Dr . Kecia Gaither is a double board-certified physician in Ob/Gyn and Maternal Fetal Medicine and holds a Masters Degree in Public Health. In her current role, Dr. Gaither serves as Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln in the Bronx, New York.
Dr. Gaither received her BA in Biology from Barnard College and her MD from SUNY Health Science Center in Syracuse. She completed her Ob/Gyn residency at Riverside Regional Medical Center, a subsidiary of The Medical College of Virginia. She completed her Maternal Fetal Medicine fellowship at the University of Medicine and Dentistry/Rutgers in Newark, NJ. She earned her MPH in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University.
Dr. Gaither is a member of several organizations, including the New York Obstetrical Society, Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. She is a reviewer for and has been published in numerous scientific journals including The Journal of Maternal Fetal Medicine and The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Additionally, she serves as a reviewer for WebMD, and as a requested contributor to the Huffington Post, Thrive Global and US News and World Report.
Dr. Gaither was an appointee of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the HIV Planning Council of N.Y. She has appeared on NBC TV , as well as other national consumer health and lifestyle outlets across print, radio and online. Her first foray in the publishing arena debuted in August 2013 , as a co-author with the book entitled, “ The Confident Woman”. Dr. Gaither was also listed as one of America’s Top Obstetrician Gynecologists by the Consumers Research Council of America in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018.
Her research interests are HIV, obesity in pregnancy, prenatal diagnosis, and preterm labor; with active involvement in clinical trials involving preeclampsia, obesity and genetic testing. Dr Gaither is an advisor to Mylan Pharmaceutical Company, and is on the medical advisory board of NATERA, PWN Health , Organic and Natural, and The Baby Box Company. Dr Gaither was recently named as a liaison to The Association of Black Cardiologists, addressing cardiac disease in pregnancy.
Q: THIS MAY SEEM OBVIOUS – BUT WHAT’S THE DEFINITION OF SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE?
A: an infection transmitted via sexual contact ( be it oral, vaginal, or anal) caused by a virus, bacteria, or parasite
Q: WHAT ARE THE MORE COMMONLY KNOWN SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES?
A: Gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, Herpes, Hepatitis B, HPV ( human papilloma virus),Trichomoniasis ,syphilis
Q: WHICH COMMONLY KNOWN SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES ARE CURABLE AND WHICH ARE NOT?
A:Gonorrhea, chlamydia, Trichomoniasis,and syphilis are curable—readily with antibiotic therapy. Herpes, HIV, Hepatitis B, HPV aren’t-they stay with you for life
Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SYMPTOMS OF SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES?
A: in general, depending on the STD—Discharge, burning with urination, pelvic pain, redness; ulcerations and blisters are seen with syphilis and herpes respectively
Q: HOW DO THESE DISEASES IMPACT PREGNANCY AND THE DEVELOPING FETUS?
A: HIV can be transmitted to the fetus during pregnancy. With the advent of HAART( highly active antiretroviral therapy)and cesarean delivery. (when the viral load is high) there has been a marked decrease in perinatal transmission.
Herpes can be transmitted to the fetus during labor in a woman with an active herpetic infection
Syphilis can also be transmitted to the fetus in utero resulting in congenital syphilis
HPV poses an issue if genital warts are involved—women with warts about the genital and perianal region can transmit the virus to the throat of baby as it passes through the birth canal
Hepatitis B-additionally can potentially be transmitted to the developing fetus in utero. All pregnant women are tested during pregnancy and given vaccinations to prevent transmission to the baby
Q: IF YOU HAVE AN STD BUT WANT TO HAVE A CHILD WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD YOU TAKE?
A: depends on the STD..if it’s HIV, antiretroviral medications are given to prevent transmission to the fetus. If it’s Hepatitis B, you will be tested during pregnancy, possibly be given meds to decrease the viral load, and vaccination given to prevent transmission to the baby
Gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis are treated with antibiotics to eradicate it prior to pregnancy
Herpes can flare at any time, can be treated with an antiviral to decrease the symptoms, but the virus doesn’t leave the body. Pregnant women are given medications to decrease the risk of an outbreak during the 36th week of pregnancy
Q: WHY IS SYPHILIS CONSIDERED A “DISEASE OF THE PAST” AND NOW ON THE RISE?
