Symptoms Of Hiv/aids And Stages
Many people donât have symptoms at first, and sometimes even for years or decades. But there are signs that can happen, such as flu-like symptoms soon after you become infected with HIV. Even if you donât feel sick, HIV damages the immune system. It hijacks infection-fighting white blood cells called CD4 cells and uses them to churn out thousands of copies of itself. Without treatment, HIV destroys so many of these cells that your body canât protect you from life-threatening infections. If your CD4 count drops below 200, you have AIDS.
There are three stages of HIV infection:
Stage 1: This the earliest stage. You may also hear it called the âacuteâ stage. You might have a fever, rash, fatigue, chills, and other flu-like symptoms. But you might not have any symptoms. If you do, they may start 2-4 weeks after youâre infected. During this time, the virus quickly makes many copies of itself.
Stage 2: During this stage, HIV continues to reproduce, and it slowly damages your immune system over time. You might not feel sick or have symptoms. But HIV isnât gone, and you can still spread it to other people. This stage can last for years or even decades.
Stage 3: This is when you have AIDS. Your immune system has been severely damaged, leaving you vulnerable to other illnesses. With AIDS, many people have symptoms such as chills, fever, sweats, swollen lymph glands, weakness, and weight loss.
Adherence To Hiv Medications
What exactly is adherence when talking about HIV medications? Simply put, adherence is sticking to your program — taking the medications you’re supposed to take, on time, every time! Whether you’ve been on HIV medications for 10 years or are just starting out, it takes a strong personal commitment to take your medications on time, every time. Non-adherence is the number one reason why HIV treatments fail. These medications work — but they can’t work if you’re not taking them! So, here are some tips and suggestions to help you achieve adherence with your HIV medications.
Make sure you’re mentally ready to start taking HIV medications.Not sticking to your regimen makes it very easy for the virus to mutate and develop resistance to the medications, and then you may have wasted the regimen. Don’t start taking the medications until you are totally committed to taking them right on time, every time!
Get help from family and friends.Family and friends can help you stick to your regimen, so don’t be afraid to rely on them. Let them know exactly what you’re supposed to take and when. You can also ask them to help you remember to take your drugs, which can be easily done with just a simple phone call!
What Should People Know About Taking Hiv Medicines
Taking HIV medicines keeps people with HIV healthy and prevents HIV transmission. Taking HIV medicines every day and exactly as prescribed also reduces the risk of drug resistance.
But sometimes HIV medicines can cause side effects. Most side effects from HIV medicines are manageable, but a few can be serious. Overall, the benefits of HIV medicines far outweigh the risk of side effects. In addition, newer HIV medicines cause fewer side effects than medicines used in the past. As HIV treatment continues to improve, people are less likely to have side effects from their HIV medicines.
HIV medicines can interact with other HIV medicines in an HIV regimen or with other medicines a person is taking. Health care providers carefully consider potential drug interactions before recommending an HIV regimen.
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What Hiv Medicines Are Included In An Hiv Regimen
There are many HIV medicines available for HIV regimens. The HIV medicines are grouped into seven drug classes according to how they fight HIV.
The choice of an HIV regimen depends on a person’s individual needs. When choosing an HIV regimen, people with HIV and their health care providers consider many factors, including possible side effects of HIV medicines and potential drug interactions.
Managing Your Condition At Home
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How Do Hiv/aids Medicines Work
HIV/AIDS medicines reduce the amount of HIV in your body, which helps by
- Giving your immune system a chance to recover. Even though there is still some HIV in your body, your immune system should be strong enough to fight off infections and certain HIV-related cancers.
- Reducing the risk that you will spread HIV to others
Understanding Hiv And Aids
Survival with HIV requires that you maintain regular and consistent treatment. Only around 65% of the 1.2 million Americans who have HIV are on treatment, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Of these, an estimated one in four will drop out of HIV-specific care, and only 56% will achieve the complete viral suppression that is needed to avoid disease progression.
