If I Drink Alcohol And/or Use Recreational Drugs Is It Safe To Take Prep
Alcohol and recreational drugs are not known to interact with PrEP medications. It is safe to take PrEP before, after and on days when you are “partying.” In fact, it is important to take extra steps to make sure you take PrEP according to the healthcare providers directions when you are “partying.”
I Have Sex Partners Who Are Living With Hiv And Have An Undetectable Viral Load Because They Are On Hiv Treatment Do I Still Need To Take Prep
Individuals living with HIV who are taking HIV treatment consistently and have an undetectable viral load for at least 6 months cannot transmit the virus to an HIV-negative partner through sexual activity. In sero-discordant or magnetic couples , PrEP may be used by the HIV-negative partner for additional protection.
Can I Get The Prep Medication From My Regular Healthcare Provider Or Do I Have To Go To A Special Doctor
It depends on your doctor. Any physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant can prescribe PrEP. It is important to have a healthcare provider who you can work with to individualize PrEP to your needs and circumstances. The New York State Department of Health has prepared a directory of healthcare providers that prescribe PrEP that can be found online.
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Can My Medicines Cause Side Effects
Like most other medicines, HAART can cause side effects. Your doctor will talk to you about what side effects your particular medicine might cause.
If a serious reaction occurs, it usually occurs in the first few weeks of therapy. You should call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Constant thirst.
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When I First Start Taking The Medication How Many Days Do I Have To Take The Medication In Order For It To Protect Me From An Hiv Exposure
The PrEP medication must reach and maintain a certain level in the blood and the bodys mucus membranes to provide protection. The amount of time it takes may vary from person to person. For people taking daily PrEP who engage in anal intercourse, the medication must be taken each day for 7 days to reach the level needed for full protection. Cis-gender MSM who are taking on-demand PrEP, must take two pills, 2-24 hours before having sex. For the receptive partner in vaginal intercourse, it takes approximately 20 days of taking the medication consistently to reach the level of full protection in the female genital tract. This is why cis-gender women and transgender men who have receptive vaginal intercourse should not take on-demand PrEP. People of transgender experience should talk with their healthcare provider about their specific sexual practices to best determine the length of time it will take to be fully protected.
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Hiv Options Are Numerous And Far Easier
The diagnosis of HIV can be a shock to anyone.
However, current treatments coupled with early diagnosis have significantly improved the outcomes of patients living with HIV. In fact, many people who are treated appropriately and monitored closely can live close to a normal life-span today.
That doesn’t mean HIV’s impact isn’t still significant.
- In 2017, 38,739 people were diagnosed with HIV in the U.S. based on the latest CDC statistics.
- Even more concerning: more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV today, but 1 in 7 of them dont know it.
- While there is still no cure for HIV AIDs, research and treatments have greatly expanded since the 1980’s.
Combinations of drugs — many recently approved — have become more effective, easier to take, and with fewer side effects.
How Well Does Prep Work
The PrEP medication works very well at preventing a person from getting HIV. Everyone taking PrEP should be sure to take the medication as agreed upon with the healthcare provider, but it is especially important for cis-gender women and transgender men who engage in vaginal intercourse to take it consistently each day to be fully protected during receptive vaginal intercourse. The more days a person misses a dose, the less protective the medication will be for any exposures that occur during that time period. If you are interested in more specific data regarding how well PrEP works, below is a list of links to the major clinical trials.
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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.
Starting Hiv Treatment After Diagnosis
The sooner you start to take HIV treatment, the sooner you can benefit from it. HIV treatment will strengthen your immune system, reduce the amount of HIV in your body and prevent illnesses from occurring. Effective HIV treatment also helps prevent you from passing HIV on to someone else.
If your CD4 count is below 200;your doctor will recommend starting HIV treatment immediately. With a CD4 count below 200 your body is vulnerable to opportunistic infections. These are infections the immune system can usually prevent on its own but with a low CD4 count the immune system is not able to fight them off. Opportunistic infections can be very serious and cause potentially life-threatening illnesses.
