How To Prevent Hiv From Advancing To Aids
AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV. The best way to avoid AIDS is to start antiretroviral therapy as soon as possible. Taken every day as prescribed, these drugs will keep you healthy and make your viral level so low, it canât be detected. Sticking to the right treatment can keep AIDS at bay for years and decades. It also practically eliminates the chances that youâll pass HIV to your sexual partners and others. Many HIV-positive people live normal life spans.
Chronic Infection: Why Do Cd4 Cells Die
After the intense few weeks of acute infection, thebody begins to produce antibodies and immune cells that specifically targetHIV. During this period , viral load levels drop andthe CD4 cell count returns to near-normal levels. At this point, the diseaseenters a prolonged phase known as chronic infection.
In the early years of the epidemic, the virus was eventhought to lie dormant during the lengthy period of chronic infection. Thisproved completely wrong: the advent of viral load testing in the mid-1990sproved that the virus continues to actively infect CD4 and other cells from themoment of infection onward, producing millions of new copies every day.
Is the virus directly killing off CD4 cells? It’s easyto assume that must be the main reason for the eventual drop in CD4 counts. Thetruth, however, is more complex. Considerably less than 1% of circulating CD4cells are actually HIV-infected during chronic infection far too few toexplain the overall loss and millions of new CD4 cells are created every day.In recent years, researchers have uncovered other possible means by which HIVleads to loss of CD4 cells. These include toxic viral proteins, spewed out byinfected cells, which can kill off uninfected cells in a so-called bystandereffect. HIV can also trigger cells into committing suicide in a processcalled apoptosis, or programmed celldeath.4
How Has Treatment Improved
Antiretroviral medications can help to slow damage caused by HIV infection and prevent it from developing into stage 3 HIV, or AIDS.
A healthcare provider will recommend undergoing antiretroviral therapy. This treatment requires taking three or more antiretroviral medications daily. The combination helps suppress the amount of HIV in the body . Pills that combine multiple medications are available.
The different classes of antiretroviral drugs include:
- non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
- integrase inhibitors
Viral-load suppression allows people with HIV to live healthy lives and decreases their chances of developing stage 3 HIV. The other benefit of an undetectable viral load is that it helps reduce transmission of HIV.
The 2014 European PARTNER study found that the risk of HIV transmission is very small when a person has an undetectable load. This means that the viral load is below 50 copies per milliliter .
This discovery has led to an HIV prevention strategy known as treatment as prevention. It promotes constant and consistent treatment as a way to reduce the spread of the virus.
HIV treatment has evolved tremendously since the onset of the epidemic, and advancements continued to be made. Initial reports from a clinical trial in the United Kingdom and a from the United States showed promising results in experimental HIV treatments that could put the virus into remission and boost immunity.
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How Can I Increase My Cd4 Naturally
Eat foods high in these vitamins and minerals, which can help boost your immune system:
How Hiv Is Transmitted
HIV is not passed on easily from one person to another. The virus does not spread through the air like cold and flu viruses.
HIV lives in the blood and in some body fluids. To get HIV, 1 of these fluids from someone with HIV has to get into your blood.
The body fluids that contain enough HIV to infect someone are:
- vaginal fluids, including menstrual blood
- breast milk
- contact with animals or insects like mosquitoes
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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.
Stage : Clinical Latency
If the infection goes undiagnosed or untreated, the immune system can bring the HIV level down some, but it cant completely control or contain it the virus is still active but multiplies more slowly, often without causing any symptoms. This is also called the clinical latency stage, or chronic HIV infection, and it can last up to 15 years.
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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.
Stages Of The Hiv Lifecycle
Binding and fusion
HIV attaches to a T-helper cell. It then fuses to it and releases its genetic information into the cell.
The types of drugs that stop this stage of the lifecycle are called fusion or entry inhibitor drugs because they stop HIV from entering the cell.
Reverse transcription and integration
Once inside the T-helper cell, HIV converts its genetic material into HIV DNA, a process called reverse transcription. The new HIV DNA then enters the nucleus of the host cell and takes control of it.
The types of drugs that stop this stage of the lifecycle are called NRTIs , NNRTIs and integrase inhibitor drugs.
Transcription and translation
The infected T-helper cell then produces HIV proteins that are used to produce more HIV particles inside the cell.
Assembly, budding and maturation
The new HIV is put together and then released from the T-helper cell into the bloodstream to infect other cells and so the process begins again.
The type of drugs that stop this stage of the lifecycle are called protease inhibitor drugs.
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Who Should Be Tested For Hiv
The CDC recommends that everyone age 13 to 64 get tested for HIV at least once.
People more vulnerable to HIV should get tested more frequently. The CDC defines people in this higher-risk group as those who have:
- Had more than one sex partner in the past year
- Had an HIV-positive partner
- Been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis or tuberculosis or a sexually transmitted disease in the past year
- Exchanged sex for drugs or money
How Long Does It Take To Kill You
The prognosis and outlook of people with emphysema can vary. However, as mentioned before, the stage of the disease usually plays a key role.
In general, this respiratory disease is relatively easier to treat if caught early. On the other hand the more advanced stage of the disease, more difficult to treat and patient has worse life expectancy.
