How Hiv Affects Life Insurance
When you apply for a life insurance policy, the insurer uses underwriting to evaluate how risky you are to insure . Though itâs possible to live a long life with an HIV diagnosis, life insurance companies are generally risk-averse, and providers remain cautious about the overall health of people with HIV over the long-term. Many insurance companies wonât offer a life insurance policy to people with HIV at all.
While a few life insurance companies normally offer policies to HIV-positive applicants, many of those companies are declining to offer coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even after the pandemic is controlled, you may be denied coverage by some companies if you have a recent HIV diagnosis. Some insurers wonât offer you a policy until at least one year after your initial HIV diagnosis and will want to see at least six months of stable health and treatment before offering you a policy. Stricter providers will deny coverage unless you can show five years of stable health history and meet additional health and viral load testing criteria.
Neurological Complications Of Hiv
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV weakens and slowly destroys the bodys immune system, leaving you vulnerable to life-threatening complications from an infection or certain cancers.
As HIV and AIDS battle your immune system, your central nervous system is also affected. HIV and AIDS both cause a number of neurological complications, particularly if HIV progresses to AIDS.
Today, antiretroviral medicineswhen taken correctly and promptlyhelp to slow down the progression of HIV. They also help to delay the onset of or to decrease the risk of progression to AIDS. Controlling HIV can also reduce your risk for neurological complications of HIV.
Managing Treatment Side Effects
Treatment for HIV involves medicine called antiretroviral therapy , which can control the amount of HIV in your blood, or your viral load. Usually, people with HIV can see results kick in within 6 months after they start the medicine. The amount of HIV can get low enough to become âundetectable,â or unable to be traced in blood tests. This means that your viral load is low enough that you can stay healthy and wonât spread HIV to others.
But you need to take your medication just as your doctor prescribes. If you miss doses, it may make the virus in your body resistant to your medication so that it doesnât work anymore. The virus can then start to multiply and attack your immune system. This will increase your chances of developing AIDS. It also means that you can spread it to others.
At the moment, most of the drugs available are in the form of daily pills you have to take once or twice a day by mouth. While newer medications have greatly cut down on side effects for a lot of people, itâs still possible to get side effects, including digestive issues, difficulty sleeping, tiredness, and others.
While the side effects can themselves act as a stressor, Colasanti says the act of swallowing a pill every day can become a burdensome reminder for some and affect their day-to-day life.
Traylor says sheâs experienced this very dilemma.
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How Much Does Hiv Change Your Life In 6 Months
Its been 6 months since you found out that you are HIV-positive. Youre sticking to your treatment plan and prioritising your health.
At the 6 month milestone of living as a confirmed HIV-positive person, your life may look very different to what it was 6 months ago. This isnt necessarily a bad thing, especially if youre sticking to your treatment plan and prioritising your health. Today were going to examine the changes brought about by your HIV diagnosis, so you can reflect on your progress up until this point.
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.
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Hiv Effects On The Eyes
Some eye problems are mild, but others can be severe enough to cause blindness. Some of the most common are infections that can lead to bleeding in your retina and retinal detachment. About 7 in 10 people with untreated AIDS will have AIDS-related trouble with their eyes, usually because of cytomegalovirus.
You may not have any symptoms until the problems are far along, so if you have advanced HIV, it’s important to get regular eye exams. Call your doctor if your vision changes, including if:
- You get blurry or double vision.
- Colors don’t look right.
Do Something You’re Good At
Swimming, running, hiking, dancing, cooking, gardening, climbing, painting, writing… If possible, it should be something that holds your attention and requires enough focus to get you into that state of ‘flow’, or relaxed concentration, where you forget about everything else. You’ll feel more competent and capable afterwards.
Seriously consider doing something like this at least once a week. People who experience ‘flow’ regularly seem to be happier and healthier and find it easier to focus on a task.
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What Is Hiv What Is Aids
HIV is a virus that damages and weakens the body’s immune system the system your body uses to fight off infection and disease. Having HIV puts a person in danger of experiencing other life-threatening infections and certain cancers.
When the body cannot fight off infections and some other diseases anymore, HIV can lead to a serious illness called AIDS. When someone has AIDS, they are more likely to get infections, and more vulnerable to unusual forms of cancers and other serious diseases. But, with early and uninterrupted treatment, it is possible that a person with HIV will never develop AIDS.