To prevent the development of these infections you may also need to take antibiotics . Once your CD4 count has increased to above 200, the prophylaxis treatment will be stopped. If you are already ill with an infection, you may start treatment for this before you start HIV treatment.
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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?
What Can You Do To Look After Yourself
The most important thing is to start HIV treatment, and to take it exactly the way you are advised to .
Attend your HIV clinic for regular check-ups. These monitor how your treatment is working, with regular screening for other health problems. Having a good relationship with your healthcare team is important, so that you feel able to be honest about your health, lifestyle, adherence and any other issues, to help you receive the best possible care and support.
“Once your CD4 count improves, with continued treatment and care, your life expectancy is very good.”
Register with a;GP; for non-HIV-related health problems. GPs can give you an;annual flu vaccination , and provide advice on lifestyle factors that help keep you well, including;healthy eating,;exercise;and giving up;smoking.
While your CD4 count is low ,;ensure your drinking water is free from infection and take extra care in preparing and storing food to avoid food poisoning. Be careful to avoid infections if you are handling animals or gardening. Your healthcare team can talk to you about any risks and give you advice.
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Before Taking This Medicine
You should not take Truvada if you are allergic to emtricitabine or tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Do not take if you also use other medicines that contain emtricitabine, tenofovir, lamivudine, or adefovir .
If you take Truvada PrEP to reduce your risk of HIV infection: You must have a negative HIV test immediately before you start taking the medicine.
Do not take Truvada PrEP to reduce infection risk if you are HIV-positive, if have been exposed to HIV within the past month, or if you had any symptoms .
To make sure Truvada is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
osteopenia ; or
You may develop lactic acidosis, a dangerous build-up of lactic acid in your blood. This may be more likely if you have other medical conditions, if youve taken HIV medication for a long time, or if you are a woman. Ask your doctor about your risk.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, and use your medications properly to control your infection. HIV can be passed to your baby if the virus is not controlled during pregnancy. Your name may be listed on a registry to track any effects of antiviral medicine on the baby.
Women with HIV or AIDS should not breastfeed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk.
A child receiving this medicine must weigh at least 37 pounds.
It is not known if Truvada is safe and effective in children with HIV-1 infection who weigh less than 37 pounds .
Is It True That There Is A Medication That Can Actually Prevent Someone From Getting Hiv
Yes. PrEP involves working with a healthcare provider to make an individualized plan to take medication to prevent HIV. Clinical trials have shown that PrEP is 99% effective at reducing sexual transmission of HIV. As of January 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two medications as PrEP for HIV: Truvada , and Descovy . ;Note: Descovy is not approved for use by cis-gender women.
Key Points About PrEP:
- PrEP medication is prescribed by a healthcare provider. People interested in PrEP can work with a healthcare provider to determine how PrEP can be tailored to their individual needs and circumstances.
- PrEP is only for people who are not living with HIV. HIV testing should be conducted before starting PrEP and repeated every three months to make sure the person is not living with HIV. Testing may be done by the healthcare provider or at a conveniently located community-based organization , healthcare facility or lab.;
- Some people benefit from counseling and support for taking the medication regularly. If this is needed, the person can talk with the healthcare provider, a trusted CBO, a peer worker, or other provider.
- People at risk for HIV are also at risk for sexually transmitted infections . Counseling about using condoms to prevent STIs and periodic screening for STIs is important and may be provided by the healthcare provider, a trusted CBO, or other provider.
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More Patients Keep Hiv At Bay Without Antiviral Drugs
An electron micrograph of HIV particles infecting a human T cell. French researchers say they’ve found 14 patients with so little HIV virus in their blood that the patients have gone into “long-term remission.” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseaseshide caption
An electron micrograph of HIV particles infecting a human T cell. French researchers say they’ve found 14 patients with so little HIV virus in their blood that the patients have gone into “long-term remission.”
