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.
Diagnosis Of Acute Hiv Infection
The only way to confirm an acute HIV infection diagnosis is to be tested for HIV. There are different types of tests, depending on how long it has been since the personâs potential exposure to the HIV virus. Testing will involve either a sample of fluid swabbed from the mouth, or a blood sample.
Antibody tests are the most common tests for HIV, including rapid tests and home tests. Antibody tests screen for HIV-1 antibodies, which are produced by the immune system after exposure to the HIV virus. It takes at least three weeks, and sometimes up to 12 weeks, for a person to develop enough antibodies to be detectable in this type of test.
Combination, or fourth-generation, tests detect both HIV-1 antibodies and p24 antigens. The p24 antigen is part of the HIV virus and can be detected as early as two weeks after infection in some people, although for others it can take up to six weeks. The amount of p24 antigen in the blood is gradually reduced by antibodies, which makes it unsuitable for use in diagnosing HIV after the very early stages.
Nucleic acid tests detect the HIV virus itself in the blood. The test is expensive and usually only used in cases where high-risk exposure has occurred, or the person has symptoms of acute HIV infection. Nucleic acid tests can detect the HIV virus as early as one week after infection in some people, but it may take up to four weeks until detection is possible for others.
Multiclass Combination Drugs Or Single
The following combination drugs include both NRTIs and NNRTIs:
- doravirine, lamivudine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- efavirenz, lamivudine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- efavirenz, lamivudine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- · efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate
- emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
Symfi and Symfi Lo are made up of the same generic medications. However, Symfi Lo contains a smaller dose of efavirenz.
The following combination drugs include NRTIs, an INSTI, and the CYP3A inhibitor cobicistat:
- elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate
The following combination drugs include at least oneNRTI and an INSTI:
- abacavir, dolutegravir, and lamivudine
- bictegravir, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate
- dolutegravir and lamivudine
The following combination drug includes an NNRTI and an INSTI:
- dolutegravir and rilpivirine
The following combination drug includes NRTIs,a PI, and the CYP3A inhibitor cobicistat:
- darunavir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate
Many HIV drugs can cause temporary side effects when first used. In general, these effects can include:
Don’t Miss: Are Hiv And Aids The Same
Individual Symptoms Of Hiv Vary From One Person To Another If You Have An Active Sex Life Or Think You May Have Been Exposed To Hiv It Is Important To Get Tested Here Are Some Common Symptoms Of Hiv Many People Experience Severe Flu
Symptoms of HIV can vary between individuals however the first signs of infection generally appear within the first 1-2 months. Many, but not all, people will experience severe flu-like symptoms which is your bodys natural response to the virus. This is called the seroconversion period.
Its during this time that its crucial to identify if HIV is the cause, as your viral load is very high which greatly increases the risk of passing it on. And the only way to know for sure is by getting tested.
Rashes Caused By Another Infection Or Condition
Rashes associated with HIV can develop indirectly as the virus weakens the immune system. HIV destroys the cells of the immune system that are designed to fight infections, so if you are exposed to another virus, you may be more likely to become infected. If youre susceptible to rashes due to other conditions, you may experience more of these rashes because your immune system is already compromised.
- Insect bites or stings
The severity of your rash may depend on how healthy your immune system is. People with HIV need to monitor their health very closely, so its wise to make an appointment with your medical provider if you notice a rash developing. In addition, try to avoid itching the skin where the rash is since broken skin could increase the risk of infection.
Don’t Miss: How Long Can Hiv Lay Dormant
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.
What To Look For
Whether caused by an HIV medication or by HIV itself, this rash typically appears as a red, flattened area on your skin thats usually covered with small red bumps.A main symptom of the rash is itchiness. It can show up on any part of your body, but it most often occurs on the face and chest, and sometimes on the feet and hands. It can also cause mouth ulcers.
Also Check: When To Get Tested For Hiv
How Do You Get Hiv
HIV infection can occur in the following ways:
- Unprotected sexual intercourse, especially receptive anal intercourse
- Multiple sexual partners
- Sexually transmitted diseases: Chlamydia and gonorrhea infections increase the HIV transmission risk by three times; syphilis raises the transmission risk by seven times and genital herpes raises the infection risk by 25 times during an outbreak
- Sharing IV needles or injections
- Receiving HIV infected blood products
- Needle-stick injuries
- Maternal HIV infection : The risk of transmission can be reduced at birth by practices like cesarean delivery and prenatal antiretroviral therapy in the mother, and antiretroviral therapy in the newborn immediately after birth
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Aids
Having an infection with the HIV virus does not automatically mean that the patient has AIDS. As the HIV virus infects more and more CD4 cells and makes more copies of itself, the patients immune system gets overwhelmed and begins to falter. When the immune system breaks down due to HIV infection, opportunistic infections like fungal infections, pneumonias, and cancers can occur. When this level of HIV infection occurs, it is called AIDS .
Some of the signs and symptoms of progression of HIV to AIDS are:
Don’t Miss: What Are The Side Effects Of Hiv Aids
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.
To 28 Days After Exposure
The exception: a symptom called lymphadenopathy, the sometimes painful swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, behind the ears, under the armpits, or in the upper groin region. Even when the other symptoms have disappeared, lymphadenopathy may continue for months or even longer.
“The important thing to remember is that the resolution of symptoms does not mean the infection is gone,” says Dennis Sifris, MD, an HIV specialist with the Lifesense Disease Management Group, located in South Africa. “HIV is not like hepatitis, which can spontaneously clear. HIV is forever and is better treated sooner rather than later.”
