How Can I Protect Myself
The best way to protect yourself from HIV is to not have sex and not share needles.
If you decide to have sex, reduce your risk of getting HIV by:
- using a condom every time you have sex
- getting tested for HIV and making sure all partners do too
- reducing the number of sexual partners you have
- getting tested and treated for STDs having an STD increases the risk of HIV infection
Understanding how HIV spreads can help you make safer choices about sex. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about HIV and if you want to get tested.
Simplified Life Cycle Of The Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Like all viruses, human immunodeficiency virus reproduces using the genetic machinery of the cell it infects, usually a CD4+ lymphocyte.
Drugs used to treat HIV infection were developed based on the life cycle of HIV. These drugs inhibit the three enzymes that the virus uses to replicate or to attach to and enter cells.
HIV also infects other cells, such as cells in the skin, brain, genital tract, heart, and kidneys, causing disease in those organs.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Is there any sure way to avoid acquiring HIV?
- What is the best treatment for me?
- How can I avoid getting any infections that will make me very sick?
- How can I find support groups in my community?
- What diagnostic tests will you run?
- How often will I need to see my doctor?
- Will there be any side effects to my treatment?
- How does this affect my plans for having a family?
- Is it safe for me to breastfeed my baby?
- Will using a condom keep my sex partners from acquiring HIV?
- Should I follow a special diet?
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How Much Do Hiv Tests Cost
Unlike rapid tests, blood tests for HIV are covered by Medicare, which means your doctor can order the test free of charge for you.
If you are not eligible for Medicare, you may also be able to claim some of the testing costs through private health insurance. Check with your provider to see if youre eligible.
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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Hiv Is An Infection That Can Lead To Aids
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Its a virus that breaks down certain cells in your immune system . When HIV damages your immune system, its easier to get really sick and even die from infections that your body could normally fight off.
About 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and more than 38,000 new infections happen every year. Most people with HIV dont have any symptoms for many years and feel totally fine, so they might not even know they have it.
Once you have HIV, the virus stays in your body for life. Theres no cure for HIV, but medicines can help you stay healthy. HIV medicine lowers or even stops your chances of spreading the virus to other people. Studies show that using HIV treatment as directed can lower the amount of HIV in your blood so much that it might not even show up on a test when this happens, you cant transmit HIV through sex.Treatment is really important . Without treatment, HIV can lead to AIDS. But with medicine, people with HIV can live long, healthy lives and stop the spread of HIV to others.
Stages Of Hiv Infection
The stages of infection from person to person vary slightly, both in severity and the speed of progression. These stages map the depletion of immune cells as the body’s defenses further and further degrade.
With each progression, the risk of opportunistic infections increases until the immune system is said to be fully compromised. It is at this stage that the risk of illness and death is particularly high.
The stages of infection can be roughly classified as follows:
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What Behaviors Are The Most Risky For Getting Or Transmitting Hiv
Since there is a fairly high number of people who have HIV and dont know it, you should be tested for HIV so you know your status. Being intoxicated is risky because you are more likely to engage in risky sex if you are drunk or high. In terms of sex acts, anal sex and vaginal intercourse are the most risky behaviors.
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.
Hiv Transmission In Australia
In Australia, HIV is commonly transmitted through:
- Unprotected anal or vaginal sex .
- Sharing any needles, syringes, or other injecting equipment.
- From mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding This can occur when the mother doesnt know she is HIV-positive, or is not on effective treatment.
- Tattooing or other procedures that involve unsterile or reused equipment.
- Needle stick injuries.
HIV is not transmitted by:
- kissing, hugging, massaging, mutual masturbation and other body contact
- social interaction
- sharing food, dishes, utensils, drinking glasses
- air, breath, or being coughed or sneezed on
- mosquito, insect or animal bites
- use of communal facilities .
It is perfectly safe to consume food and drinks prepared by someone who is HIV-positive even if theyre not receiving treatment.
People with HIV who are on treatment and achieve and maintain an undetectable HIV viral load cannot transmit HIV sexually.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection
, MD, MAS, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine
HIV is transmitted through close contact with a body fluid that contains the virus or cells infected with the virus .
