christopher columbus

“Those who overlook History are condemned to repeat it.”  Anonymous

Many fantastic things have been said about the importance of history. We agree with some and disagree with the rest, but there is this one thing we all agree with– history repeats itself. So, if we want to deal with this insidious killer called Syphilis conclusively, then we must know about its history.

Syphilis is very old, almost ancient. How old, how ancient?

It’s very difficult to say. Scientists have traced its presence to an era as old as 1400 AD, but they too agree that that’s the not the exact period. Its exact place of origin and time is almost impossible to ascertain. It’s not sure that it existed as early as that time but that’s not the period it originated.

Maybe it was there with the human race forever.

What is Syphilis?

It’s a dreadful “Sexually Transmitted Disease.”   Its impact on any healthy individual, given the required time, is horrifying.

It can eat away your tissues, bones, teeth, and deform all important organs. It can affect the heart, brain, and complete viscera. In short, no organs and no part of the body is free from its onslaught. It can deform a beautiful/handsome individual into a horrifying wretch.

Body parts will be eaten away or fall off as a foul-smelling excretion. It can bring a shameful look and a painful death.

Excavations from ancient tombs illustrate that skulls have been eaten away at orifices and on surfaces. Bones from other parts of the body have been affected too. They were either eaten away or deformed, or both. These are classic cases because this disease was not understood then, so they hardly had any effective treatment method. At present, such cases are very rare, because we are better prepared to face Syphilis now than at that time.

How Syphilis was named

This disease was considered to be carried by foreign sailors and soldiers to the local prostitutes during their frequent sexual contacts. Before the term “Syphilis” was coined for this dreadful STD, it was known as the “The French Disease” in Germany, Italy, and Poland. Alternatively, the French used the characteristic spite to call it the  “Italian disease.” In fact, people use all their racial and political spite and named this disease after their enemies.

The Christian disease” and The Polish disease.” Some, in the medical community in the 16th century, called it the “Great Pox” to primarily differentiate it from Smallpox. But, just before that, in 1530, something happened that changed all these names forever.

An Italian physician-poet called Girolamo Fracastoro wrote a religious poem in Latin. This was called “Syphilis sive morbus gallicus” meaning “Syphilis or The French Disease.” The poem was written to prove that this disease came to humans as a punishment from the Gods, especially Apollo. The leading character of the poem was named Syphilus who was the first character to get the disease as a punishment from God Apollo.

Later on, he derived the name “Syphilis” from his poem and used in his new book “On Contagious Diseases.”

The Two Hypotheses about  its origin

The origin of Syphilis is yet to be established. There had been both efforts and denials to prove the exact source from where it originated.

Syphilis was present among the local people of America in the pre-Columbian era. There is no second opinion about that.  Anthropologists and historians agree upon this fact. However, it’s not very clear whether this disease was present elsewhere in the world.

The Europeans, at least some, strongly believe that it’s Christopher Columbus who brought the first virus to Europe. Basing on that perception there are at least two hypotheses regarding the origin of Syphilis.

1. The Columbian theory or hypothesis

This hypothesis is based upon the belief that Columbus and his crewmen brought the first virus to Europe and subsequently to the rest of the world. The timing of  Columbus’s voyages to the Americas helps in proving this theory because it occurred three years before the syphilis outbreak of 1494 at Naples.

Kristin Harper, a Health and Society Scholar at Columbia University, New York is at the forefront of this hypothesis. It’s an irony that somebody at the Columbia University holds Columbus responsible for bringing this dreadful disease to the world.

Molly K. Zuckerman and George Armelagos who hold similar views co-authored several reports with Harper. They contest the pre-Columbian hypothesis with the fact that the cases reported to be present in Europe before the arrival of Columbus in the Americas are not true cases of Syphilis.

2. The pre-Columbian theory or hypothesis

This hypothesis stands on the belief that Syphilis existed well before Christopher Columbus visited America, even centuries before he took birth.

This hypothesis holds ground on the finding of skeletal remains at certain excavation sites in Italy which shows bone degeneration similar to the effects of tertiary Syphilis. There’s another fact — Hippocrates, the classical Greek doctor, described the symptoms of tertiary Syphilis in its original form.

Anthropologists and historians claim that cases of leprosy in medieval Europe were wrongly diagnosed. They were actually cases of tertiary Syphilis.

Some famous people linked to syphilis:

Charles VIII of France
Adolf Hitler
Benito Mussolini
Friedrich Nietzsche
Vladimir Lenin
Henry VIII Al Capone
Artist Paul Gauguin
Artist Eduardo Manet
Russian author Leo Tolstoy

What is Herpes?