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How Are The Drugs Taken
Most people who are getting treated for HIV take 3 or more drugs. This is called combination therapy or “the cocktail.” It also has a longer name: antiretroviral therapy or highly active antiretroviral therapy . Combination therapy is the most effective treatment for HIV.
People with HIV need to work closely with their providers to decide which drugs to take. Several coformulations are available, and for most patients, HIV treatment involves taking just 1 or 2 pills per day.
How Is Hiv Treated
There are many treatments that can help people with HIV, and current treatments are very effective and safe. As a result, most people with HIV are living long and healthy lives. Treatment is recommended for everyone with HIV infection, and generally should be started as early as possible.
Medicines slow the growth of the virus or stop it from making copies of itself. Although these drugs don’t eliminate the virus from the body, they keep the amount of virus in the blood low. This protects the health of the person with HIV and also can prevent HIV from passing to sex partners.
The amount of virus in the blood is called the viral load, and it can be measured by a test.
There are several types of anti-HIV drugs. Each type attacks the virus in a specific way.
Pop question: True or false. HIV medicines eliminate virus from the body.
Pop question: True or false. HIV medicines eliminate virus from the body.
Answer: FALSE. HIV drugs cannot eliminate HIV virus from the body, but they can reduce it to very, very low levels. The main goal of HIV drugs is to reduce viral load as much as possible for as long as possible.
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What Is The Treatment For Hiv And Aids
HIV and AIDS are primarily treated medically. These medications are called antiretroviral drugs and are prescribed in various combinations, depending on each patient. The goals for treatment with antiretroviral drugs are to reduce the amount of HIV in the body and to make sure that the CD4 cells remain high. Patients taking medications for HIV are advised to have routine follow-ups to check the CD4 cell count and viral load to make sure that they are within acceptable limits. If a patient has an undetectable viral load, there is a small chance to pass the virus to another person.
Antiretroviral drugs only control the infection and reduce the viral load, but patients are not completely cured. If medication will be stopped, there is a chance that the virus will replicate and spread again. However, if the infection is controlled, patients with HIV can live normally, with good quality of life.
Types Of Hiv Treatment
Over 25 anti-HIV drugs are now available, divided into six classes of drugs. Each class works against HIV in a particular way. The vast majority of people with HIV are put on a fixed dose combination pill.
Guidelines recommend several combinations, each best suited to specific health needs and lifestyle. The most important part of treatment is to take all your drugs in the right way at the right time, which is known as adherence.
The classes of anti-HIV drugs are:
- Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors .
- Nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors .
- Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors .
- Protease inhibitors .
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What Is Important For This Approach To Work
For HIV treatment to provide protection against HIV transmission, a persons viral load needs to become and remain undetectable after they start treatment.
When a person begins treatment, it usually takes three to six months for their viral load to become undetectable. Most people will eventually have an undetectable viral load if they are using HIV treatment that is effective against their strain of HIV and take it as prescribed by their doctor.
A persons viral load needs to remain undetectable for at least six months before they can use this approach as an effective HIV prevention strategy. They must continue to have high adherence to treatment to maintain an undetectable viral load over time. The only way for them to know if their viral load remains undetectable over the long term is to have regular viral load tests.
However, not everyones viral load becomes and remains undetectable on treatment. The most common reason why a persons viral load remains detectable is low adherence to their medications, but drug resistance can also occur. When treatment fails, a person wont know that their viral load is detectable until they get another viral load test. Depending on the reason the treatment failed, a person may require a change in treatment, or they may benefit from adherence counselling, to bring their viral load back down to undetectable levels. The best options for moving forward should be discussed with a doctor.
How Does Hiv Treatment And An Undetectable Viral Load Work To Prevent Hiv Transmission
HIV treatment, also called antiretroviral therapy , works by controlling the replication of HIV in the body that is, it reduces HIVs ability to make copies of itself. When HIV replication is controlled, the amount of virus in the blood and other bodily fluids decreases. Research tells us that as the amount of virus in the body decreases, so does the risk of HIV transmission. When successful treatment lowers the viral load to undetectable levels, this can reduce or even eliminate the risk of HIV transmission.
