If Im Undetectable Is There A Chance My Viral Load Will Become Detectable Again
Being undetectable does not mean that you are cured of HIV. There are three instances when your HIV viral load might come back and be detectable again.
The most common instances are so-called viral blips. Blips are when your HIV levels become slightly detectable, but at a very low level, and then goes back to being undetectable again. People may experience viral blips when they take their HIV medications every day. Viral blips are usually due to issues in the lab, such as some slight error in the test or in the test conditions in the lab. Occasionally they are due to a slight but true increase in the viral load due to a stress such as an illness or a vaccine. Viral blips, in which the viral load goes right back down to undetectable soon, are considered harmless. There is no appreciable chance that a person with a viral blip will transmit HIV to another person.
People also become detectable when they stop taking their HIV medications or take them only partially. It may take between a week to several weeks after stopping HIV treatment for HIV to become detectable again, but people will see the levels of virus in their body go up to detectable levels.
Can You Get Hiv From Someone Who Is Undetectable
According to the CDC, if you take your HIV medication regularly and reach the point where your viral load is undetectable, you have effectively no risk of transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
Having an undetectable viral load also helps prevent transmission to others through sharing needles, syringes, or other injection equipment though it doesnt eliminate it entirely.
If youre dating someone who has an undetectable viral load, youre not going to test positive for HIV just by having sex. That said, regular testing for HIV, especially if you have multiple sexual partners, is important.
Both the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and the CDC promote HIV treatment as prevention. Undetectable = Untransmittable or U=U is the guiding principle.
How Would I Know If Prep Is Right For Me
PrEP is one of many options for preventing HIV. HIV is passed from one person to another through sharing injection drug equipment or through anal or vaginal sexual intercourse. People can avoid getting HIV by: 1) not sharing drug injection equipment , 2) avoiding anal or vaginal intercourse 3) having only one monogamous sex partner whose HIV status is known to be negative: 4) having only one partner who is living with HIV and has an undetectable viral load. It is important to be aware that a person living with HIV who is on HIV treatment and is virally suppressed for six months or longer cannot pass HIV to a partner through sex. If you have sex with more than one partner, taking PrEP or consistent and correct use of condoms each time you have sex, can prevent you from getting HIV.
New York HIV State Clinical Guidelines indicate that healthcare providers should discuss PrEP as an HIV/STD prevention option for adults or adolescents who:
It is important to weigh the pros and cons and have an open and honest conversation about PrEP with your healthcare provider before beginning PrEP. PrEP is always voluntary and only you can determine if PrEP is right for you.
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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.
What Are Some Of The Safety Concerns Associated With Taking Pep
A person with low adherence to PEP, who acquires HIV while taking PEP, could develop resistance to the drugs in PEP. If a persons HIV becomes resistant to the PEP drugs, those same HIV drugs may not work for treating their HIV.
HIV drugs can cause side effects, such as nausea, fatigue and diarrhea. The nature and severity of the side effects depend on the type of drugs prescribed and the person who is taking them. The HIV drugs that are recommended for PEP in Canada are generally well tolerated and associated with minimal side effects.
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Reducing Hiv Risks From Chemsex And Drug Use
- Inject drugs.
- Forget to take your HIV medications.
- Are taking PreP it can be less effective if it is mixed with other drugs.
What Happens When Im On Pep
PEP isnt just a one-time pill its a regimen where you take many pills over many weeks. If your nurse or doctor gives you PEP, youll need to take medicine 1-2 times a day for at least 28 days . Its important that you take every pill as directed and dont skip doses, otherwise PEP may not work as well.
PEP isnt 100% effective, and it won’t prevent future HIV infections like PrEP can. So its important to keep protecting yourself and others from HIV while youre on PEP. Use condoms every time you have sex. If you inject drugs, dont share needles or works. This helps protect you from being exposed to HIV again. And it lowers the chances of giving HIV to others if you do have it
If you develop symptoms like a fever or rash while using PEP, talk with your doctor. These may be signs of the beginning stages of HIV.
