Latest medical advances have made testing for HIV an easy and simple process. To test for HIV, antibodies to the virus or genetic material of the virus itself are searched for.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Western blot test, a laboratory test that detects antibodies specific for components of the HIV virus, is chiefly used to confirm the presence of HIV antibodies in specimens found reactive using a screening test such as the EIA (Enzyme Immunosorbent Assay). The Western blot test searches for these antibodies and is usually used as a follow-up, confirmatory test for HIV. To take the test a small blood sample is needed.
HIV Antibody Test
There are several primary tests for HIV that are confirmed with a Western blot test. For instance, an HIV Antibody test screens the blood for antibodies to the virus. On average it takes a person 25 days to develop antibodies, but sometimes it can take up to 6-12 weeks. Upon a positive HIV Antibody test diagnosis, a Western blot is conducted to confirm the presence of HIV antibodies.
Although ELISA (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay) tests are sensitive, they can produce false-positive results. They are designed to look for reactivity to the virus rather than for antibodies making them highly unreliable for early HIV diagnosis. Therefore a positive ELISA test is often confirmed with a Western blot to eliminate any false diagnosis.
HIV RNA Early Detection Test
The HIV RNA Test or HIV early detection test does not use antibodies to detect HIV. This test directly screens the blood for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). As a result, this test can be taken as early as 9-11 days after exposure to the virus. With this test there are no possibilities of receiving a false-negative result because it searches for the virus itself. If you test positive, HIV is present in your blood. If you test negative, no HIV was found.
Unlike other HIV Early Detection tests that are DNA-based, this test is RNA-based and has been FDA-approved. The RNA-based HIV Early Detection test is currently the fastest, most reliable test available for HIV in the market.
It is important to note that if you are at risk for HIV, you are also at risk of contracting other STDs. Any STD, if left untreated can lead to serious health complications. Most STDs, including HIV, are asymptomatic, meaning that they do not show symptoms and the person infected is usually unaware of their STD status. The only way a person can know if they have an STD is by getting tested.
If you have recently been exposed to blood or have had unprotected intercourse, consider getting tested for most common STDs.
Toni Sims is a senior web content writer with STDcheck.com (http://www.stdcheck.com), an online STD testing service. At its core, STDcheck.com is a technology company that has broken the barriers of traditional healthcare. The firm is helping unite the intersection of healthcare and ecommerce, and by doing so, has been able to deliver higher quality of care to health consumers, as well as contributing to the new age of healthcare.
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Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed with diabetes or you’ve had this ailment for while now, managing your glucose levels IS of the utmost importance. Managing your glucose levels not only help people with diabetes survive without backlash, but efficient management can even help you thrive without constant inconvenience.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes or if you have yet to efficiently manage it without side effects, you may want to consider the following steps that can help you better control this widespread ailment.
Type 1 and Type 2
First of all, you may want to have a chat with your doctor about the kind of diabetes you have as there are two kinds, Type 1 and Type 2. To elaborate on their differences, Type 1 is described as the lack of insulin production in your body. A body that cannot produce natural insulin cannot break down the sugars in the food it consumes, thus leaving the body without energy.
Type 2 diabetes (most common) is categorized as the inability to efficiently produce insulin, meaning your body can produce insulin but just has a hard time doing so. Type 2 diabetes usually requires a regiment of pills or insulin to help manage it. Both types vary in care and treatment, so be sure to get specific treatment instructions from your physician. Read more…
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There are three or four readings that are assessed when you have a thyroid health screening test: TSH, TT4, FT4, and sometimes TT3. Alternatively, you can also get a combination of Thyroid Panel and TSH. In both cases, your results are assessed in the context of a range of results so you can get a good idea of how your results compare to those in the average range.
The TSH test tests of thyroid stimulating hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid to create more hormones. TSH levels usually rise when the thyroid is battling to produce hormones—if your TSH levels are high, this means that your thyroid is not acting the way it should, or producing as much thyroid hormone as your bod would require in order to function properly. The average range for the test is usually between 0.3 and 3.0, and was altered from 0.5 to 5.0, which had been upheld as normal until 2002.This change evidently meant that many people in America who had believed they were in the normal range (those scoring above 3.0 but below 5.0) would now receive a hypothyroidism diagnosis. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists refers to those to whom this applies as suffering “from a mild thyroid disorder.”
Some doctors base their thyroid diagnoses solely on this test, which they believe is the only one required to determine whether thyroid activity levels are below or above the norm. However, this attitude, too, has its opponents, since interpreting this test varies widely from one doctor to another.
