Tag Archives: Hiv And Aids

Syphillis

Other names:
Other names that people use for syphilis include:
*Pox
*Bad blood
*The great imitator
*Siff.

Description:
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infective diseas caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis. Other human diseases caused by related Treponema pallidum include yaws (subspecies pertenue), pinta (subspecies carateum), and bejel (subspecies endemicum)……....click & see the pictures

Symptoms:
The signs and symptoms of syphilis vary depending in which of the four stages :primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary.

Primary stage of Syphilis:
The primary stage of syphilis typically begins with a sore (called a “chancre”) on the skin that’s initially exposed to the infection — usually the genitals, rectum or mouth. The sore has been described as feeling like a button: firm, round, usually measuring half an inch across, and not tender to the touch. Swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin may occur, but the nodes are not usually tender.

Infected individuals do not usually feel ill in the primary stage of syphilis, and the chancre heals spontaneously after 4 to 6 weeks. This is a problem because the syphilis has not gone away: syphilis continues to spread throughout the body.

Secondary stage of syphilis:
From the primary stage, the disease moves into the secondary stage of syphilis. Secondary syphilis can often occur several weeks after the chancre heals, once the bacteria have spread through the body. An individual may feel sick; common symptoms include headache, achiness, loss of appetite and maybe rash.

The rash in secondary syphilis is usually reddish-brown in color, not itchy and widespread. But the appearance of the rash’s individual lesions can vary dramatically: they may be flat or raised, they may or may not be scaly, and pustules may or may not be present. It’s partially due to the variability of this rash that led to syphilis being called “the great imitator,” because it can resemble many other conditions. The rash can last for a few weeks or months.

Other symptoms of secondary syphilis include sores in the mouth, nose, throat, and on the genitals or folds of the skin. Lymph node swelling is common, and patchy hair loss can occur. All signs and symptoms of the second stage of syphilis will disappear without treatment in 3 weeks to 9 months, but the infection will still be present in the body.

Latent stage of Syphilis:
The latent stage of syphilis, which occurs after the symptoms of secondary syphilis have disappeared, can last from a few years to up to 50 years! There are no symptoms in this stage, and after about two years, an infected man may cease to be contagious. However, a man in the latent stage of syphilis is still infected, and the disease can be diagnosed by a blood test. During the latent stage, a pregnant woman can transmit syphilis to her fetus.

Tertiary stage of Syphillis:
The final stage of syphilis, which occurs in about one third of those who are not treated, is known as the tertiary stage. Many organs may be affected. Common symptoms include fever; painful, non-healing skin ulcers; bone pain; liver disease; and anemia. Tertiary syphilis can also affect the nervous system (resulting in the loss of mental functioning) and the aorta (resulting in heart disease)…….click & see : http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/73/Tertiary_syphilis_head.JPG

Congenita syphilis:
Congenital syphilis is that which is transmitted during pregnancy or during birth. Two-thirds of syphilitic infants are born without symptoms. Common symptoms that develop over the first couple years of life include: hepatosplenomegaly (70%), rash (70%), fever (40%), neurosyphilis (20%), and pneumonitis (20%). If untreated, late congenital syphilis may occur in 40%, including: saddle nose deformation, Higoumenakis sign, saber shin, or Clutton’s joints among others.

Causes:
The cause of syphilis is a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. The most common route of transmission is through contact with an infected person’s sore during sexual activity. The bacteria enter your body through minor cuts or abrasions in your skin or mucous membranes. Syphilis is contagious during its primary and secondary stages, and sometimes in the early latent period.

Syphilis is transmitted primarily by sexual contact or during pregnancy from a mother to her fetus; the spirochaete is able to pass through intact mucous membranes or compromised skin. It is thus transmissible by kissing near a lesion, as well as oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Approximately 30 to 60% of those exposed to primary or secondary syphilis will get the disease. Its infectivity is exemplified by the fact that an individual inoculated with only 57 organisms has a 50% chance of being infected. Most (60%) of new cases in the United States occur in men who have sex with men. It can be transmitted via blood products. However, it is tested for in many countries and thus the risk is low. The risk of transmission from sharing needles appears limited. Syphilis cannot be contracted through toilet seats, daily activities, hot tubs, or sharing eating utensils or clothing.Once cured, syphilis doesn’t recur. However, you can become reinfected if you have contact with someone’s syphilis sore.

