HIV AIDS

The term AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) refers to the
most advanced stages of an infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus
(HIV). The current definition of AIDS includes:

  • All HIV-infected people who have fewer than 200 CD4+ T cells
    (also called T4 cells). These cells are key infection fighters in the body’s
    immune system. Healthy adults often have CD4+ T-cell counts of around 600 or
    more.
  • HIV-infected people who have been diagnosed with 1 or more
    health conditions that affect people with advanced HIV disease. These conditions
    include certain cancers. They also include infections that occur because of
    HIV’s effect on the immune system (called opportunistic infections).

According to the CDC, about 1.5 million adults and teens are
living with HIV infection in the U.S. Many more people are living with HIV infection
outside the U.S., particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The HIV epidemic is still not
well-controlled in some parts of the world.

AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV
destroys or hurts immune system cells. It weakens the body’s ability to fight
infections and certain cancers. HIV is most often spread by having sex with an
infected partner whose HIV is not diagnosed or not under control. Another way to
spread HIV is by having contact with infected blood from contaminated needles,
syringes, or other drug equipment.

HIV can’t be cured. But it can be controlled. And much of the
damage from the infection can be reversed or prevented. But if HIV is left
untreated, serious infections and cancers occur because of the weakened immune
system. And the virus can be passed on to others.

The risk of becoming infected with HIV depends on the type of
activity. HIV is spread through blood, pre-seminal fluid and semen, fluids from the
vagina and rectum, and breastmilk. So these types of behaviors put people at risk
of
getting or becoming infected with HIV:

  • Having vaginal or anal sex with a person infected with HIV
    whose virus is not under control. Sexual contact is the most common way the
    virus is spread. The virus enters the body through the lining of the vagina,
    penis, rectum, or mouth during sexual activity. Unprotected anal sex has the
    highest risk of transmission.
  • Having multiple sex partners. This includes any partners
    whose HIV status is not known. It also includes a partner who has HIV, but whose
    virus is not under control. Or a partner who has poor or uncertain control of
    their HIV.
  • Having high-risk sexual partners. This includes a partner
    who is a sex worker, or someone who has sex with many other people. Or someone
    who uses IV drugs.
  • Sharing needles, syringes, or other drug equipment with
    someone with HIV whose virus is not under control.

Other factors that can put people at risk include:

  • Using alcohol and other
    drugs.
    These can harm someone’s judgment. They make it more likely that
    people will do risky things such as having unprotected sex.
  • Having a sexually transmitted
    disease (STD
    ). STDs can cause changes in the tissue of the vagina or
    penis. They can make it easier for HIV to pass while you’re having sex
  • Having an accidental stick
    from a needle or medical device contaminated with HIV
    . But it is rare
    for a person with HIV to spread the virus to a healthcare worker this way. Or
    for a healthcare worker to spread the virus to a patient.
  • Having a blood
    transfusion.
    HIV may also be spread through contact with infected blood.
    But the risk of getting HIV from blood transfusions is very low. This is because
    blood is screened for signs of HIV infection in the U.S.
  • Having sex without knowing
    your partner’s HIV status.

Risks to an unborn child. A
mother infected with HIV can give her baby the virus before or during birth. This
is
especially true if her HIV is not well controlled. She can also pass the virus by
breastfeeding. Pregnant women should always be tested and treated for HIV.

Being exposed to these things does not put you at risk for getting
HIV/AIDS:

  • Saliva
  • Sweat
  • Tears
  • Casual contact, such as sharing food utensils, towels, and
    bedding
  • Swimming pools
  • Telephones
  • Toilet seats
  • Biting insects (such as mosquitos)

Many people develop a flu-like illness within 2 to 6 weeks after
exposure to the HIV virus. But about 5 out of 10 people don’t have any symptoms at
all when they first become infected. In addition, the symptoms that do appear often
go away within a week to a month. And they are often mistaken for those of another
viral infection. These symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • General feeling of discomfort (malaise)
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Rash

Constant or severe symptoms may not show up for 10 years or more
after HIV first enters the body in adults. In children born with an HIV infection,
it may take 2 years for symptoms to appear. This period of no symptoms can be
different for each person. But during this time, HIV is actively infecting and
killing immune system cells. Its most clear effect is a decrease in the number of
CD4+ T cells. These cells are key infection fighters in the immune system.

