Is Hiv Prep For Me
A serodiscordant partnership is where one partner is HIV negative and the other is living with HIV.
If you’re HIV negative and your sexual partner is living with HIV, you might want to consider PrEP in certain circumstances.
If your partner has been diagnosed with HIV, has been taking HIV medication for at least 6 months, and their viral load is undetectable, there is no risk of HIV transmission through sex. An undetectable viral load means that the level of HIV in their body is too low to be measured by a blood test and will not be transmitted through sex. In this case, you do not need PrEP.
If your partner is newly diagnosed with HIV and has only just started treatment, you may want to consider PrEP until their viral load becomes undetectable.
If you have sex without a condom with more than one sexual partner and dont know their status, HIV PrEP can reduce your chance of becoming infected with HIV.
- what will happen at your first appointment
- who should not take PrEP
- how dosing works
Testing Positive Of Hiv With Nucleic Acid Test
In addition to antibody testing, human immunodeficiency virus tests identify viral RNA. The RNA need not be active or living. Its viral genetic components are enough for testing. These tests are known as nucleic acid tests, and they can detect HIV infections at an early stage.
- RNA testing is not usually done as a screening test, but it is done to confirm an HIV-positive diagnosis following a positive antibody test or to determine if a person is responding well to treatment.
- Some of these viral detection assays may identify viruses at extremely low levels.
- Some HIV RNA assays for study may detect HIV RNA levels as low as a single copy level.
According to research, undetectable means a viral load of fewer than 200 copies/mL. Even if your viral load is less than 50 or 20 copies/mL, viral RNA will be identified with one of these viral detection assays.
Detecting a very little quantity of virus on one of these tests indicates that you have not been treated. However, based on the current understanding, it has little practical therapeutic relevance while you are on successful medication. All clinical criteria state that even if you have less than 50 copies of viral load, it does not mean you are HIV-free.
Ways Hiv Cannot Be Spread
HIV is not spread by:
- 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
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How Do You Get Your Viral Load To Undetectable And Keep It There
People with HIV can get and keep an undetectable viral load by taking HIV medicine exactly as prescribed. Almost everyone who takes HIV medicine as prescribed can reach an undetectable viral load, usually within six months after starting treatment. But treatment is not a cure. HIV is still in your body when your viral load is suppressed, even when it is undetectable. If you skip doses of your HIV medicine, even now and then, your viral load will quickly go back up. If you have stopped taking your HIV medicine or are having trouble with taking your doses as prescribed, talk to your health care provider as soon as possible about strategies to get your viral load suppressed.
If the HIV medicines you are taking donât suppress your viral load, you and your health care provider can talk about whether another combination of HIV medicines might work better for you. There are many different treatment options available.
How Is Pep Different From Prep
PrEP and PEP are both forms of HIV prevention for people who are HIV-negative. A big difference between PrEP and PEP is that PrEP is taken before potential exposure, while PEP is taken after possible exposure to HIV. While PEPis prescribed in emergency situations and should be taken within 36 hours of exposure, PrEP is a daily pill that people can take to protect themselves against HIV if they think they will be sexually exposed.
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Can Prep Help With U=u
PrEP is a medication that uses a combination of drugs to keep HIV from reproducing and growing within the body. PrEP needs to be used before a person who does not have HIV comes into contact with the virus. For instance, if a person is dating a partner who is living with HIV, they would need to take PrEP before having sexual contact with their partner.
The same medication that is used for PrEP is also used for PEP a treatment that is used after a person is exposed to HIV but is not HIV positive. PEP can help to control the viral load and lowers the chances of HIV contraction by keeping the persons viral load undetectable.
Now, if a person is HIV positive and their viral load is detectable, they do not qualify for PrEP or PEP. There are HIV treatment drugs such as antiretroviral therapy, which can help to decrease their viral load but this does not cure them of HIV.