If you think you may have HIV, you should get tested. Everyone age 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV. If you are over 64 and are at risk for HIV, talk with your doctor. Your doctor can help determine how often you should be tested and help find ways to reduce your risk.
There are drugs that, when taken consistently, can help suppress the amount of HIV in your blood to undetectable levels, improving your health overall and making it harder to pass HIV on to your sexual partners. To get the best results, it is important to start treatment as soon as possible. If you are unsure about your HIV status, get tested. Always protect yourself and your partners when having sex or using needles.
What Else Should I Know
Treatment has improved greatly for people with HIV. By taking medicines and getting regular medical care, HIV-positive people can live long and healthy lives.
People with HIV need a medical care team for the best treatment and support.
If you or someone you know has HIV or AIDS it is important to:
- goes to all doctor visits
- takes all medicines exactly as directed
- goes for all follow-up blood tests
- understands what HIV/AIDS is and how it spreads
- is physically active, gets enough sleep, and eats well
Find more information at:
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Hiv/aids And Mental Health
Being diagnosed and living with a serious illness like Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus can have a big emotional impact on your life. The challenges you can face include coping with the reality of living with a chronic illness and having to manage any mental health conditions that may occur. When you have HIV or AIDS, its important for you to not only take care of your physical health, but to take care of your mental health as well. While not all those living with HIV will face these challenges, for those who do, a thoughtful treatment plan is very important.
How Can You Get Support After Your Hiv Diagnosis
Receiving a diagnosis of HIV can be a life-changing event. But having HIV does not mean you are going to die. Most people with HIV can live long and healthy lives if they get and stay on treatment.
There will be a period of adjustment. People who are newly diagnosed can feel many emotionssadness, hopelessness, and even anger. Pay attention to your mental health. Your HIV health care provider can help you access mental health services to help you work through the early stages of your diagnosis and begin to manage your HIV.
Talking to others who have HIV may also be helpful. You are not alone. Ask your provider for help finding a local HIV support group. Learn about how other people with HIV have handled their diagnosis.
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Hiv Treatments And Therapies
Research shows that HIV treatment should begin as soon as possible after diagnosis to achieve the best health outcomes. HIV treatment usually includes a combination of medicines called antiretroviral therapy . Following a treatment plan, such as taking the medications prescribed by a health care provider, is critical for controlling and suppressing the virus. Following the treatment plan can be difficult, but there are strategies that can help. For more information and helpful tips, see the HIV.gov page on Taking Medication Every Day.
Starting ART also can affect mental health in different ways. Sometimes ART can help to relieve anxiety because knowing that you are taking care of yourself can provide a sense of security. However, coping with the reality of living with a chronic illness like HIV can be challenging. In addition, some antiretroviral medicines may cause symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance and may make some mental health issues worse.
For these reasons, it is important for people living with HIV to talk to their health care provider about their mental health. A conversation about mental health should be part of a complete medical evaluation before starting ART, and discussions about mental health should continue throughout treatment.
The Effects Of Hiv On The Body
Most people are likely familiar with HIV, but they may not know how it can affect the body.
HIV destroys CD4 cells , which are critical to the immune system. CD4 cells are responsible for keeping people healthy and protecting them from common diseases and infections.
As HIV gradually weakens the bodys natural defenses, signs and symptoms will occur.
Find out what happens when the virus enters the body and interrupts its systems.
Once HIV enters the body, it launches a direct attack on the immune system.
How quickly the virus progresses will vary by:
- a persons age
- how quickly theyre diagnosed
The timing of their treatment can make a huge difference as well.
HIV targets the types of cells that would normally fight off an invader such as HIV. As the virus replicates, it damages or destroys the infected CD4 cell and produces more virus to infect more CD4 cells.
Without treatment, this cycle can continue until the immune system is badly compromised, leaving a person at risk for serious illnesses and infections.
However, not everyone with HIV will go on to develop AIDS. The earlier a person receives treatment, the better their outcome will be.
Early on, HIV symptoms may be mild enough to be dismissed.
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Drug Use With Hiv/aids
- Use only new, clean syringes and injection equipment every time you inject. Many communities have syringe services programs, through which you can get new needles and syringes and can safely dispose of used ones. Some pharmacies sell needles without a prescription.
