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Schools advocate STD testing as preventative measure
Date: 2013-01-07 00:00:00

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

New study makes inroads with HIV treatment
Date: 2013-01-15 00:00:00

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

Some adults still avoid clinical STD tests
Date: 2013-02-05 00:00:00

STD tests can help ensure early detection of potentially deadly diseases as well as prevent the spread of viruses and infections. Some individuals feel, though, that there are government agents making use of these results behind the use of these tests and refuse to take them, especially in older populations. Clinicians are fighting back against the falsehood that STD test givers carry any nefarious motives, but some Americans still feel to the contrary. 

The Gerontologist​, an Oxford Journal, featured a study revealing that one-fourth of all HIV and AIDS patients today is over 50, but many of these individuals will go undiagnosed until it's too late for clinicians to provide  effective care. What's more, a simple STD test could have helped them determine if they were at risk of carrying these diseases. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles looked at more than 200 people seeking medical attention in California medical clinics over the age of 50 to see how many of them tested positive for HIV or AIDS. Participants in the clinical study were reporting to health centers for various physical ailments that they did not feel were associated with an STD.

The study showed that about one-third of participants said they believed AIDS was a government conspiracy, while three-fourths said they held other beliefs about civil agencies regarding AIDS and HIV. This indicates that some people may avoid getting adequate STD testing out of fear of secondary uses of their blood samples and other biological materials in a professional healthcare environment.

Other tests still an option... Full Story

What encourages African-American women to practice safer sex?
Date: 2013-02-08 00:00:00

Sexually active individuals need to understand that it's important to regularly get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to help ensure that they are healthy. Furthermore, community leaders and health advocates need to stress that the most effective ways to prevent the spread of STDs while engaging in sexual activity is to wear a condom and utilize STD testing services after each new partner. Unfortunately, studies have shown that some populations are less likely to engage in safer sex practices than others. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 have the highest rate of STDs.

Furthermore, African-American women also seem to have a greater chance of contracting STDs and HIV than other populations. In response to this, researchers from the University of California, Berkley set out to determine what motivates these women to engage in sexual activity and when they are more likely to use protection.

What encourages people to be safe?... Full Story

Could social media be used to curb STD rates?
Date: 2013-02-07 00:00:00

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV are serious business and, if left untreated, can cause serious problems such as infertility or even death. Unfortunately, many people may not even know that they have an STD until it has already progressed. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one out of every five people with HIV is unaware that they have the virus​, underscoring the importance of regular testing. While increased testing is one way to help curb the rate of STDs and HIV among high-risk populations, recent research suggests that social networking technologies may also help.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles recently set out to determine how Facebook and other social media tools could be used to help reduce STDs and HIV in high-risk populations.

Combating infections with the internet ... Full Story

Is HIV getting enough attention in the U.S.?
Date: 2013-02-22 00:00:00

While the U.S. is in a much better place than it was 30 years ago in its fight against HIV, the battle isn't over yet. People still need to regularly utilize STD testing services to screen for the virus. Some people may mistakenly believe that HIV is no longer a major issue in America, which could lead to carelessness when it comes to safer sex and testing. Recently, The Huffington Post published an article by Seth Rosen, managing director of development for Gay Men's Health Crisis, who said that HIV in the U.S. may not be getting the attention it deserves.

According to the article, every 9.5 minutes another person in the U.S. contracts HIV, and out of the 1.2 million Americans with this virus, one in five is unaware they have it.

Still a major issue ... Full Story

People with HIV may have trouble recognizing facial cues
Date: 2013-02-27 00:00:00

There may be some people out there who believe that it's not important to use STD testing services because they don't have any signs of a condition. However, it's important to understand that many of these infections and viruses don't have any symptoms until they are in the late stages, or the signs may not be something that they would normally associate with having an STD or HIV. For example, researchers from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome recently discovered that one sign of HIV may be a lack of ability to recognize emotions in people's faces.

The scientists discovered that people with HIV have a more difficult time recognizing fear or even happiness in the faces of others, compared to those who do not have the virus.

A surprising issue... Full Story

New form of gel to reduce HIV transmission found to be safe
Date: 2013-04-04 00:00:00

The best ways for people to prevent spreading HIV or a sexually transmitted disease are to practice safer sex and use STD testing services regularly to learn their status. However, research has shown that not everyone wears condoms during all forms of sexual activity, so researchers have been trying to come up with another way that people can reduce their risk of contracting HIV. For example, scientists have an anti-HIV gel for vaginal use that may help decrease risk , and now researchers have reformulated this gel for people who practice anal sex.

Researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health tested a reduced glycerin formulation of tenofovir gel and found that it was effective in preventing the spread of HIV, and deemed acceptable by the men and women who used it during anal sex.

