Learn How to Prevent HIV/AIDS

HIV and African Americans

Recent statistics from the CDC on HIV prevention show that African Americans have a greater proportion of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses than other racial/ethnic groups. In 2015, African Americans had 45 percent of HIV diagnoses.

The report further revealed that:

  • In the U.S., 17,670 of those diagnosed with HIV were African Americans.
  • Over half (58 percent) of new African American HIV cases were bisexual or gay men.
  • 38 percent of African American men who had sex with men (MSM) were between the ages of 13 and 24 years.
  • 8,702 (48 percent) of people diagnosed with AIDS were African Americans.
  • The total number of African American women diagnosed with HIV in 2015 fell by 42 percent.
  • In 2015, the HIV diagnoses among African American women was over 4,500.
  • The number of HIV cases among African American MSM increased by 22 percent.

In different ways, the African American population has had a greater increase in HIV cases than all other major ethnic groups in the U.S. This means there are more deaths caused by HIV/AIDS among this group. Unfortunately, many black children are becoming fatherless and many women are becoming widows. The future of the children of such men will be adversely affected by the rise in HIV cases because their fathers and mothers will not be able to provide adequately for their needs due to sickness or untimely death. As we observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we’d like to share some suggestions for a healthy and safe sex life.

Ways to Prevent HIV/AIDS

There’s an urgent need to focus on how to prevent HIV/AIDS among the African American community. As an African American, here are two things you can do to ensure you don’t get infected or spread the virus.

Get Tested

Make it a point of duty to go for an HIV test at least twice a year. You don’t need to be afraid of asking your doctor, “Do I have AIDS?” There are no stigmas attached to this and early detection can help you begin taking appropriate medication to prevent untimely death.

Use Condoms

To prevent HIV infection, you need to practice safe sex. Discuss with your partner and assess their awareness. Ask questions like:

  • “What is HIV?”
  • “Do you know your status?”
  • “Do you mind using a condom?”

Use a condom each time you have sex. Using condoms correctly can help you prevent the transmission of HIV and STDs through blood, seminal, vaginal or rectal fluids.

Sterilize Injection Equipment and Don’t Share With Others

Never share injection instruments such as needles or syringes with anyone and make sure you only receive sterilized injections. After sexual relations, sharing drug syringes and needles with another person who has HIV is the most common way African Americans contract HIV. Sharing needles allows HIV to spread through blood contact.

Ways to Treat HIV/AIDS

  • Take Medicine: HIV medication may be used to diminish the risk of HIV infection shortly after exposure to the virus. This type of medication is known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP works after a person has had sex without using a condom with an infected partner. To be effective, it must be taken within 72 hours after exposure. This medication needs to be taken for about four weeks to be fully effective.
    Similarly, women infected with HIV can take medicine to prevent transmitting the disease to their unborn child. The newborn child will also receive HIV medication for about four to six weeks after birth. This medicine will reduce the chances of infecting the baby with the virus in utero.
  • Use Condoms: To prevent your partner from getting infected with HIV, you must use a condom correctly each time you have sex. Using condoms the prescribed way will prevent the transfer of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases each time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex. It will prevent the mixing of vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, pre-seminal fluids, semen or blood, which allow the spread of HIV.

Ask Us for Help!

At Hamilton Healthcare, we offer HIV testing and counseling. We’re a Federal Qualified Health Center and we don’t discriminate against anyone based on sexual orientation. So, we encourage you to be open about your needs and ask all the questions you wish. To get more information about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, give us a call at (717) 232-9971 today.

How to Keep Your Kid’s Teeth Clean

Children’s Dental Care

As soon as the first tooth appears, parents should start thinking about their infant’s dental hygiene. As they get older, parents should teach their children how to maintain healthy teeth.

