How Do People Get Hiv
HIV spreads when infected blood or body fluids enter the body. This can happen:
HIV also can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
HIV is NOT spread through:
- pee, poop, spit, throw-up, or sweat
- coughing or sneezing
- sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses
Ways Hiv Cannot Be Spread
HIV is not spread by:
- Air or water
- Mosquitoes, ticks or other insects
- Saliva, tears, or sweat that is not mixed with the blood of a person with HIV
- Shaking hands hugging sharing toilets sharing dishes, silverware, or drinking glasses or engaging in closed-mouth or social kissing with a person with HIV
- Drinking fountains
Taking Antiretroviral Treatment For Hiv
If youve been diagnosed with HIV then starting treatment as soon as possible is the first step to taking care of yourself and keeping your immune system strong. Although antiretroviral treatment is not a cure for HIV, it does keep the virus under control.
Like a lot of medication, you may experience some side effects in the first few months. If they persist and are affecting your quality of life, you should be able to switch to a different drug regimen.
Once you start treatment, the key to staying well is to make sure that you take it regularly as prescribed which usually means every day at the same time. Skipping doses, or taking it at different times each day, will stop it from protecting your immune system.
If youre having problems taking your HIV treatment, talk to your healthcare professional as soon as possible to get help and support
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Will Having Hiv Affect My Pregnancy
Babies can get infected with HIV during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding thats why its recommended that everyone get tested early in pregnancy. If you have HIV, antiretroviral medications greatly lower your chances of giving HIV to your baby. With treatment, less than 2 out of 100 babies born to women with HIV will be infected. Without treatment, about 25 out of 100 babies will be infected.
How Common Is Mother
In the UK all pregnant women are offered an HIV test, because transmission can now be easily prevented.
Once its known that the mother-to-be is living with HIV, shell be put on treatment right away. The doctors will instruct her on how to protect the baby during pregnancy, delivery and once the baby is born. Shell also be advised not to breast feed and the baby will be given a course of HIV treatment.
Thanks to those strategies theres now less than 1% chance of the baby having HIV. This falls to 0.1% if the mother is on treatment with an undetectable viral load. Back when those interventions were not known and commonly used, the risk of transmission was 30-45%.
Managing Stress And Supporting Mental Health
Anyone who has concerns about their mental or emotional health should let a healthcare professional know. Some available treatments can improve a persons quality of life and help them cope with other pressures.
Some nonmedical ways of managing stress and mood disorders include:
- relaxation activities, mindfulness, and meditation
- alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, and aromatherapy
- art or music therapies
A woman with HIV can become pregnant and deliver a healthy baby. However, it is important to take precautions to avoid passing on the virus to the baby.
These measures include:
- staying in close contact with the doctor or midwife
- taking HIV treatments exactly as prescribed
- having a cesarean delivery, in most cases
- the doctor giving special medication that combats HIV to the newborn
- refraining from breastfeeding
In 99% of cases, when the doctor and mother follow the guidelines above, the baby does not have HIV, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The Response Of Medical Professionals After Diagnosis
Bisi was fortunate with the response to his diagnosis, and was told that he could get help.
“I actually got diagnosed at an HIV conference, so the amount of inspiration around me gave me a very solid foundation to build upon the little hope I had.”
He also had friends who had been living for a long time with the virus, offering comfort, but it was still a hard thing to accept. And sadly, not every person is instantly reassured that a long life is possible with HIV.
Nathaniel was told that he had a prognosis of 37 years. The shadow of what HIV meant in the 1980s also loomed over him. A few months later, as HIV healthcare continued to develop rapidly, he was told that medication could keep him alive well into old age.
“I still felt a seriousness about starting medication, as I’d heard of people having adverse side effects. Nowadays, thankfully, people start medication right away and the side effects are less severe. All the staff at my clinic were kind and supportive, but HIV is often separated from other STIs as being more serious. It sometimes feels like people are over-protecting you,” he says.
Similarly, Musa Njoko, 49, wasn’t given hope for the future following her diagnosis in October 1994.
“I was completely perplexed and devastated. Due to my health at the time and what was available medically, or lack thereof, I was given three months to live if I was lucky. I had a 2-year-old son, who is now 28.”
