How Do People Become Infected With Hiv
HIV is in the blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk of an infected person. It can be spread by exposure to these body fluids by:
- unprotected anal or vaginal sex without a condom
- transmission from mother to baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding
- oral sex, although this is rare
- healthcare workers receiving ‘needlestick injuries’
It is important to remember that HIV is not spread through activities such as kissing, sharing cups and cutlery, normal social contact, toilet seats or mosquitoes.
You are at higher risk of HIV infection if:
- you are a man, a transgender woman or a person who identifies as gender diverse who has sex with men
- you have sex or share needles with someone else at risk of HIV
- you share sex toys
- you have sex with people from countries with a high rate of HIV infection
- you inject illegal drugs and share needles
- you have had tattoos or other piercings overseas using unsterile equipment
- you have a sexually transmitted infection . People can be infected with several different STIs at the same time. Having an STI can make it easier to become infected with HIV and pass it on to sexual partners.
- you have had a blood transfusion in a country where the blood supply is not safe
Some people are at a higher risk of HIV infection because they are exposed to more people with HIV infection or engage in more high-risk behaviour. These include:
Multiclass Combination Drugs Or Single
The following combination drugs include both NRTIs and NNRTIs:
- doravirine, lamivudine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- efavirenz, lamivudine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- efavirenz, lamivudine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- · efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate
- emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
Symfi and Symfi Lo are made up of the same generic medications. However, Symfi Lo contains a smaller dose of efavirenz.
The following combination drugs include NRTIs, an INSTI, and the CYP3A inhibitor cobicistat:
- elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate
The following combination drugs include at least oneNRTI and an INSTI:
- abacavir, dolutegravir, and lamivudine
- bictegravir, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate
- dolutegravir and lamivudine
The following combination drug includes an NNRTI and an INSTI:
- dolutegravir and rilpivirine
The following combination drug includes NRTIs,a PI, and the CYP3A inhibitor cobicistat:
- darunavir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate
Many HIV drugs can cause temporary side effects when first used. In general, these effects can include:
Who Is At Risk For Hiv Infection
Anyone can get HIV, but certain groups have a higher risk of getting it:
- People who have another sexually transmitted disease . Having an STD can increase your risk of getting or spreading HIV.
- People who inject drugs with shared needles
- Gay and bisexual men, especially those who are Black/African American or Hispanic/Latino American
- People who engage in risky sexual behaviors, such as not using condoms
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How Can You Protect Yourself From Hiv And Stds
- Avoid or put off having sex. If you do have sex, use a male latex or female condom every time.
- Latex male condoms and female condoms, when used the right way every time, are very effective in preventing HIV and many other STDs. Condoms may prevent the spread of other STDs like HPV or genital herpes, only when the condom covers the infected areas or sores.
- Talk with your partner about HIV and STDs.
- Don’t share drug “works”
- Get STD and HIV counseling and testing.
To find out if you might have an STD, visit your doctor or clinic as soon as you can.
Latency Causes A Break In Symptoms
After initial exposure and possible primary infection, HIV may transition into a stage called clinically latent infection. Its also referred to as asymptomatic HIV infection due to a noticeable lack of symptoms. This lack of symptoms includes possible chronic symptoms.
According to HIV.gov, latency in HIV infection can last for 10 or 15 years. This doesnt mean that HIV is gone, nor does it mean that the virus cant be transmitted to others. Clinically latent infection may progress to the third and final stage of HIV, also referred to as AIDS.
The risk for progression is higher if a person with HIV isnt receiving treatment, such as antiretroviral therapy. Its important to take prescribed medications during all stages of HIV even if there arent any noticeable symptoms. There are several medications used for HIV treatment.
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When To Seek Medical Care
Early diagnosis is key. If you think youve been exposed to HIV or have an encounter that put you at risk for HIV, you should seek medical care right away with a primary care doctor, urgent or walk-in clinic, or, if those are not available to you, a local emergency room.
Doctors can give you a medication called post-exposure prophylaxis after exposure to reduce your chances of developing HIV. But this medication needs to be taken within 72 hours of exposure. Ideally, youd start taking it within the first 24 hours.
If you think you were exposed to HIV in the past for example, if a former sexual partner tells you they have HIV its critical to seek medical care as soon as possible. The sooner you find out you have HIV, the sooner you can start treatment.