 

When people start searching for information on Herpes, they are scared, but they hardly know how troublesome it can be. There are many opinions about whether Herpes is innocuous or dangerous, but all agree on the fact that an infection such as Herpes simplex or genital herpes is quite bothersome. Once you are infected, it stays with you forever.

what is herpes

As per the official data, one individual in each four is infected with herpes. This seems alarming but it hardly says the complete range of suffering a patient undergoes. Chlamydia is considered to be most prevalent of all STDs, but Herpes, as well as HIV, compete closely with it.

What is Herpes?

Herpes is an STD. Well, that’s too common a fact, but it indicates one thing. The propagation or the infection occurs due to sexual contact. Sexual intercourse of any nature, whether anal, vaginal or oral in gay, lesbian or heterosexual individuals with an infected person can trigger an infection.

Clean and tidy sexual habit on your part when you have sex with an infected partner can save you for a couple of times but not for long. People say condoms can protect, but that’s a myth.

The body fluids from any orifice of an infected person carry the infecting agent, the virus. When your mucous membrane or open tissue comes in contact with these infected fluids the infection gets it into your system.

A viral infection is different from a bacterial infection. Some STDs, say gonorrhea and syphilis, come from bacterial infections. Their manifestation is quite different from that of STDs which come from viral infections. The bacterial STDs respond to normal antibiotic treatment and are considered curable. On the other hand, STDs that come from viral infections are mostly incurable and in most of the cases very obstinate.

Herpes manifests symptoms around oral mucous membranes, skin, and tongue. In some cases, the manifestations are on the skin. When the disease comes from sexual activities, it manifests symptoms around male and female genitals and popularly known as genital herpes. That’s not all. The virus also affects the nerves of its victim and as on date, it’s difficult to ascertain its complete neurological impact. The herpes virus is known as Herpes Simplex virus or HSV. It has 2.5 stains which are responsible for 2 herpes and a similar manifestation of herpes.

In the following paragraphs, you will find the details of each type of herpes.

What is Herpes Simplex?

You have seen cold sores. They are generally considered as a form of Herpes, Herpes Simplex or HSV-1. People are apt to associate cold sores with oral herpes, but that may not be the case always. Ulceration of mouth can come from many other reasons, even from gonorrhea and syphilis. It may also come from simple indispositions in health.

herpes simplex

Herpes simplex manifests after one is infected with HSV. The incubation is very short, maybe a week. It affects the mucous membranes inside the mouth and the skin around. The main seat is the place where skin meets the mucous membrane or where two types of skin tissue meet. These are places such as the lips, the corner of the mouth, and the upper and lower lip ridges.

This infection is considered a simple form of herpes but it keeps coming again and again. When there is stress on the body vitality, the virus attacks promptly. The symptoms manifest for a week or two then goes away altogether. This stage is considered the first stage of genital herpes, but it may never develop into HSV-2.

What is Genital Herpes?

This malady is popularly known as HSV-2 as the virus responsible for this infection is named so. This disease is complicated. When people say Herpes, they actually mean genital Herpes. Genital Herpes is a chronic condition. Chronicity, in medicine, means a condition for life, if not cured. In acute conditions, the disease subsides with or without medical treatment or it may kill the person infected, but when the disease is chronic it progresses very slowly and may or may not respond to the treatment. It stays with the patient till death or until cured.

Well, now back to genital Herpes.

This may initially manifest as HSV-1 and then progress to HSV-2, but the primary cause of infection is intimate sexual contact. If someone goes into oral sex with an infected person, he or she develops pronounced oral symptoms. After the first manifestation, the condition subsides as any other acute disease, but there are periodic relapses. The remission periods get longer and longer over time and each relapse decreases in intensity. This is a trend with all chronic diseases. This comes from the weakening of the body vitality either due to drug effect or the onslaught of the virus.

After the prodome, the virus mostly remains dormant except for the brief relapse, but the disease remains highly contagious. So, whether the host has blisters on genitals or not, he or she can always infect a sex partner. Genital Herpes is dreaded for its painful state. Other than that people don’t find it bothersome, but that’s a myth. If this remains untreated for a longer period, this may create a state where the patient may develop susceptibility to HIV.

What is Herpes Zoster?

This infection is the half stain I mentioned earlier. It comes from a virus which belongs to the subfamily Alphaherpesvirinae. This virus is quite similar but is not HSV. The same virus is the cause of Chickenpox in humans.

Herpes Zoster is the chronic condition of Chickenpox. After the first manifestation of its acute state, it subsides and stays latent for some time before it comes back as Zoster. This is also known as Shingles or Zona.

