How Often Do You Need To Get Tested For Hiv
How often you should get tested depends on your personal practices, risk behaviours, and how often you engage in them.
For most people, it is important to have a full sexual health test at least once each year. This testing includes:
Even if you always use condoms, it is recommended you get tested annually as condoms dont provide 100% protection against HIV and STIs.
What Will Happen If I Skip My Arv For 2 Days
Missing doses of HIV medicines can reduce their usefulness and increase the possibility of developing drug resistance, which makes certain HIV drugs lose their effectiveness. If you realize you have missed a dose, go ahead and take the medication as soon as you can, then take the next dose at your usual scheduled time.
What Is Effective Treatment
We are using the term effective treatment to mean that someone is on treatment, taking it as prescribed and has an undetectable viral load. In the UK this is usually classed as a viral load below 20 copies/ml.
The Partners PrEP study found that there remains a transmission risk within the first six months of treatment as the HIV positive partners viral load takes time to come down.
Therefore effective treatment means someone has been taking it as prescribed for at least six months and has an undetectable viral load.
Over 90% of people diagnosed with HIV in the UK are on effective treatment and undetectable, and therefore are not infectious .
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Hiv Undetectable=untransmittable Or Treatment As Prevention
In recent years, an overwhelming body of clinical evidence has firmly established the HIV Undetectable=Untransmittable, or U=U, concept as scientifically sound. U=U means that people with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral loadthe amount of HIV in the bloodby taking antiretroviral therapy daily as prescribed cannot sexually transmit the virus to others. Thus, treatment for HIV is a powerful arrow in the quiver of HIV prevention tools. Read more about how a durably undetectable viral load prevents HIV transmission with NIAID’s fact sheet 10 Things to Know About HIV Suppression.
For nearly two decades, scientists have recognized that viral load is a key determinant of HIV transmission. Studies conducted before the availability of ART revealed that higher viral loads correlate with higher rates of both sexual and perinatal transmission of HIV. Following the advent of triple-drug ART in 1996, observational studies suggested that viral loads lowered by ART were associated with reduced risk of sexual and perinatal HIV transmission. In addition, epidemiological studies showed that as the number of people in a community who are virally suppressed rises, the number of new HIV transmissions falls.
To read more about the underlying science and the value of U=U, see NIAIDs blog post Science Validates Undetectable=Untransmittable HIV Prevention Message.
What Does Negligible Risk Mean
Negligible risk means so small or unimportant as to be not worth considering insignificant, having effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus. For U=U, “risk” is a projection talking about chances of something happening in the future and cannot be quantified, or given an exact number. What can be said for sure is that there have been zero transmissions in studies so far. And those studies included tens of thousands of unprotected sex acts. Undetectable individuals do not transmit HIV sexually, so the risk of transmission is negligible.
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Estimating Risk By Exposure Type
The likelihood of transmitting HIV through oral sex depends largely on the type of contact involved. Putting aside all other risk factors, the potential for infection can vary based on whether the non-infected person is either performing or receiving oral sex.
Broadly speaking, the risk of HIV from oral sex can run anywhere from 0% to 1%, according to research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
However, numbers can change once you factor in specific sexual behaviors. Among them:
- Receptive fellatio, meaning that the non-infected person is performing oral sex on a male partner with HIV, is considered exceptionally low risk. Among men who have sex with men , the per-act risk hovers at around 0.04 percent.
- Insertive fellatio is even less likely given that the enzymes in saliva can neutralize the HIV viral particles.
- Cunnilingus has also proven to be a highly unlikely route.
- Anilingus is also regarded as being of negligible risk, particularly for the receptive partner.
While these figures suggest that the risk of HIV is low from a population perspective, that shouldn’t imply that it is inherently low from an individual perspective. Clearly, the more risk factors you have, the greater the risk of transmission will be.
What Can Happen If Hiv Goes Undetected
At one point in time, contracting HIV was almost certain to be a fatal diagnosis. Fortunately, sweeping advances in medicine and technology have now made it possible for patients with HIV to lead long, healthy lives. However, it is still critical that men and women with HIV understand how to monitor their condition and protect themselves and others. The caring team at Health Services of North Texas understands the sensitive and personal nature of living with HIV/AIDS and is dedicated to providing confidential and compassionate care for patients in Denton, Plano, and Wylie, TX. Learn more about how to manage HIV here, including what it means if your HIV is undetectable and what the difference is between undetectable HIV and undetected HIV.
