Lack Of Symptoms In Early Stages
ARS is common once a person has HIV. Still, this isnt the case for everyone. Some people have HIV for years before they know they have it. According to HIV.gov, symptoms of HIV may not appear for a decade or longer. This doesnt mean that cases of HIV without symptoms are less serious. Also, a person who doesnt experience symptoms could still transmit HIV to others.
Symptoms in early HIV tend to appear if the rate of cell destruction is high. Not having symptoms can mean that not as many CD4 cells, a type of white blood cell, are killed early on in the disease. Even though a person has no symptoms, they still have the virus. Thats why regular HIV testing is critical to prevent transmission. Its also important to understand the difference between a CD4 count and a viral load.
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:
Who Should I Tell
Its up to you to decide who you tell. You may decide you want to be completely open about your HIV status, or you may decide to only tell a small number of people close to you its your choice.
You might find it helpful to tell some people, especially those you trust, and you know care for you. You could start with a close friend or family member. Whether youve just been diagnosed or have been living with HIV for a while, talking about your status can help you get the emotional and practical support you need.
Sharing your HIV status should always be your decision. You should never feel pressured into it. Ultimately, your HIV status is your private information and it is down to you to choose whether to share your status and with who.
My parents have been nothing less than supportive and helpful through this entire time. They bought a ton of books about HIV and informed themselves as much as they possibly could about prevention and nutrition and how to help physically and emotionally. I am forever grateful to have their unwavering support and unconditional love.
Some people find it easy to tell others that they have HIV while others may find it very difficult and emotional. You may feel fearful, embarrassed, excited or relieved. Whatever you feel is OK. Remember that you dont have anything to apologise for, simply because you are living with HIV.
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Letter: Telling My Family About My Hiv Status
To Everyone Living with HIV,
My name is Joshua and I was diagnosed with HIV on June 5, 2012. I remember sitting in the doctors office that day staring blankly at the wall as a wide array of questions and emotions rushed through me.
Im no stranger to health challenges, but HIV was different. Im a survivor of necrotizing fasciitis and dozens of hospitalizations due to cellulitis, all unrelated to my HIV status. My greatest pillar of strength during those health struggles was my family. But looking to my family for support was harder with HIV because of the burden of shame that I felt came with this diagnosis.
From my point of view, my diagnosis wasnt simply due to a bout of unlucky circumstances. I felt it was due to choices I had made. I had chosen not to use a condom and to have multiple sexual partners without thinking about the possible consequences. This diagnosis wouldnt affect me alone. I thought about how it would affect my family, and I questioned if I should tell them at all.
I know now that many people find it difficult to disclose their HIV status to their family. Our family members are often the people closest to us. They may be the ones whose opinions we tend to hold at a higher value. A rejection from a friend or potential lover may hurt, but a rejection from our own blood can be extremely painful.
From my point of view, here are a few things I suggest keeping in mind as you contemplate disclosing your HIV status:
Stage : Acute Hiv Infection
Within 2 to 4 weeks after infection with HIV, about two-thirds of people will have a flu-like illness. This is the bodys natural response to HIV infection.;
Flu-like symptoms can include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. But some people do not have any symptoms at all during this early stage of HIV.
Dont assume you have HIV just because you have any of these symptomsthey can be similar to those caused by other illnesses. But if you think you may have been exposed to HIV, get an HIV test.
Heres what to do:
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Early Symptoms In Primary Hiv
The first noticeable stage is primary HIV infection. This stage is also called acute retroviral syndrome , or acute HIV infection. Because HIV infection at this stage usually causes flu-like symptoms, its possible for someone in this stage to think their symptoms are due to a severe flu rather than HIV. Fever is the most common symptom.
Other symptoms include:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , primary HIV symptoms may show up two to four weeks after initial exposure. Symptoms can continue for up to several weeks. However, some people may exhibit the symptoms only for a few days.
People with early HIV sometimes dont show any symptoms, yet they can still transmit the virus to others. This is attributed to the fast, unrestrained viral replication that occurs in the early weeks after contracting the virus.
What Are Hiv Symptoms
A day or two after getting infected, the HIV virus is detectable in the regional lymphatic tissue. Within 6 days,it can be found in the regional lymph nodes.
After 2 weeks, it is possible to detect the virus in the nervous system and pretty much in the entire body.
Once the virus replicates itself in the body, you may start to see symptoms in about 6 weeks.
Symptoms may include:
- Herpes simplex recurrent
- Tinea infections.