A: syphilis infections over the last 20-25 years were at an all time low- but between 2014- present time has increased over 100%… during this time period the rate of congenital syphilis- that’s syphilis transmitted from mother to baby in utero-has risen as drastically. Most young physicians have never seen the disease— it was considered a relic from the past. Highest rates of infection are in the South, Oregon. Reasons for the increase—really not readily identified. Syphilis has 3 stages -primary ( painless chancre in genital oral regions), secondary ( fever, macular rash on soles of feet/hands), tertiary-( affecting, CNS, eyes, other bodily organs)
Treatment-penicillin….route and duration depends on the stage of the disease
Q: WHAT’S YOU MESSAGE FOR THE 40 AND OVER CROWD WHEN IT COMES TO STD’S?
A: it’s important that both partners be tested for STDS, know each other’s results, and use condoms
Q: CAN YOU GET AN STD FROM KISSING OR FROM ORAL CONTACT WITH THE GENITALS?
A: yes, particularly with Herpes, HPV, syphilis
Q: IF YOUR PARTNER HAS AN STD, HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF FROM GETTING IT?
A: Depends on the STD, but in general ensuring that the disease is being treated, condom usage, not engaging in oral sex
Q: IF YOUR PARTNER KNOWS THEY HAVE AN STD, DOESN’T TELL YOU AND YOU GET INFECTED— CAN YOU SUE THEM?
A: if a person knowingly has a disease, and deliberately infects you— I believe that’s grounds for legal action.
TEXT TOM ANSWERS:
ARE STDS COMMON IN THE 50+ AGE GROUP?
STD’s are quite common in the 50’s and well beyond. Actually there are rising statistics of HIV infection in the 55+ demographic
IF YOU’RE ALREADY IN YOUR 30S AND HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH LOW RISK HPV, CAN I GET THE HPV VACCINE
Currently in the US, the FDA has recently approved expanding the use of one form of the HPV vaccine, Gardasil 9, to include patients between the ages of 27-45— so yes you can receive it
CAN A MALE PASS HEPATITIS C TO A FEMALE?
Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through infectious blood ( example IV drug abusers sharing needles), however it can additionally be transmitted sexually as well. So yes, a male can infect a female with Hepatitis C
CAN YOU GET A SHOT WITHOUT HAVING SYMPTOMS?
Can you get a shot without having symptoms ? I’m assuming that this refers to any of the sexually transmitted diseases. If you think you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease, but currently have no symptoms, it’s best to be seen , evaluated, and thoroughly tested by your medical provider. Upon laboratory confirmation of a particular sexually transmitted disease, your provider will then treat you accordingly.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF YOU ARE A CARRIER OF HERPES? HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?
Herpes tends to remain within the body once it’s acquired. The infection does tends to have periods when it’s active— when flares occur— most often characterized by fever, pain , redness and vesicles in the affected area. Once the flares resolve— no active lesions are present— however the person will always “ carry” the virus in their body. People are most infectious during flares of the disease
HOW MANY AMERICANS HAVE HERPES VIRUS BUT THEY DON’T KNOW IT DUE TO NO SYMPTOMS? WHAT IS THE PERCENTAGE?
Difficult to gauge, but according to the American Sexual Health Association- about 1 in 8 people ages 14-49 in the United States have genital herpes simplex virus -2 infection.
Herpes simplex virus -1 is the strain which causes cold sores or fever blisters in the oral region— with that strain it’s estimated that 50% of American adults are impacted
CAN STD’S BE TRANSMITTED DURING ORAL SEX?
Yes, some STD’s can be transmitted orally
Herpes, HSV, Gonorrhea in particular