How To Avoid Getting Hiv
Abstinence, or not having sex, is the only type of protection that works every time. But if you are having sex, you can lower your risk if you:
- Use a condom every time you have sex
- Get tested for HIV and STDs
- Limit the number of people you have sex with
- Donât inject yourself with drugs
Talk to your doctor right away if you think youâve been exposed to the virus. They can help you figure out next steps.
Hiv Care Saves Lives Infographic
Viral suppression is the goal of HIV medical care. There are four key steps:
Step 1: HIV testing and diagnosis.
- About 14% of people living with HIV have never been diagnosed.
- Everyone needs to be tested to find out if they have HIV so they can start getting the medical care needed for viral suppression and reduce their risk of transmitting the virus to others.
Step 2: Getting and keeping people living with HIV in medical care.
- Only 40% of people living with HIV have received regular HIV medical care.
- Once in medical care, people can get HIV medicines and prevention services to help them stay healthy and protect their partners.
- Doctors, nurses, and other health care providers can use strategies, such as appointment reminders, to help patients stay in care.
Step 3: Prescribing HIV medicines.
- Only 37% of people living with HIV are prescribed HIV medicines. Too many have not been diagnosed or are not in HIV medical care.
- However, of patients in HIV medical care, 92% are prescribed HIV medicines.
- Doctors, nurses, and other health care providers should prescribe HIV medicines to everyone with HIV to lower the amount of virus in the body.
Step 4: Helping patients achieve viral suppression.
HIV care Continuum Shows Where Improvements are NeededOf the 1.2 million people living with HIV, 86% are diagnosed, 40% are engaged in care, 37% are prescribed antiretroviral medicines, and 30% are virally suppressed.
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Telling Your Partner And Former Partners
If you have HIV, it’s important your current sexual partner and any sexual partners you’ve had since becoming infected are tested and treated.
Some people can feel angry, upset or embarrassed about discussing HIV with their current or former partners. Discuss your concerns with a GP or the clinic staff.
They’ll be able to advise you about who should be contacted and the best way to contact them, or they may be able to contact them on your behalf.
They’ll also advise you about disclosing your status to future partners and how you can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to someone else.
Nobody can force you to tell any of your partners you have HIV, but it’s strongly recommended that you do.
Left untested and untreated, HIV can have devastating consequences, and eventually lead to serious illness and death.
What Else Can I Do To Take Care Of Myself
Many of the things we do to take care of ourselves are common sense, such as eating well, exercising and getting plenty of rest and sleep.
However, if youre living with HIV, checking in with your healthcare professional regularly is also important. They should monitor you for other health conditions, which you may experience more as you age, and adjust your treatment as needed.
Teeth and mouth complaints are more common among people living with HIV. Regular brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist can lower the risk of cavities and mouth infections.
Despite Medical Advances People With Hiv Still Live Shorter Sicker Lives
THURSDAY, June 18, 2020 — HIV may not be the death sentence it was 20 or 30 years ago, but people who are HIV-positive still face much shorter lives than other adults — even if they’re treated with medications that make the virus undetectable.
A new study reports that people who were HIV-positive at age 21 had an average life expectancy of 56 years — nine years fewer than their virus-free peers.
The likely reason: a weaker immune system and a greater risk for other chronic health issues, even when HIV is kept in check.
“Our findings suggest that people with HIV who initiate treatment early are approaching the same lifespan as people without HIV, but that we need to be paying closer attention to preventing comorbidities among people with HIV,” said lead author Dr. Julia Marcus, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
When antiretroviral therapy — or HAART — was introduced for HIV treatment in 1996, it was a game-changer.
Taken daily, the medications can suppress the virus to undetectable levels, keeping patients healthy and eliminating the risk of sexual transmission. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends starting HAART immediately after an HIV diagnosis.
To find out, they reviewed disease and death histories drawn from Kaiser Permanente records for nearly 430,000 people between 2000 and 2016. About 39,000 were HIV-positive, and nearly nine in 10 of these patients were male .
JAMA Network Open
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How Do I Know If I Have Hiv
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. Testing is relatively simple. You can ask your health care provider for an HIV test. Many medical clinics, substance abuse programs, community health centers, and hospitals offer them too. You can also buy a home testing kit at a pharmacy or online.
To find an HIV testing location near you, use the HIV Services Locator.
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. Some health departments or community-based organizations also provide self-test kits for free.
Read the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations fact sheet on the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test, the only FDA-approved in-home HIV test.
The coronavirus pandemic has made it more difficult for some people to access traditional places where HIV testing is provided. Self-testing allows people to get tested for HIV while still following stay-at-home orders and social distancing practices. Ask your local health department or HIV service organization if they offer self-testing kits.