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What We Know About Injecting Drugs
The risk for getting or transmitting HIV is very high if an HIV-negative person uses needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment after someone with HIV has used them. This is because the needles, syringes, or other injection equipment may have blood in them, and blood can carry HIV. Likewise, youre at risk for getting or transmitting hepatitis B and C if you share needles, syringes, or other injection equipment because these infections are also transmitted through blood.
In 2017, 6% of new HIV diagnoses in the United States were attributed to injection drug use and 3% were attributed to injection drug use and male-to-male sexual contact . On average, an HIV-negative person has about a 1 in 160 chance of getting HIV every time they share needles, syringes, or other injection equipment with a person who has HIV.
More Information There may be extremely tiny amounts of blood in syringes or works that you may not be able to see, but could still carry HIV. Be aware that HIV can survive in a used syringe for up to 42 days depending on temperature and other factors.
There are medicines to treat hepatitis B. If youve never had hepatitis B, theres a vaccine to prevent it. There are medicines to treat hepatitis C, but they arent right for everyone. Theres no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. Talk to your health care provider to learn more about hepatitis B and C.
Is Having Undetectable Hiv The Same Thing As Being Cured
It is important to remember that having undetectable HIV is not synonymous with being cured. Although levels of the virus are lower than can be detected by current testing, it is still present in small amounts. In addition, HIV is a type of retrovirus, which means it incorporates its genetic material into the genetic material of the cells it is infecting. This remains the case even if somebody has undetectable levels. Therefore, if somebody who has undetectable levels goes off of his or her medication or isnt always taking it as prescribed, viral levels will come back up again, and they will no longer be considered to have undetectable HIV. HIV requires lifelong treatment currently, there is no cure for HIV.
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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.
How Does Being Durably Undetectable Affect My Risk Of Transmitting Hiv To A Sexual Partner
People living with HIV who take antiretroviral medications daily as prescribed and who achieve and then maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.
Three large multinational research studies involving couples in which one partner was living with HIV and the other was notHPTN 052, PARTNER and Opposites Attractobserved no HIV transmission to the HIV-negative partner while the partner with HIV had a durably undetectable viral load. These studies followed approximately 3,000 male-female and male-male couples over many years while they did not use condoms. Over the course of the PARTNER and Opposites Attract studies, couples reported engaging in more than 74,000 condomless episodes of vaginal or anal intercourse.
Learn more about HIV treatment as prevention.
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What Happens If I Stop Taking Antiretroviral Therapy
When therapy is stopped, viral load rebounds, and the risk of transmitting HIV to a sexual partner in the absence of other prevention methods returns. NIAID-supported research has provided clear-cut scientific evidence to support the benefits of staying on continuous antiretroviral treatment. In 2006, NIAIDs large clinical trial called SMART showed that people receiving intermittent antiretroviral treatment had twice the rate of disease progression compared to those receiving continuous treatment.
Taking antiretroviral treatment daily as directed to achieve and maintain durably undetectable status stops HIV infection from progressing, helping people living with HIV stay healthy and live longer, while offering the benefit of preventing sexual transmission. Stopping and re-starting treatment can cause drug resistance to develop, making that treatment regimen ineffective and limiting future treatment options.
Health Resources And Services Administrations Health Center Program
- COVID-19 Information for Health Centers and PartnersThis page provides the latest information on COVID-19 for health centers and Health Center Program partners. HRSA-funded health centers are a vital part of the nations response to HIV.
- Interpersonal Violence Toolkit and COVID-19 Resource PageFutures Without Violence, a HRSA-funded National Training and Technical Assistance Partner, developed this toolkit to assist health centers in designing a comprehensive response to IPV and human trafficking. During COVID-19, increases in IPV have been reported across the US there is a strong association between IPV and risks for HIV infection.
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Ways Hiv Cannot Be Spread
HIV is not spread by:
- Air or water
- Mosquitoes, ticks or other insects
- Saliva, tears, or sweat that is not mixed with the blood of a person with HIV
- Shaking hands hugging sharing toilets sharing dishes, silverware, or drinking glasses or engaging in closed-mouth or social kissing with a person with HIV
- Drinking fountains
Dont Breastfeed Your Baby
- Do not breastfeed your baby, even if you have an undetectable viral load. Having an undetectable viral load reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to the baby through breastfeeding but doesnt eliminate the risk.
- The current recommendation in the United States is that mothers with HIV should not breastfeed their babies.