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Take Hiv Medications To Prevent Hiv
People living without HIV may want to consider preventive HIV medications to avoid the risk of acquiring HIV. Currently, there are two strategies for preventing HIV with antiretroviral therapy. One of the medications is taken daily, as a preventive measure. The other is taken after potential exposure to HIV.
Hiv Life Expectancy: How Long Can You Live With Hiv Or Aids
The most frequently asked question for HIV-positive patients is how long can you live with HIV? Fortunately, the answer is far more promising than it was 20 years ago. Join Flo as we discuss how advancements in medical technology have altered the prognosis for those living with HIV or AIDS.
A national database containing statistics from 25 states shows that the average HIV life expectancy has more than doubled between 1996 and 2005. The bump from 10.5 to 22.5 years after diagnosis can be attributed to vast improvements in drug therapy and related approaches. However, experts still say this is only an average, and plenty of other circumstances must be taken into account regarding HIV life expectancy.
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Taking Antiretroviral Treatment With Other Medicines
If you are taking other medications or drugs including: treatments for other health conditions contraception hormonal therapies or use psychoactive drugs, its important that your doctor knows about this. Different drugs can interact, changing the way that they work. This may mean that a drug becomes too strong or that a drug becomes too weak, so that it can no longer control your HIV, prevent pregnancy or treat another health condition. Discuss the medication you take with your healthcare workers so they make sure that the combination is safe and will work well for you.
Ensure A Partner Is Managing Their Hiv
HIV is a chronic condition treated with antiretroviral therapy. Antiretroviral medications control the virus by lowering the amount of HIV found in the blood, which is also known as the viral load. These medications also lower the amount of the virus in other bodily fluids such as semen, anal or rectal secretions, and vaginal fluids.
Managing HIV requires close attention. Medications must be taken as directed by a healthcare provider. Additionally, managing HIV means going to a healthcare provider as often as recommended.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , someone living with HIV with an undetectable viral load wont transmit HIV to others. They define an undetectable viral load as fewer than 200 copies per milliliter of blood.
The support that someone without HIV can offer a partner living with HIV can positively affect how the HIV-positive partner manages their health. A study in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes that if same-sex couples were working together to reach a goal, the person living with HIV was more likely to stay on track with HIV care in all aspects.
This support can also strengthen other relationship dynamics.
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How Is This Possible
The likelihood of passing on HIV is directly linked to the amount of the virus in your blood. The lower the amount of virus in your blood, the lower the chance of it being passed on and vice versa.
When taken correctly, HIV treatment reduces the amount of virus in someones blood. When the virus is reduced to extremely low levels to the point where a laboratory test cannot pick it up, the virus cannot be passed on. This low level of virus in the blood is what is called an undetectable viral load. Different laboratories may have different cut-off points when classifying an undetectable viral load however, most clinics in the UK classify undetectable as being below 20 copies of HIV virus per millilitre.
It is important to note that a key goal of treatment is to ideally get everyone living with HIV to have an undetectable viral load. While an undetectable viral load does not mean there is no HIV present, it helps people with HIV to live long and healthy lives.
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.
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Is It Ok To Switch Between Daily Prep And On
On-demand PrEP is only for cis-gender MSM. Other individuals are not eligible for on-demand PrEP because studies have not demonstrated that it is effective for other populations. Before switching from daily PrEP to on-demand PrEP, or vice versa, a cis-gender MSM should consult with their healthcare provider.
What Is The Life Expectancy For People Living With Hiv In The Uk
A study published in 2014 looked at the outcomes of over 20,000 adults who started HIV treatment in the UK, between 2000 and 2010. The analysis didnt include people who inject drugs, who tend to have poorer outcomes than other people, but otherwise included a wide range of adults living with HIV.
The key finding was that people who had a good initial response to HIV treatment had a better life expectancy than people in the general population.
Specifically, a 35-year-old man who had a CD4 cell count over 350 and an undetectable viral load one year after starting HIV treatment could expect to live to the age of 81. A 50-year-old man with the same results after one year of treatment was predicted to live to the age of 83. In the general population at this time, men in these age groups were expected to live to 77 and 78 years.
