How To Tell Someone You Have Hiv
You’ve just been diagnosed with HIV, and every thought you can imagine has been through your mind. Undoubtedly, one of those thoughts is — how do you tell someone that you have HIV?
Some health issues can be difficult to talk about: Transparency creates vulnerability, and vulnerability requires trust. For people who live with HIV, trust is usually cautiously rationed — and for good reason.
Before considering disclosing your status, there are some things you need to understand about the unfortunate realities of HIV stigma.
For most people, just hearing those letters — HIV — gives us chills. And why wouldn’t it, when the first image they conjure in our minds is death? That reflex/default reaction is based on an antiquated understanding of the virus and no longer has any bearing on truth. But it still affects people living with HIV because too many people don’t know the facts about the modern science of the disease.
When I was diagnosed with HIV, I thought I was dying, so I didn’t think the stigma would have much effect on my life. I was wrong on both points. I told everyone about my diagnosis; I thought transparency was the right thing to do. I wasn’t prepared for what would happen next. People I had known for years disavowed me; family and friends avoided me; even some in my church asked that I not return.
Now let me tell you something else you need to know.
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 Can I Know If I Have Hiv
The only way to know if you have HIV is to take an HIV test. Many medical groups recommend routine voluntary HIV screening of all patients aged 18 to 75 years of age as a normal part of medical care. The reason for this is that nearly one out of seven people infected with HIV are not aware that they have the infection.
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How Do You Feel When You Have Hiv
Around two to four weeks after getting human immunodeficiency virus , the patient may experience the following symptoms
- Upset stomach
- Joint aches and pains
As the disease progresses, the patient may remain symptomless for quite some time. This stage is also known as clinical latency. During this stage, the virus multiplies at a low level. Without treatment, the patient may remain in this stage for 10 to 15 years. However, the virus remains active during this stage.
If left untreated, HIV progresses to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome . AIDS can weaken the immune system causing several opportunistic diseases. The patient may experience the following severe symptoms in this stage:
- Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in the armpits, groin or neck
- Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
- Sores of the mouth, anus or genitals
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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How To Manage Hiv Symptoms
Antiretroviral medications are the first-line treatment for human immunodeficiency virus . Patients should be compliant with the medications to reduce the amount of virus in the body.
The various symptoms and their treatments are as follows
- Weight loss: In addition to the HIV medications , patients should eat a well-balanced diet and high-protein supplements and perform exercises to build muscle mass. The physician may prescribe medications such as Megace and to treat wasting syndrome commonly seen in HIV patients.
- Skin problems: Skin infections or dry itchy skin are usually treated with antifungal or antibacterial cream. Oral medicines may also be required.
- Herpes : Shingles can cause a painful, blisteringrash. Antiviral medications, pain relievers and calamine lotions are mainly used to treat rashes.
- Fever: Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and applying cold compresses may bring down the temperature.
- Nagging cough: Dry cough can be due to an infection known as pneumocystis pneumonia. The physician may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. Medicines to thin the mucus may also help.
- Diarrhea: Doctors may prescribe antidiarrheals to control diarrhea. Patients need to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
Are Women More Likely To Get Hiv
Yes. Biologically speaking, a woman is more vulnerable to heterosexual transmission of the disease because the genitalia are easily exposed to seminal fluids.
Gender inequality has great influence on the spread of HIV/AIDS among women. In some cultures, many women and girls are often put in situations where they engage in non-consensual sex or have sex for money.
In the U.S., minority communities have been hit the hardest by HIV. African American and Hispanic women together represent less than 25% of all U.S. women, yet they account for more than 78% of AIDS cases reported among women in the country.
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What Is An Hiv Test
An HIV test shows whether you are infected with HIV . HIV is a virus that attacks and destroys cells in the immune system. These cells protect your body against disease-causing germs, such as bacteria and viruses. If you lose too many immune cells, your body will have trouble fighting off infections and other diseases.
There are three main types of HIV tests:
- Antibody Test. This test looks for HIV antibodies in your blood or saliva. Your immune system makes antibodies when you are exposed to bacteria or viruses, like HIV. An HIV antibody test can determine if you have HIV from 312 weeks after infection. That’s because it can take a few weeks or longer for your immune system to make antibodies to HIV. You may be able to do an HIV antibody test in the privacy of your home. Ask your health care provider about at-home HIV test kits.
- HIV Antibody/Antigen Test. This test looks for HIV antibodies and antigens in the blood. An antigen is a part of a virus that triggers an immune response. If you’ve been exposed to HIV, antigens will show up in your blood before HIV antibodies are made. This test can usually find HIV within 26 weeks of infection. The HIV antibody/antigen test is one of the most common types of HIV tests.
- HIV Viral Load. This test measures the amount of the HIV virus in the blood. It can find HIV faster than antibody and antibody/antigen tests, but it is very expensive. It is mostly used for monitoring HIV infections.
Why Should Someone Get Tested For Hiv
If someone is infected with HIV, it’s important to know because:
- Starting medicines right away can keep a person stay healthy for a long time.
- There are ways to stop the spread of HIV to others, such as using a condom and taking medicines.
- A pregnant woman who is infected can get treatment to try to prevent passing HIV to her baby.
Another reason to get tested is peace of mind: A negative test result can be a big relief for someone who is worried about being infected.
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Swollen Lymph Nodes Diagnosis
Your doctor will start by asking you about your medical history and giving you a physical exam. They might be able to get an idea of what’s making your glands swell by where they are in your body.