Making it safer ... Full Story

Women with HIV may not get proper protection from HPV vaccines
Date: 2013-04-08 00:00:00

Sexually active individuals in non-monogamous relationships should seek out STD testing services to protect against infections, particularly because the presence of one condition may increase the risk of another.

For example, a recent study conducted by researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center has found that women with HIV have a higher risk than others of contracting the types of HPV that can cause cancer, and current HPV vaccines do not protect against these strains of the virus.

Many strains ... Full Story

Researchers shed light on how circumcision helps prevent HIV
Date: 2013-04-16 00:00:00

When most people think of ways to prevent contracting sexually transmitted diseases, they probably think of the basics - practicing abstinence, using condoms and regularly utilizing STD testing services. For decades, researchers have been searching for other ways to help reduce the risk of STDs, and one that has been discussed for a number of years is circumcision.

While circumcision is usually a cultural or personal choice that parents make, some healthcare professionals have said that it may also be based on health risks. Recently, researchers from the Translational Genomics Research Institute conducted a study which found that circumcision may change the bacterial community on the penis, effectively reducing the risk of contracting HIV.

A complicated issue... Full Story

Bill Gates calls for the creation of a better condom
Date: 2013-05-01 00:00:00

There are only two ways that people can reduce their chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease - they can practice abstinence or use a condom during sex. Unfortunately, many people do not use condoms, and when these individuals utilize STD testing services, they may discover that they have an infection or virus. In an effort to increase condom use worldwide, Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates is offering $100,000 to anyone who has a feasible plan for creating a condom that enhances sexual pleasure, rather than diminishing it.

The Atlantic recently reported on Gates' offer and the motivations behind it. According to the news source, most people who do not use condoms say that it is because these contraceptives make sex less pleasurable. The Atlantic explained that research has shown that only 60 percent of sexually active U.S. teenagers report using condoms, and that number actually declines as people get older.

A worldwide issue... Full Story

Guidelines for HIV testing change
Date: 2013-05-03 00:00:00

As with most conditions, HIV is most easily treated when it is caught in the early stages. This is why it is so important for people to regularly use STD testing services and get screened for HIV and other viruses and infections. Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force finalized its guidelines for HIV testing, and declared that all individuals between the ages of 15 and 65 should be screened for this virus at least once.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the recommendation was made to address the fact that people respond best to HIV treatments the earlier they receive them, but this condition has almost no symptoms in the beginning. Due to the lack of early HIV symptoms, it's necessary for people to get tested regularly even if they do not feel ill.

"HIV is a critical public health problem, and there are still 50,000 new infections per year," said Doug Owens, M.D., a task force member and professor of medicine at Stanford University, told the L.A. Times. "There's very good evidence that treatment is effective when given earlier, at a time when people are often asymptomatic. So the only way they would know that they had HIV, or that they needed treatment, is to be screened."

Evidence for screening... Full Story

Stigma gets in the way of HIV testing in Navajo populations
Date: 2013-05-21 00:00:00

Sometimes, the stigma surrounding sexually transmitted diseases may keep people from utilizing STD testing services. This is why people need to know that there are ways they can get tested that are confidential, without ever having to step foot in their local doctor's office. This may be particularly important for people living on the Navajo Indian reservation in New Mexico, since researchers claim that HIV numbers are up in the area, and social stigma may be keeping residents from getting tested.

According to The New York Times, a report released in April by the federal Indian Health Service discovered 47 new cases of HIV in 2012, which is a 20 percent increase from 2011. This lead to health officials discovering that, since 1999, there has been a five-fold increase in HIV cases on the reservation.

An alarming trend... Full Story

California considers providing condoms - but not STD testing - to prisoners
Date: 2013-07-08 00:00:00

A bill in the California Senate will determine whether the state will provide condoms to prisons in order to help alleviate the epidemic of sexually transmitted infections, namely HIV. The bill, AB999, proposed by Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta of Oakland, Calif., would compel the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to provide condoms, via dispensing machines donated to the state, to five prisons by 2015 and to all 33 adult prisons by 2020. Since the prevalence of HIV is approximately 10 times higher among California prisoners than the general population, according to the University of California, San Francisco, the problem is of an urgent nature.

According to the CDC, condoms - if used "consistently and correctly" - can reduce but do not eliminate one's chance of developing a sexually transmitted disease. In addition, since individuals with STDs - especially HIV - often do not exhibit symptoms, the most effective way to reduce one's risk of contracting an STD is for one and one's partner to receive STD testing before engaging in sexual intercourse.

