Showing posts with label HIV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HIV. Show all posts

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tattoos have become increasingly popular over the last decade, as more and more people choose to have important symbols or meaningful images or words tattooed on them, but do they increase the risk of health problems, including cancer?

Tattoos and skin cancer

The case for

Tattoos have been linked to an increased risk of infection as a result of breaking the skin, but some health experts believe that they also increase the risk of skin cancer. Dr DJS Tula, a consultant cosmetic surgeon at the BLK Hospital in Delhi, India, said that tattoos can increase the risk of blood-borne infections, including hepatitis B and C and HIV, as well as types of skin cancer including squamous cell, melanoma and carcinoma. Dr Tula added that having a tattoo does not mean that you are going to get skin cancer, but the risk is elevated because of the ink used to create the design.

Dr Tula also added that tattoos should never been done close to moles because they make it difficult for people to spot changes in the appearance of the mole, which are a common symptom of skin cancer.

Studies published in the USA have also prompted an investigation into the chemical make-up of tattoo ink by the US Food and Drug Administration. Studies showed that some of the chemicals, including black ink benzo(a)pyrene, have been found to cause skin cancer during animal testing.

The case against

In contrast, Dr Ariel Ostad, a dermatologist and surgeon from New York, said that skin experts have been researching the impact of tattoos on the skin for several years and there is no evidence to suggest that tattoos increase the risk of skin cancer. Research involving people who have the condition has not uncovered greater prevalence of skin cancer among people with tattoos and there is also no evidence to suggest that having a tattoo after receiving treatment for skin cancer increase the risk of relapse.

Dr Ostad did support Dr Tula's comments about avoiding tattoos close to moles, stating that tattoos can mask the visible changes in the skin, which may prevent skin cancer from being diagnosed early. Early diagnosis increases survival rates significantly. Dr Ostad's advice was to leave a suitable gap around any moles to ensure that any changes are clearly visible and can be identified without any trouble.

Risk factors for skin cancer

The most important risk factor for skin cancer is sun exposure. Research also suggests that people who have fair skin have a higher risk. If you are going outside, apply sun cream (if you have fair skin that burns easily use a high factor), wear a sun hat and avoid the hottest part of the day (between 11am and 3pm). Avoid using sun beds and tanning lamps, as these use powerful UV rays and increase your risk. If you want a healthy golden glow, use self-tanning products.

Caring for tattooed skin

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, newly tattooed skin is very sensitive and you should take extra care when bathing and going out in the sun. It is also important to keep an eye on your skin and to seek medical help if you notice irritation and rashes around the tattoo. The AAD also recommended avoiding moles when choosing a location for the new tattoo and seeing a dermatologist if you notice any changes in the skin around the tattoo.

The relationship between tattoos and skin cancer is unclear. Some experts believe that tattoo ink can increase one’s risk of the condition but then others say that there is no link Further research in this area is being carried out and new evidence may become available in the coming months or years to either refute or support the claim that tattoos increase the risk of cancer.

By Richard Keane

Friday, March 14, 2014

Phenomenal ability of the body of one patient - hope for doctors and patients to defeat HIV. American researchers now hope by studying the patient's unique immunity to create a vaccine against HIV.

A patient suffering from a rare combination of diseases - systemic lupus and HIV - has helped scientists to develop the key ideas for new strategies against AIDS / HIV. In an article published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the research team from the Institute Dartmouth College Duke University and Stanford University described in detail how the immune system of this patient produces the desired type of neutralizing antibodies - they will become the basis for developing a new vaccine.

Systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE is a disease in which the immune system attacks its own cells and tissues of the body. "For years we were looking for, but have now found a single person with a unique combination of SLE and chronic HIV infection. It was necessary to determine how the patient's immune system produces a sufficient amount of neutralizing antibodies. This will help us in the future to create a vaccine that "teach" the human body to fight HIV at the first contact, and thus help to avoid infection.

