How Do You Get Hiv
HIV infection can occur in the following ways:
- Unprotected sexual intercourse, especially receptive anal intercourse
- Multiple sexual partners
- Sexually transmitted diseases: Chlamydia and gonorrhea infections increase the HIV transmission risk by three times syphilis raises the transmission risk by seven times and genital herpes raises the infection risk by 25 times during an outbreak
- Sharing IV needles or injections
- Receiving HIV infected blood products
- Needle-stick injuries
- Maternal HIV infection : The risk of transmission can be reduced at birth by practices like cesarean delivery and prenatal antiretroviral therapy in the mother, and antiretroviral therapy in the newborn immediately after birth
The Most Common Symptoms Of Seroconversion Are:
- sore throat
- rash over the body.
Seroconversion is a sign that the immune system is reacting to the presence of the virus in the body. Its also the point at which the body produces antibodies to HIV. Once seroconversion has happened, an HIV test will detect antibodies and give a positive result.
Seroconversion illness happens to most people shortly after infection. It can be severe enough to put someone in hospital or so mild that its mistaken for something like flu although a blocked or runny nose is not usually a symptom.
If you do have HIV, your body fluids are highly infectious during the early weeks and months after transmission. However, once youre on effective treatment and your viral load becomes undetectable you cannot pass on HIV.
It can take up to six months from starting treatment to become undetectable.
Start Hiv Treatment As Soon As Possible After Diagnosis
- Get in care and take medicine to treat HIV .
- Taking HIV medicine can reduce the amount of HIV in the blood .
- HIV medicine can make the viral load very low . Viral suppression is defined as having less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
- HIV medicine can make the viral load so low that a test cant detect it .
- Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best thing you can do to stay healthy. Having an undetectable viral load also helps prevent transmission to others. In fact, if you have an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex. Most people can get the virus under control within six months.
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Can You Still Live A Healthy Life With Hiv
Thanks to advances in research and medicine, medication is available that allows you to manage an HIV diagnosis on a daily basis.
“Antiretroviral medicines come in the form of daily tablets that work by stopping the virus from replicating inside your body. This allows your immune system to repair itself and prevent further damage. That said, HIV can easily become resistant to a single form of medication, which is why most HIV-positive people take a combination of medications,” says Dr Dutt.
Without treatment, your immune system can become extremely damaged. This makes you more susceptible to life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer and other severe infections.
“However, someone with HIV who is taking effective treatment can definitely live a healthy life,” Dr Dutt says.
“The goal of medication is to get the level of the virus in your body so low that it’s undetectable by a test. With effective treatment, you will also significantly reduce your risk of passing HIV on to others.”
In fact, if your virus levels are undetectable on treatment, there is no risk of passing on the virus through sex – as the undetectable = untransmittable campaign has sought to highlight.
HIV is a long-term illness and it can affect your life. Dr Dutt explains how those with HIV cannot donate blood or organs, join the armed forces, or visit certain countries. You may also struggle getting life insurance to cover a mortgage loan .
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
Some people experience flu-like symptoms at the start of an HIV infection. These early HIV symptoms usually develop within 2-4 weeks in an infected person and may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. This early stage of the infection is known as an acute HIV infection.
Possible early symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Mouth ulcers
Itâs worth keeping in mind that such early symptoms can also be caused by other health conditionsânot just HIV. In short, if youâre experiencing these symptoms, it doesnât necessarily mean that you have HIVâwhich is why STI testing and consulting with your healthcare provider can be helpful next steps to take.
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You Actually Get Diagnosed With Meningitis
As HIV disseminates through your central nervous system, it can cause viral meningitis, a swelling of the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord, says Amesh Adalja, M.D., an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopskins Bloomberg School of Public Health. According to the CDC, common symptoms of viral meningitis include fever, irritability, lethargy, and vomiting.
Cryptococcal meningitis is also commonly associated with HIV infections, though usually in later stages or in patients with AIDS. Most people are exposed to the cryptococcus fungus at some point, but a weakened immune system cant fight off exposure the way a healthy one can.
Early Symptoms Of Hiv
When early signs of HIV do occur, they are likely to present as one or more of the following symptoms:
- Rashes on the body
- Swollen lymph nodes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , these symptoms above are seen in 50-80% of newly HIV-positive individuals. They are often overlooked as they are common symptoms of many illnesses and people do not suspect these non-specific symptoms to be related to HIV.
