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New study makes inroads with HIV treatment
Date: 2013-01-15 13:32:44

HIV and AIDS are two well-known sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that affect millions of people every year. Scientists are working on better ways to treat and potentially cure the diseases, but for now, STD testing and prevention techniques are the best recommendation doctors can make. New research from Duke University Medical Center may help further this fight in the future.

Cell Press published the study's results earlier this year, showing that certain blood testing with natural virus-fighting antibodies in a healthy human body could be engineered into vaccines. By creating a serum that triggers a specific immune response in an HIV-1 patient, scientists tried to slow or halt the progress of the disease. They found that some variations of the vaccine could identify cells infected with HIV and attach to those structures, reducing the number of affected cells in the body, potentially equating an improvement in a patient.

"This is the first comprehensive study of the repertoire of antibodies that were induced by an HIV vaccine and were associated with decreased transmission of HIV," study author Barton Haynes said of the outcome. "Ultimately, the motivation of the study is to understand how that vaccine works in order to develop ways to make it better."

Blood tests that identify the concentration of HIV-infected cells could help doctors monitor these reactions if the vaccine becomes available to those with the disease. Researchers involved in the study are only hopeful at this stage that their findings will guide future initiatives to fight the illness.

Rising case count... Full Story

Schools advocate STD testing as preventative measure
Date: 2013-01-07 20:42:40

Putting kids in an environment where they're likely to contract diseases is a normal occurrence. Schools are hotbeds of illness, since so many students are regularly packed into enclosed spaces, and these become breeding grounds for viruses and bacterial infections of all kinds. Of course, as children get older and enter adulthood, other methods of disease transfer become more common, and schools are anxious to protect their pupils and their reputations by nipping these problems in the bud. That's why some have begun offering sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing at their facilities.

Syracuse University wrote on its website that the college is recommending all students test themselves on a regular basis, be it every semester or once a year, just to be certain they still have clean bills of health. Knowing sexual partners is ideal, but for college students, it may not always be a feasible option. STD tests allow young adults to make certain they are disease-free, and if they do contract something, regular blood tests can help catch the fact early and healthcare providers can begin administering treatment far sooner.

The source noted that these tests can be obtained through the university, at regional Planned Parenthood centers or online, depending on what option students are most comfortable with. The bottom line, according to the article, is that these quick and painless tests are vital for maintaining healthy lifestyles and avoiding spreading diseases to other school attendees.

Affecting every age group... Full Story

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