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HIV risk from finger in vagina

July 30, 2009

Fingering (stimulating the vagina with a finger or two) is not a likely route for HIV transmission. People are primarily infected by vaginal and anal intercourse, through sharing of needles, from an HIV+ mother to her unborn child, and via breast milk.

There is a theoretical risk of infection by fingering a woman, as vaginal fluids and menstrual blood can carry HIV, but the virus would have to enter the blood stream in order for you to become infected. If the woman you were with was HIV+, what you describe sounds like a low risk activity. Whether a sexual activity is safer or not depends on the chances of your partner's body fluids coming into contact with your blood and/or mucous membranes. Since you had an old cut on a thumb that was probably healed, the fluid contact is likely to be minimal and pose little or no risk for infection. On the other hand (no pun intended), fingering may cause an infection for the recipient if cuts are created by sharp or jagged nails and if the fingers and areas under the nails are not clean.

The viral load of an HIV+ woman is highest during active menstruation, and there is a higher risk for all sexually transmitted infections (STIs) when an infected woman is menstruating. If you do not know the status of your partner, you can decrease the worry by using a barrier method of protection (condom, dam, finger condom or cot, latex glove) consistently, whether or not a woman has her period. Sometimes, as we know, the supplies are not always around when you need them. Maybe it makes sense to stock up before your fingers do the walking.

HIV is not an easy virus to pass from one person to another. It is a fragile organism, and its survival outside the body is estimated by scientists to be just a fraction of a second.

If you continue to be concerned, getting an HIV test may help ease your mind.



Tags: Fingering, hiv+, finger, STI, blood stream

What should I do if the condom breaks

July 28, 2009

Condom breaks do occur, and when they do it can cause a lot of anxiety. What should you do if the condom breaks? Follow these recommendations.

  • Remain calm...take a breath and relax. That will make it easier for you to make ration decisions.
     
  • If the condom breaks while you're having sex and before ejaculation, immediately stop, pull out and apply a new condom.
     
  • If ejaculation has occurred, pull out carefully.
     
  • Shower or wash your genital area thouroughly with soap and warm water.
     
  • Have a discussion with your partner. Talk about how careful each of you have been in the past. Talk about possible HIV risk factors such as a history of IV drug use, unsafe sex practices, having sex with prostitutes, etc.
     
  • Even if both you and your partner believe you have been safe in the past, get tested for HIV. Repeat that test at 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months to allow time for the body to produce HIV antibodies if infection has occured.
     
  • Be alert for possible signs of sexually transmitted diseases or HIV such as a rash, swollen glands, fever, flu-like symptoms, pain or discharge from the penis or vagina. If you have any of these signs, see your doctor.
     
  • Important Point! - Never douche after a condom breaks...this can force infectious microbes deeper in the vagina and also causes membrane irritation, increasing the risk of disease transmission.

  • Important Point! - Never use contraceptive foams such as nonoxynol-9. This can irritate mucous membranes increasing the risk of infection


Tags: Fingering, hiv+, finger, STI, blood stream

HIV Infection Rate for Young Black Men 'Alarming:' CDC

July 20, 2009

The rate of new HIV infections among young gay or bisexual black men is significantly higher than new infections among whites and Hispanics of the same age, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday.

"The number of new HIV infections among young black men who have sex with men is alarming," Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention said during a new teleconference.

Among black males aged 13 to 29, the incidence of HIV infection was 1.6 times higher than that of whites and 2.3 times higher than for Hispanics, according to findings published in the Sept. 12 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report .

Forty-eight percent of new infections among black men were among those aged 13 to 29, compared with 31 percent for whites and 21 percent for Hispanics. This finding highlights the need to reach men at an early age and teach them about HIV prevention, Fenton said.

"There were more new HIV infections in black men who have sex with men between the ages of 13 and 29 than any other group of men who have sex with men, regardless of race or age," Dr. Richard Wolitski, acting director of the CDC's division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, added during Thursday's teleconference.

The reasons why young black men are being infected with HIV at a relatively early age aren't clear. Some factors may include the stigma of homosexuality, lack of access to HIV prevention services, and an underestimation of personal risk, Wolitski said.

In addition, the prevalence of HIV in the black community makes it more likely for someone to become infected, the expert said. Another theory is that many young black gay and bisexual men choose older men as partners, making it more likely for them to become infected, he said.