As the immune system weakens, complications or symptoms begin to
appear. Symptoms of advanced HIV disease and AIDS may be different for each person.
Symptoms may include:

  • Lymph nodes that stay enlarged for more than 3 months
  • Lack of energy
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent fevers and sweats
  • Constant or frequent yeast infections (oral or vaginal)
  • Constant skin rashes or flaky skin
  • Diarrhea that keeps coming back
  • Short-term memory loss
  • One or more infections (opportunistic infections) linked to
    having a weakened immune system. These include tuberculosis and certain types of
    pneumonia.

Some people develop frequent and severe herpes infections. These
cause mouth, genital, or anal sores, or a painful nerve disease known as shingles.
Children may have delayed development or slowed growth (failure to thrive).

During the course of the HIV infection, most people have a slow
decline in the number of CD4+ T cells. Some people may have sudden and severe drops
in these cell counts.

The symptoms of HIV infection may look like other health
conditions. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis. Quick
diagnostic tests are available and early diagnosis is important.

There are several types of HIV tests used to diagnose HIV
infection. Early HIV infection often causes no symptoms. It must be found by testing
a person’s blood for disease-fighting proteins (antibodies) against HIV. Or the
virus itself can be detected. Tests used to find antigen-antibody are a preferred
method of testing. Antigens are foreign substances (virus). They cause a response
from the body’s immune system. Antibodies are made by the body to fight the
antigens. Testing for antibodies and the virus may not be positive until 2 to 12
weeks after infection. People exposed to HIV should be tested for HIV infection as
soon as they think they may have been exposed to the virus. In some cases a person
may have been recently exposed or possibly exposed to HIV and early testing is
negative. Then repeat testing in 2 to 12 weeks will often be advised. 

As with many other conditions, finding HIV early offers more
chances for successful treatment. Antiviral medicines for HIV can stop the virus
from further harming the body. This allows some or all of the damage to be healed.
People can then often live a normal life span and have a normal sex life and family
life.

There is currently no cure for HIV infection. But people who takes
the medicines and stay on them may be able to keep the virus completely under
control. Talk with your healthcare provider for more information regarding various
medicine therapies for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

A lot of research is being done to find a vaccine that might
either prevent HIV infection or help the body to better control HIV infection.
Currently, no vaccine has been shown to be effective enough to be used.

  • AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
    HIV destroys or hurts immune system cells. It weakens the body’s ability to
    fight infections and certain cancers.
  • HIV is most often spread by having sex with an infected
    partner. It can also spread by having contact with infected blood from
    contaminated needles, syringes, or other drug equipment.
  • A mother infected with HIV can give her baby the virus
    before or during birth. She can also pass the virus by breastfeeding.
  • Many people have a flu-like illness within 2 to 6 weeks
    after exposure to the HIV virus. But about 5 out of 10 people don’t have any
    symptoms at all at first.
  • HIV can’t be cured. But it can be controlled with antiviral
    medicines.

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare
provider:

  • Know the reason for your visit and what you want to
    happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want
    answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and
    remember what your provider tells you.
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and
    any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions
    your provider gives you.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how
    it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
  • Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the
    results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have
    the test or procedure.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date,
    time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have
    questions.

Endometrial Ablation Podcast

Endometrial Ablation Podcast

Detailed information on endometrial ablation, including the reasons and preparation for the procedure, how the procedure is performed, after care, an anatomical illustration of the female pelvic organs, an illustration of the menstrual cycle, and an illustration of an endometrial ablation procedure.

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Nasal Surgery: Preparing for Surgery

Nasal Surgery: Preparing for Surgery

Nasal surgery may be done at your
healthcare provider’s office, a surgery center, or a hospital. You will be told how
to
prepare for surgery. Follow these directions carefully. And be sure you have your
questions
answered before the procedure.

Before surgery

Follow all the instructions you are
given. Plus:

  • Tell your healthcare provider
    about any medicines you take. This includes over-the-counter medicines, herbs, and
    supplements. You may need to stop taking some or all of them before surgery.

  • Tell your healthcare provider
    if you have a pacemaker.

  • Do not take medicines
    containing aspirin or ibuprofen during the
    14 days before surgery, unless your healthcare
    provider tells you to do so.

