How STIs Prevention Strategies Can Be Implemented In Low-Income African Countries

How STIs Prevention Strategies Can Be Implemented In Low-Income African Countries

The healthcare system in Africa faces a significant problem with sexually transmitted infections. At the moment, many studies focus on the situation in Sub Saharan African regions. Studies also suggest the implementation of more effective strategies to assist in reducing the prevalence of STIs in these low-income regions. 

The Current State Of STIs In Africa

There are several sexually transmitted infections currently considered bothersome subjects by the African healthcare systems. HIV and Aids, along with Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis are all currently at high rates. 

One study explains that the complications of these sexually transmitted diseases are adversely affecting the healthcare system, as well as the population. Some complications noted by the study include pelvic inflammatory disease, respiratory tract morbidity, and conjunctivitis. Several concerns regarding pregnancy and STIs are also noted in the study. This includes ectopic pregnancy and stillbirth. The population is also at risk of infertility due to complications presented by many of these sexually transmitted diseases. 

In up to 49% of cases where ulcers are reported, Chancroid is linked to the occurrence of such symptoms. Chlamydia is also linked to lymphogranuloma venereum in the country, affecting up to 6.1% o the population. 

Implementing Prevention Strategies

There are highly effective prevention strategies that can be used to effectively reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted infections in Africa. Education plays a key part in allowing success in preventing a further increase in transmission rates of common sexually transmitted infections among the African population. 

Individuals need to be educated from an early age. This would ensure children are equipped with skills to reduce their risk of sexual behavior that would increase their likeliness to become infected with STIs. 

A focus should be placed on safe sex. This would include the use of condoms during sexual intercourse. Condoms can help to reduce the risk of being infected with an STI. Safe sex does not only contribute to a reduced risk of sexually transmitted diseases but also helps reduce the rate of early pregnancies in teenagers. 

Data related to symptoms of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, and other STIs should also be provided to the population. This would ensure individuals are able to recognize the symptoms and get tested. When diagnosed early, the person has a better chance of treatment providing effective results. An early diagnosis also ensures the individual understand that they should not participate in risky sexual behaviour – as this would cause them to transmit the disease to their sexual partners. 

Prevention strategies should include making STD testing options more available to the population, ensuring individuals can be tested for common STIs frequently. 

There is a high prevalence of certain STIs in Africa. Several low-income areas of Africa are facing a difficult time implementing appropriate strategies to reduce the current rate of STIs in the region. There are several strategies that may provide a reduced incidence of infections and diseases that are transmitted through sexual intercourse. 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2202406

STD Numbers Are Still High: Is Online Dating to Blame?

STD Numbers Are Still High: Is Online Dating to Blame Image

STD numbers have been steadily increasing over the years. The Sub-Saharan African region was ranked as the highest infected area in the world with 15 million cases of chlamydia, 3.5 million syphilis, 30 million trichomonas, and 16 million gonorrheas. And has remained the number one most infected region for years. 

Recently, however, the CDC stated online dating apps could be the reason for the constant increase in STDs around the globe, not just the African population. In fact, statistics have shown that since online dating became popular, gonorrhea rates have doubled and syphilis has increased by five times. For the last decade, even chlamydia went up by 56%. 

These records do seem worrying; but what does online dating have to do with the constant increase in STD rates? Here, we will do a detailed analysis of the effects of online dating, and why does it matter for the African population. But, most importantly, we will talk whether it is to blame for the rising STD rates. 

How Does Online Dating Result in STDs?

Based on statistical analysis, 79% of online daters agree that dating apps are a good way of meeting new people. Most of them find it beneficial that they don’t need to know a lot about their potential partner aside from getting intimate. While 33% of users agree this makes it difficult for them to settle down. But, it’s a more convenient method, than having to look for a partner any other way. 

While there isn’t enough research to effectively link online dating to STDs, it can be a potential concern for many. There are a couple of problems many people have pointed out with online dating, these include:

  • Unprotected sex
  • Lack of communication
  • Failure to promote healthy intercourse

People are getting intimate with someone they barely know. Since online dating makes changing partners a lot easier and more convenient, it has become easier to spread STDs than before. Most people have no idea their partner may carry infection, so they unknowingly get to spread it to a future partner. Therefore, increasing the rates for contracting STDs in Africa and worldwide. 

