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
What Unique Challenges Do Women Face In Preventing Hiv
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some prevention challenges are unique to women:2
- Women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy and birth and through breastfeeding.
- A woman’s anatomy makes it easier to get HIV through sex compared with a man’s anatomy.
- Having a sexually transmitted infection raises a woman’s risk for HIV more than a man’s.
- Women are more likely to lack control in relationships and fear violence, stigma, or abandonment when trying to prevent HIV exposure.
- Women are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse. People with a history of sexual abuse are more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors like exchanging sex for drugs, having multiple partners, or having sex with a partner who is physically abusive when asked to use a condom.
Tattooing Body Piercings Acupuncture And Other Procedures
If you’re getting a tattoo, body piercing, electrolysis or acupuncture, you can avoid contracting or transmitting HIV by asking if:
- procedures are carried out by professionals who follow proper infection control practices , like those used in hospitals
- all needles used, as required by law, are:
- used only once
- disposed of safely after use
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When To Get Tested
It is important to get tested for HIV if you suspect you have been exposed to it or if you engage in behaviors that put you at a high chance of contracting the virus.
You can get free HIV tests if you are insured, or you can seek out a local clinic that provides free or low-cost testing to anyone uninsured.
Knowing your HIV status is important for several reasons. If your HIV test result is positive, it can be useful because you can:
- begin treatment right away
I Prep Clinical Care Model
The following graphic shows essential elements and the basic flow of PrEP care in a clinic. PrEP clinical care includes identifying and engaging patients in need of PrEP, conducting necessary exams and lab tests and prescribing PrEP for the patients, as well as ongoing patient monitoring with follow-on visits and prescriptionsas long as the patient has need for PrEP.
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Stay Away From Illegal Drugs
Youâre at high risk for HIV if you share needles or syringes with others. The safest thing to do is to not share needles. Use only new, sterile needles. Some drugstores even sell them without a prescription. If you canât get fresh needles, you can clean used needles with bleach, but you still have a chance of getting HIV from them. Though injected illegal drugs are the most dangerous, any type of recreational drug use can raise your risk. This is because they lower your inhibitions and make it more likely youâll have unprotected sex. This raises your chances of getting HIV. If you do use drugs, always carry condoms.
But You Dont Even Have To Ask For Hiv Tests Anymore: Your Doctor Usually Does Them At Regular Checkups
While many general practitioners and clinics have upped theirefforts to make HIV screenings more routine, its never smart to assumeyouve been tested without finding out for sure. Too, a lot of doctorsreport that because of the cultural climate in terms of teens and sex,they are nervous to ask teens about their sexual activity and STItesting. Its often estimated that less than 20% of of teens and youngadults in the U.S. with HIV have been tested and are aware that theyhave it.
Theres no reason not to be proactive and double check with yourhealthcare provider that you have been tested for HIV. If you have beensexually active and dont want to tell your doctor ,you dont have to disclose that: you can ask for a test withoutdiscussing your sexual history at all. If your doctor asks why youreasking for testing, all you need to say is because you want to be sureyou dont have HIV.
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How Can You Get Hiv
HIV is found in the following bodily fluids of someone living with the virus:
- vaginal fluids
For you to get HIV, these bodily fluids need to get into your blood through a mucous membrane , via shared injecting equipment, or through broken skin .
There is not enough HIV virus in other bodily fluids, like saliva, sweat or urine, to transmit it from one person to another.
Someone living with HIV who has an undetectable viral load, meaning effective treatment has lowered the amount of virus in their blood to levels where it cannot be detected by a normal blood test, cannot pass on HIV.
A person living with HIV with a detectable viral load can pass the virus to others whether they have symptoms or not.
HIV is most infectious in the first few weeks after infection. At this time many people are unaware of their status.
The main ways you can get HIV are:
Protect Yourself With Prep
You may be in a situation that makes you more likely to get HIV. You may share needles, or youâre in a relationship with someone whoâs HIV-positive. If your partner takes HIV medication and has undetectable virus, they are unlikely to give it to you. But you may be at risk if they donât take their medication consistently or donât know what their viral load is.
You can protect yourself by taking a daily pill to help avoid infection. Itâs called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. There are a few options. The pill, Truvada contains two drugs, emtricitabine and tenofovir. These are antiretrovirals, which means they donât allow the virus to take hold and spread through your body.
If you have unprotected sex with someone whoâs HIV positive, your chance of getting HIV drops by about 99% if you take PrEP daily. It doesnât work as well if you inject drugs, but it still lowers your chances by at least 74%. For it to work this well, you need to take it every day.
A similar drug, Descovy, is approved for PrEP, but itâs not recommended for women having receptive vaginal sex.