Risk Factors:
One may face an increased risk of acquiring syphilis if he or she:

*Engage in unprotected sex
*Have sex with multiple partners
*Are a man who has sex with men
*Are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS

Complications:
Without treatment, syphilis can lead to damage throughout your body. Syphilis also increases the risk of HIV infection and, for women, can cause problems during pregnancy. Treatment can help prevent future damage but can’t repair or reverse damage that’s already occurred.

Small bumps or tumors:
Called gummas, these bumps can develop on your skin, bones, liver or any other organ in the late stage of syphilis. Gummas usually disappear after treatment with antibiotics.

Neurological problems:
Syphilis can cause a number of problems with your nervous system, including:

*Stroke
*Meningitis
*Deafness
*Visual problems
*Dementia
*Cardiovascular problems

These may include bulging (aneurysm) and inflammation of the aorta —  body’s major artery — and of other blood vessels. Syphilis may also damage heart valves.

HIV infection:
Adults with sexually transmitted syphilis or other genital ulcers have an estimated two- to fivefold increased risk of contracting HIV. A syphilis sore can bleed easily, providing an easy way for HIV to enter your bloodstream during sexual activity.

Pregnancy and childbirth complications:
Pregnent woman  may pass syphilis to her unborn baby. Congenital syphilis greatly increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or her newborn’s death within a few days after birth.

Diagnosis:
Syphilis can be diagnosed by testing samples of:

*Blood. Blood tests can confirm the presence of antibodies that the body produces to fight infection. The antibodies to the bacteria that cause syphilis remain in your body for years, so the test can be used to determine a current or past infection.

*Fluid from sores. Your doctor may scrape a small sample of cells from a sore to be analyzed by microscope in a lab. This test can be done only during primary or secondary syphilis, when sores are present. The scraping can reveal the presence of bacteria that cause syphilis.

*Cerebral spinal fluid. If it’s suspected that you have nervous system complications of syphilis, your doctor may also suggest collecting a sample of cerebrospinal fluid through a procedure called a lumbar puncture (spinal tap).

Treatment:
Early infections:
The first-choice treatment for uncomplicated syphilis remains a single dose of intramuscular benzathine penicillin G or a single dose of oral azithromycin. Doxycycline and tetracycline are alternative choices; however, due to the risk of birth defects these are not recommended for pregnant women. Antibiotic resistance has developed to a number of agents, including macrolides, clindamycin, and rifampin. Ceftriaxone, a third-generation cephalosporin antibiotic, may be as effective as penicillin-based treatment.
Late infections

For neurosyphilis, due to the poor penetration of penicillin G into the central nervous system, those affected are recommended to be given large doses of intravenous penicillin for a minimum of 10 days. If a person is allergic, ceftriaxone may be used or penicillin desensitization attempted. Other late presentations may be treated with once-weekly intramuscular penicillin G for three weeks. If allergic, as in the case of early disease, doxycycline or tetracycline may be used, albeit for a longer duration. Treatment at this stage limits further progression, but has only slight effect on damage which has already occurred.

Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction:
One of the potential side effects of treatment is the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. It frequently starts within one hour and lasts for 24 hours, with symptoms of fever, muscles pains, headache, and tachycardia. It is caused by cytokines released by the immune system in response to lipoproteins released from rupturing syphilis bacteria

Prevention:
As of 2010, there is no vaccine effective for prevention.Abstinence from intimate physical contact with an infected person is effective at reducing the transmission of syphilis, as is the proper use of a latex condom. Condom use, however, does not completely eliminate the risk. Thus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner and the avoidance of substances such as alcohol and other drugs that increase risky sexual behavior.

Congenital syphilis in the newborn can be prevented by screening mothers during early pregnancy and treating those who are infected. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) strongly recommends universal screening of all pregnant women,[18] while the World Health Organization recommends all women be tested at their first antenatal visit and again in the third trimester. If they are positive, they recommend their partners also be treated. Congenital syphilis is, however, still common in the developing world, as many women do not receive antenatal care at all, and the antenatal care others do receive does not include screening, and it still occasionally occurs in the developed world, as those most likely to acquire syphilis (through drug use, etc.) are least likely to receive care during pregnancy. A number of measures to increase access to testing appear effective at reducing rates of congenital syphilis in low- to middle-income countries.

Syphilis is a notifiable disease in many countries, including Canada the European Union, and the United States. This means health care providers are required to notify public health authorities, which will then ideally provide partner notification to the person’s partners. Physicians may also encourage patients to send their partners to seek care. The CDC recommends sexually active men who have sex with men are tested at least yearly.