According to a Dutch study, many individuals seek unprotected sex through online dating, particularly for same-sex intercourse. Many of the participants evaluated in the study were unaware that anal intercourse could also spread STDs. While the reasons differ for every individual, many people did result in having unprotected sex and contracting STDs. 

Why STD Numbers Matter for Africa?

Statistics show, 51.7% of the population in South Africa between the ages of 25 to 34, use online dating apps to find a potential partner. While 13.8% are 18 to 24 years old. Even though hardly as many people in Africa use dating apps as in the U.S., it’s obvious that plenty of people are willing to skip the old-school dating method and go for easier alternatives. 

For Africa, this is a serious issue. Most STDs are a taboo, and getting intimate with a stranger could become a potential problem for STDs. In poorer regions, like this continent, talking about sexually transmitted infections has a higher chance to make dating a lot more difficult. People would rather not publicly disclose their sexual health situation or may not even know they are infected. Both of these problems are present in Africa, and much more likely to happen. 

Also, there is another issue. Recently, fewer people have been using contraceptives to stop spreading STDs, officials announced. Many of which fail to use condoms during intercourse with a spouse. 

Unprotected sex, whether it is oral, anal, or vaginal, can equally spread STDs. Individuals who don’t use these methods of protection, but regularly change partners, are more likely to get infected. 

What Should You Do?

If you prefer online dating, it’s important that you establish boundaries. Have a proper conversation with the potential partner and insist that you use contraceptives. To prevent the onset of any STD, it’s crucial to use condoms, including for same-sex intercourse. Otherwise, you risk exposing yourself to serious infections that could drastically impact your overall health, like HIV for example. 

Even though it’s hard to figure out if online dating is to blame for increased STD rates, it’s safe to say that people should take the right precautions. Not just for themselves, but for their future partners as well. 

References

https://www.statista.com/outlook/372/112/online-dating/south-africa#market-arpu

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12348788

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7576299/Hawaii-health-officials-blame-states-spike-STIs-online-dating.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/10/14/std-online-dating-higher-disease-numbers-linked/3973450002/

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0760/6/3/78/htm

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-016-1637-5

https://www.verywellhealth.com/are-internet-dating-sites-endangering-public-health-4118176

FAWE Urges Government In Sub Saharan Africa To Pass Schools Health Policy

FAWE Urges Government In Sub Saharan Africa To Pass Schools Health Policy Image

A high prevalence of STDS in Africa has been noted, creating more concern for the healthcare system in the area. The FAWE now advises the government to pass a Schools’s Health Policy system during the revision period. The FAWE believes that such a system could provide better education on sexual health to people from a young age, possibly reducing the incidence of risky sexual behavior. 

FAWE Urges For The Implementation Of SHP System

During the preparation of the most recent O’level curriculum for the new academic year, the Sub Sahara Africa government was urged to make a few changes. The Forum for African Women Educationalists, also known as the FAWE, urged to government to rethink the School Health Policy. The FAWE asked for the Schools Health Policy to be adjusted and passed in such a way to address the specific challenges that the younger population in the region is facing. 

The demand for the passing of an SHP system was contributed to by the high prevalence rate of both high school dropouts and the rate of STIs in these individuals. 

The idea behind the SHP system is to ensure school-aged children can be equipped with the education they require to minimize their exposure to sexually transmitted infections. While a significant focus was placed on the transmission of HIV and Aids, the SHP system will also educate high school children about other STIs. 

The recognition of signs related to chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis, and other STDs that are common in the area can help to assure an early diagnosis. The earlier a treatment program is implemented for these STDs, the more opportunity there is to effectively treat the condition. Even in diseases like HIV where a cure is not available, treatment can still yield effective results – but it is important for an early diagnosis to be made. 

Along with improved education about STD transmission and how safer sex can be a solution, the FAWE also wants the SHP system to address a concern about early pregnancy. This is yet another common issue that is being faced in Sub Sahara Africa and comes with its own consequences. The combination of STDs and pregnancy translates into even more concerning issues. 

The FAWE only made such suggestions after looking at the current sexual health state among high school students. The FAWE found that 68% of high school boys are sexually active, along with an estimated 64% of high school girls. 

Sexually transmitted diseases affect a large portion of the Sub Sahara African population. Education from an early age may help to increase the rate at which people practice safer sexual behaviors. In turn, this may assist in preventing a further spike in the prevalence of STD transmission. To assist with this process, the FAWE has asked the government of Sub Sahara Africa to implement a sexual health program together with the Schools Health Policy. 