Additional symptoms that may occur during the acute stage of HIV include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Aching muscles and/or joint pain
- Ulcers that occur in the mouth
- Ulcers that occur on the genitals
It is important to start treatment for HIV as soon as possible since the virus replicates and begins to destroy important immune cells. This is why it is so crucial to get tested after potential exposure, even if you are not experiencing symptoms. HIV is highly contagious during the acute stage, and because this stage occurs during the first few weeks after contraction, it may not show up as a positive test result this soon unless the test taken is an early detection test.
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Its Always Good To Know Your Status
Knowing your HIV status is an important part of taking care of your overall health. Offer the person encouragement for taking that critical first step. Sometimes a person may confide in you about their status in hopes you will feel comfortable enough to do the same. Feel free to share your status or the date of your last test.
Being Honest With Your Healthcare Professional
Be honest with your healthcare professional, they are not there to judge you, but help you make decisions so that they can plan and manage your care appropriately.
Its important to share information such as your sexuality as well as your alcohol and drug use history, as these factors can contribute to different risks, for example, complications with your treatment or sexually transmitted infections .
If you have any underlying health conditions or STIs, its important to get treated for these too. Sometimes different treatments interact with each other, so your healthcare professional needs to know what other drugs you might be taking.
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You Have A Yeast Infection
Yeast are microscopic fungi that naturally live in your mouth and vagina. When youre first infected with HIV, however, they can grow out of control, causing a yeast infection.
Your bodys own natural ability to fight other infections is being attacked, says Horberg.
That said, conditions like diabetes also commonly cause yeast infectionsand some women without any underlying diseases simply get yeast infections more often than others. So check in with your doc for treatment if you think theres a chance you could have recently been infected with HIV, ask if you should get tested.
Your Stomach Feels Off
A trio of gastrointestinal symptomsdiarrhea, nausea, and vomitingmay also be a marker for initial HIV infection, says Amruta Padhye, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the University of Missouri Health Care. With rising viremia , the immune system is in a state of hyperactivation, she explains.
Bottom line? Your GI distress might not be just a stomach bug, so get it checked out if youre at risk for HIV.
*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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The Early Stage Of Hiv
The early stage of HIV starts upon contracting the virus. During this stage, some people may experience symptoms that are similar to the flu approximately 2-4 weeks after becoming HIV-positive. While many do experience symptoms in this stage, some people may never experience any signs or symptoms of having contracted HIV.
Symptoms And Stages Of Hiv Infection
- There are three stages of HIV infection. The symptoms vary in type and severity from person-to-person.
- Stage 1 after initial infection can feel like flu but not everyone will experience this.
- Stage 2 is when many people start to feel better and may last for 10 years or more. During this time a person may have no symptoms.
- Stage 3 is when a persons immune system is very badly damaged and can no longer fight off serious infections and illnesses.
- The earlier a person is diagnosed with HIV and starts treatment, the better their health will be over time.
- Some people dont get any symptoms during stages 1 and 2, and may not know they have the virus, but they can still pass on HIV.
The signs of HIV infection can vary in type and severity from person-to-person, and some people may not have any symptoms for many years.
The stages below describe how HIV infection progresses in the body if it is left untreated. Without antiretroviral treatment for HIV, the virus replicates in the body and causes more and more damage to the immune system.
However with effective treatment, you can keep the virus under control and stop it from progressing. This is why its important to start treatment as soon as possible after testing positive.
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What Is Usually The First Sign Of Hiv
- Swollen lymph nodes: Lymph nodes are a part of the bodys immune system that helps get rid of bacteria and viruses. An HIV infection, like many other infections, can cause the inflammation of lymph nodes, which can be felt as round or nodular swellings in the armpit, groin, and neck. The swelling is often associated with aches and pains in these areas.
What Should I Do If I Think I Could Have Hiv
Only an HIV test can tell you whether you have HIV.
Try not to guess based on any symptoms you may or may not have, or on the HIV status of a person you have had sex with.
If you test, tell whoever tests you if youve recently taken risks or had symptoms similar to seroconversion illness, as this will affect the kind of HIV test you should have.
To be on the safe side, and until you know your test result, use condoms to protect anyone you have sex with.
You can also call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Is there any sure way to avoid acquiring HIV?
- What is the best treatment for me?
- How can I avoid getting any infections that will make me very sick?
- How can I find support groups in my community?
- What diagnostic tests will you run?
- How often will I need to see my doctor?
- Will there be any side effects to my treatment?
- How does this affect my plans for having a family?