Research:
There is no vaccine available for people; however, a vaccine has been developed that is effective in an animal model and research is ongoing.

Click & see:—>
Ayurvedic treatment ofSyphillis….(1).…..(2)..(3)

Homeopathic treatment of Syphillis:....(1)….(2)....(3)

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syphilis
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/syphilis/basics/causes/con-20021862
http://menshealth.about.com/od/sexualdiseasesstds/a/syphilis_signs.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/syphilis/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20021862

Honey Works Better than Drugs for Herpes

Mainstream physicians usually prescribe Acyclovir ointment or other topical medications to treat herpes outbreaks. But new research shows that nature has a better solution.This remedy works faster than any of the mainstream treatments, and with fewer side effects.

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Honey has long been regarded as one of the best natural wound healers and infection ?ghters. When a researcher treated patients with Acyclovir for one herpes outbreak and honey for another, overall healing time with honey was 43 percent better than with Acyclovir for sores on the lips and 59 percent better for genital sores.

According to Nutrition and Healing:

“None of the volunteers experienced any side effects with repeated applications of honey, although three patients developed local itching with the Acyclovir.”

Resources:
Nutrition and Healing November 2004
Medical Science Monitor 10(8):MT94-98; August 2004

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Some Health Quaries & Answers

Storm in a teacup

Q: I have a ceramic mug that I bought from a street vendor. When I drink tea out of it I get a taste of clay

A: Try drinking the beverage through a straw. If you can still taste the ceramic, discard the mug. Hot liquids can dissolve some of the clay and glaze. Some of these may be contaminated with dangerous heavy metals like lead. This is particularly true of poor quality stuff.

Breast-feeding & contraception

Q: I am breast feeding my four-month baby and want to use some safe and reliable form of contraception. I do not like the idea of an intrauterine contraceptive device.

A: You could ask your husband to use condoms from the beginning to the end of intercourse. If this does not appeal to both of you, or is not feasible, you can opt for progesterone injections. They are sold under the trade name Depo Provera. The injection has to be given every 12 weeks under medical supervision. Another option is “progesterone only” pills, the trade name of which is Cerazette. Unlike conventional oral contraceptive pills, these have to be taken every day. Both the injections and tablets can cause irregular menstruation. After one year (when you stop breast-feeding), you can switch to oral contraceptive pills.

Frequent itching

Q: I have recurrent itching in my vagina and it has been diagnosed as a yeast infection. Despite repeated treatment it comes back.

A: Recurrent infection is likely to occur if the normal vaginal Ph changes. This occurs if the normal bacterial flora of the vagina changes. This can occur during pregnancy, diabetes, urinary tract infection, with the use of oral contraceptive pills or antibiotics. Vaginal douching or washing with too much soap can also cause a similar problem. Treatment is with medications like fluconazole (tablet) or clotrimazole (vaginal pessaries and creams).

Relapses are common as the organism is now becoming increasingly resistant to the common medication. Unless the underlying cause is treated, relapses will occur. Relapses can also occur if your partner has diabetes which is not very well controlled.

Sleepless nights

Q: I am 64 years old and have difficulty sleeping at night. I started taking alprazolam 0.25 mg at night. Now I find that even with 0.5 mg I do not get any sleep.

A: Alprazolam can be addictive if used as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug without medical supervision. Eventually higher doses may be needed for the same quality of sleep. It can also cause dizziness and loss of balance, particularly if you suddenly get up in the night. Other less addictive prescription medicines are available. Your doctor will be able to prescribe medication to help you sleep that will not react with any of the other medication that you might be taking for other illnesses like diabetes or hypertension. It is better to avoid “sleeping pills” altogether as far as possible. Try —

· Not sleeping in the daytime

· Exercising in the morning and evening

· Drinking a glass of warm milk at night.

Heat boils

Q: I have developed boils on my legs. They are painful and pus comes out if I squeeze them. I have this problem every summer. I am not diabetic.

A: Our skin has a number of harmless commensal bacteria living on it. If small cuts and breaks occur in the skin as a result of scratching, these bacteria can enter the body and produce superficial boils. You need to keep your skin clean by bathing twice a day. Use a germicidal soap like Neko which is bactericidal. Apply the soap using a loofah or plastic scrubber. Avoid using talcum powder. Apply an antiseptic skin ointment (without steroids) like Neosporin or Soframycin on the boils after a bath. Do not break or squeeze the boils. If you develop fever consult a physician.

