What Is A Window Period
When a person gets infected it may take 6 weeks or up to 3 months before antibodies to HIV are detected in the blood. The HIV test looks for antibodies. When these antibodies are detected the person is diagnosed HIV positive. A person can be positive and the test shows negative because the test was done during the window period.
Hiv Vs Aids: Whats The Difference
It can be easy to confuse HIV and AIDS. They are different diagnoses, but they do go hand-in-hand: HIV is a virus that can lead to a condition called AIDS, also known as stage 3 HIV.
At one time, a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS was considered a death sentence. Thanks to research and the development of new treatments, people with HIV at any stage today are living long, productive lives. An HIV-positive person who adheres to regular antiretroviral treatment can expect to live a near-normal life span.
Latency Can Cause A Break In Symptoms
After initial exposure and possible primary infection, HIV may transition to the clinically latent infection stage. Due to a lack of symptoms in some people, this is also referred to as asymptomatic HIV infection.
According to HIV.gov, latency in HIV infection can last up to 10 or 15 years. This means that the virus is replicating much slower than before. But it doesnt mean that HIV is gone, nor does it mean that the virus cant be transmitted to others.
Read Also: How Do You Know Of You Have Hiv
How Do I Take Care Of Myself With Hiv
The best way to take care of yourself while living with HIV is to follow your treatment plan.
- Make sure to take your medications as prescribed and on time.
- Show up to all appointments so your healthcare team can monitor how youre feeling and know if theres a need to adjust your treatment.
- Follow your healthcare providers recommendations on how to avoid additional illnesses.
If I Test Positive For Hiv Does That Mean Im Going To Die
No. Thanks to amazing advances in medicine, such as antiretroviral therapy which helps stop the progression of HIV to AIDSHIV is no longer considered a death sentence.
Currently, there is no cure for HIV, so once people get it, they have it for life. However, if people living with HIV take their medication as prescribed, they can lead healthy lives.
You May Like: Does Magic Still Have Hiv
Challenges In Calculating A Number
It isn’t easy for researchers to calculate the risk of transmission from an exposure to HIV through sex. To do this effectively, a group of HIV-negative individuals need to be followed over time and their exposures to HIVboth the number of times they are exposed and the types of exposureneed to be tracked.
As you can imagine, accurately tracking the number of times a person is exposed to HIV is very difficult. Researchers ask HIV-negative individuals enrolled in these studies to report how many times they have had sex in a given period of time, what type of sex they had, how often they used condoms and the HIV status of their partner. Because a person may have trouble remembering their sexual behaviour or may not want to tell the whole truth, this reporting is often inaccurate.
Furthermore, a person does not always know the HIV status of their partner. For this reason, researchers usually enroll HIV-negative individuals who are in stable relationships with an HIV-positive partner . Researchers can then conclude that any unprotected sex reported by a study participant counts as an exposure to HIV.
Understanding A Negative Result
What does a negative test result mean?
A negative result doesnt necessarily mean that you dont have HIV. This is due to the window period.
If you test again after the window period, have no possible HIV exposure during the window period, and the result comes back negative, you do not have HIV.
If you have certain risk factors, you should continue getting tested at least once a year. Learn more about who is at risk for HIV and why they should be tested more often.
If I have a negative result, does that mean my partner is HIV-negative also?
No. Your HIV test result reveals only your HIV status.
HIV is not necessarily transmitted every time you have sex or share needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment. And the risk of getting HIV varies depending on the type of exposure or behavior. It is important to remember that taking an HIV test is not a way to find out if your partner has HIV.
Its important to be open with your partners and ask them to tell you their HIV status. But keep in mind that your partners may not know or may be wrong about their status, and some may not tell you if they have HIV even if they are aware of their status. Consider getting tested together so you can both know your HIV status and take steps to keep yourselves healthy.
Whats The Outlook For Those With Syphilis And Hiv
Antibiotics can often effectively treat syphilis in those with and without HIV. When identified and treated promptly, the outlook for syphilis in people with HIV is generally good.
Taking antiretroviral drugs as directed can also help to improve syphilis outlook in people living with HIV. In addition, sticking to treatment can slow HIV disease progression and lower the risk of HIV transmission.
In some cases, syphilis may progress faster or be harder to treat in those living with HIV. This appears to be more likely in people with a higher viral load and lower CD4 count.
After treatment, its possible to get syphilis again in the future. This can be prevented using many of the same strategies used to prevent HIV, such as always using a condom during sex, getting tested regularly for STIs, and asking sexual partners to be tested too.
Hiv Testing And Your Rights
Testing for HIV is voluntary and can only be done with your informed consent, except in exceptional circumstances.