Prison contraception in California... Full Story

Anonymous STD testing
Date: 2013-07-19 00:00:00

The University of California, Los Angeles, recently released a study on sexual addiction - a controversial condition that supposedly leaves people unable to control themselves in sexual contexts. By looking at hypersexual subjects' brain responses, researchers found that sex addiction is on par with a high libido.

The study defined sexual addiction as a condition that causes individuals to follow through on out-of-control sexual urges, despite any risk factor. Those afflicted with hypersexuality often jeopardize their marriages, jobs and relationships. Researchers noted that sex addiction often renders people unable to combat their behaviors.

Researchers examined the brains of subjects who reported a sexual addiction, taking note of how they reacted when shown sexual images. This is the first report of its kind that took into account how brain activity changes as self-identified sex addicts are shown sexual images. The study revealed that the participants' brain responses when exposed to such images did not correlate with the level of their hypersexuality, but was linked only to the severity of their sexual wants.

Nicole Prause​, senior author of the study, said that the findings imply that hypersexuality does not necessarily explain brain differences in sexual response any more than just having a high sex drive.

Potentially, this is an important finding, noted Prause. It is the first time scientists have studied the brain responses specifically of people who identify as having hypersexual problems.

The author went on to state that the report suggested that hypersexuality is not an addiction, but rather that non-pathological, high sexual desire causes the problems associated with so-called sex addiction.

Brain responses of self-identified sex addicts... Full Story

Herpes dating website spreads love, not disease
Date: 2013-07-23 00:00:00

Recently, Successful Match and Positive Singles launched, a dating site for people living with the herpes simplex virus. The free service allows users to talk with and meet individuals who understand and share their condition. provides herpes patients with the opportunity to date without having to bring up STD testing or their personal disease.

This is not the first dating website of its kind. According to USA Today, there are several online services to match up couples with the same, or similar, STDs. Positive Singles is one, which claims to have orchestrated 60,000 matches.

"A lot of my clients are looking for relationships and they are on dating websites like eHarmony and Match, but then the question is, 'When do I tell him or her that I have herpes? If I tell them right away, that person is going to go away. But if I let the relationship develop and wait to tell the person, is that betrayal?'" Carl Hindy, a clinical psychologist, told the news source.

Impact of STDs in America... Full Story

Soybeans can act as an HIV treatment?
Date: 2013-07-29 00:00:00

STD tests reveal that nearly 50,000 Americans get infected with HIV annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, there is no cure for HIV, only antiviral treatments to prolong the patient's life. But new research has found a compound in soybeans that may be a possible treatment for those living with HIV.

A study from George Mason University National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases discovered that genistein, which is a plant-based compound, may help to inhibit the HIV infection. However, the researchers are quick to note that eating large quantities of soy products is not guaranteed to treat HIV.

"Although genistein is rich in several plants such as soybeans, it is still uncertain whether the amount of genistein we consume from eating soy is sufficient to inhibit HIV," said Yuntao Wu, lead author of the study.

HIV infects cells by tricking them into sending signals into their interior in order to change their structure. This enables the virus to enter the cell and spread infection. According to the report, genistein works by blocking the communication between cell's surface sensors and its interior. This is very different than current HIV treatments, which work to stop the virus directly.

"Instead of directly acting on the virus, genistein interferes with the cellular processes that are necessary for the virus to infect cells," Wu said. "Thus, it makes the virus more difficult to become resistant to the drug."

Plant-based treatment and current medications... Full Story

New HIV treatment initiative to be peer-led
Date: 2013-07-30 00:00:00

Lab testing is the only way to determine whether someone has HIV. If everyone in the U.S. got a lab test, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that about 50,000 people would find out that they are positive for the virus.

HIV patients may be able to prolong their lives if they follow a physician-prescribed treatment regimen. However, a new study from the University of Missouri found that nearly half of people living with the disease either do not get medical help or fail to adhere to their treatment plan. The university tested a new method of intervention - one that involves fellow HIV patients rather than just doctors and nurses.

"Being 'peered' is different from being doctored, nursed or counseled," said Maithe Enriquez, the creator of the program. "The peer educators in the intervention also have HIV, which gives them insider perspectives."

Enriquez went on to note that she believes it was the meaningful connections made between those living with HIV that made the treatment program effective. The peer educators talked with patients to identify factors that cause them to miss appointments and avoid medications. Together they set goals and came up with techniques to help them better stick to treatment plans.

When the researchers surveyed the peer educators, they found that the volunteers viewed their role in the program as more that just teachers. They also felt as though they were becoming role models, advocates, motivational sources as well as educational resources to the patients.

"The encouraging thing about HIV care is that patients can remain healthy if they are engaged in their care, and their viral loads decrease, which makes them less likely to spread the virus to others," noted Enriquez.

She went on to say that HIV is not a death sentence, so long as treatment plans are followed.

