Tag Archives: Sexually transmitted disease

HIV and STD Risks From Sexual Activities Other Than Intercourse

Introduction – HIV and STD risks

This blog focuses on your HIV and STD risks from sexual activities other than intercourse. It is the sixth blog in an ongoing series on HIV and AIDS.

  • To read a discussion of HIV being eliminated from the body, click here.
  • For an explanation of what HIV and AIDS are, click here.
  • For an explanation how HIV and AIDS are contracted, click here.
  • To learn about signs and symptoms of HIV and AIDS, click here.
  • Also, for an explanation of the risk of contracting HIV from specific acts of sexual intercourse, click here.

activities without HIV and STD risks of transmission

Today, your sexual IQ goes up, and hopefully your risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, goes down.

First of all, here are some terms you should understand.
Rimming: oral-anal contact
Fingering: digital sexual stimulation

Next, let’s review.

HIV and STD Risks

Performing Oral Sex On A Man

  • You can get HIV by performing oral sex on your male partner. The risk is not as pronounced as it is with unprotected vaginal or anal sex, but oral sex clearly is a mode of transmitting HIV.
  • You are also at risk for getting other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including herpes, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Using condoms during oral sex reduces the risk of contracting HIV and other STIs.
  • You reduce the risk of contracting HIV from oral sex if your male partner does not ejaculate in your mouth.
  • You reduce the risk of contracting HIV from oral sex if you do not have open sores or cuts in your mouth.

Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Man

  • The risk of contracting HIV is less with receiving oral sex than many other sexual activities, but it is still present.
  • You reduce the risk of contracting HIV from receiving oral sex if you do not have open sores or cuts on your penis.
  • Oral sex also presents a risk of contracting other STIs, most notably herpes.

Performing Oral Sex On A Woman

  • Significant levels of HIV have been found in vaginal secretions. There is a risk of contracting HIV from this activity. Fortunately, the risk is not as great with other sexual activities.
  • You can contract other STIs from performing oral sex on a woman.
  • Furthermore, there are effective barriers you can use to protect yourself from contact with your partner’s vaginal fluids. You can  use dental dams or non-microwaveable plastic wrap to protect against HIV and other STIs. (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plastic wrap that can be microwaved will not protect you—viruses are small enough to pass through that type of wrap.)

Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Woman

  • The risk for contracting HIV while receiving oral sex is significantly lower than for unprotected vaginal sex, but it is still present.
  • It is also possible to contract other STIs while receiving oral sex.
  • There are effective barriers you can use (cut-open unlubricated condom, dental dam, or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over your vulva to protect yourself from STIs.

Oral-Anal Contact (Rimming)

  • The risk of contracting HIV by rimming is very low but comes with a high risk of transmitting hepatitis A and B, parasites, and other bacteria to the partner who is doing the rimming.
  • You should use a barrier method (cut-open unlubricated condom, dental dam, or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over the anus to protect against infection.

Digital Stimulation (Fingering)

  • There is a very small risk of getting HIV from fingering your partner if you have cuts or sores on your fingers and your partner has cuts or sores in the rectum or vagina.
  • The use of medical-grade gloves and water-based lubricants during fingering eliminates this risk.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask questions or provide comments. I cannot more highly endorse the websites at cdc.gov and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

HIV and STD Risks From Specific Acts of Sexual Intercourse

Introduction – HIV and STD risks

Illustration of activities and STD risks

This blog focuses on your HIV and STD risks from specific acts of sexual intercourse. It is the fifth blog in an ongoing series on HIV and AIDS.

  • To read a discussion of HIV being eliminated from the body, click here.
  • For an explanation of what HIV and AIDS are, click here.
  • For an explanation how HIV and AIDS are contracted, click here.
  • To learn about signs and symptoms of HIV and AIDS, click here.

Let’s be clear that we’re explicitly discussing the types of sexual behaviors that will lead to transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Over the next two days, we will run the gamut of sexual behavior and its implications.

What we hope to accomplish here is to identify those activities that place you at significant risk for contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections  (STIs). The take-home message is you really should identify your partner’s health status before you begin sexual activity.

Sexual activity terminology

Today we will focus on four types of sexual activity and discuss the risks of each. Let’s start with some terminology.

  • Receptive sex risks speak to risks to the receiver.
  • Insertive sex risks speak to risks to the giver.
  • Bottoming is a way of describing receptive anal sex.
  • Topping is a way of describing insertive anal sex.

Now, let’s review.

Educate yourself about lowering your HIV and STD risks.

Receptive Vaginal Sex

  • Vaginal sex without a condom is a high-risk behavior for HIV infection.
  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • If you currently have an STI or vaginal infection, your risk for contracting/transmitting HIV is increased because your tissue will be inflamed. This has nothing to do with the presence or absence of symptoms.
  • Female condoms protect HIV infection if used correctly. However, the risk still exists for any area exposed and infected (in the presence of an open sore or bleeding, for example).
  • Barrier birth control methods (such as diaphragms, IUDs and cervical caps) DO NOT protect against STIs or HIV infection. If infected semen or sperm contacts inflamed or otherwise injured vaginal tissue, the risk of transmission/contraction is present.
  • Birth control pills do not protect against HIV or other STIs.

Insertive Vaginal Sex

  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • Condom use is a critical means of protection against STIs that are present without obvious symptoms. Use condoms with a water-based lubricant every time you have insertive vaginal sex to prevent STIs, including HIV.

Receptive Anal Sex (Bottoming)

  • Bottoming without a condom provides the highest risk for contracting HIV, more so than any other sexual behavior.
  • HIV has been identified in pre-ejaculatory semen. “Pulling out” prior to ejaculation may not decrease your risk.
  • Rectal douching before anal sex can increase your HIV risk. Douching irritates the rectal tissue and can make you more receptive to contracting HIV. Soap and water in a non-abrasive manner are adequate means of cleanliness.
  • If bottoming, you will best minimize the risk of transmitting HIV and other STIs by always using a water-based lubricant with a latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene condom. This will help to minimize irritation to the rectum during sex and subsequent transmission.

Insertive Anal Sex (Topping)

  • Topping without a condom is a high-risk behavior for transmission of HIV and other STIs. An infection may be present. If small sores, scratches or tears are also present, they would provide a ready path of entry and transmission of HIV.
  • Similarly, those same lesions in your partners rectum could harbor infected cells in blood, feces or other fluid, which, when contacted, could infect you through your penis.

Check back for the next post in this series on HIV/AIDS. It will focus on HIV and STD risks from sexual activities other than intercourse.

Follow us!

Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: Living With An Incurable Sexually Transmitted Infection

STD living well

You’ve requested it, and it’s only fair. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs, STIs). It’s reasonable to discuss living with an STD. The first point to appreciate is most STDs can be treated; that’s been discussed at length in several previous posts. Next you should understand that those that can’t be treated don’t represent a death sentence. STDs are simply diseases. To be clear you will need to make adjustments to your life, and this Straight, No Chaser will discuss those.
Even if you were irresponsible in acquiring an STD, you must learn to be responsible in managing it once it’s known that you have an incurable STD such as HPV or HIV/AIDS. Refer back to the Straight, No Chaser Comprehensive Safe Sex Guide for details.

std incurable

There are important differences between managing different diseases. Putting HIV/AIDS aside momentarily, consider the following general considerations regarding herpes or HPV.

  • You can live a mostly normal life with these conditions. Unless you’re in the midst of a herpes outbreak or are showing the warts of HPV, you will appear normal. Every other positive attribute you possess will still be intact. Use that positivity to help you through.
  • It’s only fair and reasonable to have a conversation with existing and/or new sexual partners about your condition. You and your partner should meet with your physician to discuss risks and possibilities. You will want this information to make informed decisions about what you choose to do moving forward.
  • If you are showing symptoms or in the midst of an outbreak, you should avoid any sexual activity.
  • Unless you’re in the midst of an outbreak, you can have sex. Remember that these STDs can be transmitted even in the absence of symptoms, so please protect yourself and your partner.

