A new editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine brings to light the concern for the rising rate of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea in the U.S.
What is Gonorrhea and why am I at risk?
Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with an estimated 600,000 plus cases every year. It disproportionately affects vulnerable populations such as minorities who are marginalized because of race, ethnic group, or sexual orientation. Men who have sex with men, for example, are among the populations hardest hit by the disease.
Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhea, a bacterium that grows and multiplies quickly in moist, warm areas of the body such as the cervix, urinary tract, mouth, or rectum.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include burning while urinating, discharge, and pain during intercourse. Symptoms of rectal infection include anal itching, and sometimes painful bowel movements. Symptoms usually appear two to five days after contracting the infection, although in some cases there may be no symptoms at all, particularly with rectal infection.
What is the danger of infection?
Men with untreated gonorrhea may develop Epididymitis (an inflammation of the epididymis-the long, tightly coiled tube that lies behind each testicle and collects sperm), an inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis), and a higher risk of getting bladder cancer.
What can I do?
Most forms of Gonorrhea can still be treated effectively with antibiotics. However, the best defense is still a good offense. Condoms are still your best bet to keep from getting infected in the first place. Limiting the number of sexual partners also helps in preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections. If you think you may be infected, see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
For more information:
New England Journal of Medicine
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
From SF Gate online:
Patients who take one of the most widely prescribed drugs to treat HIV infection increase their risk of kidney damage by up to 34 percent every year they take the medication, according to a study of more than 10,000 HIV-positive veterans.
The study, by the San Francisco VA Medical Center and published online earlier this month, is one of the largest to address the long-term risk of tenofovir, an antiretroviral drug that is taken daily, usually in a single pill combined with other drugs.
Doctors have long known that antiretroviral drugs carried some risk of kidney damage, but how much – and whether that damage is caused by a particular drug or combination of drugs, or by the HIV infection itself – has been the source of much debate.
Read the full article: http://www.sfgate.com.
From the Huffington Post Gay Voices:
Perry N. Halkitis, Ph.D., M.S..Professor of Applied Psychology, Public Health, and Medicine, Steinhardt School, NYU
In 2011 the Institute of Medicine released a historic report documenting the health disparities faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. This report was call to action for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to address the burgeoning and often underserved health needs of the LGBT population. In the United States these health disparities coincide with an epidemiological shift: the aging of the American population. Due to increases in life expectancy and aging of the “baby boomer” generation, or those born between 1946 and 1964, approximately one third of the United States population will be 55 years or older by 2014.
While no direct population figures exists, extrapolations drawn from multiple sources suggests that within the population of older Americans, approximately 1.2 to 1.4 million will be older gay men, a figure more pronounced in urban areas such as New York City, where it is estimated that approximately 5 percent of gay men are 50 or older. A significant proportion of these older gay men, both nationally and in New York City, live with HIV, and as a group this generation of gay men, to whom I have previously referred as “the AIDS generation,” have all been directly impacted by the epidemic.
Read the full article on the Huffington Post.
A pain-free, non-invasive saliva test is as accurate as a traditional blood test to diagnose infections of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), according to a new meta-analysis published yesterday (January 24) in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The test could be a solution for countries that wish to adopt self-testing strategies for HIV.
Pooling data from five worldwide databases, an international team of researchers found that Oraquick HIV-1/2, a saliva test sold by Pennsylvania-based OraSure Technologies, is 99 percent accurate for HIV in high-risk populations and about 97 percent accurate in low-risk populations. The test requires a single swab of the gums, which is then inserted into a handheld device that produces results in 20 minutes. The Oraquick has been available to clinicians since 2004 and is being considered for use as an over-the-counter test in the United States and sub-Saharan countries
You can read the full article at TheScientist.com.