What Do I Do If I Find Out I Have Hiv
Millions of people have HIV youre definitely not alone. Most people get at least one STD in their lifetime, and having HIV or another STD is nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about. It doesnt mean youre dirty or a bad person.
Finding out that you have HIV can be really upsetting. You might feel mad, embarrassed, scared, or ashamed at first. But youll probably feel better as time goes by having a good support system and getting counseling really helps. There are medicines you can take to help you stay healthy, and lots of ways to avoid giving HIV to anyone you have sex with. The reality is, people with HIV can be in relationships, have sex, and live normal lives by taking a few precautions.
Although theres no cure for HIV, there are medicines that help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV treatment called antiretroviral therapy lowers the amount of virus in your body . This does two things:
Slows down the effects of HIV in your body, which keeps you healthy.
Lowers or even stops your chances of giving HIV to sexual partners.
Some people on ART have such a small amount of virus in their body, they cant transmit HIV to their sexual partners at all.
Even if youre feeling totally fine right now, see a doctor as soon as you can so you can talk about the best ways to stay healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions hotline can help you find a doctor near you who specializes in treating HIV: 1-800-CDC-INFO .
Gains And Losses In Life Years
Factors that influence life expectancy are either static or dynamic .
Static factors, like race or sexual orientation, influence life expectancy because they are ones people are often unable to escape. For example, high levels of poverty in Black communities combined with a lack of access to health care and high levels of HIV stigma take back many of the gains seen in White communities.
Dynamic factors, by comparison, have a strong cause-and-effect relation to survival times. For instance, treatment adherence is directly related to disease progression. The less adherence is maintained, the greater the risk of drug resistance and treatment failure. With each failure, a person loses more and more treatment options.
When looking at both static and dynamic risk factors, we can begin to identify where an individual can gain or lose life-years without even knowing it. Among them:
Us Hiv Life Expectancy: What The Numbers Say
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that average life expectancy for a person born within the U.S. in 2012 is about 79 years. It’s a little more for women and a little less for men .
For people who weren’t born yesterday, the numbers actually look better: Taking into consideration that there are some causes of death that mostly affect younger people, a person who reaches age 65 can currently be expected to live an additional 19 years , on average.
That’s for the U.S. population as a whole. What about for people with HIV in particular?
In a recent scientific presentation looking at people who received care in the massive U.S. Kaiser Permanente health system between 1996 and 2011, we learned how incredibly far we’ve come in a very short time in treating HIV. The study showed that additional life expectancy for a 20-year-old person with HIV was only 19 years back in 1996, meaning a total lifespan of only 39 years on average. By 2011, additional life expectancy had increased to 53 years, meaning a total lifespan of 73 years on average. By comparison, the study found that a 20-year-old person without HIV lived an additional 65 years, for a total of 85. So, in this study, overall, HIV-positive folks were found to live about eight years less than HIV-negative folks as of 2011.
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Managing Stress And Getting Support
Looking after your mental wellbeing and emotional health is just as important as taking care of your body.
Finding out you have HIV can be a shock, and it may take you some time to adjust. Talking to your friends and family, and other people living with HIV, can really help when things get difficult. You could look for a peer mentoring or buddying service in your area.
Once you adjust to living with HIV, its a good idea to think about what you want out of life. What are your goals? Whats important to you? Maybe you want to study, travel, have a family or change career? Dont let HIV stop you, theres no reason why it should.
When Should I Start Antiretroviral Treatment
Its now recommended that people diagnosed with HIV start antiretroviral treatment straight away. This is because the sooner you start treatment, the sooner you can benefit from it. Starting treatment as soon as possible protects your immune system from damage and gives you the best chance of staying strong and healthy in the future.
I immediately started my treatment, and boy I have to tell you, I never experienced any sort of setback and have never been sick – and now I am even undetectable.
– Mpho, South Africa
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How Do I Talk With People About Having Hiv
It might feel scary to admit that you have HIV, but talking about things can really ease your mind. You could lean on a close, non-judgmental friend or family member whom you trust to keep the conversation private. Counselors and support groups can also be sources of comfort and they can help you figure out how to talk with others about your HIV. Be careful about who you tell your status to people with HIV sometimes deal with unfair discrimination.
Theres no one right way to talk to your partners about having HIV, but here are some basic tips that might help:
Try to stay calm and remember that youre not the only one dealing with this. Millions of people have HIV, and plenty of them are in relationships. Try to go into the conversation with a calm, positive attitude. Having HIV is a health issue, and it doesnt mean anything about you as a person.
Know your HIV and AIDS facts. There are a lot of myths about HIV out there, so read up on the facts and be ready to answer your partners questions. Check out HIV.gov. Let your partner know there are medications that can help you live for a long time and avoid passing HIV to them. Safer sex like condoms and PrEP can also help protect your partner.
Its really important to also tell your past partners that you have HIV, so they can get tested, too. A lot of health departments have programs that let your partners know they were exposed to HIV without giving them your name unless you want them to.
The Compound Effect Of Genital Herpes And Hiv
HIV and the genital herpes virus are a troublesome duo. One can worsen the effects of the other. Research shows that when the herpes virus is active, it may cause HIV to make more copies of itself than it would otherwise. The more HIV replicates, the more of the body’s infection-fighting cells it destroys, eventually leading to AIDS .
People infected with both HIV and the herpes virus may have longer-lasting, more frequent, and more severe outbreaks of herpes symptoms, because a weakened immune system can’t keep the herpes virus under control as well as a healthy immune system can.