A really reasonable way to think about having sex with an incurable STD is to think about kissing someone with a cold or the flu. You could still do it, but you’re likely to be at risk. When the symptoms aren’t there, your partner could still be a carrier of the disease and could still give you the disease. Your better course of action is to wait until all symptoms are gone and then still be careful.

std living facts

You have to simultaneously appreciate that your life will be approximately normal, even as you’ve had a significant change. Even as you get about living the rest of your life, you should be aware of risks that can cause an outbreak.

  • Of course intercourse is a very risky activity. Couples who have been exposed to one STD are likely to have been exposed to multiple. You don’t want to “ping-pong” diseases between you and your partner. Follow the recommended guidelines for having and avoiding sex based on your symptoms.
  • Surgery, trauma or any cause of a reduced immune system can produce an outbreak. If you’re diabetic, on steroids, have lupus or other conditions that affect the immune system, have a conversation with your physician.

STD living

At some point, you’ll get over the guilt and shame associated with having an untreatable STD and start focusing on the rest of your life. Be sure to live that life so it’s not causing more damage along the way; out of sight can’t be out of mind with an incurable STD. Be especially mindful of your risks of giving your partner your disease, both from specific acts of intercourse and from other sexual activities besides intercourse. Remember, these diseases all affect more than sex; managing these diseases is managing your health.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Bacterial Vaginosis – No, That’s Not a STD

BV1

I try to give you straight talk but never crudely. As I’ve discussed conditions involving the genitalia, I’ve been mindful of the reality that large numbers of you have been affected by sexual transmitted diseases/infections (aka STDs/STIs), and I will always be respectful of that consideration. That doesn’t mean I’m sugar-coating your information, it just means I am aware that you’re suffering and concerned by different scenarios.

bv anyone

One of those is bacterial vaginosis. There is an age after which women invariably start discovering that various things they do can disrupt the appearance, smell and content of their vaginal fluid. It’s certainly human nature to wonder if something has gone terribly wrong. Let’s pick up our Doctor-Couple conversation from earlier
Patient: Yep! I have this grayish/whitish discharge that only happens after sex. And sometimes it itches around there. And it burns when I pee! No rashes or that other stuff, though.
Doctor: Ok. Let’s examine you…

bv thrush

All humans have various microorganisms that normally reside inside us at relatively low levels; different microorganisms inhabit different parts of the body. They’ve set up a delicate balance (like an ecosystem, if you will) that, once settled doesn’t disturb us (their hosts) at all. If external or internal circumstances disturb that balance such that one set of organisms is disproportionately affected, overgrowth of the other organisms may occur. Many of you will recognize this as happening when you get a ‘yeast’ infection. It’s also what occurs when you develop bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is the most common vaginal infection in the U.S. It’s more likely to be seen when you start having unprotected sex with a new partner, have multiple sex partners, are pregnant or douche (therefore, women who are not sexually active can have BV also). By the way, you don’t get BV from toilet seats or swimming pools.

bv causes

The question everyone always has is “What’s the role of sex, especially sperm, in it?”. That’s asked because BV is often noticed after unprotected sex that includes ejaculation. Here’s where you learn the difference between ‘sexually transmitted’ and ‘sexually associated’. It is unclear what role sex has in the development of BV, but common thoughts include alterations in the pH of the vaginal fluid based on interactions with sperm/semen. It is known that the pH of women become more alkaline (less acidic) after exposure to semen, and that environment produces compounds causing the ‘fishy smell’. Yes, that’s real.  We even have a real thing call a ‘whiff test’ as part of making the diagnosis.
The good news is BV is easily treated. The bad news is it needs to be treated, and it can recur even if it’s treated. Remember, it’s just an overgrowth syndrome.  There are complications to not getting BV treated, especially if you’re pregnant. This makes it especially important that medication be taken to completion, even though you may feel better prior to that. Male partners do not need to be treated.
So this couple gets ‘off the hook’, even though they may decide to start using condoms.  Next we will focus on the risks of various sexual activities. Stay tuned.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: STDs – Syphilis, The Great Mimicker

Today, Straight, No Chaser will present two phrases that you may not have previously heard: The Great Mimicker and MSM, and that means we’re discussing what has historically been a devastating disease: syphilis. Historically, syphilis really is the most important sexually transmitted disease (For what it’s worth, it’s thought that Columbus’ crew spread the disease between the Americas and Europe.). The great mimicker nickname as applied to syphilis exists because syphilis has many general symptoms that resemble and are often confused with other diseases. MSM points to the fact that treatment in the early stages is so complete that syphilis had been rapidly in decline – until it’s reemergence in a specific population. It is estimated that well over 60% of reported early stage cases of syphilis occurs in men who have sex with men (MSM).
In this review, I want to specifically address the symptoms, which are impressively and dramatically different depending on the stage.
syphilis1
Stage I – Primary Syphilis: Primary syphilis usually presents with the presence of a single, painless sore (a chancre), located wherever it was contracted. As pictured above, the head (glans) of the penis is a typical site. The sore disappears in 3-6 weeks (with or without treatment), and if treatment wasn’t received, the disease progresses. Herein lies the problems. Because it’s painless, you ignore it, perhaps thinking it was a friction sore, or you never gave it much of a thought. Because it went away on its own, you forget about it, thinking that it got better. So sad, so wrong…
syphilis2Syphilis-hands
Stage II – Secondary Syphilis: When syphilis returns days to weeks (more typically) after the primary infection, it does so quite dramatically. Rashes can appear everywhere, including across your back (as noted above) and chest to on your palms and soles, in your mouth, groin, vagina, anus, or armpits. The rash could be warts (condyloma lata) or flat. You should be scared, but you might not be because… the rash and the other symptoms again will disappear on its own. Despite what you may think intuitively, you really don’t want that to happen.
Latent Syphilis: Dormant syphilis can stay that way for decades after secondary syphilis has occurred. What you don’t know can hurt you. Syphilis can be transmitted during the earlier portion of latent phases, including to an unborn child.
Syphilis3
Tertiary Syphilis: Late stage syphilis is a disturbing thing to see (and obviously experience). The disease can result in death, causing damage to the brain, heart, liver, bones, joints, eyes, the nervous system and blood vessels. Before it kills you, it can result in blindness, paralysis, dementia and loss of motor control. If you don’t know how the research discovering all of this was conducted, for now I’ll just say it was one of the most shameful acts of medical history. I’ll blog on it later. The individuals in the above picture were alive when these pictures were taken, by the way.
A special note: The microorganism causing syphilis is rather aggressive, so much so that it can be transmitted by oral, anal or genital sexual contact. By oral, I also mean kissing. Pay attention to those oral sores. Furthermore, syphilis gets transmitted from mother to unborn child. This is a devastating occurrence – if untreated, a child may be born prematurely, with low birth weight or even stillborn. If untreated, once born, a child may suffer deafness, seizures and cataracts before death.
Prevention and Treatment Considerations: Advanced syphilis is especially disheartening because it is so easily treated and prevented. Prevention is as simple as always wearing condoms, being in a monogamous relationship with someone confirmed not to have it, checking your sexual partner prior to sex and not engaging in sex if any type of sore/ulcer is in the mouth, genitalia or anal region. Regarding treatment, syphilis once upon a time was quite the plague until penicillin was discovered; treating syphilis is how penicillin ‘made a name’ for itself. Treatment with penicillin easily kills syphilis but unfortunately does nothing for damage that has already occurred. Remember that treating syphilis at any point can prevent the most severe complications that lead to death.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: STDs – Chlamydia Infections

Chlamydia_image

For most people, NGU isn’t a college in South Carolina. In fact, non-gonococcal urethritis isn’t really even that anymore, meaning it doesn’t need to be defined by the fact that it’s not gonorrhea. Chlamydia (the most common cause of NGU) by itself causes an estimated 3 million sexually transmitted infections a year. It is the most likely reason you’re coming into the emergency department when someone’s been behaving badly, and it was the most common sexually transmitted infection for a long time (prior to the advent of human papillomavirus – HPV). This Straight, No Chaser gives you some essential information about sexually transmitted infections featuring Chlamydia.
chlamydia
1. It’s a real good reason to wear condoms. Chlamydia most commonly presents with no symptoms but may present with burning with urination, having to go more often (that’s the urethritis; the urethra is the tube through which urine flows) and a cloudy discharge. Less commonly, it can affect the rectum (proctitis) or a portion of the testicles (epidydimitis).

chlaymdia neonatal

2. It’s contagious. If you’re sexually active with someone infected, odds are you’ll get it. It can be acquired via oral, vaginal or anal sex, and ejaculation isn’t required for transmission. Even worse, that means you can pass it to your newborn child (to disastrous effects to the baby, as noted in the lead picture of the newborn; Chlamydia has long been a significant cause of blindness worldwide, though thankfully the rate is decreasing).