TT4 or total 4 is the amount of thyroid hormone you have that is bound to proteins. TT4 levels drop when the thyroid is battling. The range for this test is between 50 and 160.
FT4 or free T4 is the amount of thyroid hormone you have in your body, not bound to proteins. The range is between 10 and 24 in a healthy person.
FT3 or free T3 is produced by TT4 which is converted by the body and is the only thyroid hormone used by the body’s cells. The range for this test spans 4 to 8.3. If your body is not converting TT4 your TT3 levels will be low and, if your receptor cells are blocked your TT3 levels will be high. Everyone’s definition is different and everyone’s bodies need different amounts of hormones to function optimally. The ranges are also quite vast and someone on either end of the scale could be classed as having a normal reading. If you are not converting TT4 to TT3 then your TSH and T4 levels could still be giving a normal result, so the TT3 test is an important one.
Another important consideration is that hypothyroid sufferers tend to have low blood volume, so any blood test taken is likely to give a high reading. It is important for people who believe they suffer from ailments of the thyroid to investigate all potential issues, since treatments with T4 alone can cause further problems and complications. For instance, T4 medication such as Synthroid can at first cause low blood pressure. This, in time, will lead to high blood pressure if left improperly treated. People with low blood pressure may have problems with their kidneys, which cannot properly filter out the waste matter in the body. In turn, this will lead to the production of angiotensin, a decisive factor in raising blood pressure. The adrenal glands can also produce increased volumes of cortisol, which will yield the same effect.
The basal temperature test is also an important one although it is not taught at UK medical school. It is an important diagnostic tool as the only other conditions that present with a low basal body temperature are alcoholism, malnutrition, hypothermia and liver failure. It seeks to identify the lowest temperature of the body during sleep and can also be used to estimate women’s ovulation dates, since the process usually provokes a significant increase in body temperature, of up to 1 degree Fahrenheit. It has also been used as a way to prevent pregnancy, although many have questioned this use, since the basal body temperature test cannot predict ovulation in advance, as would be required in order to avoid pregnancy. The basal temperature test should be performed in conjunction with other tests or on occasions where blood tests have not revealed a thyroid problem but symptoms of hypo or hyperthyroidism are present.
Recent research from the Czech Republic has found that thyroid health screening in pregnant women may give an indication as to whether they are likely to develop postpartum thyroiditis. Some women carry a marker which signifies they may be at risk of developing thyroid disease and autoimmune disorders. In the study that was performed two thirds of the women had thyroid problems within two years of giving birth.
The success of treatment of anthrax depends to a great extent on the prompt recognition (diagnosis) of the disease and initiation of appropriate antibiotic therapy. Treatment of anthrax is generally successful if promptly diagnosed and adequately treated with suitable antibiotics. United States has licensed use of penicillin, ciprofloxacin, and doxycycline for treatment of anthrax. But other antibiotics such as clindamycin and rifampin are also useful and sometimes used by some doctors.
Before antibiotic sensitivity is known, anthrax should be treated with combination of more than one antibiotic. After the antibiotic sensitivity is known, the right antibiotic treatment regimen can be selected based on the antibiotic sensitivity report and if required can be given combination therapy. The duration of treatment is long (two months treatment is required) and in case of diagnosed cases of anthrax, should be given intravenous antibiotics till patient become stable and than switched over to oral antibiotics.
For treatment of anthrax, the patients need not be isolated as the anthrax patients are not contagious, even patients of pulmonary (inhalational) anthrax.
Treatment of active or diagnosed case of anthrax:
Active anthrax is treated with ciprofloxacin 400 mg (intravenously every 12 hourly) or doxycycline 100 mg (intravenously every 12 hourly), plus clindamycin, 900 mg (intravenously every 8 hourly) or rifampin, 300 mg (intravenously every 12 hourly). Switch over to oral preparation if the patient becomes stable. Treatment should be continued a total of 60 days (including intravenous and oral preparations). Read more…
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If you are suffering from baldness or alopecia, you might have tried many treatment modalities in alternative medicines and could not get desired results, than it is high time you try modern medicine. Modern medicine can offer some remedy to baldness or alopecia. USFDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) has approved use of finesteride (Propecia) for treatment of alopecia or baldness in males.
Finesteride, marketed as Propecia, Proscar etc. is used for treatment of alopecia. Finesteride is a 5-alpha reductase enzyme inhibitor drug. 5-alpha reductase enzyme is responsible for conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and by blocking 5-alpha reductase enzyme finesteride blocks the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, which is more powerful androgen than testosterone. Due to lower level of powerful dihydrotestosterone, the androgenic activity in the scalp is reduced. By reducing androgenic activity in the scalp, finesteride helps in preventing hair fall and also helps in regrowing of hairs.