You should also have a pelvic examination and get tested for other sexually transmitted diseases during your pregnancy.
If I have an undetectable viral load, do my partner and I need to use anything else to prevent sexual transmission of HIV?
Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load prevents HIV transmission during sex. But there are situations when either partner may want to use additional prevention options.
- Using condoms can help prevent some other STDs.
- Using condoms or having your partner take PrEP can provide added peace of mind.
- Also consider using additional prevention options if you
- Are unsure, for any reason, that you have an undetectable viral load
- Have a high viral load
- Have trouble taking HIV medicine regularly
- Missed some doses since your last viral load test or
- Have stopped taking HIV medicine or may do so in the future.
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What Is Hiv/aids
To provide some background before digging back into what undetectable means: HIV is a virus that infects humans. More specifically, HIV is a virus that infects the CD4+ T cells of the human immune system.HIV is a sexually transmitted infection , but it can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and breastfeeding or through contact with infected blood, such as by sharing needles during intravenous drug use. Approximately 70% of new cases of HIV in the United States affect men who have sex with men but everybody, including women and infants, can potentially acquire HIV.HIV infection progresses in stages that are characterized by different symptoms. Even without treatment, the full progression of HIV from exposure to end-stage AIDS can take over ten years. The stages of HIV are:
What You Can Do
Not having sex is a 100% effective way to make sure you dont get or transmit HIV through sex. If youre sexually active, you can lower your risk by choosing sexual activities that carry a lower risk for HIV than anal sex. You can also do other things to reduce your risk, including taking medicine to prevent or treat HIV and using condomsthe right way, every time. Condoms and medicine to prevent or treat HIV are highly effective at preventing HIV if used correctly. But the medicines are much less effective if you dont take them daily as prescribed, and condoms can sometimes break or come off during anal sex. Using a water-based or silicone lubricant can help prevent condoms from breaking or slipping.
Talking openly and frequently with your partner about sex can help you make decisions that decrease your risk of getting or transmitting HIV. Learn more about how to get the conversation started.
Certain things about your sex and injection partners can put you at increased risk for getting or transmitting HIV. Explore Estimate the HIV Risk to learn more.
Explore other resources from CDC:
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Viral Load And Being Undetectable
Medical evidence has shown that people on effective HIV treatment cant pass HIV on.
Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood.
A viral load test shows how much of the virus is in the body by measuring how many particles of HIV are in a blood sample. The results are given as the number of copies of HIV per millilitre of blood for example 200 copies/ml.
Are U=u And Treatment As Prevention The Same
U=U and TasP are one and the same, just different ways of stating the same concept about people living with HIV who are on effective ART. TasP has been used widely in medical and public health literature for years and means what it sounds like: taking ART and staying virally suppressed stops people from transmitting HIV, meaning it also acts as a form of HIV prevention. Both TasP and U=U are based on the important goal of having everyone with HIV be aware of their status so they can take ART. ART not only improves the health of PLWH, but also reduces the virus in a persons cells to the point of being “undetectable”. Viral load measures the effectiveness of ART. When a person is undetectable, they do not transmit HIV sexually. U=U has been taken up by the broader HIV-affected community to spread awareness that if you are undetectable, you will not transmit HIV. U=U sends a hopeful, empowering message and addresses the stigma often associated with living with HIV and an HIV/AIDS diagnosis.
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Get And Keep An Undetectable Viral Load
- If you take HIV medicine and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
- We dont know whether getting and keeping an undetectable viral load prevents HIV transmission through sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment . It very likely reduces the risk, but we dont know by how much.
- Getting and keep an undetectable viral load is the best thing you can do to stay healthy and protect others.
- Learn more about HIV treatment.
What if I cannot get an undetectable viral load?
Some people face challenges that make it hard to stick to a treatment plan. A few people cannot get an undetectable viral load even though they take HIV medicine as prescribed. If your viral load is not undetectableor does not stay undetectableyou can still protect your partners by using other prevention options.
What Will Being Undetectable Mean For Me
Having an undetectable viral load means that your ART is effectively controlling your HIV. This will protect your immune system and help you to stay in good health.
Being undetectable also means that you dont have to worry about passing HIV onto your sexual partners. For many people this is just as important to them, giving them relief from the anxiety of passing HIV on. Some people find that knowing theyre undetectable makes it easier to with others, as it can be reassuring for others to know that your health is protected and you cant pass it on too.
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