One expert said the problem may be in education.

"What is going on with young black gay men is a clear indication of our failure to develop messages which are targeted to the communities that are most at risk," said Kevin Frost, CEO of the Foundation for AIDS Research.

"What we need are programs that speak directly to these communities," Frost added. "For too long, prevention in our country has been to tell everybody that they are all equally at risk of HIV. In fact, that's really not true. Twenty-five years into this epidemic, surely we have learned certain groups of people are at greater risk and those are injected drug users, people of color and gay men, particularly gay men of color," he said.

The statistics were somewhat different for men of other racial or ethnic backgrounds, the CDC said.

White men who have sex with men tend to become infected at an older age. Among these men, the highest number of new infections (43 percent) was among men 30 to 39 years old, according to the report.

"A range of factors likely contributes to new transmission in these age groups," Wolitski said. "They include difficulty in maintaining safer behaviors for many years or even decades, as well as the stigma of HIV, substance abuse and higher HIV prevalence within this group."

For his part, Fenton said, "the heavy impact of HIV among white men who have sex with men in older age groups demonstrates the need for ongoing efforts to keep gay and bisexual men. HIV free over the course of their lifetimes."

For all new U.S. cases of HIV in 2006, white men who have sex with men accounted for 46 percent of cases, followed by gay or bisexual black men, who accounted for 35 percent, and Hispanic gay and bisexual men, at 19 percent.

Women too, especially black women, are affected by HIV. "Compared to women of all races, black women bear the heaviest burden of HIV," Fenton said.

Among black women, the incidence of HIV was 14.7 times higher than for white women. Among Hispanic women, the HIV infection rate was 3.8 times higher than that for white women, according to the report.

Hispanics are disproportionately affected by HIV, Wolitski said. "Hispanics represent 18 percent of new HIV infections while representing 15 percent of the total U.S. population," he said. "Men make up 76 percent of new infections among Hispanics, the majority of whom were men who have sex with men."

In August, the CDC released new estimates of the number of HIV new cases in 2006, in the United States, which now total 56,300 and are significantly higher than the previous estimate of 40,000. "We learned that the HIV epidemic was worse than previously known," Fenton said.

These findings should renew our sense of urgency about HIV prevention, Fenton said. "To be able to end the HIV epidemic in the United States, it is absolutely essential that we reverse the years of increases of HIV incidence among gay and bisexual men," he said.

A study by the CDC found that 80 percent of gay and bisexual men have not been reached with intensive HIV prevention methods that are most effective, Fenton said.

"Today's analysis serves as a powerful reminder that the U.S. epidemic of HIV is far from over," Fenton said. "The US epidemic will end only when all of us realize that ending AIDS is possible. We need to reduce the stigmatism, racism and homophobia that impede our ability to fight HIV."


Tags: Fingering, hiv+, finger, STI, blood stream

China AIDS Vaccine Begins Human Test

July 19, 2009

Six volunteers received inoculation with a cocktail of China's newest experimental AIDS vaccines Saturday in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, marking a new development of China's clinical research of the AIDS vaccines.

After receiving medical check-ups in the Guangxi Disease Prevention and Control Center, the six volunteers were inoculated with the vaccines. The volunteers will receive another three injections in the coming three months, said Chen Jie, vice director of the center.

The latest round of AIDS vaccine research was launched after a two-month observation of six groups of volunteers who received inoculation with the vaccines.

Another group of 21 volunteers will receive inoculation in the about three months, Chen said, adding that the research report andthe statistics data of first-phase clinical practice are expected to come out by the end of this year.

To date, a total of 34 volunteers in seven groups have been injected with the vaccines.

The clinical research of the AIDS vaccines will be phased into three parts and the first part will last 14 months. The second part can start only after research result of the first part passesthe expert appraisal by the State Food and Drug Supervision Administration.

With the first AIDS case reported in 1985, China now has an estimated 840,000 HIV carriers and AIDS patients, according to the central government.

In 2004, the number of newly reported AIDS patients and people who died from the disease continued to rise. The death toll from AIDS ranked fourth among the country's infectious diseases.


Tags: Fingering, hiv+, finger, STI, blood stream

NEW HOPE FOR CLINICAL HIV/AIDS TRIALS IN SOUTH AFRICA

July 18, 2009

Increased participation in clinical HIV/AIDS trials in South Africa is giving renewed hope, claim researchers.

Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital's Perinatal HIV Research Unit team leader Professor Glenda Gray believes that the involvement of more people in the treatment trials could play an important role in preventing the long-term spread of the disease.

"We are able to understand HIV better because of these trials and we can always improve on our designs," said the professor.

"I am hopeful we will be able to corner this virus in the next few years because people are helping us set up an agenda."

Ms Gray is overseeing two trials which involve testing a vaccine on HIV-negative volunteers to see if it can prevent infection, while HIV-positive patients are being given treatment to see if the vaccine can help improve immune responses.

The UN estimates that around 5.7 million people in South Africa are living with HIV.


Tags: Fingering, hiv+, finger, STI, blood stream

What Should I Do if the Condom Breaks?

July 16, 2009

Accidents happen: In moments of passion, a condom worn incorrectly (or past its expiration date) can break or slip off, putting you at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV and—if you’re a woman—pregnancy.

Morning-after HIV prevention
After such an accident, you and your partner should get tested for STDs, including HIV, as soon as possible. If you have been exposed to the HIV virus, ask for postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), a morning-after treatment for HIV that may prevent infection. The treatment is a monthlong course of HIV (antiretroviral) medications that are most effective if you start them right away—but may still work up to 72 hours after exposure. Side effects can include extreme nausea and fatigue.

To find PEP, call a doctor, a health clinic, an AIDS service organization, or a health department, or visit your local emergency room


Tags: Fingering, hiv+, finger, STI, blood stream

Multiple condom use and decreased condom breakage and slippage in Thailand.

July 15, 2009

There is compelling evidence that male condoms effectively prevent transmission of sexual pathogens, including HIV-1.

Condom breakage and slippage reduce this effect. We measured rates of condom slippage and breakage during heterosexual commercial sex in northern Thailand. Of 7,594 condoms examined in 4,734 client visits (5,040 sex acts), breakage was noted in 1.8% of single condom use (49.3% of acts), as compared with 0.2% with two condoms (49% of sex acts), and no breaks with more than two condoms (1.2% of sex acts). These breakage rates declined from 5.9% in a similar 1992 study in which 2.8% of sex acts were with more than one condom used at a time. Slippage occurred in only 0.1% of sex acts.

Case-control analysis indicated that multiple clients, younger aged clients, sex after midnight, and high intensity (rough) sex were associated with condom breaks. The decline in breakage may be attributable to greater expertise in condom use by sex workers and clients, in response to the successful Thai national "100% Condom Campaign." Use of more than one condom during sex has been initiated by sex workers and their clients, a community response to condom promotion messages and fears of HIV infection. These data demonstrate the potential of condom use for high efficacy in reducing exposure to HIV-1 and other STDs. If condom use in commercial sex remains high, HIV incidence may decline among Thai men.

PIP: During August-October 1995, in northern Thailand, laboratory personnel examined 7594 condoms from 4734 client visits and 5040 sexual acts to evaluate mechanisms of condom breakage and slippage among 68 female commercial sex workers (CSWs) (mean age, 25 years) in 7 brothels in Lamphun City in Lamphun Province in order to verify condom use self-reports among the CSWs and to identify targets for interventions to reduce condom failure. Sexually transmitted disease (STD) episodes in the last year among the CSWs were gonorrhea (45.6%), pelvic inflammatory disease (29.4%), genital ulcer (29.3%), syphilis (13.2%), nongonococcal cervicitis (13.2%), and genital warts (8.8%).

A condom was not used during 0.6% (30) of the sexual acts. 99.4% (5010) of the sexual acts involved use of at least one condom. There were only 5 condom slippage events--a condom slippage rate of 0.1%. This rate did not vary with the number of condoms used per sexual act. On the other hand, the condom breakage rate decreased as the number of condoms used per sexual act increased (1 condom = 1.8%; 2 condoms = 0.2%; 3-4 condoms = 0).

Single condom use was more likely to yield breakage than multiple condom use (odds ratio [OR] = 11.4). The condom breakage rate 1 year after initiation of the 100% Condom Campaign (1992) was 5.9% compared to 1% in 1995. Condom breaks occurred just below the reservoir (40.2%), at reservoir tips (31.7%), along the shaft (18.3%), and at the base (9.8%).