The Death Toll From Aids Is Astronomic
Since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began in 1981, more than 70 million people worldwide have been infected with the virus, and approximately 35 million people have died from AIDS, including more than 675,000 in the United States, according to agencies such as the World Health Organization and the CDC. People in other parts of the world are much more severely affected in sub-Saharan Africa, almost 1 in every 25 adults has HIV. Overall, however, the rate of new HIV infections and diagnoses is now dropping in the United States, likely thanks to prevention efforts, the CDC reports. But progress has been uneven. Certain groups, such as Hispanic and Latino gay and bisexual men, have had rising numbers of infections and diagnoses.
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Can Hiv Be Prevented Or Avoided
The best way to prevent HIV is to not have sex with a person who has HIV, or share a needle with a person who has HIV. However, there is also a medicine called PrEP that people can take before coming into contact with HIV that can prevent them from getting an HIV infection.
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is for people who are at long-term risk of getting HIV either through sexual activity or by injecting drugs. If youre taking PrEP and come into contact with HIV, the medicine makes it difficult for HIV to develop inside your body.
Other ways to prevent HIV include:
- When you have sex, practice safer sex by using a condom. The best condom is a male latex condom. A female condom is not as effective but does offer some protection.
- Do not share needles and syringes.
- Never let someone elses blood, semen, urine, vaginal fluid, or feces get into your anus, vagina, or mouth.
What Does Undetectable Mean
Current treatment can reduce levels of the HIV virus to the extent that levels of virus in the blood are too low to be significant. These levels are undetectable.
While the virus is undetectable, it does not affect the persons daily life, and it will not necessarily shorten their lifespan. At this point, the virus is also untransmittable. It cannot be passed on to another person.
If a person seeks treatment in the early stages and follows it throughout their life, they can usually expect to live as long as a person without HIV.
AIDS was first recognized as a distinct condition in 1981.
Health workers started noticing that an unusual number of opportunistic infections and cancers appeared to be affecting particular groups of people.
Once people had the virus, their immunity to certain diseases would decrease over time, and the syndrome, AIDS, would develop.
The cause of the problem was traced back to a retrovirus, the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV-1.
HIV-1 is transmitted between humans through the exchange of bodily fluids.
This can happen through:
Those who need to take special precautions include:
- anyone who deals with needles or injects medication or other drugs
- health workers who deal with sharps
- those who give and receive tattoos and piercings
It is essential to follow specific guidelines when using and disposing of needles and other sharp objects that may pierce the skin.
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What Puts You At Risk For Stds And Hiv
You’re at risk if you:
- Have sex without using a condom, with someone who is infected.
- Have had an STD.
- Have more than one sex partner.
- Are under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
- Many women have STDs without having symptoms. This means that unless she gets tested, she may have an STD and not know it.
- Young women are getting HIV or an STD because the tissue lining the vagina is more fragile.
If you are a woman, take charge of your sexual health. Be sure to schedule pelvic exams and pap smears every year. Get tested and learn how to protect yourself from STDs and HIV.
Can You Get Hiv Through Oral Sex
The risk of HIV from oral sex is very small unless you or your partner have large open sores on the genital area or bleeding gums/sores in your mouth.
There is only a slightly increased risk if a woman being given oral sex is HIV-positive and is menstruating. However, you can always use a dental dam to eliminate these risks.
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Symptoms Of Hiv Infection
Most people experience a short flu-like illness 2 to 6 weeks after HIV infection, which lasts for a week or 2.
After these symptoms disappear, HIV may not cause any symptoms for many years, although the virus continues to damage your immune system.
This means many people with HIV do not know they’re infected.
Anyone who thinks they could have HIV should get tested.
Some people are advised to have regular tests as they’re at particularly high risk.
Can Herbal Medicine Cure Hiv
No. Some people choose to take alternative forms of medicine, such as herbal medicines, as a natural way of treating HIV. However, herbal remedies do not work.
Taking herbal medicines can be dangerous as they will not protect your immune system from infection. They may also interact poorly with antiretrovirals if you are taking them alongside treatment. The only way you can stay healthy when living with HIV is to take antiretroviral treatment as prescribed by your doctor or healthcare professional, and to attend viral load monitoring appointments to make sure your treatment is working.
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What Are The Factors That Affect Disease Progression
The most important factor affecting HIV progression is the ability to achieve viral suppression. Taking antiretroviral therapy regularly helps many people slow the progression of HIV and reach viral suppression.
However, a variety of factors affect HIV progression, and some people progress through the phases of HIV more quickly than others.
Factors that affect HIV progression can include:
- Ability to achieve viral suppression. Whether someone can take their antiretroviral medications and achieve viral suppression is the most important factor by far.
- Age when symptoms start. Being older can result in faster progression of HIV.
- Health before treatment. If a person had other diseases, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis C, or other sexually transmitted diseases , it can affect their overall health.
