What Are Medications And Treatment Options For Hiv/aids
Many drugs have become available to fight both the HIV infection and its associated infections and cancers. These drugs have been called highly active antiretroviral therapy . More commonly, they are simply referred to as ART. Although these medications do not cure HIV/AIDS, antiretrovirals have greatly reduced HIV-related complications and deaths.
Therapy is initiated and individualized under the supervision of a physician who is an expert in the care of HIV-infected patients. A combination of at least three ART drugs is needed to suppress the virus from replicating and boost the immune system. How these drugs are combined depends on the most current treatment guidelines, individual patient preferences, other medical conditions, past treatment history, and any resistance mutations in the individual’s virus. Resistance mutations may already be present at the time of infection, thus most clinicians will test the patient’s virus for resistance mutations prior to starting or changing a regimen.
The earliest class of highly active antiretroviral therapy, reverse transcriptase inhibitor drugs, inhibit the ability of the virus to make copies of itself. The following are examples:
What Is The Risk Of Contracting Hiv From Blood Transfusions
The risk of contracting HIV from blood transfusions is very low less than one chance in a million.
Every unit of donated blood in Australia is laboratory screened for a wide range of blood-borne infections. These tests have included screening for HIV since March 1985. Screening tests for HIV involve:
- testing for the presence of HIV antibodies and part of the virus
- testing for the viruss genetic material this is called a nucleic acid test and is a more sensitive test to detect the presence of the virus itself.
Thanks to the development of NAT, the window period the time between infection and the detection of the virus in the blood has been reduced from around 22 days to 6 days. This method is also used to screen donated blood for hepatitis C virus.People at risk of HIV infection and some other infectious diseases are excluded from donating blood.
Needle And Syringe Programs
Needle and syringe programs provide clean needles or syringes to people who inject drugs, reducing the risk of the transmission of HIV and other blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C. This is sometimes referred to as needle exchange.
The types of NSP outlet vary, from participating pharmacies to vending machines. Find an NSP in your state or territory:
You can also find a local needle and syringe program using the healthdirect Service Finder. Select By name and type needle into the search bar.
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Using Safe Injection Practices
Intravenous drug use is a key means of HIV transmission. Sharing needles and other drug equipment can expose a person to HIV and other viruses, such as hepatitis C.
Anyone who injects any drug should do so with a clean, unused needle.
Needle exchange and addiction recovery programs can help reduce the prevalence of HIV.
Other Things You Should Do To Stay Well
As your immune system has been damaged by the virus, you’ll be encouraged to reduce the likelihood of developing other serious illnesses by making lifestyle changes. This might include:
- stopping smoking
- exercising regularly
- eating a healthy diet.
You will also be encouraged to ask questions and discuss how you are feeling about your health, your diagnosis and your future. It is really important that you care for your mental health as well as your physical health. Your HIV clinic should be able to help you through this process or refer you to a specialist psychological support service.
If you have dietary needs, HIV clinics should be able to offer you appointments with a dietician. They can advise you if you are on treatment but are struggling to manage your weight, experience sickness or diarrhoea which makes eating difficult, or if you have been told to take tablets with certain foods.
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How Do You Know You Have Hiv
You or your partner can have HIV and not know it. It can be months or years before you feel sick or have any serious signs, but you can still pass HIV to others. Though some people have no symptoms, signs of HIV may include: rapid weight loss, fever, diarrhea, night sweats, or feeling very tired. The only way to know for sure is to get tested.
How Is Hiv Transmitted Or Spread
The following are the means by which the HIV virus is spread:
Vertical transmission. HIV can be spread to babies born to, or breastfed by, mothers infected with the virus.
Sexual contact. In adults and adolescents, HIV is spread most commonly by sexual contact with an infected partner. The virus enters the body through the lining of the vagina, vulva, penis, rectum, or abraded or irritated tissues in the lining of the mouth through sexual activity.