Good oral hygiene is critical to your child’s overall well-being. Gum disease is the leading risk factor for heart disease, diabetes and other conditions. Whether it’s to maintain a great smile or prevent disease, follow the tips below to keep your kid’s teeth in good shape. In celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month (February 2018), we’d like to share some tips for you to try with your family.

Tips To Try

Use Fluoride

Once the baby grows teeth, start brushing them using an infant toothbrush. Make sure to use toothpaste that has a bit of fluoride. Brush using a very small amount. Fluoride strengthens your kid’s tooth enamel and helps repair any signs of damage to the teeth. Buy fluoride toothpaste that has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval.

If you’re using infant toothpaste with no fluoride, still use a tiny amount, because you want to minimize how much toothpaste they swallow.

Brush 2 Minutes, 2 Times a Day

Two minutes is how long your kids should brush their teeth, two times a day. You can make it fun for the kids by using a timer. Think of it as splitting the child’s mouth into four portions: top-right, top-left, bottom-right and bottom-left. Then, let your kid brush each portion for around 30 seconds.

Floss Regularly

The earlier you can teach your kids to floss, the better. It’s good to start once they grow two teeth that touch each other — usually at the age of two. Begin with small interdental brushes. These will help your kid learn the movements of brushing in and out of teeth to help prevent the build-up of plaque.

Show Them How To

Kids learn by watching, so allow them to watch you brush. Make sure you’re brushing correctly in a circular motion on the teeth. Don’t use water to rinse your mouth. Spit out the toothpaste, but don’t use water, as you’ll be washing out valuable fluoride. It’s important that you supervise your kid as they brush until they reach the age of seven.

Make Dental Appointments Fun

Never instill fear in your kid about visiting the dentist. The dentist should inspect your baby’s teeth from an early age, because it will help them understand everything that’s going on. Dental check-ups should be done every six months for kids. Don’t forget to talk to your dentist about fluoride use — especially after the age of two.

Feed Them Low Sugar Food

Tooth decay is one of the leading causes of children’s hospital admissions before the age of nine, and sugar is usually the main culprit. Fizzy drinks contain large doses of sugar and acids that erode the surfaces of teeth. Never give your kids sugary drinks in baby bottles, because the sugar stays in contact with the teeth for longer, causing dental decay. Feed them low-sugar foods like milk from 12 months to 2 years of age.

Come to Us!

When you need access to comprehensive, affordable family dental services, contact Hamilton Healthcare Center. We’re a multilingual, multicultural, family-centered medical home. If you’ve been asking yourself, “Where can I find a kids’ dentist near me?” then you have come to the right place. Call us at (717) 232-9971 today.

Sticking to Your Healthy Resolutions

What Is a Healthy Weight for Me?

A healthy weight is one that helps you get the most of your life. It’s a weight that gives you a good quality of life. If you have a healthy weight, you’re likely to live longer and less likely to develop diseases such as some cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Different people have different healthy weights. If you’re tall, you can be healthy at a heavier weight than someone who is shorter. Let’s say you’re 5 feet 10 inches tall. A healthy weight for you is generally anywhere between 132 to 176 pounds. If you’re 5 feet tall, a healthy weight for you is generally somewhere between 99 to 132 pounds.

One of the best ways to know if you have a healthy weight is to weigh yourself and determine your body mass index (BMI) by using a BMI calculator. You can also know if you’re at risk of developing certain diseases by measuring your waist circumference.

If you often run out of energy when doing simple activities, or if your clothes feel a little too tight, it’s worth thinking about whether you’ve added some weight. In celebration of Healthy Weight Week (January 15-19, 2018), we want to share some tips on how to maintain a healthy weight.

Ways to Maintain a Healthy Weight

Set Attainable Goals

Your healthy weight goals may not be the same as those of others. Start by asking yourself, “What is a healthy weight for me?” You may want to add some weight or retain the weight you have. Perhaps you’re trying to lose a bit of weight or a lot of weight. Any of these goals are achievable if you set realistic targets.