HIV destroys certain types of white blood cells, weakening the bodys defenses against infections and cancers.
When people are first infected, symptoms of fever, rashes, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue may last a few days to several weeks.
Many infected people remain well for more than a decade.
About half of untreated people become ill and develop AIDS, defined by the presence of serious infections and cancers, within about 10 years.
Eventually, most untreated people develop AIDS.
Blood tests to check for HIV antibody and to measure the amount of HIV virus can confirm the diagnosis.
HIV drugs two, three, or more taken togethercan stop HIV from reproducing, strengthen the immune system, and thus make people less susceptible to infection, but the drugs cannot eliminate HIV, which persists in an inactive form.
HIV infections may be caused by one of two retroviruses, HIV-1 or HIV-2. HIV-1 causes most HIV infections worldwide, but HIV-2 causes many HIV infections in West Africa.
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Whats The Difference Between Hiv And Aids
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.
HIV is the virus thats passed from person to person. Over time, HIV destroys an important kind of the cell in your immune system that helps protect you from infections. When you dont have enough of these CD4 cells, your body cant fight off infections the way it normally can.
AIDS is the disease caused by the damage that HIV does to your immune system. You have AIDS when you get dangerous infections or have a super low number of CD4 cells. AIDS is the most serious stage of HIV, and it leads to death over time.
Without treatment, it usually takes about 10 years for someone with HIV to develop AIDS. Treatment slows down the damage the virus causes and can help people stay healthy for several decades.
What Is A Retrovirus
rather than as DNA DNA Genes are segments of deoxyribonucleic acid that contain the code for a specific protein that functions in one or more types of cells in the body. Chromosomes are structures within cells… read more .
When HIV enters a human cell, it releases its RNA, and an enzyme called reverse transcriptase makes a DNA copy of the HIV RNA. The resulting HIV DNA is integrated into the infected cells DNA. This process is the reverse of that used by human cells, which make an RNA copy of DNA. Thus, HIV is called a retrovirus, referring to the reversed process.
Other RNA viruses , unlike retroviruses, do not make DNA copies after they invade cells. They simply make RNA copies of their original RNA.
Each time an HIV-infected cell divides, it makes a new copy of the integrated HIV DNA as well as its own genes. The HIV DNA copy is either
HIV-1 originated in Central Africa during the first half of the 20th century when a closely related chimpanzee virus first infected people. The global spread of HIV-1 began in the late 1970s, and AIDS was first recognized in 1981.
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Hiv Can Be Transmitted From Person To Person
Because HIV is a virus, it can be transmitted between people just like many other viruses. AIDS, on the other hand, is a condition a person acquires only after theyve contracted HIV.
The virus is transmitted from one person to another through the exchange of bodily fluids. Most commonly, HIV is transmitted through sex without condoms or shared needles. Less so, a mother can transmit the virus to their child during pregnancy.
Aids Diagnosis Is More Complicated
AIDS is late stage HIV infection. Healthcare providers look for a few factors to determine if HIV latency has progressed to stage 3 HIV.
Because HIV destroys immune cells called CD4 cells, one way healthcare providers diagnose AIDS is to do a count of those cells. A person without HIV can have anywhere from 500 to 1,200 CD4 cells. When the cells have dropped to 200, a person with HIV is considered to have stage 3 HIV.
Another factor signaling that stage 3 HIV has developed is the presence of opportunistic infections. Opportunistic infections are diseases caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria that would not make a person with an undamaged immune system sick.
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Myth #: Hiv Always Leads To Aids
HIV is the infection that causes AIDS. But this doesnt mean all HIV-positive individuals will develop AIDS. AIDS is a syndrome of immune system deficiency that is the result of HIV attacking the immune system over time and is associated with weakened immune response and opportunistic infections. AIDS is prevented by early treatment of HIV infection.
With current therapies, levels of HIV infection can be controlled and kept low, maintaining a healthy immune system for a long time and therefore preventing opportunistic infections and a diagnosis of AIDS, explains Dr. Richard Jimenez, professor of public health at Walden University.