The consequences of HIV... Full Story

Lubbock, Texas, reports higher STD rates
Date: 2013-08-26 00:00:00

Rates of reported sexually transmitted diseases in Lubbock, Texas, are currently higher than last year's, according to numbers from the city's heath department. So far in 2013, the rates of reported STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea have risen.

STDs... Full Story

Cumberland County STD rates surge
Date: 2013-09-04 00:00:00

Cumberland County, N.C., has experienced a huge surge in many of the most common sexually transmitted diseases this year. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV and other STDs have become much more common than in the past decade, when there was a general decline. Officials blame a lack of STD testing for the spike.

Rising rates... Full Story

Vaccine for gonorrhea in development
Date: 2013-09-23 00:00:00

A study from the University at Buffalo has shown promising results for a gonorrhea cure. The researchers found out more about how the gonorrhea infection works, and, using that information, were able to create a compound that could potentially reduce or remove infections entirely.

New information about the infection... Full Story

HIV/AIDS rates down worldwide
Date: 2013-09-23 00:00:00

A press release from the United Nations revealed that rates for the sexually transmitted diseases are down 33 percent worldwide since 2001. Due to a stronger push for STD testing and treatment for the human immunodeficiency virus and the acquired immune deficiency virus worldwide, UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, has been able to drastically lower the number of new infections.

Reducing HIV and AIDS worldwide... Full Story

Cocaine use may increase HIV rates
Date: 2013-10-03 00:00:00

Cocaine use may cause the body to be more susceptible to HIV infections, according to a new study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles exposed healthy cells to both cocaine and HIV and found that the cells were more likely to be infected and that the infection may even be stronger with the use of the drug. In addition, the infection may be stronger among affected individuals who use cocaine than those who do not use it.

Cocaine and HIV... Full Story

Girl in AIDS remission sparks hope for a cure
Date: 2013-10-26 00:00:00

A young girl born with AIDS has gone into remission, igniting new hopes of finding a cure for the deadly sexually transmitted disease. The girl, now 3 years old, was born with congenital AIDS but, after undergoing 18 months of extensive treatments, now shows no signs of the aggressive autoimmune disease.

A seeming cure for the young girl... Full Story

AIDS antibodies fight infection in monkeys
Date: 2013-10-31 00:00:00

The results of a new study have shown that AIDS antibodies from humans have been able to strongly suppress the virus in monkeys. This new research may be able to one day alter treatments given to people who tested positive for HIV or AIDS in STD testing.

Antibodies fighting AIDS... Full Story

CDC estimates that one-third of Americans have STDs
Date: 2013-11-10 00:00:00

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new data estimating that one-third of Americans have sexually transmitted diseases or infections. The new data shows that people aged 15 to 24 are most likely to have the diseases, the most common of which is the human papillomavirus. The agency urged STD testing for all sexually active Americans, especially those who are most at risk for infection.

Rise in STDs... Full Story

New birth control could prevent HIV infections
Date: 2013-11-12 00:00:00

A new birth control device that may be effective in preventing HIV infections is set to undergo testing. The research about the device was presented at the 2013 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Antonio and shows promise for a device that could help prevent unwanted pregnancies as well as the spread of the deadly sexually transmitted disease.

The new birth control device... Full Story

Study shows addicts offered less STD testing at for-profit facilities
Date: 2013-12-30 00:00:00

According to a study carried out at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the number of drug treatment programs that offer both HIV and STD testing has fallen. This was driven by the decline of nonprofit and public programs, the researchers

Led by Marcus Bachhuber, M.D., and Chinzao Cunningham, M.D., the team reviewed information gathered by the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, which is conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It is distributed to treatment facility directors and has a very high response rate of more than 95 percent. The scientists analyzed results from 2002 to 2011 for trends in treatment programs and HIV/STD testing.

In 2000, the number of opioid treatment programs in the country was at 849. By 2011, that number had risen to 1,175. Over the study's 12 years, the amount of non-profit facilities decreased from 43 percent to 36 percent, while for-profits rose to 54 percent from 43 percent. Additionally, programs directly run by federal and local governments reduced from 14 percent to 10 percent.

Coinciding with the decline of non-profit drug treatment facilities was a dip in HIV and STD testing. STD tests dropped down to 13 percent and HIV tests slipped to 18 percent. Throughout the study, onsite exams for these diseases did not change much over time with more than 75 percent of facilities offering testing.

The researchers concluded that their results suggest people may face higher risks for late diagnosis and continued passing of disease due to a decrease in beneficial non-profit treatment facilities. Individuals who believe they may have contracted an STD might consider ordering lab tests online to determine their status.

The high costs of drug addiction... Full Story

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