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.
What Do You Need To Know About Hiv Testing
1 A NAT looks for the actual virus in the blood and involves drawing blood from a vein. 2 An antigen/antibody test looks for both HIV antibodies and antigens. Antibodies are produced by your immune system when youre exposed to viruses like HIV. 3 HIV antibody tests only look for antibodies to HIV in your blood or oral fluid.
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.
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Who Is At Risk Of Acute Hiv Infection
HIV can affect people of any age, sexual orientation or race, in any part of the world. However, certain groups of people are more at risk of contracting HIV than others. These can include people who:
- Have unprotected sex, particularly anal sex, with multiple partners
- when injecting substances
HIV can be spread in the following ways:
- Contact with infected blood
- Contact with infected vaginal and/or rectal fluids
- From mother to child during pregnancy or birth if the pregnant woman has HIV
- Less commonly, during breastfeeding if the breastfeeding woman has HIV and is not on antiretroviral treatment
- Sharing needles, syringes or drug preparation equipment with someone who has HIV
Other physical contact, such as hand-holding, kissing or hugging, does not transfer HIV..
Hiv Stigma And Discrimination
HIV can prompt intense feelings in people, regardless of their HIV status. It is sometimes viewed with a sense of unacceptability or disgrace. A person with HIV may feel shame and despair about their status. An HIV-negative person may be fearful or angry when they discover someone has HIV. The relationship of these feelings to HIV is referred to as stigma.Felt stigma refers to deep feelings of shame and self-loathing, and the expectation of discrimination. It can have serious negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV by discouraging them from getting tested, receiving support, or taking treatment. It may also lead people to engage in high-risk behaviours that harm their health, and contribute to new HIV infections.Enacted stigma is the experience of unfair treatment by others. For people living with HIV this can be in the form of being treated differently and poorly, or through rejection, abuse, or discrimination.HIV stigma is particularly harmful when it overlaps with other factors that are stigmatised such as if a person uses drugs, is a sex worker, is trans or gender diverse.Breaking down stigma is a community response where:
If you have experienced stigma or discrimination from a health care provider, and are unable to resolve your complaint with them directly, contact the Health Complaints Commissioner
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Stage : Acute Primary Infection
The early symptoms of HIV can feel like having the flu. Around one to four weeks after getting HIV, you may start to experience these flu-like symptoms. These normally dont last long . You may only get some of the symptoms and some people dont have any symptoms at all.
Symptoms can include:
- joint aches and pains
- muscle pain.
These symptoms happen because your body is reacting to the HIV virus. Cells that are infected with HIV are circulating throughout your blood system. In response, your immune system tries to attack the virus by producing HIV antibodies this process is called seroconversion. Timing varies but once you have HIV it can take your body up to a few months to go through the seroconversion process.
Having these symptoms alone does not mean you definitely have HIV. The only way to know if you have HIV is by taking a test. You should always visit your healthcare professional if youre worried about or think youve been at risk of getting HIV, even if you feel well and dont have any symptoms. They can then arrange for you to get tested.
HIV will not always show up in a test at this early stage, and you may need to test again later to confirm your result . Your healthcare professional will talk to you about the timing of your test and answer any concerns. Its important not delay speaking to a healthcare worker if you are worried about HIV.
How Are These Disorders Treated
No single treatment can cure the neurological complications of HIV/AIDS. Some disorders require aggressive therapy while others are treated as symptoms arise.
Neuropathic painchronic pain caused by damage to the nervous systemis often difficult to control. Medicines range from over-the-counter pain killers to anticonvulsant drugs, opiates, and some classes of antidepressants. Inflamed tissue caused by autoimmune or other conditions can press on nerves, causing pain. Such illnesses may be treated with corticosteroids or procedures such as plasma exchange, formally known as plasmapheresis, that clear the blood of harmful substances that cause inflammation.
Treatment options for AIDS- and HIV-related neuropsychiatric or psychotic disorders include antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Psychostimulants may also improve depression and reduce fatigue. Drugs such as cholinesterase inhibitors, which can temporarily improve or stabilize memory and thinking skills in people with dementia, may relieve confusion and slow mental decline. Benzodiazepines may be prescribed to treat anxiety. Psychotherapy may also help some individuals.