Chlamydia-rate

2. Treatment doesn’t prevent you from reacquiring it. If you don’t change the behavior, you won’t change the future risk.
3. If both partners aren’t treated, then neither is treated. This can just get passed back and forth like a ping-pong ball. If you have several sexual partners, you’ll manage to introduce a lot of drama into a lot of lives. If you are treated, you should not engage in sexual activity until one week after your partner(s) have completed treatment.
Chlamydia stats
4. It causes serious damage to females. PID (pelvic inflammatory disease – a complication of untreated Chlamydia) is a serious enough topic to warrant its own post, but untreated infections lead to infertility, an increased rate of tubal (ectopic) pregnancies and other complications. This needs to be identified and treated.
5. STDs hang out together. Chlamydia that goes untreated increases the chances of acquiring or transmitting HIV/AIDS. An infection with Chlamydia should prompt treatment for other STDs and testing for HIV.

chlamydia infection condom

6. It is easily prevented and treated. Wear condoms each time, every time. Get evaluated early with development of signs or symptoms. Discuss the discovery of Chlamydia with all sexual contacts from the last several months. This is an infection you don’t have to catch.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: STDs – Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea_enHD_1
Some of you are old enough to remember when Gonorrhea was called ‘The Clap’, but do any of you know why it was called that? Read on for the answer. In the meantime, realize how disgusting a disease this is. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that well over 800,000 cases of gonorrhea occur yearly. To make matters worse, have you heard about the new ‘Super Gonorrhea’? Don’t let this happen to you.

Here’s what I want you to know about Gonorrhea:

Gonorrhea

1. It’s a real good reason to wear condoms and a just as good of a reason to wash your hands. Gonorrhea most commonly presents with no symptoms (more often the case in women), but it has two symptoms that won’t let you forget it. It’s the STD that may present with burning upon urination so severe that you feel like you are peeing razor blades. It’s also defined by copious discharge. If you’re exuding white, yellow or green pus, think gonorrhea. As was the case with Chlamydia, it can affect the rectum (proctitis) or a portion of the testicles (epidydimitis), as well as the throat or eyes. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, gents.

PHIL_3766

2. It’s contagious. If you’re sexually active with someone infected, odds are you’ll get it. It can be acquired via oral, vaginal or anal sex, and ejaculation isn’t required for transmission. Even worse, that means you can pass it to your newborn child (There’s even a name for the condition: ophthalmia neonatorum, as seen in the above picture.).
2. Treatment doesn’t prevent you from reacquiring it. If you don’t change the behavior, you won’t change the future risk.

gonorrhea dc

3. If both partners aren’t treated, then neither is treated. This can just get passed back and forth like a ping-pong ball. If you have several sexual partners, you’ll manage to introduce a lot of drama into a lot of lives. If you are treated, you should not engage in sexual activity until one week after your partner has completed treatment.
4. It causes serious complications. PID (pelvic inflammatory disease – a complication of untreated Gonorrhea and Chlamydia) is a serious enough topic to warrant its own post, but untreated infections lead to infertility and an increased rate of tubal (ectopic) pregnancies. Gonorrhea also spreads through the blood and joints. Many of these complications are life-threatening.

gonorrhea stat

5. STDs hang out together. Gonorrhea that goes untreated increases the chances of acquiring or transmitting HIV/AIDS. An infection with Gonorrhea should prompt treatment for other STDs and testing for HIV. It is generally assumed that if you have gonorrhea, you’ve likely been infected with Chlamydia.
6. It is easily prevented and treated. Wear condoms each time, every time. Get evaluated early with the development of signs or symptoms. Discuss the discovery of Gonorrhea with all sexual contacts from the last several months. This is an infection you don’t have to catch.
7. It is now super, but not in a good way. Due to antibiotic resistance, treatment of gonorrhea is becoming more complicated. We are seeing more patients who don’t respond to the first course of treatment. Consider antibiotic resistance if symptoms persists more than three days after completion of treatment.

Now, about The Clap.

gonorrhea1

Traditionally, there have been three theories about why gonorrhea used to be commonly called the clap, only one of which sound legitimate to me.
1. Treatment (allegedly) used to involved ‘clapping’ a book together around the penis to expel the discharge. Not only does that not make sense, I can’t imagine men letting someone smash their penis in that manner, when you could just ‘milk’ the discharge out (no pun intended). This is a very common explanation, though…
2. The clap may be a mispronunciation of the phrase ‘the collapse’, which is what gonorrhea was called by medics when GIs were being infected with gonorrhea in WWII.
3. Finally, perhaps, clap is derived from the French word for brothel, “clapper.” Makes sense if you’re in Paris, but in NY, why wouldn’t it have been called ‘the broth’, because that’s kind of how it looks… Sorry if you’re reading this during breakfast. Then again, I did spare you a picture of genital gonorrhea.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Public Health Has Saved More Lives Than Medical Care

healthweek

When I tell most people I have a degree in public health, the typical response involves an assumption that public health involves caring exclusively for the indigent. I guess if you watched the news you could get that impression as well. Public health is the discipline dedicated to optimizing care for populations. Over the course of my career, I’ve cared for a lot of patients as a physician, and I’ve actually saved a few lives. However, the work I’ve done as a public health professional has affected millions. The opportunity to work in public health is extremely gratifying.
public health
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the field of public health has been responsible for adding 25 years to the life expectancy of U.S. citizens over the 20th century. In this post I’d like to review the “Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century.” Hopefully, this will cause you to reflect on how these discoveries, innovations and habit promotion affect your life and provide you opportunities to live a healthier life. These are being presented in no particular order.

Top10AchievementsPH

  1. Control of infectious diseases: The combination of hand washing, improved sanitation and appropriate use of antibiotics has saved untold millions. Examples of once prominent diseases being much better controlled include cholera, tuberculosis and even sexually transmitted infections.
  2. Decrease in deaths from heart disease and stroke: The combination of risk modification, symptoms recognition and early treatment has contributed to a reduction in death rates by over 50% in the last four decades.
  3. Family planning and contraceptive services: Innovations include barrier contraception to prevent pregnancy and transmission of HIV and other STDs, pre-pregnancy screening and counseling, promotion of smaller family size, longer intervals between children and the development of prenatal assessment.
  4. Food safety and healthier food production: Food safety has involved reduction in contaminated food sources, better portion control, improvement of nutrition and appropriate components of meals. Fortification of foods has nearly eliminated once prominent diseases such as rickets, goiters and pellagra.
  5. Fluoridation of drinking water: Multiple benefits exists including better infectious control and prevention of tooth decay. It’s estimated to have reduced tooth decay and loss by 40-70% since its inception in the 1940s.
  6. Healthy mothers and babies: It is astounding that infant mortality rates dropped 90% and maternal mortality rates dropped 99% during the last century. The combination of better prenatal care, technological advances and better hygiene and nutrition all have played an important role.
  7. Motor vehicle safety: Seat belts, child safety seats, motorcycle helmets, speed limits, air bags, safer highways and reduction in drinking and driving have all led to substantial reductions in deaths from motor vehicle crashes.
  8. Recognition of tobacco as a health hazard: Today there are more former smokers than current smokers and untold million of lives have been saved since the 1964 Surgeon General’s report on the health risks of smoking.
  9. Vaccinations: It wasn’t long ago in history when epidemics of measles, polio and influenza were killing tens of thousands of people annually. Rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, Hemophilus and other diseases have been brought under control. Smallpox has been eradicated as a disease due to immunizations.
  10. Workplace safety: Elimination of workplace health hazards such as black lung (coal workers’ pneumoconiosis), silicosis, asbestos poisoning and reductions in injuries related to occupational hazards have reduced fatal occupational injuries by approximately 40% in the last 30 years.