It’s the warning from the experts that, most infections come from unsuspecting donors. People who infect others are generally not aware that they are infected. It’s quite credible as infected people in most cases don’t suspect an infection because there are hardly any painful symptoms. Some people at the time of infection don’t experience clearly marked changes except some flu-like symptoms.

The only way to be sure whether you are clean of or infected by herpes is to get tested for Herpes. The symptoms may indicate a presence but it can’t confirm it, so before you can seek treatment you should get Herpes testing at a reliable FDA approved agency.

What is Herpes Zoster?

This is not true Herpes because the virus which is responsible for the infection is not a stain of HSV. The virus responsible is called Varicella zoster virus or VZV which causes Chickenpox. It’s popularly referred to as Shingles or Zona.

Herpes Zoster rash

The acute stage of infection by this virus is called chickenpox, but it has a chronic stage too. After the pox stage subsides, the virus goes into hibernation to erupt later at a suitable time. The virus seeks to refuse in the nerve cell bodies till the secondary eruptions take place. These eruptions are quite different than the pox stage and the symptoms are very different.

Why is Shingles named Herpes Zoster?

  • Both HSV and VZV share a common origin, subfamily Alphaherpesvirinae.
  • Both these viruses have similar eruptions, watery blisters in crops.
  • The eruption occurs on a single side, on skin supplied by one set of spinal nerves. When the blisters subside the area may experience nerve pains.
  • After the first infection, they stay latent and erupt again when the individual’s vitals go weak.
  • They both predominantly affect the nerves and travel through the nerves.

One can’t get infected with zoster by someone who has it. However, there’s a chance that a person with Shingles can give the virus to another who hasn’t had Chickenpox vaccine or Chickenpox.

Herpes Zoster symptoms

Symptoms of shingles come in stages. First symptoms to appear may be acute photophobia with a mild headache. There may be flu-like symptoms without marked fever.

After this stage, one may feel itching, tingling, or pain in localized spots. Then, a rash may occur a few days later in a band or strip-like area. Then the rash turns into crops of blisters. The blisters fill with watery fluid and a few days later they crust over. The blisters take 2 to 4 weeks to heal. It may leave scars. Some get only a mild rash, and some do not get any rash at all.

These symptoms accompany dizziness. It affects clarity of mind and it takes effort to focus one’s mind on mental works. This may come with blurry vision with heaviness of head. If you have any of these problems from Shingles, you must immediately consult your doctor.

Treatment for Shingles

Herpes Zoster has a vaccine which is considered the most effective way to handle this infection. This minimizes the chances of infection and post-herpetic neuralgia.  If you can prevent this infection it’s the best thing you can do to yourself.

The second best alternative is antiviral drug treatment, but the treatment needs at least a week to ten days to handle the rash and post-herpetic neuralgia if taken within 72 hours of appearance of the rash.

To heal the rashes and minimize pain you need to have good home care in addition to medication. You must keep the sores clean at all times and take care that the crust does not break too often. Take medicines regularly as directed by the doctor and take plenty of rest. If pain increases considerably, you can start a course of painkillers.

You can keep the following points in mind to minimize your chances of getting Shingles.

  • If you had chicken pox in the past you are prone to it.
  • People above 50 years of age may contact Shingles easily, so stay vaccinated.
  • If you have a weak immune system you are more chances of getting infected, so get the vaccine.
  • If you already contacted Shingles getting vaccinated reduces pain and further chances of infection in future.

This sickness is not as prevalent as other strains of herpes. The number of cases reported every year ranges from 1.2 to 3.4 cases per thousand. However, in people older than 65 years, the reported cases show an increasing trend, from 3.9 to 11.8 per thousand individuals per year.

 

Many people do not mind to put a lot of effort and time to get a “FREE Home STD Test Kit.” It takes a lot of time to find out the source online, to register a personal account, to book a kit, to receive the kit by post, collect the test sample, to post it back to the test lab, and to get the test result. At the end, most of them find the experience frustrating.

Is the experience same for all?

Certainly not! If the test result is negative, then well yes, you sure save some money. On the other hand, if the test is positive for any STD one has to get counseling and treatment from the same test lab. In this case, the treatment is not free; it’s all a paid service. It is also very unlikely that the test lab, where you send your sample is near to your home, so, when you need treatment for any of the STDs you have to either drive a very long distance or to seek treatment elsewhere. If you are to get treated in a different clinic for any of the STDs, then in most probability you have to undergo another STD test with them. In this case, you can save no money but you lose time.

Where do you get free Home STD testing kits free?