  • Don’t drink or eat for
    8 hours before surgery.

  • Don’t wear makeup, jewelry, or contact lenses to surgery.

  • Have an adult family member
    or friend drive you home after surgery.

You may spend the night in the
hospital. This is uncommon. Your healthcare provider can talk about this possibility
with you. 

Anesthesia

You will be given medicine to keep
you from feeling pain during surgery. This is called anesthesia. Your healthcare
provider will talk with you about the type you will have. You may have 1 of 3 types.

  • Local anesthesia. This numbs the nose and area around it. You may also be given medicine
    to relax you. But you will remain awake. Expect to hear noises and see movement during
    the surgery.

  • Monitored anesthesia care. This makes you drowsy or lightly asleep during surgery.
    You can still expect to hear some sounds.

  • General anesthesia. This puts you into a state like deep sleep during surgery. You
    will hear and remember nothing.

High Blood Pressure/Hypertension

Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the
artery walls. The force is made with each heartbeat as blood is pumped from the
heart into the blood vessels.  This is called systolic blood pressure. Blood
pressure is also affected by the size of the artery walls and their elasticity. Each
time the heart beats (contracts and relaxes), pressure is created inside the
arteries.  When the heart is relaxed, the arteries stay at a lower resting tone to
maintain some pressure in the artery. This is called diastolic blood pressure. 

High blood pressure is when the force of the blood is too high
during heart contraction or relaxation within the arteries. The arteries may have
an
increased resistance against the flow of blood. This causes your heart to pump
harder to circulate the blood.

These factors may cause high blood pressure:

  • Being overweight
  • Having lots of salt in your diet
  • Not getting much physical activity
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • High stress levels
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Kidney disease

More than half of all adult Americans have high blood pressure.
You are at risk for it if you:

  • Have diabetes, gout, or kidney disease
  • Are African American, especially if you live in the
    southeastern U.S.
  • Are middle-aged or older
  • Have a family history of high blood pressure
  • Eat a lot of high-salt foods
  • Are overweight
  • Drink a lot of alcohol
  • Take birth control pills (oral contraceptives)
  • Have depression
  • Are pregnant
  • Smoke or use e-cigarettes
  • Use stimulant drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine

High blood pressure often has no symptoms. But you can find out if
your blood pressure is higher than normal by checking it yourself or by having it
checked regularly by your healthcare provider.

Very high blood pressure can cause symptoms. These include
headache, changes in vision, or chest pain.

Blood pressure is measured with a blood pressure cuff and
stethoscope by a nurse or other healthcare provider. You can also take your own
blood pressure with an electronic blood pressure monitor. You can find one at most
pharmacies.

Two numbers are recorded when measuring blood pressure:

  • The top number is the systolic
    pressure.
    This is the pressure inside the artery when the heart
    contracts and pumps blood through the body.
  • The bottom number is the
    diastolic pressure.
    This is the pressure inside the artery when the
    heart is at rest and is filling with blood.

Both the systolic and diastolic pressures are recorded as mm Hg
(millimeters of mercury). This recording represents how high the mercury column in
the blood pressure cuff is raised by the pressure of the blood.

Blood pressure is rated as normal, elevated, or stage 1 or stage 2
high blood pressure:

  • Normal blood pressure is systolic of less than 120 and
    diastolic of less than 80 (120/80).
  • Elevated blood pressure is systolic of 120 to 129 and
    diastolic less than 80.
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure is when systolic is 130 to 139
    or diastolic is 80 to 89.
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure is when systolic is 140 or
    higher or diastolic is 90 or higher.

Even higher blood pressure is called a hypertensive crisis. This
means the systolic blood pressure is 180 or higher, the diastolic blood pressure is
more than 120, or both. If you have this, you need a change in your medicine right
away or a stay in the hospital.

A single higher blood pressure measurement does not necessarily
mean you have a problem. Your healthcare provider will want to see several blood
pressure measurements over a number of days or weeks before diagnosing high blood
pressure and starting treatment. Ask your provider when you should call if your
blood pressure readings are not within the normal range.