Before you are tested, you will be provided with information about what is involved. what the results might mean for you, and how to prevent HIV transmission in the future. All people who request an HIV test must receive this information from the test provider.
Under Australian and Victorian law, it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone who has HIV. Test results, and details on whether someone has been tested are strictly confidential. It is illegal for any information about a person being tested or a person with HIV to be disclosed without their permission.
Recommended Reading: Can Hiv Be Transmitted Through Saliva
Ask The Expert: Are Hiv And Aids The Same Thing
Today is World AIDS Day, an observance dedicated to showing solidarity with those living with and affected by HIV around the world and remembering those who have lost their lives to AIDS.
As part of our ongoing Ask the Expert series, we are turning to our HIV Prevention Fellows to answer some common questions about HIV and AIDS. Our fellows work in the community to provide accurate information about the importance of getting tested for HIV, methods of HIV prevention, including PEP and PrEP medication, and overall sexual health.
How To Tell If Symptoms Are Hiv
There are three types of HIV tests:
- An NAT involves drawing blood from a vein. It can tell if you have HIV or how much virus is present in your blood. While an NAT can detect HIV sooner than other types of tests, this test is very expensive and not routinely used for screening individuals unless they recently had a high-risk exposure, or a possible exposure and have early symptoms of HIV infection. This test takes several days for results to come back.
- An antigen/antibody testis recommended for testing done in labs and is now common in the United States. It involves drawing blood from a vein, and results take several days to come back. There is also a rapid antigen/antibody test available that is done with a finger prick and takes 30 minutes or less to get results.
- HIV antibody testsonly look for antibodies to HIV in your blood or oral fluid. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid. Antibody tests can detect an HIV infection 23 to 90 days after exposure. Most rapid tests and the only currently approved HIV self-test are antibody tests. They take 20 minutes or less to provide results.
Keep in mind, any positive result would necessitate a second test to confirm it. The only test that would not require a second confirmatory test is the NAT.
Read Also: How Does Hiv Affect The Body
When Should I Start Hiv Treatment
The World Health Organization recommends that a person living with HIV begin ART as soon as possible after diagnosis. Starting ART slows the progression of HIV and can keep you healthy for many years. Your health care provider will talk to you about what it means to be on treatment and help you to assess if you are ready to start.
Having Syphilis Can Increase Hiv Viral Load
Viral load refers to the amount of HIV viral particles per milliliter of blood. It can be used as an indicator of HIV progression as well as how effective antiretroviral therapy is.
Having syphilis is associated with increases in viral load. This effect on viral load can also increase the risk of HIV transmission events.
A 2012 study compared males with an HIV and syphilis coinfection with HIV-positive males that didnt have syphilis. Over a period of 6 months, researchers found that:
- Increases in viral load were seen in 27.3 percent of those with coinfections, compared to 16.6 percent of those with HIV alone.
- Viral load increases were also observed in those with coinfections receiving antiretroviral drugs.
- Those with coinfections had a drop in CD4 count while they had syphilis, but this returned to previous levels after treatment.
You May Like: Why Is Hiv So Dangerous
Who Is At Risk Of Hiv
|Behaviours and conditions that put individuals at greater risk of contracting HIV|
Should You Begin Contact Tracing Even If You Havent Developed Symptoms
Once you know you have been exposed, you should make anyone you had contact with after the time of exposure aware, Dr. Kesh said. You dont need to let them know if you saw the person the day after an exposure, but after that point, I think its safest to let other people you have had contact with know you were exposed. If nothing else, it helps them assess their own risk.
More importantly, if you do develop symptoms and especially if you test positive for COVID-19 its important to take action on contact tracing. If you become ill with COVID-19, you should notify anyone with close contact to you less than six feet away for more than 15 minutes that they should quarantine for 14 days, get tested, and wear a mask to prevent possible transmission to others,David Cutler, MD, family medicine physician at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, told POPSUGAR. Its the only way to curb the spread.
Keep in mind: the 14-day quarantine is in place because the average time for someone to develop symptoms typically falls within 14 days after exposure, Dr. Richardson explained. If you dont develop symptoms, you are likely in the clear. Just remember to continue taking precautions to reduce your risk of being exposed again.
Dont Miss: How To Alleviate Bladder Infection Pain
Recommended Reading: Can I Catch Hiv From Saliva
How Is Hiv Transmitted Or Spread
The following are the means by which the HIV virus is spread:
Vertical transmission. HIV can be spread to babies born to, or breastfed by, mothers infected with the virus.