Before we go any further, I want to give the details of the sites that provide a free kit. I urge you to go through the following details very carefully because these test kits are neither free for all nor do they have a testing facility for all types of STD. In all sense, they have very limited service open only to a very limited age group in the first site and to limited people, inhabitants, of specific states, in the other site.

A site called freetest.me

This site is sponsored by National Health Service. As chlamydia is the most common STD, they provide testing only for chlamydia. If you’re between 16 and 24 years of age and testing is free in your area, then it can get a free test. At present this is a very limited service available only to a few. If you want to get tested for only chlamydia, then you can try out this site for a free chlamydia test. To stay safe, you are supposed to get annual chlamydia tests or whenever you change sexual partners. It’s not clear if they provide free regular tests or it’s a one-time test only.

The next site which provides free testing is IWTK which stands for I Want The Kit.

These kits are sponsored by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and there’re certain restrictions on who can get these tests for free. What type of kit do they provide? They provided testing only for 3 sexually transmitted infections i.e. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and Trichomoniasis. These 3 are considered to be the most common form of STD, so the restriction. Another reason for the limited service is that even if we get the kit for free, somebody has to pay for it. As their funding is limited at present, they are not able to provide testing for all types of STD as on date.

free home std testing kit

 They supply two types of kits. An STD test kit for men and another for women. These kits have only one difference. The first one comes with a sterilized cotton swab for collecting penile specimen and the second for collecting a vaginal sample. If you opt for a rectal swab you have to do it specifically in both the cases.

Is the kit free for all?

No.

They provide free tests to residents of Maryland, Washington DC, and Alaska only. If you do not stay in any of the states you better forget the free test. You can only order a kit for yourself. You can’t order a test kit for your sex partner(s). They have to create their own account to get their own test kit. If you aren’t aware of STD testing, then you should know that you need periodic testing, one year in case of Chlamydia or six months in case of HIV. I’m not sure if they provide as many test kits. You have to check that with them.

Is the treatment free?

No.

If you test positive it is your responsibility to contact the clinic. If you selected a clinic in Washington DC during registering with them you have to contact them for further treatment. You have to pay a fee to receive antibiotics for your treatment. Is your identity safe with them? Maybe, maybe not. They need a yellow colored contact form with the kit. You must send the form duly filled with your swabs otherwise your samples are not going to be attended. This form needs your personal details, so you don’t know what happens to your data after you provide it to them. Most probably, they have to explain the expenses to the agency that provides them for the free kits, so they have to disclose the personal details of people who used the kits. You have to do your own research for this.

Is it a hoax?

NO.

It’s genuine. If you stay in any of the 3 states, you get a free kit. There are people who need it to get the initial motivation to start the STD testing process. These kits are sponsored by Johns Hopkins University, so never doubt them. There’re constraints, but they are doing a good job.

What you gain or lose by opting for the free Home STD test kit?

Gains:

  • You certainly get a genuine kit, and a free testing at a fine lab without moving an inch from your home.

Loss:

  • You lose some time in this process.
  • If you test positive you can only a consultation at the same clinic/lab where your samples were sent. It may be far off from your place, so it’s impractical to attend to your treatment or post-testing counseling. In such a case you have to get a paid testing, but you again lose precious time in the process.
  • You can’t get tested for all types of STD.

If you aren’t authorized for a free home STD test kit, then what should you do?

Get private STD testing with a nominal cost. If you prefer to go for an STD lab test  near your locality, click the link to register.

If you think an “at home STD test kit” is right for you, then check our instant STD test kit  page or over the counter HIV test kits. Lastly, STD counseling before and after an STD test makes the whole process a lot easier, so check the relevant details before you decide on anything.

 

The thought of getting tested for STD is scary especially when one needs to undergo some form of HIV test. Some of the preconceived notions about STD, particularly HIV or AIDS is dead wrong, but people believe hear-say a lot. The  HIV condition is treatable if one seeks treatment in time.

STI STD Counseling session

So, it’s very important that you seek STI counseling before and STD counseling after undergoing a test. This is available at the hospital, labs or clinic where you will be tested. To get counseling from us click here.

Better counseling is going to give you a lot of confidence and insight into how and where to get a proper STD test and what are the financial implications of such a thing. In case you test positive, counseling can help your doctor to determine how fast the disease is progressing. This information is required by any doctor to set a time frame to commence treatment. In case you test negative, you still need counseling. This can give you rare insight into how you and your spouse can reduce the risk of getting infected in the future.