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What Is The Prognosis Of Untreated Hiv Infection
The prognosis in patients with untreated HIV infection is poor, with an overall mortality rate of more than 90%. The average time from infection to death is 8-10 years, although individual variability ranges from less than 1 year to long-term nonprogression. Many variables have been implicated in HIV’s rate of progression, including CCR5-delta32 heterozygosity, mental health, concomitant drug or alcohol abuse, superinfection with another HIV strain, nutrition, and age.
How Does Hiv Spread
HIV spreads when blood or certain bodily fluids that have high amounts of active virus are exposed to ones bloodstream.
For a person to contract HIV, there must be enough active virus in the fluid that encounters the bloodstream. This can occur through:
- a mucous membrane, or moist skin, such as in the mouth, rectum, penis, or vagina
- a significant opening in the skin
Transmission of the virus most often happens during anal or vaginal sex, but it can also occur by sharing needles.
Factors that affect the survival of HIV outside the body include:
- Temperature. HIV stays alive and active when kept in the cold but is killed by heat.
- Sunlight. Ultraviolet light in sunshine damages the virus, so its no longer able to reproduce.
- Amount of virus in the fluid. Generally, the higher the level of HIV virus in the fluid, the longer it will take for all of it to become inactive.
- Level of acidity. HIV survives best at a pH around 7 and becomes inactive when the environment is even just a little more or less acidic.
- Environmental humidity. Drying will lower the viral concentration of active virus as well.
When any of these factors arent perfect for HIV in its environment, survival time of the virus goes down.
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Newly Diagnosed With Hiv
What does an HIV diagnosis mean?
- If you receive an HIV diagnosis, it means that you have HIV.
- Unlike some other viruses, the human body cant get rid of HIV completely. Once you have HIV, you have it for life.
- But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. People with HIV who get effective HIV treatment can live long, healthy lives and protect their partners.
What should I do if I just got diagnosed with HIV?
Aids Or Hiv Life Expectancy Without Medication
How long can you live with HIV or AIDS if you chose not to treat with ART combinations or other prescription drugs? In the absence of such therapy, a patient should expect to see a notable decrease in life expectancy.
In countries where health care and ARTs arent readily accessible, HIV rates are above 20 percent. Shorter HIV life expectancy in these regions, combined with a high incidence of AIDS in younger age groups, boosts their overall mortality rate.
Population studies proved that AIDS patients who did not take HIV medications survived for roughly three years. Once they developed a dangerous opportunistic illness, life expectancy with AIDS decreased to one year or less.
Thats why HIV and AIDS remain a serious threat to public health, and why early detection is absolutely critical to long-term survival.
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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.
The Bottom Line On Hiv And Life Expectancy
After I explained all of this to my skeptical patient John, I repeated the good news that comes out of these life expectancy data: While it’s impossible to accurately predict how long any single person will live, as a group, the life expectancy for people living with HIV has dramatically improved, and continues to improve. In clinic after clinic, across the U.S. and in nations around the world, the death toll from AIDS has dropped and the average life expectancy has increased, as has the quality of those longer lives.
I also told John what I tell all my patients these days: My goal is to help ensure that both the duration and quality of his life end up well above those averages.
, is the senior vice president and chief medical officer of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care and an adjunct professor at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.
Benjamin Young, M.D., Ph.D.
Ben Young, M.D., Ph.D., is a highly regarded HIV physician-researcher at the forefront of efforts to establish better coordinated care for people living with HIV. He was a Q& A expert and writer on TheBody for nearly 20 years, leaving in 2018.
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Treatment Helps Prevent Transmission To Others
- If you have an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
- Having an undetectable viral load may also help prevent transmission from injection drug use. We dont have data about whether having an undetectable viral load prevents transmission through sharing needles, syringes, or other injection equipment . It very likely reduces the risk, but we dont know by how much.
- Having an undetectable viral load also helps prevent transmission from mother to baby. If a mother with HIV takes HIV medicine as prescribed throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery and gives HIV medicine to her baby for 4 to 6 weeks after birth, the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby can be 1% or less.
