Our focus at HIV Edmonton is helping our clients manage their HIV status, but we recognize that co-infections can seriously complicate the effective treatment of HIV. Sexually transmitted infections can make a person more susceptible to contracting HIV, or can make the already positive person more likely to transmit HIV through sexual contact.
Hepatitis C is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation. Most people infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have no symptoms. In fact, most people don’t know they have the hepatitis C infection until liver damage shows up, decades later, during routine medical tests.
Hepatitis C is one of several hepatitis viruses and is generally considered to be among the most serious of these viruses. Hepatitis C is passed through contact with contaminated blood — most commonly through needles shared during illegal drug use.An estimated 170 million individuals worldwide including an estimated 250,000 in Canada are infected.
There has been enormous progress made in treating chronic Hepatitis C and these treatments are highly effective however they can be cost prohibitive. Hepatitis C, although treatable, can re-occur if precautions against infection are not followed, there is no immunity to Hepatitis C even after successful treatment. Consult with your primary care physician to determine the best course of action.
For more information on Hepatitis C and links to Provincial Health coverage please click here
Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). For some people, hepatitis B infection becomes chronic, leading to liver failure, liver cancer or cirrhosis — a condition that causes permanent scarring of the liver.
Most people infected with hepatitis B as adults recover fully, even if their signs and symptoms are severe. Infants and children are much more likely to develop a chronic hepatitis B infection. Although no cure exists for hepatitis B, a vaccine can prevent the disease. If you’re already infected, taking certain precautions can help prevent spreading HBV to others.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The hepatitis A virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation that affects your liver’s ability to function.You’re most likely to contract hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with someone who’s already infected. Mild cases of hepatitis A don’t require treatment, and most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage.Practicing good hygiene — including washing your hands often — is one of the best ways to protect against hepatitis A. Effective vaccines are available for people who are most at risk.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection usually spread by sexual contact. The disease starts as a painless sore — typically on your genitals, rectum or mouth. Syphilis spreads from person to person via skin or mucous membrane contact with these sores.
After the initial infection, the syphilis bacteria can lie dormant in your body for decades before becoming active again. Early syphilis can be cured, sometimes with a single injection of penicillin. Without treatment, syphilis can severely damage your heart, brain or other organs, and can be life-threatening. The genital sores associated with syphilis can make it easier to become infected with HIV.
HPV infection causes warts. More than 100 varieties of human papillomavirus (HPV) exist. Different types of HPV infection can cause warts on different parts of your body. For example, some types of HPV infection cause plantar warts on the feet, while other varieties of HPV infection are responsible for the warts that most commonly occur on the hands or face.There are more than 40 different strains of HPV that specifically affect the genital area. Most HPV infections don’t lead to cancer, but some types of genital HPV can cause cancer of the cervix — the passage between the vagina and the uterus. Vaccines can help protect against the strains of genital HPV most likely to cause genital warts or cervical cancer.
Gonorrhea is an infection caused by a sexually transmitted bacterium that can infect both males and females. Gonorrhea most often affects the urethra, rectum or throat. In females, gonorrhea can also infect the cervix.
Gonorrhea is most commonly spread during sex. Gonorrhea is a common infection, and in some cases, causes no symptoms. You may not even know that you’re infected. Abstaining from sex, using a condom if you do have sex and being in a mutually monogamous relationship are the best ways to prevent sexually transmitted infections
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection that in women can cause a foul-smelling vaginal discharge, genital itching and painful urination. Men who have trichomoniasis typically have no symptoms. Pregnant women who have trichomoniasis are at higher risk of delivering prematurely.To prevent reinfection with the organism that causes trichomoniasis, both partners should be treated. The most common treatment for trichomoniasis involves taking one megadose of metronidazole (Flagyl). You can reduce your risk of infection by using condoms correctly every time you have sex.
Chlamydia (kluh-MID-ee-uh) is a common sexually transmitted illness. You may not know you have chlamydia because many people never develop the signs or symptoms, which may include genital pain and a discharge from the vagina or penis.
Chlamydia isn’t difficult to treat once you know you have it. If it’s left untreated, however, chlamydia can lead to more-serious health problems.
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection that affects both men and women. Features of genital herpes include pain, itching and sores in your genital area. But many infected people have no signs or symptoms of genital herpes. An infected person can be contagious, even if he or she has no visible sores.Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Sexual contact is the primary way that the virus spreads. After the initial infection, the virus lies dormant in your body and can reactivate several times a year.There’s no cure for genital herpes, but medications can ease symptoms and reduce the risk of infecting others. Condoms also can help prevent transmission of the virus.
Genital warts are one of the most common types of sexually transmitted infections. At least half of all sexually active people will become infected with the virus that causes genital warts at some point during their lives.As the name suggests, genital warts affect the moist tissues of the genital area. Genital warts may look like small, flesh-colored bumps or have a cauliflower-like appearance. In many cases, the warts are too small to be visible.Like warts that appear elsewhere on your body, genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Some strains of genital HPV can cause genital warts, while others can cause cancer. Vaccines can help protect against certain strains of genital HPV
Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects your lungs. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes.Once rare in developed countries, tuberculosis infections began increasing in 1985, partly because of the emergence of HIV. HIV weakens a person’s immune system so it can’t fight the TB germs.Many strains of tuberculosis resist the drugs most used to treat the disease. People with active tuberculosis must take several types of medications for many months to eradicate the infection and prevent development of antibiotic resistance.
Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus, causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills and difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, can cause pneumonia.Pneumonia can range in seriousness from mild to life-threatening. It is most serious for infants and young children, people older than age 65, and people with underlying health problems or weakened immune systems.Antibiotics and antiviral medications can treat many common forms of pneumonia.