetime.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, those living with HIV are “at increased risk for oral health problems.” This is especially true for children. According to available evidence, around 30–80 percent of HIV-positive individuals develop oral problems as a result of their infection.

The signs and symptoms of HIV differ depending on where the disease is in its progression. HIV progresses in three stages:

  • Stage 1: Acute HIV infection
  • Stage 2: Chronic HIV infection
  • Stage 3: AIDS

During the acute stage, oral symptoms such as mouth ulcers are frequently experienced. As a result, they can serve as an early warning indication of HIV infection. When it comes to tracking the progression of HIV to AIDS, oral symptoms can be quite useful.

The oral symptoms of HIV can manifest themselves in a variety of ways on the tongue, each of which may necessitate a different treatment.

In this post, we will discuss the most common HIV symptoms that can manifest themselves on the tongue, as well as the many treatment choices available. We will also address methods to limit the risk of oral issues and explain why the virus cannot be communicated through kissing or other forms of physical contact.

The effects of HIV on the tongue

Because HIV affects a variety of oral health concerns, it might have an indirect effect on the tongue. These are some examples:

  • candidiasis
  • hairy leukoplakia
  • herpes
  • hyperpigmentation
  • warts

Candidiasis

Oral candidiasis, often known as thrush, is a fungal infection that can affect any part of the mouth, including the mouth. It manifests itself as rough patches that might be yellow, white, or red in colour and may induce a burning feeling in the affected area. People who have oral thrush may notice changes in their taste, as well as an increase in their sensitivity to spicy foods.

Depending on how severe the infection is, a doctor may give antifungal lozenges or mouthwash to treat it. If the infection is serious, they may recommend that you take antifungal medication.

Hairy leukoplakia

Hairy leukoplakia is characterised by the development of a thick, white, hair-like area on the tongue. Despite the fact that it is not usually painful, the growth might be uncomfortable. Hairy leukoplakia patches can appear to be similar in appearance to oral thrush. However, it is not possible to shift hairy leukoplakia patches, but patches that develop as a result of oral thrush can be removed with a damp cloth.

If the symptoms of hairy leukoplakia are minimal, treatment may not be essential. If the symptoms are severe, a doctor may prescribe a prescription to help alleviate them temporarily.

Oral herpes

Because HIV affects the immune system, those who have the virus are more prone than other people to develop oral herpes than others. Oral herpes infections are characterised by the development of red sores and blisters in and around the mouth. The sensation of tingling or burning is common with them, although they are not necessarily painful.

Oral herpes, in contrast to thrush and hairy leukoplakia, is contagious and can be spread from person to person by mouth-to-mouth contact — for example, kissing.

Although there is no cure for herpes at this time, a doctor can prescribe antiviral medicine to help lessen the frequency and severity of the disease’s oral symptoms.

Oral hyperpigmentation

Changes in hormone levels induce more pigmentation to accumulate in the tissues, resulting in the development of dark lesions in the mouth, which are known as oral hyperpigmentation. These lesions can be any colour, including blue, purple, brown, grey, and black.

The symptoms of oral hyperpigmentation are purely cosmetic, and there is little hope of a cure.

Oral warts

Oral warts develop as small bumps in the mouth. They can be pink, white, or grey in colour, and they can spread by kissing in some cases.

The treatment will be determined by the location where they grow. Warts on the lips can be treated with a cream, but warts on the inside of the mouth require surgery or cryosurgery, which is a freezing therapy, to be removed completely.

Preventive method

There are various methods that people can take to reduce their chances of developing HIV. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these are some examples:

  • abstaining from sex
  • using a barrier method, such as a condom, during all sexual activity
  • avoiding sharing needles
  • using HIV prevention medication, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), for those at increased risk

An HIV positive person can help prevent dental issues by following the recommendations of the American Dental Association. These recommendations include:

  • attending regular dental appointments
  • brushing the teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time
  • flossing between the teeth
  • taking HIV medication regularly

In addition to the oral issues listed above, a person living with HIV may suffer from chronic dry mouth as well. This can result in a variety of complications, including infection and tooth decay. A person can minimise the dryness of their mouth by doing the following:

  • drinking water regularly
  • avoiding salt
  • avoiding alcohol
  • refraining from smoking
  • chewing or sucking on sugarless gum or sugarless hard candy
  • using artificial saliva

Is it possible for HIV to spread through kissing?

Because HIV is not transmissible through saliva, it is exceedingly improbable that the infection will be transmitted by kissing. The possibility of transmission exists in the event that both partners have open sores in their mouths, as this may allow the blood of a person who has the infection to enter the bloodstream of the other partner.

Is it possible for HIV to be transmitted through oral sex?

Transmission of HIV through oral intercourse poses a low risk of transmission.

If the bodily fluids of a person with HIV were to reach the bloodstream of another person through an open wound in their mouth, it is possible that the other person might contract HIV. Transmission might also occur if a person with a detectable viral load ejaculated into the mouth of a sexual partner while infected with the virus.

For this reason, barrier protection such as condoms and dental dams should be used during sexual activity whenever possible.

Other issues involving the mouth

People living with HIV may develop a variety of additional illnesses that can cause mouth issues, such as:

  • human papillomavirus
  • canker sores
  • gum disease
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma

The reason for this is that HIV weakens the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infection when it is present.

Conclusion

HIV can induce a wide range of symptoms that might manifest themselves in any part of the body. The tongue might be affected by oral symptoms, which are common during the first stage of the virus’s life cycle. A person infected with HIV has a weakened immune response, making him or her particularly prone to new infections. Consequently, those living with HIV are more likely to develop other difficulties, such as illnesses such as oral herpes.

Through kissing, there is a very little chance that HIV will spread. Illness occurs when the virus is passed from one person to another by the bloodstream, breast milk, vaginal fluid, or sperm of a person who has the infection. The virus would therefore have to be present in the mouths of both partners in order for it to spread through kissing.

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