What Puts You At Risk For Stds And Hiv
You’re at risk if you:
- Have sex without using a condom, with someone who is infected.
- Have had an STD.
- Have more than one sex partner.
- Are under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
- Many women have STDs without having symptoms. This means that unless she gets tested, she may have an STD and not know it.
- Young women are getting HIV or an STD because the tissue lining the vagina is more fragile.
If you are a woman, take charge of your sexual health. Be sure to schedule pelvic exams and pap smears every year. Get tested and learn how to protect yourself from STDs and HIV.
Are You Worried About Hiv And Aidsknow The Facts To Protect Yourself And Your Partner
Sex may permeate our popular culture, but conversations about it are still associated with stigma and shame in Indian homes. As a result, most people dealing with sexual health issues or trying to find sexual information often rely on unidentified online sources or follow their friends non-scientific advice.
To address widespread misinformation about sex, News18.com runs this weekly sex column, titled Lets Talk Sex, every Friday. Through this column I would like to start a conversation about sex and address sexual health issues with scientific insights and nuances.
This column was written by Professor Saransh Jain, a sexologist. In todays column, Dr. Jane breaks down the myth about HIV and emphasizes getting tested for HIV.
Youve probably heard a lot about how HIV is transmitted. However, there are very few ways to get infected with HIV . Unfortunately, there are many myths about HIV infection that can be confusing.
Instead of worrying about HIV, learn how HIV can be transmitted and what you can do to protect yourself. Its normal to worry about HIV testing, but testing is the only way to tell if youre infected with a virus. If you think you are at risk, or if you think you are at risk because of your situation, take the test.
People often dont get an HIV test because they are worried about what happens if the test is positive and what others think. Remember:
HIV testing is quick and easy.
Tests allow you to manage your sexual health.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv
Dr Dutt says most people with HIV experience a short illness with flu-like symptoms. This normally occurs 2-6 weeks after HIV infection and can last for a couple of weeks.
“Once these symptoms eventually disappear, you might not notice any symptoms for many years, even though the virus can continue to damage your immune system.
“This ultimately means that many people with HIV won’t realise they’re infected, unless they get tested for it,” she explains.
Other symptoms of HIV besides flu include:
- Swollen lymph nodes around the neck and groin.
- Skin rashes.
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Can Hiv Be Prevented
To reduce the risk of getting HIV, people who are sexually active should:
- use a condom every time they have sex
- get tested for HIV and make sure all partners do too
- reduce their number of sexual partners
- get tested and treated for STDs having an STD increases the risk of HIV infection
- consider taking a medicine every day if they are at very high risk of getting infected
- Do not inject drugs or share any kind of needle.
- Do not share razors or other personal objects that may touch blood.
- Do not touch anyone else’s blood from a cut or sore.
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.
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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.
Second Stage: Clinical Latency Symptoms
After your immune system loses the battle with HIV, the flu-like symptoms will go away. But thereâs a lot going on inside your body. Doctors call this the asymptomatic period or chronic HIV infection.
In your body, cells called CD4 T cells coordinate your immune systemâs response. During this stage, untreated HIV will kill CD4 cells and destroy your immune system. Your doctor can check how many of these cells you have with blood tests. Without treatment, the number of CD4 cells will drop, and youâll be more likely to get other infections.
Most people don’t have symptoms they can see or feel. You may not realize that you’re infected and can pass HIV on to others.
If youâre taking ART, you might stay in this phase for decades. You can pass the virus on to other people, but itâs extremely rare if you take your medicines.
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If I Am Pregnant And Have Hiv Will My Baby Also Have Hiv
Most women with HIV can protect their baby from becoming infected during pregnancy. Proper pre-natal treatment can reduce the risk that an HIV-positive mother will pass the virus to her child to less than 1 percent. The only way these special treatments can be provided is if the health care professionals know the mother is living with HIV. Treatment is most effective when started early in pregnancy. HIV-positive moms should not breastfeed their babies because HIV is sometimes passed this way.
Canadian Flight Attendant Theory
A Canadian airline steward named Gaëtan Dugas was referred to as “Case 057” and later “Patient O” with the alphabet letter “O” standing for “outside Southern California”, in an early AIDS study by Dr. William Darrow of the Centers for Disease Control. Because of this, many people had considered Dugas to be responsible for taking HIV to North America. However, HIV reached New York City around 1971 while Dugas did not start work at Air Canada until 1974. In Randy Shilts‘ 1987 book And the Band Played On , Dugas is referred to as AIDS’s Patient Zero instead of “Patient O”, but neither the book nor the movie states that he had been the first to bring the virus to North America. He was incorrectly called “Patient Zero” because at least 40 of the 248 people known to be infected by HIV in 1983 had had sex with him, or with a person who had sexual intercourse with Dugas.
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Why Are Antiretrovirals For Hiv Used
These medicines are used to treat HIV. They reduce the amount of virus in your body . This helps keep your immune system healthy and helps you live longer. The medicines also help prevent HIV from becoming AIDS.
These medicines are used as part of antiretroviral therapy . ART combines several of these medicines to help treat HIV. The use of three or more of these medicines is the standard treatment. This is sometimes called an anti-HIV “cocktail.”
Increased Outbreaks Of Other Sexually Transmitted Infections
For people who already have another sexually transmitted infection , HIV can lead to worsening symptoms.
Human papillomavirus , which causes genital warts, is more active in people who have HIV. HIV can also cause more frequent and more intense outbreaks in people with genital herpes. Their bodies may not respond as well to their herpes treatment, either.
HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids. This can happen through sharing needles during drug use or through sexual intercourse. Key ways to reduce the risk of HIV include the following:
- not sharing needles when using injected drugs
- taking pre-exposure prophylaxis the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends this preventive medication for people with known risk factors for HIV
- not douching after sex it can alter the natural balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina, making an existing infection worse or increasing the risk of contracting HIV and STDs
- using a condom, properly, if not in a monogamous relationship with an HIV-negative partner
Women without HIV who have HIV-positive partners arent at risk of contracting the virus if their partner uses HIV medications daily and achieves viral suppression, though ongoing use of a condom is recommended.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Trusted Source , HIV-positive people pose effectively no risk of transmitting HIV when their viral load is consistently measured at fewer than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
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What We Know About Hiv Testing
About 1 in 7 people in the United States who have HIV dont know they have it. Getting an HIV test is the only way to know your HIV status. HIV testing is easier, more available, and more accurate than ever. There are three types of HIV tests available in the United States some can detect HIV sooner than others.
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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How Is Testing Performed
Testing involves pre-test counseling and the actual test. Counseling before the test involves a nurse or doctor who will discuss the testing process, what the tests mean, and what your risks might be. Everything that you share with the counselor will be confidential and that you may request that your test be anonymous. Any questions that you have in mind will be answered during this step.
After the pre-test counseling, if you agree to be tested, you will either be tested through the standard HIV test or a rapid HIV screening test:
- Standard HIV test: This is performed in a health care setting or lab. A health care professional will extract a blood sample from you, which will be sent to a laboratory for testing. This will take several days for your results to be available.
- Rapid HIV screening: Blood will be taken through a tiny prick from the end of your finger. Results will immediately be available after a few minutes.
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How Is Hiv Transmitted
The most common way of transmitting HIV in the UK is through having anal or vaginal sex without using a condom.
However, Dr Mitra Dutt explains that there are other ways of getting HIV, including sharing needles and syringes, or by transmitting it from mother to baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.
“HIV itself is found in bodily fluids of the infected person. These fluids include semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood and breast milk. That said, it cannot be transmitted through sweat, urine or saliva,” she says.
“Anyone who has sex without a condom or shares needles is at risk of getting infected with HIV.”
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Fever And Night Sweats
People with HIV may experience long periods of low-grade fever. A temperature between 99.8°F and 100.8°F is considered a low-grade fever.
The body develops a fever when something is wrong, but the cause isnt always obvious. Because its a low-grade fever, those who are unaware of their HIV-positive status may ignore the symptom.
Sometimes, night sweats that can interfere with sleep may accompany fever.
Women with HIV can experience changes to their menstrual cycle. Their periods may be lighter or heavier than normal, or they may not have a period at all.
HIV-positive women may also have more severe premenstrual symptoms.
Homeless People And Intravenous Drug Users In New York
A volunteer social worker called Betty Williams, a Quaker who worked with the homeless in New York from the seventies and early eighties onwards, has talked about people at that time whose death would be labelled as “junkie flu” or “the dwindles”. In an interview for the Act Up Oral History Project in 2008, she said: “Of course, the horror stories came, mainly concerning women who were injection-drug users … who had PCP pneumonia , and were told that they just had bronchitis.” She continues: “I actually believe that AIDS kind of existed among this group of people first, because if you look back, there was something called junkie pneumonia, there was something called the dwindles that addicts got, and I think this was another early AIDS population way too helpless to ever do anything for themselves on their own behalf.”
Julia Epstein writes in her book Altered Conditions: Disease, Medicine and Storytelling that: “As we uncover more of the early history of HIV infection, it becomes clear that by at least the 1970s the virus was already making major inroads into the immune systems of a number of diverse populations in the United States and had for some time been causing devastation in several countries in Africa.”
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
No two people with HIV will have the same symptoms, and some may not have any at all. But the infection can cause some common changes over time.
In the first few weeks: These first, flu-like symptoms happen because your body is reacting to HIV. Your immune system is trying to fight it off. The symptoms at this stage can include:
- Aches and pains in muscles and joints
Keep in mind that even if you have these symptoms, that doesnât automatically mean you are HIV-positive. Many different illnesses can cause these problems. Talk to a doctor or an HIV testing facility if you think you might be infected.
At this early stage of HIV infection, itâs important to know that you may not get accurate results from an HIV test. It can take 3-12 weeks for enough signs of the virus to show up on routine tests for the infection, which measure antibodies against HIV. A new kind of screening, called a nucleic acid test, can detect the virus itself during this early stage, but itâs expensive and not usually used for routine HIV testing.
Let the testing site or your doctor know if you think you might be recently infected. Also, be sure to use a condom every time you have sex, and take other steps to prevent spreading the virus.
After years with untreated HIV, youâre likely to get infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that your body is no longer strong enough to fight off. They can be a sign that your infection has gone from HIV to AIDS. You might have:
- Weight loss
Routes Of Hiv Transmission
In Scotland, HIV is most commonly transmitted by having sex with someone who has HIV without using any form of protection, such as HIV PrEP or condoms.
A person with HIV can only pass the virus to others if they have a detectable level of virus. People living with HIV who are taking treatment and have undetectable levels of virus in their bodies can’t transmit HIV to others.
Over 90% of people living with HIV in Scotland have undetectable levels of virus.
The main routes of transmission are unprotected receptive or insertive vaginal and anal sex. The risk of transmitting HIV through oral sex is extremely low.
Other ways of getting HIV include:
- sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment
- from mother to baby before or during birth when the mother isn’t taking HIV medication
- from mother to baby by breastfeeding when the mother isn’t taking HIV medication
- sharing sex toys with someone infected with HIV and who isn’t taking HIV medication
- blood transfusion
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