How Is Hiv Treated
Antiretroviral treatment is used to treat people with HIV. ART stops the virus from multiplying and reduces a persons risk of developing AIDS.
While not a cure for HIV, ART treatments are so effective that, if taken properly, they can make the virus undetectable in a persons system. This means that HIV wont make the person sick, and that they have virtually no risk of transmitting HIV to other people, even sexual partners.
These treatments have revolutionised the way HIV is treated and drastically changed the prognosis for people diagnosed with HIV. For Nathan, its the difference between needing to self-inject medication, to taking just a few pills each day.
I spent about eight months on the injectable medication when I was only about 16. I was injecting the drugs twice a day in the stomach and having to do that all myself. Comparing that to what Im doing now, its so much easier. Now I’m even talking to my doctor about dropping tablets and going onto one or two tablet regimens.
Dr Neilsen has been working with patients with HIV for decades. He remembers how dire the disease was for his patients in the 1980s.
With modern treatments, it is expected that people with HIV will live normal, healthy lives, and never go on to develop AIDS.
Being Young And Hiv Positive
As you get older, youll probably want to manage your own health and treatment but just because youre becoming an adult doesnt mean youre meant to know it all.
Remember, its your choice as to when, where and how you tell people about your HIV status.
You might benefit from joining a support group for young people living with HIV to share your feelings and experiences.
Living with HIV shouldnt stop you from having fulfilling relationships and a healthy sex life when youre ready.
Whether youve recently found out you have HIV or grown up knowing your status, being a young person living with HIV can have be challenging.
Your teenage years are a time of great change your body develops during puberty, and its often very emotional. It can be an intense and exciting time, but it can also feel difficult to cope with everything.
You may be finishing school and taking exams, and youre probably thinking about your future. This is also a time when many people have their first relationships.
Whatever challenges you face its important to remember you are not alone. Lots of other people have been, and still are in, similar situations. Many people find it helpful to speak to a counsellor or join a support group.
Sex Is Safe When Both Partners Have Hiv
Myth. Just because you and your partner both have HIV, it doesn’t mean you should forget about protection when having sex. Using a condom or other latex barrier can help protect you from other sexually transmitted diseases as well as other strains of HIV, which may be resistant to anti-HIV medication. Even if you are being treated and feel well, you might still be able to infect others.
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How Did The Researchers Discover The Vb Variant
The VB variant was first identified in 17 HIV positive individuals from the BEEHIVE project, an ongoing study which collects samples from across Europe and Uganda.
Since 15 of these people came from the Netherlands, the researchers then analysed data from a cohort of over 6,700 HIV positive individuals in the Netherlands.
This identified an additional 92 individuals with the variant, from all regions of the Netherlands, bringing the total to 109.
The individuals with the VB variant showed typical characteristics for people living with HIV in the country, including age, sex, and suspected mode of transmission.
Researchers say this indicates that the increased transmissibility of the VB variant is due to a property of the virus itself, rather than a characteristic of people with the virus.
We discovered a highly virulent variant of HIV in the Netherlands, now published in Science. Levels of virus 3.5-5.5x higher, immune cell decline 2x faster, increased transmissibility. Striking eg of evolution. W & partners
The work also supports the theory that viruses can evolve to become more virulent, a widely-hypothesised idea that has few real-world examples.
The Delta COVID-19 variant was another recent example.
Hiv Is More Complex Than You Might Think
Newspaper and magazine articles often refer to HIV as if it were just one entity, but there are in fact two strains of the virus: HIV-1 and HIV-2. Most of the HIV infections in the United States and around the world are HIV-1. If its not treated, HIV-1 causes AIDS, the CDC notes. The other type of HIV HIV-2 is found mostly in West Africa. Its rare in the United States and is also less likely to lead to AIDS.
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Treatment Options For Hiv
Treatment should begin as soon as possible after a diagnosis of HIV, regardless of viral load.
The main treatment for HIV is antiretroviral therapy, a combination of daily medications that stop the virus from reproducing. This helps protect CD4 cells, keeping the immune system strong enough to take measures against disease.
Antiretroviral therapy helps keep HIV from progressing to AIDS. It also helps reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others.
When treatment is effective, the viral load will be undetectable. The person still has HIV, but the virus is not visible in test results.
However, the virus is still in the body. And if that person stops taking antiretroviral therapy, the viral load will increase again, and the HIV can again start attacking CD4 cells.
How Is Life Expectancy Calculated
Life expectancy is the average number of years that a person can expect to live.