References

https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1515526/pass-school-health-policy-ngo

HIV A Concerning Factor Among Young Adults In Sub Saharan African Region

HIV A Concerning Factor Among Young Adults In Sub Saharan African Region Image

Human immunodeficiency virus, more commonly known as HIV, is proving to be an increasing concern among the younger population in Africa. Recent studies show a particular concern among younger people aged between 15 and 29. This calls for appropriate strategies to be implemented to reduce the rate at which HIV prevalence in Sub Sahara Africa is rising. 

AIDS Indicator Surveys Data Regarding Sub Sahara Africa

HIV is a disease with no current cure. There are effective treatments available, but many people do not obtain the right treatment at an early stage. HIV rates in Sub Sahara Africa also seem to be a major concern. A recent collection of survey data suggests that action needs to be taken among the younger population in Sub Saharan African regions. 

The study looked at data from three geolocated surveys. Data were collected from the following surveys:

  • Demographic and Health Surveys (DHSs)
  • AIDS Indicator Surveys (AISs)
  • United States Agency for International Development Survey (USAID)

Survey data was analysed for the periods 2008 to 2009, as well as for the period 2015 to 2016. 

A total of 113,000 adult individuals from Sub Saharan areas of Africa were included. This accounted for 53,000 young adults. There was a 7.7% prevalence of HIV among young adults in Mozambique. The lowest incidence rate was found in Tanzania, with a prevalence of 2.2% among young adults. At a subnational level, up to 15% of the Sub Sahara African region may be affected by HIV. 

The study found that the areas of Africa with the most concerning number of young adults infected with HIV included:

  • Zimbabwe
  • Mozambique
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Tanzania
  • Zambia

The high prevalence rates of HIV among young adults were primarily linked to specific factors. These included:

  • Behavioural factors
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Environmental factors

The researchers behind the study do note that environmental variables and economic activity seemed to play the largest role in defining the prevalence of HIV in specific subpopulations.

Researchers do note that further studies are required to assist with providing more accurate data. This can help the healthcare system of Sub Sahara Africa better understand why there is a high prevalence rate of HIV among younger individuals in the area. 

Appropriate action can be taken at this point too. Risky sexual behaviour was considered a major concern when looking at young adults in Sub Sahara Africa. With this in mind, appropriate action may help to yield an improvement in providing education to the young adults and ensuring there is a decline in the rate of such behaviour. The young adult population should also be made aware of HIV symptoms

Several STDs are currently considered to have a high epidemiology in Sub Sahara Africa, including HIV. Recent evidence suggests that there is an increased concern regarding the spreading of HIV in the younger population Sub Sahara Africa too. Appropriate strategies need to be developed to help reduce the rate at which the prevalence is increasing and to provide adequate treatment to those already infected. 

References

https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003042

STD Might Be The Reason For Seminal Fluid Leakage After Urination

STD Might Be The Reason For Seminal Fluid Leakage After Urination Image

Seminal fluid leakage after urination can occur after ejaculation when the semen remains in the urethra. If this happens, then you will observe that your urine looks cloudy as it is mixed with semen. Sometimes, this is not a cause for major concern. But there are cases when it may be due to a certain disease such as STI, retrograde ejaculation, or urinary incontinence.  

Here are some indications why you experience seminal fluid leakage after urination:

Retrograde Ejaculation

Both urine and sperm pass through the urethra. Near the neck of your bladder is a muscle or sphincter that aids in holding your urine until it is time for you to urinate. The same muscle contracts during orgasm that keep the semen from entering the bladder. It is then flown through the urethra until it is released at the tip of your penis. 

The failure of the muscle to contract results in retrograde ejaculation. Instead of making it flow at the tip of your penis, it ends up in your bladder as the muscles stay relaxed. This is what you call dry orgasm. This does not really affect sexual pleasure, and it is like a normal orgasm, even if you do not ejaculate. Anyway, it is not a serious health problem most of the time. 

Symptoms

During orgasm, you produce a little or no semen at all. Semen should find its way through your urethra, not into your bladder. And because it is combined with your urine, you will notice that you have a seminal fluid leakage after urination. It’s like your urine is that which comes out after sex. 