Studies have shown that men (approximately 2 out of 3 who takes finesteride 1 mg daily) with mild to moderate hair loss can get hairs regrow, as seen by increased hair count. Finesteride can also prevent fall of hairs. If a patient is taking finesteride for treatment of baldness (alopecia), if there is no increase in number of hairs (or regrowth of hairs) at least the hair fall can be prevented. Read more…
Cellulitis is a common clinical problem. Cellulitis is an acute inflammatory condition of the skin, generally caused by infection. The typical characteristic features of Cellulitis are localized pain, erythema (redness), swelling, and heat at the area of inflammation.
Causative agents of Cellulitis:
Cellulitis can be caused by indigenous flora which colonizes the skin and appendages like Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus. Pyogenes. Other species of staphylococcus and streptococcus also cause cellulites. It can also be caused by variety of other exogenous organisms, mainly bacteria like Pseudomonus aeruginosa, Pasteurella multocida (commonly cat bite and less commonly dog bite), Capnocytophaga canimorsus, Eikenella corrodens, Aeromonas hydrophila etc.
Route of entry of causative organism in Cellulitis:
Bacteria generally gain access to the epidermis through cracks in the skin, which is mainly due to abrasions, cuts, burns, insect bites, surgical incisions, and intravenous catheters. Different organisms gain entry by different routes, e.g. cellulitis caused by S. aureus spreads from a central localized infection, like an abscess (folliculitis), or from an infected foreign body like a splinter, a prosthetic device, or an intravenous catheter.
Diagnosis of cellulites:
Due to the involvement of exogenous bacteria in cellulites, a thorough history including epidemiologic data can provides important clues to the infecting organism. Whenever possible, a Gram’s stain and culture of the pus which is collected during drainage can provide a definitive diagnosis. If pus can not be cultured or Gram’s stain can not be done, it is very difficult to establish a diagnosis due to the similarity of the clinical features in staphylococcus and streptococcus cellulitis. Even with needle aspiration of the leading edge or a punch biopsy of the cellulitis tissue itself, cultures are positive in only 20% of cases, which suggest only small numbers of bacteria cause cellulites. The expanding area of redness within the skin may be a direct effect of extra-cellular toxins or due to the soluble mediators of inflammation.
Prevention of anthrax with vaccine is successful and vaccination is recommended if you are at risk of developing anthrax. Prevention of anthrax is required in risky population because if untreated anthrax is almost 100% fatal for inhalational anthrax and more than 20% fatal for cutaneous anthrax. Inhalational anthrax is the form most likely to be responsible for death in a setting of a bioterrorist attack. Patients with inhalational anthrax are not contagious and do not require special isolation.
The first successful anthrax vaccine was developed by Louis Pasteur in 1881 for animals. At present anthrax vaccine is produced from the cell-free culture supernatant of an attenuated, nonencapsulated strain of B. anthracis (known as anthrax vaccine adsorbed or AVA) and is licensed for human use.
As an alternative to AVA, clinical trials for safety in humans and efficacy in animals are currently under way to evaluate the role of recombinant protective antigen of B. anthracis toxins. In preventing the development of clinical disease and death in a post-exposure setting in non-human primates a 2 week trial course of AVA + ciprofloxacin was found to be superior to ciprofloxacin alone.
Chemoprophylaxis: The current recommendation for postexposure prophylaxis is 60 days of antibiotics (Ciprofloxacin or doxycycline); it would be better to include immunization with anthrax vaccine (AVA) if available. There is a potential for B. anthracis to engineer and express penicillin resistance, and due to that, the empirical regimen of antibiotics of choice in this setting is either ciprofloxacin or doxycycline.
The prevention of bioterrorist attacks is the responsibility of the Govt. and not discussed here. But support of the general public is must for the Govt. to prevent bioterrorist attacks successfully.
Anthrax can be easily and successfully treated if diagnosed promptly and treatment instituted early and immediately after diagnosis. Anthrax is in the news because of the recent microbial bioterrorist attacks in the United States. Modern science has revealed methods and unleashed a devil of deliberately spreading anthrax and other diseases in ways not appreciated by our ancestors. The combination of basic scientific research, good medical practice, and constant vigil will be required by the public and the Govt. to defend against such attacks.