More precisely, it is the average number of years an individual of a given age is expected to live if current mortality rates continue to apply. It is an estimate that is calculated by looking at the current situation of a group of people and projecting that into the future.
However, HIV is a relatively new disease and HIV treatment is a rapidly changing area of medicine. It is therefore hard to know whether our current experience will be an accurate guide to the future.
At the moment, there are large numbers of people living with HIV in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties. Current death rates are very low, resulting in encouraging figures for future life expectancy. But we have very little experience of people living with HIV in their seventies or eighties, so we know less about the impact HIV may have later in life.
Also, health care for people with HIV is likely to get better in the future. People living with HIV will benefit from improved anti-HIV medications that have fewer side effects, are easier to take and are more effective in suppressing HIV. Doctors understanding of how best to prevent and treat heart disease, diabetes, cancers and other conditions in people with HIV is improving. This could mean that people actually live longer than our current estimates suggest.
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Theres A Window Period For Hiv Testing
When a person contracts HIV, theres a window period from the time of exposure to the virus until the time it will show up on an HIV test. Someone who has an HIV test during this window may receive results that say they are HIV-negative, even though they have contracted the virus.
The length of the window period varies depending on biological factors and the type of test being used. It generally ranges from one to three months.
During the window period, a person who has contracted HIV can still transmit it to other people. Thats because levels of the virus are actually higher at this point, even though HIV tests may not be able to detect it yet.
Is There A Vaccine For Hiv
Currently, there are no vaccines to prevent or treat HIV. Research and testing on experimental vaccines are ongoing, but none are close to being approved for general use.
HIV is a complicated virus. It mutates rapidly and is often able to fend off immune system responses. Only a small number of people who have HIV develop broadly neutralizing antibodies, the kind of antibodies that can respond to a range of HIV strains.
The first HIV vaccine efficacy study in 7 years was underway in South Africa in 2016. The experimental vaccine is an updated version of one used in a 2009 trial that took place in Thailand.
A 3.5-year follow-up after vaccination showed the vaccine was 31.2 percent effective in preventing HIV transmission.
The study involves 5,400 men and women from South Africa. In 2016 in South Africa, about contracted HIV. The results of the study are expected in 2021.
Other late-stage, multinational vaccine clinical trials are also currently underway.
Other research into an HIV vaccine is also ongoing.
While theres still no vaccine to prevent HIV, people with HIV can benefit from other vaccines to prevent HIV-related illnesses. Here are the CDC recommendations:
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How Has Treatment Improved
Antiretroviral medications can help to slow damage caused by HIV infection and prevent it from developing into stage 3 HIV, or AIDS.
A healthcare provider will recommend undergoing antiretroviral therapy. This treatment requires taking three or more antiretroviral medications daily. The combination helps suppress the amount of HIV in the body . Pills that combine multiple medications are available.
The different classes of antiretroviral drugs include:
- non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
- integrase inhibitors
Viral-load suppression allows people with HIV to live healthy lives and decreases their chances of developing stage 3 HIV. The other benefit of an undetectable viral load is that it helps reduce transmission of HIV.
The 2014 European PARTNER study found that the risk of HIV transmission is very small when a person has an undetectable load. This means that the viral load is below 50 copies per milliliter .
This discovery has led to an HIV prevention strategy known as treatment as prevention. It promotes constant and consistent treatment as a way to reduce the spread of the virus.
HIV treatment has evolved tremendously since the onset of the epidemic, and advancements continued to be made. Initial reports from a clinical trial in the United Kingdom and a from the United States showed promising results in experimental HIV treatments that could put the virus into remission and boost immunity.
How Has Testing An Important Covid
HIV testing is critical becauseas with COVID-19many people who have the virus dont know it. An estimated 14% of people with HIV in the U.S. are not aware they have it. Symptoms arent always a tip-off, since about a third of newly infected people dont develop symptoms but are still able to transmit it to others.
In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended offering HIV tests to anyone between the ages of 18 and 65 coming into the health care system for any reason, regardless of their background or risk factors. Dr. Barakat would go a step further. Every single person should be tested for HIVannually, if they are at higher risk, she says. High-risk groups would include those who use drugs and share needles or engage in unprotected sex.
Testing is important because once a person is diagnosed, he or she is more likely to be treated, and therefore less likely to spread the disease to others, says Dr. Virata.