The medication cabotegravir are more recent approvals. Apretude is is given first as two initiation injections administered one month apart, and then every two months thereafter. It has proven to be 90% effective.
Kaiser Family Foundation: “National Survey of Young Adults on HIV/AIDS.”
HIV.gov: âPre-Exposure Prophylaxis.â
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World Aids Day: Let’s Talk About Aids
In the early 1980s, the world faced a novel condition. It produced such dire effects on the people it affected that in no time, it became a disease dreaded by most, if not all around the globe. Four decades down the line, HIV has claimed the lives of millions worldwide, and yet, over 30 million people are still living with it. Africa has received the largest dose of its sting, and Ghana has not been spared.
Currently, more than 300,000 people are living with HIV in Ghana, and the number looks to increase by the end of the year. Its, therefore, a no-brainer that we have to stay well-informed about HIV, particularly how to protect ourselves from getting it. As World AIDS day falls on 1st December every year, it’s certainly a good time for refreshing our knowledge on HIV and its comrade, AIDS. This write-up does just that by answering 5 important questions.
1. What is HIV/AIDS?
The human immunodeficiency virus is a virus which infects people and after that, slowly destroys their bodies defenses against diseases. When a person gets HIV and takes no treatment over a protracted period, the disease gradually worsens and reaches an advanced stage called acquired immune deficiency syndrome . As HIV infection spirals towards AIDS, the infected person becomes increasingly prone to more diseases, particularly infections and some cancers.
2. How do people get it?
3. How can you protect yourself from getting HIV/AIDS?
4. Theres a lot of buzz around HIV testing. Is it really helpful?
What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv/aids
The first signs of HIV infection may be flu-like symptoms:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
These symptoms may come and go within two to four weeks. This stage is called acute HIV infection.
If the infection is not treated, it becomes chronic HIV infection. Often, there are no symptoms during this stage. If it is not treated, eventually the virus will weaken your body’s immune system. Then the infection will progress to AIDS. This is the late stage of HIV infection. With AIDS, your immune system is badly damaged. You can get more and more severe infections. These are known as opportunistic infections .
Some people may not feel sick during the earlier stages of HIV infection. So the only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested.
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What Are The Treatments For Hiv/aids
There is no cure for HIV infection, but it can be treated with medicines. This is called antiretroviral therapy . ART can make HIV infection a manageable chronic condition. It also reduces the risk of spreading the virus to others.
Most people with HIV live long and healthy lives if they get and stay on ART. It’s also important to take care of yourself. Making sure that you have the support you need, living a healthy lifestyle, and getting regular medical care can help you enjoy a better quality of life.
What Are Some Behaviors That Can Raise A Woman’s Risk For Hiv
Behaviors that raise a womans risk for HIV include:
- Having sex with a male partner who has had sex with another man or who has used intravenous drugs. Sex with a man is the most common way women are infected with HIV.
- Using injection drugs and sharing needles. This is the second most common way that HIV is spread.
- Abusing drugs and alcohol. This can lead to risky behavior, including having sex without a condom, not knowing a partners HIV status, or injecting drugs.
Women who drink alcohol or use drugs may also be at higher risk of sexual assault or rape, which may put you at risk for HIV. If you are assaulted or raped, you need to see a doctor right away. Your doctor may decide that you should get post-exposure prophylaxis . These drugs may lower your chances of getting HIV after you have been exposed to the virus. But these drugs work only if you see a doctor within three days of exposure.
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How Is Hiv Transmitted
The person-to-person spread of HIV is called HIV transmission. People can get or transmit HIV only through specific activities, such as sex or injection drug use. HIV can be transmitted only in certain body fluids from a person who has HIV:
- Vaginal fluids
- Breast milk
HIV transmission is only possible if these fluids come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or are directly injected into the bloodstream . Mucous membranes are found inside the rectum, the vagina, the opening of the penis, and the mouth.
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
HIV can also spread from a woman with HIV to her child during pregnancy, childbirth , or breastfeeding. This is called perinatal transmission of HIV. Perinatal transmission of HIV is also called mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
You cannot get HIV from casual contact with a person who has HIV, such as a handshake, a hug, or a closed-mouth kiss. And you cannot get HIV from contact with objects, such as toilet seats, doorknobs, or dishes used by a person who has HIV.
Use the You Can Safely ShareWith Someone With HIV infographic from HIVinfo to spread this message.
Who Is At Risk For Hiv Infection
Anyone can get HIV, but certain groups have a higher risk of getting it:
- People who have another sexually transmitted disease . Having an STD can increase your risk of getting or spreading HIV.
