People living with HIV underestimate the harm of smoking

People with HIV in Denmark who smoke greatly underestimate the impact of smoking on life expectancy, a study of perceptions of life expectancy published this month in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromesshows. Current smokers living with HIV, asked to estimate their life expectancy, anticipated their life expectancy to be 3.65 years lower than people with HIV who had never smoked. However, epidemiological research carried out in Denmark indicates that smoking reduces life expectancy by 12 years in people living with HIV. In comparison, the overall estimation of life expectancy by people living with HIV was accurate. Danish research estimates that HIV infection will reduce life expectancy by five years compared to the general population. People living with HIV perceived their life expectancy to be almost four-and-a-half years shorter (4.26 years) than people in the general population asked to estimate their life expectancy. The study was carried out by researchers at the …

Safest condoms and methods of use

Condoms are an effective method for preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Most brands are very safe, but some offer less protection than others. Condoms are a popular barrier method of conception. Condoms made of latex, polyisoprene, or polyurethane effectively prevent pregnancy and the transmission of certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Most commercial brands of condoms are very safe and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, people should look out for novelty condoms and natural condoms, which may not offer the same levels of protection.In this article, we look at which condoms are safest and provide tips for using condoms to make sure they are effective. How safe are condoms for pregnancy and STIs? Male condoms are considered a safe and overall effective form of birth control. According to Planned Parenthood, condoms are 98 percent effective at preventing pregnancy when used correctly. If used incorrectly, the effectiveness rat…

Australia will soon become the first country to eradicate cervical cancer

According to an announcement from the International Papilloma virus Society, Australia could soon become the first country to eradicate cervical cancer. The announcement is based on research results published this week, that describe the effectiveness of the free HPV vaccine program offered by all Australian schools.
The vaccine reduced cervical cancer rates extensively, and as a result, the disease will soon be eradicated. Professor Suzanne Garland from the Royal Women’s Hospital and study leader said that in the next four decades the numbers are going to come down to a “few”. She explained that 99.9 percent of cervical cancers are the result of infection with the HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) which is sexually transmitted. The vaccine programme began in 2007 for girls aged between 12 and 13 years and was later extended to all boys in 2013.Two doses of the vaccine could also be taken by girls and boys under the age of 19 for free.The vaccine uptake was 78.6 percent among 15-year-old girls …

Two-pronged approach represents potential strategy for targeting latent reservoir of HIV

With more than 35 million people worldwide living with the virus and nearly 2 million new cases each year, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) remains a major global epidemic. Existing antiretroviral drugs do not cure HIV infection because of the virus's ability to become dormant, remaining present but silent in immune cells. Known as the latent reservoir, these infected cells - where HIV remains hidden despite Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) - can become active again at any time. "The latent viral reservoir is the critical barrier for the development of a cure for HIV-1 infection," said Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). "One hypothesis is that activating these latent reservoir cells may render them more susceptible to destruction."
In a new study published in Nature today, Barouch and colleagues demonstrate that administering broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAb) de…

Presence of high-risk HPV in cervical cancer diagnosis linked to improved prognosis

High-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) is the leading cause of cervical cancer. However, whether the presence of hrHPV in the tumour tissue is of significance to the prognosis has been unclear. In this present study, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have therefore looked into a possible correlation between the presence of hrHPV in the tumour and survival rates for invasive cervical cancer (i.e. cervical cancer that has spread to surrounding tissues). Their results show that the five-year relative survival rate for women with hrHPV-positive tumours was 74 per cent compared with the female population of the same age and during the same calendar year, while it was only 54 per cent for women with hrHPV-negative tumours.The researchers gathered information on all cases of invasive cervical cancer in Sweden between the years 2002 and 2011 (4,254 confirmed cases in total). They then collected HPV data from the regional bio banks for 2,845 of these women and compared survival data from nat…

NIAID releases strategic plan to expand knowledge of TB by using modern tools

Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading infectious cause of death worldwide, killing roughly 1.6 million people in 2017. In the past 200 years, TB claimed the lives of more than one billion people--more deaths than from malaria, influenza, smallpox, HIV/AIDS, cholera and plague combined.
Recently, the global health community has strengthened its efforts and resolve to tackle this ancient disease. Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), details the institute's new strategic plan for building on these current efforts by furthering the understanding of TB and developing and applying cutting-edge tools to fight the disease. The NIAID Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis Research prioritizes expanding fundamental knowledge of TB by using modern tools, such as state-of-the-art imaging and systems biology methods, to better understa…

New born syphilis on the rise sparking concerns

Congenital syphilis or new born syphilis occurs in the new born baby when the mother is affected with the syphilis bacteria during pregnancy or delivery and passes it on to her baby. A new report that was released this Tuesday (25th September 2018) by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that showed that in the US, the numbers of these new born syphilis cases have doubled since 2013.

According to the CDC report, the infection is passed on to the baby in 80 percent of cases where the mother is infected. This can cause death or still birth in the baby in nearly 40 percent of the pregnancies. The report states that in 2013 the number of cases were 362 that jumped to 918 in 2017. Nearly 7 in 10 of these cases come from five states - Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana and Texas. Louisiana leaded the rest with 93.4 cases for every 100,000 births. Western and Southern states are most commonly affected among the 32 states from where reports have emerged. The report says…