Public_Health_Ounce

These efforts don’t occur by accident and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Public health is a clear example of important, appropriate and effective societal collaboration for the betterment of us all. Next time you see a public health professional, give her or him a pat on the back. More importantly, take the time to review the above listing and be sure you’ve incorporated the items into your life.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: The Medical Complications and Medication Treatment of Alcoholism

liver-cirrhosis

 
There are interesting commonalities of certain drugs like alcohol and cigarettes. One is users that really enjoy them are able to do so for a long time while being oblivious to the growing danger those activities pose. Another commonality is even more so than mentally, when things go wrong physiologically, they really go very wrong.
Possible Complications
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse pose threats to many aspects of your health, including the following.

Symptoms in alcoholic liver disease copy

  • Birth defects (fetal alcohol syndrome)
  • Bleeding throughout your digestive tract, including the esophagus (up to and including rupture), gastritis (inflammation of the stomach) and ulcer disease.
  • Brain cell damage
  • Brain disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (includes dementia, mental status changes)
  • Cancer of the esophagus, liver, colon, and other areas
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle (period)
  • Delirium tremens (DT’s)
  • Dementia and memory loss
  • Depression and suicide

Liver-Damage

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Heart damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risks for behavioral disorders including depression and suicide
  • Increased risks for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Increased risks for trauma, including motor vehicle collisions, violence and head injuries with intracranial bleeding
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Insomnia
  • Liver disease, including alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis and cancer
  • Nerve damage
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Treatment
alcoholism_treatment
Medical goals and patient goals are often different and seem to depend on the extent of perceptible injury that has occurred at the time of the decision to quit drinking. Often, patients will want to reduce drinking instead of stopping completely. Continued drinking in moderation is only as viable an option as the patient’s level of alcohol-related level of disease and the patient’s ability to stay limited in consumption and focused toward that goal.
Ideally, abstinence (the complete stopping of alcohol intake) is the goal, and it needs to be the goal if and when the desire to stop drinking is coupled with the presence of significant alcohol-related disease.
As everyone knows, the management of alcoholism requires multiple simultaneous approaches, including family and social networks.  It is often the family network that helps the alcoholic come to the understanding that alcohol intake has disrupted his or her ability to function normally. It is a most unfortunate occurrence when this has not occurred prior to the development of significant medical disease. Individuals with alcohol problems are more likely to take the steps necessary to successfully withdraw from alcohol use.
Regarding the medical aspects of alcohol cessation, withdrawal is a very important consideration and is best done in a controlled manner. Components of effective withdrawal address the various medical and mental health considerations reviewed earlier and medical avoidance treatment.
Medical avoidance treatment includes medicine that prevent relapse via various methods, and they include the following:

  • Antabuse (generic name: disulfiram) is a well-known and commonly used medicine that works by producing very unpleasant side effects with virtually any alcohol intake within two weeks of taking the medicine.
  • Naltrexone (brand name: Vivitrol) is an injectable medicine that works to decrease alcohol cravings.
  • Acamprosate is a drug that has been shown to lower relapse rates in those who are dependent on alcohol.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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The Straight, No Chaser Comprehensive Safe Sex Guide

safe-sex-no-regrets
This edition of Straight, No Chaser is a keepsake, whether for your own reference or as a conversation piece/teaching guide for others. I suspect that due to the volume and wealth of information contained within, you’ll refer to this post time and again (or so I hope). For additional information, refer to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and/or the National Institutes of Health websites.
Talking_Partner_STD
STAYING STD-FREE
The best ways to stay STI free is to confirm it and then avoid it. If you want to reduce your risk of acquiring HIV and other STIs (sexually transmitted infections) through sexual contact, here are your options.

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Be monogamous.
  • Prove both you and your partner(s) are negative. Get yourself and your partner(s) tested, preferably prior to engaging in sexual activity and subsequently every three to six months, especially if you and/or your partner have more than one sexual partner.
  • If and once you establish that you’re STI-free, learn how to use condoms and do so every time you have sex.

A special note about protecting yourself from HIV
HIV can be spread by having unprotected sexual contact with an HIV-positive person. “Unprotected” means any vaginal, anal or oral sex without barrier protection, like a condom or dental dam. Some of the ways to reduce your risk of getting HIV through sexual contact include the following:

  • Don’t have sex. Abstinence is the best way to be certain that you won’t contract HIV. Although HIV is occasionally transmitted in other ways, vaginal, anal and oral sex are the most common ways that HIV is transmitted.
  • Be monogamous. To be clear, this means you are in a sexual relationship with only one person and both of you are having sex only with each other. For the purposes of contracting HIV, sex includes vaginal, oral or anal sexual activity. Monogamy is optimally effective if you also confirm early and often that both you and your partner are not infected with HIV.
  • Get yourself and your sexual partner(s) tested: Knowing your own status is important for both your health and the health of your partner. Talking about your HIV status likely will be difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s important to start the discussion BEFORE you have sex.

Repeal DADT logo-2
FRANKLY, “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” IS JUST DUMB WHEN IT COMES TO STIs.
This is actually quite simple. No excuses. You need to ask your sexual partner(s) and any possible future partners the following questions.

  • Have you been tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • When was the last time you were tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • If you’ve been tested, what were the results of your tests?

STDlights
SAFER-SEX ACTIVITIES
These activities carry no risk of HIV transmission:

  • Non-sexual massage
  • Casual or dry kissing
  • Masturbation (without your partner’s body fluids)
  • Frottage—also known as “dry humping” or body-to-body rubbing

You can still contract other STIs, like herpes, HPV, or pubic lice (“crabs”) if you have bare skin-to-skin contact with your partner.
howToUseCondoms
CONDOM USE
Here are two questions for both males and females.

  • Have you ever learned how to safely and appropriately use condoms?
  • Do you use condoms consistently?

To maximally reduce your risk of getting HIV or other STIs, you must use a new condom with every act of vaginal, anal or oral sex. If you don’t use them for oral but do for vaginal and anal, you have still lowered your risk, just not as much as you could have. Also, you must use condoms correctly, as depicted in the above diagram, to appropriately reduce your risk. Learning correct usage also will keep condoms from breaking or slipping off, which reintroduces the risks.
I also want you to understand that all condoms are not created equal. Latex condoms are highly effective against HIV and other STIs. Do you or your partner have a latex allergy? If so, the next safest condom choice is a polyurethane or polyisoprene condom. Just tell your pharmacist at the drug store that you’re allergic to latex, and s/he’ll take it from there. On the other hand, lambskin condoms do NOT protect against HIV. The particle size of the virus allows it to maneuver and slip through lambskin.
Condoms alone have never been enough. Did you know that you should always use a water-based lubricant when you use a condom for either vaginal or anal sex?  I want to restate this: that’s water, not petroleum jelly. Water-based lubricants reduce friction and help keep the condom from breaking. Do NOT use an oil-based lubricant (such as petroleum jelly, hand lotion or cooking oil). Oil-based lubricants can damage condoms, making them less effective.
Both male condoms and female condoms will help protect you against HIV and other STIs. If you’ve learned to enjoy sex with a male condom, you can learn to enjoy it with a female condom or a dental dam. Additionally, there are many of you who have contracted STIs. If you wish to continue to enjoy a variety of sexual activities, learning to use the full range of barrier protection may be a better option for you and your partner than abstaining.
Condoms do not provide 100% protection against all STIs, but you are always safer using a condom than not. You can get certain STIs, like herpes or HPV, from contact with your partner’s bare skin, even if one of you is wearing a condom, but condoms lessen the risk. Take the time to explore and inspect each other if you’re confused or concerned about the possibility of your partner having an STI.
Spermicides only serve the purpose of reducing the risk of becoming pregnant. They are ineffective in preventing contraction of HIV and other STIs. They actually irritate rectal and vaginal walls, in effect increasing the chances of HIV infection, should infected fluids come into contact with these areas.
sex-toys-300x285
ABOUT SEX TOYS
This is pretty straightforward. Using sex toys can be safe, but think of staying clean and “not sharing.”

