Infection And Infectious Diseases
HIV is able to enter the body via intact mucous membranes, eczematous or injured skin or mucosa and by parenteral inoculation. When transmitted by sexual contact, HIV attaches first to dendritic cells or macrophages/monocytes HIV using CCR-5 as a co-receptor is then preferentially replicated . HIV is taken up by macrophages and replicated as shown for M cells in the mucosa . HIV exposure to blood cells can result in the direct infection of T helper cells and the transmission of R5 and X4 viruses . As mentioned above, 1 HID is equivalent to approximately 500-1,000 HIV particles, with a higher dose required for infection via mucous membranes compared to infection via the bloodstream, e.g. by needle stick injury. The majority of new HIV infections are still transmitted sexually. Another epidemiologically relevant route is parenteral administration of drugs and also snorting of drugs with epistaxis.
Transmission of HIV via blood or transplanted organs, including bone, is possible from about days 5-6 after infection of the donor. Mother-to-child transmission has been demonstrated from the 12th week of gestation, but transmission occurs predominantly in the final trimester and particularly shortly before or during birth . HIV can be transmitted via breast milk .
How It Is Done
The health professional drawing blood will:
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with alcohol.
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
- Apply a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
- Put pressure on the site and then put on a bandage.
Why Are Scientists Worried About It
The variant has more than 30 mutations on its spike protein the key used by the virus to unlock our bodys cells more than double the number carried . Such a dramatic change has raised concerns that the antibodies from previous infections or vaccination may no longer be well matched. Purely based on knowing the list of mutations, scientists anticipate that the virus will be more likely to infect or reinfect people who have immunity to earlier variants.
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Biden Will Give An Update On Omicron Monday As Us Health Officials Urge Vaccinations
President Biden will give an update on the U.S. response to the Omicron variant on Monday, the White House said in a statement on Sunday evening, as top federal health officials urged unvaccinated Americans on get their shots and eligible adults to seek out boosters.
Appearing on morning talk shows on Sunday, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, cautioned Americans that the emergence of Omicron and the uncertainty that surrounds it are reminders that the pandemic is far from over.
While the variant has yet to be detected in the United States, maintaining vigilance and safeguarding public health through inoculations, masking indoors and distancing, remains critical, he said.
I know, America, youre really tired about hearing those things, but the virus is not tired of us, Dr. Collins said. And its shape-shifting itself.
The White House said that President Biden met on Sunday with members of his Covid response team, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nations top infectious disease expert. With much still unknown about the Omicron variant, Dr. Fauci told the president that it would take approximately two more weeks to learn more about its transmissibility and severity, but said that he continues to believe that existing vaccines are likely to provide a degree of protection against severe cases of Covid, the White House said.
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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What Is An Undetectable Viral Load
- Taking antiretroviral treatment reduces the amount of HIV in your body.
- With proper adherence, ART can reduce HIV to such low levels that the virus can no longer be detected in normal blood tests. This is called having an undetectable viral load.
- People with undetectable viral loads cant pass HIV on through sex.
- To know that youre undetectable, you must have your viral load monitored regularly.
- Remember your viral load can change. If you stop taking your treatment properly your viral load will go up again.
Global Coronavirus Cases By Region
This chart shows how reported cases per capita have changed in different parts of the world.
In South Africa, December is traditionally the high season for tourism, one of the countrys biggest industries, and operators had been banking on a surge in visitors from Britain, which had removed South Africa from its red list only last month.
This is devastating, said David Frost, chief executive officer of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association. Many companies have been hanging on by their fingernails, and this is going to wipe them out. Its going to be dire for conservation, and its going to be dire for people in rural areas where tourism is the only economic generator.
South Africas number of daily infections 2,828 on Friday was a small fraction of case counts in countries with similarly sized populations, like Germany and Britain, not to mention the United States. For Mr. Frost, the hurried measures were the mark of a blatant double standard.
Scotland reported six cases of the new Omicron variant on Monday, and contact tracing is underway, said Humza Yousaf, the Scottish health secretary.
The news came as a member of Britains vaccine health advisory panel said it was looking at widening the countrys booster program, and after British health officials on Sunday reported a third case of Omicron in an individual who had spent time in central London.
We could not have acted more swiftly, he said.
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When Was The Omicron Variant First Detected
The B.1.1.529 variant was identified on Tuesday and highlighted as a concern due to its high number of mutations, which could lead it to evade immunity. It was also linked to a surge in case numbers in the Gauteng province of South Africa, an urban area containing Pretoria and Johannesburg, in the past two weeks. These two factors put it quickly on the radar of international monitors, with the chief medical adviser to the UK Health and Security Agency describing the variant as the most worrying weve seen.
How To Tell If Symptoms Are Hiv
There are three types of HIV tests:
- An NAT involves drawing blood from a vein. It can tell if you have HIV or how much virus is present in your blood. While an NAT can detect HIV sooner than other types of tests, this test is very expensive and not routinely used for screening individuals unless they recently had a high-risk exposure, or a possible exposure and have early symptoms of HIV infection. This test takes several days for results to come back.
- An antigen/antibody test is recommended for testing done in labs and is now common in the United States. It involves drawing blood from a vein, and results take several days to come back. There is also a rapid antigen/antibody test available that is done with a finger prick and takes 30 minutes or less to get results.
- HIV antibody tests only look for antibodies to HIV in your blood or oral fluid. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid. Antibody tests can detect an HIV infection 23 to 90 days after exposure. Most rapid tests and the only currently approved HIV self-test are antibody tests. They take 20 minutes or less to provide results.
Keep in mind, any positive result would necessitate a second test to confirm it. The only test that would not require a second confirmatory test is the NAT.