Other treatments may include physical therapy and rehabilitation, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy to shrink cancerous brain tumors that may be related to HIV, antifungal or antimalarial drugs to combat certain bacterial infections associated with the disorder, and penicillin to treat neurosyphilis.
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Early Symptoms In Primary Hiv
The first noticeable stage is primary HIV infection. This stage is also called acute retroviral syndrome , or acute HIV infection. Because HIV infection at this stage usually causes flu-like symptoms, its possible for someone in this stage to think their symptoms are due to a severe flu rather than HIV. Fever is the most common symptom.
Other symptoms include:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , primary HIV symptoms may show up two to four weeks after initial exposure. Symptoms can continue for up to several weeks. However, some people may exhibit the symptoms only for a few days.
People with early HIV sometimes dont show any symptoms, yet they can still transmit the virus to others. This is attributed to the fast, unrestrained viral replication that occurs in the early weeks after contracting the virus.
What Can Effective Hiv Treatment Do
HIV medication keeps you healthy so you can live a normal lifespan.
Treatment can also reduce your viral load to undetectable levels so that you wont be able to pass on HIV to anyone else. It can take up to six months from starting treatment to become undetectable, so its important to test and start treatment on time.
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How To Tell If Symptoms Are Hiv
There are three types of HIV tests:
- An NAT involves drawing blood from a vein. It can tell if you have HIV or how much virus is present in your blood. While an NAT can detect HIV sooner than other types of tests, this test is very expensive and not routinely used for screening individuals unless they recently had a high-risk exposure, or a possible exposure and have early symptoms of HIV infection. This test takes several days for results to come back.
- An antigen/antibody test is recommended for testing done in labs and is now common in the United States. It involves drawing blood from a vein, and results take several days to come back. There is also a rapid antigen/antibody test available that is done with a finger prick and takes 30 minutes or less to get results.
- HIV antibody tests only look for antibodies to HIV in your blood or oral fluid. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid. Antibody tests can detect an HIV infection 23 to 90 days after exposure. Most rapid tests and the only currently approved HIV self-test are antibody tests. They take 20 minutes or less to provide results.
Keep in mind, any positive result would necessitate a second test to confirm it. The only test that would not require a second confirmatory test is the NAT.
How Is Hiv Treated
HIV treatment must last for a long time . A kind of medicine called reverse transcriptase inhibitors stops the virus from taking over the CD4 lymphocytesbut this medicine can’t work if the CD4 takeover has already happened. To get help from these medicines, you have to start taking them at an early stage. You might take two of these medicines at one time.
Another kind of medicine, called protease inhibitors, works later in the life cycle of HIV. It stops the infected CD4 cells from making more virus pieces.
If you have HIV, you’ll have to take many pills and liquids several times a day. Side effects are common. You might have nausea, bloating, diarrhea and headaches. You might notice mood changes or have serious reactions to the medicines. Some of these medicines can cause kidney stones or keep your kidneys from working right.
Because you have to keep taking these medicines for such a long time, it’s important to find a medicine plan you can get along with.
Remember that it’s not good to just stop taking any of your medicines, or to take fewer pills every day. It’s important to take some of your medicines with food and to take some medicines between meals. If you don’t follow the doctor’s directions, you might develop a virus that is resistant to the medicines.
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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.
The Most Common Symptoms Of Seroconversion Are:
- sore throat
- rash over the body.
Seroconversion is a sign that the immune system is reacting to the presence of the virus in the body. Its also the point at which the body produces antibodies to HIV. Once seroconversion has happened, an HIV test will detect antibodies and give a positive result.
Seroconversion illness happens to most people shortly after infection. It can be severe enough to put someone in hospital or so mild that its mistaken for something like flu although a blocked or runny nose is not usually a symptom.
If you do have HIV, your body fluids are highly infectious during the early weeks and months after transmission. However, once youre on effective treatment and your viral load becomes undetectable you cannot pass on HIV.
It can take up to six months from starting treatment to become undetectable.