  • It is important that you use soap and water to clean your toys after each use. If the instructions allow for a stronger disinfectant, you may do so.
  • As a rule, don’t share your toys. The nature of how toys are typically used likely increases the risk of vaginal or anal irritation, which increases the risk for HIV or other STI transmission.
  • If you “must” share your toy with your partner while still trying to be safe, use a condom on the toy before you use it, and change the condom before your partner uses it.

circumcision None Required
CIRCUMCISION
We’ve discussed circumcision at length in Straight, No Chaser. (Click here for a dedicated post on circumcision.) There has been ongoing interest and research over the past few years about circumcision and its effect on preventing HIV infection. The bottom line? In 2007, the World Health Organization reported that male circumcision reduced the transmission of HIV by 60% from women to men in three randomized, controlled studies in Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa.
There is much less available data for men who have sex with men and how circumcision might affect HIV transmission through anal sex. In addition, recent studies show that circumcision does NOT protect women from contracting HIV from male partners.
Let’s be careful in interpreting the results of these findings.

  • Circumcision is only additionally effective when earlier preventative efforts have not been taken. Advocating circumcision is not an appropriate substitute for any of the numerous safety measures and habits previously discussed to reduce one’s risk for HIV and other STIs.
  • Failure to have a circumcision does NOT increase one’s HIV and other STI risk in the presence of appropriate safe-sex activities.

So there you have it. Knowledge is power. We appreciate that this posting was not balanced by the human decisions and passions that come into place with sexual activity. We recommend that you adopt a posture of “safety first” to create that balance! Good luck, and feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser Vlog: Sexually Transmitted Infections (Diseases)


The Straight, No Chaser vlog series presents “health care basics” to keep you safe, healthy and out of the emergency room. If you’ve been a regular or even an infrequent follower of Straight, No Chaser, you know we’ve had a lot to say on sexually transmitted infections (diseases). Today we revisit the topic because out of sight is not out of mind when it comes to these. So give us two minutes of your time, and let’s see if you’re up to speed with your healthy habits! Happy Holidays!
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser: Your HIV and STD Risks From Sexual Activities Other Than Intercourse

sexual-risk-factors-2

Today, your sexual IQ goes up, and hopefully your risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, goes down.
This is the fifth  post in a series on HIV and AIDS.

  • For an explanation of what AIDS is, click here.
  • For an explanation of how HIV is contracted, click here.
  • For an explanation of the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS, click here.
  • For an explanation of the risk of contracting HIV from specific acts of sexual intercourse, click here.

Here are some terms you should understand.
Rimming: oral-anal contact
Fingering: digital sexual stimulation
Now let’s review.

xoxo_logo_900px_en-jpg

Performing Oral Sex On A Man

  • You can get HIV by performing oral sex on your male partner. The risk is not as pronounced as it is with unprotected vaginal or anal sex, but oral sex clearly is a mode of transmitting HIV.
  • You are also at risk for getting other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including herpes, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Using condoms during oral sex reduces the risk of contracting HIV and other STIs.
  • Your risk of contracting HIV from oral sex is reduced if your male partner does not ejaculate in your mouth.
  • Your risk of contracting HIV from oral sex is reduced if you do not have open sores or cuts in your mouth.

Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Man

  • The risk of contracting HIV is less with receiving oral sex than many other sexual activities, but it is still present.
  • Your risk of contracting HIV from receiving oral sex is reduced if you do not have open sores or cuts on your penis.
  • Oral sex also presents a risk of contracting other STIs, most notably herpes.

Performing Oral Sex On A Woman

  • Significant levels of HIV have been found in vaginal secretions, so there is a risk of contracting HIV from this activity, although the risk is not a great with other sexual activities.
  • It is also possible to contract other STIs from performing oral sex on a woman.
  • There are effective barriers you can use to protect yourself from contact with your partner’s vaginal fluids. You can  use dental dams or non-microwaveable plastic wrap to protect against HIV and other STIs. (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plastic wrap that can be microwaved will not protect you—viruses are small enough to pass through that type of wrap.)

Receiving Oral Sex If You Are A Woman

  • The risk for contracting HIV while receiving oral sex is significantly lower than for unprotected vaginal sex, but it is still present.
  • It is also possible to contract other STIs while receiving oral sex.
  • There are effective barriers you can use (cut-open unlubricated condom, dental dam, or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over your vulva to protect yourself from STIs.

Oral-Anal Contact (Rimming)

  • The risk of contracting HIV by rimming is very low but comes with a high risk of transmitting hepatitis A and B, parasites, and other bacteria to the partner who is doing the rimming.
  • You should use a barrier method (cut-open unlubricated condom, dental dam, or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over the anus to protect against infection.

Digital Stimulation (Fingering)

  • There is a very small risk of getting HIV from fingering your partner if you have cuts or sores on your fingers and your partner has cuts or sores in the rectum or vagina.
  • The use medical-grade gloves and water-based lubricants can during fingering eliminates this risk.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask questions or provide comments. I cannot more highly endorse the websites at cdc.gov and the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Your HIV and STD Risks From Specific Acts of Sexual Intercourse

stirisks

Let’s be clear that we’re explicitly discussing the types of sexual behaviors that will lead to transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Over the next two days, we will run the gamut of sexual behavior and its implications.
This is the fourth in an ongoing series on HIV and AIDS.

  • For an explanation of what AIDS is, click here.
  • For an explanation of how HIV is contracted, click here.
  • For an explanation of the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS, click here.

What I hope to accomplish here is to identify those activities that place you at significant risk for contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections  (STIs). The take-home message is you really should identify your partner’s health status before you begin sexual activity.
Today we will focus on four types of sexual activity and discuss the risks of each. Let’s start with some terminology.

  • Receptive sex risks speak to risks to the receiver.
  • Insertive sex risks speak to risks to the giver.
  • Bottoming is a way of describing receptive anal sex.
  • Topping is a way of describing insertive anal sex.

Now, let’s review.

lower-sex-risk-2

Receptive Vaginal Sex

  • Vaginal sex without a condom is a high-risk behavior for HIV infection.
  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • If you currently have an STI or vaginal infection, your risk for contracting/transmitting HIV is increased because your tissue will be inflamed. This has nothing to do with the presence or absence of symptoms.
  • Female condoms protect HIV infection if used correctly. However, the risk still exists for any area exposed and infected (in the presence of an open sore or bleeding, for example).
  • Barrier birth control methods (such as diaphragms, IUDs and cervical caps) DO NOT protect against STIs or HIV infection. If infected semen or sperm contracts inflamed or otherwise injured vaginal tissue, the risk of transmission/contraction is present.
  • Birth control pills do not protect against HIV or other STIs.

Insertive Vaginal Sex

  • HIV is transmitted from men to women much more easily than from women to men during vaginal sex, but the risks are significant for both.
  • Condom use is a critical means of protection against STIs that are present without obvious symptoms. Use condoms with a water-based lubricant every time you have insertive vaginal sex to prevent STIs, including HIV.

Receptive Anal Sex (Bottoming)

  • Bottoming without a condom provides the highest risk for contracting HIV, more so than any other sexual behavior.
  • HIV has been identified in pre-ejaculatory semen. “Pulling out” prior to ejaculation may not decrease your risk.
  • Rectal douching before anal sex can increase your HIV risk. Douching irritates the rectal tissue and can make you more receptive to contracting HIV. Soap and water in a non-abrasive manner are adequate means of cleanliness.
  • If bottoming, you will best minimize the risk of transmitting HIV and other STIs by always using a water-based lubricant with a latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene condom. This will help to minimize irritation to the rectum during sex and subsequent transmission.

Insertive Anal Sex (Topping)

  • Topping without a condom is a high-risk behavior for transmission of HIV and other STIs. An infection may be present. If small sores, scratches or tears are also present, they would provide a ready path of entry and transmission of HIV.
  • Similarly, those same lesions in your partners rectum could harbor infected cells in blood, feces or other fluid, which, when contacted, could infect you through your penis.

Check back for the next post in this series on HIV/AIDS. It will focus on HIV and STD risks from sexual activities other than intercourse.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Living With An Incurable Sexually Transmitted Infection

STD living well

You’ve requested it, and it’s only fair. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs, STIs). It’s reasonable to discuss living with an STD. The first point to appreciate is most STDs can be treated; that’s been discussed at length in several previous posts. Next you should understand that those that can’t be treated don’t represent a death sentence. STDs are simply diseases. To be clear you will need to make adjustments to you life, and this Straight, No Chaser will discuss those.
Even if you were irresponsible in acquiring an STD, you must be learn to be responsible in managing it once it’s known that you have an incurable STD such as HPV or HIV/AIDS. Refer back to the Straight, No Chaser Comprehensive Safe Sex Guide for details.

std incurable

There are important differences between managing different diseases. Putting HIV/AIDS aside momentarily, consider the following general considerations regarding herpes or HPV.

