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Tenofovir, an active drug found in an experimental vaginal gel, can significantly reduce a woman’s risk of contracting genital herpes, a common and incurable sexually transmitted infection.

 

According to a recent study published in the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’, Tenofovir based gel can help with the prevention of herpes simplex type 2; confirming past research. The research lead by Professor Salim Karim found that the gel halved women’s risk of infection if applied before and after sex. The trial followed some 400 participants. Past studies have shown that women who used the gel were between 39- 54 percent less likely to contract HSV-2.

HSV-2 is a strain of the herpes simplex virus that causes genital herpes. It is a highly contagious infection, and is transmitted via sexual contact. Around only 10-25% of people in the UK who have genital herpes are aware of it. 

Symptoms include blisters in the genital area which can be very painful. Many people on the other hand, may never have symptoms.  Although there are treatments for herpes if symptoms develop, there is actually no cure. Those already with the infection must take extra measures for protection such as using condoms and not having sexual intercourse during breakouts, although this does not completely prevent the virus transmission.

 The results of this research are promising; however, further research is likely to be needed for the drug to be approved for use as medication.

 Source: Karim SSA, Karim QA, Kharsany ABM, et al. Tenofovir Gel for the Prevention of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Infection. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2015.





by Emma Fitzwilliams, Thursday, 04 September 2014 | categories:

Self and home diagnosis is something that people have been doing for not just years, but even before our lifetime in their own way. Pregnancy tests are the first kind of tests people would think of doing at home more than any other. This is done to help detect early signs of pregnancy when at home to save having to keep going to the doctor should you be wrong. This simple premise of having a home test is being used for other health checks, and not surprisingly for tests where you have already had a diagnosis but need to keep an eye on your health, like blood glucose or cholesterol.

Mobile phone add ons are using the home pregnancy idea and are being created to allow you to pee onto a chip and then be inserted to the phone to give you an instant reading without using a lab. All very flashy, but is it reliable and really accurate? There are a wide range of tests that do give you a result at home without using a lab, and not always using urine, some are set up to take a small drop of blood from a finger prick to give you an answer. As with any movement of time and technology, there are certain people and professionals that question the testing methods at home versus those done by the doctor, but that could be without taking into account that many of the home tests are based on how it would be done by a doctor. The Food and Drug Administration is strict on home tests and only approve those which have at least 95% reliability, there is always an element of false readings no matter how a test is done or where is it done. Nothing is ever 100%.





by Emma Fitzwilliams, Thursday, 28 August 2014 | categories:

A smart phone is one of those everyday items that we survived without once upon a time, but these days we are left vulnerable and almost lost should we forget or misplace one. We have gone from a device that only allowed us to talk and send a text message, to being able to manage emails, work related issues, shop and keeping check with what the rest of the world is up to through social media.

To view the trend in how we have adapted in the way we perform day to day tasks, shows how much we rely on technology for so much. We used to do things physically, such as visiting a pharmacy shop or doctor if we were unwell. Then we were doing things electronically on a computer using websites to try and diagnose symptoms. We have now taken to doing these things on the go using a mobile phone health related apps. These "apps" are starting to be created to expand their use and reliability by specifically requiring gadgets to be attached to the phone to give you a much more accurate diagnosis. There are gadgets being developed that will be able to tell you your ECG, blood pressure, blood glucose level, if you have an ear infection or temperature and even if your alcohol limit at the end of an evening. All this from just a smartphone! Very clever and not surprising that, with the advancement of other aspects of everyday life being warped into a phone, that keeping a check on some of these vital signs might be the next development on the list. More information on these new app gadgets can be found at: http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/07/05/smart-body-iphone-add-ons-to-monitor-diagnose-your-health/





by Emma Fitzwilliams, Tuesday, 12 August 2014 | categories:

Summer is a particularly bad time for people with allergies, especially hay fever. However allergies can show themselves at any time and in many forms, either a rash, watery eyes, sneezing, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing and so on. Finding out what is causing these symptoms can be long winded and difficult at times. If you see a doctor to find out what exactly you are allergic to, it can take some time for results to be shown and not to mention waiting for the appointment in the first place. Home testing and diagnosis tests are now available for a wide variety of allergies for quick and easy results, but some would say these are not as accurate as when you go to a doctor.

As with any kind of test there is always the possibility of a false result, but a home diagnosis kit would help to eliminate and narrow down your own thoughts on what you may be allergic to. This kind of information could help provide you with a solution to cope with that allergy a lot faster-particularly if you are experiencing an allergic reaction at the time and can't get an appointment with a doctor immediately. Home tests are not there to replace a doctor but they are designed to help give a peace of mind and try to solve a problem or concern quickly and easily for you.





by Emma Fitzwilliams, Wednesday, 23 July 2014 | categories:

Keeping a check on your health, in particular your blood pressure is very important, as high blood pressure can indicate or lead to serious health risks such heart disease and a stroke. A study was conducted in America to see if patients could improve their blood pressure and get it under control by having them test their blood pressure at home on a regular basis instead of just when they go in to see their doctor for a check-up. The patients sent 6 readings a week to be reviewed by pharmacists who then made slight alterations to their medication to help get the patient’s blood pressure under control, if needed. They would also make suggestions to the patient about general lifestyle with the aim of improving their blood pressure readings. The patients with these monitors were compared to those who did not have this ability for home checks and only had the regular check-ups with the doctor. When the trial was completed, 72% of those that had been using a home monitor had managed to get their blood pressure under control, compared with only 57% of those who didn't have one.

Monitoring your blood pressure at home on a regular basis can be very quick and simple and the study mentioned shows how much easier it can be to help treat and control it, which ultimately gives you a better health outlook.

More information on the study can be found at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/checking-blood-pressure-at-home-pays-off-201307036436






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