Causes

Most problems with ejaculation are due to psychological causes. But retrograde ejaculation is due to a physical problem. This is because this condition is due to the muscles found at your bladder’s opening. 

Retrograde ejaculation is a usual side effect of certain medications, such as those prescribed for treating depression, high blood pressure, or an enlarged prostate. It may also be due to injury to the nervous system caused by various conditions like diabetes, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. 

If you undergo surgery due to prostate cancer, it can damage your nerves and affect your prostate, bladder, and seminal vesicles. The most common causes of this condition are bladder surgery and prostate surgery. 

Sexually Transmitted Infection

There are actually many types of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, herpes, human papillomavirus, syphilis, and gonorrhea. These kinds of STIs can cause penile discharge. 

Penile discharge occurs when fluid is collected in the urethra due to a viral, yeast, or bacterial infection. The penile discharge varies depending on the cause of the STI. Some penile discharge can be cloudy and opaque, which contains pus, sometimes blood, while others can be clear and watery. Seminal fluid leakage after urination may be due to STIs. 

Sometimes, seminal fluid leakage may be due to urinary tract infections (UTIs). This kind of infection affects your kidney, bladder, and urethra. It is usually accompanied by a burning sensation or pain during urination. And this could also make you experience seminal fluid leakage after urination. 

Symptoms

A range of symptoms can be experienced, depending on the kind of STI you have. Sometimes, it doesn’t have symptoms at all. People with STI may experience penile discharge, burning or painful urination, lower abdominal pain, swollen lymph nodes, bumps or sores on the genitals, and many more. People with STI experience seminal fluid leakage after urination. 

Causes

STIs are usually caused by viruses, parasites, and bacteria. One of the reasons for having an STI is through sexual activity. Infections can be spread through sexual intercourse, although you can also get it even without contact. Hepatitis, Giardia intestinalis, and shigella are few causes of STIs that are not taken through sexual contact. 

Urinary Incontinence 

If you are experiencing a seminal fluid leakage after urination, it may indicate that you are suffering from urinary incontinence. This condition involves involuntary urine leakage. It occurs when you involuntarily urinate even if you don’t want to. Urinary incontinence usually happens when you lose or weaken your control over your urinary sphincter. 

Anyway, this condition is very common and affects almost one-third of men and women in the US alone. Although this is very common to women, it is found out that 1.5 to 5 percent of men suffer from urinary incontinence. 

Symptoms

Of course, the most common symptom of this condition is the unintentional or involuntary leakage of urine. How and when this happens usually depends on the type of incontinence you are suffering. If you are experiencing seminal fluid leakage after urination, it may also indicate urinary incontinence. 

Causes

The causes of urinary incontinence may depend on its type, including stress incontinence, urge incontinence, overflow incontinence, and total incontinence. Some causes of urinary incontinence include age, obesity, neurological condition, enlarged prostate gland, anatomical defect since birth, UTIs, alcohol, and even various medications. 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4910035/

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/507856


WHO Demands Action Against Rising Rates Of STDs In Africa

WHO Revise STD Treatment Guidelines As Threat Of Antibiotic Resistance Escalates Image

A rise in sexually transmitted diseases has been noted among the African population. Failure to implement appropriate strategies would further aggravate the issue in Africa at hand. The World Health Organization reports more on the epidemic and has been suggesting further action for the last two decades. Still, challenges are being faced which makes prevention strategies less effective. 

The current State Of STDs In Africa

The World Health Organization reports over 30 million cases where patients were diagnosed with trichomoniasis in 1998. The same year, over 3.5 million people had syphilis and about 15 million were diagnosed with chlamydia. The data presented here only account for the Sub-Saharan African region. 

Due to the rise of STDs in African regions, the World Health Organization has demanded appropriate action to be taken. Unfortunately, there is still a major concern for the prevalence of STDs in the country. The WHO later reported further worries related to the STD rate in Sub-Saharan Africa. Syphilis and Gonorrhea are reported to be among the major concerns when looking at the prevalence of STDs in the country. 

Actions To Be Taken Against The Rising Prevalence Of STDs

The continued increase in the prevalence of common STDs requires appropriate action to be taken. There are several prevention strategies that need to be implemented not only in Sub-Saharan Africa but also in other regions of Africa where there is a high prevalence of these sexually transmitted infections. 