  • You can live a mostly normal life with these conditions. Unless you’re in the midst of a herpes outbreak or are showing the warts of HPV, you will appear normal. Every other positive attribute you possess will still be intact. Use that positivity to help you through.
  • It’s only fair and reasonable to have a conversation with existing and/or new sexual partners about your condition. You and your partner should meet with your physician to discuss risks and possibilities. You will want this information to make informed decisions about what you choose to do moving forward.
  • If you are showing symptoms or in the midst of an outbreak, you should avoid any sexual activity.
  • Unless you’re in the midst of an outbreak, you can have sex. Remember that these STDs can be transmitted even in the absence of symptoms, so please protect yourself and your partner.

A really reasonable way to think about having sex with an incurable STD is to think about kissing someone with a cold or the flu. You could still do it, but you’re likely to be at risk. When the symptoms aren’t there, your partner could still be a carrier of the disease and could still give you the disease. Your better course of action is to wait until all symptoms are gone and then still be careful.

std living facts

You have to simultaneously appreciate that your life will be approximately normal, even as you’ve had a significant change. Even as you get about living the rest of your life, you should be aware of risks that can cause an outbreak.

  • Of course intercourse is a very risky activity. Couples who have been exposed to one STD are likely to have been exposed to multiple. You don’t want to “ping-pong” diseases between you and your partner. Follow the recommended guidelines for having and avoiding sex based on your symptoms.
  • Surgery, trauma or any cause of a reduced immune system can produce an outbreak. If you’re diabetic, on steroids, have lupus or other conditions that affect the immune system, have a conversation with your physician.

STD living

At some point, you’ll get over the guilt and shame associated with having an untreatable STD and start focusing on the rest of your life. Be sure to live that life so it’s not causing more damage along the way; out of sight can’t be out of mind with an incurable STD. Be especially mindful of your risks of giving your partner your disease, both from specific acts of intercourse and from other sexual activities besides intercourse. Remember, these diseases all affect more than sex; managing these diseases is managing your health.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Bacterial Vaginosis – No, That’s Not a STD

BV1

I try to give you straight talk but never crudely. As I’ve discussed conditions involving the genitalia, I’ve been mindful of the reality that large numbers of you have been affected by sexual transmitted diseases/infections (aka STDs/STIs), and I will always be respectful of that consideration. That doesn’t mean I’m sugar-coating your information, it just means I am aware that you’re suffering and concerned by different scenarios.

bv anyone

One of those is bacterial vaginosis. There is an age after which women invariably start discovering that various things they do can disrupt the appearance, smell and content of their vaginal fluid. It’s certainly human nature to wonder if something has gone terribly wrong. Let’s pick up our Doctor-Couple conversation from earlier
Patient: Yep! I have this grayish/whitish discharge that only happens after sex. And sometimes it itches around there. And it burns when I pee! No rashes or that other stuff, though.
Doctor: Ok. Let’s examine you…

bv thrush

All humans have various microorganisms that normally reside inside us at relatively low levels; different microorganisms inhabit different part of the body. They’ve set up a delicate balance (like an ecosystem, if you will) that, once settled doesn’t disturb us (their hosts) at all. If external or internal circumstances disturb that balance such that one set of organisms is disproportionately affected, overgrowth of the other organisms may occur. Many of you will recognize this as happening when you get a ‘yeast’ infection. It’s also what occurs when you develop bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is the most common vaginal infection in the U.S. It’s more likely to be seen when you start having unprotected sex with a new partner, have multiple sex partners, are pregnant or douche (therefore, women who are not sexually active can have BV also). By the way, you don’t get BV from toilet seats or swimming pools.

bv causes

The question everyone always has is “What’s the role of sex, especially sperm, in it?”. That’s asked because BV is often noticed after unprotected sex that includes ejaculation. Here’s where you learn the difference between ‘sexually transmitted’ and ‘sexually associated’. It is unclear what role sex has in the development of BV, but common thoughts include alterations in the pH of the vaginal fluid based on interactions with sperm/semen. It is known that the pH of women become more alkaline (less acidic) after exposure to semen, and that environment produces compounds causing the ‘fishy smell’. Yes, that’s real.  We even have a real thing call a ‘whiff test’ as part of making the diagnosis.
The good news is BV is easily treated. The bad news is it needs to be treated, and it can recur even if it’s treated. Remember, it’s just an overgrowth syndrome.  There are complications to not getting BV treated, especially if you’re pregnant. This makes it especially important that medication be taken to completion, even though you may feel better prior to that. Male partners do not need to be treated.
So this couple gets ‘off the hook’, even though they may decide to start using condoms.  Next we will focus on the risks of various sexual activities. Stay tuned.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: STDs – Syphilis, The Great Mimicker

Today, Straight, No Chaser will present two phrases that you may not have previously heard: The Great Mimicker and MSM, and that means we’re discussing what has historically been a devastating disease: syphilis. Historically, syphilis really is the most important sexually transmitted disease (For what it’s worth, it’s thought that Columbus’ crew spread the disease between the Americas and Europe.). The great mimicker nickname as applied to syphilis exists because syphilis has many general symptoms that resemble and are often confused with other diseases. MSM points to the fact that treatment in the early stages is so complete that syphilis had been rapidly in decline – until it’s reemergence in a specific population. It is estimated that well over 60% of reported early stage cases of syphilis occurs in men who have sex with men (MSM).
In this review, I want to specifically address the symptoms, which are impressively and dramatically different depending on the stage.
syphilis1
Stage I – Primary Syphilis: Primary syphilis usually presents with the presence of a single, painless sore (a chancre), located wherever it was contracted. As pictured above, the head (glans) of the penis is a typical site. The sore disappears in 3-6 weeks (with or without treatment), and if treatment wasn’t received, the disease progresses. Herein lies the problems. Because it’s painless, you ignore it, perhaps thinking it was a friction sore, or you never gave it much of a thought. Because it went away on its own, you forget about it, thinking that it got better. So sad, so wrong…
syphilis2Syphilis-hands
Stage II – Secondary Syphilis: When syphilis returns days to weeks (more typically) after the primary infection, it does so quite dramatically. Rashes can appear everywhere, including across your back (as noted above) and chest to on your palms and soles, in your mouth, groin, vagina, anus, or armpits. The rash could be warts (condyloma lata) or flat. You should be scared, but you might not be because… the rash and the other symptoms again will disappear on its own. Despite what you may think intuitively, you really don’t want that to happen.
Latent Syphilis: Dormant syphilis can stay that way for decades after secondary syphilis has occurred. What you don’t know can hurt you. Syphilis can be transmitted during the earlier portion of latent phases, including to an unborn child.
Syphilis3
Tertiary Syphilis: Late stage syphilis is a disturbing thing to see (and obviously experience). The disease can result in death, causing damage to the brain, heart, liver, bones, joints, eyes, the nervous system and blood vessels. Before it kills you, it can result in blindness, paralysis, dementia and loss of motor control. If you don’t know how the research discovering all of this was conducted, for now I’ll just say it was one of the most shameful acts of medical history. I’ll blog on it later. The individuals in the above picture were alive when these pictures were taken, by the way.
A special note: The microorganism causing syphilis is rather aggressive, so much so that it can be transmitted by oral, anal or genital sexual contact. By oral, I also mean kissing. Pay attention to those oral sores. Furthermore, syphilis gets transmitted from mother to unborn child. This is a devastating occurrence – if untreated, a child may be born prematurely, with low birth weight or even stillborn. If untreated, once born, a child may suffer deafness, seizures and cataracts before death.
Prevention and Treatment Considerations: Advanced syphilis is especially disheartening because it is so easily treated and prevented. Prevention is as simple as always wearing condoms, being in a monogamous relationship with someone confirmed not to have it, checking your sexual partner prior to sex and not engaging in sex if any type of sore/ulcer is in the mouth, genitalia or anal region. Regarding treatment, syphilis once upon a time was quite the plague until penicillin was discovered; treating syphilis is how penicillin ‘made a name’ for itself. Treatment with penicillin easily kills syphilis but unfortunately does nothing for damage that has already occurred. Remember that treating syphilis at any point can prevent the most severe complications that lead to death.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: STDs – Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea_enHD_1
Some of you are old enough to remember when Gonorrhea was called ‘The Clap’, but do any of you know why it was called that? Read on for the answer. In the meantime, realize how disgusting a disease this is. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that well over 800,000 cases of gonorrhea occur yearly. To make matters worse, have you heard about the new ‘Super Gonorrhea’? Don’t let this happen to you.