Blood contamination. HIV may also be spread through contact with infected blood. However, due to the screening of donated blood for evidence of HIV infection, the risk of acquiring HIV from blood transfusions is extremely low.
Needles. HIV is frequently spread by sharing needles, syringes, or drug use equipment with someone who is infected with the virus. Transmission from patient to health care worker, or vice-versa, through accidental sticks with contaminated needles or other medical instruments, is rare.
No known cases of HIV/AIDS have been spread by the following:
Enlarged lymph nodes
An HIV-infected child is usually diagnosed with AIDS when the immune system becomes severely damaged or other types of infections occur. As the immune system deteriorates, complications begin to develop. The following are some common complications, or symptoms, of the onset of AIDS. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
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Some People Are More Likely To Get Hiv Than Others
Regular testing is highly recommended for certain groups of people who are at a higher risk of becoming infected:
- men who have sex with men
- black African heterosexuals
- people who share drug taking equipment such as needles or syringes.
In the UK, the vast majority of people contract HIV through unprotected anal or vaginal sex.
The risk of catching it through unprotected oral sex is much lower, but is significantly higher if the person giving oral sex has bleeding gums, sores or ulcers. The virus is not transmitted through saliva but can be passed on through blood from these sores.
Of all HIV diagnoses in the UK in 2017:
- 53% were in gay or bisexual men
- 38% were in black African men or women
- 3% contracted HIV through sharing injecting equipment.
There are also a high number of undiagnosed cases. It has been estimated that almost 8,000 people in the UK are living with HIV without knowing, and could be passing the virus on to others.
If you test positive for HIV, you should tell all of your current partners and anyone else that you have had sex with in the last three months. They may have contracted HIV and it is important for them to get tested. It can be difficult to talk to people about your diagnosis. If youd like some support, reply to one of our text messages. Our clinical team are on hand to support you. If your clinic confirmatory test is positive, the clinic staff will advise you about confidential partner notification services.
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.
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How Do I Get Tested
Thats simple. Just make a booking with your healthcare provider, sexual health clinic or doctor. If you are in NSW you can find a test site near you here.
Alternatively, if you are in Sydney you can also book a test at a a fast, free and confidential rapid HIV testing and STI screening service for gay guys.
Treatment Reduces The Amount Of Hiv In The Blood
- The amount of HIV in the blood is called viral load.
- Taking your HIV medicine as prescribed will help keep your viral load low and your CD4 cell count high.
- HIV medicine can make the viral load very low . Viral suppression is defined as having less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
- HIV medicine can make the viral load so low that a test cant detect it .
- If your viral load goes down after starting HIV treatment, that means treatment is working. Continue to take your medicine as prescribed.
- If you skip your medications, even now and then, you are giving HIV the chance to multiply rapidly. This could weaken your immune system, and you could become sick.
- Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best way to stay healthy and protect others.
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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.
Hospital Workers And Hiv
Hospital workers can become infected with HIV if they accidentally prick themselves with a needle or other sharp instrument contaminated with HIV. However, only a very small number of hospital workers around the world have become infected with HIV in this way.
Preventive treatment, which may reduce the chance of HIV getting into the bloodstream, is available for healthcare workers who have accidentally pricked themselves with a needle or other sharp instrument contaminated with HIV. This is known as post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP. The health of healthcare workers in this situation is monitored closely.
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Having A Medication Routine
Taking HIV medication as prescribed is essential missing even a few doses might jeopardize the treatment.
A person should design a daily medication-taking routine that fits their treatment plan and schedule.
Sometimes, side effects keep people from sticking with their treatment plans. If any side effect is hard to manage, contact a healthcare provider. They can recommend a drug that is easier to tolerate and suggest other changes to the treatment plan.
Is There A Vaccine For Hiv
Currently, there are no vaccines to prevent or treat HIV. Research and testing on experimental vaccines are ongoing, but none are close to being approved for general use.