Just last week AIDS researchers were excited about a Mississippi toddler whose blood has remained free of HIV many months after she stopped getting antiviral drugs what doctors call a “functional cure.”
Now French researchers confirm they’ve found 14 adults whose immune systems are apparently controlling HIV without medication.
They’re not explicitly claiming these patients are cured, but they are calling them “post-treatment HIV controllers,” in “long-term remission” from the once-deadly AIDS virus.
Unlike the Mississippi case , the French patients do have HIV in their blood but at such low levels that it takes ultra-sensitive tests not available in most labs to detect it.
The common thread linking the Mississippi child and the French patients is that they were all given combinations of potent antiviral drugs very early after they were infected with HIV in the child’s case within 31 hours, and among the adults between one and two months.
Hiv Testing And Your Rights
Testing for HIV is voluntary and can only be done with your informed consent, except in exceptional circumstances.
Before you are tested, you will be provided with information about what is involved. what the results might mean for you, and how to prevent HIV transmission in the future. All people who request an HIV test must receive this information from the test provider.
Under Australian and Victorian law, it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone who has HIV. Test results, and details on whether someone has been tested are strictly confidential. It is illegal for any information about a person being tested or a person with HIV to be disclosed without their permission.;
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Do I Still Need To Worry About Other Sexually Transmitted Infections
Neither HIV treatment nor PrEP prevents other sexually transmitted infections, or STIs.
Ways to reduce the risk of STIs include having both partners tested, limiting the number of sexual partners and using condoms. Vaccines are available to prevent some STIs, including hepatitis B and human papillomavirus .
Hiv Medicines Prevent Mother
It is important pregnant women with HIV continue to take their HIV medication as prescribed by their doctor.
Most HIV medicines are safe to use during pregnancy. HIV medicines slow down the growth and multiplication of the HIV virus in the body and have reduced the rate of mother-to-child transmission of the virus in the U.S and Europe to less than 1%.;
Babies born to women with HIV also receive HIV medicine for 4 to 6 weeks after birth. HIV medicine reduces the risk of infection from any HIV that may have entered a babys body during childbirth.
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How Can Service Providers Improve The Uptake And Correct Use Of Hiv Treatment And An Undetectable Viral Load To Prevent The Sexual Transmission Of Hiv
Educational and counselling activities for people whether they have HIV or are at risk for HIV should include information on the HIV prevention benefits of treatment and an undetectable viral load, along with information on the other highly effective ways to help prevent HIV. These include PrEP, PEP, condoms for sex and new equipment for using drugs. Encourage clients to choose the combination of strategies that will work most effectively for them as there are multiple approaches to HIV and STI prevention that can be combined in different ways. Discuss how the use of HIV treatment to maintain an undetectable viral load fits into a comprehensive plan for sexual health including regular STI testing and safer sex practices.
Education and counselling on the use of this HIV prevention strategy should include a discussion about the large body of evidence showing that people on HIV treatment who maintain an undetectable viral load do not transmit HIV through sex. Education should also include the factors necessary for maximizing the effectiveness of this strategy. Emphasize the following:
You can also lead or support efforts to improve awareness of the use of HIV treatment to maintain an undetectable viral load as a prevention approach among a range of service providers in your area including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and non-clinical staff at community-based organizations.
Goals And Principles Of Antiretroviral Therapy
To review, the overarching goal of ART is to reduce further disease and early death from HIV/AIDS, as well as to prevent transmission of HIV to others .
- ART should be offered to all HIV-1 infected patients, regardless of immune status.
- Highly effective ART regimens, such as those found in the DHHS HIV guidelines, should be considered for initial treatment.
- Drug therapy should always be patient-specific and determined based on kidney and liver function, HBV status, cardiovascular risk, child-bearing potential, drug resistance testing, genotype/phenotype, and HLA-B*5701 status .
- Therapy should be directed by clinicians with significant experience in HIV treatment.
- Patient education and importance of therapy adherence should be emphasized at the point of care.
- Caregiver education should be considered, if needed.
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