Reasons for getting STI counseling

  • Mental preparation makes it easy on the first-timers. There’s so much at stake in STD testing if you test positive, so it’s only natural for people to get anxious. A doctor at the counseling center and put you at ease with insightful guidance.
  • The testing procedure is complex. If you know about the procedure well in advance it makes easy on your part. You know exactly what to expect and what’s the purpose of each test.
  • There are financial implications when you’ve to undergo such elaborate STD tests. With each test you undergo, you have to cough up hard-earned dollars. An STD counselor is an expert in the field. He can guide you not to undergo some tests as there may be duplicate results. If you approach the issue all by yourself, in all probability, you will spend more money and time without gaining anything worthy in return.
  • You have to agree that STDs have social issues. An experienced counselor deals with such cases every day, so he can share the cumulative experience of all such cases with you. In an instant, you are opened to not only the range of problems but also the most likely solutions.

Well, now you have finished the testing phase. Say, if you test positive you need the all the guidance available, so you must seek the assistance of a good counselor. But, if you test negative for any STD or HIV in particular, then, you may think, perhaps you don’t need further counseling!

WRONG!!

Reasons for getting STD counseling

  • If you get good guidance about how to protect you and your family from HIV, then you can prevent this STI altogether. You must learn how to reduce the risk of getting infected. This is applicable, of course, if you test negative.
  • If your result is positive, you must learn how to prevent spreading HIV to others. The people who are most likely to get infected immediately from you are your near and dear ones. In all probability, you must protect them.
  • After you know you have an infection, there are going to be issues. There would be personal and professional issues as much as social and emotional issues. Additionally, you have to address professional issues at the workplace.
  • Getting treatment is not going to be easy on your purse. A better guidance on how to handle financial issues is going to keep you afloat for a longer period.
  • That’s not all. All the medication and stress is going to tax your body more than the disease. You must know how to stay healthy in such a condition. If you lose health you will lose out quickly.

Testing positive for any STD is not a boon, but it’s not a curse either. When “one individual in every four infected with some sort of STD” nobody can stay safe for long. So, if you’re infected it may not be your fault altogether. Don’t blame yourself, because it’s not going to help. On the other hand, prepare yourself better. Get STD counseling. Don’t hold back anything from your doctor/counselor. Discuss your worst fears. He’s there to help.

Remember the last line; as long as you stay healthy you can defeat the infection. Never allow the HIV condition to progress towards AIDS.

People who don’t want to worry about doctors or needles often prefer an “over the counter HIV test kit.”

Is there an over the counter HIV test?

Yes. You buy a test kit from the market  and conduct the HIV test at home. Some people call it Oraquick HIV testing.

over-the-counter-HIV-test-kit-from-Oraquick

This kit has gained credibility after a recent approval by the Food and Drug Administration as accurate and trustworthy. If you don’t like to wait for a week or two to know the answer then you should opt for this HIV kit.

People who merely suspect that they may have HIV use this kit. It’s better to get tested and have peace than keep worrying.

I know that people who develop sore or painful throat conditions, swelling lymphatic nodes, burning and smarting during urination grow suspicious. If this immediately follows a sexual contact, then they have all the reasons to think so. This is the time to use a kit.

Over the counter HIV test cost

It’s a bit pricey at present with $39.90 price tag at amazon.com, but it’s worth the price in many respects. The packaging is discreet and the instructions are easy. In a nutshell, it includes everything you will ever need to conduct the test. At the time of disposal use the black pouch to seal off the waste.

You don’t need a blood sample for you HIV testing with this kit. All you need is an oral swab. Easy?  You can swipe your gums with the test swab which comes with the kit. Then insert it into the test tube with the test agent and wait for 20 minutes. The clock may seem to tick slowly, but you have no other go but wait. 🙂

This is not a fault with the product. The technology of testing we have as on date needs one to wait for these 20 minutes. You can try to finish up pending jobs in the meantime is stead of looking at the test tube. The consolation is one can get a very accurate result without visiting anywhere, say labs or clinics. A stress-free HIV test from your own home without any drive or phone calls!

Over the counter HIV test accuracy

Oraquick HIV testing is very accurate. You can expect 99.99%. Even lab tests can be 100% accurate, so these kits can compete with them for accuracy. These kits use the same testing methods doctors use regularly and for years. If you use an Oraquick kit you’re safe.

“Over the counter HIV test kits” are legal and dependable and you can buy them from anywhere without a prescription. If you buy your stuff from Amazon store online, then perhaps that’s the best place to buy. Here is a link to the page:-

 

Buy Over the counter HIV test kit

 

When the Human Immunodeficiency Virus enters a fresh victim, it immediately starts the process of incubation. This process takes 2 days to 2 weeks; in some cases as long as 3 months. This actually is a fast replication process for the virus.

Concept of HIV Testing

The virus uses the host cells as resources to multiply as fast as possible. The replication process is faster in healthier and younger people because they have a faster metabolism. When the viruses increase in number, they are detected by the immune system of the body.

