Our talented physicians help you strategize ways to prevent infectious diseases.
For many persisting infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and others, there are currently no vaccines available to directly prevent contracting these conditions. However, there are still ways we can protect ourselves and others from these viruses with preventative care. At Washington Health Institute, our talented team of physicians is here to help patients engage in a discussion of behavioral risks and prevention strategies to help reduce their chances of contracting infectious diseases.
It’s important to see a healthcare professional to discuss your particular case, risk factors and ideal prevention methods. Every individual has a unique experience, and some preventative measures will be more effective than others depending on your risk level, chances of exposure and lifestyle. However, there are a few actionable steps we can all take to reduce the risk of getting or spreading these infectious diseases.
Prevention Of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C
Both HIV and Hepatitis viruses are spread through the exchange of bodily fluids, either through sexual contact, breast milk or blood. While neither of these diseases currently have preventative vaccines available, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.
Practice Safe Sex. Do not engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners or with any partner whose health status is uncertain. Every time you engage in sexual contact, use proper protection.
Avoid Using Injection Drugs. If you use illicit drugs that require the use of needles, consider seeking help to quit. If you are using needles for drug use, take steps to ensure that the needle is sterilized and do not share needles with others.
Be Cautious About Body Piercings And Tattoos. When considering body modifications such as piercings and tattoos, make sure you get the work done at a reputable shop. Ask questions beforehand about how the equipment is cleaned and maintained, and make sure the piercing or tattoo artist is using sterile needles. Do not get piercings or tattoos at shops that will not answer these questions or appear to poorly manage their needles and other materials.
Where Applicable, Consider PrEP or PEP Treatment For HIV Prevention. If you are at risk of contracting HIV, you may benefit from PrEP or PEP medications. Which treatment plan your doctor recommends will depend on whether exposure to HIV has already occured. More information about both of these preventative treatment methods are available here.
Prevention Of Airborne Disease
For diseases that travel through the air, the bacteria that cause the infection spread through tiny droplets that are released into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In these cases, it is important to protect yourself and others from coming into contact with this bacteria. It is impossible to completely avoid airborne pathogens since we are constantly exposed to the air around us, however, there are some things we can do to lower our chances of getting sick.
- Avoid close contact with people who show active signs of disease
- Stay home when sick
- Wear protective face coverings or masks
- Cover your nose and mouth with your elbow when coughing or sneezing
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water regularly throughout the day
- Avoid touching your face or others with unwashed hands
- When applicable, get preventative vaccinations
Adult Vaccination Recommendations
WHI follows the CDC recommendations for adult vaccinations. Please see below.