HIV treatment usually consists of a combination of three antiretroviral drugs taken daily. Newer HIV treatments are safer, simpler and more effective than when treatment was first introduced. The power of treatment today is so profound that many people who start effective treatment soon after becoming HIV positive will have a near-normal lifespan.
For most people the virus becomes so well controlled that within three to six months of starting treatment the amount of virus in their blood becomes undetectable by routinely used tests. Most viral load tests used in Canada cannot detect HIV in the blood if there are fewer than 40 to 50 copies/ml of the virus but some newer tests can detect as few as 20 copies/ml. The virus is still present in very low amounts in the body when the viral load is undetectable.
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When Is Hiv Contagious
In the early stage of HIV transmission, the levels of the virus in the blood and semen are high. A person can easily transmit the virus during this time, and transmission is more likely during this primary acute stage than during the following stage.
During the clinical latency stage, a person living with HIV experiences fewer symptoms. However, they are still able to transmit the virus to another person.
According to the , a person with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to someone else. It is not possible because the HIV treatment suppresses the virus, leaving a low presence of HIV in the blood.
When HIV is not detectable in a test, it is not transmissible.
Progressing To Stage 3 Hiv
If a person with HIV does not receive treatment, the condition may eventually progress to stage 3 HIV, also known as AIDS. Thanks to modern medical advances, HIV infection rarely reaches stage 3 in the U.S. nowadays.
Stage 3 HIV is not a specific disease but a syndrome with a wide range of identifiable symptoms. The symptoms can also stem from other illnesses that occur because opportunistic infections take advantage of reduced immune activity.
Treatment will depend on the individual and any complications. The persons healthcare team will help them make a suitable plan.
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What Is The Best Hiv Treatment To Start With
The drugs used to treat HIV are called antiretroviral drugs . There are several different types and they work in different ways. HIV treatment is made up of three or more antiretroviral drugs normally combined into one pill.
There are lots of antiretroviral drugs, and they can be combined in different ways. The World Health Organization recommends that adults and adolescents starting HIV treatment take a combination of HIV drugs with dolutegravir as one of the main components. Your healthcare worker will help you to find the best treatment for you.
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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What Is Involved In The Consistent And Correct Use Of Hiv Treatment To Maintain An Undetectable Viral Load For Hiv Prevention
The consistent and correct use of HIV treatment to maintain an undetectable viral load includes:
- high adherence to medications, to achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load
- regular medical appointments to monitor viral load and receive adherence support, if needed
Regular testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections is also important because HIV treatment does not protect against STIs.
A person on HIV treatment needs to work with their doctor to determine an appropriate schedule for medical checkups and viral load monitoring.
Will There Ever Be A Cure For Hiv
Researchers and scientists believe we can find a cure for HIV. We know a lot about HIV, as much as certain cancers. Scientists are researching two types of cure: a functional cure and a sterilising cure.
There is no ‘natural cure’ or ‘herbal cure’ for HIV. Antiretroviral treatment is the only medication that is proven to effectively control HIV.
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Risks And Side Effects
HIV medicines can sometimes cause side effects. Some side effects happen for a short time. Other side effects can cause long term health problems. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects you are having. Do not stop taking your medicine without first talking to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider may tell you tips to help you cope with the side effects. Your healthcare provider may also tell you to take different medicines.
- This page does not give the specific side effects and warnings for each HIV medicine.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about the side effects and warnings for the medicines you take.
- Check the FDA Web site to find more HIV medicine information.
It is important that you take your HIV medicines just as your healthcare provider tells you. Your medicines may not work if you skip a dose or do not stick to your schedule. Over time, you can get sick if you do not take your medicines as directed. Your HIV may become resistant to your medicines. This means your medicines could stop working and more HIV could build up in your body.
Here are some tips to help you remember when to take your HIV medicines.
- Use a schedule or planner.
- Set the alarm on your watch or phone.
- Use a pillbox to help you organize your pills.
- Ask a friend or family member to help you.
Chart to help you remember when to take your HIV medicine