Symptoms Of Hiv Infection
Most people experience a short flu-like illness 2 to 6 weeks after HIV infection, which lasts for a week or 2.
After these symptoms disappear, HIV may not cause any symptoms for many years, although the virus continues to damage your immune system.
This means many people with HIV do not know they’re infected.
Anyone who thinks they could have HIV should get tested.
Some people are advised to have regular tests as they’re at particularly high risk.
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What Is Antiretroviral Therapy
Antiretroviral therapy is used in the treatment and prevention of HIV infection. Antiretroviral drugs work against HIV by stopping or interfering with the reproduction of the virus in the body. Antiretroviral drugs have been able to slow the progression from HIV to AIDS, so that some persons who are HIV positive have lived twenty or more years without developing the symptoms of AIDS. This is a real triumph, as HIV positive persons are able to live relatively normal and active lives, provided they take ART treatment regularly .
When taken the right way, ART greatly reduces the amount of HIV in the blood . In some individuals taking these drugs the HIV viral load becomes undetectable, and when this happens there is little if any risk they will transmit HIV to a partner . It isnt known if someone with an undetectable HIV viral load is able to transmit the virus through sharing needles and injecting equipment, though.
People Are Living Longer Thanks To Treatment
According to the new research, which retrospectively analysed data from 88,504 patients starting treatment over three-year periods between 1996 and 2010, life expectancy rose by nine years for woman, and ten years for men. This means that a 20 year-old person living with HIV in these regions, starting treatment after 2008, can now expect to live to 78.
This figure is very much reflective of the improvements in antiretroviral agents, along with the expanded access of effective HIV treatment and care programmes. Antiretroviral drugs are less toxic, with fewer side-effects. Screening and managing drug resistance is easier, and we now have more options for switching drugs in the event that resistance occurs. The onset of opportunistic infections and screening for and managing other related co-morbidities is better integrated into programming meaning people with HIV are experiencing better health outcomes.
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Life Expectancy The Numbers
Based on its analysis, the research team predicted that the average life expectancy of a 20-year-old person in the U.S. or Canada who began ART shortly after he or she became HIV positive should be around 70. However, this is just an average figure, and some groups will have shorter or longer life expectancy. Below are the estimated life expectancies of a 20-year-old person in different groups in 2009, starting with HIV-negative people for comparison. At the end of the figures we provide possible explanations for these results:
- HIV-negative men in Canada 80 years
- HIV-negative men in the U.S. 77 years
- HIV-negative women in Canada 84 years
- HIV-negative women in the U.S. 82 years
CD4+ count when ART was initiated
- less than 350 cells 59 years
- 350 or more cells 75 years
These life expectancies should be compared to the time before ART became available when, on average, HIV-positive people in high-income countries lived for between 10 and 12 years after diagnosis.
How Can I Tell A Partner That I Am Hiv Positive
Before you tell a partner about your HIV status, its important that you first come to terms yourself with having HIV. If you dont understand and accept the fact that you have HIV it will be even more difficult for a partner to. It will also be important to know the basic steps that you can take to reduce the risk to your partner. You will want to feel confident and knowledgeable before talking with your partner.
When you do talk to your partner, choose your own words and way of telling your partner. Whats comfortable for one person may be different for another. Some examples of what has worked for people in the past:
- I want to talk with you about something thats important to me.
- I really feel I can trust you and I want to tell you something very personal. Last year, I found out I have HIV. Can I tell you about it?
- I really like you and enjoy being with you, and I want to get closer to you. Lets talk about safer sex.
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Longer Life Expectancy For Hiv
Large studies, primarily from Western Europe, the U.S. and Australia, have found that potent combination anti-HIV therapy has led to tremendous improvement in the health of HIV-positive people. In Canada and other high-income countries, AIDS-related infections are uncommon for HIV-positive people who are in care and who are taking ART. As a result, researchers increasingly expect that a young adult who is infected with HIV today and who begins ART shortly thereafter and who takes his or her medicine every day exactly as directed and who does not have untreated co-existing health issuessuch as addiction, depression, schizophrenia, co-infection with hepatitis C virusis likely to live for several decades.
Until recently, analyses of life expectancy for large numbers of HIV-positive people in Canada and the U.S. were not available. Now a consortium of researchers across the continent has pooled health-related data collected from HIV-positive people and analysed their life expectancy. The researchers found that overall the life expectancy for HIV-positive people has increased over the past decade and is approaching that of HIV-negative people. However, not all key groups affected by HIV are experiencing the same degree of life expectancy. In this bulletin we explain which groups are affected and offer possible reasons for the observed differences.