The host body then starts the process to fight out the virus. The immune system develops antibodies to counter the antigens produced by the virus. In case of HIV, the antigen is a protein called p24. This is the time when the first symptoms of HIV become apparent.

During this time the host body plasma, serum, saliva, discharges from different orifices or urine contains the antigen, antibodies,  and the RNA of the virus. If any of the three is found we can be sure that the individual is infected with HIV.

All HIV testing methods are aimed at detecting any one of the following three agents.

  • HIV antigens
  • HIV antibodies
  • HIV RNA

To detect the agents in the test sample, it’s very important that they are present in sufficient quantity.

 

Types of HIV testing

  • HIV Antibody Test (ELISA)
  • HIV Antigen Test (p24 test)
  • PCR Test (Polymerase Chain Reaction Test)
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (NAAT)

 

HIV Test Window Period

The window period for each of these tests is different. The window period is the minimum time gap between infection time and testing time when a test can detect the presence of  HIV accurately. While conducting a test, the window period has to be taken into consideration to avoid false negatives. If we don’t allow sufficient time to elapse after the infection, then no test can detect the presence of the RNA, antigens or the antibodies even if HIV is present in the system.

Window time for the NAAT is 12 days. Within these 12 days, HIV can sufficiently multiply in number so as to show its presence in the test. As the test uses the detection of the Nucleic Acid from the virus RNA, HIV must be present in sufficient numbers to show up in the test result. This is the fastest means of finding out an infection by HIV.

The window period for a PCR test is same as the NAAT as it uses the genetic material detection of HIV. Babies born to HIV positive mothers retain their mother’s antibodies for several months after birth. An antibody test always tests HIV positive, hence inaccurate.  So, they are usually tested using a PCR test.

Window time for Antigen Test (p24 test) is approximately 16 days. By this time HIV produces sufficient antigens (p24 proteins) to show up conclusively in a test.

The “Window period” for an Antibody Test (ELISA) is 25 days. By this time the host body can produce the HIV antibodies in sufficient quantity to reflect in an antibody test.

WARNING: The window period doesn’t indicate the capacity to infect others. Anybody with HIV present inside the body is quite capable of infecting others in case of intimate contact or needle sharing.

An early detection is the only hope to prevent an HIV infection from turning into AIDS.  As per HIV statistics, 1 individual in every 5 infected with HIV is unaware of the infection. These 20% not only pose a risk of infecting others but also they are at a great risk as far as their own well being is concerned.

To find out about different types of HIV/STD testing packages click here.

Approximately 10 to 60% of people who are infected with HIV don’t show any symptoms. The absence of these symptoms doesn’t rule out an HIV infection. So don’t assume that you’re HIV negative just because you don’t have any of the following symptoms.

HIV symptoms don’t confirm an infection by the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus. The main reason for this is that most of the primary HIV symptoms are very similar to common complaints of flu or any other common microbe attack. If symptoms similar to that of an HIV infection develop just after an unprotected sexual encounter, most probably you have contracted HIV, but there’s no positive assurance that it’s so.

The only way you can help yourself by ensuring your safety against STDs or HIV is to go for STD testing as quickly as possible. That’s your best “STD Guard.”

Then why read this page of HIV symptoms?

Well, HIV infections just don’t happen. If you were critically exposed to conditions where you might have contacted the virus just before you develop these symptoms, then you know what exactly is causing them. Rush to a test lab.

Early symptoms of HIV

The incubation period is a few days to a couple of weeks. It’s the time period between the time of infection and the time of manifestation of first symptoms of HIV. In some cases, it takes about 3 months, but such cases are very rare.

Two to four weeks from the date of infection, some HIV cases develop a flu-like acute illness. Forty to ninety percent of cases develop “early HIV symptoms.”

It’s a very marked state because this state is perhaps the worst flu ever in the life of the individual. This condition may have the following associated symptoms. These symptoms may appear independently or in combination.

early symptoms of HIV
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Swollen Lymph nodes with soreness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Prolonged diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Sores in mouth
  • Sores in genital
  • Fatigue
  • Malaise
  • Anxiety
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Night Sweats
  • Abnormal weight loss

These symptoms may last a week or two but seldom more than 2 weeks.

What is the significance of the primary HIV symptoms?

People who get infected with HIV are most infectious during the period of incubation and primary manifestation. During this period the viral presence is intense in the blood plasma, semen, and vaginal fluid/secretion. So they are most likely to infect the sexual partners or with those who share needles with them.

This is a critical stage where the infected person propagates the virus innocently to those whom he loves.