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Symptoms Of Hiv In The Early Stage
HIV is a progressive disease which means that in most cases, it deteriorates as time goes on from the first infection. Some of the symptoms that come up in the early stages are mild, and in most cases, they can be mistaken for common diseases. Once the HIV gets entry into the body, most people will suffer from the short flu which in some cases can turn severe. The flu is the body’s natural way of responding to the intrusion of the virus, and it can be accompanied with other symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache, skin rashes, sore throat and weight loss, which are discussed below.
How Long Does It Take To Show Symptoms Of Hiv
Some people notice flu-like symptoms 1-4 weeks after they’re first infected. They often only last a week or two. This stage is called acute or primary HIV infection.
Then, you may go for 10 years or more without further symptoms. This is called asymptomatic HIV infection. Even though you feel fine, the virus is still active in your body. And you can still give it to someone else.
Once HIV has seriously harmed your immune system, you’re at risk for diseases that a healthy body could fight off. In this stage, symptomatic HIV infection, you start to notice problems caused by those “opportunistic” infections.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Later Hiv
As HIV weakens someones immune system, they may experience signs of other illnesses:
- weight loss
- an increase in herpes or cold sore outbreaks
- swollen glands in the groin, neck or armpit
- long-lasting diarrhoea
But remember: people who dont have HIV can also get any of these they can be the signs of other illnesses.
A weakened immune system may leave someone more open to serious infections such as:
What Tests Can Show That I Have Acute Hiv Infection
When HIV enters your body, it moves inside white blood cells called CD4 lymphocytes. HIV takes over the CD4 cells and makes billions of virus pieces each day. The virus pieces spread through your body.
Your body tries to defend itself against HIV by making the following:
Special cells called macrophages and natural killer T-cells. These cells help you to get rid of some of the virus pieces. If antibodies against HIV show up in your blood, you know your body is trying to protect you from the HIV infection you have picked up. However, it’s usually several months before your body makes enough antibodies to measure.
So at the time you have acute HIV syndrome, you probably won’t have enough HIV antibodies in your blood to measure, and this test can’t give you a diagnosis.
However, when you have acute HIV syndrome, you do have a high level of HIV RNA in your blood. A test can measure the amount of HIV RNA in your blood. This test tells your doctor that you’re feeling sick because you have acute HIV syndrome.
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What Are The Factors That Affect Disease Progression
The most important factor affecting HIV progression is the ability to achieve viral suppression. Taking antiretroviral therapy regularly helps many people slow the progression of HIV and reach viral suppression.
However, a variety of factors affect HIV progression, and some people progress through the phases of HIV more quickly than others.
Factors that affect HIV progression can include:
- Ability to achieve viral suppression. Whether someone can take their antiretroviral medications and achieve viral suppression is the most important factor by far.
- Age when symptoms start. Being older can result in faster progression of HIV.
- Health before treatment. If a person had other diseases, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis C, or other sexually transmitted diseases , it can affect their overall health.
- Timing of diagnosis. Another important factor is how soon a person was diagnosed after they contracted HIV. The longer between their diagnosis and treatment, the more time the disease has to progress unchecked.
- Lifestyle. Practicing an unhealthy lifestyle, such as having a poor diet and experiencing severe stress, can cause HIV to progress more quickly.
- Genetic history. Some people seem to progress more quickly through their disease given their genetic makeup.
Some factors can delay or slow the progression of HIV. These include:
Living a healthy lifestyle and seeing a healthcare provider regularly can make a big difference in a persons overall health.
Does It Help Me To Find Out I Have Hiv At An Early Stage
Yes. Right now, we have no cure for HIV infection. Your body can make antibodies and killer T-cells to slow down the progress of HIV, but they can’t get rid of the virus. In fact, the very act of going after HIV may wear out your immune system in a short time.
However, we know that treatment with HIV medicines can hold down the virus and keep your body’s immune system strong for a longer time. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends early treatment of people with acute HIV syndrome.
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When Do The Symptoms Of Hiv Go Away
These early HIV symptoms are called acute retroviral syndrome or acute HIV infection and are the bodys natural response. Symptoms, if they appear at all, usually disappear within a week to a month and are often mistaken for those of another viral infection. During this period, you are very infectious.