Using Barrier Protection And Prep
Using condoms or other barrier protection, such as dental dams, when engaging in anal, vaginal, or oral sex can drastically reduce a persons chances of contracting HIV and other STIs.
In their 2019 guidelines, the Preventive Services Task Force advises that doctors only approve PrEP for people with recent negative HIV tests.
They also approve a PrEP formation: a combination of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine. They advise people who take PrEP to do so once a day.
How Can A Woman Reduce Her Chances Of Contracting Hiv
HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids like blood and semen. Using injection drugs, having unprotected sex and having multiple sex partners increases the chances of acquiring HIV. The only way to be absolutely certain you do not become infected with HIV is to not have sex and not use injection drugs. You also can avoid infection by only having one sex partner as long as your partner does not have HIV and has sex only with you. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention , using a male or female condom every time you have vaginal or anal sex can greatly lower your risk of infection. Using condoms for oral sex will reduce your risk for other STDs as well. It also is important not to douche, since douching removes some of the normal vaginal bacteria that can protect you from infection.
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Is There A Cure For Aids
There is no cure for AIDS. There are drugs that can slow down the HIV virus, and slow down the damage to your immune system. There is no way to clear the HIV out of your body.
Other drugs can prevent or treat opportunistic infections . In most cases, these drugs work very well. The newer, stronger ARVs have also helped reduce the rates of most OIs. A few OIs, however, are still very difficult to treat. See Fact Sheet 500 for more information on opportunistic infections.
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Definition Of Hiv And Aids
HIV is a retrovirus, which is a type of virus whose RNA genetic material replicates inside the host cell, as Healthline explains. HIV uses a reverse transcriptase enzyme to convert its RNA into DNA thats compatible with the host cell.
At present, HIV has no cure, nor any way to completely remove the virus from a persons system. However, not everyone whos infected with HIV develops AIDS. Antiretroviral therapy allows people with HIV to live long, healthy lives and prevents them from spreading the virus to others.
The Cause Of Hiv/aids
AIDS was recognized for the first time in 1981 when health workers noticed an unusually high number of opportunistic diseases and cancers affecting a particular group of people. Researchers traced the cause of the illness back to HIV-1. HIV is transmitted through contact with certain bodily fluids, particularly when having unprotected sex. Sharing needles and syringes with other people can also increase the risk of getting the virus. The risk of transmitting the virus via blood transfusion is quite low in most countries due to the strict blood screening systems. A mother who has AIDS or is HIV positive might pass the virus to the baby during childbirth, pregnancy, or via breastfeeding. In the absence of antiretroviral therapy, the risk of transmitting the virus during or before birth is 20%, and during breastfeeding, its 35%. Treatment reduces the risk of the baby getting the virus from his/her mother to less than 5%.
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What Does Undetectable Mean
Current treatment can reduce levels of the HIV virus to the extent that levels of virus in the blood are too low to be significant. These levels are undetectable.
While the virus is undetectable, it does not affect the persons daily life, and it will not necessarily shorten their lifespan. At this point, the virus is also untransmittable. It cannot be passed on to another person.
If a person seeks treatment in the early stages and follows it throughout their life, they can usually expect to live as long as a person without HIV.
For more in-depth information and resources on HIV and AIDS, visit our dedicated hub.
AIDS was first recognized as a distinct condition in 1981.
Health workers started noticing that an unusual number of opportunistic infections and cancers appeared to be affecting particular groups of people.
Once people had the virus, their immunity to certain diseases would decrease over time, and the syndrome, AIDS, would develop.
The cause of the problem was traced back to a retrovirus, the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV-1.
HIV-1 is transmitted between humans through the exchange of bodily fluids.
This can happen through:
Those who need to take special precautions include:
- anyone who deals with needles or injects medication or other drugs
- health workers who deal with sharps
- those who give and receive tattoos and piercings
It is essential to follow specific guidelines when using and disposing of needles and other sharp objects that may pierce the skin.
Hiv And Aids Diagnosis
HIV tests check your blood or fluid from your mouth for antibodies that your body makes in response to the virus. You can take them at a doctorâs office, a community health center, a hospital, or at home.
When you have HIV, your doctor will keep an eye on how much of the virus is in your system. You might hear them call it your âviral load.â Two things will tell them if your infection has become AIDS:
- Your CD4 count. A person with a healthy immune system has 500 to 1,600 CD4 cells in a cubic millimeter of their blood. A person with AIDS has fewer than 200. This number is called your âCD4 count.â
- AIDS-defining infections. These are also called opportunistic infections. These generally happen in people who have a CD4 count below 200. Viruses, bacteria, or fungi that donât usually make healthy people sick can cause these infections in someone with HIV or AIDS.