These symptoms can last up to 6 weeks or less. However, these symptoms are not specific to HIV. There are other virus infections that have similar symptoms such as influenza. The only way to eliminate HIV as the cause is by going for a test.;
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Hiv Medication Side Effects Are Most Common In The First Few Weeks
With today’s medications, most people don’t notice much of anything when they start treatment. Others have a minor side effect or two that will dissipate over the first few weeks. Still others have severe side effects that can make daily life harder or become a health risk; they may go away after a few weeks, or they may persist.
If you get a new symptom after starting treatment that becomes worse or doesn’t go away, it’s important to bring it to your HIV care providers attention quickly. There might be blood tests to run or further discussions you can have that will help determine whether its definitely the HIV meds causing the problem, and what you can do about it.
If the symptoms are related to one of your medications, switching to a different medication will likely alleviate the side effect and any health risks.
Is Your Hiv Treatment Working Warning Signs And False Alarms
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The first few months after you start HIV treatment are key in determining whether your first regimen will be successfulnot just in the short term, but for years to come. But if youre brand new to HIV treatment, how are you supposed you know what success really looks like?
Or, on the flip side, how can you tell if your HIV meds arent working as well as they should? It can be hard to tell the difference between a warning sign that your regimen might not be right for you and a normal signal that your body is still adjusting to treatment.
First and foremost, it’s important to know that if your HIV medications are chosen with thought and care , and if you’re able to be adherent to those medications , then HIV treatment almost always works at completely suppressing the virus, making your viral load undetectable in lab tests. Its not a cure, but it is a lifesaver.
Treatment failure and HIV drug resistance, which were common in the 1990s and 2000s, are now exceptionally rare in people who take their medications. Side effects with today’s medications are uncommon and usually mild. HIV meds can protect your health from developing AIDS, serious infections and cancers. And with an undetectable HIV viral load, you won’t transmit the virus to others.
How do you really know if your HIV treatment is working? There are three key things to keep track of:
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What We Know About The Types Of Hiv Tests
HIV tests are very accurate, but no HIV test can detect HIV immediately after a person gets the virus. Some kinds of tests detect HIV sooner than others. In general, nucleic acid tests can detect HIV the soonest, followed by antigen/antibody tests, and then antibody tests.
Most rapid tests and self-tests are antibody tests. Your immune system makes antibodies when youre exposed to bacteria or viruses like HIV. Antibody tests look for these antibodies in your blood or oral fluid. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV slightly sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid.
More Information; With a rapid antibody screening test, results are ready in 30 minutes or less.
A self-test is an antibody test you can buy at a pharmacy or online. There is currently one available FDA-approved self-test, the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test.
The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test gives fast results at home. You have to swab your mouth to get an oral fluid sample and use a kit to test it. Results are ready in 20 minutes. If the test says you have HIV, you should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. The manufacturer provides confidential counseling and refers you to follow-up testing sites.
How Should I Know My Hiv+ Partner Cares About Me
If your HIV positive partner cares about you, they will tell you about their HIV status. They will also encourage you to go for a test.
Once you go for a test and you find that you are HIV negative, talk to your physician about PreP and other methods of prevention. But if the test result comes out positive, get treatment as soon as possible and talk to your doctor on what else you can do to stay healthy.;
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How Are Hiv And Aids Treated
Medicines can help people with HIV stay healthy. They can also prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS.
Health care providers prescribe a combination of different medicines for people with HIV and AIDS. They must be taken exactly as prescribed or they won’t work. These medicines:
- help keep the number of CD4 cells high
- reduce the viral load of HIV
Regular blood tests will check the number of CD4 cells in the body and the viral load.
If an HIV-positive person’s CD4 count gets low, doctors prescribe daily antibiotics. This prevents pneumocystis pneumonia, which happens in people with weakened immune systems.
How Do I Talk To My Children About Hiv
It can be difficult to decide how much information to give children about HIV. Every child is different, and every parent is different, so there isnt necessarily a right way to tell your child that they, and/or you have HIV.
Often, telling a child that they have HIV is done over time, giving them information at the level they can understand, depending on their age. Children will often have questions about why they are taking treatment, or why they have to see their doctor, and this can present an opportunity to give information and offer reassurance.
Talking to other parents and a healthcare professional at your childs clinic can help you think about what you might like to do and when.
