What Is Viral Suppression
Antiretroviral therapy keeps HIV from making copies of itself. When a person living with HIV begins an antiretroviral treatment regimen, their viral load drops. For almost everyone who starts taking their HIV medication daily as prescribed, viral load will drop to an undetectable level in six months or less. Continuing to take HIV medications as directed is imperative to stay undetectable.
Never Share Needles Syringes Or Other Drug Injection Equipment
- Use new, clean syringes and injection equipment every time you inject.
- Many communities have syringe services programs where you can get new needles and syringes and safely dispose of used ones. SSPs can also link you to substance use disorder treatment, testing, and care and treatment for infectious diseases.
- Some pharmacies sell needles without a prescription.
How can I protect my baby?
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Does Contraception Increase Womens Risk Of Hiv
Observational research studies in the past had suggested a possible increased risk of HIV for women using progestogen-only injectable contraception, such as DMPA intra-muscular injection, also known as Depo-Provera. A recent large study with a more reliable methodology, conducted in four African countries, however found no significant difference in risk of HIV infection among women using hormonal or non-hormonal long-acting reversible contraceptive methods .
What Is Hiv And How Is It Transmitted
HIV is a virus that can weaken the immune system to the point that it is unable to control some infections.
HIV infection is not the same thing as AIDS. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection, when the immune system is at its weakest and a person has several specific illnesses.
AIDS is now very rare in Australia, as HIV treatments are highly effective at protecting the immune system from the virus.
Most people living with HIV in Australia can expect to live long, healthy lives without ever developing AIDS, if they are on effective treatment.
In Australia, HIV is commonly transmitted through:
- Anal or vaginal sex without the use of condoms.
- Having unprotected sex without using other prevention methods like PrEP or undetectable viral load or U=U .
- Sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment.
People who are HIV-positive and on treatment and have achieved and maintained an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV sexually.
For people who do not have HIV, regular use of condoms is the easiest way to prevent HIV.
For those at higher risk of HIV, PrEP is a medication that, when taken as prescribed, is up to 99% effective at preventing the virus.
What We Know About Anal Sex
Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV. Although receptive anal sex is much riskier for getting HIV than insertive anal sex, its possible for either partnerthe insertive or receptiveto get HIV.
An HIV-negative receptive partners risk of getting HIV is very high because the lining of the rectum is thin. HIV can enter the body through this lining during anal sex from body fluids that carry HIV, including semen or pre-seminal fluid .
On average, an HIV-negative receptive partner has about a 1 in 70 chance of getting HIV every time they have receptive anal sex with a partner who has HIV.
Being the receptive partner for anal sex is about 13 times more risky for getting HIV from a partner with HIV than being the insertive partner.
For women, anal sex is about 17 times more risky for getting HIV from a man with HIV than vaginal sex.
If the partner with HIV takes HIV medicine as prescribed, and gets and keeps an undetectable viral load , you have effectively no risk of getting HIV through sex with that partner.
An HIV-negative insertive partner is also at risk because HIV can enter the body through the opening at the tip of the penis the foreskin if the penis isnt circumcised or small cuts, scratches, or open sores anywhere on the penis. There is some evidence that circumcision decreases a mans risk of getting HIV during sex.
Talk With Your Hiv Health Care Provider
Talk with your health care provider about the benefits of HIV treatment and which HIV medication is right for you. Discuss how frequently you should get your viral load tested to make sure it remains undetectable.
If your lab results show that the virus is detectable or if you are having trouble taking every dose of your medication, you can still protect your HIV-negative partner by using other methods of preventing sexual transmission of HIV such as condoms, safer sex practices, and/or pre-exposure prophylaxis for an HIV-negative partner until your viral load is undetectable again.
Taking HIV medicine to maintain an undetectable viral load does not protect you or your partner from getting other sexually transmitted diseases , so talk to your provider about ways to prevent other STDs.
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Protecting Your Baby During Childbirth
If you take your treatment correctly, it will lower the amount of HIV in your body. In some people, the amount of HIV in their body can be reduced to such low levels that it is said to be undetectable .
This means that you can plan to have a vaginal delivery because the risk of passing on HIV to your baby during childbirth will be extremely small.
If you dont have an undetectable viral load, you may be offered a caesarean section, as this carries a smaller risk of passing HIV to your baby than a vaginal delivery.
If your HIV test result comes back positive, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of passing HIV to your baby.
