HIV Treatment & The Pill
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Some HIV treatments can reduce the effectiveness of your birth control pill. Watch this to see which ARVs affect hormonal birth control.
Transcript: Hormonal birth control can prevent conception, help regulate your menstrual cycle, and ease some PMS...
Hormonal birth control can prevent conception, help regulate your menstrual cycle, and ease some PMS symptoms. But if you're HIV positive, some types of anti-HIV medications can also reduce the effectiveness of your birth control pill. For instance, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors--or NRTIs--and protease inhibitors - which are standard components of combination treatments - CAN reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of oral contraceptives, whether it's a progestogen-only pill or a combination estrogen-progestogen pill. This is because the same set of enzymes in the liver that breakdown these anti-HIVdrugs, also quickly deactivates contraceptive pills. But on the other hand, oral contraceptives DO NOT impact THE ACTION OF THE antiretrovirals. So EVEN THOUGH your risk of pregnancy increases, your HIV treatment shouldn't be affected. However, other antiretroviral drugs, such as integrase inhibitors - also standard components of combination treatments -- DO NOT reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.Bottom line: if you are using the birth control pill MAKE SURE you ask your doctor if your particular type of HIV treatment regimen raises your risk of pregnancy. And keep in mind, it's not just oral contraceptives that DON'T mix well with specific anti-HIV drugs; hormonal IUDs, vaginal rings, skin patches and shots MAY NOT be as effective, either. Regardless of the form of birth control you and your doctor decide upon, you should ALWAYS remember to use a condom to reduce chances of transmitting the virus to your partner or of you contracting a new strain of HIV that could make your medication regimen less effective. For more information on living with HIV, watch other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-21 | Tags »
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If you've been sexually active, it's smart to get tested for STIs. Watch this to find out the ones you could be most at risk of having!
Last Modified: 2013-06-19 | Tags »
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Herpes sores occur on your skin, but do know how the herpes virus behaves within your body? Watch this video to learn about herpes triggers.
Transcript: Herpes never goes away, even when you're not exhibiting physical symptoms. So what does it do inside...
Herpes never goes away, even when you're not exhibiting physical symptoms. So what does it do inside of you? During your initial herpes outbreak, your immune system creates antibodies specifically designed to fight the HSV, or herpes, virus. Once the first outbreak is over, the virus retreats to the ganglia nerves at the base of your spine. After the first bout of sores, herpes-specific antibodies made during the first outbreak do a better job of ensuring that HSV stays inactive, preventing future outbreaks-or that it returns with less force. Sometimes, a trigger-like stress or sunlight-re-can activate the virus. When that happens, HSV travels to the initial outbreak site, causing herpes sores to re-appear in the same area. The average number of outbreaks in an affected person is between 4 to 5 per year, but some people may experience many more, while others have just one or two reactions to the virus in their lifetime. If you experience uncontrollable herpes outbreaks, talk to your doctor about prescriptions that can help!More »
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Curious as to whether or not HPV can be treated? Watch this to find out!
Last Modified: 2013-06-19 | Tags »
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Valtrex can reduce the length and severity of herpes outbreaks. Get more information on this medication and by watching this video.
Transcript: If you have herpes, you'll want to know about a medication called Valtrex! Herpes is caused by the spread...
If you have herpes, you'll want to know about a medication called Valtrex! Herpes is caused by the spread of the HSV virus, which can result in painful sores on the genitals, and is typically spread through sexual contact. Once a person gets herpes, it lives in the body forever, and there is no cure. But there is help! Enter valacyclovir, a medication branded as Valtrex, which is taken once daily to help significantly reduce herpes outbreaks.While there are other medications available, Valtrex is the only one proven to reduce the spread of herpes to other sexual partners. Valtrex can be used to diminish the severity and length of two other related outbreaks: cold sores on the mouth and shingles on the body. Both of these symptoms stem from variations of the HSV virus, and both respond to valacyclovir when it is taken at the beginning of the outbreak. However, this medication is not for pregnant women, and may cause side effects including headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Valtrex is only available via a doctor's prescription, so talk to your health care provider if you think you're a candidate for this medication!More »
Last Modified: 2012-12-28 | Tags »
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To reduce the occurrence of herpes outbreaks, you will first need to know what trips the herpes trigger. Watch the video to get all the information on the subject.
Transcript: Herpes is one of the most common STDs out there, and once youve got it, youve got it for life. Yet outbreaks...