Treatment for high blood pressure may involve:

Lifestyle changes

These healthy steps can help you control your blood
pressure:

  • Choose foods that are low in salt (sodium).
  • Choose foods low in calories and fat.
  • Choose foods high in fiber.
  • Stay at a healthy weight, or lose weight if you are
    overweight.
  • Limit serving sizes.
  • Get more exercise.
  • Drink fewer or no alcoholic beverages.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Get enough quality sleep.

Certain
medicines

Sometimes you may need to take 1 or more daily medicines to
control high blood pressure. Take it exactly as directed.

If you have high blood pressure, have your blood pressure
checked routinely and see your healthcare provider to watch the condition.

High blood pressure raises your risk for:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Loss of eyesight
  • Death

You can help prevent high blood pressure with many of the same
healthy steps used to treat it. These are:

  • Cut back on salt (sodium) in your diet.
  • Eat foods that are low in calories and fat, and high in
    fiber.
  • Stay at a healthy weight, or losing weight if you are
    overweight.
  • Exercise more.
  • Stop smoking tobacco and e-cigarettes.
  • Drink fewer or no alcoholic beverages.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Don’t use stimulants or illegal drugs.
  • High blood pressure is when the force of the blood pushing
    against the artery walls is too high. This causes your heart to pump harder to
    circulate the blood.
  • Risk factors for high blood pressure include being
    overweight, having a family history of the disease, and being older.
  • High blood pressure often has no symptoms.
  • Two numbers are recorded when measuring blood pressure. The
    top number is the systolic pressure. The bottom number is the diastolic
    pressure.
  • High blood pressure is diagnosed when the systolic pressure
    is 130 or higher or the diastolic pressure is 80 or higher.
  • Lifestyle changes and medicines may help treat high blood
    pressure.

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare
provider:

  • Know the reason for your visit and what you want to
    happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want
    answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and
    remember what your provider tells you.
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and
    any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions
    your provider gives you.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how
    it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
  • Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the
    results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have
    the test or procedure.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date,
    time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have
    questions.

Couples Therapy Can Help Mend a Marriage

Couples Therapy Can Help Mend a Marriage

Problems and crises can affect any
relationship, no matter how much 2 people love each other. Sometimes you might need
professional help to resolve a problem. Some mental health experts are trained to help
couples heal pain, rebuild trust, and improve communication.

Research shows that couples who seek couples therapy increase their chance of staying together. They also improve communication and satisfaction in their relationship.

What is couples therapy?

Couples therapy is short-term counseling. It’s provided by licensed therapists trained to help couples resolve conflicts. An effective therapist helps couples understand their problems. He or she teaches the couple tools to help them work out disagreements and come up with solutions.

When can it help?

Common issues marriage counselors are trained to help with include:

  • Communication problems

  • Conflicts about money issues
  • Conflicts about raising
    children

  • Infidelity

  • Substance abuse

  • Step-parenting

  • Conflicting expectations

  • Sexual problems

Couples are less likely to benefit
from therapy if they wait too long before getting help. Therapy is not likely to help if
one partner is not interested in saving the marriage.

How does couples therapy work?

Different therapists have different approaches to counseling. The therapist encourages each partner to answer honestly and fairly to questions. The therapist acts as a mediator or referee. He or she will guide the participants to an understanding of each other’s feelings. The therapist will model respect and acceptance. Marriage counselors don’t take sides. They stay neutral and open to helping both people.

Honesty and a willingness to bring deep-seated resentments and disappointments to the surface in a safe environment with a trained mental health professional are often the key to healing.

What if one partner won’t attend counseling?

Couples therapy works best when
both people in the relationship go to the sessions. If one partner won’t go, it may
still help if the other person learns better communication skills and puts them to
use.

How do you choose a couples therapist?

Look for a marriage counselor who is a licensed mental health professional. This includes

  • Psychiatrists

  • Psychologists

  • Licensed clinical social workers

  • Licensed marriage and family therapists

The American Association for
Marriage and Family Therapy also provides sources for credentialed therapists. You may
need to meet with more than one therapist before you find a therapist with whom you feel
comfortable. There are no guarantees that couples therapy will save or improve a
relationship. But many couples find that a fair, experienced counselor can clarify
issues they couldn’t resolve on their own.

Women’s Health Issues 2

Screening can help find breast cancer. Find it early lets you get treated right away. Talk with your health care provider about breast cancer screening.