- Is it safe for me to breastfeed my baby?
- Will using a condom keep my sex partners from acquiring HIV?
- Should I follow a special diet?
When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone who is showing symptoms of HIV should contact a doctor as soon as possible. This is especially important if the individual has recently had sexual contact with someone else or shared a needle with someone else.
HIV can remain asymptomatic for a long time. For this reason, anyone who has recently had unprotected sex and is concerned about exposure to HIV should contact a doctor as soon as they can, even if they do not have any symptoms. The same goes for anyone who has recently shared a needle.
It can be difficult to discuss the possibility of having HIV. However, without proper treatment, HIV can be life threatening. In these situations, it is very important for people to put their long-term health first and to discuss the matter with a doctor.
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Central Nervous System Disease Associated With Hiv
HIV causes significant inflammation in the body. This inflammation can cause neurological complications by damaging the spinal cord and brain, which make up the central nervous system.
Antiretroviral therapy , a combination of HIV medications taken daily, helps stop HIV from replicating and spreading in the body. Despite effective ART, people living with HIV are still at risk for central nervous system diseases associated with HIV. These diseases can be neurological or neurocognitive .
Severe neurological impairments such as dementia, brain atrophy, and encephalitis are less common in people who use ART, compared to people living with HIV who are not on ART. However, there are still less severe forms of central nervous system diseases associated with HIV.
Researchers are working to better understand how HIV affects the central nervous system this information will be helpful to develop new treatments to improve the lives of people living with HIV. Understanding which types of cells in the central nervous system are targeted by the HIV infection and how those cells are damaged may help shape efforts to prevent, treat, and cure HIV. Research efforts also focus on understanding why HIV is harder to eliminate in some tissues in the body and what strategies might be more effective on those cells.
You’re Always Waking Up With Night Sweats
Getting damp on a muggy night without air conditioning is definitely not the same as night sweats, which result in puddles of sweat thatll make you want to change your sheets. The body is trying to release off toxins, says Horberg.
Although HIV can cause night sweats, plenty of other potential culprits do as well, including menopause, mononucleosis, and cancers like lymphoma and leukemia, says Horberg. So if youre soaking your sheets over the course of a few nights, definitely check in with your doctor.
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Where Can You Find Support As You Manage A Long
Being diagnosed with HIV can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, as it can be very difficult news to take in. There is still a lot of shame and stigma surrounding HIV. Stereotypes from the 1980s about HIV and AIDS being a death sentence often prevent people from getting tested our of fear. Depression is actually twice as common in people with HIV however, help is available and you don’t have to face this by yourself.
Counselling and psychotherapy can help you to understand underlying issues and make longer-term changes to shift your perspective on life. Your GP will be able to help you find a trained counsellor or psychologist to talk to. You may also benefit from antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication, which your doctor can prescribe.
Alternatively, there are specialist helplines designed to help people with HIV.
The Reality Of Discrimination
Experts warn that “addictphobia” has contributed to discrimination against those who were infected with HIV through IV drug use. “Addictphobia” refers to negative beliefs and misconceptions about people who use illegal drugs. Among these false notions are the ideas that addiction is a moral failing and that addicts are unable or unwilling to change. These prejudices have slowed the availability of treatment centers for people who abuse drugs. As a result, people who are HIV-positive, African-American, and use IV drugs often face three stigmas. This heavy burden can increase isolation, anxiety, distress, and depression among those who are HIV-positive.
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When Someone You Know Has Hiv
When someone in your family tests positive for HIV, you may feel a range of emotions. Among fear, confusion, regret and love for the person afflicted, you may also feel afraid for your own personal well-being and may have questions about just how contagious HIV may be. Rest assured that people with HIV can live at home and maintain a normal social life. Since the virus is not spread by casual household contact, family members, roommates, and visitors are not at risk of becoming infected.
The following information is provided to clarify what should and should not be done in living with someone with HIV. You will see that most of it is just good hygiene practices.
Hand washing is an effective way to prevent the spread of any germs. Wash hands with soap and water before preparing food, before eating, and after using the toilet. This is to protect both the infected and uninfected family members remember that a person living with HIV may have a weak immune system and therefore may be more likely to catch any type of infection from another person. They, too, are vulnerable.
Personal Articles such as toothbrushes, razors and razor blades should not be shared among household members. These may become soiled with blood and could spread germs that may cause many illnesses.
Wash dishes in hot soapy water. No special precautions are necessary. There is no need to wash separately the dishes used by the infected person.