I was diagnosed with HIV. After a few years I entered a relationship and we decided to have children. My HIV consultant assured me that it was fine since my viral load was undetectable. I had my twins through C-section, which was planned.
Hiv Doesnt Affect Mosquitoes So They Cant Transmit It To Humans
Mosquitoes lack the receptor HIV uses to recognize immune cells. This means that mosquitoes cant get an HIV infection. Instead, the virus just gets broken down and digested in the mosquitos stomach.
Because they cant get an HIV infection, mosquitoes cant transmit HIV to humans.
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Coronavirus Disease : Hiv And Antiretrovirals
People living with HIV who are not taking antiretroviral treatment and have a low CD4 cell count, particularly those with advanced HIV disease, are at increased risk of opportunistic infections and AIDS related complications. However, there is evolving and conflicting evidence whether people living with HIV have an increased risk of acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or COVID-19 clinical complications in PLHIV compared to the general population.
PLHIV can have a greater prevalence of the known risk factors for COVID-19 acquisition and complications, such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease, obesity, as well as, other comorbidities and co-infections, like tuberculosis.
Several case report series and small cohort studies among hospitalized PLHIV with COVID-19 have shown comparable clinical outcomes and similar risk of SARS CoV2 infection when compared with general population, particularly in those with well controlled HIV infection . These limited clinical data suggest the mortality risk in PLHIV is associated with known COVID-19 factors such as older age and presence of comorbidities including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and obesity .
What If My Baby Is Hiv
With excellent health care, the mother-to-child HIV transmission rate is almost zero.
In the very rare case, your baby is HIV-positive, there are many supportive professionals and organisations that can help you during this difficult time.
You can expect welcoming, non-judgemental and compassionate care for yourself and your baby.
Medical care for babies with HIV is highly specialised. Early diagnosis means that a baby can begin effective treatment and have every chance for a long, healthy life.
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If I Have A Viral Load Blip Could I Pass On Hiv
People with an undetectable viral load sometimes experience what are called blips in their viral load. Their viral load increases from undetectable to a low but detectable level before becoming undetectable again on the next test.
For example, your viral load may temporarily rise to 60 copies/ml or 150 copies/ml. This should not be a cause for concern.
Remember that in the PARTNER and Opposites Attract studies, undetectable was defined as below 200 copies/ml. These studies showed that transmission does not occur below this level.
However, a blip could indicate a problem if it happens around the same time as missed or late doses of your medication, or if your viral load stays above detectable on two consecutive tests.
Hiv Not As Infectious Soon After Transmission As Thought
- University of Texas at Austin
- People who recently have been infected with HIV may not be as highly infectious as previously believed, a finding that could improve global efforts to prevent HIV transmission and save lives. In particular, the finding bolsters the strategy of treating patients with antiretroviral drugs before the onset of AIDS to prevent transmission.
People who recently have been infected with HIV may not be as highly infectious as previously believed, a finding that could improve global efforts to prevent HIV transmission and save lives. In particular, the finding bolsters the strategy of treating patients with antiretroviral drugs before the onset of AIDS to prevent transmission.
Mathematical epidemiologists Steve Bellan, a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Texas at Austin, and Lauren Ancel Meyers, a biology professor at the university, authored the paper with researchers from McMaster University and Yale University. The analysis was published today in the open access online journal PLOS Medicine.
“We found that people are less likely to spread HIV to others during this early stage than has been believed for many years,” Bellan said. “Our new estimates imply that some novel strategies to control HIV may be even more effective, and it can help communities to direct public health resources to save more lives.”
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Does U=u Apply To The Non
This page is about HIV transmission during sex.
But an undetectable viral load is also crucial for conception, pregnancy and birth. If you maintain an undetectable viral load during pregnancy, the risk of HIV being passed on to your baby is just 0.1%, or one in a thousand.
During breastfeeding, an undetectable viral load greatly reduces the risk of passing HIV on, although it does not completely eliminate this possibility. In the UK and other countries where clean water and sterilising equipment are available, bottle feeding with formula milk is the safest way to feed your baby.
If you use injection drugs and or other equipment, taking HIV treatment and having an undetectable viral load greatly reduces the risk of passing HIV on, but we dont know by how much.
Living With Hiv When One Partner Is Positive And The Other Is Negative
Two months after Maripaz Callejas’ husband died of AIDS, she was diagnosed with HIV. One doctor told her that she would be dead within five years.