Patients are urged to undergo frequent testing if they are sexually active. By recognizing STIs early on, there is a bigger opportunity for reducing the risk of the person spreading it to their sexual partners. Early treatment can also be initiated, which could yield more effective results. 

Even home testing kits are now available, which allows people to know if they have been infected by one of these diseases without the need to visit a doctor’s office. 

The African population needs more education on ways to prevent the spreading of STDs too. The population should be made aware of the benefits that come with using a condom and other safer sex habits. This can help to reduce the risk of new infections. 

Even when a cure is available, people still need to ensure they practice safer sex. Treating gonorrhea with antibiotics is currently a challenge, for example. More-and-more people are presenting with resistance to these antibiotics, making current treatment options less effective. This also greatly increases the risk that the patient will experience serious side-effects and complications. 

Gonorrhea, syphilis, and several other STDs have a high prevalence in African regions. The World Health Organization urges the population to take appropriate action. Practicing safe sex is crucial, along with obtaining frequent testing for common sexually transmitted infections. This would allow the infected individuals to take appropriate action; thus reducing the risk that they would continue spreading the diseases and contributing to the rising prevalence of STIs in Africa. 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12348788

https://www.voanews.com/africa/who-reports-increase-stds-sub-saharan-africa

Everything You Need to Know About Chlamydia PCR

Everything You Need to Know About Chlamydia PCR Image

Did you know that more than one million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired each day across the world? According to the World Health Organization (WHO) each year there are about 357 million new infections with one of the four most prevalent STIs: gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and chlamydia. When left untreated, STIs can cause many complications but testing and timely diagnosis can help prevent unwanted scenarios. This post focuses on chlamydia and test that can help protect your health.

Importance of testing for Chlamydia 

Bearing in mind Chlamydia is the most common STI in the US, it is important to get tested in order to prevent complications that could arise due to lack of management. The biggest mistake that many sexually active men and women make is avoiding getting tested because they experience no symptoms. In some cases, and especially at the very beginning, Chlamydia can be asymptomatic. That means just because you don’t experience any signs and symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re safe. The infection can also spread to other parts of the body and cause skin irritation, swollen joints, inflammation of the heart, spinal cord, and brain. 

Yearly screening is strongly recommended for sexually active women and homosexual/bisexual men who have unprotected sex. Pregnant women should also get screening for Chlamydia in order to minimize the risk of affecting your child. It is important to inform the doctor if you’re using vaginal douches and creams or if you’re taking antibiotics. Your doctor will probably ask you not to use any of that 24 hours prior to your test.

The most common tests used for the detection of Chlamydia are nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) which include polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. The PCR test is a cutting-edge technology with significantly higher sensitivity and specificity than other tests for Chlamydia. Due to the enhanced sensitivity of the PCR test, it can detect the presence of 20-50 bacteria per reaction and it is ideal for those cases when patients experience no symptoms. 

Since the test search for the bacteria’s genetic material i.e. DNA, it is highly unlikely the result will be false-position. This is yet another reason behind the importance of the PCR test. The test can involve a swab, direct fluorescent antibody (DFA), and urine. The latter is most frequently performed. PCR urine test involves the first-catch urine (20-30ml). It’s crucial not to include more than first catch urine because it would dilute the sample. Ideally, you shouldn’t urinate for at least an hour prior to the PCR urine test. Results are either the positive indicating existence of bacteria or negative meaning there is no sign of bacteria.

Ways to manage Chlamydia 

Unlike some other infections, there aren’t many at-home treatments for Chlamydia. Also, the efficacy of common home remedies is not proven just yet. That said, some patients consume garlic during the meal, drink sage tea, enrich the diet with anti-inflammatory foods. The best thing you can do is to avoid having sex, even if you’re in a relationship or married until your infection goes away. Standard treatment for Chlamydia is the use of antibiotics. Depending on the severity of infection, the doctor may prescribe a one-time dose or you may need to take the medication about five to ten times a day. In order to prevent Chlamydia, avoid having sex with multiple partners and use protection. 

Conclusion

Chlamydia is the most prevalent STD in the United States and one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world. Treatment of Chlamydia revolves around the use of antibiotics, but the timely diagnosis is necessary. PCR urine test is the most reliable detection method and it is highly unlikely to show false positive results, unlike other methods. Get screened once a year to catch an infection and prevent its complications. 