Multiple condom use increased from 2.8% to 50.4% during 1992-95. Factors independently associated with condom breaks included high-intensity (rough) sex (OR = 8.49; p 0.0001), more than one sexual act with the same client on the night of the breakage (OR = 2.72; p = 0.02), and sexual service after midnight (OR = 2.58; p = 0.03). These findings suggest that multiple condom use significantly contributed to the decline in condom breakage among multiple users.

Another strong possible factor was greater skill in condom use by CSWs and by clients in response to the 100% Condom Campaign. Multiple condom use may reduce exposure to HIV-1 and other STDs.

Tags: Fingering, hiv+, finger, STI, blood stream

Vaccinations in Children With HIV Possible if HAART is Initiated Early

July 14, 2009

Vaccination against measles and tetanus can be successful in children born with HIV if the children receive highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) within the first year of life, according to a study published in the April 28 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Simone Pensieroso, MD, Department of Public Health, University of Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy, and colleagues showed that suppressing HIV with HAART during the first year can enable a child to develop the B cell defenses necessary for vaccination.

The authors analysed B cell numbers and levels of antibodies against several common pathogens following vaccination in a cohort of 70 children born with HIV who had either received HAART during the first year of life, years later, or not at all.

The authors found that B cell count and antibody titers against measles and tetanus were consistently higher -- over the threshold necessary for protection -- in children with HIV who received HAART in the first year rather than later or never.

The results suggest that vaccination can be successful in HIV-positive children as long as they receive HAART early, the authors concluded.

SOURCE: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Tags: Fingering, hiv+, finger, STI, blood stream

HIV-rate among gay men triples

July 13, 2009

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS infection among local gay and bisexual men has almost tripled from 1.5 percent three years ago to 4.4 percent, said a survey released, World AIDS Day.

The incidence of syphilis among gay and bisexual men had risen to 10.3 percent, according to the survey. The latest figures from Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention put the incidence of syphilis in gay and bisexual men even higher, at around 13 percent.

The survey information was collected from 203 gay and bisexual men in Shanghai. All those interviewed underwent blood tests for HIV and syphilis. The hospital has started to give any who tested positive free syphilis treatment. Treatment for HIV/AIDS is also free.

Tests showed that more than 4.4 percent of the survey group were infected with the HIV virus, much higher than the 0.05 percent national average for gay and straight men and women. However, the relatively small size of the sample group and the difficulty of finding gay and bisexual men willing to talk to authorities in China could have led to a distortion in the figures.

The survey found that 88 men, or 43.3 percent of the correspondents, also have sex with women and their condom-use rate was low while having sex with regular male partners.

Education factor


The infection rate of HIV/AIDS and syphilis was closely related to educational background and the number of sexual partners each man had, the survey found.

More education and campaigns targeting gay and bisexual men were needed, said those who conducted the survey, from Ruijin Hospital and Luwan District Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Due to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS among gay and bisexual men in Shanghai, intensive education about the prevention of sexual transmitted diseases are urgently needed," said Dr Chen Lei from Ruijin Hospital, one of the chief researchers involved in the survey.


Tags: Fingering, hiv+, finger, STI, blood stream

Gum disease can lead to AIDS

July 11, 2009

An acid produced in the mouth due to gum disease invigorates the virus that can lead to full-blown AIDS, a Japanese researcher said Thursday, billing the finding as a world first.

A group of bacteria causes periodontal disease - a chronic inflammation that erodes bony structure in the gum - posing a threat to the teeth and the entire body, the researcher said.

"They produce a large amount of butyric acid, which smells like socks you wore for a long time," said Kuniyasu Ochiai, professor who chairs the Microbiology Department at Tokyo-based Nihon University.

The acid hinders a kind of enzyme called HDAC that blocks HIV from proliferating, Ochiai said.

In-vitro experiments have shown that the virus in two kinds of cells related to the immune system rapidly proliferates after given culture fluid containing the gum disease-causing bacteria and butyric acid they produced, he said.

"Serious periodontal disease could lead to the development (of AIDS) among HIV-positive people... although the probability largely depends on individual physical strength," Ochiai said.