So, the answer here is yes PrEP can keep a person undetectable by ensuring they do not contract HIV in the first place even if they are exposed. PEP can also be used to keep a person undetectable after they are exposed.
What Does Untransmittable Mean
HIV can be transmitted through contact with bodily fluids from a person living with HIV to another. However, if a persons viral load is undetectable, it cannot be transmitted to another person. Therefore, undetectable = untransmittable.
One of the most common ways that HIV is transmitted is through sexual intercourse and contact with seminal, pre-seminal, vaginal, or rectal fluids. HIV can also be transmitted through blood via shared needles or blood transfusions. Finally, babies may contract HIV during birth or shortly thereafter, as HIV can be transmitted through vaginal birth or breastmilk.
There are several measures people can take to prevent HIV transmission.
The first is to practice safe sex by always using a condom and getting tested regularly for STDs and STIs. Another way to safeguard yourself from HIV transmission is by taking PrEP, a medication regimen that protects a person before they are exposed to HIV.
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Does Hiv Viral Load Affect Getting Or Transmitting Hiv
Yes. Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood of someone who has HIV. If taken as prescribed, HIV medicine can reduce a personâs HIV viral load very low level, which keeps the immune system working and prevents illness. This is called viral suppression, defined as having less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
HIV medicine can also make the viral load so low that a standard lab test canât detect it. This is called having an undetectable level viral load. Almost everyone who takes HIV medicine as prescribed can achieve an undetectable viral load, usually within 6 months after starting treatment.
As noted above, people with HIV who take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long and healthy lives and will not transmit HIVto their HIV-negative partnersthrough sex.
HIV medicine is a powerful tool for preventing sexual transmission of HIV. But it works only if the HIV-positive partner gets and keeps an undetectable viral load. Not everyone taking HIV medicine has an undetectable viral load. To stay undetectable, people with HIV must take HIV medicine as prescribed and visit their health care provider regularly to get a viral load test. Learn more.
Can You Have Hiv For 20 Years And Not Know
While its common for people with HIV to experience symptoms similar to the flu after a few weeks of the initial infection, some people may experience no symptoms at all during the early stages of HIV.
If a person with HIV goes undiagnosed and the virus develops into stage 2, HIV will continue to develop and may last for 10-15 years without the appropriate HIV testing and treatment . Its important to note that this stage can also bring with it little to no symptoms and people may not even feel sick.
The only way to know your HIV status is to get tested. This can be done by visiting your local HIV testing centre, your local doctor, or from home with an at-home lab test. Early detection is crucial to getting prompt treatment and going on to lead both a happy and healthy life.
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When Your Viral Load Is Undetectable
Eventually, you want to have an undetectable viral load — one so low that a lab test canât find it. When you have an undetectable viral load, you canât spread the virus to your sexual partner.
Even when you reach that point, you must remember that the virus is still in your body. To keep it at bay, take your medicine every day, just as your doctor prescribes. If you skip doses or stop treatment, your viral load can go up quickly. The chance that you can transmit the virus to your partners also goes way up.
Tell your doctor if you have trouble sticking to your treatment.
Talk to your partners, too about prevention of HIV as well as non-HIV STD issues. Discuss other kinds of protection, like condoms, safer sex, or pre-exposure prophylaxis . This daily pill can lower the chance of infection in people who donât have HIV by up to 99%.
What Are Viral Load Blips
Even if a person is durably undetectable and taking antiretroviral therapy daily as prescribed, they may experience small, transient increases in viral load called blips followed by a decrease back to undetectable levels. Having a blip is relatively common and does not indicate that antiretroviral therapy has failed to control the virus. Scientists are working to better understand what causes blips.
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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.
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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What Does U=u Mean In Relation To Hiv Prevention
Have you ever heard the phrase U=U before?
U=U stands for: Undetectable = Untransmittable.
This catchphrase originated as a campaign slogan used to bring awareness about HIV transmission and to promote the use of HIV treatment plans and prevention methods.