References 

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs110/en/

https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats16/chlamydia.htm

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/love-sex/why-its-important-to-get-screened-for-stis-even-if-you-have-no-symptoms-10402313.html

https://www.stdcheck.com/blog/everything-about-chlamydia-and-chlamydia-testing/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/8181.php

https://medlineplus.gov/chlamydiainfections.html

New Study Identifies What Gives Nigerian Students Confidence to Use Condoms

New Study Identifies What Gives Nigerian Students Confidence to Use Condoms Image

The center of efforts to decrease the incidence and prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases accounts for raising awareness of condom use. In Nigeria and neighboring countries, this has been a tricky endeavor as public stigma often prevents men and women from being open about their sex life. Purchasing a box of condoms isn’t such an easy task for many, but things are changing. The latest study explored and identified different reasons that gave confidence to Nigerian students to adopt healthier sex practices and use condoms. Below, you can learn more.

Attitudes about condom use

Condoms are widely promoted to encourage sexually active men and women to practice safe sex. This has become incredibly important for students i.e. people who have started with sexual activity and need to be safe and cautious to avoid potentially negative scenarios (STDs and unwanted pregnancy) down the road. That being said, there were no studies that aimed to inspect the efficacy of those efforts to promote condom use and determine whether they had any impact. 

A study whose findings were published in the journal PLoS One aimed to change that. The main objective of the study was to assess the predictors of self-efficacy for condom use among university students in Nigeria. For the study, researchers enrolled 755 students in Nigeria who were interviewed in a period between February and April 2018. The results of the study are interesting and contribute to knowledge about the sexual behavior and health of healthy young adults in sub-Saharan Africa.

Over 70% of students were between 20 and 34 years old and 80% of subjects were sexually experienced. Moreover, 78% of students stated that religion was a significant part of their lives. Interestingly, 53% of students have never discussed sex-related subjects with their mother and 84% confessed they never talked about this topic with their father.

The study revealed that sexually experienced students were most confident about buying and using condoms. This finding clearly shows that confidence in condom use stems from sexual experience. Scientists confirmed that self-belief is developed through personal experience, but other important factors played a role. Age, sex, and parental factors also contributed to a person’s confidence in condom use.

Importance of the study

Findings from the study can serve health agencies and regulatory bodies to update their campaigns and target high-risk groups such as sexually inexperienced people who are less confident about condom use. These results also show there is a lot that has to be done to encourage young people in sub-Saharan Africa to use condoms and practice safe sex, be open about their sexual experiences, and thereby protecting themselves and others.

Conclusion

Sexually experienced students are more confident in condom use than their inexperienced counterparts. Other factors such as age also play a role. These findings could shape up efforts to promote safe sex practices by targeting those who are at the least likely to use condoms.

References 

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0221804

https://theconversation.com/what-gives-nigerian-students-the-confidence-to-use-condoms-130331

How to treat HIV/Aids

How to treat HIV/Aids Image

If you are diagnosed with HIV, then you need to start treatment as soon as possible to avoid replication and multiplication of the virus in your body and damaging the immune system.  The good thing is that due to medical advancements and research, there are better HIV treatment options today than there were some years back.

When seeking medical help from your doctor, always share with them the history of your infection including all past health complications as well as alternative medications or therapies you have been using and all drugs and supplements you have been taking. Once the doctor prescribes the medication, always follow the instructions keenly and take the drugs correctly so you can slow down the replication of the virus and have the infection under control.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART)

This is the most effective HIV treatment option that involves taking antiretroviral drugs. There are quite many of these drugs, but all fall into six major categories each fighting the virus differently. All antiretroviral drugs work to improve how well the immune system works, control replication and multiplication of the virus, slow down and stop the symptoms, and prevent the spread of the virus to other people.

The main categories of ART drugs include;

  1. Nucleoside/ nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors-NRTIs (these work by forcing the HIV to use fake versions of building blocks hence preventing replication and multiplications)
  2. Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors– NNRTIs (these work by binding to a specific protein to prevent the virus from making copies
  3. Protease inhibitors-PIs (these work by blocking proteins needed by infected cells to create new HIV particles
  4. Fusion inhibitors– enfuvirtide, the first fusion inhibitor to be approved by FDA works by preventing the virus from getting into the healthy cells.
  5. CCR5 antagonist– these work by blocking the entry of HIV into healthy cells, works differently from how the fusion inhibitors work
  6. Integrase inhibitors– these drugs work to stop HIV from multiplying by blocking a major protein that allows the virus to put its DNA into healthy cells.