Clinical features of anthrax: the clinical feature depends on the route of entry of the organism mainly gastrointestinal, cutaneous, and inhalational. Symptoms include cutaneous lesions of papule to eschar (begins as a papule following the introduction of spores through an opening in the skin. This papule then evolves to a painless vesicle followed by the development of a coal-black, necrotic eschar). If the anthrax is due to inhalation the symptoms are fever, malaise, chest pain, abdominal discomfort etc. On chest x-ray there is pleural effusion and widened mediastinum.
Diagnosis of anthrax: Anthrax is diagnosed with laboratory tests like PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, Wright stain of blood peripheral smear, Gram staining and blood culture of the organism causing anthrax (Bacillus anthracis a gram-positive, nonmotile, spore-forming rod that is found in soil and predominantly causes disease in herbivores like cattle, goats, and sheep).
Treatment of anthrax: penicillin (amoxicillin), ciprofloxacin, and doxycycline are the currently licensed antibiotics for treatment of anthrax. But clindamycin and rifampin can also used as part of treatment regimens and they are also being used to treat anthrax. Treatment is started with penicillin (amoxicillin), ciprofloxacin, and doxycycline till sensitivity results are known and once sensitivity results are known treatment is changed if required.
Post exposure treatment: It is done with Ciprofloxacin, 500 mg, orally twice a day for 60 days or doxycycline 100 mg orally twice a day for 60 days or amoxicillin (likely to be effective if strain penicillin sensitive) 500 mg, orally thrice a day for 60 days.
Treatment of active anthrax: Ciprofloxacin, 500 mg intravenously 12 hourly or doxycycline 100 mg intravenously 12 hourly plus Clindamycin, 900 mg IV 8 hourly and/or rifampin, 300 mg IV 12 hourly. Switch to oral route when stable for60 days total treatment including intravenous route.
Human Granulocytotropic Anaplasmosis (HGA) is caused by A. phagocytophilum. In 2006 more than 3257 cases of HGA were reported to the CDC, Atlanta. The distribution of cases is similar to that for Lyme disease because of the shared Ixodes scapularis tick vector. Most of the cases were reported from upper midwestern and northeastern United States. White-tailed deer & white footed mice in the United States and red deer in Europe are natural reservoirs.
Signs and symptoms: The incubation period of Human Granulocytotropic Anaplasmosis is 4-8 days. After the incubation period the following symptoms like fever, malaise, myalgia (muscle pain) and headache appear. Some patients may develop nausea, vomiting, confusion and rash.
Severe complications like adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a toxic shock syndrome, and opportunistic infections, which may be life-threatening, can develop. Case fatality rate is very less about 0.5% and up to 7% patients may require intensive care.
Diagnosis: PCR testing of blood from patients with active disease before initiation of therapy is sensitive and specific. Other non specific findings like thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, or elevation in serum alanine or aspartate aminotransferase are seen.
Treatment: Doxycycline 100 mg orally twice daily is the drug of choice for treatment of HGA. Rifampin can be used successfully in children and pregnant women. Most of the patients respond within 24 to 48 hours.
Human Monocytotropic Ehrlichiosis (HME) is caused by Ehrlichia chaffeensis. In the year 2006 more than 2657 cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, USA. But active prospective studies indicate an incidence of as high as 414 cases per 100,000 populations in some regions of the United States. White tailed deer is the major reservoir and Lone Star tick (A. americanum), the main vector feed on them (all life stages feed on white tailed deer).
Clinical manifestations: Illness develops after about 8 days (incubation period). The organisms spread through blood pool which is created by the feeding tick. Clinical manifestations are fever (97% of cases), headache (80% of cases), malaise (82% of cases) and myalgia (57% of cases). Symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, cough and rash are less frequent.
Severe complications include toxic shock like or septic shock like syndromes, adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), cardiac failure, meningoencephalitis, hepatitis and hemorrhage. In immunocompromised patients an overwhelming infection may be seen.
Human Monocytotropic Ehrlichiosis can be severe. 62% of patients with documented cases are hospitalized, and about 3% die.
Diagnosis: HME can be fatal; so empirical antibiotic therapy based on clinical diagnosis is required. Diagnosis is suggested by fever with a known tick exposure during the preceding 3 weeks, thrombocytopenia and/or leukopenia, and increased serum aminotransferase activities. HME can be confirmed by PCR amplification of E. chaffeensis nucleic acids in blood which is obtained before the start of antibiotic therapy. It should be differentiated from Human Granulocytotropic Anaplasmosis (HGA).
Treatment: Treatment is with doxycycline 100 mg given orally or intravenously twice daily or tetracycline 250–500 mg given orally every 6 hourly and continued for 3-5 day after symptoms subside.