Tag Archives | STDs

Don’t Freak Out But You Almost Certainly Have HPV

PIC: HPV (PD)

PIC: HPV (PD)

HPV is all up in your guts. Scientists want you to relax, though. It’s probably not dangerous. Probably not. Almost certainly not the kind that causes cancer.

Alternate headline: “You’re so HPV and you don’t even know it!”

More than two-thirds of healthy Americans have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection on some part of their body, a new study suggests.

Researchers examined DNA from tissue samples of about 100 men and women and found that 69 percent were infected with HPV.

The most common place to have an HPV infection was the skin — 61 percent of participants had an HPV infection on the skin, followed by 41 percent who had vaginal infections, 30 percent who had mouth infections and 17 percent who had gut infections. [Quiz: Test Your STD Smarts]

Altogether, the researchers found 109 strains of HPV, out of 148 known strains.

However, most of these infections are likely harmless, as participants did not have symptoms of illness, the researchers said.

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Painful Discharge for Life: Get Ready for Gonorrhea That Never, Ever Goes Away

princ_rm_photo_of_gonorrhea_bacteriaRemember when gonorrhea and syphilis could be treated with a discreet visit to the local health clinic and a dose of penicillin? Well, those days are going to be over very soon. Antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea are spreading among the sexually active, and the disease could soon become untreatable. If you don’t remember from junior high health class, gonorrhea symptoms include a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis or vagina (or anus or throat), itching, and soreness. It can make both men and women sterile if left untreated. Oh! And a good percentage of men and women remain asymptomatic!

Via The Verge:

…penicillin and various tetracyclines have all stopped working against the most prevalent strains. This means that today’s gonorrhea patient has very few treatment options left. And with symptoms like burning, swelling of the testicles, vaginal discharge and anal itching, it’s not exactly something that you want to leave untreated.

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Pubic Crab Lice Join Endangered Species List

Who said vanity yielded no benefits? From Bloomberg News comes this stunning news of progress in the war on STDs:

Pubic lice, the crab-shaped insects that have dwelled in human groins since the beginning of history, are disappearing. Doctors say bikini waxing may be the reason.

Waning infestations of the bloodsuckers have been linked by doctors to pubic depilation, especially a technique popularized in the 1990s by a Manhattan salon run by seven Brazilian sisters. More than 80 percent of college students in the U.S. remove all or some of their pubic hair — part of a trend that’s increasing in western countries. In Australia, Sydney’s main sexual health clinic hasn’t seen a woman with pubic lice since 2008 and male cases have fallen 80 percent from about 100 a decade ago.

“It used to be extremely common; it’s now rarely seen,” said Basil Donovan, head of sexual health at the University of New South Wales’s Kirby Institute and a physician at the Sydney Sexual Health Centre.

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Catholic School Girls Denied HPV Vaccine By Canadian Bishops

A vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer could send the wrong message, Catholic leaders in Calgary decided. Via TIME Newsfeed:

The female students in Calgary’s Catholic school system will be receiving one less shot than their public school counterparts. In 2008, a group of bishops led by Bishop Frederick Henry deemed that providing the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination — which guards girls against the four strands of HPV most associated with cervical cancer — to fifth and ninth-grade girls could be viewed as a compromise of Catholic teaching, because HPV is a sexually transmitted virus.

Children in Calgary’s Catholic schools were sent home with… a letter… instruct[ing] parents that “Although school-based immunization delivery systems generally result in high numbers of students completing immunization, a school-based approach to vaccination sends a message that early sexual intercourse is allowed.”

HPV Calgary says that by banning the vaccine, the church is literally endangering the lives of thousands of girls.

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UK Doctors Claim Gonorrhea Is ‘Drug Resistant’

PenicillinThe good ol' days of penicillin .... Michelle Roberts reports for BBC News:
UK doctors are being told the antibiotic normally used to treat gonorrhoea is no longer effective because the sexually transmitted disease is now largely resistant to it. The Health Protection Agency says we may be heading to a point when the disease is incurable unless new treatments can be found. For now, doctors must stop using the usual treatment cefixime and instead use two more powerful antibiotics. One is a pill and the other a jab. The HPA say the change is necessary because of increasing resistance. Tests on samples taken from patients and grown in the laboratory showed reduced susceptibility to the usual antibiotic cefixime in nearly 20% of cases in 2010, compared with just 10% of cases in 2009.
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Frightening ‘Super Gonorrhea’ Strain Emerges

gty_gonorrhea_sc_110708_wgIt has been found in Japan, the country from which new strains have typically originated in the past. (Due to their love hotels?) It could go global in a decade, writes Reuters:

Scientists have found a “superbug” strain of gonorrhea in that is resistant to all antibiotics and say it could transform a once easily treatable infection into a global public health threat.

