What Should I Do Until Theres A Cure For Hiv
For now, the best thing to do for your health is to test regularly for HIV. Testing is the only way to know for sure if you have the virus.
If youve already tested and your result is positive, youll be advised to start antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible. Treatment is the only way to manage HIV and prevent it from damaging your immune system. It also reduces the risk of passing HIV on to your sexual partners. With treatment, people living with HIV can have long and healthy lives.
Treatment And Life Expectancy
If HIV develops into stage 3 HIV, life expectancy drops significantly. Its difficult to repair damage to the immune system at this point. Infections and other conditions, such as certain cancers, resulting from severe immune system impairment are common. However, with successful antiretroviral therapy and some immune system recovery, many people with stage 3 HIV live long lives.
With todays treatments for HIV infection, people can live with HIV and never have AIDS develop. Its also important to note that successful antiretroviral treatment and a sustained undetectable viral load greatly lowers the risk of transmitting the virus to a partner.
Hiv Testing And Your Rights
Testing for HIV is voluntary and can only be done with your informed consent, except in exceptional circumstances.
Before you are tested, you will be provided with information about what is involved. what the results might mean for you, and how to prevent HIV transmission in the future. All people who request an HIV test must receive this information from the test provider.
Under Australian and Victorian law, it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone who has HIV. Test results, and details on whether someone has been tested are strictly confidential. It is illegal for any information about a person being tested or a person with HIV to be disclosed without their permission.
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How Do You Contract Hiv Infection And How Frequent Is This Disease
There are approximately 50,000 new cases of HIV infection each year. Approximately 1.1 million people were living with HIV infection by the end of 2010, 16% of whom do not know they are infected.
As of 2010, 63% of new cases were men who have sex with men, 25% were acquired through heterosexual contact, and 8% through injection drug use .
It is estimated that there are 35 million people living with HIV worldwide, including 3.3 million children.
An estimated 2.3 million new infections occurred in 2012. Ninety-five percent of new infections occur in low- and middle-income countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
There were 1.6 million AIDS deaths in 2012, and it is estimated that 36 million people have died since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.
HIV infection is transmitted from person-to-person.
Side Effects Of Hiv Treatment
People on current HIV treatments may experience mild side effects including:
- tiredness and fatigue
- skin rashes.
If you are on treatment, see your doctor every 3 to 6 months.
Regular blood tests are necessary to make sure your treatment is working and not causing serious side effects. It is recommended that you also get tested for STIs and talk to your doctor about your sexual health and overall wellbeing. Ensure you are having routine screening for cancers and keeping your vaccinations up to date.
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Letting Partners Know You Have Hiv
If you have just been diagnosed with HIV, it will likely be a difficult time. You might still be struggling to come to terms with diagnosis.
During this time, it is important to let any sexual or injecting partners know they may have been exposed to HIV as soon as you can, so they can be tested and offered PEP if appropriate.
You do not have to do this alone. Your doctor or the Department of Health and Human Services Partner Notification Officers can help you through this process and ensure your identity is not revealed.. Both groups can provide information, support, and guidance for people living with HIV.
How Is Hiv Transmitted Or Spread
The following are the means by which the HIV virus is spread:
Vertical transmission. HIV can be spread to babies born to, or breastfed by, mothers infected with the virus.
Sexual contact. In adults and adolescents, HIV is spread most commonly by sexual contact with an infected partner. The virus enters the body through the lining of the vagina, vulva, penis, rectum, or abraded or irritated tissues in the lining of the mouth through sexual activity.
Blood contamination. HIV may also be spread through contact with infected blood. However, due to the screening of donated blood for evidence of HIV infection, the risk of acquiring HIV from blood transfusions is extremely low.
Needles. HIV is frequently spread by sharing needles, syringes, or drug use equipment with someone who is infected with the virus. Transmission from patient to health care worker, or vice-versa, through accidental sticks with contaminated needles or other medical instruments, is rare.
No known cases of HIV/AIDS have been spread by the following:
Enlarged lymph nodes
An HIV-infected child is usually diagnosed with AIDS when the immune system becomes severely damaged or other types of infections occur. As the immune system deteriorates, complications begin to develop. The following are some common complications, or symptoms, of the onset of AIDS. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv
After the first month or so, HIV enters the clinical latency stage. This stage can last from a few years to a few decades.
Some people dont have any symptoms during this time, while others may have minimal or nonspecific symptoms. A nonspecific symptom is a symptom that doesnt pertain to one specific disease or condition.
