Hiv And Aids Diagnosis
HIV tests check your blood or fluid from your mouth for antibodies that your body makes in response to the virus. You can take them at a doctorâs office, a community health center, a hospital, or at home.
When you have HIV, your doctor will keep an eye on how much of the virus is in your system. You might hear them call it your âviral load.â Two things will tell them if your infection has become AIDS:
- Your CD4 count. A person with a healthy immune system has 500 to 1,600 CD4 cells in a cubic millimeter of their blood. A person with AIDS has fewer than 200. This number is called your âCD4 count.â
- AIDS-defining infections. These are also called opportunistic infections. These generally happen in people who have a CD4 count below 200. Viruses, bacteria, or fungi that donât usually make healthy people sick can cause these infections in someone with HIV or AIDS.
How long it takes HIV to become AIDS is different for everyone. If you donât get treatment, it might take 10 to 15 years. With treatment, you may never have AIDS.
How Do You Treat Hiv And Aids
United Kingdom and United States treatment guidelines say that the aim of HIV treatment should be to achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load, below 50 copies/ml .. this being the cut off point for the ultra-sensitive viral load test.Standard treatment for achieving this goal is for the patient to be given combinations of three or four different anti-retroviral drugs .None of these drugs can actually eliminate HIV, but they can suppress it to such low levels that it lets the immune system recover and get stronger by itself.In addition to medications, patients are regularly monitored to assess:
NOTE: There is currently a vigorous and healthy debate about when it is best to start treatment. Current guidelines are based on the fact that some of the treatments were – in the past – potentially quite unpleasant, debilitating and lifestyle limiting but this is no longer the case and the body of medical opinion now seems to be swinging to a position of supporting commencement of treatment whilst the patient’s immune function is still substantially intact.There is no cure for AIDS, but there are medications/drugs to treat it. AIDS will not disappear from your system, but it can be helped.
General Prevention Guidelines By Type Of Epidemic
Generally, it is more important to change the behavior of people who have highlevels of risk behavior than it is to change that of people with lower levels ofrisk behavior. However, the difference in the effectiveness between the twofalls as epidemics become more generalized, and as the average and maximum sizeof the connected components . Thus, in heavilyaffected countries, or those where the virus has the potential to spreadrapidly, prevention interventions are likely to become extremely cost-effectiveeven when targeted at individuals with relatively low levels of risk behavior.Consequently, countries with low-level and concentrated epidemics shouldemphasize interventions that target individuals at especially high risk ofbecoming infected or of transmitting the virus, whereas countries withgeneralized epidemics should also invest heavily in interventions that targetentire populations or population subgroups. Thus, any determination of thelikely effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of specific interventions inparticular circumstances requires an accurate understanding of the stage andnature of the national epidemic.
Generalized Low-Level Epidemic
In a generalized low-level epidemic, such as in some countries in Sub-SaharanAfrica , the emphasis on targeted interventions mustbe maintained or even strengthened. Interventions for broader populationsmust also be aggressively implemented. These prevention priorities shouldinclude the following:
Generalized High-Level Epidemic
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Prevention Access Campaign U=u Partner
Michigan Medicine is a community partner with the Prevention Access Campaign to support Undetectable = Untransmittable . U=U means that people living with HIV can feel confident that if they have an undetectable viral load and take their medications as prescribed, they cannot pass on HIV to sexual partners.
In endorsing the U=U message, Michigan Medicine and HATP believe the following:
- We can comfortably say that a person living with HIV, who is on ART and has an undetectable viral load, cannot transmit HIV to sexual partners .
- We agree that the health and prevention benefits of viral suppression are platforms to underscore the importance of universal access to treatment and care for all people living with HIV worldwide.
- We agree that treatment is a personal choice, that treatment is first and foremost for personal health, that there are unjust barriers to accessing treatment, that not all people living with HIV will achieve an undetectable viral load, and there is no place for stigmatizing anyone living with HIV at any viral load.
U=U offers freedom and hope. For many people living with HIV and their partners, U=U opens up social, sexual, and reproductive choices they never thought would be possible. Michigan Medicine and HATP are proud to share the message of U=U with our patients and the wider community.
Aids Diagnosis Is More Complicated
AIDS is late stage HIV infection. Healthcare providers look for a few factors to determine if HIV latency has progressed to stage 3 HIV.
Because HIV destroys immune cells called CD4 cells, one way healthcare providers diagnose AIDS is to do a count of those cells. A person without HIV can have anywhere from 500 to 1,200 CD4 cells. When the cells have dropped to 200, a person with HIV is considered to have stage 3 HIV.
Another factor signaling that stage 3 HIV has developed is the presence of opportunistic infections. Opportunistic infections are diseases caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria that would not make a person with an undamaged immune system sick.
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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 treatment regimen or with other medicines a person is taking. Health care providers carefully consider potential drug interactions before recommending an HIV treatment regimen.
Managing Your Condition At Home
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How Is Hiv Spread From Person To Person
HIV can only be spread through specific activities. In the United States, the most common ways are:
- Having vaginal or anal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV. Anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex.
- Sharing injection drug equipment , such as needles, with someone who has HIV.
Less common ways are:
- From mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. However, the use of HIV medicines and other strategies have helped lower the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV to 1% or less in the United States.
- Getting stuck with an HIV-contaminated needle or other sharp object. This is a risk mainly for health care workers. The risk is very low.
HIV is spread only in extremely rare cases by:
- Having oral sex. But in general, the chance that an HIV-negative person will get HIV from oral sex with an HIV-positive partner is extremely low.