To do your part in preventing the spread of HIV you must do the following.

If you’re experiencing symptoms which you believe to be the early HIV symptoms, then check the history of your sexual partners. If you shared needles with somebody, it’s time to see a doctor. If you used injection drugs recently, maybe it came from there. If you had protected/unprotected sex in the recent past, even once, even oral, even if with somebody who is HIV negative, it’s time to see a doctor.

When with the doctor never hesitate to disclose the risk factors you are exposed to. Let the doctor decide that for you.

Save your life

The only way to save yourself from the onslaught of AIDS is to seek prompt medical help when you experience early HIV symptoms. This is your only chance to prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS.

Save the life of your loved ones

You can prevent the spread of HIV to any other sexual partner(s) if you take action when the first symptoms of HIV show up. If tested positive, immediately notify your spouse or sexual partners. This is the only way to take steps to reduce the risk of spreading HIV to your loved ones.

Save others

It’s our collective responsibility to prevent/stop the spread of HIV. If you’re sexually very active or share needles, you should not wait for the primary symptoms to appear. Get tested immediately and there-after regularly to prevent the spread of HIV without your knowledge.

 

What is HIV?

HIV is an acronym which stands for “Human Immunodeficiency Virus.”

The seat of attack of this virus is the human immune system. The white blood corpuscles which are the main agents of protection for humans against diseases are the first target. The weakening of the immune system is abrupt, it’s gradual. It takes much time before the complete immune system breaks down.

There is a general misconception about HIV and AIDS. In most of the cases, people use these terms interchangeably, but they are different from each other. HIV leads to AIDS.

AIDS is an acronym which stands for “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.” If an HIV infection is left untreated for long, most likely it leads to a state of lack of immunity against infectious diseases. The result is a gradual weakening of general health, suffering, and death. The emerging trend is that it’s believed now that HIV may be a very strong reason for CANCER.

The main cause for HIV leading to AIDS is lack of proper ascertaining system. Sometimes the victim is not aware of an infection till the serious symptoms set in. In other cases, it’s the false negatives in the test results. So, it’s of utmost importance that the HIV testing is done properly, with reliable agencies.

I don’t mean to say that free STD testing is bad, but they don’t come at par with “Private STD testing.”  Everybody’s business is nobody’s business.

So, when it comes to matters of serious health concerns, it’s your turn to be decisive. Don’t take risks with your health and life.  Money is less important than health, suffering, and life. Test for STDs immediately and do all the testing at once when you go for the first time STD testing.

Facts about HIV Virus

A small and non-technical description of HIV virus.

HIV Virus diagram

It comes from the family of “Retroviridae” and  genus of “Lentivirus.” The significance of lentiviruses is that they are responsible for most of the chronic diseases. The incubation period for these viruses is very long and they cause very long duration diseases.

It’s spherical in shape measuring 120 nm in dia. The HIV virus is quite smaller than a normal “Red blood corpuscles” but larger than other viruses.

It comes with a single-stranded enveloped RNA in the genome of the virus particle. After entering into the host cell, it changes to a double-stranded DNA. The process makes it easy for the virus to flawlessly integrate into the host nucleus.

HIV 1 Virus:

After integration with the host cell, the HIV 1 does not go into incubation. It goes into a process of replication.

The method it uses is called “Transcription” in terms of genetics. This is a method of gene expression or gene change where a part of  DNA is copied into RNA by an enzyme of RNA. So, in case of HIV 1, new RNA genomes, viral proteins from the cell now become virus particles. The replication cycle starts this way.

HIV 1 is considered the most infectious and is the major killer.

HIV 2 Virus:

It is less infectious and lacks much of the killer punch of HIV 1. The reason for this is it goes into a long incubation period in the host nuclei after changing over to the double-stranded DNA and integrating with the host cell. Our immune system is not capable of detecting the presence of the HIV Virus after that. It is very poor in transmission so slow to spread.

Causes of HIV transmission

  • Unprotected sex with an infected person, vaginal, anal, oral or whatever
  • Sharing needles, syringes, other surgical instruments with an infected person
  • Tattooing, body piercing with unsafe, unsterilized puncture instruments
  • Blood transfusion with infected blood
  • Infected organ or bone marrow transplant
  • Infected mother to child during conception and delivery

HIV cannot possibly be transmitted through:

  • By casual Hugging, handshakes, and Kissing
  • Sneezing and Coughing as the virus does not travel by air
  • From Spit or tear of an infected person
  • Sharing crockery, Cutlery, and Bed Linen
  • By sharing Toilets or Showers
  • Mosquitos’ bites

HIV statistics

  1. These statistics are ever changing and in a worsening trend. In the US, the worst affected are the gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) by CDC. gov.
  2. In 2008, there were 26,700 new cases of HIV infection among MSM, but in 2012 it has increased to 29,800. It’s a significant increase, about 12%.
  3. In the US, MSM represents about 4% of the total population, but they account for a staggering 78% of new HIV infections among men.
  4. 1 in every 5 infected with HIV is not aware of the infection.
  5. Every 9.5 minutes someone is getting infected with HIV.
  6. Among all ethnic groups, African Americans are the worst hit of all HIV cases in the U.S.
  7. As per Aids.gov heterosexual and injection drug users accounted for estimated 27% of new HIV infections in 2009.