In Maripaz’s home country, El Salvador, many new HIV infections occur as a result of unprotected sex between couples who are married or living together. WHO estimates that globally as many as half of all HIV-positive people in long-term relationships have HIV-negative partners forming what are known as serodiscordant couples. It is estimated that half of people living with HIV still do not know that they are infected, and, like Maripaz, many people in relationships do not know their partner’s status.
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Do Mosquitoes Pose Any Other Threats
Mosquito-borne diseases are the most common and dangerous threat from mosquitoes. But in rare cases, mosquito bites can also cause severe allergic reactions.
If you have trouble breathing or swelling in your face or throat after being bitten by a mosquito, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. These are symptoms of a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.
Do I Still Need To Worry About Other Sexually Transmitted Infections
Neither HIV treatment nor PrEP prevents other sexually transmitted infections, or STIs.
Ways to reduce the risk of STIs include having both partners tested, limiting the number of sexual partners and using condoms. Vaccines are available to prevent some STIs, including hepatitis B and human papillomavirus .
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Why Was This Study Needed
Without the suppression of HIV through antiretroviral therapy, the virus can be transmitted through blood and semen during sexual activity. While condoms reduce the risk of infection, they are not always used consistently, and people are not always in a position to insist on their use.
Previous studies have already found that the rate of transmission of HIV between partners where one was HIV-negative and the other was HIV-positive was very low – if the viral load was suppressed to undetectable levels in the HIV-positive partner. However, these earlier studies had included mostly heterosexual couples, and this research sought to clarify if the same applied for men who have sex with men.
This study was an extension to a previous mixed study of 340 male couples and 548 heterosexual couples. It recruited additional male couples, to provide more precise estimates of the risk of HIV transmission between partners in gay relationships.
How Do I Avoid Getting Hiv During Sex
HIV is spread through contact with blood or sexual fluids , usually during vaginal and anal sex. So the only 100% certain way to avoid HIV is to not have vaginal or anal sex.
But most people do have sex at some point in their lives, so learning about HIV prevention and knowing how to have safer sex is important. Using condoms REALLY lowers your risk of getting HIV. If youre going to have sex, using condoms every single time is the best way to protect yourself from HIV. Theres also a daily pill you can take called PrEP that can help prevent HIV. Your doctor or nurse can tell you if PrEP is right for you.
Some sexual activities are safer than others when it comes to getting HIV. These activities are no risk theyve never caused a reported case of HIV:
having oral sex with a condom or dental dam
using clean sex toys
These activities are lower risk theyve only caused a few reported cases of HIV :
“French or deep kissing
vaginal sex with a condom and/or PrEP
anal sex with a condom and/or PrEP
oral sex without a condom or dental dam
These activities are high risk millions of people get HIV this way:
Theres no vaccine that protects against HIV, but lots of people are working on making one. And there are medicines that can help prevent HIV.
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Taking Hiv Medication To Stay Healthy And Prevent Transmission
If you have HIV, it is important to start treatment with HIV medication as soon as possible after your diagnosis.
If taken every day, exactly as prescribed, HIV medication can reduce the amount of HIV in your blood to a very low level. This is called viral suppression. It is called viral suppression because HIV medication prevents the virus from growing in your body and keeps the virus very low or suppressed. Viral suppression helps keep you healthy and prevents illness.
If your viral load is so low that it doesnt show up in a standard lab test, this is called having an undetectable viral load. People living with HIV can get and keep an undetectable viral load by taking HIV medication every day, exactly as prescribed. Almost everyone who takes HIV medication daily as prescribed can achieve an undetectable viral load, usually within 6 months after starting treatment.
There are important health benefits to getting the viral load as low as possible. People living with HIV who know their status, take HIV medication daily as prescribed, and get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long, healthy lives.
There is also a major prevention benefit. People living with HIV who take HIV medication daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.
Does My Baby Have Hiv
Your baby should be tested for HIV at birth, and again four to six weeks later.
If the result comes back negative, your baby should be tested again at 18 months and/or when you have finished breastfeeding to find out your babys final HIV status. It is very important to take your baby for this final HIV test to ensure they are HIV-negative or to get them on treatment if they are positive.
If any of these tests come back positive, your baby will need to start treatment straight away. Talk to your healthcare professional, and attend follow-up appointments to ensure your baby receives treatment.
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