Stages Of The Hiv Lifecycle
Binding and fusion
HIV attaches to a T-helper cell. It then fuses to it and releases its genetic information into the cell.
The types of drugs that stop this stage of the lifecycle are called fusion or entry inhibitor drugs because they stop HIV from entering the cell.
Reverse transcription and integration
Once inside the T-helper cell, HIV converts its genetic material into HIV DNA, a process called reverse transcription. The new HIV DNA then enters the nucleus of the host cell and takes control of it.
The types of drugs that stop this stage of the lifecycle are called NRTIs , NNRTIs and integrase inhibitor drugs.
Transcription and translation
The infected T-helper cell then produces HIV proteins that are used to produce more HIV particles inside the cell.
Assembly, budding and maturation
The new HIV is put together and then released from the T-helper cell into the bloodstream to infect other cells and so the process begins again.
The type of drugs that stop this stage of the lifecycle are called protease inhibitor drugs.
What Are The Types Of Hiv/aids Medicines
There are several different types of HIV/AIDS medicines. Some work by blocking or changing enzymes that HIV needs to make copies of itself. This prevents HIV from copying itself, which reduces the amount of HIV in the body. Several medicines do this:
- Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors block an enzyme called reverse transcriptase
- Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors bind to and later change reverse transcriptase
- Integrase inhibitors block an enzyme called integrase
- Protease inhibitors block an enzyme called protease
Some HIV/AIDS medicines interfere with HIV’s ability to infect CD4 immune system cells:
- Fusion inhibitors block HIV from entering the cells
- CCR5 antagonists and post-attachment inhibitors block different molecules on the CD4 cells. To infect a cell, HIV has to bind to two types of molecules on the cell’s surface. Blocking either of these molecules prevents HIV from entering the cells.
- Attachment inhibitors bind to a specific protein on the outer surface of HIV. This prevents HIV from entering the cell.
In some cases, people take more than one medicine:
- Pharmacokinetic enhancers boost the effectiveness of certain HIV/AIDS medicines. A pharmacokinetic enhancer slows the breakdown of the other medicine. This allows that medicine to stay in the body longer at a higher concentration.
- Multidrug combinations include a combination of two or more different HIV/AIDS medicines
Take Time To Process The News
- Receiving an HIV diagnosis can be life changing. You may feel many emotionssadness, hopelessness, or anger.
- Allied health care providers and social service providers can help you work through the early stages of your diagnosis. They are often available at your health care providers office.
- Learn more about what a positive test result means.
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Effects Of Antiretroviral Drugs On The Body
Antiretroviral therapy helps people who have HIV live longer, healthier lives and lowers their risk of spreading the virus. The drugs can have side effects, many of which go away with time. Overall, the benefits outweigh the risks.
There are several kinds of antiretroviral drugs, and your doctor might combine them in different ways. Side effects can vary from drug to drug or from person to person.
Common side effects of these drugs include:
- Upset stomach and vomiting
Kaminski, D. The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource: “HIV and Inflammation: A New Threat.”
Summit Medical Group: “HIV and the Eyes.”
American Academy of Ophthalmology: “How Does HIV/AIDS Affect the Eye?”
American Heart Association: “HIV and Cardiovascular Disease,” “Wellness Checklist: Know Where You Stand.”
American Family Physician: “Common Side Effects of HIV Medicines.”
AIDS.gov: “Staying Healthy with HIV/AIDS: Potential Related Health Problems: Kidney Disease.”
New York State Department of Health: âHIV: The Basics.â
Merck Manual Consumer Version: âHuman Immunodeficiency Virus Infection.â
Mayo Clinic: âHIV/AIDS.â
Nemours/TeensHealth: âHIV and AIDS.â
AIDSinfo: âAIDS-Defining Condition,â âOpportunistic Infection ,â âSide Effects of HIV Medicines.â
CDC: âAIDS and Opportunistic Infections.â
Infectious Diseases in Clinical Practice: âHIV and the Gastrointestinal Tract.â
American Dental Association: âHIV/AIDS and Dental Health.â
HIV.gov: âHIV Treatment.â
What Is The Life Expectancy For People Living With Hiv In The Uk
A study published in 2014 looked at the outcomes of over 20,000 adults who started HIV treatment in the UK, between 2000 and 2010. The analysis didnt include people who inject drugs, who tend to have poorer outcomes than other people, but otherwise included a wide range of adults living with HIV.
The key finding was that people who had a good initial response to HIV treatment had a better life expectancy than people in the general population.
Specifically, a 35-year-old man who had a CD4 cell count over 350 and an undetectable viral load one year after starting HIV treatment could expect to live to the age of 81. A 50-year-old man with the same results after one year of treatment was predicted to live to the age of 83. In the general population at this time, men in these age groups were expected to live to 77 and 78 years.
