To Pap Or Not to Pap

Just to make sure we all start at the same baseline: a cervical Pap smear is done when a physician or other medical professional uses a small, soft plastic brush to collect cells from the surface of the cervix. The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus (womb.) The cervix can only be seen after a speculum, which is a plastic or metal tool shaped like two serving-size spoons, is placed in the vagina. The speculum exam is also called a “pelvic exam.” Many women assume that every pelvic exam includes a Pap smear, but that is not the […]

New HIV Medicines

More, better treatment options, and new approaches It’s been over 30 years since the first treatments for HIV became available. In that time, we learned that it takes three different HIV medicines, taken together, to successfully treat HIV. The first treatments caused lots of unpleasant side effects. Now, side effects are few and mild. We have come a long way, and the field is still evolving. It’s now generally agreed that the best way to treat any chronic disease is to limit the number of pills by using once-a-day medication, and this is true of HIV disease as well. More […]

What About Probiotics?

Dear Dr. Eva, Do you think probiotics are helpful for getting rid of diarrhea and yeast infections? Prefer Natural Dear Natural, There are several areas of the body which normally have large amounts of bacteria lining their surfaces. These areas include the vagina and parts of the gastrointestinal tract: the mouth and the colon (large intestine). The colon normally has over 400 different species of bacteria. These bacteria naturally live in our bodies, so we benefit from them without doing anything. Babies’ bodies are colonized by these healthy bacteria soon after birth. Because they are not harmful and can be […]

Hair Loss in Women

Dear Dr. Eva, I am a 36-year-old woman. For the last several years I’ve had ongoing hair loss. My hair is thinning all over my scalp. It’s not male-pattern-like baldness on the crown or the front hairline receding. My other hair areas like eyebrows and pubic area haven’t changed. Since I first noticed this, I’ve been very gentle with my hair. I don’t dye it, don’t treat it with any kind of chemicals, don’t even use hairdryers. I keep it fairly short, just down to my shoulders. But the hair loss has continued and now has gotten to the point […]

Transitioning as a Couple Sex change affects a partner, too

Dear Dr. Eva, My partner of several years is transitioning (female to male) and started hormones a few months ago. I am trying to be understanding, but it seems like such a self-centered process! It’s like being in a threesome: him, me, and “The Transition.” Sometimes it feels like he is so involved with The Transition that I could drop out of the threesome and he might not even miss me. He wants privacy, even secrecy as much as possible. He doesn’t want anyone to know he is transitioning – although everyone will eventually have to know when he changes […]

Summer Travel Health Risks From malaria to measles to Montezuma’s Revenge, be prepared!

Planning an international vacation this summer? Here is key information you can use to stay healthy and safe before, during, and after your vacation. Before you go – Most travel agencies and agents will give you information about health risks at your destination, but it’s up to you to make sure you get any vaccines or medicines you need before you go. If you need travel vaccines or medicines, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to get them at least six weeks before you leave. This is to allow the vaccines enough time to become effective. If you will […]

When is it Okay Not to Use a Condom?

Can viruses pass through condoms? Dear Dr. Eva, I heard that HIV and other viruses can get through pores in latex condoms because viruses are so much smaller than sperm. Is that true? Wondering Dear Wondering, No, it isn’t true. Latex is a continuous solid surface. It has no pores – that’s what makes it so effective. Multiple scientific studies have shown that the HIV virus cannot pass through latex condoms. The condom is 100 percent effective unless it tears. When a condom is worn, infections can only be passed if the condom breaks, tears, or slips off. Tearing and […]

Questions about Testosterone

Dear Dr. Eva, I am a 20-year-old trans man. I’ve been on testosterone for close to three years. I’ve developed a lot of facial and body hair, but my voice hasn’t changed much. How long do you have to be on testosterone before you get a significant voice change? Still High-pitched Dear High-pitched, Many trans guys do not experience significant voice change from testosterone. Any voice change a person does get will be complete in the first 18 months on testosterone. However, there are things you can do to make your speech sound masculine without having a lower-pitched voice. For […]

Magnet Therapy, Copper Bracelets, and TB Testing

Dear Dr. Eva, What do you think about magnet therapy? It is supposed to improve blood flow by attracting the iron in blood. Does it really work? Also, do copper bracelets work for arthritis? Metal Fan Dear Metal Fan, Magnets can’t change blood flow by attracting iron, because all the iron in blood is bound up in hemoglobin molecules. The hemoglobin structure neutralizes the magnetic charge in the iron and because of that, the iron doesn’t respond to magnets. There is also no reason to think that magnets are effective by some other method. Research on magnets has found that, […]

Mold-Related Illness

  Dear Dr. Eva, We finally decided to get a couple of bedrooms painted. They had wallpaper, and when it was stripped off we saw big patches of black and red mold. Looked like it must have been growing for years, and it smelled musty. The painters say they can use anti-mold paint, but will that be enough? One of my kids has asthma, and I wonder if this could be the cause of it. Moldy Home Dear Moldy, A mold investigation can be as deep as you are willing to go. The most important thing to know is that […]