What Are The Causes Of Kidney Disease
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney disease. Other factors that increase the risk of kidney disease include heart disease and a family history of kidney failure.
A personâs risk of kidney disease increases as they get older. The longer a person has diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease, the greater their risk of kidney disease.
The risk of kidney failure is especially high among African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians, partially because these communities have high rates of diabetes and high blood pressure.
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.
What Will Happen If I Dont Take Hiv Treatment
Without treatment, nearly everyone with HIV becomes ill.
If you’re not on effective HIV treatment, the virus can attack and weaken your immune system .
Over time, when HIV has done a lot of damage to your immune system, you’re likely to become vulnerable to infections that you would otherwise have been able to fight off.
HIV also causes inflammation in various parts of the body. This can increase the risk of a number of illnesses: cardiovascular disease , kidney or liver problems and some cancers.
The damage that HIV causes happens slowly, often over a number of years.
Treatment protects you. A person with HIV who is taking treatment and has an undetectable viral load cannot pass on HIV and can expect to live a normal lifespan.
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A Timeline Of Hiv Symptoms
What is HIV?
HIV is a virus that compromises the immune system. Theres currently no cure for it, but there are treatments available to reduce its effects on peoples lives.
In the majority of cases, once HIV infection takes hold, the virus stays in the body for life. However, unlike what may occur with infections by other types of viruses, HIV symptoms dont suddenly appear and peak overnight.
If left untreated, the disease progresses over time through three stages, each with its own set of possible symptoms and complications some severe.
Regular antiretroviral treatment can reduce HIV to undetectable levels in the blood. At undetectable levels, the virus wont progress to the later stages of HIV infection. In addition, the virus cant be transmitted to a partner during sex.
Routine Blood Testing For Effective Hiv Treatment
The answers you need to keep your HIV treatment on track come from the results of a blood test that measures your viral load. Your treatment regimen is considered effective if its able to control HIV to the point that the virus is virtually undetectable in your body. The virus is still present, but the viral load level is low enough that HIV is considered controlled.
When an HIV treatment regimen fails, the virus begins to multiply and mutate, or change, which can lead to disease progression and eventually AIDS.
For this reason, routine blood testing is extremely important. Symptoms that indicate HIV treatment failure dont show up until several months after a treatment stops working, says Laura Guderian, MD, primary care physician at One Medical Group in New York City. But your doctor can determine if your regimen is working much sooner using blood tests to monitor your viral load and CD4 count, two important measurements that indicate whether your medication is doing its job.
Viral load is the best indicator of how effective your treatment is, says Dr. Guderian. An increase in viral load level is the first sign of possible treatment failure. The higher the viral load level, the more active the virus is in your system.
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How To Know If Your Hiv Treatment Is Working
HIV treatment can become ineffective for a number of reasons. Here’s what you need to know about HIV treatment failure and how you can help prevent it.
Current treatments available for the human immunodeficiency virus are very effective, allowing people with the virus to live long and relatively healthy lives. However, sometimes your specific treatment can start to fail, which can raise your viral load and trigger symptoms. Its important to know the signs of treatment failure and what you can do to help prevent it.
Side Effects Of Hiv Treatment
People on current HIV treatments may experience mild side effects including:
- tiredness and fatigue
- skin rashes.
If you are on treatment, see your doctor every 3 to 6 months.
Regular blood tests are necessary to make sure your treatment is working and not causing serious side effects. It is recommended that you also get tested for STIs and talk to your doctor about your sexual health and overall wellbeing. Ensure you are having routine screening for cancers and keeping your vaccinations up to date.
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How Well Does The Use Of Hiv Treatment To Maintain An Undetectable Viral Load Prevent Hiv Transmission Through Injection Drug Use
The limited available research suggests that being on HIV treatment and maintaining an undetectable viral load is effective at helping to prevent HIV transmission among people who inject drugs however, people who use drugs can get HIV through sex and through sharing drug use equipment. While we know that maintaining an undetectable viral load will prevent HIV transmission through sex, we dont know how much it reduces the chance of passing HIV through shared drug use equipment. The best way to prevent passing HIV through drug use is to use new needles and other equipment every time. People who use drugs need access to enough new equipment to be able to do this consistently and to avoid having to share with others.