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How Do People Get Hiv
HIV spreads when infected blood or body fluids enter the body. This can happen:
- during sex
- through sharing needles for injecting drugs or tattooing
HIV also can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
HIV is NOT spread through:
- pee, poop, spit, throw-up, or sweat
- coughing or sneezing
- sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses
How Is Hiv Spread From Person To Person
HIV can only be spread through specific activities. In the United States, the most common ways are:
- Having vaginal or anal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV. Anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex.
- Sharing injection drug equipment , such as needles, with someone who has HIV.
Less common ways are:
- From mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. However, the use of HIV medicines and other strategies have helped lower the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV to 1% or less in the United States.
- Getting stuck with an HIV-contaminated needle or other sharp object. This is a risk mainly for health care workers. The risk is very low.
HIV is spread only in extremely rare cases by:
- Having oral sex. But in general, the chance that an HIV-negative person will get HIV from oral sex with an HIV-positive partner is extremely low.
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Why Should Someone Get Tested For Hiv
If someone is infected with HIV, it’s important to know because:
- Starting medicines right away can keep a person stay healthy for a long time.
- There are ways to stop the spread of HIV to others, such as using a condom and taking medicines.
- A pregnant woman who is infected can get treatment to try to prevent passing HIV to her baby.
Another reason to get tested is peace of mind: A negative test result can be a big relief for someone who is worried about being infected.
We Know That Men Who Have Sex With Men In Illinois Are At Higher Risk For Hiv What About Women Who Have Sex With Women
It is not a personâs gender, sexual orientation, race or class that puts them at risk for HIV. People are at risk for HIV when they practice risky behaviors. Women who identify as lesbian or gay can be at risk for HIV by practicing any of the behaviors that place women at risk. Lesbian women have become infected with HIV by using injection drugs or having unprotected sex with male or female partners who are already infected with HIV. Women who have sex with other women should follow guidelines in this fact sheet to protect themselves, and can call the Illinois AIDS/HIV/STD Hotline at 800-243-AIDS for specific information.
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Watching The Horizon: Hiv Meds Beyond The First Few Months
After a while on treatment, you might find that you’re experiencing a side effect you didn’t notice before or that bothers you now more than it used to. For instance, maybe you started HIV meds and discovered over the course of several months that your sleep isn’t that great, or your mood has slipped.
While today’s medications are vastly better tolerated than those in the past, there are still unanswered questions about the long-term effects of HIV medications. We know that they can allow a person to live just as long as someone whos HIV negative, but were still learning about how HIV or the meds keeping HIV at bay can affect the health issues a person experiences over their lifetime.
Be sure to stay in touch with your health care team about some of these potential long-term health issues. And stay educated about side effects and other problems that people with HIV tend to experience as they grow older.
Does Hiv Always Show Up On Testing
No, if someone was recently infected, it might not show up with testing. How quickly HIV shows up on testing depends on the type of test done:
- Testing that looks for the virus itself can find HIV 728 days after infection.
- Testing that looks for HIV antibodies can find HIV antibodies 312 weeks after infection.
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Is There A Period When The Virus Isnt Transmittable
HIV is transmittable soon after its introduced into the body. During this phase, the bloodstream contains higher levels of HIV, which makes it easy to transmit it to others.
Since not everyone has early symptoms of HIV, getting tested is the only way to know if the virus has been contracted. An early diagnosis also allows an HIV-positive person to begin treatment. Proper treatment can eliminate their risk of transmitting the virus to their sexual partners.
Stage : Acute Primary Infection
The early symptoms of HIV can feel like having the flu. Around one to four weeks after getting HIV, you may start to experience these flu-like symptoms. These normally dont last long . You may only get some of the symptoms and some people dont have any symptoms at all.
Symptoms can include:
- joint aches and pains
- muscle pain.
These symptoms happen because your body is reacting to the HIV virus. Cells that are infected with HIV are circulating throughout your blood system. In response, your immune system tries to attack the virus by producing HIV antibodies this process is called seroconversion. Timing varies but once you have HIV it can take your body up to a few months to go through the seroconversion process.
Having these symptoms alone does not mean you definitely have HIV. The only way to know if you have HIV is by taking a test. You should always visit your healthcare professional if youre worried about or think youve been at risk of getting HIV, even if you feel well and dont have any symptoms. They can then arrange for you to get tested.
HIV will not always show up in a test at this early stage, and you may need to test again later to confirm your result . Your healthcare professional will talk to you about the timing of your test and answer any concerns. Its important not delay speaking to a healthcare worker if you are worried about HIV.
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