The new strain of the sexually transmitted disease — called H041 — cannot be killed by any currently recommended treatments for gonorrhea, leaving doctors with no other option than to try medicines so far untested against the disease.

Magnus Unemo of the Swedish Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria, who discovered the strain with colleagues from Japan in samples from Kyoto, described it as both “alarming” and “predictable.”

In a telephone interview Unemo said the fact that the strain had been found first in Japan also followed an alarming pattern — “Japan has historically been the place for the first emergence and subsequent global spread of different types of resistance in gonorrhea,” he said.

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Drugs Help ‘Reduce’ HIV Transmission

HIV-1 particles assembling at the surface of an infected macrophage.

HIV-1 particles assembling at the surface of an infected macrophage.

BBC News reports:

An HIV-positive person who takes anti-retroviral drugs after diagnosis, rather than when their health declines, can cut the risk of spreading the virus to uninfected partners by 96%, according to a study.

The United States National Institutes of Health sampled 1,763 couples in which one partner was infected by HIV.

It was abandoned four years early as the trial was so successful. The World Health Organization said it was a “crucial development”.

The study began in 2005 at 13 sites across across Africa, Asia and the Americas.

HIV-positive patients were split into two groups. In one, individuals were immediately given a course of anti-retroviral drugs. The other group only received the treatment when their white blood cell count fell.

Both were given counselling on safe sex practices, free condoms and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Among those immediately starting anti-retroviral therapy there was only one case of transmission between partners.

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Guatemalans Sue U.S. Over Syphilis Experiments

Depression-era poster. Although penicillin was found to treat syphilis, many of the public who were experimented on did not receive treatment.

Depression-era STD education poster.

This seems like a classic tale in American history: Government finds a poverty-stricken community to perform experiments on, then years later the public realizes what happens and gets upset about. Well, it’s happened again. Via The American Lawyer:

A class action lawsuit on behalf of about 700 Guatemalans who were subjected to syphilis experiments by American doctors in the 1940s will be filed against the U.S. government in three days unless reparations of some kind are made to their families, plaintiffs attorneys said Tuesday.

The Obama administration apologized last October for U.S. government doctors infecting Guatemalans with the syphilis virus from 1946 to 1948 to study how the sexually transmitted disease is passed and whether penicillin treatment was effective.

The experiments came to light in 2009 through research by historian Susan Reverby, a professor of women and gender studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

Because of the apology, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Conrad & Scherer and Washington, D.C.-based Parker Wakeman Alonso notified Attorney General Eric Holder that he had until Friday to offer a way to settle claims before the 33-page lawsuit is filed in federal court.

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Daily Pill Helps Prevent HIV Infection

120px-HIV-budding-ColorWhile this pill would be an amazing achievement helping to reduce the spread of HIV, even the volunteers in the trial couldn’t remember to take it everyday. The best prevention of HIV is the knowledge of how it is transmitted and how ways to prevent it. From BBC News:

A daily pill to prevent HIV infection would be a significant development. A trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that an established treatment for HIV infection is also powerful in protecting gay men from catching the virus.

This is not, however, the answer to the nearly 30 year epidemic of HIV and AIDS. Since it is just one trial, many more studies will need to follow. But according to the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) it is “potentially very significant and could change the HIV landscape in the future”.

Some brief facts about the trial: it involved about 2,500 men at high risk of HIV infection in Peru, Ecuador, Brazil South Africa, Thailand and the United States (San Francisco and Boston).

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Are Oyster Herpes the Latest Symptom of Global Warming?

OysterOK if it's not global warming related (a very contentious issue on disinfo.com), what the hell has been f#cking these oysters? Rachel Kaufman writes on National Geographic News:
New strain can kill 80 percent of an oyster bed in a week, experts say. Don't worry — oyster herpes isn't a new side effect of eating "the food of love." The incurable, deadly virus is, however, alarming fishing communities in Europe, where oyster herpes seems to be spreading — and could go on spreading as seas continue to warm, experts say. In July lab testing of farmed oysters detected the first known United Kingdom cases of herpes in the shellfish. The virus has already killed between 20 to 100 percent of breeding Pacific oysters in some French beds in 2008, 2009, and 2010, according to the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea.
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