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Should I Wait To Test For Hiv
If you have had unprotected sex, shared injecting equipment or think that you have been at risk some other way, then you should talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
They will be able to talk to you about your situation and help you decide what to do next. If you visit a healthcare professional within 72 hours of when you think you were exposed to HIV, you may be offered PEP . This is a course of emergency HIV treatment that can prevent HIV infection. It must be started within 72 hours and be taken properly.
Unfortunately, PEP isnt always available and healthcare providers may only give it to you if they feel youre at a high risk of HIV. If you take PEP youll need to test before and after to ensure it has worked.
If the time to take PEP has passed, then most modern HIV tests are now able to detect HIV from around four weeks after exposure. Depending on the type of test you are offered and when your risk was, your doctor may ask you to come back for further tests and a follow-up to check your results.
If you think you have been exposed to HIV, it is in this early stage of infection that you are most likely to pass HIV on to others. Be extra careful during this time use condoms and dont share injecting equipment.
The Who Skips Forward Two Greek Letters Avoiding A Xi Variant
When the World Health Organization began to name the emerging variants of the coronavirus, officials turned to the Greek alphabet to make it easier for the public to understand the evolution: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and so on.
Now the alphabet has created its own political headache. When it came time to name the potentially dangerous new variant that has emerged in southern Africa, the next letter in alphabetical order was Nu, which officials thought would be too easily confused with new.
The letter after that was even more complicated: Xi, a name that in its transliteration, though not its pronunciation, happens to belong to the leader of China, Xi Jinping. So they skipped both and named the new variant Omicron.
Nu is too easily confounded with new, and Xi was not used because it is a common last name, a spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic, said on Saturday in an emailed response to questions about skipping the two letters.
The organizations policy, he went on, requires avoiding causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups.
The organization did not initially explain why it jumped from Mu, a lesser variant first documented in Colombia, to Omicron. The omission resulted in speculation over the reasons. For some, it rekindled criticism that the organization has been far too deferential in its dealings with the Chinese government.
But I knew I had to go as soon as I found out about it, she said.
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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.
How Do Hiv Tests Work And What’s Involved
- There are plenty of places which offer free HIV testing you can find your nearest provider either by searching online or asking a healthcare professional.
- Testing for HIV is a simple and pain-free process. It involves giving a small sample of blood or oral fluid.
- Your results will be confidential and the healthcare provider will be able to explain the process and answer any questions you have. They are there to help you.
- HIV tests are very reliable. Some HIV tests will give a result within 20 minutes and others are sent to a lab so it may take a few weeks to get your results.
It is really common to feel a little worried about going for an HIV test, but making the decision to test is the best thing you can do for your health. The process is quick, painless, confidential and almost always free.
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Will Existing Vaccines Work Against It
Scientists are concerned by the number of mutations and the fact some of them have already been linked to an ability to evade existing immune protection. These are theoretical predictions, though, and studies are rapidly being conducted to test how effectively antibodies neutralise the new variant. Real-world data on reinfection rates will also give a clearer indication on the extent of any change in immunity.
Scientists do not expect that the variant will be entirely unrecognisable to existing antibodies, just that current vaccines may give less protection. So a crucial objective remains to increase vaccination rates, including third doses for at-risk groups.
Will The Variant Cause More Severe Covid
There is no information yet on whether the variant leads to a change in Covid symptoms or severity this is something South African scientists will be closely monitoring. Since there is a lag between infections and more serious illness, it will take several weeks before any clear data is available. At this stage, scientists say there is no strong reason to suspect that the latest variant will be either worse or milder.
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Making Hiv Testing Routine
Its recommended that you test for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections at least once a year if youre having sex, even if you always use protection.
You might want to test more regularly than this, for example, if you are having sex with a new partner or feel you are more at risk. Groups who are more at risk are recommended to test more regularly. Testing every 3-6 months is often advised for men who have sex with men.
Testing regularly helps keep your mind at rest, and if you test positive, it means you can start treatment quickly, protecting your health.
Hiv Is Detected With A Blood Test
Blood tests are the most common and reliable tests for HIV. The virus is detected by taking a sample of your blood either with a conventional blood test or a rapid test .There is a short period of time between exposure to HIV and the ability for tests to detect HIV or its antibodies. This is often referred to as the ‘window period’ between 2 and 12 weeks.
Most tests used in Australia can detect HIV as early as 2 to 4 weeks after infection.
If your blood test shows that HIV or its antibodies are present, you are HIV-positive.
If you have no antibodies in your blood you are HIV-negative. Sometimes negative results might also mean you are in the window period, so you might need a follow-up blood test to make sure.
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How Much Do Hiv Tests Cost
Unlike rapid tests, blood tests for HIV are covered by Medicare, which means your doctor can order the test free of charge for you.
If you are not eligible for Medicare, you may also be able to claim some of the testing costs through private health insurance. Check with your provider to see if youre eligible.
What Is An Hiv Viral Load
An HIV viral load is a blood test that measures the amount of HIV in your blood. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is a virus that attacks and destroys cells in the immune system. These cells protect your body against viruses, bacteria, and other disease-causing germs. If you lose too many immune cells, your body will have trouble fighting off infections and other diseases.
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS . HIV and AIDS are often used to describe the same disease. But most people with HIV don’t have AIDS. People with AIDS have an extremely low number of immune cells and are at risk for life-threatening illnesses, including dangerous infections, a severe type of pneumonia, and certain cancers, including Kaposi sarcoma.
If you have HIV, you can take medicines to protect your immune system, and they may prevent you from getting AIDS.
Other names: nucleic acid testing, NAT, nucleic acid amplification test, NAAT, HIV PCR, RNA Test, HIV quantification
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