Here’s what I want you to know about Gonorrhea:

Gonorrhea

1. It’s a real good reason to wear condoms and a just as good of a reason to wash your hands. Gonorrhea most commonly presents with no symptoms (more often the case in women), but it has two symptoms that won’t let you forget it. It’s the STD that may present with burning upon urination so severe that you feel like you are peeing razor blades. It’s also defined by copious discharge. If you’re exuding white, yellow or green pus, think gonorrhea. As was the case with Chlamydia, it can affect the rectum (proctitis) or a portion of the testicles (epidydimitis), as well as the throat or eyes. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, gents.

PHIL_3766

2. It’s contagious. If you’re sexually active with someone infected, odds are you’ll get it. It can be acquired via oral, vaginal or anal sex, and ejaculation isn’t required for transmission. Even worse, that means you can pass it to your newborn child (There’s even a name for the condition: ophthalmia neonatorum, as seen in the above picture.).
2. Treatment doesn’t prevent you from reacquiring it. If you don’t change the behavior, you won’t change the future risk.

gonorrhea dc

3. If both partners aren’t treated, then neither is treated. This can just get passed back and forth like a ping-pong ball. If you have several sexual partners, you’ll manage to introduce a lot of drama into a lot of lives. If you are treated, you should not engage in sexual activity until one week after your partner has completed treatment.
4. It causes serious complications. PID (pelvic inflammatory disease – a complication of untreated Gonorrhea and Chlamydia) is a serious enough topic to warrant its own post, but untreated infections lead to infertility and an increased rate of tubal (ectopic) pregnancies. Gonorrhea also spreads through the blood and joints. Many of these complications are life-threatening.

gonorrhea stat

5. STDs hang out together. Gonorrhea that goes untreated increases the chances of acquiring or transmitting HIV/AIDS. An infection with Gonorrhea should prompt treatment for other STDs and testing for HIV. It is generally assumed that if you have gonorrhea, you’ve likely been infected with Chlamydia.
6. It is easily prevented and treated. Wear condoms each time, every time. Get evaluated early with the development of signs or symptoms. Discuss the discovery of Gonorrhea with all sexual contacts from the last several months. This is an infection you don’t have to catch.
7. It is now super, but not in a good way. Due to antibiotic resistance, treatment of gonorrhea is becoming more complicated. We are seeing more patients who don’t respond to the first course of treatment. Consider antibiotic resistance if symptoms persists more than three days after completion of treatment.

Now, about The Clap.

gonorrhea1

Traditionally, there have been three theories about why gonorrhea used to be commonly called the clap, only one of which sound legitimate to me.
1. Treatment (allegedly) used to involved ‘clapping’ a book together around the penis to expel the discharge. Not only does that not make sense, I can’t imagine men letting someone smash their penis in that manner, when you could just ‘milk’ the discharge out (no pun intended). This is a very common explanation, though…
2. The clap may be a mispronunciation of the phrase ‘the collapse’, which is what gonorrhea was called by medics when GIs were being infected with gonorrhea in WWII.
3. Finally, perhaps, clap is derived from the French word for brothel, “clapper.” Makes sense if you’re in Paris, but in NY, why wouldn’t it have been called ‘the broth’, because that’s kind of how it looks… Sorry if you’re reading this during breakfast. Then again, I did spare you a picture of genital gonorrhea.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: The Medical Complications and Medication Treatment of Alcoholism

liver-cirrhosis

 
There are interesting commonalities of certain drugs like alcohol and cigarettes. One is users that really enjoy them are able to do so for a long time while being oblivious to the growing danger those activities pose. Another commonality is even more so than mentally, when things go wrong physiologically, they really go very wrong.
Possible Complications
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse pose threats to many aspects of your health, including the following.

Symptoms in alcoholic liver disease copy

  • Birth defects (fetal alcohol syndrome)
  • Bleeding throughout your digestive tract, including the esophagus (up to and including rupture), gastritis (inflammation of the stomach) and ulcer disease.
  • Brain cell damage
  • Brain disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (includes dementia, mental status changes)
  • Cancer of the esophagus, liver, colon, and other areas
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle (period)
  • Delirium tremens (DT’s)
  • Dementia and memory loss
  • Depression and suicide

Liver-Damage

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Heart damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risks for behavioral disorders including depression and suicide
  • Increased risks for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Increased risks for trauma, including motor vehicle collisions, violence and head injuries with intracranial bleeding
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Insomnia
  • Liver disease, including alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis and cancer
  • Nerve damage
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Treatment
alcoholism_treatment
Medical goals and patient goals are often different and seem to depend on the extent of perceptible injury that has occurred at the time of the decision to quit drinking. Often, patients will want to reduce drinking instead of stopping completely. Continued drinking in moderation is only as viable an option as the patient’s level of alcohol-related level of disease and the patient’s ability to stay limited in consumption and focused toward that goal.
Ideally, abstinence (the complete stopping of alcohol intake) is the goal, and it needs to be the goal if and when the desire to stop drinking is coupled with the presence of significant alcohol-related disease.
As everyone knows, the management of alcoholism requires multiple simultaneous approaches, including family and social networks.  It is often the family network that helps the alcoholic come to the understanding that alcohol intake has disrupted his or her ability to function normally. It is a most unfortunate occurrence when this has not occurred prior to the development of significant medical disease. Individuals with alcohol problems are more likely to take the steps necessary to successfully withdraw from alcohol use.
Regarding the medical aspects of alcohol cessation, withdrawal is a very important consideration and is best done in a controlled manner. Components of effective withdrawal address the various medical and mental health considerations reviewed earlier and medical avoidance treatment.
Medical avoidance treatment includes medicine that prevent relapse via various methods, and they include the following:

  • Antabuse (generic name: disulfiram) is a well-known and commonly used medicine that works by producing very unpleasant side effects with virtually any alcohol intake within two weeks of taking the medicine.
  • Naltrexone (brand name: Vivitrol) is an injectable medicine that works to decrease alcohol cravings.
  • Acamprosate is a drug that has been shown to lower relapse rates in those who are dependent on alcohol.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Public Health Has Saved More Lives Than Medical Care

healthweek

When I tell most people I have a degree in public health, the typical response involves an assumption that public health involves caring exclusively for the indigent. I guess if you watched the news you could get that impression as well. Public health is the discipline dedicated to optimizing care for populations. Over the course of my career, I’ve cared for a lot of patients as a physicians, and I’ve actually saved a few lives. However, the work I’ve done as a public health professional has affected millions. The opportunity to work in public health is extremely gratifying.
public health
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the field of public health has been responsible for adding 25 years to the life expectancy of U.S. citizens over the 20th century. In this post I’d like to review the “Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century.” Hopefully, this will cause you to reflect on how these discoveries, innovations and habit promotion affect your life and provide you opportunities to live a healthier life. These are being presented in no particular order.

