HIV prevention in teens, young adults

A health column from Mercer Island Pediatrics.

  • Monday, October 7, 2019 10:22am
  • Life

By Julie Ellner

Special to the Reporter

^

HIV has been recognized as a contagious viral disease since the 1980s. It can be transmitted through sex, use of dirty needles and at birth from infected mothers. Teens and young adults account for 41 percent of new HIV diagnoses yearly in the US.

For a long time, our only prevention strategy was condom use with sexual transmission. We now have a very effective way to prevent this disease in many at risk people.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a combination of two antiviral medications. Patients taking this one pill daily can reduce sexual transmission of HIV by 99 percent, and dirty needle transmission by 74 percent. Since there is no perfect effective mode of prevention, condoms are always recommended to prevent sexual transmission.

There were 38,739 new cases of HIV diagnosed in the United States in 2017. With PrEP, over 96 percent of those cases could have been prevented, shrinking the death rate of HIV disease in our at-risk population by that same rate.

PrEP is for people who do not have HIV. You should consider PrEP if you fit into any of the following groups:

If your sexual partner is HIV positive and you are not.

If you are a gay or bisexual man who has sex without condoms or have had an STD in the past 6 months.

If you are heterosexual and have sex without condoms with partners with high risk (people who inject drugs or women who have bisexual male partners with unknown HIV status).

If you have injected drugs in the past 6 months and have shared needles.

If your partner is HIV-positive and you are considering pregnancy.

Call your doctor to discuss PrEP if you have any questions. For a map of PrEP Providers in Washington go online to https://fortress.wa.gov/doh/prepgis/index.html. For assistance information, go online to https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/HIV/Prevention/PrEPDAP.

Julie Ellner MD is a Pediatrician who has been at Mercer Island Pediatrics for 25 years. She is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of all of her current and former patients, with special interests in birth control, STD prevention, mental health, and dermatology.

More in Life

Robinson and his oldest son, Gavin, on a ski trip. Photo courtesy Gary Robinson
Islander, Bothell firefighter remembered

Robinson, remembered by loved ones as a selfless and genuinely kind person, died on Oct. 4.

Fall back into a healthier you

A monthly column by an Eastside naturopathic doctor.

Photo courtesy of Mercer Island School District
                                The 2019 Mercer Island Royalty Homecoming Court.
Homecoming Royalty

2019 Mercer Island High School Homecoming

HIV prevention in teens, young adults

A health column from Mercer Island Pediatrics.

Mercer Island High School students (not in order) Henry Do, Jasper Geer, Lauren Hunter, Leonard Jung, Meghana Kakubal, Sophia Scull, Lucille Shield, Thomas Short, Sarah Wang, Zitong Wang, Derek Wong, Grace Y. Zhang and Jason Zhang are National Merit Scholarship program semifinalists. Photo courtesy of Mercer Island School District
13 students are National Merit semifinalists

Application process required extensive information from students and school.

Photo by Nityia Photography
                                Dora Gyarmati.
Redefine goals based on virtues to find joy | Health column

A monthly column about mindfulness and wellbeing.

Photo courtesy of Greg Asimakoupoulos
                                Chaplain Greg Asimakoupoulos uses blackberry picking as lessons for life.
Parables of life learned through blackberry picking | On Faith

A monthly column by Greg Asimakoupoulos dealing in matters of faith.

Donna Colosky is superintendent of the Mercer Island School District.
Welcoming students to a new school year

A guest column from Mercer Island School District Superintendent Donna Colosky.

SeaJAM, which kicks off the SJCC Arts + Ideas 2019–2020 season, will present “An Evening with Debra Messing” on Saturday, September 14, at Benaroya Hall’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. Courtesy photo
SJCC prepares for second annual SeaJAM

SeaJAM will present “An evening with Debra Messing” on Sept. 14.

Photo courtesy of Greg Asimakoupoulos
                                A plaque commemorating the date the Asimakoupoulos family changed its name.
A summer to remember | On Faith

A monthly column dealing in faith.

Ready or not, college is arriving | Guest article

How parents can help their students embark on a college career.

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photos
                                Covenant Living at the Shores residents and staff with Ageless Aviation pilot and team at the Renton Municipal Airport on Aug. 12.
Covenant Living at the Shores Residents take flight

Tom Norris, Sid Boegl, Doug Wilkinson, and Jack Nelson take flight in a 1942 Boeing Stearman.