“A person living with HIV has a similar life expectancy to an HIV-negative person providing they are diagnosed in good time, have good access to medical care, and are able to adhere to their HIV treatment.”
A 35-year-old woman and a 50-year-old woman with the same results could expect to live to 83 and 85 years. This compares to 82 and 83 years in the general population.
A 35-year-old man with any of those results could expect to live to 70-72 years. A 50-year-old man was predicted to live to 75-77 years. Women of the same ages could expect to live around two years longer than the men.
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What Are The Symptoms
If you have been diagnosed as being infected with HIV, you should routinely be going for medical visits to best control the infection. In addition to physical tests and examinations, your doctor and/or clinician should also be conducting an annual mental health assessment. Because feelings of depression commonly co-occur with a diagnosis of HIV, many patients may not immediately seek treatment, thinking it is a normal side effect of their diagnosis. Similarly, many clinicians fail to screen effectively for depression so as not to insult the patient. However, the following symptoms can be caused by depression in HIV-positive patients and should be on your radar:
- Overall depressed mood
How Antiretroviral Drugs Affect The Body
While there is no cure for HIV, antiretroviral therapy can reduce the amount of the virus in the blood to very low levels. By doing this, it keeps the person healthy and prevents the transmission of the virus to other people.
A very low, or undetectable, viral load means that the risk of transmission to others is virtually zero, which has led to the phrase: undetectable = untransmittable .
Experts encourage all people with HIV, regardless of their CD4 T-cell count, to start taking antiretroviral drugs as soon as possible after their diagnosis. Early treatment is key to a good outcome.
As with other medications, antiretroviral drugs can cause side effects in some people. However, modern drugs tend to produce fewer and less severe side effects than older drugs.
Possible side effects of antiretroviral drugs include:
Some side effects may last for a few days or weeks after the person starts treatment. Others may start later or last longer.
If a person experiences severe side effects that make them consider stopping treatment, they can talk to their healthcare provider. Stopping treatment or skipping doses can lead to drug resistance and limit a persons treatment options.
Some people can reduce some side effects by taking the medication 2 hours before going to bed. Other people may prefer to take it in the morning to prevent sleep disturbances.
Certain HIV drugs may also lead to less obvious changes, such as:
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How Is Hiv Affecting Your Way Of Thinking
You may have tried to attend HIV counselling by now, and youve already had a few check-ups with your doctor or clinic team. Talking about HIV should be easier and come more naturally, particularly when speaking with your medical practitioner.
But, theres one presiding thought thats taken hold: how does my HIV status affect my future?
Effects On The Immune System
HIV primarily affects the body by targeting and damaging cells in the immune system. The immune system protects the body against viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
After attaching itself to a type of white blood cell called a CD4 T cell, the virus merges with it. These T cells are an important part of the immune system.
Once inside the CD4 T cell, the virus multiplies. It damages or destroys the cell, then moves on and targets other cells.
A persons CD4 T-cell count is an indication of the health of their immune system.
A healthy CD4 T-cell count is 5001,600 cells/mm3 of blood. If a person does not receive treatment for HIV, their CD4 T-cell count drops over time.
When it drops below 200 cells/mm3, the persons immune system is significantly impaired, making them more susceptible to opportunistic infections.
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What Brings You Joy In Life
Person living with HIV: Understanding each other, being treated equally, steady life with all you need around you. And to be able to do whatever you want to do!Spouse: Having a happy family , being happy and healthy, having a career that that I feel interested and stable income and having good friends I can share my life with!
Newly Diagnosed With Hiv
What does an HIV diagnosis mean?
- If you receive an HIV diagnosis, it means that you have HIV.
- Unlike some other viruses, the human body cant get rid of HIV completely. Once you have HIV, you have it for life.
- But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. People with HIV who get effective HIV treatment can live long, healthy lives and protect their partners.
What should I do if I just got diagnosed with HIV?
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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.
How To Plan Your Future When Youre Living With Hiv:
Thinking about your future is a difficult task at first. The idea of being diagnosed HIV-positive initially filled you with dread, but now thats just a memory. Nowadays, youre not afraid to think about the future, and plan to continue to build towards the happy life you know you deserve.
This is why we recommend that here, 6 months into your journey with HIV, you start thinking about ways to build for that future. Many HIV-positive people use a future-focused approach to remedy the mixed emotions that come from dwelling on the past, and wondering how it may have all happened. Changing your mindset takes time, takes patience, and takes planning.