The three major studies looking at sexual HIV transmission did not systematically recruit people who inject drugs, they did not ask whether participants were sharing injection equipment and they did not provide any analysis related to participants who reported using drugs.
Tips For Staying On Your Treatment Plan
Before you start a treatment plan, you should:
- Get your health care provider to write everything down for you: names of the drugs, what they look like, how to take them , and how often to take them. This way, you’ll have something to look at in case you forget what you’re supposed to do.
- With your provider’s help, develop a plan that works for you.
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How Are These Disorders Treated
No single treatment can cure the neurological complications of HIV/AIDS. Some disorders require aggressive therapy while others are treated as symptoms arise.
Neuropathic painchronic pain caused by damage to the nervous systemis often difficult to control. Medicines range from over-the-counter pain killers to anticonvulsant drugs, opiates, and some classes of antidepressants. Inflamed tissue caused by autoimmune or other conditions can press on nerves, causing pain. Such illnesses may be treated with corticosteroids or procedures such as plasma exchange, formally known as plasmapheresis, that clear the blood of harmful substances that cause inflammation.
Treatment options for AIDS- and HIV-related neuropsychiatric or psychotic disorders include antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Psychostimulants may also improve depression and reduce fatigue. Drugs such as cholinesterase inhibitors, which can temporarily improve or stabilize memory and thinking skills in people with dementia, may relieve confusion and slow mental decline. Benzodiazepines may be prescribed to treat anxiety. Psychotherapy may also help some individuals.
Other treatments may include physical therapy and rehabilitation, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy to shrink cancerous brain tumors that may be related to HIV, antifungal or antimalarial drugs to combat certain bacterial infections associated with the disorder, and penicillin to treat neurosyphilis.
What Happens If I Delay Starting Hiv Treatment
In the past people could delay treatment if they werent ready to start. However, this isnt recommended now. If you have HIV, the sooner you start treatment, the better it is for your health.
The START trial found that there was a 53% reduction in the risk of death or serious illness if treatment was started when the CD4 count was still above 500.
Its common for people to feel apprehensive about taking treatment but all you need to remember is that:
- It will enable you to live a normal lifespan.
- When you’re on effective treatment you won’t be able to pass on HIV.
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What Are Some Tips To Help Me Take My Hiv Medication Every Day
If youre newly diagnosed with HIV, you may be seeking tips and tools to help you keep up with your HIV treatment. Thats because HIV treatment involves taking HIV medication every day, exactly as prescribed to lower the amount of HIV in your body to a very low level. This is called viral suppression. If the viral load is so low that it doesnt show up in a standard lab test, this is called having an undetectable viral load. Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best thing you can do to stay healthy. There is also a prevention benefit: people living with HIV who take HIV medication daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
Learn more: Read our fact sheet about the health and prevention benefits of viral suppression and maintaining an undetectable viral load .
Here are some tips that may help you take every dose of your HIV medication, every day:
You can also visit HIV.govs Positive Spin or CDCs HIV Treatment Works campaign to view stories of how people living with HIV are taking their HIV medication every day.
Which Drugs Should You Take
Now that you have learned a little about the types of drugs that are available and how they work, you may be wondering how your provider will know which treatment you should take.
HIV drugs are used in combination with one another in order to get the best results. The goal is to get the viral load as low as possible for as long as possible.
HIV drugs do different things to the virus–they attack it in different ways–so using combinations works better than using just one by itself. Combinations usually include three antiretroviral drugs. Except in very special circumstances, anti-HIV drugs should never be used one or two at a time. Using only one or two drugs at a time can fail to control the viral load and let the virus adapt to the drug. Once the virus adapts to a drug, the drug won’t work as well against the virus, and maybe it won’t work at all.
There is no one combination of HIV drugs that works best for everyone. Each combination has its pluses and minuses.
So, how will your provider know which combination to choose? You and your provider can consider the options, keeping certain things in mind, such as possible side effects, the number of pills you’ll need to take, and how the drugs interact with each other and with other medications you may take.
Print out these questions to ask your health care provider so that you will be ready to discuss combination therapy.
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What Is Important For This Approach To Work
For HIV treatment to provide protection against HIV transmission, a persons viral load needs to become and remain undetectable after they start treatment.
When a person begins treatment, it usually takes three to six months for their viral load to become undetectable. Most people will eventually have an undetectable viral load if they are using HIV treatment that is effective against their strain of HIV and take it as prescribed by their doctor.
