House Calls

SPR 2018

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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12 { spring 2018 } h o u s e c a l l s for the family A New Tool in the Fight Against HIV Learn about PrEP, the groundbreaking HIV-prevention strategy available at Roper St. Francis Healthcare – B Y J E S S Y G R E E N S M I T H Staving Off STDs PrEP helps prevent the transmission of HIV, but doesn't protect against other sexually transmitted diseases. So how does one minimize risk? Willis's advice is to follow the ABCs: Abstain. The most reliable way to avoid infection is to avoid anal, vaginal, and oral sex. Be monogamous. "The more partners you have, the more opportunities you have to contract a STD," Willis explains. Use Condoms. "Regardless of other tools and strategies we come up with, condoms are still proven to be the most effective at preventing the spread of STDs when used correctly," Willis says. If you're sexually active, it's also important that you get tested for STDs on a regular basis. "Everyone having unprotected sex should get tested once a year," says Willis. "And those engaging in risky behavior—such as having multiple sexual partners or engaging in sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol— should get tested every three months." Free HIV testing is available at the Ryan White Wellness Center. Call (843) 402-3093 for more information (walk-ins are welcome). T hough HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is a preventable disease, it continues to claim lives, especially in South Carolina, which has one of the highest AIDS rates in the U.S. (AIDS—acquired immune deficiency syndrome—is often referred to as late-stage HIV). Of the challenges that come with an HIV diagnosis, family planning is one of the toughest. Fortunately, the Ryan White Wellness Center (RWWC) at Roper St. Francis Healthcare—a federally funded HIV care management facility—has introduced a groundbreaking medicine that protects HIV-negative people from contracting the disease. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV-prevention strategy in which an HIV-negative person takes anti-HIV medication before coming into contact with the virus. Truvada for PrEP—the only antiretroviral drug that's currently FDA approved—stops HIV from replicating and establishing itself in a person's body. When taken daily, the pill provides a 92 percent reduction in HIV risk, allowing discordant couples, in which one partner is HIV- positive and one is negative, to safely engage in sex. "PrEP gives discordant couples a safer option for a full relationship, provides a greater sense of security, and gives the option for a healthy pregnancy," says RWWC director Kimberly Butler Willis. Thanks to a grant from the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the center can provide Truvada to people regardless of their insurance status. "This drug is the closest we've gotten to an 'HIV vaccine' and is, what I believe, the beginning of a HIV-free generation," Willis says. In addition to discordant couples, she urges those engaging in risky sexual behavior to seek a consultation, and notes that any South Carolina resident over the age of 18 can meet with experts at the center. For an appointment, call (843) 402-3093. a. Gonorrhea b. HIV c. Syphilis d. Chlamydia Answer: d. Chlamydia. Behind the human papilloma virus, or HPV, Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease. In 2016, 1.59 million cases of the disease were reported: an increase of 4.7 percent from the previous year. POP QUIZ! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent Sexually Transmitted Disease Survey (published last year) reported that STDs were more prevalent in 2016 than ever before. Which of the following STDs is most common in the U.S.?

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