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A new way to combat HIV/AIDS

Nov 30, 2010 - 0 comments
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A new way to combat HIV/AIDS

11-30-2010 For almost three decades, science and medical researchers have struggled to find a vaccine or cure for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. However, a researcher in Beijing hopes to use an unconventional approach which may snuff out the infection before it breaks through the body's defenses. Shen Le has that story.

Professor Xu Yuanyong is one of the few pioneers in complementology. His research focuses on manipulating the body's own immune system to kill the virus.

Professor Xu said, "Traditional means of killing the virus becomes ineffective due to the virus' rapid mutation. Also, anti-retroviral drugs have a lot of side effects."

HIV infects vital cells in the human immune system like this cultured lymphocyte. This process gradually weakens immunity and eventually leads to its failure. As a result, the body becomes more and more susceptible to opportunistic infections.

However, Professor Xu believes the complement system, also the body's first line of defense, can be modified to kill the HIV.

He said, "My research has synthesized a special complement with a fragment of an anti-body designed to kill the virus. This way the complements will target the virus while sparing other health cells. "

The National Natural Science Foundation approved Xu's project and provides funding his research. Many overseas scientists have been in contact to share data and research results.

However, the professor says the real challenge is learning how to stimulate enough complements while maintaining their stability. In addition, more tests on animals are needed to prove the feasibility of this method. If everything goes well, the research may produce a way to prevent HIV infection when the virus enters the body.

CCTV reporter Shen Le said, "Although in its early phase and much more work is still needed, manipulating the complement system to help fight HIV/AIDS may provide a viable solution in the future. Shen Le, CCTV, Beijing."

Cervical erosion

Nov 23, 2010 - 0 comments

Cervical erosion

Definition
Cervical erosion is a partial or complete absence of the squamous epithelium (surface) of the cervix. The normal tissue on the surface of the cervix and/or around the os (mouth of the cervix), is replaced by inflamed tissue from within the cervical canal. This endocervical tissue is red and granular, so it gives the cervix a red, eroded, and infected appearance.


Alternative Names:Cervical ulceration

Causes
Cervical erosion may be caused by trauma (through intercourse, tampon insertion, foreign objects in the vagina, or speculum insertion), or infection (herpes, early syphilis, tampons that were not removed, severe vaginal infections), and sometimes chemicals (spermaticidal contraceptive creams or foams, douches).
There is an increased risk associated with vaginal use of chemical agents or multiple sexual partners; however, the condition is seen in women without these risk factors.

Symptoms
Abnormal vaginal bleeding (not associated with a menstrual period):
After sexual intercourse (postcoital)
Between menstrual periods
Discharge (clear or yellowish mucus) -- may have an odor if associated with a vaginal infection
Note: Typically there are no symptoms.

  
Exams and Tests
Pelvic examination reveals an area on the cervix that looks raw, red, and inflamed.
A Pap smear may show atypical cells
Colposcopic examination reveals an area of raw, stripped, squamous epithelium
Cervical biopsy may be necessary

Treatment
The treatment is dependent on the cause. Infections may require prescription medications. Erosion caused by trauma or chemicals may only require avoiding further trauma or chemical exposure, allowing time for the cervical surface to heal. Cauterization is also used on occasion. Estrogen vaginal cream also may help thicken the vaginal and cervical epithelium.
Outlook (Prognosis)
Cervical erosion usually heals on its own. Treatment, if necessary, is usually very successful.

Possible Complications
Cervical erosion may be an early sign of cervical cancer.

When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you are a woman who is sexually active or over age 20, and have never had a prior pelvic examination and Pap smear.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have not obtained a Pap smear at recommended intervals of:
Every year initially
For women up to age 35 or 40: every 2-3 years after having three negative, consecutive annual Pap smear tests and a single sexual partner or no sexual partner
Every year for women over age 35 or 40
Every year for women who have had multiple sexual partners
Every year for women who are taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
Every 6 months for women who have a history of HPV (genital warts)
Every year for women who were prenatally exposed to DES
The frequency recommended by your health care provider after an abnormal Pap smear

Prevention
Safer sex behaviors decrease the risk for infections. Do not use douches unless recommended by a health care provider for specific medical reasons.