These nonspecific symptoms may include:
- headaches and other aches and pains
- swollen lymph nodes
- recurrent oral or vaginal yeast infections
As with the early stage, HIV is still transferable during this time even without symptoms and can be transmitted to another person.
However, a person wont know they have HIV unless they get tested. If someone has these symptoms and thinks they may have been exposed to HIV, its important that they get tested.
HIV symptoms at this stage may come and go, or they may progress rapidly. This progression can be slowed substantially with treatment.
With the consistent use of this antiretroviral therapy, chronic HIV can last for decades and will likely not develop into AIDS, if treatment was started early enough.
The cause of the rash determines:
- how it looks
- how it can be treated depends on the cause
Hiv Testing And Reporting In Ontario
HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS is the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
Being infected with HIV is often called living with HIV or being HIV-positive.
In Ontario, there are two ways to get tested for HIV infection: nominal testing and anonymous testing.
The information on this webpage is about HIV testing and reporting in Ontario from June 2016 onward, and includes important changes to HIV testing and reporting in Ontario. For information about changes to HIV testing and reporting in Ontario, please see our:
- Changes in HIV Testing and Reporting in Ontario information sheet : www.halco.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/HALCO_HIV-testing-changes_InfoSheet-2016June.pdf
- Important Change to HIV Testing and Reporting in Ontario poster : www.halco.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/HALCO_HIV-testing-changes-Poster-2016June.pdf
For more information about Public Health Law in Ontario, please see our Public Health Law page: www.halco.org/areas-of-law/health/public-health-law .
For more information about the reporting of HIV to Public Health, please see below.
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How Does One Get Hiv
A person can get HIV from an infected person through direct contact with bodily fluids such as:
- breast milk
The highest concentration of the virus is found in blood, followed by semen, followed by vaginal fluids, and then by breast milk.
- any form of sexual contact that involves semen, pre-cum, vaginal fluids or blood.
- contact with infected blood, especially through sharing infected injections, or through blood transfusions.
- mother to baby during or before birth or while breastfeeding the baby, through breast milk.
The HIV virus basically attacks your immune system and impairs its functions. Once the immune system is seriously damaged, your body loses its ability to fight certain infections and cancers.
The count of CD4 cells in a human body shows the immunity level of the person. A person with a healthy immune system has CD4 counts between 500 and 1,600 cells per cubic millimetre. When the number of CD4 cells fall below 200 cells per cubic millimetre of blood, then the HIV infection has advanced to the final stage of AIDS.
Once a person has been diagnosed with AIDS, she or he is always considered to be an AIDS patient, even if that person’s CD4 count goes up again, or they recover from the disease that defined their AIDS diagnosis.
Hiv Diagnosis And ‘window Period’
You wonât know if you have HIV right after youâre infected. It takes time for your body to make antibodies and for antigens to show up.
The âwindow periodâ is the time between when you might have been exposed to HIV and a test can tell for sure you have it. This varies from person to person and test to test. Your testing counselor can tell you more about the window period for the test youâre taking. Here are some general guidelines:
An antibody test can detect HIV 23 to 90 days after youâre exposed to the virus. The window for a test that uses blood from a vein is faster than one that uses oral fluid or blood from a finger stick.
An antigen/antibody test done in a lab on blood from a vein can detect HIV infection within 18 to 45 days. It takes longer if the testâs done with blood from a finger stick.
A nucleic acid test usually has the shortest window: 10 to 33 days. This test is not generally used to diagnose HIV infection unless you have symptoms and a history that suggest you were infected only a few days ago.
If you have a negative test and werenât exposed to the virus during the window period for that test, you can be certain you didnât have HIV when you were tested.
The CDC recommends that all adults have an HIV test at least once, even if theyâre not at risk. If your risk is higher — for example, you have multiple sex partners or use needles for drugs — you should be tested every year.
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Hiv Doesnt Always Produce Symptoms
HIV usually causes flu-like symptoms about two to four weeks after transmission. This short period of time is called acute infection. The immune system brings the infection under control, leading to a period of latency.
The immune system cant completely eliminate HIV, but it can control it for a long time. During this latency period, which can last for years, a person with HIV may experience no symptoms at all. Without antiretroviral therapy, however, that person may develop AIDS and as a result will experience many symptoms associated with the condition.