Gains And Losses In Life Years
Factors that influence life expectancy are either static or dynamic .
Static factors, like race or sexual orientation, influence life expectancy because they are ones people are often unable to escape. For example, high levels of poverty in Black communities combined with a lack of access to health care and high levels of HIV stigma take back many of the gains seen in White communities.
Dynamic factors, by comparison, have a strong cause-and-effect relation to survival times. For instance, treatment adherence is directly related to disease progression. The less adherence is maintained, the greater the risk of drug resistance and treatment failure. With each failure, a person loses more and more treatment options.
When looking at both static and dynamic risk factors, we can begin to identify where an individual can gain or lose life-years without even knowing it. Among them:
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What Is Usually The First Sign Of Hiv
- 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.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
No two people with HIV will have the same symptoms, and some may not have any at all. But the infection can cause some common changes over time.
In the first few weeks: These first, flu-like symptoms happen because your body is reacting to HIV. Your immune system is trying to fight it off. The symptoms at this stage can include:
- Aches and pains in muscles and joints
Keep in mind that even if you have these symptoms, that doesnât automatically mean you are HIV-positive. Many different illnesses can cause these problems. Talk to a doctor or an HIV testing facility if you think you might be infected.
At this early stage of HIV infection, itâs important to know that you may not get accurate results from an HIV test. It can take 3-12 weeks for enough signs of the virus to show up on routine tests for the infection, which measure antibodies against HIV. A new kind of screening, called a nucleic acid test, can detect the virus itself during this early stage, but itâs expensive and not usually used for routine HIV testing.
Let the testing site or your doctor know if you think you might be recently infected. Also, be sure to use a condom every time you have sex, and take other steps to prevent spreading the virus.
After years with untreated HIV, youâre likely to get infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that your body is no longer strong enough to fight off. They can be a sign that your infection has gone from HIV to AIDS. You might have:
- Weight loss
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What Do I Do If I Find Out I Have Hiv
Millions of people have HIV youre definitely not alone. Most people get at least one STD in their lifetime, and having HIV or another STD is nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about. It doesnt mean youre dirty or a bad person.
Finding out that you have HIV can be really upsetting. You might feel mad, embarrassed, scared, or ashamed at first. But youll probably feel better as time goes by having a good support system and getting counseling really helps. There are medicines you can take to help you stay healthy, and lots of ways to avoid giving HIV to anyone you have sex with. The reality is, people with HIV can be in relationships, have sex, and live normal lives by taking a few precautions.
Although theres no cure for HIV, there are medicines that help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV treatment called antiretroviral therapy lowers the amount of virus in your body . This does two things:
Slows down the effects of HIV in your body, which keeps you healthy.
Lowers or even stops your chances of giving HIV to sexual partners.
Some people on ART have such a small amount of virus in their body, they cant transmit HIV to their sexual partners at all.
Even if youre feeling totally fine right now, see a doctor as soon as you can so you can talk about the best ways to stay healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions hotline can help you find a doctor near you who specializes in treating HIV: 1-800-CDC-INFO .
Mortality In The First Year Of Hiv Treatment
A total of 2,106 people died in the first year of starting ART and 2,302 people died during the 15,813 person-years included in the study.
People starting HIV treatment in later years were much less likely to die in the first year of treatment than people starting HIV treatment in earlier years . The increased availability of more effective and better tolerated HIV medications over time is likely to have contributed to this disparity, the authors said. Mortality in the first year of HIV treatment was strongly influenced by people starting treatment very late in their HIV infection .
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What Life Expectancy Really Means
Scientists estimate life expectancy by looking at large numbers of people and collecting information about demographics and various health risk factors . Then they learn as much as possible about when and how these people die.
At the end of that analysis, researchers reach a number: an average life span. It’s not a magic number, though. In general, about half of all people die before reaching that average life span, while the other half will live longer than the average.
Many factors can influence whether a person lives longer or shorter than the average person. In fact, even the average itself can be up for debate. Estimating life expectancy is an imprecise science that requires tons of data, and because each study on life expectancy is conducted differently and examines a different group of people, they may not reach the same numbers.
On top of that, it’s often difficult for researchers to capture important variables that could affect life expectancy estimates, such as lifetime tobacco use. A person’s actual cause of death is frequently not recorded. Even after all the data is crunched, there are different ways to report it. For example, scientists can estimate life expectancy from a person’s year of birth, or they can instead estimate the number of additional years of life a person could expect to live if they were currently of a certain age.