Treatment Of Acute Hiv Infection
Acute HIV infection is treated with antiretroviral drugs , which are drugs specially designed to treat retroviruses. People with HIV are prescribed a combination of antiretroviral drugs, which together are known as antiretroviral therapy .
Antiretroviral therapy reduces the amount of virus in the body. It does not cure HIV infection, but, taken correctly, it can slow progression of the condition from one stage to the next. For example, one recent study showed that a person diagnosed at age 20 who has appropriate treatment now has a life expectancy very close to that of a person without HIV.
Antiretroviral therapy should be started as soon as possible after diagnosis. It is very important to take antiretroviral medication correctly. Missing doses or stopping and restarting treatment can lead to drug resistance, which can reduce future treatment options.
Side-effects of ART may lead some people to consider stopping their medication. However, the long-term benefits of ART exceed the difficulties posed by some side-effects. It is very important not to stop taking ART without speaking with a doctor, who may be able to prescribe a more comfortable combination of antiretroviral drugs. More recent developments in ART mean that intolerable side-effects are fewer than in the past.
Side-effects associated with taking antiretroviral drugs include:
How Long Does It Take To See The Signs Of Hiv
The signs and symptoms of HIV may first appear within two to four weeks of infection. The stage in which the symptoms appear is called the stage of acute HIV infection. The symptoms appear due to the resistance or fight of the immune system against HIV. In the initial stage, the virus multiplies rapidly and spreads throughout the body. It targets and destroys the CD4 cells . As a result, the level of HIV in the blood and the chances of transmission at this stage are very high. It is crucial to recognize the early signs and seek medical help, since early diagnosis and treatment of HIV gets the best results.
Stages Of Hiv Infection
The stages of infection from person to person vary slightly, both in severity and the speed of progression. These stages map the depletion of immune cells as the body’s defenses further and further degrade.
With each progression, the risk of opportunistic infections increases until the immune system is said to be fully compromised. It is at this stage that the risk of illness and death is particularly high.
The stages of infection can be roughly classified as follows:
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Latency Causes A Break In Symptoms
After initial exposure and possible primary infection, HIV may transition into a stage called clinically latent infection. Its also referred to as asymptomatic HIV infection due to a noticeable lack of symptoms. This lack of symptoms includes possible chronic symptoms.
According to HIV.gov, latency in HIV infection can last for 10 or 15 years. This doesnt mean that HIV is gone, nor does it mean that the virus cant be transmitted to others. Clinically latent infection may progress to the third and final stage of HIV, also referred to as AIDS.
The risk for progression is higher if a person with HIV isnt receiving treatment, such as antiretroviral therapy. Its important to take prescribed medications during all stages of HIV even if there arent any noticeable symptoms. There are several medications used for HIV treatment.
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..
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How Long Can Hiv Live Outside Of The Body
Human immunodeficiency virus has created such an intense fear of infection in some that it extends well beyond the fear of sexual transmission. In fact, some people remain convinced that you can get HIV by coming into contact with an object or surface on which there may be HIV-infected blood or semen.
After all, it would seem reasonable to suggest that the more blood or semen there is, the longer the virus can survive outside of the body. And, in turn, if the virus is able to survive, it surely has the potential to infect, right?
How Long Can Hiv Survive On Surfaces
Lets look at the evidence available to us.
- HIV is killed by heat. Temperatures of above 60C will kill HIV.
- HIV is NOT killed by cold. In fact, colder temperatures increase the survival time of HIV.
- At 27C to 37C, HIV can survive up to 7 days in syringes
- At room temperature, HIV can survive in dried blood for 5 to 6 days
- At 4C, HIV can survive up to 7 days in dried blood
- At -70C, HIV can survive indefinitely
- HIV can only survive in pH between 7 and 8
- HIV has been found to survive for a few days in sewage
- HIV has been found to survive in organs and corpses for up to 2 weeks
You would notice that all these studies are done on blood. There is really no good evidence to determine how long HIV from semen, vaginal secretions of other body fluids can survive outside the body. One fact is that it is very difficult to culture HIV from semen. This indicates the low viral content and we can assume that the same timelines for blood apply to semen if not less.