How Do I Protect Myself From Hiv
There are a number of ways you can protect yourself from HIV, including:
- using a condom every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex
- in some countries PrEP is available. This is a course of HIV drugs which if taken consistently as advised by your healthcare professional prevents HIV infection through sex
- avoiding sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment
- taking HIV treatment if you are a new or expectant mother living with HIV, as this will dramatically reduce the risk of passing HIV to your baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding
- asking your healthcare professional if the blood product you are receiving has been tested for HIV
- taking precautions if you are a healthcare worker, such as wearing protection , washing hands after contact with blood and other bodily fluids, and safely disposing of sharp equipment
- if you think you have been exposed to HIV you may be able to access PEP, a 4-week course of ARV drugs taken after possible HIV exposure to prevent HIV infection. You must start PEP within 72 hours of possible exposure to be effective.
For more detailed information on how to prevent HIV infection visit the relevant page from the listed below:
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Some Practices Dont Reduce Your Risk Of Hiv
Some people use unreliable methods to reduce their risk of HIV. These include:
- Serosorting choosing your sexual partner based upon them having the same HIV status as you.
- Strategic positioning where an HIV-negative partner penetrates an HIV-positive partner.
- Withdrawal when the insertive partner pulls out before ejaculating .
None of these strategies are reliable, so you are at risk of HIV transmission.Having sex only with people who have the same HIV status can be very risky. For example, a person may think they are HIV-negative, but may have been exposed to HIV since their last test, or may never have been tested at all.
Using a combination of proven, reliable strategies like condoms, PrEP, and undetectable viral load is the best way to prevent HIV transmission.
Whats The Hiv Window Period
As soon as someone contracts HIV, it starts to reproduce in their body. The persons immune system reacts to the antigens by producing antibodies .
The time between exposure to HIV and when it becomes detectable in the blood is called the HIV window period. Most people develop detectable HIV antibodies within 23 to 90 days after transmission.
If a person takes an HIV test during the window period, its likely theyll receive a negative result. However, they can still transmit the virus to others during this time.
If someone thinks they may have been exposed to HIV but tested negative during this time, they should repeat the test in a few months to confirm . And during that time, they need to use condoms or other barrier methods to prevent possibly spreading HIV.
Someone who tests negative during the window might benefit from post-exposure prophylaxis . This is medication taken after an exposure to prevent getting HIV.
PEP needs to be taken as soon as possible after the exposure it should be taken no later than 72 hours after exposure but ideally before then.
Another way to prevent getting HIV is pre-exposure prophylaxis . A combination of HIV drugs taken before potential exposure to HIV, PrEP can lower the risk of contracting or transmitting HIV when taken consistently.
Timing is important when testing for HIV.
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When Should This Disease Be Tested For
Routine, voluntary HIV testing is recommended by the CDC for all patients 13-64 years of age and by the USPSTF for all patients 15-65 years of age, regardless of perceived risk or health status.
HIV testing should be performed in patients with symptoms suggestive of immunosuppression, including unexplained weight loss, chronic diarrhea, fever, chills, sweats, dysphagia or odynophagia, oropharyngeal candidiasis , and more severe or frequent vaginal candidiasis.
HIV testing should always be performed in patients with a history of tuberculosis, shingles, sexually transmitted infections, lymphoma, thrombocytopenia, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C, as well as in patients with AIDS-defining opportunistic infections or malignancies.
Consider testing for primary HIV infection with HIV serology and viral load in patients presenting with an unexplained mononucleosis-like illness, aseptic meningitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, mononeuritis multiplex, or facial nerve palsy.
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:
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What Is Usually The First Sign Of Hiv
The initial presentation of an HIV infection is a flu-like illness which includes:
- 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.
Telling People You’re Hiv Positive
Talking about what you’re going through can help, but think carefully about who you tell about your diagnosis.
Work out why you want to tell them and think of the potential consequences .
If you decide to tell them, work out how you will answer any questions they might ask, such as “How did you get it?”
Find out more about telling people you’re HIV positive in the living with HIV section.
If your family or partner would like support to help them cope with your diagnosis, they can also contact HIV organisations.
You might also want to meet other people with HIV. Finding out how other people have coped with a positive diagnosis, and hearing about their experiences of living with HIV, can be helpful for some people.
There are support groups for people who have recently found out they’re HIV positive. Your HIV clinic, a GP or a helpline can let you know what’s available in your area.
There are also support groups for specific people, such as young people, women, gay people, people from Africa and people who are HIV negative and have a partner who is HIV positive.
The website healthtalk.org has videos and articles about people’s experiences of living with HIV, including getting an HIV diagnosis.
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