Herpes is one of the most common STDs out there, and once youve got it, youve got it for life. Yet outbreaks occur only occasionally, so what causes them? Once genital herpes is contracted it lives in the body foreveroften lying dormantbut it can become activated by certain triggers. While everyones triggers vary, there are some common experiences that make herpes flare-up in many people. For example, some find that the friction of sex irritates the genital skin and brings on symptoms. Using a water-based lubricant can help reduce this irritation, but DONT use one that contains the spermacide nonoxynol-9. This ingredient can irritate mucous membranes, such as the lining of the vagina, making symptoms worse. In addition, some people find that hormonal changes, such as those that occur during the menstrual cycle, can trigger outbreaks. And one of the most universal causes of herpes flare-ups is a weakened immune system, like in people suffering from colds. Regardless of your personal triggers, herpes outbreaks can usually be tempered with medication and lifestyle changes, so talk to your doctor about your options!More »
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If you've been diagnosed with herpes, you may wonder what your initial outbreak will be like. Watch this video to learn more about how herpes presents itself during the beginning stages.
Transcript: You just found out youre infected with the genital herpes virus. What happens now? Genital herpes manifests...
You just found out youre infected with the genital herpes virus. What happens now? Genital herpes manifests differently in everyone. Most people who are exposed to the virus have a reaction two to twelve days later. The first herpes outbreak will generally include painful sores on the infected area. In addition, flu-like symptoms may be present, including a fever and swollen lymph nodes. Some people, however, wont develop herpes sores for months or even years! The first outbreak of the virus is generally the worst, because your body hasnt built up any immunity to its effects. Your body responds to the virus by creating antibodies to attack it. Later, these antibodies will help keep the disease in check, and this is how some immunity is formed. However, antibodies do not eliminate herpes entirely. Note that everyone does experiences herpes differently, so get to a doctor if you think youve been exposed to the virus!More »
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HPV is one of the most common STDs around and Gardisil is here to help. Check out this video to get the dish on Gardasil.
Transcript: Both cervical cancer and genital warts are caused by a sexually transmitted virus called HPV. Today,...
Both cervical cancer and genital warts are caused by a sexually transmitted virus called HPV. Today, there is a vaccine that can protect some from this virus's effects! In 2006, the FDA approved Gardasil, the first vaccine to protect against certain strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Although there are over 100 strains of this virus, only about 40 are harmful. Gardasil protects against four specific strains of HPV, numbers 6 and 11, which cause 90 percent of genital warts cases, and numbers 16 and 18, which can lead to 70 percent of cervical cancers! Gardasil is approved for use in females between the ages of 9 and 26, although-since the virus is passed sexually-it's best to get vaccinated before ever having intercourse. Even if someone already has one strain of HPV, they can still get the vaccine to protect against the strains they don't have. The vaccine is given as a set of three injections over six months. Gardasil is not fully effective until all three shots are given. Side effects may include redness and itching at the injection site, as well as nausea and fever. If you're interested in getting vaccinated with Gardasil, talk to your health care provider!More »
Last Modified: 2012-12-28 | Tags »
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Although Trichomoniasis is curable, it can have a number of unpleasant symptoms. To learn more about trichomoniasis and sex, watch our video.
Transcript: You may not know much about Trichomoniasis, but you should. It's the most common, curable STD in women-but...
You may not know much about Trichomoniasis, but you should. It's the most common, curable STD in women-but it comes with some unpleasant symptoms! Although men can be carriers of Trichomoniasis, or trich, it's women who experience symptoms after contracting the disease. The first sign of Trichomoniasis is watery, bubbly discharge that may be greenish or yellowish. Both itching and pain that occurs during urination or sex can also be signs of trich in women. These unpleasant symptoms are often the most apparent immediately after you have a period. Like other STDs, trich is contracted by having genital-to-genital sex with a person who's infected. Interestingly, Trichomoniasis is particularly common in women who have sex with women. Once a doctor diagnoses trich, it is generally easy to cure the condition in several weeks with prescription drugs. But remember that sex is a no-no until the infection is completely gone-otherwise you'll have recurring consequences!More »
Last Modified: 2012-09-29 | Tags »
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If you are a sexually active male, then STD testing for men is strongly recommended. Watch this video and learn more about STD testing.