For instance, if you’re overweight or obese, you can aim to lose at least 5 percent of your total weight. Achieving this weight will have significant benefits for your overall health. If you’re underweight, you can aim to eat a variety of foods from various food groups every day.

It’s a smart idea to do specific things, as well. Think about the things you enjoy doing and match them with how you want to achieve a healthy weight. For instance, with physical activity, you could ask yourself whether:

  • You’d like to join a group.
  • You’d like to have an instructor.
  • You’d like to discuss your goals with a health professional.

You may also want to consume less junk food and eat more vegetables instead. You may also want to improve body posture and even join a soccer team or take up swimming. It’s your body and your health, so think about the best way you want to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Share Your Goals With Friends and Family

Achieving a healthy weight is easier when you have the support of friends and family. Talk to them about what you hope to achieve and ask for their support. If they’re not too willing to help, don’t give up. You could get them involved by suggesting a physical activity you can do together. You can also walk together to a park nearby and prepare healthy snacks once a week. If you take the initiative, your friends and family may follow your lead.

Get Back Up When You Slip

If you slip up, forget it and concentrate on your next step. It’s not about how many times you slip, but rather how quickly you get up. Commitment to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can be an exciting journey that will improve your life and happiness overall.

Ask Us for Help!

If you need someone to talk to about following through on New Year’s resolutions, contact Hamilton Healthcare Center. We’re a multilingual, multicultural, family-centered medical home. Call us at (717) 232-9971 today if you need any help.

Did You Wash Your Hands?

Handwashing at a Glance

December 3 – 9, 2017 is National Handwashing Awareness Week, and we at Hamilton Health wanted to share some informative tips regarding handwashing!

Hand washing is supposed to be a daily routine. You should wash your hands after leaving the bathroom, before you eat and when you’ve finished working in your garden. But a study conducted by Michigan State University showed that only 5 percent of people are following hand washing best practices. This 5 percent are the only ones who wash their hands long enough to destroy any disease-causing bacteria and germs. A survey by Bradley Corporation showed that only 66 percent of Americans wash their hands.

The statistics from the developing world are quite discouraging. One in five deaths of newly born babies occurs due to poor hygiene and could be drastically reduced by proper hand washing. Only 35 percent of health facilities in developing countries have soap for hand washing. And about 760,000 kids under age 5 die annually due to diarrhea, according to WHO.

How Often Should I Wash My Hands?

Many diseases can be prevented with proper hand hygiene. Use clean running water and soap to wash your hands. When both are not available, use a hand sanitizer. You should always wash your hands:

  • After touching any garbage, dirt, debris or after working in your garden.
  • After holding pet treats or pet food so you don’t carry around germs and bacteria that can cause allergic reactions
  • After handling any animal, animal waste or animal feed so you can prevent the spread of bacteria that are present in animal fur, waste and food
  • After sneezing or coughing or using your handkerchief or tissue to blow your nose to stop the transfer of germs that can cause other people to cough and sneeze
  • After using the bathroom or toilet to reduce the risk of spreading germs from fecal matter
  • Before you dress a cut or a wound and after you are through
  • Before you take care of a sick person and after you are through
  • Before eating any food so that germs picked up from the environment will not be transferred to the body while eating
  • Before you start preparing food and at the end of each cooking session

How to Wash Hands

Hand washing saves lives, but that’s only when it’s done correctly. Following basic hand washing rules and using the proper technique will reduce flu and cold risk. It’ll also stop the transmission of foodborne diseases and infections in hospitals and cruise ships.

