Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

Disclaimer: If you think you have been exposed to HIV, please talk to a health care provider about PEP as soon as possible (within 72 hours). Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is an emergency Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevention method where individuals start a 28-day course medication within 72 hours of HIV exposure in order to prevent an infection….

Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention method where HIV-negative individuals at risk of HIV infection take a daily medication before being exposed to the virus. “Pre-exposure” means before coming into contact and “prophylaxis” stands for preventative treatment.1 At the time this article was updated, only two medications, under the brand names Truvada® and Descovy®, have been approved by the U.S….

Sex and Poppers

“Poppers” is an informal term used to describe small vials or bottles containing a class of chemicals called alkyl nitrite, usually amyl nitrite, in liquid form. Originally, these bottles were given the name “poppers” from the sound the bottles made when opened or crushed. Each bottle contains a small amount of a highly volatile, clear…

Non-Sexual Transmission of STIs

Can STIs Be Transmitted Non-sexually? There are numerous common myths about the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some people believe that you can get an STI from animals, a toilet seat, or kissing. Many of these speculations are untrue, but some actually do contain some interesting truth. There is always a very small chance…

The History of the Condom

Background Condoms are a barrier method of contraception that can prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections. A male condom is a thin sheath that is placed over the user’s erect penis before sexual activity to prevent direct contact of the penis with the partner’s skin, mucosa, and genital secretions.1 Though not…

A Timeline of HIV/AIDS

A Timeline of HIV/AIDS *This timeline primarily focuses on the AIDS epidemic as it was in the United States. For details on the origin of HIV/AIDS, click here. 1981 A cluster of patients in the United States are reported with a rare lung infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, and a rare type of cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma….

The Origin of HIV/AIDS

The Origin of HIV/AIDS In 1981, the first reported cases of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) came to light in the United States. After many years of research into this new disease, scientists discovered human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and found evidence that this virus led to AIDS.1 While a novel popularized one man, Patient Zero,…

Male Circumcision

Male circumcision refers to the removal of foreskin which surrounds a male’s glans penis. This medical procedure—often considered to be the oldest documented surgical procedure1—is mostly performed on infants, but it is not uncommon for circumcision to be performed on adult males as well. While it most likely began as a religious practice1, circumcision has become the…

The Pap Smear

A Pap smear, also known as a Papanicolaou test or Pap test, is a procedure that checks for abnormal cells on the cervix.1 It is named after George Papanicolaou, M.D., who is credited for developing the Pap smear.2 The Pap smear drastically transformed how early cervical cancer can be detected in females.2 The cervix is…