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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
Discussion Of Findings In Context
In response to the Health and Social Care Act 2012 , PHE has implemented a new scheme for monitoring the success of ART, which assesses both the proportion of patients with viral suppression and the proportion with CD4+ cell count at least 350cells/Î¼l our study shows that both are associated with mortality risk and lost years of life. Although better immunological function is critical for avoiding AIDS-related mortality and may be important for avoiding some non-AIDS cancers , the inflammatory effect of viral replication may be also be associated with excess mortality, and in particular the SMART study showed an increased risk from cardiovascular disease with higher levels of interleukin-6, C-reactive protein and D-dimer . Mendelian randomization studies suggest that interleukin-6 , but not C-reactive protein , is causally associated with coronary heart disease in the general population. Further research is required to establish whether any of the associations of these biomarkers of inflammation with mortality are causal in HIV-infected populations.
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Genital Herpes And Hiv Treatment Issues
It’s more difficult to treat genital herpes if you also have HIV. Higher doses of antiviral drugs are often needed to treat herpes in people with HIV. Also, many people with HIV have strains of the herpes virus that are resistant to treatment with the standard antiviral drugs.
If you take antiviral drugs for genital herpes and the treatment isn’t working, your doctor can test the virus you have for resistance. If the virus is resistant, there are other possible treatment alternatives, including the drugs Foscarnet and cidofovir.
If you have HIV, ask your doctor if you should be tested for genital herpes. If you already know that you have herpes and HIV, discuss treatment options with your doctor.
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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Hiv Life Expectancy: How Long Can You Live With Hiv Or Aids
The most frequently asked question for HIV-positive patients is how long can you live with HIV? Fortunately, the answer is far more promising than it was 20 years ago. Join Flo as we discuss how advancements in medical technology have altered the prognosis for those living with HIV or AIDS.
A national database containing statistics from 25 states shows that the average HIV life expectancy has more than doubled between 1996 and 2005. The bump from 10.5 to 22.5 years after diagnosis can be attributed to vast improvements in drug therapy and related approaches. However, experts still say this is only an average, and plenty of other circumstances must be taken into account regarding HIV life expectancy.
Is There A Cure For Hiv
No, there is no cure for HIV. However, with good and continued treatment, the progression of HIV in the body can be slowed down and almost stopped. Increasingly, people living with HIV feel good and are productive for many years after infection. There is no reason to believe life ends once a person becomes HIV positive. Many people live long lives after becoming HIV positive.
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How Long Does It Take For Hiv To Progress To Aids
How long does it take for HIV to progress to AIDS? In all but a few rare cases, if left untreated, HIV will progress to a stage of infection called AIDS. This is when the immune defenses have been compromised, and the body is less able to defend itself against potentially life-threatening infections.
Calculating Life Expectancy With Hiv Or Aids
Recent research shows that a young person with HIV or AIDS could potentially live almost as long as anyone else in the general population. But this is only the case if they have routine access to health care and respond well to modern antiretroviral treatments . So a 20-year-old who starts on ARTs today, for example, might eventually live to be 67.
Keep in mind though, since there is no known cure, HIV life expectancy varies greatly from one individual to the next based on many things. This includes early detection plus, gender and lifestyle choices such as alcohol, tobacco, or drug use.
Over the past two decades, HIV life expectancy has drastically risen. What was once considered a terminal illness is now a medically manageable condition at any age. Those who abuse intravenous drugs or possess a preexisting immune disorder, however, do not fare as well.
In light of huge disparities in access to health care and ARTs, the CDC regularly publishes reports on obstacles to HIV and AIDS treatment. By 2016, it was estimated that 1.1 million people in the U.S., aged 13 or older, had HIV .
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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.
Stage : Chronic Hiv Infection
After the acute stage has ended and if the person has not received treatment the virus remains active, reproducing at very low levels but continuing to damage immune cells.
At this stage, there are usually no symptoms or very mild ones. This is why doctors sometimes call stage 2 asymptomatic HIV infection or clinical latency. The virus can still pass to others during this stage, even if it causes no symptoms.
Without treatment, this stage can last for 10 years or more before the person develops stage 3 HIV.
However, modern antiretroviral medications can stop the infection from progressing. These drugs greatly reduce the amount of HIV in the body, the viral load, to very low levels.
When the viral load is so low that tests cannot detect it, HIV can no longer damage the immune system or transmit to other people. Some people refer to this as undetectable equals untransmittable or U=U.
A person with stage 2 HIV who takes effective antiretroviral therapy may never develop stage 3 HIV.
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Treatment Reduces The Amount Of Hiv In The Blood
- The amount of HIV in the blood is called viral load.
- Taking your HIV medicine as prescribed will help keep your viral load low and your CD4 cell count high.
- HIV medicine can make the viral load very low . Viral suppression is defined as having less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
- HIV medicine can make the viral load so low that a test cant detect it .
- If your viral load goes down after starting HIV treatment, that means treatment is working. Continue to take your medicine as prescribed.
- If you skip your medications, even now and then, you are giving HIV the chance to multiply rapidly. This could weaken your immune system, and you could become sick.
- Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best way to stay healthy and protect others.
Avoid Excessive Alcohol Or Drug Use
If you are living with HIV, there are specific risks associated with alcohol and recreational drug use that you should be aware of. Alcohol can damage the liver which the body uses to process anti-HIV drugs, so it is good to keep your alcohol consumption within the recommended limits. Heavy drinking and taking recreational drugs can also weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to recover from infections.
Certain anti-HIV drugs can interact with recreational drugs and alcohol to cause unwanted side effects, some of which can be severe. For example, you could feel dizzy or pass out, making you potentially vulnerable. If you are worried about drug interactions, have an honest conversation with a healthcare professional and they will be able to advise you. You should also be aware that being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs may stop you taking your HIV medication properly, for example, you may forget to take a dose or too much alcohol may make you vomit. If you are sick within one hour of taking your HIV medication you should retake the dose.
If youre concerned about your alcohol or drug use, talk to a healthcare professional for advice and support.