A 35-year-old woman and a 50-year-old woman with the same results could expect to live to 83 and 85 years. This compares to 82 and 83 years in the general population.
“A person living with HIV has a similar life expectancy to an HIV-negative person providing they are diagnosed in good time, have good access to medical care, and are able to adhere to their HIV treatment.”
A 35-year-old man with any of those results could expect to live to 70-72 years. A 50-year-old man was predicted to live to 75-77 years. Women of the same ages could expect to live around two years longer than the men.
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Side Effects Of Hiv Treatment
People on current HIV treatments may experience mild side effects including:
- tiredness and fatigue
- skin rashes.
If you are on treatment, see your doctor every 3 to 6 months.
Regular blood tests are necessary to make sure your treatment is working and not causing serious side effects. It is recommended that you also get tested for STIs and talk to your doctor about your sexual health and overall wellbeing. Ensure you are having routine screening for cancers and keeping your vaccinations up to date.
You Took Pep Afterward
If you started it in the first 72 hours after the experience and continued to take it as directed, your chances of contracting HIV are slim.
How likely is this generally?
Even just the tip can expose you to HIV. It may not be as risky as, say, full-on anal or vaginal penetration with ejaculation, but its still risky.
Opt for oral for lower risk pleasure or use a condom.
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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.
Since Prep Medication Alone Is Not Effective At Treating Hiv Is It Possible That Taking Prep Could Lead To My Developing Drug Resistant Hiv If I Become Infected Could It Lead To Higher Levels Of Drug Resistant Virus In The Community
HIV testing is a critical component when using PrEP for HIV prevention. HIV testing is done before a person begins PrEP to ensure that only HIV negative people are prescribed PrEP. Periodic HIV testing for everyone taking PrEP ensures that anyone who gets HIV will be identified quickly so they can be put on an effective treatment regimen. If a person on PrEP gets HIV, drug resistance testing is done to determine an effective treatment regimen. There is no evidence that PrEP can lead to higher rates of drug resistant virus in the community.
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Who Should Consider Taking Pep
If you are HIV-negative and you think you may have been recently exposed to HIV, contact your health care provider immediately or go to an emergency room right away.
You may be prescribed PEP if you are HIV negative or don’t know your HIV status, and in the last 72 hours you:
- Think you may have been exposed to HIV during sex,
- Shared needles or drug preparation equipment, OR
- Were sexually assaulted
Your health care provider or emergency room doctor will help to decide whether PEP is right for you.
PEP may also be given to a health care worker after a possible exposure to HIV at work, for example, from a needlestick injury.
Letting Partners Know You Have Hiv
If you have just been diagnosed with HIV, it will likely be a difficult time. You might still be struggling to come to terms with diagnosis.
During this time, it is important to let any sexual or injecting partners know they may have been exposed to HIV as soon as you can, so they can be tested and offered PEP if appropriate.
You do not have to do this alone. Your doctor or the Department of Health and Human Services Partner Notification Officers can help you through this process and ensure your identity is not revealed.. Both groups can provide information, support, and guidance for people living with HIV.
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How Well Does Pep Work
PEP does not prevent 100% of HIV infections but it is very effective at preventing HIV if used consistently and correctly.
Observational research suggests that PEP can reduce the risk of getting HIV by more than 80%, which means some people in the studies acquired HIV despite taking PEP. Although some of these people reported high adherence to PEP and no further exposures to HIV, many HIV transmissions among people taking PEP occurred because of low adherence and/or ongoing exposures to HIV. Effectiveness is likely much higher than 80% if PEP is used consistently and correctly, as prescribed. This includes:
- Obtaining PEP from a healthcare provider.
- Taking the medications every day for 28 days. High adherence to the full month-long course of PEP is important for maximizing effectiveness.
- Starting PEP as soon as possible after a potential exposure to HIV, but not more than 72 hours afterwards. The sooner PEP is started after an exposure to HIV the more likely it is to work because the drugs need to start interrupting HIV replication as soon as possible.
- Taking extra precautions to reduce the risk of being exposed to HIV again while taking PEP. The use of PEP is meant to reduce the risk from a single exposure to HIV and should only be used for emergencies.