- Clean used needles with bleach only when you cant get new ones. Though not as good as new and sterile ones, disinfecting syringes can greatly reduce your risk for viral hepatitis and spreading HIV.
- Never share needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment. If you use drugs with a partner, encourage them take PrEP, which is highly effective for preventing HIV from injection drug use.
- Abstain from sex when youre under the influence of drugs, since youre more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, like having sex without a condom.
- Choose not to inject drugs. Talk with your doctor or a counselor about treatment for substance use disorder, including medications that can help.
The Link Between Hiv And Mental Health
Mental health conditions are common among adults living in the United States. But people who have HIV are generally at a higher risk for developing mental health issues than people who dont have the condition.
The link between HIV and mental health is complex, and may include one or more of the following factors:
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Your Friendships And Hiv/aids
Disclosing your HIV-positive status to friends may feel risky given the stigma, but there are reasons to seek out social support: According to HIV.gov, studies have shown that people who reveal their HIV status respond better to treatment than people who dont. Be thoughtful about whom you decide to tell and how. Support groups can help you negotiate this territory and learn how other people are coping.
Do Older People Have The Same Risk Factors For Hiv As Younger People
Many risk factors for HIV are the same for people of any age. But like many younger people, older people may not be aware of their HIV risk factors.
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, with someone who has HIV
Some age-related factors can put older people at risk for HIV. For example, age-related thinning and dryness of the vagina may increase the risk of HIV in older women. Thinning and dryness of the vagina can cause tear in the vagina during sex and lead to HIV transmission. Older people may also be less likely to use condoms during sex, because they are less concerned about pregnancy.
Talk to your health care provider about your risk of HIV and ways to reduce your risk.
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What Are The Warning Signs Of A Mental Health Problem
Changes in how a person feels or acts can be a warning sign of a mental health problem. For example, potential signs of depression include:
- Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
- Experiencing persistent sadness or feeling empty
- Feeling anxious or stressed
- Having suicidal thoughts
If you have any signs of a mental health problem, it is important to get help.
Advice If You’re Pregnant
HIV treatment is available to prevent you passing HIV to your child.
Without treatment, there’s a 1 in 4 chance your baby will become infected with HIV. With treatment, the risk is less than 1 in 100 .
Advances in treatment mean there’s no increased risk of passing the virus to your baby with a normal delivery.
But in some cases, a caesarean section may still be recommended, often for reasons not related to your HIV.
Discuss the risks and benefits of each delivery method with the staff at your HIV clinic. The final decision about how your baby is delivered is yours, and staff will respect that decision.
If you have HIV, do not breastfeed your baby as the virus can be transmitted through breast milk.
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What Should People With Hiv Do If They Need Help For A Mental Health Problem
People with HIV can talk to their health care provider about how they are feeling. They can also tell their health care providers if they are having any problems with drugs or alcohol.
Health care providers will consider whether any HIV medicines may be affecting the personâs mental health. They can also help people with HIV find a mental health care provider, such as a psychiatrist or therapist.
Here are additional ways that people with HIV can improve their mental health:
- Join a support group.
- Try meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to relax.
- Get enough sleep, eat healthy meals, and stay physically active.
Can I Get Pregnant If I Have Hiv
Some people think that HIV hurts your chances of getting pregnant, but this isnt true. If you have HIV and want to become pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider. Together you can make a plan before you try to get pregnant to keep you, your partner and any future children healthy.
HIV can spread to your partner during unprotected sex and to your baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Taking ART medications can greatly reduce your risk of transmitting HIV to your baby, especially if you have an undetectable viral load. Your provider may recommend that you dont breastfeed your baby and use formula instead.
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Hiv And Drinking: What Are The Risks
Some studies have shown that people with HIV may be more affected by alcohol than other people, especially if they are not on HIV treatment. This can be dangerous, as being drunk lowers peoples sense of risk and can make them less in control of their body.
Heavy drinking can weaken the immune system, making it harder to recover from infections.
Alcohol can also damage the liver, which the body uses to process HIV drugs. This can cause side-effects. If someone with HIV also has hepatitis a common co-infection with HIV liver damage can be even more serious.
Some antiretroviral drugs can cause blood fat increases, which drinking heavily can make worse. This can increase the risk of heart diseases.
People with HIV should try to drink within the recommended limits.