- Having an undetectable viral load reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to the baby through breastfeeding, but doesnt eliminate the risk. The current recommendation in the United States is that mothers with HIV should not breastfeed their babies.
Growing Older With Hiv
Today, thanks to improvements in the effectiveness of treatment with HIV medicine , people with HIV who are diagnosed early and who get and stay on ART can keep the virus suppressed and live long and healthy lives. For this reason, nearly half of people living with diagnosed HIV in the United States are aged 50 and older. Many of them have been living with HIV for many years others were diagnosed with HIV later in life.
Thats a significant change from the early years of the epidemic when people who were diagnosed with HIV or AIDS could expect to live only 1-2 years after their diagnosis. This meant that the issues of aging were not a major focus for people with HIV disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , in 2018, over half of people in the United States and dependent areas with diagnosed HIV were aged 50 and older. In addition, people aged 50 and older accounted for 17% of the 37,968 new HIV diagnoses in 2018 in the United States and dependent areas. Though new HIV diagnoses are declining among people aged 50 and older, around 1 in 6 HIV diagnoses in 2018 were in this group.
People over age 50 with HIV make up 46.8% of the over half a million clients served by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program . In 2019, 92.2% of clients aged 50 and older receiving RWHAP HIV medical care were virally suppressed, which was higher than the national RWHAP average .
How Long Can You Live With Hiv Very
Roz Woodward for Photodisc via Thinkstock
Just this past week, I met John , a 50-year-old long-term survivor with HIV, in our clinic in Denver, Colorado. He was on a well-tolerated treatment regimen, had an undetectable viral load and normal CD4 count. He asked me about new studies on HIV treatments, and about both his projected quality and quantity of life.
I told him that, on average, life expectancy for people living with HIV — provided they get tested, find their way into a care center, initiate antiretroviral treatment and continue taking that treatment regularly — is similar to people who don’t have HIV infection.
He gave me a suspicious look. “Are you sure?” he asked.
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.
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How Are Hiv And Aids Treated
Medicines can help people with HIV stay healthy. They can also prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS.
Health care providers prescribe a combination of different medicines for people with HIV and AIDS. They must be taken exactly as prescribed or they won’t work. These medicines:
- help keep the number of CD4 cells high
- reduce the viral load of HIV
Regular blood tests will check the number of CD4 cells in the body and the viral load.
If an HIV-positive person’s CD4 count gets low, doctors prescribe daily antibiotics. This prevents pneumocystis pneumonia, which happens in people with weakened immune systems.
Taking Care Of Yourself When Living With Hiv
Starting antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible, and sustaining it as part of your everyday routine, is the best way of ensuring that your immune system stays strong.
Exercising regularly, eating well, getting enough rest and quality sleep are all vital to maintaining your health.
Your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical health. Talking about your concerns with family, friends or a support group can really help.
Having HIV doesnt have to stop you living a healthy life in the way that you choose to do. With the right treatment and care, you can expect to live as long as someone who doesnt have HIV. Find out how you can look after yourself and stay healthy.
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Mortality In The Second And Third Years Of Hiv Treatment
There were dramatic declines in mortality rate in the second and third years of HIV treatment over time from 1996 to 2010. These declines were consistent across North America and Europe, different age groups, and different CD4 cell counts when ART was started. However, people who inject drugs had higher mortality rates than other people.
Improvements in survival during the second and third years of ART are probably caused by increased viral suppression, declining rates of viral failure, and increasing treatment options, the authors said. Simpler regimens might have contributed to improvements in both short-term and long-term adherence to ART.
How Long Does Hiv Live Outside The Body In Blood
HIV in blood from something like a cut or nosebleed can be active for several days, even in dried blood. The amount of virus is small, though, and unable to easily transmit infection.
HIV survival time in fluid outside of the body can increase when a small amount is left in a syringe. After an injection in someone with high levels of HIV, enough blood stays in the syringe to transmit the virus. Since its inside a syringe, the blood isnt as exposed to air as it is on other surfaces.
According to the , when the temperature and other conditions are just right, HIV can live as long as 42 days in a syringe, but this typically involves refrigeration.
HIV lives the longest in a syringe at room temperature, but can still live up to
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