Here’s an outline of the best way to wash hands as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Wet: Turn your tap on so the running water (it may be cold or warm) can get your hands wet. Turn off your faucet and apply soap to your hands.
  • Lather: Lather the soap on each hand by rubbing your palms together with soap. Ensure that you lather the back of each hand. Lather the space underneath your nails and in between your fingers.
  • Scrub: Scrub your two hands for about 20 or more seconds. If you want to estimate the time, sing the “Happy Birthday” song to yourself two times from beginning to the end. Scrubbing dislodges germs from the hands.
  • Rinse: Turn on the tap and rinse each hand thoroughly under running water. Thorough rinsing removes both germs and soap, which should not stay on the skin for a long time.
  • Dry: Dry both hands with an air dryer or a clean towel.

Come to Us!

At Hamilton Healthcare, we offer family dental services that take care of the routine and special dental needs of all adults and children in your family. We run a Federal Qualified Health Center and we offer health care with special multi-cultural and multi-lingual services. Contact us now at Hamilton Healthcare for family health services and counseling by dialing (717) 232-9971.

Important Reasons to Visit the OBGYN

Why Go to the OBGYN?

On this year’s World AIDS Day (December 1, 2017), we’ll take a few moments to reflect on reproductive health. We will answer the question “What is an OBGYN?” and give reasons why you should visit one. A gynecologist, also known as OBGYN, is a doctor that specializes in women’s reproductive health.

What Can Gynecologists Do for You?

When you visit our gynecologists, they will:

  • Help you to understand the way your reproductive system works
  • Teach you what a normal vaginal discharge should be and how to tell if there’s a problem
  • Teach you what to do to protect yourself when you have sex

Reasons to Go to a Gynecologist

If you’re still wondering whether you need to visit a gynecologist or you’re asking, “How can I find a cheap OBGYN clinic near me,” then you should consider some of the following reasons why your visit will be very rewarding:

To Check for STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are diseases that are caused by different types viruses and bacteria that stay in the genitals of an infected person. This means you can get STDs via sexual intercourse or by putting your hand, mouth or genitals on an infected person. Your gynecologist can help determine if you have an STD — especially if you have symptoms like itching, pain, abnormal vaginal discharge or sores.

To Make Sure You’re Not Pregnant

If you’ve been having sex and you suddenly stop having your period, you need to visit your gynecologist. You may be in a relationship with a steady lover, or you may have had a casual sexual relationship with someone. Anyhow, it’s better to visit your OBGYN quickly for a pregnancy test so you can confirm if you’re pregnant or not.

To Learn How to Get Birth Control

As soon as you’re sexually active, you need to take steps to prevent unwanted pregnancies, especially if you’re not ready to have a baby. Your gynecologist will be happy to have a counseling session with you. They’ll provide you with a variety of birth control techniques and show you how to use them effectively.

To Discuss Menstrual Problems

If you notice that your menstrual cycle has suddenly become irregular, if you bleed for a long time, or some months pass without seeing your period, you need to visit your gynecologist immediately. Ignoring such symptoms may lead to serious reproductive issues in the future.

To Get Breast Exams

Gynecologists can help you conduct a thorough breast exam. Breast exams are particularly important when you’re over 40. But you may need to do them more often if you have a history of breast cancer cases in your family. If you’re over forty and you have had a breast cancer exam within the last six months, it’s time to book an appointment with your gynecologist.

To Get a Pap Smear/Pelvic Exam

It’s quite important to get a pelvic exam if you’re above the age of 21 years. Pelvic exams are particularly necessary when you have pelvic pain, delayed childbearing, strange vaginal discharge and menstrual disorders. Also, going for a pap smear can help you reduce the risk of cancer and many other health problems.

For Checkups After Sex

Should you visit your OBGYN after every time you have sexual intercourse? No. But you should visit your gynecologist for sexually related issues, especially when you notice that sex is very painful, you miss your period after sex, or you discover strange symptoms on your genitals. Most sexually related problems can be treated effectively when you respond quickly.

Come to Us!

At Hamilton Healthcare, we offer specialized services to care for all women’s reproductive and family health issues, including annual exams, birth control prescriptions, prevention of STDs and family planning services. Give us a call at (717) 232-9971 to book an appointment with our gynecologist today.