Lower testes

Q: My right testes appears to be larger than the left one.

A: The two halves of the body are not same. There may even be differences between your right hand and the left one. In most people the right testicle not only hangs lower but may also be larger. As long as there are no lumps or pain, you can leave it alone. If you are really worried, do an ultrasound scan to make sure there is no hernia or hydrocoele.

Nan or Lactogen?

Q: My son is nine months old. Should I give him Nan or Lactogen?

A: Children should be weaned on to solid foods after six months. Substituting tinned milk for breast milk is not the answer. They can be started on soft home-cooked solids such as cooked rice, dal and vegetables like potato. Eventually, by the age of one, they should be on the same diet as the family. Tinned precooked cereals and biscuits should be avoided.

 

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)

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Foe Turns Friend

A-beta, a protein implicated in Alzheimer’s, may be the brain’s shield against germs.
………………...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
For years, a prevailing theory has been that one of the chief villains in Alzheimer’s disease has no real function other than as a waste product that the brain never properly disposed of.

The material, a protein called beta amyloid, or A-beta, piles up into tough plaques that destroy signals between nerves. When that happens, people lose their memory, their personality changes and they stop recognising friends and family.

But now researchers at Harvard suggest that the protein has a real and unexpected function — it may be part of the brain’s normal defences against invading bacteria and other microbes.

Other Alzheimer’s researchers say the findings, reported in the current issue of the journal PLoS One, are intriguing.

The new hypothesis got its start late one Friday evening in the summer of 2007 in a laboratory at Harvard Medical School. The lead researcher, Rudolph Tanzi, a neurology professor who is also director of the genetics and aging unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, said he had been looking at a list of genes that seemed to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

To his surprise, many looked just like genes associated with the so-called innate immune system, a set of proteins the body uses to fight infections. The system is particularly important in the brain, because antibodies cannot get through the blood-brain barrier, the membrane that protects the brain. When the brain is infected, it relies on the innate immune system to protect it.

That evening, Tanzi wandered into the office of a junior faculty member, Robert Moir, and mentioned what he had seen. As Tanzi recalled, Moir turned to him and said, “Yeah, well, look at this.”

He handed Tanzi a spreadsheet. It was a comparison of A-beta and a well-known protein of the innate immune system, LL-37. The likenesses were uncanny. Among other things, the two proteins had similar structures. And like A-beta, LL-37 tends to clump into hard little balls.

In rodents, the protein that corresponds to LL-37 protects against brain infections. People who make low levels of LL-37 are at increased risk of serious infections and have higher levels of atherosclerotic plaques, arterial growths that impede blood flow.

The scientists could hardly wait to see if A-beta, like LL-37, killed microbes. They mixed A-beta with microbes that LL-37 is known to kill — listeria, staphylococcus, pseudomonas. It killed eight out of 12. “We did the assays exactly as they have been done for years,” Tanzi said. “And A-beta was as potent or, in some cases, more potent than LL-37.”

Then the investigators exposed the yeast Candida albicans, a major cause of meningitis, to tissue from the hippocampal regions of brains from people who had died of Alzheimer’s and from people of the same age who did not have dementia when they died.

Brain samples from Alzheimer’s patients were 24 per cent more active in killing the bacteria. But if the samples were first treated with an antibody that blocked A-beta, they were no better than brain tissue from non-demented people in killing the yeast.

The innate immune system is also set in motion by traumatic brain injuries and strokes and by atherosclerosis that causes reduced blood flow to the brain, Tanzi noted.

And the system is spurred by inflammation. It’s known that patients with Alzheimer’s have inflamed brains, but it hasn’t been clear whether A-beta accumulation was a cause or an effect of the inflammation. Perhaps, Tanzi said, A-beta levels rise as a result of the innate immune system’s response to inflammation; it may be a way the brain responds to a perceived infection. But does that mean Alzheimer’s disease is caused by an overly exuberant brain response to an infection?

That’s one possible reason, along with responses to injuries and inflammation and the effects of genes that cause A-beta levels to be higher than normal, Tanzi said. However, some researchers say that all the pieces of the A-beta innate immune systems hypothesis are not in place.

Dr Norman Relkin, director of the memory disorders programme at New York-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell hospital, said that although the idea was “unquestionably fascinating”, the evidence for it was “a bit tenuous”.