Read Also: How Can Hiv Be Cured
How Long Do Symptoms Last
As mentioned, acute hives will usually disappear within 24 hours. It might seem like longer, though, because new hives may appear when old ones go away. In total, you could be dealing with hives for six weeks.
If you have chronic hives, however, the hives will last for longer than six weeks. They may be recurring and may come up at seemingly random times over the course of many months or years.
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
Read Also: Does Cookie Johnson Have Hiv
Acute Hiv Infection Faqs
Q: When does acute HIV infection occur?A: Acute HIV infection is the first stage of HIV infection. Some people may feel ill with flu-like symptoms two to four weeks after being infected with HIV, while other people who have contracted HIV develop no symptoms at all.
Q: How long do acute HIV infection symptoms last?A: The symptoms of acute HIV infection, which can include flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph glands and mouth ulcers, generally last a few weeks. See the section on Symptoms of acute HIV infection.
Q: How is acute HIV infection treated?A: Acute HIV infection should be treated with antiretroviral drugs as soon as possible after diagnosis. Antiretroviral therapy can help slow the progression of HIV by decades.
Still Think You Might Have Hiv Get Checked By A Health Care Professional
If you have some of the symptoms we’ve been discussing, you need to see a health care provider. Something is making you feel unwell, and you may need treatment. Medical professionals have the training and the diagnostic tools to identify the cause of the problem.
If you are concerned that HIV could be the cause, mention it to your provider. If you’ve recently had a sexual encounter that could have exposed you to HIV, then HIV should be among the possibilities that are considered. Similarly, if you’ve recently shared injecting equipment or could have been exposed to HIV in another way, you need to be candid about this. If your current health care provider makes you feel uncomfortable or judges you when you bring up these topics, know that you don’t have to put up with it: There are many other providers out there who will be more understanding.
Your provider may want to ask you in some detail about the incident you are concerned about. This is so he or she can assess whether it really could have exposed you to HIV. It’s quite common for people to become overly worried about an event and convince themselves that it’s given them HIV. It’s possible that you are anxious about an incident that, in fact, poses no HIV risk at all.
But, if you have the symptoms mentioned above and it’s possible that you were exposed to HIV in recent weeks , then HIV needs to be considered. Your provider should include an HIV test among the other tests that are run.
You May Like: Does Walgreens Do Hiv Testing
Symptom : Nausea Vomiting And Diarrhoea
Many people experience digestive system problems as a symptom of the early stages of HIV. However, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea can also appear in later stages of infection, usually as the result of an opportunistic infection.
It is important to stay hydrated. Diarrhoea that is unremitting and not responding to usual therapy might be an indication of HIV.
To 14 Days After Exposure
Known as acute retroviral syndrome, or ARS, the acute stage occurs immediately after being infected, when the immune system has yet to control the virus. During this time, an estimated 40 percent to 90 percent of people will experience mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, whereas the rest wont experience any symptoms at all.
Although these signs typically appear within 7 to 14 days of exposure, they can also crop up as early as 3 days. Around 30 percent of people with ARS will develop a maculopapular rash of pink to red bumps, usually on the upper half of the body. The rash will gradually converge into larger, raised hives.
Other common ARS symptoms include:
Don’t Miss: How Fast Does Hiv Spread In The Body
Days To 20 Years After Exposure
The chronic stage of infection occurs once the immune system brings the virus under control. During this phase, HIV will go into hiding, where it resides in various cells and tissues throughout the body in a dormant state known as latency. HIV latency can persist without symptoms for 10 years or more, although some people may experience signs within a year or two.
During the early chronic phase, lymphadenopathy may be the only notable sign of an HIV infection. In some cases, the glands may be visibly enlarged and reach up to an inch or more in size. If the condition persists for more than three months, its referred to as persistent generalized lymphadenopathy .
Even during latency, the virus will multiple imperceptibly and gradually deplete immune cells known as CD4 T-cells. As immune deficiency develops, a number of nonspecific symptoms are likely to appear, including:
- Oral candidiasis , a fungal infection that causes the formation of creamy, white lesions on the sides of the tongue and lining of the mouth
- Unexplained fevers and drenching night sweats that soak through bedsheets and nightclothes
- Severe, uncontrolled diarrhea that lasts for more than three days
Each of these symptoms is commonly seen in persons with immune deficiency. They may, in some cases, be caused by HIV itself or by an infection that has yet to be diagnosed.
Stage : Acute Hiv Infection
After a person comes into contact with HIV, the virus replicates quickly, and the blood contains high levels of the virus. At this time, it can easily transmit to others through blood, semen and preseminal fluids, rectal fluid, vaginal fluid, and breast milk.
Within 24 weeks of exposure to the virus, some people develop a nonspecific syndrome with a fever and other flu-like symptoms. This may last for several days or weeks.
Not everyone experiences these symptoms, however. If a person does not undergo testing, it is possible for HIV to progress without any indication that it is in the body.
The flu-like symptoms of a stage 1 HIV infection may include:
- swollen glands
- nausea or vomiting
These symptoms are collectively known as a seroconversion illness. They represent the bodys natural response to an infection as it attempts to kill off the virus. However, the human body cannot completely remove this virus once it is present.
At this stage, the virus replicates using the bodys CD4 T cells and spreads throughout the body. In doing so, it destroys CD4 T cells.
Eventually, this process stabilizes. The immune system reduces the number of viral particles, and levels of CD4 T cells may rise. However, the number of these cells may not return to its original level.
You May Like: How Is Hiv Contracted Anally