How long it takes HIV to become AIDS is different for everyone. If you donât get treatment, it might take 10 to 15 years. With treatment, you may never have AIDS.
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Prep Can Offer Protection
can protect themselves through pre-exposure prophylaxis .
Under the brand name Truvuda, this pill contains two medications tenofovir and emtricitabine that can stop the virus from taking hold, even if exposure occurs.
According to the CDC, consistent use of PrEP can reduce the chance of infection by up to 92 percent.
According to the 2019 guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, only people with a recent negative HIV test result are suitable candidates for PrEP. Those with a high risk of HIV should take PrEP once per day.
The symptoms of HIV vary widely. They depend on the individual, management of the virus, and the stage of the condition.
Myths About Hiv Infection
Many myths persist about HIV, how it is spread, and how it might be treated.
- “HIV spreads by” HIV cannot be spread through air or water through casual contact through public facilities through saliva, sweat, or tears or through insect bites.
- “Only gay people and drug users get HIV.” There is no statistical evidence to support this. While men who have sex with men are the most at-risk demographic, straight men and straight women also contract HIV. Though it is rare, it is even possible to contract HIV in other ways that do not involve sex or drug use .
- “HIV is a death sentence.” or, in contrast “HIV can be cured.” Today, HIV-positive people who receive proper treatment have similar life expectancies to those who are HIV-negative. However, there is no cure for the disease, and it remains in the body for life it is simply that its negative symptoms are held at bay.
- “I don’t have to worry about HIV because modern medicine means it’s not a big deal.” Though antiretrovirals and combination drugs like Truvada can go a long way to preventing infection or improving long-term outcomes, they should not be relied upon. Abstinence, safe sex, and/or careful needle use are the only true methods of prevention. HIV is no longer a death sentence necessarily, but it should not be taken lightly.
For the dispelling of more common myths, see this page on WomensHealth.gov.
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Hiv/aids And Skin Conditions
Skin conditions are common in people with HIV/AIDS. Many, including Kaposi sarcoma, thrush, and herpes, are caused by germs that take advantage of a weakened immune system. Thats why they are called opportunistic infections. Others, like photodermatitis, may be linked to inflammation caused by an overactive immune system as it revives during antiretroviral drug therapy or due to the drugs themselves.
Here are some of the more common skin conditions related to HIV/AIDS.
Can Hiv/aids Be Prevented
You can reduce the risk of spreading HIV by:
- Getting tested for HIV.
- Choosing less risky sexual behaviors. This includes limiting the number of sexual partners you have and using latex condoms every time you have sex. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.
- Getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted diseases .
- Not injecting drugs.
- Talking to your health care provider about medicines to prevent HIV:
- PrEP is for people who don’t already have HIV but are at very high risk of getting it. PrEP is daily medicine that can reduce this risk.
- PEP is for people who have possibly been exposed to HIV. It is only for emergency situations. PEP must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV.
NIH: National Institutes of Health
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How To Recognize Aids
What is AIDS?
AIDS is a life-threatening condition caused by the virus HIV . It cripples the immune system and hampers with the bodys ability to fight with the organisms that cause the disease. Untreated HIV gradually progresses to the final stage i.e. AIDS. HIV/AIDS doesnt have any cure but advancements in healthcare have helped in developing medications that can slow the progression of the disease.
Causes of AIDS:
HIV is a virus that spreads through sexual contact or infected blood transfusion, or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding.
How does HIV become AIDS:
The CD4 T white blood cells in our body plays a crucial part in protecting our body from various diseases. The HIV destroys these cells, thus reducing the bodys capability to protect itself. The fewer CD4 T cells one has, the weaker their immune system becomes. It takes years for a person to develop AIDS after contracting with HIV. An HIV patient progresses to have AIDS when their cell count drops below 200 or if they have an AIDS-defining complication.
How does HIV spread:
HIV spreads when the infected blood, semen or vaginal secretions enters the body. This can happen in the following ways:
Sex You may become HIV positive if you have vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner whose blood, semen or vaginal secretion enters your body. Through the mouth sores or tears on the rectum or vagina, the virus can enter the body during sexual activity.
What Does An Hiv Rash Look Like
Usually HIV infection leads to a brief period of symptoms shortly after infection occurs. Not everybody notices these symptoms, and theyre easy to mistake for a cold or the flu. One of the symptoms may be a rash.
The most common HIV rash occurs shortly after infection. It is an itchy rash that usually appears on the abdomen, face, arms, or legs and features a flat, red area covered in small red bumps.
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Misconceptions Regarding Hiv And Aids
From the earliest days of the AIDS epidemic, the disease has been clouded in mistruths and half-truths that led to people with HIV and AIDS being stigmatized. Nearly 40 years later, as HIV continues to spread around the world, misinformation about the condition proliferates.