- People who inject drugs with shared needles
- Gay and bisexual men, especially those who are Black/African American or Hispanic/Latino American
- People who engage in risky sexual behaviors, such as not using condoms
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Hiv Isnt As Big Of A Deal As It Used To Be Because There Are Good Drugs For It Now In Fact Isnt There A Cure For Aids Now
Neither HIV or AIDS are currently curable. However, both aretreatable. Advances in medicines to manage HIV through antiretroviraltherapy and other alternative therapies as well as increases inscreenings to diagnose HIV earlier and earlier have made a veryreal, positive difference when it comes to those living with HIV. HIVis no longer an absolute death sentence.
However, managing HIV also relies on two very important factors:finding HIV early, and having the resources to access and afford themedications for management. One big reason why people of colorworldwide are harder hit by HIV and AIDS has to do with classdifferences who has more money and agency between the races whenit comes to healthcare. And for younger people, many of whom dont havetheir own healthcare, especially when theyre first starting out intheir adult lives, and many of whom dont get regular STI/HIV testing,having good drugs and management tools is sometimes of limited use.
Even when good healthcare and treatment for HIV can be accessed,living with HIV is hardly a walk in the park. The medications for HIVpatients do a real number on a lot of people in terms of side effects,they can be incredibly expensive, and a lot of other lifestyle changesusually need to be made by those living with HIV to feel okay. Inaddition, treatment for HIV does not do anything to protect sexualpartners from getting HIV from a partner who is HIV-positive: itremains highly contagious and dangerous.
What Is Pep And How Does It Prevent Hiv
PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. Its a series of pills you start taking after youve been exposed to HIV that lowers your chances of getting HIV. You have to start PEP within 72 hours , after you were exposed to HIV for it to work. The sooner you start it, the better. Every hour counts, so if you think you were exposed to HIV, call your nurse or doctor or go to the emergency room right away. PEP is only for emergencies it doesnt take the place of using condoms or PrEP. Read more about PEP.
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Among gay youth, awareness about HIV and the real risks posed hasalso been decreasing, and concerns about safer sex have decreased. Thatmay well be in part because the overwhelming bias about gay men andHIV/AIDS was so extreme it had gay men of all ages in a very real stateof panic for a long time, or because more focus as it should be has been put on other populations when it comes to HIV and AIDS, notjust on gay men. But its likely also in part because so many peoplewith HIV seem to be doing just fine thanks to advanced drugs, and moredangerously, because in some gay populations, risking HIV is sometimesseen as a rite of passage, much like risking pregnancy is sometimesviewed among young straight women. But the risks to gay men therisks to anyone remain very real: around 50% of all new AIDS casesin young men are from men sleeping with men.
Because for so many years, information about HIV and AIDS was sobiased, an unfortunate result of those biases has been that lots offolks have outdated or incorrect information about HIV. Lets debunksome myths and look at the facts.
Only Gay Men Get Aids
In the early 80s, when HIV and AIDS were first discovered, amajority of those diagnosed with AIDS were gay men. Diagnosed: thatmeans who were found to have it, that doesnt speak for all the folkswho had it without being diagnosed. But at this point, we know thatEVERYONE can get HIV and AIDS: in 2004, AIDS was a leading cause ofdeath for black women between the ages of 25 and 34, for instance.Worldwide, more than 90% of HIV infections are due to unprotectedheterosexual intercourse , and aroundhalf of those living with HIV today worldwide are women.
Most sexual HIV transmission in the western world is indeedmale-to-male, and secondarily male-to-female, and women are twice aslikely to contract HIV from men than men are from women worldwide. Onetroubling thing the Kaiser study showed was that overall, young menexpressed less concern and interest in finding out about all aspects ofHIV and AIDS, even though men are the most common transmissors of thevirus, no matter who theyre giving it to.
Just to give you an idea, here are some scenarios by which you and your friends could wind up transmitting or contracting HIV:
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Effective Ways To Prevent Hiv/aids
The human immunodeficiency virus destroys immune cells which fight infection. This makes it difficult for your body to fight off infections and certain kinds of cancer. Without proper treatment, an HIV infection can progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS, a stage where your immune system is seriously damaged and you get a number of severe illnesses known as opportunistic infections.1
HIV spreads through contact with body fluids like blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, or breast milk from an infected person. In the United States, this virus is mostly spread by having sex with or sharing syringes or other injection equipment with someone who is infected. It can also be transmitted from a mother to her child during the course of the pregnancy, while breastfeeding, or during childbirth.2 Although the number of people being infected with HIV has been declining, it still remains a cause of concern with thousands of new cases being diagnosed every year.3 But take heart, there are things you can do to protect yourself from this dangerous infection.
Here are some ways to keep yourself safe.