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
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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.
How Hiv Is Spread
HIV is spread when blood, semen, or vaginal fluids from an infected person enter another person’s body, usually through:
- Sexual contact. The virus may enter the body through a tear in the lining of the rectum, vagina, urethra, or mouth. Most cases of HIV are spread this way.
- Infected blood. HIV can be spread when a person:
- Is accidentally stuck with a needle or other sharp item that is contaminated with HIV.
HIV may be spread more easily in the early stage of infection and again later, when symptoms of HIV-related illness develop.
A woman who is infected with HIV can spread the virus to her baby during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.
Im Pregnant When Should I Test
Testing for HIV during your pregnancy is very important. Left undiagnosed and untreated women living with HIV can pass the virus on to their unborn babies. In most countries, HIV tests are a routine part of the care women receive during pregnancy . Partners of pregnant women should also get tested during this time.
The earlier you test in your pregnancy the better. You’ll usually be tested in your first appointment, ideally before your tenth week. These tests should be repeated, either every three months or at least once again in your third trimester.
Your doctor will tell you everything you need to know about HIV testing alongside the other blood tests they do during pregnancy.
If you find out you are positive, youll be given treatment to prevent passing HIV on to your child. The earlier you start treatment, the greater the chance your child will be born HIV-negative. Check out our section on Pregnancy, childbirth & breastfeeding for more information.
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Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet to keep your immune system strong. A heart-healthy diet can help prevent some of the problems, such as high cholesterol, that can be caused by treatment for HIV.footnote 24
- Learn how to deal with the weight loss that HIV infection can cause.
- Learn how to handle food properly to avoid getting a foodborne illness. For more information, see the topic Foodborne Illness and Safe Food Handling.
- Exercise regularly to reduce stress and improve the quality of your life. Take steps to help prevent HIV-related fatigue.
- Don’t smoke. People with HIV are more likely to have a heart attack or get lung cancer.footnote 25, footnote 26 Cigarette smoking can raise these risks even more.
- Don’t use illegal drugs. And limit your use of alcohol.
How Can You Prevent Hiv
HIV is often spread by people who don’t know they have it. So it’s always important to protect yourself and others by taking these steps:
- Practice safer sex. Use a condom every time you have sex until you are sure that you and your partner aren’t infected with HIV or other sexually transmitted infection .
- Don’t have more than one sex partner at a time. The safest sex is with one partner who has sex only with you.
- Talk to your partner before you have sex the first time. Find out if he or she is at risk for HIV. Get tested together. Use condoms in the meantime.
- Don’t drink a lot of alcohol or use illegal drugs before sex. You might let down your guard and not practice safer sex.
- Don’t share personal items, such as toothbrushes or razors.
- Never share needles or syringes with anyone.
If you are at high risk for getting infected with HIV, you can take antiretroviral medicine to help protect yourself from HIV infection. Experts may recommend this for:footnote 1, footnote 2
- People whose sexual practices put them at high risk for HIV infection, such as men who have sex with men and people who have many sex partners.
- People who inject illegal drugs, especially if they share needles.
- Adults who have a sex partner with HIV.
To keep your risk low, you still need to practice safer sex even while you are taking the medicine.
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Lack Of Symptoms In Early Stages
ARS is common once a person has HIV. Still, this isnt the case for everyone. Some people have HIV for years before they know they have it. According to HIV.gov, symptoms of HIV may not appear for a decade or longer. This doesnt mean that cases of HIV without symptoms are less serious. Also, a person who doesnt experience symptoms could still transmit HIV to others.
Symptoms in early HIV tend to appear if the rate of cell destruction is high. Not having symptoms can mean that not as many CD4 cells, a type of white blood cell, are killed early on in the disease. Even though a person has no symptoms, they still have the virus. Thats why regular HIV testing is critical to prevent transmission. Its also important to understand the difference between a CD4 count and a viral load.
What Is The Testing Process Like
You can get tested for HIV at your GP surgery, clinics run by charities such as the Terrence Higgins Trust and sexual health clinics too.
You can also do home tests which are discreet and easy to use.
Many clinics offer finger-prick blood tests, but home testing kits vary. You may be directed to take a swab from your vagina or throat, give a urine sample, or give a finger-prick blood sample.
Dr Dutt assures that none of the tests should hurt and they should not take long to carry out. They can be done privately in your home or with a professional, depending on what’s comfortable for you.
Depending on the type of test, results can take a few minutes, or a few days to come back. If your first test is positive, a second blood test will need to be carried out to confirm the result.
If your test comes back positive, you’ll be referred to a specialist HIV clinic for some more tests and a discussion about your treatment options.
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What We Know About Hiv Testing
About 1 in 7 people in the United States who have HIV dont know they have it. Getting an HIV test is the only way to know your HIV status. HIV testing is easier, more available, and more accurate than ever. There are three types of HIV tests available in the United States some can detect HIV sooner than others.
