Infectious diseases

Good news: Deaths due to HIV are way down

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A new study cites a remarkable decline in deaths due to HIV infection, and dramatically fewer new cases of HIV infection in the US over the past decade. But there is still a long way to go before declaring victory over HIV/AIDS.

Masks save lives: Here’s what you need to know

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Early in the pandemic, there was confusion and skepticism about whether wearing masks would be helpful for the general public, but a rapidly expanding body of evidence shows that mask-wearing leads to lower rates of infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.

It’s still true: Not all the news about COVID-19 is bad

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

We’re more than nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and continue to face new challenges every day. But there are still positive developments in the fight against the virus, which should be recognized.

Keeping your family safe this Thanksgiving

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

This year, the safest choice for celebrating Thanksgiving is to do so at home only with those you live with, yet some people are still going to want to gather. If you are considering celebrating with others, there are some things you can do to help limit COVID-related risks.

Promoting equity and community health in the COVID-19 pandemic

At one Boston health care system a range of initiatives aimed at improving health care equity were launched as the pandemic swept forward last spring, taking a disproportionate toll on communities of color. Building on this could prove key as the virus resurges this winter.

Communities of color devastated by COVID-19: Shifting the narrative

Communities of color, which have long struggled against health disparities, have been affected much more severely by the COVID-19 pandemic than white communities. Now is the time to take stock of misconceptions, mistrust, and missteps that helped fuel infection rates and devastating outcomes last spring.

Cough and cold season is arriving: Choose medicines safely

Millions of Americans get coughs and colds during the winter, and many head to the drugstore to pick up one of the hundreds of common medicines available without a prescription. But those products often contain multiple active ingredients that are potentially unsafe if combined. Here’s how to safely choose the right over-the-counter medication for your symptoms.

Vaccines for COVID-19 moving closer

Scientists around the world are trying to engineer safe, effective, long-lasting vaccines to help the body block the virus that causes COVID-19. Three vaccine approaches out of more than 100 are among the first to be tested clinically in the United States.

How risky is using a public bathroom during the pandemic?

Steve Calechman

Contributor

If you are wondering whether it’s safe to use a public restroom with the specter of COVID-19 hanging over us, your skepticism is justified. But maybe a restroom is just as safe (or unsafe) as any other indoor space at the moment. And there are things you can do to make your restroom visit less risky.

Daily decisions about risk: What to do when there’s no right answer

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

With COVID-19 cases still rising in many places, all of us must make daily decisions involving personal risk. But often, there’s no single right answer that applies to everyone. Here’s how to make sensible decisions around many different activities.