 

 

 

Gonorrhea is very similar to Chlamydia in its pathogenesis and symptoms. Both these STDs are caused by bacteria, so they are similar to other sexually transmitted diseases caused by bacterial infections.

Main characteristics of Chlamydia symptoms is the absence of any bothering or painful complaints during initial infection. Gonorrhea shares very similar characteristics with Chlamydia, it causes no bothering symptoms during Prodome, especially in women.

The incubation period for Neisseria gonorrhoeae,  the bacteria responsible for this STI, is not very standard. It has different time durations for different people even different in men and women. So, you would always find conflicting and confusing data on the incubation period of a gonorrhea incubation period.

There’s another reason which adds to this confusion- the absence of painful symptoms of this bacteria.

Symptoms are perceived changes in health which are mostly considered an aberration, never an advantage. The key is the perceived aspect, so it’s very subjective. Subjective things are changeable even in the same individual. That’s the reason why the incubation period of micro-organisms is always baffling.

OK, back to the incubation period of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Some project it as 2 to 5 days, some as 7 to 21 days. There are cases where the first symptoms don’t appear even before 30 days. After all who is sure of the exact date of the infection? 🙂

In some extreme cases, symptoms only show up after the disease develops tertiary stage, i.e. after it spreads to other parts of the body. In other words, it’s called the constitutional stage of Gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Women

The primary symptoms are very general, so they can be confused with normal fungal or yeast infection. A normal bladder or vaginal infection can manifest similar symptoms, a Gonorrheal infection is not conclusive. Only a NAAT Test or Urine Gonorrhea test can confirm it. Following are the symptoms which immediately follow after the incubation period:

  • Frequent urination with burning and smarting pains in lower abdomen particularly in the region of bladder and ovary.
  • Fever or a rise in body temperature a couple of degrees above normal body temperature
  • Lassitude and general tiredness.
  • Genital itching.
  • Itching and burning in anus
  • Bleeding or discharge from anus
  • Transparent, white, and creamy vaginal discharge which is very offensive odor
  • Vaginal bleeding during or after sex, and, between periods.
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Swollen and painful Bartholin glands (at the opening of the vagina).
  • Dryness in vagina in some cases
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • A sore throat and hoarseness.
  • Redness of eye just as acute conjunctivitis.

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Men

In men Gonorrhea symptoms are more marked than in women, at least they are more obvious to seek a Gonorrhea test. There are rare cases too where men don’t develop clear-cut symptoms. This asymptomatic state is very contagious and most men pass the Gonorrhea infection to their sexual partners and spouses.

The following symptoms are seen in males who are infected:

  • Discharge of a milky white pus-like fluid from the penis at first. Then slowly it turns yellow. Sometimes it may be creamy or blood-tinged.
  • Frequent desire to urinate with scanty urination. Burning, smarting and painful urination, urethritis, and itching in the urethra.
  • Itching in the anus. There’s  bleeding or a transparent discharge in some cases.
  • Soreness and hoarseness in the throat.
  • Feverish with weakness and a desire to lie down.
  • Pain in the testes can be found in some rare cases.
  • Redness of eye just as acute conjunctivitis.

 

Complications of  Gonorrhea

If the subject isn’t able to understand that there is an infection, the symptoms grow mild after a few weeks. There may be occasional discharges- blood from the vagina in case of women and creamy white pus from the urethra in case of the male. In some cases, the symptoms are suppressed and the disease becomes constitutional. It’s called “Disseminated gonococcal infection” or DGI.

 

Constitutional Gonorrhea  symptoms

  • Stiff and painful joints even in young people which resembles arthritis.
  • Skin rash like scabies with gradual thickening of the skin.
  • Gradual weakening of heart with palpitation, sometimes missing beats.
  • Blood affection is a normal process where the RBC and WBC counts drop.
  • The tendons are inflamed and they become painful and non-functional.

Constitutional Gonorrhea or disseminated gonococcal infection opens the doors for other STIs especially AIDS.