Due to complex immune responses, involving these neutralizing antibodies, too aggressive immunity, which leads to severe symptoms of lupus, simultaneously helps a person "curb" immunodeficiency virus. Scientists warn that their findings in no way suggest if patients with systemic lupus are immune to HIV, so they, like all people, have to be careful. Rather, it says that when people with lupus, infected with HIV, their immune system can produce enough neutralizing antibodies - but unfortunately this is not enough to help them fight off infection.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

If your adolescent is sexting, they may be already sexually active and engaging in risky behavior, a new study suggests.

Researchers are trying to better understand if young people are at greater risk for HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases because they are sending sexually explicit photos or text messages via cell phones.

"Sexting" is not an alternative to "real world" sexual behavior among adolescents, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

"The same teens who are engaging in digital sex risk taking through sexting are also the same teens that are engaging in sex risk with their bodies in terms of being sexually active and not using condoms," said lead study author Eric Rice, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California's School of Social Work in Los Angeles.

A 2009 report from the Pew Research Center found that some teens "view sexting as a safer alternative to real life sexual activity."

While the term "sexting" may also include messages also sent over the Internet, this particular study looked solely at cell phone text messages and images. It was conducted via questionnaire in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Researchers surveyed 1,839 students ages 12 to 18 at random. Most were Latino or African-American. Three-quarters of those surveyed had cell phones.

"Even though a minority of teens sext we only found 15% but that 15% are much riskier with their physical sexual behaviors as well as their digital sexual behaviors," says Rice.

He add that teens who reported sexting were seven times more likely to be sexually active than their peers who did not sext.

The data suggests there are norms about sexting, according to Rice, meaning teens are starting to think that sexting is a normal part of their behaviors. More than half of the teens surveyed reported that they had a friend who sexted.

"A lot of young people think that their friends are sexting, and if you think that your friends are sexting, you're much more likely to sext yourself," he said 17 times more likely, according to study.

"I think that the implications are that teens who are sexting may be at greater risk for sexually transmitted diseases because the teens who sext are about 1.5 times more likely to not use condoms when they're having sex," in addition to increasing the risk of teen pregnancy, Rice says.

This study was conducted in only one urban area; the authors realize that some of the results may not accurately represent rural areas. In addition, recent nationwide research found much lower rates of sexting.

However, Rice said this information can be valuable for parents.

"We [parents, clinicians, educators] should be talking about sexting and the fact that it's part of the risky sex behaviors and it's not just something that exists in a virtual space, so to speak," he said.

"Talking about sexting might be easier for [parents] than talking about sex and it could lead into a larger conversation about sex."

By Georgiann Caruso, CNN

Friday, May 18, 2012

A mother living with HIV has advised pregnant women to go for Voluntary Testing and Counselling (VTC) to know their HIV status to help protect their unborn babies against HIV infections.

She said if she had taken advantage of such an opportunity, she would have protected her child from getting infected.

The 32-year-old mother was speaking at a programme on prevention of HIV as part of a behavioural change project, organised by the Technical Support Unit of the Ghana AIDS Commission in the Eastern Region for students of the Victory Vocational Institute in Koforidua.

The programme was aimed at protecting the students against HIV infection.

She said she was a strong woman who never knew her HIV status until she gave birth to her first child about four years ago.

The woman said 10 months after delivery, her baby developed a boil under the armpit and was taken to hospital but after several treatments without success, the medical officer called for HIV test and the baby was found to be HIV positive.

She was also encouraged to take the test which later proved positive.

She encouraged all women to know their HIV status so that they could seek early treatment and protect their children and the future generation from HIV infections.

Ms Golda Asante, Technical Co-ordinator of the Ghana AIDS Commission, in charge of the Eastern Regional branch, advised the students to concentrate on their education and avoid going to town without permission to engage in activities that could expose them to acquiring HIV.

She said the target of the Eastern Regional branch of the commission was to achieve zero infection of HIV and the total elimination of mother-to-child transmissions.

The woman informed the students that they could access VTC on HIV in all government hospitals in the region and those who test positive could be put on the Anti-Retroviral Therapy to sustain them for the rest of their lives.