Top10AchievementsPH

  1. Control of infectious diseases: The combination of hand washing, improved sanitation and appropriate use of antibiotics has saved untold millions. Examples of once prominent diseases being much better controlled include cholera, tuberculosis and even sexually transmitted infections.
  2. Decrease in deaths from heart disease and stroke: The combination of risk modification, symptoms recognition and early treatment has contributed to a reduction in death rates by over 50% in the last four decades.
  3. Family planning and contraceptive services: Innovations include barrier contraception to prevent pregnancy and transmission of HIV and other STDs, pre-pregnancy screening and counseling, promotion of smaller family size, longer intervals between children and the development of prenatal assessment.
  4. Food safety and healthier food production: Food safety has involved reduction in contaminated food sources, better portion control, improvement of nutrition and appropriate components of meals. Fortification of foods has nearly eliminated once prominent diseases such as rickets, goiters and pellagra.
  5. Fluoridation of drinking water: Multiple benefits exists including better infectious control and prevention of tooth decay. It’s estimated to have reduced tooth decay and loss by 40-70% since its inception in the 1940s.
  6. Healthy mothers and babies: It is astounding that infant mortality rates dropped 90% and maternal mortality rates dropped 99% during the last century. The combination of better prenatal care, technological advances and better hygiene and nutrition all have played an important role.
  7. Motor vehicle safety: Seat belts, child safety seats, motorcycle helmets, speed limits, air bags, safer highways and reduction in drinking and driving have all led to substantial reductions in deaths from motor vehicle crashes.
  8. Recognition of tobacco as a health hazard: Today there are more former smokers than current smokers and untold million of lives have been saved since the 1964 Surgeon General’s report on the health risks of smoking.
  9. Vaccinations: It wasn’t long ago in history when epidemics of measles, polio and influenza were killing tens of thousands of people annually. Rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, Hemophilus and other diseases have been brought under control. Smallpox has been eradicated as a disease due to immunizations.
  10. Workplace safety: Elimination of workplace health hazards such as black lung (coal workers’ pneumoconiosis), silicosis, asbestos poisoning and reductions in injuries related to occupational hazards have reduced fatal occupational injuries by approximately 40% in the last 30 years.

Public_Health_Ounce

These efforts don’t occur by accident and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Public health is a clear example of important, appropriate and effective societal collaboration for the betterment of us all. Next time you see a public health professional, give her or him a pat on the back. More importantly, take the time to review the above listing and be sure you’ve incorporated the items into your life.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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The Straight, No Chaser Comprehensive Safe Sex Guide

safe-sex-no-regrets
This edition of Straight, No Chaser is a keepsake, whether for your own reference or as a conversation piece/teaching guide for others. I suspect that due to the volume and wealth of information contained within, you’ll refer to this post time and again (or so I hope). For additional information, refer to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and/or the National Institutes of Health websites.
Talking_Partner_STD
STAYING STD-FREE
The best ways to stay STI free is to confirm it and then avoid it. If you want to reduce your risk of acquiring HIV and other STIs (sexually transmitted infections) through sexual contact, here are your options.

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Be monogamous.
  • Prove both you and your partner(s) are negative. Get yourself and your partner(s) tested, preferably prior to engaging in sexual activity and subsequently every three to six months, especially if you and/or your partner have more than one sexual partner.
  • If and once you establish that you’re STI-free, learn how to use condoms and do so every time you have sex.

A special note about protecting yourself from HIV
HIV can be spread by having unprotected sexual contact with an HIV-positive person. “Unprotected” means any vaginal, anal or oral sex without barrier protection, like a condom or dental dam. Some of the ways to reduce your risk of getting HIV through sexual contact include the following:

  • Don’t have sex. Abstinence is the best way to be certain that you won’t contract HIV. Although HIV is occasionally transmitted in other ways, vaginal, anal and oral sex are the most common ways that HIV is transmitted.
  • Be monogamous. To be clear, this means you are in a sexual relationship with only one person and both of you are having sex only with each other. For the purposes of contracting HIV, sex includes vaginal, oral or anal sexual activity. Monogamy is optimally effective if you also confirm early and often that both you and your partner are not infected with HIV.
  • Get yourself and your sexual partner(s) tested: Knowing your own status is important for both your health and the health of your partner. Talking about your HIV status likely will be difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s important to start the discussion BEFORE you have sex.

Repeal DADT logo-2
FRANKLY, “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” IS JUST DUMB WHEN IT COMES TO STIs.
This is actually quite simple. No excuses. You need to ask your sexual partner(s) and any possible future partners the following questions.

  • Have you been tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • When was the last time you were tested for HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and/or chlamydia?
  • If you’ve been tested, what were the results of your tests?

STDlights
SAFER-SEX ACTIVITIES
These activities carry no risk of HIV transmission:

  • Non-sexual massage
  • Casual or dry kissing
  • Masturbation (without your partner’s body fluids)
  • Frottage—also known as “dry humping” or body-to-body rubbing

You can still contract other STIs, like herpes, HPV, or pubic lice (“crabs”) if you have bare skin-to-skin contact with your partner.
howToUseCondoms
CONDOM USE
Here are two questions for both males and females.

  • Have you ever learned how to safely and appropriately use condoms?
  • Do you use condoms consistently?

To maximally reduce your risk of getting HIV or other STIs, you must use a new condom with every act of vaginal, anal or oral sex. If you don’t use them for oral but do for vaginal and anal, you have still lowered your risk, just not as much as you could have. Also, you must use condoms correctly, as depicted in the above diagram, to appropriately reduce your risk. Learning correct usage also will keep condoms from breaking or slipping off, which reintroduces the risks.
I also want you to understand that all condoms are not created equal. Latex condoms are highly effective against HIV and other STIs. Do you or your partner have a latex allergy? If so, the next safest condom choice is a polyurethane or polyisoprene condom. Just tell your pharmacist at the drug store that you’re allergic to latex, and s/he’ll take it from there. On the other hand, lambskin condoms do NOT protect against HIV. The particle size of the virus allows it to maneuver and slip through lambskin.
Condoms alone have never been enough. Did you know that you should always use a water-based lubricant when you use a condom for either vaginal or anal sex?  I want to restate this: that’s water, not petroleum jelly. Water-based lubricants reduce friction and help keep the condom from breaking. Do NOT use an oil-based lubricant (such as petroleum jelly, hand lotion or cooking oil). Oil-based lubricants can damage condoms, making them less effective.
Both male condoms and female condoms will help protect you against HIV and other STIs. If you’ve learned to enjoy sex with a male condom, you can learn to enjoy it with a female condom or a dental dam. Additionally, there are many of you who have contracted STIs. If you wish to continue to enjoy a variety of sexual activities, learning to use the full range of barrier protection may be a better option for you and your partner than abstaining.
Condoms do not provide 100% protection against all STIs, but you are always safer using a condom than not. You can get certain STIs, like herpes or HPV, from contact with your partner’s bare skin, even if one of you is wearing a condom, but condoms lessen the risk. Take the time to explore and inspect each other if you’re confused or concerned about the possibility of your partner having an STI.
Spermicides only serve the purpose of reducing the risk of becoming pregnant. They are ineffective in preventing contraction of HIV and other STIs. They actually irritate rectal and vaginal walls, in effect increasing the chances of HIV infection, should infected fluids come into contact with these areas.
sex-toys-300x285
ABOUT SEX TOYS
This is pretty straightforward. Using sex toys can be safe, but think of staying clean and “not sharing.”

  • It is important that you use soap and water to clean your toys after each use. If the instructions allow for a stronger disinfectant, you may do so.
  • As a rule, don’t share your toys. The nature of how toys are typically used likely increases the risk of vaginal or anal irritation, which increases the risk for HIV or other STI transmission.
  • If you “must” share your toy with your partner while still trying to be safe, use a condom on the toy before you use it, and change the condom before your partner uses it.

circumcision None Required
CIRCUMCISION
We’ve discussed circumcision at length in Straight, No Chaser. (Click here for a dedicated post on circumcision.) There has been ongoing interest and research over the past few years about circumcision and its effect on preventing HIV infection. The bottom line? In 2007, the World Health Organization reported that male circumcision reduced the transmission of HIV by 60% from women to men in three randomized, controlled studies in Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa.
There is much less available data for men who have sex with men and how circumcision might affect HIV transmission through anal sex. In addition, recent studies show that circumcision does NOT protect women from contracting HIV from male partners.
Let’s be careful in interpreting the results of these findings.

  • Circumcision is only additionally effective when earlier preventative efforts have not been taken. Advocating circumcision is not an appropriate substitute for any of the numerous safety measures and habits previously discussed to reduce one’s risk for HIV and other STIs.
  • Failure to have a circumcision does NOT increase one’s HIV and other STI risk in the presence of appropriate safe-sex activities.

So there you have it. Knowledge is power. We appreciate that this posting was not balanced by the human decisions and passions that come into place with sexual activity. We recommend that you adopt a posture of “safety first” to create that balance! Good luck, and feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
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