The campaign was launched by Prevention Access in 2016 to fight HIV stigma and help people at high risk of HIV transmission receive prevention treatments. And it seems like their efforts have been successful. Since 2014, the number of people diagnosed with HIV in the United States has remained stable overall, with some numbers dropping significantly for specific demographics.
But you may be wondering, what do the words undetectable and untransmittable mean in regards to HIV?
Lets break down what U=U really means and everything that you need to know to protect yourself and others from HIV transmission.
After I Begin Hiv Treatment How Long Does It Take For The Risk Of Sexually Transmitting Hiv To Become Effectively Zero
There is effectively no risk of sexual transmission of HIV when the partner living with HIV has achieved an undetectable viral load and then maintained it for at least six months. Most people living with HIV who start taking antiretroviral therapy daily as prescribed achieve an undetectable viral load within one to six months after beginning treatment.
A persons viral load is considered durably undetectable when all viral load test results are undetectable for at least six months after their first undetectable test result. This means that most people will need to be on treatment for 7 to 12 months to have a durably undetectable viral load. It is essential to take every pill every day to maintain durably undetectable status.
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How Long Do I Have To Be On Treatment Before My Viral Load Becomes Undetectable
It will be possible for most people diagnosed with HIV to reach an undetectable viral load within 3 to 6 months of starting treatment. However, if someone starts treatment very late and therefore has a low CD4 count, or they dont take their pills as prescribed, then it will make reaching undetectable more difficult. It is important not to assume that everyone who is living with HIV will be able to reach or sustain an undetectable viral load.
What Does Undetectable Viral Load Mean
Antiretroviral therapy is medication that helps to keep the viral load in the body under control. For many people, HIV treatment can substantially lower viral load levels, sometimes to undetectable levels.
A viral load is considered undetectable if a test cant quantify the HIV particles in 1 milliliter of the blood. If a viral load is considered undetectable, it means the medication is working.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , a person with an undetectable viral load has effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV. In 2016, the Prevention Access Campaign launched the U=U, or Undetectable = Untransmittable, campaign.
A word of caution: undetectable doesnt mean the virus particles arent there, or that a person no longer has HIV. It simply means that the viral load is so low that the test is unable to measure it.
HIV-positive people should consider continuing on antiretroviral medications to remain healthy and keep their viral loads undetectable.
These increased viral loads may occur between tests, and there may be no symptoms.
Viral load levels in blood or genital fluids or secretions are often similar.
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How Can You Test Positive For Hiv If You Are Undetectable
Undetectable viral load is not the same as not detected. Undetected means the viral load is very low to be detected in the test, whereas not detected means the viral load is zero or negative, which is below the undetectable limit.
Even if your viral load is undetectable, you can still test positive for the human immunodeficiency virus .
- If you have a suppressed viral load, you still have HIV antibodies produced by the immune system as a response to HIV infection that gives a positive HIV test result.
- Undetectable viral load means the virus is dormant inside a small number of cells called viral reservoirs in the body. Even if the virus is undetected, HIV antibodies can still be detected.
Usually, when treatment is interrupted by skipping doses, taking a treatment break, or discontinuing treatment, the virus resurfaces and continues to replicate, becoming detectable in the blood once more. This newly replicating virus is contagious. To attain and maintain a permanently undetectable condition, it is crucial to take every tablet as advised on a daily basis.
According to HIV treatment guidelines in the United States, viral load should be evaluated every three to four months. People with HIV should consult their healthcare providers to identify an appropriate testing plan for viral load.
Stage : Acute Hiv Infection
Within 2 to 4 weeks after infection with HIV, about two-thirds of people will have a flu-like illness. This is the bodyâs natural response to HIV infection.
Flu-like symptoms can include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. But some people do not have any symptoms at all during this early stage of HIV.
Donât assume you have HIV just because you have any of these symptomsâthey can be similar to those caused by other illnesses. But if you think you may have been exposed to HIV, get an HIV test.
Hereâs what to do:
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