In these experiments, the survivability of the HIV virus is determined by its retention of the ability to infect cells in cell culture.
We must be careful not to equate survivability to infection.
In other words:
- HIV infected surface/fluid + broken skin HIV infection
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Symptoms And Stages Of Hiv Infection
- There are three stages of HIV infection. The symptoms vary in type and severity from person-to-person.
- Stage 1 after initial infection can feel like flu but not everyone will experience this.
- Stage 2 is when many people start to feel better and may last for 10 years or more. During this time a person may have no symptoms.
- Stage 3 is when a persons immune system is very badly damaged and can no longer fight off serious infections and illnesses.
- The earlier a person is diagnosed with HIV and starts treatment, the better their health will be over time.
- Some people dont get any symptoms during stages 1 and 2, and may not know they have the virus, but they can still pass on HIV.
The signs of HIV infection can vary in type and severity from person-to-person, and some people may not have any symptoms for many years.
The stages below describe how HIV infection progresses in the body if it is left untreated. Without antiretroviral treatment for HIV, the virus replicates in the body and causes more and more damage to the immune system.
However with effective treatment, you can keep the virus under control and stop it from progressing. This is why its important to start treatment as soon as possible after testing positive.
How Could You Get Hiv From Contact With Blood
The risk of HIV transmission through blood comes when the person has a detectable viral load and their blood enters another persons body or comes into contact with a mucous membrane. These are parts of the body with wet, absorbent skin such as the:
- inside of the anus
Theres also a risk if blood from a person who has a detectable viral load comes into contact with a cut or broken skin, giving HIV a way through the skin and into someones bloodstream. If blood gets onto skin that isnt broken, there is no risk.
In a medical setting, its possible for HIV to be transmitted by someone accidentally cutting themselves with a blade or needle they have used to treat a person living with HIV.
This is called a needlestick injury. The risk of being infected in this way is very low. However, if someone thinks they have been exposed to HIV through a needlestick injury, post-exposure prophylaxis may be an option.
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How To Practice Safe Sex
Using condoms regularly and correctly is the best way to prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Condoms act as barriers against semen and vaginal fluids. Always use latex condoms never use lambskin or homemade condoms, which offer little to no protection.
Still, even sex with a condom is not 100 percent risk-free. Misuse and breakage can be problems. People who are sexually active should consider getting HIV tests along with other STI testing. This can help each person understand the risk of transmitting or contracting the virus.
If one person has HIV and the other doesnt, the CDC reports that using condoms alone may lower the risk of contracting the virus by 80 percent.
For people who do not have HIV who have a sexual partner living with HIV, the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis can help reduce the risk of transmission through sex. When used daily along with other preventive measures, PrEP can reduce the risk of transmission by as much as 92 percent, according to the
. Combining condoms with antiretroviral therapy can provide even more protection. Possible exposure may also be remedied with post-exposure prophylaxis treatment.
According to the , this approach includes a combination of:
- HIV testing
- 28-day course of antiretroviral therapy for HIV
- follow-up care
Its important to note that antiretroviral therapy as a part of PEP treatment for HIV is most effective when started within 72 hours of exposure to HIV.
What Is Acute Hiv Infection
Acute HIV infection, also known as an early or primary retroviral infection, is a condition that develops within two to four weeks of contracting human immunodeficiency virus .
Symptoms of acute HIV infection are similar to other viral infections, such as the flu or mononucleosis . For this reason, many people do not realize they have been infected with HIV. A blood test is the best way to confirm an HIV infection.
There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is the more common form of HIV found in the United States. The term HIV in this resource refers to HIV-1, unless otherwise stated.
HIV attacks the body’s immune cells. Without treatment, a person with HIV becomes more likely to develop infections or infection-related cancers. The last stage of HIV infection is AIDS , when the immune system is severely damaged.