Tags: Fingering, hiv+, finger, STI, blood stream

Scientists Turn Stem Cells Into Disease-Fighting T-Cells

July 05, 2009

U.S. researchers have found a way to genetically manipulate human embryonic stem cells so they grow into mature disease-fighting T-cells -- a discovery they say might help in the development of gene therapy against AIDS.

T-cells are one the of the body's main defenses against disease. In this study, researchers demonstrated that it is possible to convert embryonic stem cells into blood-forming stem cells that, in turn, can turn into the helper T-cells. These are the T-cells that are specifically targeted by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The study was conducted by a team from the University of California, Los Angeles, AIDS Institute and the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine.

The findings, published this week in the online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mark the first time scientists have been able to derive T-cells out of human embryonic stem cells.

"This tells you that you may be able to use human embryonic stem cells to treat T-cell and other blood diseases," lead researcher Zoran Galic, an assistant research biologist, said in a prepared statement. "This could be a very important weapon in the fight against AIDS."

The human embryonic stem cells were incubated on mouse bone marrow support cells, which converted the embryonic stem cells into blood-forming cells. These blood-forming cells were then injected into a human thymus gland that had been implanted in a mouse. The thymus gland converted the blood-forming cells into T-cells.

The thymus, located just above the heart in humans, is where T-cells develop.

The study results suggest it's possible to decipher the signals that control the development of embryonic stem cells into T-cells, noted study co-author Jerome Zack, associate director of the UCLA AIDS Institute.

"That way we can eventually repopulate the immune system in patients needing T-cells," Zack said in a prepared statement.


Tags: Fingering, hiv+, finger, STI, blood stream

Breast is Best: It even protects babies against HIV infection

July 02, 2009

Another piece of bad news for our friends at Nestle, who are keen to move African babies off the breast and onto their excellent milk substitutes.

A new study has found that African babies who are exclusively breastfed are far less likely to develop HIV-1 infection.

This new discovery is at odds with earlier findings, which had suggested that breast milk was one of the main ways that the infection is transmitted, but it appears that those babies were also eating solids along with breast milk.

When researchers looked at babies who were being exclusively breastfed, they found they were developing a natural immunity. In fact, babies who were breastfed and being fed solids were almost twice as likely to die from infection than those who were exclusively breastfed.


Tags: Fingering, hiv+, finger, STI, blood stream

Cure in sight for HIV infection

July 01, 2009

Scientists have found a way of eradicating HIV infection from the human body by “smoking” out the virus from its hideout cells. The new approach is to kill the hideout cells plus the virus.

The current anti-Aids drugs only destroy viruses circulating in the body but some manage to hide in particular immune system cells and continue replicating, hence the patient has to remain on medication throughout.

The new development by a team of American and Canadian researchers is the second indication that a cure for the disease that continues to afflict more than 1.3 million Kenyans and many more globally may finally be within reach.

In February, researchers in California developed a gene therapy with the capacity of eradicate HIV from the body and have since put 12 people on clinical trials. The study is still ongoing though it is said to involve a complex process that could make it very expensive.

Radical new therapy

Published on Sunday in the Nature Medicine journal, the new study says HIV and Aids can be treated through a combination of targeted drugs together with current anti-retrovirals.

“This radical new therapy would make it possible to destroy both the viruses circulating in the body as well as those playing hide-and-seek in immune system cells,” says Dr Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, of the University of Montreal, Canada.

Other participating groups included the universities of McGill and Minnesota and the National Institutes of Health, the latter is the US federal agency responsible for overseeing government-sponsored biomedical research.

Current anti-retroviral treatments are not able to eradicate the virus from the body because some disease agents hide in particular cells where the existing treatments cannot reach. These researchers have now identified these cells and found a way of reaching them.

The new approach, says the team, is to use drugs to kill the cell containing the virus while giving the immune system time to regenerate with new cells. This could much cheaper that the gene-therapy technology.

“Once the virus is hidden in these reservoir cells, it becomes dependent on them: if the cell lives, the virus lives, but if the cell dies, so does the virus. As such, destroying these immune cells will allow for the elimination of the resilient or hidden parts of the virus,” says Dr Sekaly.

While the team acknowledges that a product is still several years away before becoming a reality for patients, they are excited of the breakthrough which they say opens the way for therapies that are completely different from current ones.


Tags: Fingering, hiv+, finger, STI, blood stream


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