The Five Most Important Things You Should Know About: Hepatitis

Many people have heard of hepatitis C from Naomi Judd’s public battle with the disease and her crusade to make people aware of it. However, there are seven additional forms of hepatitis in existence that few people are aware of, including the kind you can get from having sex.

  1. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver, but it’s not quite that simple.
  2. There are eight different types of hepatitis, viral and nonviral. Hepatitis B is the type is primarily transmitted through sexual contact. It can be acute or chronic, and acute hepatitis B can become chronic, resulting in long-term health problems and even death.
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You Won’t Get Tested For STDs Unless You Ask

April is STD Awareness Month, which should serve as a yearly reminder to get tested for STDs if you’re sexually active. When you make your annual trip to the gyno, your doc will probably give you a Pap smear, check your boobs for lumps, and inspect your lady parts for abnormalities. But your gynecologist won’t test you for anything else, unless you ask — so ask! Here’s what tests you should be getting. Continue reading

The Five Most Important Things You Should Know About: HIV

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS in the later stages of the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one million people in the United States are infected with HIV/AIDS, and about a quarter of those people don’t know they’re infected. Approximately 39.5 million people are infected with HIV worldwide. With those high numbers, it’s important that everyone knows how HIV spreads and how to avoid contracting the virus.

  1. HIV attacks the immune system by destroying white blood cells that fight off disease. Once HIV has weakened the immune system to the point where the body can’t fight off infection, the infection advances to its final stage: AIDS. It can take years for the body to arrive at this stage. People infected with HIV/AIDS usually die of other so-called “opportunistic” diseases and cancers that the body can no longer fight off.
  2. HIV lives in the blood and semen or vaginal fluid of the infected person. This is why the most common ways of transmitting HIV is through vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse. The second most common way of transmitting HIV is through the sharing of needles and syringes. Lastly, HIV can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, and breast-feeding. Because HIV is carried in the infected person’s blood, the virus can also be transmitted through blood transfusions, organ and tissue transplants, and shared needles. HIV is not transmitted through handshaking, hugging, contact with a toilet seat, touching a doorknob, or casual contact, and HIV cannot live outside the body for long.
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German Pop Star Arrested For Possibly Giving Sex Partner HIV

German pop singer Nadja Benaissa was arrested Tuesday in Frankfurt, Germany, for allegedly having unprotected sex with three men without telling them she is HIV positive. One of the men has tested positive for the virus. In Germany, the law says that anyone convicted of knowingly infecting a person with HIV faces a prison sentence of between six months and 10 years for “grievous bodily harm.” If the victim dies, the sentence can be even greater — up to life imprisonment for manslaughter.

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Thoughts From Guys On Our IM: How Often Do You Get Tested?

It’s STD Awareness Month! We’ve been talking a lot about the icky stuff you can get while bumping uglies, while Dr. V has urged you to have as much fun as you want, so long as you wear a condom. In the past, we’ve talked to the guys on our IM about how often they actually use condoms, but we’ve never grilled them about how often they get tested for STDs. And what I really wanted to know was how often they were actually honest when a potential sex partner asked them that question. Let’s find out… Continue reading

The Five Most Important Things You Should Know About: Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is one of the most commonly sexually transmitted diseases (STD), with about 700,000 people being infected each year in the United States. In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 120.9 per 100,000 people in the U.S. were infected with gonorrhea. With that in mind, here’s five things you need to know about the disease.

1. Gonorrhea is normally spread through sexual activity. The bacteria grow in warm areas of the reproductive track, especially the cervix, urethra, uterus, anus, and fallopian tubes. Gonorrhea can be found in both women and men, and therefore is spread through vaginal, oral, and anal intercourse.

2. Many people infected with gonorrhea don’t know they’re infected, and that’s why it’s so easily spread! The symptoms of gonorrhea are very mild and sometimes absent in both men and women, making them perfect carriers for the disease. The most common symptoms of gonorrhea are a burning sensation and pain during urination, and vaginal/penile discharge. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a doctor immediately to be tested to avoid further spreading of the disease, because Gonorrhea also has long-term effects on those who don’t seek early treatment. It’s a common cause of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which causes pain in the abdomen and fever. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease also can cause infertility in women. Those infected with gonorrhea are more likely to contract HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Lastly, pregnant women infected with gonorrhea can spread the disease to their newborn baby. Gonorrhea in newborns can cause blindness and life-threatening blood infections. Continue reading