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Us Response To The Global Epidemic
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is the U.S. Governments response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and represents the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history. Through PEPFAR, the U.S. has supported a world safer and more secure from infectious disease threats. It has demonstrably strengthened the global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to new and existing riskswhich ultimately enhances global health security and protects Americas borders. Among other global results, PEPFAR provided HIV testing services for nearly 50 million people in Fiscal Year 2020 and, as of September 30, 2020, supported lifesaving ART for nearly 18.2 million men, women, and children.
In addition, the National Institutes of Health represents the largest public investment in HIV/AIDS research in the world. NIH is engaged in research around the globe to understand, diagnose, treat, and prevent HIV infection and its many associated conditions, and to find a cure.
Some Types Of Sex Carry A Higher Risk Of Hiv Transmission
The likelihood of HIV being transmitted during sex varies depending on the type of sex involved. For example, the level of risk is different for anal sex compared to oral sex.
HIV is most likely to be transmitted during anal sex without a condom. Thats because the lining of the anus is more prone to rips and tears. This can allow HIV to enter the bloodstream. The risk is higher for the person receiving anal sex, sometimes called bottoming.
HIV can also be transmitted during vaginal sex. The lining of the vaginal wall is stronger than the lining of the anus, but vaginal sex can still provide a pathway for HIV transmission.
Oral sex without a condom or dental dam carries a relatively low risk of HIV transmission. If the person giving oral sex has mouth sores or bleeding gums, it is possible to contract or transmit HIV.
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Understanding Hiv Drug Resistance
A different type of side effect can occur when your HIV medication no longer works effectively. Drug resistance is a major issue in HIV treatment. It typically occurs when HIV mutates, or makes new variations of itself, and can no longer be controlled by a medicine that was previously effective.
Failing to take a prescribed HIV medication exactly as directed can increase the risk for drug resistance. Skipping doses or starting and stopping use of an antiretroviral drug may allow the virus to multiply, which gives it more opportunities to mutate.
If an HIV treatment plan that was once effective no longer seems to be controlling your disease, tell your doctor. Blood tests can identify drug resistance and help determine other effective HIV treatment options for you.
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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Having An Sti Increases The Chance Of Contracting Hiv
The risk of contracting HIV is higher for people living with an STI, particularly syphilis, herpes, or gonorrhea.
STIs cause inflammation that can activate the same immune cells HIV likes to attack, and allow the virus to replicate more quickly. STIs can also cause sores that make it easier for HIV to enter the bloodstream.
Causes Of Hiv Infection
HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person. This includes semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood and breast milk.
It’s a fragile virus and does not survive outside the body for long.
HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat, urine or saliva.
The most common way of getting HIV in the UK is through having anal or vaginal sex without a condom.
Other ways of getting HIV include:
- sharing needles, syringes or other injecting equipment
- transmission from mother to baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
The chance of getting HIV through oral sex is very low and will be dependent on many things, such as whether you receive or give oral sex and the oral hygiene of the person giving the oral sex.
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You Cant Get Hiv From Just Any Kind Of Contact
Myths still abound about HIV/AIDS. For example, you cant get HIV from insect bites or stings, hugging, shaking hands, or sharing toilets or dishes, according to the CDC. You also cant get infected from a closed-mouth kiss or contact with an infected persons sweat or tears. You cant get it by simply working or hanging out with someone who has AIDS or is HIV positive, either. HIV transmission from one woman to another woman through sexual contact is also rare, the CDC says.
The Global Hiv/aids Epidemic
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is one of the worlds most serious public health challenges. But there is a global commitment to stopping new HIV infections and ensuring that everyone with HIV has access to HIV treatment.
According to UNAIDS:
Number of People with HIVThere were approximately 37.7 million people across the globe with HIV in 2020. Of these, 36 million were adults and 1.7 million were children aged 0-14 years. More than half were women and girls.
New HIV InfectionsAn estimated 1.5 million individuals worldwide acquired HIV in 2020, marking a 31% decline in new HIV infections since 2010. Of these new HIV infections:
- 1.3 million were individuals ages 15+
- 160,000 were among children aged 0-14 years
HIV TestingApproximately 84% of people with HIV globally knew their HIV status in 2020. The remaining 16% still need access to HIV testing services. HIV testing is an essential gateway to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
HIV Treatment AccessAs of June 2020, 28.2 million people with HIV were accessing antiretroviral therapy globally. That means 9.5 million people are still waiting. HIV treatment access is key to the global effort to end AIDS as a public health threat. People with HIV who are aware of their status, take ART as prescribed, and get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long, healthy lives and have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.
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