One of the greatest challenges public health officials face in educating communities about HIV and AIDS is overcoming these misconceptions. Government agencies, non-governmental organizations and healthcare providers highlight the importance of disseminating accurate and timely information to the public, and especially to the segments of the population most likely to be infected with HIV.
What Is Difference Between Aids And Hiv
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV and AIDS are not the same thing. And people with HIV do not always have AIDS.
Who first proposed definition of AIDS?
The World Health Organization first proposed a definition for AIDS in 1986. Since then, the WHO classification has been updated and expanded several times, with the most recent version being published in 2007.
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What Does Hiv Do To A Person
HIV infects white blood cells of your immune system called CD4 cells, or helper T cells. It destroys CD4 cells, causing your white blood cell count to drop. This leaves you with an immune system that cant fight off infections, even those that wouldnt normally make you sick.
HIV initially makes you feel sick with flu-like symptoms. Then it can hide in your body for a long time without causing noticeable symptoms. During that time, it slowly destroys your T-cells. When your T-cells get very low or you begin to get certain illnesses that people with healthy immune systems dont get, HIV has progressed to AIDS.
AIDS can cause rapid weight loss, extreme tiredness, mouth or genital ulcers, fevers, night sweats and skin discolorations. Other illnesses and cancers often happen in people living with AIDS and can cause additional symptoms.
Whats a retrovirus?
A retrovirus is a virus that works backward from the way human cells do. Human cells have instructions that send a message to make building blocks for your body .
Retroviruses have their instructions written on RNA. When a retrovirus invades your cells, it changes its RNA to look like your cells instructions . Then it cuts your cells DNA and inserts its instructions into them. Your cell then acts as though the virus instructions are its own.
Treatment And Life Expectancy
If HIV develops into stage 3 HIV, life expectancy drops significantly. Its difficult to repair damage to the immune system at this point. Infections and other conditions, such as certain cancers, resulting from severe immune system impairment are common. However, with successful antiretroviral therapy and some immune system recovery, many people with stage 3 HIV live long lives.
With todays treatments for HIV infection, people can live with HIV and never have AIDS develop. Its also important to note that successful antiretroviral treatment and a sustained undetectable viral load greatly lowers the risk of transmitting the virus to a partner.
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What Are The Stages Of Hiv
HIV has three stages:
Stage 1: Acute HIV
Some people get flu-like symptoms a month or two after theyve been infected with HIV. These symptoms often go away within a week to a month.
Stage 2: Chronic stage/clinical latency
After the acute stage, you can have HIV for many years without feeling sick. It’s important to know that you can still spread HIV to others even if you feel well.
Stage 3: AIDS
AIDS is the most serious stage of HIV infection. In this stage, HIV has severely weakened your immune system and opportunistic infections are much more likely to make you sick.
Opportunistic infections are ones that someone with a healthy immune system could typically fight off. When HIV has advanced to AIDS, these illnesses take advantage of your weakened immune system.
Youre more likely to get certain cancers when you have AIDS. These cancers and opportunistic infections together are called AIDS-defining illnesses.
To be diagnosed with AIDS, you must be infected with HIV and have at least one of the following:
- Fewer than 200 CD4 cells per cubic millimeter of blood .
- An AIDS-defining illness.
How Is Hiv Spread
The spread of HIV from person to person is called HIV transmission. HIV is spread only through certain body fluids from a person who has HIV. These body fluids include:
- Rectal fluids
- Breast milk
HIV transmission is only possible through contact with HIV-infected body fluids. In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by:
- Having anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV
- Sharing injection drug equipment , such as needles or syringes, with someone who has HIV
The spread of HIV from a woman with HIV to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding is called perinatal transmission of HIV. For more information, read the HIVinfo fact sheet on Preventing Perinatal Transmission of HIV.
You cannot get HIV by shaking hands or hugging a person who has HIV. You also cannot get HIV from contact with objects, such as dishes, toilet seats, or doorknobs, used by a person with HIV. HIV is not spread through the air or water or by mosquitoes, ticks, or other blood-sucking insects. Use the HIVinfo You Can Safely ShareWith Someone With HIV infographic to spread this message.
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But How Can A Person’s Life Change If Hiv Is Treated
“It would not be an exaggeration to say ARVs, the treatment for HIV, save lives,” admits Dr Win-Leung Siu.
Some studies have suggested that, if a person is diagnosed with HIV early, starts medication promptly and is adherent to medication, there’s a chance they can have a longer lifespan compared to other people in the same demographics without HIV. There can be many contributing factors to this, not solely medication.