Transcript: The Center for Disease Control doesn't actually suggest routine STD testing for men...but wait! There...
The Center for Disease Control doesn't actually suggest routine STD testing for men...but wait! There are exceptions to every rule. If you're a sexually active male and you're not having any symptoms of an STD, you may not need to be tested. But, if your sex practices include having sex with other men-even once or twice-you do need annual screening, including testing for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Of course, it's also vital that you see your doctor if you're displaying signs of an STD. Doctors recommend getting tested if you have any unusual discharge from the penis. In addition, all warts, growths and blisters call for a check-up. Finally, the CDC recommends one HIV test at some point for all people between the ages of 13 and 64. The only way to be 100 percent protected from STDs is by never having sex-since that's probably not your choice, be smart about knocking boots!More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-15 | Tags »
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STDs affect women differently than they do men, so STD testing is a bit different for them. Get information about STD testing for women in this video.
Transcript: Women need to be tested for certain common STDs on an annual basis. But which ones? If you're a sexually...
Women need to be tested for certain common STDs on an annual basis. But which ones? If you're a sexually active female, it is vital that you get the most common STD test-a pap smear-annually. A pap smear tests for pre-cancerous changes in the cervix that stem from the common STD, HPV or the human papilloma virus. Women who have sex with multiple partners or have symptoms of an STD should also ask for annual testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia. If you test positive for either of these, it's also important to be screened for syphilis, hepatitis, and HIV. That's because having one sexually transmitted disease makes you much more susceptible to contracting another. And, of course, women should always see a doctor for testing should signs of an STD occur. These include unusual discharge and strange growths or ulcerations. Not having sex will unfailingly protect you from STDs, but that's probably not a choice you'll make-so always be safe!More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-15 | Tags »
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Herpes is a contagious condition that affects millions of people in America. Understanding herpes is very important as it can help you manage it better. To know more, check out this video.
Transcript: One in four Americans is infected with the contagious disease known as genital herpes. But what IS herpes,...
One in four Americans is infected with the contagious disease known as genital herpes. But what IS herpes, anyway? Herpes simplex is a contagious viral infection that manifests as sores on the mouth or the genitals. While outbreaks of the sores can be reduced, there is no cure for herpes. And though the virus is generally harmless, it causes embarrassment for those infected, and can increase susceptibility to other STDs like HIV. There are actually two strains of the herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. While HSV-1 tends to lead to sores on the mouth and HSV-2 usually presents itself on the genitals, either strain can lead to either outbreak. That's because HSV-1 and HSV-2 are markedly similar, so a cold sore on the mouth can easily be spread to the genitals during oral sex, and vice versa. While herpes is generally thought of as a sexually-transmitted disease, this is not always the case. Up to 80 percent of the population is infected with oral herpes, and most of these contract the virus as children. That's because both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are spread by ANY physical contact. This can include touching, kissing, or sexual acts. The briefest of skin-to-skin contact can transmit herpes. Sometimes, herpes has no symptoms, which is why up to a third of people with the virus remain undiagnosed. Remember that just because someone says they've never had a lesion doesn't mean they can't spread herpes! People with genital herpes who DO exhibit symptoms often notice small sores on the genitals, usually in a cluster. Other times, symptoms can be as subtle as a mild irritation. In an oral herpes outbreak, a cold sore, or "fever blister," will show up on the lips or around the mouth in a similar fashion. Some people also experience flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, aches and pains, or a headache. Regardless of the location, a herpes outbreak tends to start with red, "tingly" skin. In a day or two, sores will appear, although most outbreaks will clear in one to two weeks. So if herpes is forever, does that mean that a person will always have blisters on his or her body? Not at all! Herpes is a virus and will remain in the body for life. But the physical symptoms of herpes, an outbreak of sores, may recur anywhere from often to almost never. An outbreak can be triggered by factors such as illness, stress, diet, menstruation, or skin irritation. Every person's triggers are different, and some people have none. The bottom line is that whether you're having a herpes outbreak or not, once you get the virus, you will ALWAYS have it. For this reason, you should refrain from any sexual contact during an outbreak and practice protected sex at ALL times. It is also important to keep in mind that while a condom can reduce the spread, the only guaranteed way to prevent genital herpes is with abstinence. Herpes simplex is contagious and common! Fifty million genital cases exist in the United States, alone. So talk to your doctor about the prevention and treatment of herpes.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-04 | Tags »
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