Does Hiv Always Show Up On Testing
No, if someone was recently infected, it might not show up with testing. How quickly HIV shows up on testing depends on the type of test done:
- Testing that looks for the virus itself can find HIV 728 days after infection.
- Testing that looks for HIV antibodies can find HIV antibodies 312 weeks after infection.
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What Happens If My Test Is Positive
If you test positive for HIV, it is important to remember that with treatment you can live a long, healthy life. In fact, with early treatment, people with HIV can live about as long as people that are not infected.
A team approach will help you get the medical care and support that you need. Start by talking to your doctor or the counselor or social worker at the testing site. He or she can help you with suggestions on how to talk to your parents or guardians and how to find a health care provider who’s an HIV specialist. By starting treatment as soon as possible, you can stay healthy and learn to live well with HIV.
What Are The Signs Of An Hiv Infection
Fever is usually the first sign of an HIV infection. Many people also experience other flu-like symptoms as the disease manifests itself two to four weeks after exposure. This early, acute phase of HIV can last up to several weeks. Some of the other possible signs of the infection include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Weight loss
Knowing you have HIV is almost impossible without a test. Thats because the disease can masquerade as other illnesses and sometimes may not have symptoms at all at first. At least 13% of people with HIV dont even know they have the virus. This makes it much more likely that they will spread the disease to others. If youve had unprotected sex recently, the only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested.
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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.
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.
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Who Will Know The Results Of My Testing
It depends on where you get your testing. Testing sites have different privacy rules. Ask about privacy rules at your testing site so you understand whether anyone else will know you got tested or see your results.
If you go to an anonymous test site, only you know the results. No written record of the test result is kept.
If you go to a confidential test site, the results will go in your medical record. Positive results are sent to the state or local health department. Your insurance company will have access to your results. Depending on the state you live in, your parent or guardian may be contacted.
What Is Hiv What Is Aids
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body’s natural defence system. Without a strong immune system, the body has trouble fighting off disease. Both the virus and the infection it causes are called HIV.
White blood cells are an important part of the immune system. HIV infects and destroys certain white blood cells called CD4+ cells. If too many CD4+ cells are destroyed, the body can no longer defend itself against infection.
The last stage of HIV infection is AIDS . People with AIDS have a low number of CD4+ cells and get infections or cancers that rarely occur in healthy people. These can be deadly.
But having HIV doesn’t mean you have AIDS. Even without treatment, it takes a long time for HIV to progress to AIDSusually 10 to 12 years.
When HIV is diagnosed before it becomes AIDS, medicines can slow or stop the damage to the immune system. If AIDS does develop, medicines can often help the immune system return to a healthier state.
With treatment, many people with HIV are able to live long and active lives.
There are two types of HIV:
- HIV-1, which causes almost all the cases of AIDS worldwide
- HIV-2, which causes an AIDS-like illness. HIV-2 infection is uncommon in North America.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
If you have been infected with HIV or are at risk of infection, you probably have some questions about the condition and how it can affect your baby.
You may find it helpful to jot down questions as they arisethat way, when you talk to your doctor, you can be sure that all of your concerns are addressed.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- Should I get tested for HIV?
- What can I do to prevent infection?
- Im infected. Is there any way to prevent passing it on to my baby?
- What steps can we take if my baby does get infected?
- Whats the long-term outlook for a baby with HIV?
What Should I Do If I Think I Could Have Hiv
Only an HIV test can tell you whether you have HIV.
Try not to guess based on any symptoms you may or may not have, or on the HIV status of a person you have had sex with.
If you test, tell whoever tests you if youve recently taken risks or had symptoms similar to seroconversion illness, as this will affect the kind of HIV test you should have.
To be on the safe side, and until you know your test result, use condoms to protect anyone you have sex with.
You can also call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221.
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Safer Sex Still Carries Std Risk
It’s also worth noting that concerns about STD incubation periods aren’t restricted to individuals who practice unprotected sex. Although practicing safer sex and other measures that reduce your risk, like using mouthwash, can drastically reduce your stress levels and your level of risk, it isn’t foolproof protection.
Condoms and other barriers can only reduce the risk of diseases that spread skin-to-skin instead of by bodily fluidsthey can’t entirely prevent them. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk about testing and sources of risk before you have sex.
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
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What To Expect Next
If you find out you are HIV-positive, its important to keep in mind the condition is treatable. Antiretroviral therapy is recommended for all people with HIV, regardless of how long theyve had the virus or how healthy they are. It works by lowering the amount of virus in the body to very low levels. This treatment can also slow the progression of the infection and protect the immune system.
Taking ART medications is vital to slowing the progression of HIV. Left untreated, HIV will progress to the second stage. During this stage, people may experience no symptoms at all. If no treatment is administered, an individual can stay in this stage for 10 to 15 years.
For people who have no symptoms of an acute HIV infection, it takes an average of seven years to proceed to AIDS.
Report Problems With Your Medications To The Fda
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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