Kevin Jones

Importance of Early HIV Diagnosis


Let’s begin with a few statistics so as to gain perspective on the spread of HIV, and for the purpose of this article, we’ll be discussing about its prevalence in the United States. It’s estimated that about 1.1 million Americans have HIV, with approximately 56,300 new transmissions annually of which 21% aren’t even aware they’ve been infected.

Merits of Early Detection

Detection of HIV early on is crucial to the goal of decreasing patient mortality and morbidity rate across the nation, as well as preventing further transmission of HIV. Screening programs funded by various charities across the country have saved lives of infected and prevented others from contracting it.

  • Early HIV detection is the key to slowing down the spread of HIV.
  • Early detection enables the person infected to receive timely HIV medications and treatment to fight the infection off.
  • Individuals aware of their status are more likely to exercise care in their relationships, and avoid transmitting it to someone else.
  • Early treatment is how longevity of patients and higher levels of CD4 are achieved.

More information is available here.

When does an HIV Infection become full-blown AIDS

HIV infection is essentially an initial phase of AIDS, and the lack of treatment eventually results in this disease. Medically, the conversion of HIV to AIDS is determined by a patient’s CD4 levels. When the cell count falls under 200, the patient officially has AIDS. In other cases, the onset of AIDS is apparent as the patient’s immune system becomes so impaired that they contract several AIDS defining infections all at once. One such infection is pneumocystis pneumoni, a disease with the potential to be fatal. If caught early on, this condition is fairly easy to treat; however, if medical attention is not given on time, it can prove to be fatal.

HIV Diagnosis takes Mere Minutes with Technology

In order to speed up the time consumed to get HIV test results and ultimately scale up the testing program, the new Antibody AIDS test has been introduced that can generate results under twenty minutes. This test works by detecting antibodies in saliva or in blood. And with the help of modern day technology, the science of particle agglutination has advanced far enough to make this possible. These newly developed tests for HIV have sensitivities higher than 98% and display a visual response. Many of these tests have been approved by the FDA and are available as DIY tests one can take at home.

In the UK there are a number of online testing services that are appropriately regulated and licensed. One of the leading providers of HIV testing online in the UK is where you can get results within 4 hours.

Progression of AIDS Treatment

The recent advancement in AIDS treatment involves medication with far less toxicity relative to its predecessors. These new medications are superior to those developed years ago. Taking these medications have become easier as most patients only need a single pill a day to keep the infection in check for longer periods, not to mention offering patients an improved quality of life.

The HIV test is integral for overcoming AIDS crises in the US. Not only do we have the means and resources to prevent transmission of HIV, but also prevention based treatments combined together with other biological preventive measures can isolate the infection.

Potential New Herpes Treatment


Herpes is a disease caused by the Herpes Simplex virus. The infection which is caused by the virus is later on classified according to the infected part of the body. If the mouth or the face of the patient is affected, the disease is known by the name of oral herpes and is characterized by the presence of small blisters in the form of small clusters. These may give rise to a sore throat. If there are blisters in the genital area which give rise to small ulcerations, the condition is termed as genital herpes or simply herpes.

With an astounding 19 million people affected in the U.S. alone in the year 2010, there has been considerable research and development in this field to provide an immediate cure from this disease. Several companies in the United States alone are actively pursuing the development of anti-viral drugs through the development of nanomedicines, which are said to accelerate the development of antibodies against herpes. Until now, considerable research has been carried out on mice in which their vaginal mucus has been used as a breeding ground for the development of herpes. But with the administration of these ingenious nanomedicines, the development of herpes in these subjects has been successfully prevented.

How does nanomedicine penetrate the body’s natural mechanisms?

Part of our body’s natural defense mechanism, are things like a runny nose and tears. It does not seem welcoming to have either of these even for a fraction of a day but these secretions are the first line of defense against external malicious microbes that could wreck havoc with the body’s immune system. The basic consistency of these mucosal secretions is rich in protective elements, which is capable of trapping both harmful viruses from the external environment, as well as any concentration of medicine that can fight these microbes away.

A team of researchers from the John Hopkins Hospital has successfully created a set of nano-particles which can effectively penetrate the body’ natural defense system and remain viable in the mucosal environment long enough to fight away any viruses such as herpes. Aside from the creation of these nano-particles, the team at John Hopkins also broke down the basic constituents of Acyclovir into microscopic, nano-sized particles that have a significantly low molecular weight. They coated these nano-particles with a special PolyEthylene Glycol (PEG) coating, mixed it with a vaginal gel and applied it to the genitalia of female mice.

The result was the creation of a microscopic army which was slightly larger in size when compared to a single herpes virus unit. After this, they introduced herpes virus in the same area. The study concluded that the mice which had been given this gel via their vagina were not infected by herpes, whereas those rodents which were exposed to the virus without any protection ended up with the disease.

This research has proved to be a breakthrough for humans as the most quickly acting and the most reliable of all treatments plans. Since the entire human body is replete with mucosal secretions from the gastrointestinal tract to the respiratory system, there is ample stable ground for the implantation of this nanomedicine throughout the human body to fight away the ill effects of herpes.