HIV is a complicated virus. It mutates rapidly and is often able to fend off immune system responses. Only a small number of people who have HIV develop broadly neutralizing antibodies, the kind of antibodies that can respond to a range of HIV strains.
The first HIV vaccine efficacy study in 7 years was underway in South Africa in 2016. The experimental vaccine is an updated version of one used in a 2009 trial that took place in Thailand.
A 3.5-year follow-up after vaccination showed the vaccine was 31.2 percent effective in preventing HIV transmission.
The study involves 5,400 men and women from South Africa. In 2016 in South Africa, about contracted HIV. The results of the study are expected in 2021.
Other late-stage, multinational vaccine clinical trials are also currently underway.
Other research into an HIV vaccine is also ongoing.
While theres still no vaccine to prevent HIV, people with HIV can benefit from other vaccines to prevent HIV-related illnesses. Here are the CDC recommendations:
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How Common Is Hiv
At the end of 2017, there were an estimated 5099 people in Scotland living with HIV. The majority got the virus through sex.
Around 1 in every 1087 people in the Scotland has HIV, but the three groups with highest rates of HIV are:
- gay and bisexual men or other men who have sex with men
- people from countries with high HIV prevalence, especially sub Saharan African countries
- people who share injecting equipment or who have sex with people who inject drugs
The World Health Organisation estimates that around 36.9 million people in the world are living with HIV.
Are Hiv Medicines Used At Other Times To Prevent Hiv Transmission
Yes, HIV medicines are also used for post-exposure prophylaxis and to prevent perinatal transmission of HIV.
- Post-exposure prophylaxis PEP means taking HIV medicines within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV to prevent HIV infection. PEP should be used only in emergency situations. It is not meant for regular use by people who may be exposed to HIV frequently. For more information, read the HIVinfo fact sheet on Post-Exposure Prophylaxis .
- Prevention of perinatal transmission of HIVPregnant women with HIV take HIV medicines for their own health and to prevent perinatal transmission of HIV. After birth, babies born to women with HIV receive HIV medicine to protect them from infection with any HIV that may have passed from mother to child during childbirth. For more information, read the HIVinfo fact sheet on Preventing Perinatal Transmission of HIV.
Ways Hiv Is Not Transmitted
How well does HIV survive outside the body?
HIV does not survive long outside the human body , and it cannot reproduce outside a human host. It is not transmitted
- Through saliva, tears, or sweat.
- Through other sexual activities that dont involve the exchange of body fluids .
- Through the air.
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Whats The Importance Of Treatment
There is still no cure or vaccine for HIV. However, a range of antiretroviral medications are now available. Read more about HIV treatment here.
Its really important to be on treatment if youre HIV positive, as this will help you maintain your health and can prevent the virus from being transmitted to other guys. If left untreated, HIV can lead to severe AIDS-related illnesses.
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Contaminated Blood Transfusions And Organ/tissue Transplants
- receiving blood transfusions, blood products, or organ/tissue transplants that are contaminated with HIV. This risk is extremely small because most countries test blood products for HIV first.
If adequate safety practices are not in place, healthcare workers can also be at risk of HIV from cuts made by a needle or sharp object with infected blood on it. However, the risk of occupational exposure, is very low in most countries.
If you think you have been exposed to HIV, the only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test.
New Hiv Treatment Options To End Aids
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Game-changing HIV research provides new treatment options for people with HIV and gives hope to end AIDS by 2030.Remarkable progress has been made in prevention and treatment of HIV infections since the first AIDS case was diagnosed nearly 41 years ago, thanks to the untiring efforts of scientists, medical professionals, affected communities and activists. Though there is still no cure for HIV yet, it is possible for people living with HIV to have a good quality and length of life if they get diagnosed early on, and receive full spectrum of treatment, care and support.
Highlights of new HIV treatment optionsAntiretroviral therapyFlexible dosing window of seven daysAny difference between oral and injectable antiretroviral medicines?New options to prevent HIVVaginal RingNew drugs for both HIV treatment and prevention“We want choices for everyone”
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