4 Not-COVID Viruses to Know
While Covid and Monkeypox make headlines, don't forget that other viruses haven't gone away. Herpes, HPV, Hepatitis and HIV can all be prevented, treated, or both (and Nurx can help).
Antibodies, antigen tests, transmission rates, viral loads — not so long ago you never could have imagined you’d know what these words meant and be using them on the regular! But as with so many other changes COVID-19 has brought to our lives, it’s given even non-medical people an increased awareness of virology.
Since you’re so over thinking about COVID, why not take a few minutes to learn about some other viruses that are also way too common in our country, the sexually transmitted kind? The good news about these is that they’re all preventable, treatable, or both.
Despite the stigma that surrounds herpes, it’s almost entirely harmless and incredibly common: 1 in 2 people have oral herpes (aka cold sores), and 1 in 6 have genital herpes. Herpes viruses are a big group that includes the viruses that cause chicken pox and mononucleosis, among other infections. The viruses that cause oral herpes (HSV-1) and genital herpes (HSV-2) aren’t curable but can be very well managed by taking antiviral medication like valacyclovir. Not only does the medication prevent outbreaks, it makes it much less likely that an infected person will transmit the virus to partners. If you have herpes, Nurx medical providers can prescribe valacyclovir online and have it delivered to your door.
Nurx offers at home test kits for common STIs for as little as $75 with insurance or $150 per month without insurance.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is incredibly common (43% of American adults are infected) and comes in many different strains. Some strains are harmless, others cause annoyances like warts and still others can lead to cancers of the cervix, throat, and anus. The good news: There’s a highly effective vaccine to protect you from the deadly strains, and it’s not too late to get vaccinated (now recommended up to age 45).
Even if vaccinated, people with cervixes should be regularly screened for cervical cancer, with on-schedule Pap tests and/or HPV tests. If you’re 30+ you can screen at home for the strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer with a Nurx HPV Home Test Kit.
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, and there are three viruses that cause this condition: Hepatitis A, B and C. Hepatitis A is spread through contaminated food, while Hepatitis B and C are likely to be spread through shared needles, shared personal items like toothbrushes or razors or though sex.
You can be vaccinated against Hep A and B, so check with your doctor if you aren’t sure if you’ve received these shots yet. But there’s no vaccine for Hepatitis C, and In the United States, Hep C is the most prevalent, with about 50,000 new infections each year, and an estimated half of people unaware that they’re infected. That’s why national health authorities recommend that everybody get tested for Hep C at least once, and why Nurx includes it in the Full Control STI Home Test Kit. You can learn more about Hep C in this article by Nurx Director of Clinical Operations Emily Rymland, and learn about all three viruses on the CDC website.
Thankfully, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is no longer a death sentence. With timely testing and treatment, people with HIV can live long, healthy lives and not pass HIV to their partners. However, there are still too many people being infected in the US, about 35,000 each year. But, back to the good news: While there isn’t yet a vaccine to prevent HIV, there is a medication called PrEP that acts almost like a vaccine — if taken consistently PrEP medication is 99% effective at helping HIV-negative people stay HIV-negative. PrEP is available as a daily pil, and the FDA recently approved an injectable version too.
The Nurx medical team is here to help you get started on PrEP. We’ll help you access the required lab tests (which you can complete at home with a PrEP Home Test Kit or at an in-person lab near you), and then prescribe PrEP and send it from our pharmacy with free shipping. Our dedicated PrEP team will be at your fingertips as you get started.
The Bottom Line
If the seemingly unending COVID pandemic has you feeling freaked, frustrated or just out of control, focus on protecting yourself from other viruses. Getting screened for STIs, taking measures to prevent them and treating any infections are all health moves you can make right away, and the Nurx medical team is here to help.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.