Sunday, November 21, 2010

Can you transmit HIV by kissing?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection is one of the most dangerous infections that you always want to know about so that you can prevent it.Understanding the risks and types of exposure may help lots of people who might be exposed to a potential risky situation. Now the question is can you transmit HIV by kissing? Many people may think that since it is a viral infection you may get it easily just like flu or herpes, but in reality getting HIV is not possible from skin to skin contact or by being close to someone who has HIV.

Over the decades HIV awareness has increased so much that almost every educated person knows about HIV, but few existing myths and fear of getting HIV always create anxiousness in an individual after an exposure. Most commonly HIV is transmitted by unprotected sexual activities, needle sharing, blood transfusion, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery or breast feeding. Just for your information, risk of HIV transmission varies from types of exposure and number of exposures. You can view the data from this link, click here.

Just keep in mind that adequate number of virus is required to transmit HIV, and this is the one of the reasons for variation in HIV transmission rate from one type of exposure to another. We all know that unprotected sexual activities puts you at risk, but risk is higher for the receptive partner as compared to penetrating partner. However, oral sex is not considered equally risky and the risk of  HIV transmission is low as compared to vaginal or anal sex.

Depending upon the type of exposure, more or less people know about their risks, but when it comes to kissing, touching or being together with HIV patient, many of us become anxious and think about potential exposure. I would like to tell our readers that the risk of HIV transmission after kissing or touching is almost zero, and there is not a single documentation stating that casual kissing could transmit HIV infection. This is just a myth and does not happen in reality unless someone has really deep kissing resulting into bleeding and bruises.

In conclusion, I must say that  your skin acts as a protective barrier for HIV transmission and prevent HIV transmission from touching, handshaking or being close to HIV patient. Of course there is no doubt that you are still safe after kissing as well. You can read more about HIV from this link, click here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sciatica: Associated risk and treatment

Many times, we get confused with the word sciatica and backache, and may use it alternative to each other. However, the reality is that backache is just a symptom and there is a wide list of causes which can produce backache ranging from infection, trauma, musculoskeltal, degenerative joint disease, neurogenic issues to a tumour. You can view the complete list from click here.

By now, you would certainly guess that sciatica is one of the potential causes for backache. Yes, that's right! The word sciatica refers to the pain that radiates through the sciatic nerve. Although sciatica may cause pain any anywhere in the path of sciatic nerve, but most commonly it presents as a radiating or a shooting pain from your back through your buttock to your back of leg.

As far as its causes are concerned, anything that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve may produce clinical symptoms of sciatica; few common causes are herniated disk, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis or tumor/cyst. Just for your information, these symptoms are due to compression or irritation of sciatic nerve. You can read more about it from click here.

If you visit your doctor, they may diagnose it based on your symptoms, physical finding and investigations. Usually x-ray spine or MRI/CT scan is good enough to confirm the diagnosis.

The good news is that most of the people feel better with conservative measures at home such as pain meds, rest, physical therapy and heating pad. However, if it's bothering you a lot, then you must visit your doctor for proper evaluation and investigation to conform the diagnosis. Treating the cause is a key to success and your doctor may suggest you different treatment option depending upon the severity of your symptoms. If these conservative measures are not helpful or you develop complications, your doctor may suggest you surgical options which is the last resort.

Although most of the people recover from sciatica with conservative measures, but some of them may develop complication such as numbness, muscular weakness, bladder or bowel control. If you are experiencing one of them, then you should always consider a doctor visit.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Are you scared of herpes? A potential cure.

The word herpes has become so common that almost everybody in developed country must have heard about it at least once in their lifetime. If you have not heard about it, then you are in the right place.

Herpes is the name given to a group of viruses. In this article, we will be discussing Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), two different types of HSV such as HSV-1 & HSV-2 is responsible for health problems. Infection caused by HSV-1 is commonly called as oral herpes whereas infection caused by HSV- 2 is called as genital herpes. Initially, it was thought that oral and genital herpes were always caused by HSV-1 & HSV-2 respectively, but due to increasing trend of oral sex you can have oral herpes caused by HSV-2 and genital herpes caused by HSV-1.

Generally, infection caused by HSV- 1 is not considered as sexually transmitted disease (STD) whereas HSV- 2 infection is a part of STD. Herpes infection is highly contagious and can be transmitted to close contacts by direct skin to skin contact, sharing belongings or by sexual activities. Risk of  transmission is higher during outbreaks, but transmission is also possible during viral shedding period even though there is no active skin lesions.

It is very important to know that a person would remain asymptomatic after infection, but those who develop symptoms do so within 2 weeks of exposure. Most commonly herpes starts with itching and pain sensation followed by painful bumps, blisters, sores. The bumps and blisters rupture leaving behind the rawness and sore. Eventually, scab forms and the ulcer heals. The majority of  healthy people recover without any complications.

It is usually seems that first outbreak is more severe and is associated with a lot of discomfort. Even though we don't have any cure for herpes at this time, but taking anti viral medication such as acyclovir, famciclovir, valacyclovir may reduce the severity and duration of illness. Here is the key information about herpes that you must know, please click here.

Researchers are working hard to discover a permanent solution for herpes. You will be happy to know that Duke University is currently doing research to cure herpes. Their approach is to force virus out of the latent stage, allowing it to be killed by anti viral medication. This is still in experimental phage and  if it becomes successful, then you will see a cure for herpes in near future. At the same time, Harvard university is working on to develop vaccine which will prevent herpes infection. You will hear more about these research in near future. At conceptual level, if the trick works there is a good chance of herpes cure.