They also may recommend one of these tests to find out more about what’s going on:
Ultrasound. High-frequency sound waves are used to let your doctor see whatâs happening inside your body.
Magnetic resonance imaging scan . A powerful magnet and radio waves are used to make detailed images of your organs and tissues.
Biopsy. Lymph node tissue is removed and looked at under a microscope.
CT scan. A series of X-rays are taken from different angles and put together to form a more complete picture.
Is There A Period When The Virus Isnt Transmittable
HIV is transmittable soon after its introduced into the body. During this phase, the bloodstream contains higher levels of HIV, which makes it easy to transmit it to others.
Since not everyone has early symptoms of HIV, getting tested is the only way to know if the virus has been contracted. An early diagnosis also allows an HIV-positive person to begin treatment. Proper treatment can eliminate their risk of transmitting the virus to their sexual partners.
Who Will Know The Results Of My Testing
It depends on where you get your testing. Testing sites have different privacy rules. Ask about privacy rules at your testing site so you understand whether anyone else will know you got tested or see your results.
If you go to an anonymous test site, only you know the results. No written record of the test result is kept.
If you go to a confidential test site, the results will go in your medical record. Positive results are sent to the state or local health department. Your insurance company will have access to your results. Depending on the state you live in, your parent or guardian may be contacted.
How Do People Get Hiv
You can get HIV when body fluids from an infected person enter your bloodstream. Body fluids are blood, semen, vaginal fluids, fluids from the anus, and breast milk.
The virus can enter the blood through linings in the mouth, anus, or sex organs , or through broken skin. Both men and women can spread HIV.
You can have HIV and feel okay and still give the virus to others. Pregnant women with HIV can also give the virus to their babies.
The most common ways that people get HIV are having sex with an infected person and sharing a needle to take drugs.
You cannot get HIV from:
- Touching or hugging someone who has HIV/AIDS.
- Public bathrooms or swimming pools.
- Sharing cups, utensils, or telephones with someone who has HIV/AIDS.
- Bug bites.
- Donating blood.
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Signs You May Have Hiv
HIV is the virus that enters the human body through blood or physical relations and develops into AIDS. According to health experts, HIV symptoms can begin revealing themselves within a month or two of the virus entering into the human body.
The most common symptom that majority of people infected with the HIV virus get is the acute retroviral syndrome which is a flulike symptom. Experts say that for some people infected with the HIV virus, the HIV symptoms do not reveal themselves for several years. For some it can even take close to a decade before they begin to show symptoms that they are infected with the HIV virus.
In this column, we are going to take a look at some of the common signs that show that a person is infected with HIV. Readers should note that just because a person has HIV doesnt mean that he or she has AIDS. HIV or Human immunodeficiency virus is the virus that leads to acquired immune deficiency syndrome popularly known as AIDS. AIDS is the final stage of HIV. When you have AIDS your immune system becomes gets so damaged and weak that it can no longer fight; life threatening diseases or infections.
HIV Symptom/Signs you may have HIV
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet to keep your immune system strong. A heart-healthy diet can help prevent some of the problems, such as high cholesterol, that can be caused by treatment for HIV.footnote 24
- Learn how to deal with the weight loss that HIV infection can cause.
- Learn how to handle food properly to avoid getting a foodborne illness. For more information, see the topic Foodborne Illness and Safe Food Handling.
- Exercise regularly to reduce stress and improve the quality of your life. Take steps to help prevent HIV-related fatigue.
- Dont smoke. People with HIV are more likely to have a heart attack or get lung cancer.footnote 25, footnote 26 Cigarette smoking can raise these risks even more.
- Dont use illegal drugs. And limit your use of alcohol.
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Is There A Cure For Hiv
There is no cure for HIV. But if you acquire the virus, there are drugs that help suppress the level of HIV in the body and prevent its spread to other people. Doctors use a combination of drugs called HAART to treat HIV/AIDS. Although it is not a cure, HAART has greatly reduced the number of deaths from HIV-related complications in the United States. HIV has become like a chronic disease, and people living with HIV receiving successful treatment can live a long and healthy life.
How Can A Woman Reduce Her Chances Of Contracting Hiv
HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids like blood and semen. Using injection drugs, having unprotected sex and having multiple sex partners increases the chances of acquiring HIV. The only way to be absolutely certain you do not become infected with HIV is to not have sex and not use injection drugs. You also can avoid infection by only having one sex partner as long as your partner does not have HIV and has sex only with you. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention , using a male or female condom every time you have vaginal or anal sex can greatly lower your risk of infection. Using condoms for oral sex will reduce your risk for other STDs as well. It also is important not to douche, since douching removes some of the normal vaginal bacteria that can protect you from infection.
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What Are The Types Of Hiv Tests
There are three types of human immunodeficiency virus tests used to diagnose HIV infections
- Antibody tests: These tests check for HIV antibodies in blood or oral fluid.
- Antigen/antibody tests: These help to detect both HIV antibodies and antigens in the blood.
- Nucleic acid tests: These look for HIV in the blood.
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.
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When To Give Rvs To An Infant With Hiv
Consultation with an immunologist or infectious disease specialist is advised, particularly for infants with HIV infection who have a low CD4 T lymphocyte cell percentage or count. Limited safety and efficacy data are available for the administration of RVs to infants who are potentially immunocompromised, including those with HIV infection.
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.
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