- Timing of diagnosis. Another important factor is how soon a person was diagnosed after they contracted HIV. The longer between their diagnosis and treatment, the more time the disease has to progress unchecked.
- Lifestyle. Practicing an unhealthy lifestyle, such as having a poor diet and experiencing severe stress, can cause HIV to progress more quickly.
- Genetic history. Some people seem to progress more quickly through their disease given their genetic makeup.
Some factors can delay or slow the progression of HIV. These include:
Living a healthy lifestyle and seeing a healthcare provider regularly can make a big difference in a persons overall health.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
If you have been infected with HIV or are at risk of infection, you probably have some questions about the condition and how it can affect your baby.
You may find it helpful to jot down questions as they arisethat way, when you talk to your doctor, you can be sure that all of your concerns are addressed.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- Should I get tested for HIV?
- What can I do to prevent infection?
- Im infected. Is there any way to prevent passing it on to my baby?
- What steps can we take if my baby does get infected?
- Whats the long-term outlook for a baby with HIV?
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How Is Hiv Treated
Treatments for HIV typically involve antiretroviral therapy. This isnt a specific regimen, but instead a combination of three or four drugs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has currently approved nearly 50 different medications to treat HIV.
Antiretroviral therapy works to prevent the virus from copying itself. This maintains immunity levels while slowing the progression of HIV.
Before prescribing medication, a healthcare provider will take the following factors into consideration:
- a persons health history
- the levels of the virus in the blood
HIV doesnt cause a lot of outward or noticeable symptoms until the disease has progressed. For this reason, its important to understand how HIV is transmitted and the ways to prevent transmission.
HIV can be transmitted by:
- having sex, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex
- sharing needles, including tattoo needles, needles used for body piercing, and needles used for injecting drugs
- coming into contact with body fluids, such as semen, vaginal fluid, blood, and breast milk
HIV is not transmitted by:
- breathing the same air as a person living with HIV
- getting bitten by a mosquito or other biting insect
- hugging, holding hands with, kissing, or touching a person living with HIV
- touching a door handle or toilet seat thats been used by an HIV-positive person
Keeping this in mind, some of the ways a person can prevent HIV include:
Symptoms can take years to appear, which is why its so important to get tested regularly.
Stage : The Asymptomatic Stage
Once a person has been through the acute primary infection stage and seroconversion process, they can often start to feel better. In fact, HIV may not cause any other symptoms for up to 10 or even 15 years .
However, the virus will still be active, infecting new cells and making copies of itself. HIV can still be passed on during this stage. If left untreated, over time, HIV infection will cause severe damage to the immune system.
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How Hiv Is Transmitted
The first step in determining whether you are at risk of HIV is to better understand how the virus is transmitted.
HIV thrives in certain body fluids, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk. Most people get infected when exposed to HIV through these fluids.
HIV is transmitted through:
HIV can also be passed from mother to child during childbirth, although this is less common in the developed world due to advances in prevention and treatment.
It is important to note that HIV cannot penetrate intact skin. The virus can enter the body either through porous mucosal tissues , through breaks in vulnerable tissues , or directly through the bloodstream.
HIV infection can occur with just one exposure, particularly in high-risk individuals.
By contrast, HIV does not thrive in saliva, urine, tears, or feces and cannot survive in infectious quantities when exposed to air and environmental conditions.
How To Prevent Hiv From Progressing
The most effective way is to take antiretroviral medication as soon as possible and to do so consistently as prescribed.
Antiretroviral therapy keeps the immune system healthy and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to virtually zero.
The sooner a person receives a diagnosis, the sooner they can begin treatment. Early treatment can improve the persons outlook and lower the risk of the virus passing on to others.
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Hiv Can Spread Without Symptoms
People With Moderate Amount of HIV Particles in Their Blood Can Spread Virus
Oct. 22, 2007 — HIV-positive people with no symptoms can still spread HIV, a new study shows.
The study focuses on HIV viral load, which refers to the amount of HIV particles in a person’s blood. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
Data came from long-term studies of European homosexual men and African heterosexuals with HIV.
Most cases of HIV transmission were linked to people with moderate HIV viral loads and no symptoms related to HIV.
HIV may have evolved to maintain its transmission ability despite a modest viral load, note the researchers, who included Christophe Fraser, PhD, of Imperial College London.
They call for further studies to learn more about HIV viral load and HIV transmission, with the goal of tailoring HIV prevention programs to specific groups of people based on HIV viral load.
The study appears in this week’s early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
SOURCES: Fraser, C. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,week of Oct. 22-26, 2007 online early edition. News release, Imperial CollegeLondon. News release, Proceeding of the National Academy ofSciences.