Sexual contact. In adults and adolescents, HIV is spread most commonly by sexual contact with an infected partner. The virus enters the body through the lining of the vagina, vulva, penis, rectum, or abraded or irritated tissues in the lining of the mouth through sexual activity.
Blood contamination. HIV may also be spread through contact with infected blood. However, due to the screening of donated blood for evidence of HIV infection, the risk of acquiring HIV from blood transfusions is extremely low.
Needles. HIV is frequently spread by sharing needles, syringes, or drug use equipment with someone who is infected with the virus. Transmission from patient to health care worker, or vice-versa, through accidental sticks with contaminated needles or other medical instruments, is rare.
No known cases of HIV/AIDS have been spread by the following:
Enlarged lymph nodes
An HIV-infected child is usually diagnosed with AIDS when the immune system becomes severely damaged or other types of infections occur. As the immune system deteriorates, complications begin to develop. The following are some common complications, or symptoms, of the onset of AIDS. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Recommended Reading: What Is Hiv 1 And 2
Hiv And Planning A Family
, but for a woman who is HIV-positive, or who has a male partner with HIV, planning a family requires extra consideration.
If you are in this situation, seek professional advice and find out as much as you can before you become pregnant. It may help to talk the issues through with:
- The doctor who is treating you.
- Your HIV specialist, obstetrician or family planning specialist.
- The Chronic Viral Illness Clinic at Melbournes Royal Womens Hospital . CVI clinic staff are experienced and knowledgeable about HIV in pregnancy and can provide expert advice and assisted reproductive technology options for serodiscordant couples .
- A counsellor who specialises in this area.
You May Like: How Many People Have Hiv In Atlanta
Recommended Reading: How Long Does Hiv Take To Turn Into Aids
People Of All Genders And Sexual Orientations Can Contract Hiv
HIV is a human disease, meaning anyone can contract it, says Rymland.
Unfortunately, due to the virus early nomenclature as GRID, or Gay Related Immune Deficiency, its wrongly assumed to affect only gay men.
Sadly, says Rymland, this pervasive stigma prevents non-gay men, as well as other-gendered individuals, from protecting themselves against HIV transmission or even getting tested for STIs.
People of all sexual orientations need to be educated about their risk and informed on how to protect themselves, she says. And that includes being educated about PrEP, a safe and effective medication for preventing HIV thats not well known outside of the gay community.
How common is HIV in men?
Globally, men make up about 47 percent of cases. However, research published in 2018 found that men in the United States made up
HIV is typically diagnosed with a blood test. Though, it can also be diagnosed with oral fluid or urine.
Most commonly, healthcare professionals will order one of the following tests:
- nucleic acid test : looks for viral load in blood
- antigen/antibody test: looks for both antibodies and antigens in blood
- antibody test: looks for antibodies in the blood
It typically takes a few days for NAT and antigen/antibody tests to provide results. But there are rapid antibody screening tests and rapid antigen/antibody tests that take 30 minutes or less.
Clinical Latency Stage Symptoms
During stage 2, the virus is active but reproduces at very low levels. At this stage, there may be only mild symptoms, or none at all.
Medication can help stop the virus from progressing and keep it in this stage. It can reduce the levels of the virus so that they are undetectable, cannot be passed on, and have no impact on the persons health.
Also Check: What Are The Symptoms Of Having Hiv
If I Have Hiv How Can I Keep From Spreading It To Others
The best ways to keep from spreading HIV to others are many of the same ways you use to protect yourself:
- Let sexual partners and anyone you inject drugs with know that you have HIV.
- Follow your treatment plan and dont miss medications. If you have an undetectable viral load, you greatly reduce the risk of transmitting HIV through sex.
- Talk to your sexual partner about taking PrEP.
- Wear condoms for vaginal, anal and oral sex even if you have an undetectable viral load.
- Dont share needles or other equipment to inject drugs.
- Limit the number of sexual partners you have.
- If youre pregnant and have HIV, following your treatment plan, including ART medications, can reduce your risk of transmitting the virus to your child.
Are Herpes And Hiv The Same Thing
Both Herpes and HIV share similar symptoms and transmission ways but they are completely different. HIV is more of flu-like symptoms in the initial phases and followed by no symptoms and then final stages arrive with more severe signs like weight loss, diarrhea, and neurological symptoms, on the other hand, Herpes is painless and appears as warts around the genitals and the mouth which can lead to health complications like cancers.
Now, which is more common? Is it Herpes or HIV? Well, Herpes STD seems to be more common than HIV. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , nearly every sexually active person having more than one sex partner will contract an STD like Herpes or HIV at least once in their lifetime.
Don’t Miss: What To Do If You Have Hiv