There are a number of procedures to determine the stage of the disease. The result of your pulmonary function testing may be the first procedure that your doctor needs to figure out. It is important to follow and evaluate your lung capacity. In this procedure, you breathe and blow air through a narrow tube and at the same time, the airflow is analyzed and measured.
Emphysema can damage the lung and cause small air pockets that trap air, making your lung work harder and you breathe more difficult. The more air that becomes trapped, the worse level decline of your pulmonary function test result!
The next common procedure is GOLD staging system, created by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. It is the major emphysema staging system and now widely used.
It is determined by evaluating a variable called FEV1 , the amount of air you can forcefully exhale in 1 second. The following are stages in GOLD emphysema staging:
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How Is Aids Diagnosed
When you have HIV, your doctor will monitor your CD4 count by ordering a blood test. A healthy CD4 count ranges from 500 to 1,600 CD4 cells. The lower your CD4 count, the less your body can fight infection. If your CD4 count drops below 200, your doctor may diagnose you with AIDS. Many times, you will also already have an infection or pneumonia due to the low number of CD4 cells.
Iii Barriers To Medication Access And Adherence
Recent efforts have focused on improving antiretroviral medication adherence among older adults living with HIV , and despite barriers, older adults are more likely to be adherent than younger adults , except when other health problems interfere . As evidenced above, participants in this study were contending with numerous co-morbidities, which could not only threaten their ability to adhere to HIV medications, but also make it difficult for participants to keep track of all of their medications.
Interviewer: Besides HIV, can you tell me what other health conditions you have?
Participant: Bronchitis, COPD, thats about it.
I: Ok, and you said youre on 21 different medications? Do you know any of the medications off hand that you could tell them to me?
P: Oh, honey, I cant even pronounce them.
Not surprisingly, several participants could not recall all of their medications and a few individuals were not sure which medications were treating which illnesses or symptoms. Although the majority of participants reported high levels of adherence to their HIV-medications, many noted difficulty keeping track of various medications, their refill dates, and their purposes, not uncommon for older adults with chronic conditions. Furthermore, the financial burden associated with medication costs was significant for several participants.
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How Can You Tell If You Have Hiv
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. You cant rely on symptoms to tell whether you have HIV.
Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information so you can take steps to keep yourself and your partner healthy:
- If you test positive, you can take medicine to treat HIV. By taking HIV medicine daily as prescribed, you can make the amount of HIV in your blood very lowso low that a test cant detect it . Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best thing you can do to stay healthy. If your viral load stays undetectable, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
- If you test negative, there are more HIV prevention tools available today than ever before.
- If you are pregnant, you should be tested for HIV so that you can begin treatment if you’re HIV-positive. If an HIV-positive woman is treated for HIV early in her pregnancy, the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby can be very low.
Use the HIV Services Locator to find an HIV testing site near you.
HIV self-testing is also an option. Self-testing allows people to take an HIV test and find out their result in their own home or other private location. You can buy a self-test kit at a pharmacy or online, or your health care provider may be able to order one for you. Some health departments or community-based organizations also provide self-test kits for free.
What Happens If You Are Infected With Hiv
A person infected with HIV is described as “HIV positive”, meaning that they receive a “positive” result from a blood test for HIV infection.
Many people with HIV continue to look and feel well throughout their lifetime. They may not even be aware that they are living with the virus. However, many HIV positive people do eventually develop different infections and cancers that the body would otherwise normally be able to fight. This can lead to an HIV positive person being diagnosed with AIDS.
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What Are The Types Of Hiv/aids Medicines
There are several different types of HIV/AIDS medicines. Some work by blocking or changing enzymes that HIV needs to make copies of itself. This prevents HIV from copying itself, which reduces the amount of HIV in the body. Several medicines do this:
- Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors block an enzyme called reverse transcriptase
- Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors bind to and later change reverse transcriptase
- Integrase inhibitors block an enzyme called integrase
- Protease inhibitors block an enzyme called protease
Some HIV/AIDS medicines interfere with HIV’s ability to infect CD4 immune system cells:
- Fusion inhibitors block HIV from entering the cells
- CCR5 antagonists and post-attachment inhibitors block different molecules on the CD4 cells. To infect a cell, HIV has to bind to two types of molecules on the cell’s surface. Blocking either of these molecules prevents HIV from entering the cells.
- Attachment inhibitors bind to a specific protein on the outer surface of HIV. This prevents HIV from entering the cell.
In some cases, people take more than one medicine:
- Pharmacokinetic enhancers boost the effectiveness of certain HIV/AIDS medicines. A pharmacokinetic enhancer slows the breakdown of the other medicine. This allows that medicine to stay in the body longer at a higher concentration.
- Multidrug combinations include a combination of two or more different HIV/AIDS medicines
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.
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How Hiv Infects The Body
HIV infects the immune system, causing progressive damage and eventually making it unable to fight off infections.
The virus attaches itself to immune system cells called CD4 lymphocyte cells, which protect the body against various bacteria, viruses and other germs.
Once attached, it enters the CD4 cells and uses it to make thousands of copies of itself. These copies then leave the CD4 cells, killing them in the process.
This process continues until eventually the number of CD4 cells, also called your CD4 count, drops so low that your immune system stops working.
This process may take up to 10 years, during which time you’ll feel and appear well.
Page last reviewed: 22 April 2021 Next review due: 22 April 2024
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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