How To Delay The Progression Of Hiv To Aids
How does HIV turn into AIDS? Is it possible to delay the process? Yes. There is currently no cure for AIDS, but the condition can be delayed to give the person a longer period of good health. Each class of the medications works differently to control the virus. It is advisable to use a combination of three drugs from two classes.
- Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors . This class includes drugs like efavirenz, etravirine and nevirapine. These drugs work by disabling a protein required by the HIV virus to reproduce.
- Nucleoside or nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors . This class of drugs includes abacavir. The drugs work by producing faulty protein that resemble those used by the HIV virus to reproduce.
- Protease inhibitors . This class includes atazanavir, darunavir, fosamprenavir and indinavir. These drugs inhibit protease, a protein required by the HIV virus to reproduce.
- Entry or fusion inhibitors. Entry inhibitors include enfuvirtide and maraviroc. These drugs delay the development of AIDS by inhibiting the entry of the HIV virus into the CD4 cells.
- Integrase inhibitors. Integrase inhibitors include raltegravir, elvitegravir and dolutegravir. Integrase is a protein used by the HIV virus to insert its DNA into the CD4 cells. These drugs function by inhibiting it.
When to Start Drugs
All people with HIV should be on antiretroviral drugs. However, drugs are particularly necessary in these situations:
Possible Side Effects
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More Focus Needed On Ageing With Hiv
HIV and ageing were one of the hot topics at the recently held Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections .
In the opening session of the conference, Marc Thompson, an older person living with HIV, addressed the topic of ageing with HIV from first-hand experience living in the United Kingdom. He highlighted eight points related to ageing with HIV. We outline these eight points and asked two local experts how the issues play out in South Africa.
1. The impact of HIV on ageing
Thompson highlighted that not enough is known about what the impact is of HIV on ageing nor the impact of ageing on HIV.
Dr Michelle Moorhouse, senior global medical director at the pharmaceutical company ViiV Healthcare, says that about 18 to 20% of people living with HIV in South Africa are considered to be part of the ageing population, which translates to around 1.3 to 1.4 million people.
She says older people living with HIV have higher levels of inflammation than younger people living with HIV and people without HIV even when their virus is suppressed by antiretroviral therapy . But their inflammation levels are lower than those not on ART.
The earlier treatment is started, the lower those levels of inflammation , which reduces the risk of developing comorbidities. ART also reduces the risk of developing HIV-related complications, opportunistic infections, and HIV-related cancers, she says.
2. Threats to continuity of care.
4. Issues around polypharmacy
R75 per month
Where To Get Tested For Hiv
Getting an HIV test is easy. Tests for HIV and other STIs are confidential and available from your local doctor , or a sexual and reproductive health clinic.
It is a good idea to have some pre-test counselling. Before the test, talk with your doctor, nurse, or peer tester about any concerns, your level of risk, whether you are likely to be HIV-positive and what a positive result may mean.
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Isnt Hiv Only A Risk For Certain Groups Of People
Like most illnesses, HIV doesnt discriminate between types of people and the infection can be passed on to anyone via one of the ways mentioned above.
Some people are more vulnerable to HIV infection if they engage regularly in certain activities that are more likely to transmit the virus. However, its a common misunderstanding that HIV only affects certain groups.
While not everyone has the same level of HIV risk, everyone can reduce their risk of infection.
Does Hiv Cause Aids
In recent years, many stories have appeared in the media highlighting the views of individuals who claim that HIV is not the cause of AIDS. These articles are always “good copy” in the sense that they generate controversy and reader response. Many AIDS educators and public health officials are concerned, however, that such views, presented without context or challenge, undermine efforts to teach safer sexual behaviors needed for reducing the spread of HIV. Others fear that they may discourage people from seeking useful treatment available from their doctors and serve to confuse people about important medical matters which may affect their lives in the most profound ways.
Readers of these articles are often impressed with the arguments made. Without cross examination or knowledge of the underlying scientific questions, readers have very little basis for evaluating what they hear. In our experience, few of today’s readers have ever had the chance to examine the information which led scientists to conclude that HIV is the cause of AIDS. Indeed, the promoters of the alternative viewpoint show little awareness of this information and rely instead on their own often distorted data set. The case for the causality of HIV is largely old news which doesn’t seem to warrant column space.
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