What Hiv Medicines Are Included In An Hiv Treatment Regimen
There are many HIV medicines available for HIV treatment regimens. The HIV medicines are grouped into seven drug classes according to how they fight HIV.
The choice of an HIV treatment regimen depends on a person’s individual needs. When choosing an HIV treatment regimen, people with HIV and their health care providers consider many factors, including possible side effects of HIV medicines and potential drug interactions.
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Can You Treat Hiv And Not Get Aids
A virus is HIV. You may become AIDS after youve been infected for several years and your immune system has been weakened. People with HIV are not at risk for contracting AIDS. A person who does not receive treatment with antiretroviral drugs is at risk of developing AIDS, which usually occurs in 10 to 15 years.
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.
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Whats The Difference Between Hiv And Aids
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV and AIDS are not the same thing. And people with HIV do not always have AIDS.
HIV is the virus thats passed from person to person. Over time, HIV destroys an important kind of the cell in your immune system that helps protect you from infections. When you dont have enough of these CD4 cells, your body cant fight off infections the way it normally can.
AIDS is the disease caused by the damage that HIV does to your immune system. You have AIDS when you get dangerous infections or have a super low number of CD4 cells. AIDS is the most serious stage of HIV, and it leads to death over time.
Without treatment, it usually takes about 10 years for someone with HIV to develop AIDS. Treatment slows down the damage the virus causes and can help people stay healthy for several decades.
Hiv Vs Aids: Whats The Difference
It can be easy to confuse HIV and AIDS. They are different diagnoses, but they do go hand-in-hand: HIV is a virus that can lead to a condition called AIDS, also known as stage 3 HIV.
At one time, a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS was considered a death sentence. Thanks to research and the development of new treatments, people with HIV at any stage today are living long, productive lives. An HIV-positive person who adheres to regular antiretroviral treatment can expect to live a near-normal life span.
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Adolescent Girls And Young Women
In sub-Saharan Africa, there are twice as many HIV infections among 15-24-year-old girls and young women as boys and men in the same age group. In the hardest-hit countries, there are six times more.
With the youth population expected to double in the next decade in sub-Saharan Africa, addressing the staggering HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women is critical to preventing a catastrophic rise in disease. Now with COVID-19, the stakes are even higher. HIV-positive girls like Grace Ngulube in Malawi are advocating for action. Grace’s story
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
There are no complementary or alternative therapies that can take the place of antiretroviral therapy. With that said, sometimes people with HIV will turn to alternative medicine to better manage symptoms or relieve side effects.
To avoid interactions and other possible harms, speak with your healthcare provider before adding any complementary or alternative therapy to your treatment plan.
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Changing Attitudes About Hiv
When someone is diagnosed with HIV, other people may have negative attitudes and beliefs about that person’s behaviour, lifestyle or circumstances in life. These negative associations form what’s called stigma, an experience that can decrease quality of life because it includes:
Efforts to end stigma will help to:
- prevent new infections
- ensure that people living with HIV receive the care, treatment and support they need
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.
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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.
How Are Hiv And Aids Treated
The most effective treatment for HIV is antiretroviral therapy . This is a combination of several medicines that aims to control the amount of virus in your body. Antiretroviral medicines slow the rate at which the virus grows. Taking these medicines can reduce the amount of virus in your body and help you stay healthy.
After you start treatment, it’s important to take your medicines exactly as your doctor tells you. When treatment doesn’t work, it is often because HIV has become resistant to the medicine. This can happen if you don’t take your medicines correctly.
Other steps you can take include the following:
- Keep your immune system strong by eating right, quitting smoking, and learning how to avoid infection.
- Monitor your CD4+ counts to check the effect of the virus on your immune system.
- See a counselor to help you handle the strong emotions and stress that can follow an HIV diagnosis.
- Reduce stress so that you can better manage the HIV illness.
Medical experts recommend that people begin treatment for HIV as soon as they know that they are infected. Treatment is especially important for pregnant women, people who have other infections , and people who have symptoms of AIDS.
Research suggests that treatment of early HIV with antiretroviral medicines has long-term benefits, such as a stronger immune system.
Treatment to prevent HIV infection
Other treatments for HIV
Treatment for AIDS
Living with HIV
If your partner has HIV:
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When Is It Time To Start Taking Hiv Medicines
People with HIV should start taking HIV medicines as soon as possible after an HIV diagnosis. It is especially important for people with AIDS-defining conditions or early HIV infection to start HIV medicines right away.
Women with HIV who become pregnant and are not already taking HIV medicines should also start taking HIV medicines as soon as possible.
Key Populations For Hiv
Key populations is a general term for specific groups of people who experience increased vulnerability to HIV, tuberculosis or malaria. The key in key populations reflects that reaching these groups with prevention, testing, treatment and care, and supporting them to overcome barriers to services, is essential to ending the epidemics.
Key populations for HIV include gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, and transgender people, and people in prison. People in these groups are socially marginalized, often criminalized and face a range of human rights abuses that increase their vulnerability to HIV. Those living with HIV are also considered as a key population. Learn more
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What Are The Side Effects Of Antiretrovirals
Not everyone has side effects from their drugs and not everyone will have the same side effects.
Another possible side effect is resistance to medication, which means the medication isnt working as well as it should.
You can lower the chance of resistance to medication by choosing effective medication, by not missing doses and by using a combination of medications instead of just one.
Please tell your doctor if you have any symptoms you are concerned about rather than stopping your medication on your own.