There is currently no effective cure for HIV infection but, with the right treatment and medical care, the outlook for people with HIV is good.
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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
How Is Life Expectancy Calculated
Life expectancy is the average number of years that a person can expect to live.
More precisely, it is the average number of years an individual of a given age is expected to live if current mortality rates continue to apply. It is an estimate that is calculated by looking at the current situation of a group of people and projecting that into the future.
However, HIV is a relatively new disease and HIV treatment is a rapidly changing area of medicine. It is therefore hard to know whether our current experience will be an accurate guide to the future.
At the moment, there are large numbers of people living with HIV in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties. Current death rates are very low, resulting in encouraging figures for future life expectancy. But we have very little experience of people living with HIV in their seventies or eighties, so we know less about the impact HIV may have later in life.
Also, healthcare for people with HIV is likely to get better in the future. People living with HIV will benefit from improved anti-HIV drugs that have fewer side-effects, are easier to take and are more effective in suppressing HIV. Doctors understanding of how best to prevent and treat heart disease, diabetes, cancers and other conditions in people with HIV is improving. This could mean that people actually live longer than our current estimates suggest.
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Hiv Testing After A Recent Infection
If you are concerned about a possible recent HIV infection, you should take an HIV test. If this test result is non-reactive or negative, it can be repeated in a few weeks to be sure. Not everyone has symptoms after a recent infection and thus testing is the only reliable way to know whether you have HIV.
If you might have been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours, you and your doctor should also discuss whether post-exposure prophylaxis is appropriate in your case. PEP is taken in order to prevent HIV from taking hold and to remain HIV negative.
The most accurate tests for HIV diagnosis after recent infection are antigen/antibody laboratory tests . An HIV antigen is part of the virus itself and is present in high levels in the blood between HIV infection and seroconversion. During seroconversion, HIV antibodies are produced by the body in response to infection and they persist for life.
“Symptomatic seroconversion illness occurs in at least 50%, and possibly as many as 80 or 90%, of infected individuals.”
HIV antigen/antibody tests will detect the majority of those infected with HIV within four weeks of infection but can sometimes detect infections as early as ten days afterward. While they are extremely accurate, they require blood to be drawn with a needle and results are not available immediately. These tests tend to be offered in hospital settings or for confirmatory purposes.
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.
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Conditions By Which Hiv Can Survive
If HIV were to survive outside of the body for more than a few minutes, it could only do so under these specific environmental conditions:
- Colder temperatures: Temperatures below 39 degrees Fahrenheit are considered ideal for HIV to thrive. By contrast, HIV does not do well at room temperature and continues to decline as it reaches and exceeds body temperature .
- Ideal pH: The ideal pH level for HIV is between 7.0 and 8.0, with an optimal pH of 7.1. Anything above or below these levels is considered unsuitable for survival.
- Dried blood: HIV can survive in dried blood at room temperature for up to six days, although the concentrations of virus in dried blood will invariably be low to negligible.
- No UV exposure: HIV survives longer when is not exposed to ultraviolet radiation. UV light quickly degrades viral DNA as well as the lipids that make up the virus’ shell, rendering it incapable of attaching to and infecting other cells.
Even given these parameters, there has yet to be a documented case of infection by means of a discarded syringe in a public place.
In 2008, the largest retrospective study investigating child needlestick injuries concluded that not one case of HIV occurred following contact with a discarded needle.
Moreover, in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could only confirm one infection by means of a needlestick injury since 1999, and that case involved a lab researcher who was working with a live HIV culture.
What Is The Window Period For Hiv
The window period refers to the time after the HIV infection, when the presence of HIV in the blood cannot be detected by a diagnostic test. It takes a different amount of time for HIV to show up on different HIV tests. The length of the window period depends on the type of test a person takes. The advanced tests can give an accurate result within four weeks of the infection, while others may take two to three months.
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