As for the link with infections, Dr Steven DeKosky, an Alzheimer’s researcher at the Virginia School of Medicine, noted that scientists have long looked for evidence linking infections to Alzheimer’s and have come up mostly empty handed.

But if Tanzi is correct about A-beta being part of the innate immune system, that would raise questions about the search for treatments to eliminate the protein from the brain.

“It means you don’t want to hit A-beta with a sledgehammer,” Tanzi said.

But other scientists not connected with the discovery said they were impressed by the new findings. “It changes our thinking about Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr Eliezer Masliah, who heads the experimental neuropathology laboratory at the University of California, San Diego.

Source : New York Times News Service

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Dealing with Sexual Assault

We perceive India as a safe, tradition bound country that honours women and loves children. Yet, our cities are becoming famous, even internationally, for molestation and rape. The number of cases reported has increased 700 per cent since Independence. And this is probably only the tip of the iceberg.CLICK & SEE

Shame, family pressures, social stigma, economic vulnerability and lack of knowledge of legal procedures coerce a victim into silence. To make things worse, the victim is often regarded by our inadequately educated, underpaid and insensitive police personnel as the one at “fault”.

Rape is traditionally considered a crime against women. But times are changing. Horror stories abound about homosexual sexual predators targeting, kidnapping and victimising young boys. The victims range from six-month-olds to 80-year-olds. The perpetuators of rape, however, are almost always male.

Around 80 per cent of the crime is committed by someone known to the victim. Often, the abuser is a member of the victim’s family or belongs to his or her circle of acquaintances. In such cases, the crime is perpetuated in a known place, in either of their homes or that of a friend, relative or neighbour.

Today, children of both sexes are in danger, in exclusive neighbourhoods as well as the slums. Their lack of knowledge, inexperience and trusting nature make them ideal victims. Many of these attacks are not random but well planned by a predator known to the victim.

Police complaints are often followed by unwelcome media publicity. There are no “special victim units” in the police force yet, that may be trained to handle such cases with discretion and empathy. The guidelines provided deal mostly with the rape of women. The concept of male or child rape is new and the level of expertise in dealing with this is low.

Despite this, if a parent or the victim wishes to prosecute the assailant, a physical medical examination, documentation of the evidence and registration of an FIR (First Information Report) must be done.

Even otherwise, a thorough medical examination must be undertaken as soon as possible to treat and record lacerations and injuries, both external and internal.

The greatest fear about sexual assault is that of acquiring STDs. The number infected varies between 5 and 10 per cent. Infection depends upon several factors, such as the type of sexual contact, number of assailants, and whether or not they had an STD at the time of the assault.

The risk of contracting STDs can be reduced by taking medication as a preventive measure. Immediate and effective treatment options are available for some STDs such as hepatitis B, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, chlamydia and trichomonas vaginalis.

The regimen recommended is a single injection of ceftriaxone, plus an oral dose of azithromycin, plus either secnidazole, tinidazole or metronidazole. Herpes can be tackled with a five or seven-day course of acyclovir.

The risk of acquiring HIV infection is less than 1 per cent. However, it is important for medico-legal reasons to document the HIV status immediately. The test should be repeated after six months and then a year. A 28-day regimen of zidovudine and lamivudine provides post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV and should be started as soon as possible, preferably within 72 hours.

Injuries and lacerations require a single booster dose of tetanus toxoid. Hepatitis B can be sexually transmitted. Most children today have received three doses of the vaccine as part of their immunisation schedule and are thus protected against the infection. In that case, only a booster dose needs to be given. If the victim has not been immunised in childhood, immunoglobulin needs to be given. In addition, three doses of the vaccine must be given — immediately after the incident, after a month and after six months.

Prophylactic treatment against syphilis is not advised. Instead, a blood test can be done after three months to ascertain if infection has occurred.

Counselling, psychiatric evaluation and support are necessary for the victim as well as his or her family to overcome the trauma.

To protect children —

• Make them learn addresses and phone numbers by heart

• Teach them certain body parts are not to be touched

• Discourage them from talking to strangers

• Do not send them anywhere alone, especially after dark

• Escort them to and from school bus stops

• Encourage physical fitness and teach them martial arts

• Teach them to trust their survival instincts and, if needed, run in the opposite direction as fast as they can, shouting all the way.

For adults, the best bet is —

*To have peepholes in the front door

*Avoid dark and deserted areas

*Be physically fit and able to run fast.

Source: The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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