A persons viral load needs to remain undetectable for at least six months before they can use this approach as an effective HIV prevention strategy. They must continue to have high adherence to treatment to maintain an undetectable viral load over time. The only way for them to know if their viral load remains undetectable over the long term is to have regular viral load tests.
However, not everyones viral load becomes and remains undetectable on treatment. The most common reason why a persons viral load remains detectable is low adherence to their medications, but drug resistance can also occur. When treatment fails, a person wont know that their viral load is detectable until they get another viral load test. Depending on the reason the treatment failed, a person may require a change in treatment, or they may benefit from adherence counselling, to bring their viral load back down to undetectable levels. The best options for moving forward should be discussed with a doctor.
Discuss Medication Adherence At Each Appointment With Your Health Care Provider
Tell your health care provider if you are having difficulty following your treatment regimen. Do not forget to mention any side effects you are having. Side effects from HIV medicines can interfere with medication adherence.
Let your health care provider know if your treatment regimen is too complicated to follow. Your health care provider may recommend that you switch to a simpler HIV treatment regimen.
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How Are These Disorders Diagnosed
Based on an individuals medical history and findings from a general physical exam, a physician will conduct a thorough neurological exam to assess various functions: motor and sensory skills, nerve function, hearing and speech, vision, coordination and balance, mental status, and changes in mood or behavior. The physician may order laboratory tests andone or more of the following procedures to help diagnose neurological complications of AIDS.
Brain imaging can reveal signs of brain inflammation, tumors and CNS lymphomas, nerve damage, bleeding, white matter irregularities, and other abnormalities. Several painless imaging procedures are used to help diagnose neurological complications of AIDS.
- Computed tomography uses x-rays and a computer to produce two-dimensional images of bone and tissue to show inflammation, certain brain tumors and cysts, brain damage from head injury, and other abnormalities. It provides more details than an x-ray alone.
- Magnetic resonance imaging uses a computer-generated radio waves, and a powerful magnetic field to produce either a detailed three-dimensional picture or a two-dimensional slice of body structures, including tissues, organs, bones, and nerves. It does not use the ionizing radiation that an x-ray does and provides a better look at tissue located near bone.
Symptom : Night Sweats
Many people will get night sweats during the early stages of HIV. These can be even more common later in infection and arent related to exercise or the temperature of the room.
With such a vast array of symptoms, HIV testing is vital to ensure a proper diagnosis. If you think youve been exposed to HIV, or have an active sex life with casual sex partners, regardless of whether you are showing symptoms of HIV or not, its important to get tested as soon as possible.
If youre in Sydney, you can get a rapid HIV test and STI check-up at a. If youre not in Sydney, you can still get a rapid HIV test and STI check-up using our where to get tested tool here.
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Does Being Durably Undetectable Mean That The Virus Has Left My Body
Even when viral load is undetectable, HIV is still present in the body. The virus lies dormant inside a small number of cells in the body called viral reservoirs. When therapy is halted by missing doses, taking a treatment holiday or stopping treatment, the virus emerges and begins to multiply, becoming detectable in the blood again. This newly reproducing virus is infectious. It is essential to take every pill every day as directed to achieve and maintain a durably undetectable status.
Stage : The Asymptomatic Stage
Once a person has been through the acute primary infection stage and seroconversion process, they can often start to feel better. In fact, HIV may not cause any other symptoms for up to 10 or even 15 years .
However, the virus will still be active, infecting new cells and making copies of itself. HIV can still be passed on during this stage. If left untreated, over time, HIV infection will cause severe damage to the immune system.
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Start Treatment As Soon As Possible After Diagnosis
- HIV medicine is recommended for all people with HIV, regardless of how long theyve had the virus or how healthy they are.
- Talk to your health care provider about any medical conditions you may have or any other medicines you are taking.
- Let your health care provider know if you or your partner is pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant. They will determine the right type of HIV medicine that can help prevent transmitting HIV to your baby.
What if I delay treatment?
- HIV will continue to harm your immune system.
- This will put you at higher risk for developing AIDS. Learn more about AIDS and opportunistic infections.
- This will put you at higher risk for transmitting HIV to your sexual and injection partners.
What are the benefits of taking my HIV medicine every day as prescribed?