Monoclonal antibody– this is a modern type of antiretroviral therapy drug explicitly prescribed for adults living with HIV and whose HIV has developed resistance due to the use of multiple HIV medications. The drugs work by preventing HIV infected cells from spreading the virus and affecting uninfected cells. Others work by increasing the efficacy of drugs you are already using.

It has however been recommended that a combination of these drugs is the best way to have your HIV under control and preventing the virus from being resistant to a specific drug. A report by US Department of Health and Human Services, recommends that any HIV patient starts with three drugs from at least two of the main groups depending on the specific medical conditions they are suffering or likely to experience and how well their immune system is working. The doctor may also include other medicines for other specific health problems related to HIV.

The sad thing about the ART drugs is that they come with various side effects; however, newer medications are manufactured in a way that they do not cause much of the side effects. Among the common ones reported in a research study include;

  • Fatigue
  • Skin rashes
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Sleeping problems
  • Digestive discomfort
  • Memory loss
  • Pain and numbness

See your doctor immediately for guidance in the event you experience any of the above side effects. Also, never stop or skip your doses as that would make the virus stronger and dangerous. Continuous tests will also be necessary to help your doctor ascertain how well the prescribed medicines are working and better plan your treatment. Among the ongoing tests, you will be subjected to include; viral load to determine how much of the virus is in your blood, CD4 count to assess the health status of your immune system, blood tests for such conditions as blood sugar, and anemia, urine test to determine the state of your kidneys, triglyceride tests and tests for STIs like syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and herpes.

References

https://www.webmd.com/hiv-aids/aids-hiv-medication#1

https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/understanding-hiv-aids/fact-sheets/21/53/what-to-start–choosing-an-hiv-regimen

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5012643/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28910489

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3764307/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3138376/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15110129

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2777720/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3541389/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2630880/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3786003/

Ebola Survivors Can Pass on Disease Through Sexual Activity

Ebola Survivors Can Pass on Disease Through Sexual Activity Image

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ebola outbreak that was declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the world’s second-largest Ebola epidemic. The latest figures show that 3444 cases of Ebola were recorded including 1169 survivors and 2264 deaths. Considering the severity of the disease, scientists are trying to uncover as much as they can about ebola and its consequences. The latest study showed that survivors can pass on the virus through sexual intercourse. 

Passing on Ebola through sexual intercourse

Ebola is a serious condition that requires further studies to uncover all the mechanisms through which the disease spreads and develops. Reports show that the re-emergence of Ebola is strongly associated with sexual transmission from survivors and persistent infections. In other words, patients who have survived ebola can still carry the virus and spread it to their sexual partners several months after the recovery. Survival from ebola and absence of symptoms may give people a false sense of security which is why they could transmit the virus (which they still carry) to someone without realizing it. 

A review of studies, published in the journal Virus, focused on the persistence of the Ebola virus in survivors. The paper suggests that sporadic transmission events led to the initiation of new chains of human-to-human transmission. As a result, many studies theorized that the re-emergence was down to infections from people who have already survived the disease, as mentioned above. The asymptomatic infection and long-term viral persistence in ebola disease survivors could result in the incidental introduction of the virus in new geographic regions and raise both national and local public health concerns. 

The complexity surrounding ebola disease also includes the fact that the virus could be detected in 50% of male survivors even 115 days after recovery. What’s more, the Ebola virus could linger in the recovered patient for up to three years. This means there is a potential for a man who has beaten Ebola could still give the virus to his sexual partner. Of course, it would be difficult to control the outbreak and the incidence of new cases under these circumstances. 

Further studies are crucial

Discovery that survivors could pass ebola to their sexual partners is crucial, but many other questions need answers. One of the biggest problems here is that men’s semen was used in studies, but it is also important to carry out studies in women as well. 

The fact that ebola could have this transmission route could point to new cases of the disease. That’s why it’s also important to study the disease more thoroughly. The information obtained through studies could help educate the public and raise awareness of different transmission routes.

Conclusion

Evidence shows that patients who have survived ebola could still transmit the disease through sexual activity, even if they do not officially have other symptoms. More studies are necessary to explore this disease and different transmission routes. 

References 

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/ebola/drc-2019

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26465384

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30513823

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(16)30243-1/fulltext