Tadalafil in Dementia Study


There is so much research being carried out in the area of dementia and alzheimer’s currently. An interesting study is about to start in the UK and is focusing on vascular dementia, a very popular form of the disease. 110,000 of current cases have been diagnosed across the UK. This form of dementia is cause by damage to the small blood vessels which ultimately decreases the flow of blood to the tissue of the brain.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are often confused or thought to be one in the same, but they are in fact different conditions. Dementia is a disorder of the brain that affects communication and day to day life. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that affects areas of the brain responsible for thought, language and memory.

When a dementia diagnosis is made, it is not clear exactly what is causing the condition, rather, a set of symptoms are being diagnosed. Alzheimer’s causes 50 to 70% of all cases of dementia, as well as being a well known form of dementia, and symptoms very specifically related to a difficulty with speaking, thinking and a general confusion. Both conditions are becoming very common but, for the purpose of this study, vascular dementia is the primary focus. Vascular dementia is the second most popular form of dementia in the UK.

Certain controversial headlines state that elderly patients in the UK are being ‘fed’ Viagra for the purposes of this study but this is, of course, not true. It makes perfect sense that a viagra-like treatment would be researched at some point for the treating of vascular dementia considering its effects on blood flow. Taldalafil, the actual drug being administered for the purposes of this trial, is used to dilate blood vessels in penile tissue for those who suffer with erectile dysfunction (ED). It is thought that this dilation will, similarly, ease blood flow, but to the brain, for people who suffer with small or damaged blood vessels.

This will be a small study comprising of 50 men and women, over the age of 65, who have experienced blood vessel damage in the past, caused by a stroke, or those who have been diagnosed with memory issues as a result of blood vessel damage. A huge number of people at this stage of life experience issues with blood vessel damage, currently up to 70%. The study’s participants have not been diagnosed with dementia.

Blood flow to the brain will be measured before and after a dose of this drug via MRI and will ascertain how much blood is reaching specific areas of the brain. Lower doses and placebos will be used to compare amounts of blood flow and the corresponding effects on areas of the brain that are typically affected by vascular dementia.

The exciting part about this trial is that if taldalafil does in fact work, and since it is already on the market for the treatment of another disease, i.e, the treatment of ED, it will not take as long to get to market for the treatment of vascular dementia as it would a new drug.

It is thought that 850,000 people in the UK will have dementia by 2016. Research in this area is more important than ever before, a cure, vital.

You can read more about this study here.

Aciclovir Gets a Revamp


Same old acyclovir, but newfangled therapy, could improve the treatment outcomes of well known drug, acyclovir, in patients with labial herpes. The herpes simplex virus that causes labial herpes is the most widely spread of the herpes viruses but new and innovative administration techniques show that shorter outbreaks and longer periods between outbreaks are a welcome side effect. The latest method of delivery of this traditional treatment could even have an impact on the treatment of other herpes infections.

Phase III trial stage of a study carried out by a team at BioAlliance Pharma, which included 775 patients, is now complete, wherein a low dose of acyclovir (Sitavig) was administered to patients in a very interesting way. The results are exciting and have proved the drug safe and very effective for patients who suffer with outbreaks of this herpes virus. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved the drug for commercial release this year and, for the moment, it will only be available in the United States.

Results showed that when administered in the prodromal stage (between initial sign of infection and presence of a sore) that subsequent outbreaks were fewer and that the episode itself was shorter lasting than before. 50mg of acyclovir was administered in tablet form, which uses Lauriad technology in order to adhere the tablet to the gum above the front tooth on whatever side of the lip, the sore is present. This means the low dose of the drug affects the infection locally and with success. This adherence is enabled by the use of a milk protein which helps the tablet stick to the gum while also causing a slower release of the drug. It is thought that the lowering of the dose of acyclovir to 50mg from the traditional 400mg three times a day, is responsible for the decrease in the number of subsequent outbreaks post treatment, but this is not known for sure.

There has been other positive news on the herpes front in that drug, Truvada, which is traditionally a HIV drug that is also used as a pre-exposure prophyaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection, could have an impact on a decrease in the rates of genital herpes infection too. PrEP is taken in order to prevent the incidences of new HIV infections and, according to a recent study, looks like it has the ability to decrease herpes rates simultaneously. 131 heterosexual couples in serodiscordent relationships, i.e, where one partner is HIV positive and the other is not, were administered with PrEP and it transpired that there was a 30% decrease in infection rates of herpes while the treatment was being taken. PrEp is met with a lot of hostility as those who oppose its usage in the prevention of HIV spread, believe that it will inevitably cause an increase in the rate of sexually transmitted disease at the same time. Well, this double benefit might show them how by widening the population of PrEP users, it could also benefit the problem of increasing STI rates. PrEP is a viable option for both heterosexual and homosexual serodiscordent couples and at a time when, according to the latest Health Protection Agency figures, the number of STI diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) has been seen to have risen sharply in recent years and where the rate of genital herpes rates have risen by 7% across the board, it seems like a necessary precaution at this stage.

There are websites that are prepared to prescribe oral Aciclovir for cold sores (labial herpes) currently at the higher dose of 400 mg if your GP will not oblige.