HPV (human papillomavirus)

Nov 22, 2010 - 1 comments

What is HPV?
HPV (human papillomavirus) is a sexually transmitted virus. It is passed on through genital contact (such as vaginal and anal sex). It is also passed on by skin-to-skin contact. At least 50% of people who have had sex will have HPV at some time in their lives.
Why haven't I heard of HPV?
HPV is not a new virus. But many people don't know about it. Most people don't have any signs. HPV may go away on its own-- without causing any health problems.
Who can get HPV?
Anyone who has ever had genital contact with another person may have HPV. Both men and women may get it -- and pass it on-- without knowing it. Since there might not be any signs, a person may have HPV even if years have passed since he or she had sex.
What makes a person more likely to get HPV?
Most people who have sex may get HPV. You are more likely to get HPV if you have:
• sex at an early age,
• many sex partners, or
• a sex partner who has had many partners.
If there are no signs, why do I need to worry about HPV?
There are over 100 different kinds of HPV and not all of them cause health problems. Some kinds of HPV may cause problems like genital warts, cervical cancer or cancer of the vagina or vulva. HPV types 16 and 18 cause about 70% of cervical cancers. HPV types 6 and 11 cause about 90% of genital warts. HPV types 6 and 11 cause 20-50% of vulvar cancers and 60-65% of vaginal cancers.
Is there a cure for HPV?
There is no cure for the virus (HPV) itself. There are treatments for the health problems that HPV can cause, such as genital warts, cervical changes, and cervical cancer.
What should I know about genital warts?
There are many treatment choices for genital warts. But even after the warts are treated, the virus might still be there and may be passed on to others. If genital warts are not treated they may go away, stay the same, or increase in size or number, but they will not turn into cancer.
What should I know about cervical cancer?
All women should get regular Pap tests. The Pap test looks for cell changes caused by HPV. The test finds cell changes early -- so the cervix can be treated before the cells turn into cancer. This test also can also find cancer in its early stages so it can be treated before it becomes too serious. It is rare to die from cervical cancer if the disease is caught early.
What should I know about vaginal or vulvar cancer?
Vaginal cancer is cancer of the vagina (birth canal). Vulvar cancer is cancer of the clitoris, vaginal lips, and opening to the vagina. Both of these kinds of cancer are very rare. Not all vaginal or vulvar cancer is caused by HPV.
Is there a test for HPV?
Yes.  It tests for the kinds of HPV that may lead to cervical cancer. The FDA approved the HPV test to be used for women over 30 years old. It may find HPV even before there are changes to the cervix. Women who have the HPV test still need to get the Pap test.

Can I prevent HPV?
FDA has approved vaccines that prevent certain diseases, including cervical cancer, caused by some types of HPV. Ask your doctor if you should get an HPV Vaccine.
What else can I do to lower my chances of getting HPV?
• You can choose not to have sex (abstinence).
• If you have sex, you can limit the number of partners you have.
• Choose a partner who has had no or few sex partners. The fewer partners your partner has had -- the less likely he or she is to have HPV.
• It is not known how much condoms protect against HPV. Areas not covered by a condom can be exposed to the virus.


Are there specific types of HPV that are associated with cancer?

Jun 25, 2010 - 2 comments

Some types of HPV are referred to as “low-risk” viruses because they rarely cause lesions that develop into cancer. HPV types that are more likely to lead to the development of cancer are referred to as “high-risk.” Both high-risk and low-risk types of HPV can cause the growth of abnormal cells, but only the high-risk types of HPV lead to cancer. Sexually transmitted, high-risk HPVs include types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66, 68, and 73 . These high-risk types of HPV cause growths on the cervix that are usually flat and nearly invisible, as compared with the external warts caused by low-risk types HPV–6 and HPV–11. HPV types 16 and 18 together cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers. It is important to note, however, that the great majority of high-risk HPV infections go away on their own and do not cause cancer