Thats why we recommend you keep a diary or a journal, to document your thoughts and feelings on your journey with HIV. Weve shared some information on how to manage telling other people about your status, but theres no pressure or obligation for you to do this. Maybe you feel ready to take that step now, or maybe not: either way, its perfectly acceptable.
If you live alone or youre certain that your privacy will be respected, if you keep a journal, its worth trying. You may find it helpful to get some perspective on your journey, and itll also help you start thinking about the ways you want to build and plan for your future. In particular, you may be thinking about how your status has changed the possibilities of your future.
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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.
How Living With Hiv And Aids Has Changed More Than 30 Years On
The shadow of Aids has hung over the world for over three decades but a lot has changed in that time. To a large extent the beast has been tamed, turning what was once a virtual death sentence into a treatable condition. Since the Aids pandemic took hold in the 1980s the disease has killed an estimated 39 million people and decimated whole communities. The fight to contain the spread of HIV the virus that acts as a catalyst for Aids has led to numerous medical breakthroughs and helped raise global awareness of the dangers associated with it.
AIDS-related deaths worldwide by region in 2017
However, as the chart shows, despite advances in treatment Aids still kills almost 1 million people worldwide each year. People diagnosed with HIV in the developing world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, are often unable to afford the high cost of new treatments.
Prevention is better than cure
Breaking the taboo
The rapid spread of the global Aids epidemic was due in part to a lack of knowledge of how the HIV virus is transmitted.
It would take several more years for the virus to be correctly identified and for its transmission and development to be understood. That led to health education campaigns advocating safe sex, and the development of needle exchange programmes to combat needle-sharing among drug addicts.
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What Is The Treatment For Hiv
Individuals who are HIV positive will likely need to see a specialist. As with many other conditions, early detection offers more options for treatment. Today, there are medical treatments that can slow down the rate at which HIV weakens the immune system. However, there are other treatments that can prevent or cure the conditions associated with HIV. Anti-retroviral drug therapy may be given to a pregnant woman, which has proven to greatly reduce the chance of an infant developing HIV. A cesarean section may be recommended to reduce infant transmission from the birth canal. In the U.S., where other feeding options are available, an infected mother should be discouraged from breastfeeding her infant. Consult your childs doctor for more information regarding various drug therapies.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Hiv And Aids
When first infected with HIV, a person may have:
- increased number of infections
- infections that are more severe than is typical
Without treatment, HIV can lead to a very weakened immune system and progress to AIDS. Illnesses that happen in AIDS are called “AIDS-defining conditions.”
AIDS-defining conditions include:
- very fast and severe weight loss
- a lung infection called pneumocystis pneumonia
- Kaposi sarcoma
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How To Live Well With Hiv
While the drugs and your body work hard to keep your viral load suppressed, itâs inevitable that youâll feel some form of fatigue, stress, or pain in your day-to-day life. But there are things you can do to keep your symptoms in check and maintain the best possible health.
Plan ahead. Itâs very important that you donât skip your medications. If you have a busy schedule, make it a point to plan and pack your pills to take with you.
Get mental health support. If youâre feeling down or stressed, tell your health care team about it. They can help direct you to appropriate mental health experts like therapists or psychiatrists who can help you deal with any emotional issues you may be facing.
âFor me, having mental health therapy is definitely the number one thing,â Traylor says. You can also find a friend or a family member to talk about your feelings.
Stop alcohol and drugs. If you smoke or take drugs, it can get in the way of allowing the treatment to work properly.
If youâre HIV-positive, it may be a good idea to cut down or quit. If youâre unsure how to get started, talk to you doctor about available resources that can help you.
Join a support group. Itâs important to connect with others who have HIV and can share their life experiences with you. This can make you feel that youâre a part of a community.
Curb Alcohol And Drug Use
Addiction and HIV have a long, close relationship. Finding a way to break them up can be one of the harder things a person with HIV will ever have to do. TheBody is home to many stories by and about HIV-positive people who have dealt with substance use in their lives. We also have an expert who has answered tons of questions about alcohol, meth, poppers and plain ol marijuana, among many other topics.
There are few factors that can reduce the lengthand qualityof an HIV-positive persons life as much as recreational drug or heavy alcohol use. On the flip side, recovery can completely turn a persons life around .
Theres a wealth of information out there about how to seek help for addictionas well as how to use safely if you inject drugs. For people in gay or queer communities who use meth, sites like Tweaker offer non-judgmental information and resources for reducing harm and finding help.
Myles Helfand is the executive editor and general manager of TheBody/TheBodyPro. A career journalist and editor, Myles joined TheBody in 2001 as a part-time copyeditor. He has since established himself as a leading journalist and content strategist on HIV-related issues, authoring hundreds of articles and editing hundreds moreand accumulating an ever-growing mountain of HIV conference badges along the way.
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