Can You Have Hiv For 11 Years And Not Know
A person with HIV may experience mild symptoms, such as swollen glands, in the first few years after infection. People who are not aware they are HIV-positive may not realize they are infected because the symptoms of HIV can be mild at first. HIV can be spread without even knowing it is present in them.
Should You Consider Preventive Medication
How quickly a person is able to see a healthcare professional after exposure to HIV can significantly affect their chances of contracting the virus.
If you believe youve been exposed to HIV, or have a high risk of being exposed to HIV, visit a healthcare professional within 72 hours. You may be offered an antiretroviral treatment called post-exposure prophylaxis , which can reduce your risk of contracting HIV. PEP is typically taken once or twice daily for 28 days.
PEP has little or no effect if taken more than
How Else Can I Protect Myself
If you are going to have unprotected sex, you may be able to prevent HIV infection by taking a medication called PrEP . Clinical trials have shown that taking PrEP is a very reliable way of preventing HIV infection in people who are at high risk of getting HIV.
How to get PrEP
- NHS Scotland has provided PrEP across Scotland since July 2017.
- NHS Wales started the PrEPared Wales project in July 2017. PrEP is set to be routinely available on the NHS imminently.
- NHS England began routine commissioning of PrEP in October 2020 through Sexual Health Services. This follows the Impact Trial which began in 2017.
- Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland started offering PrEP through a pilot in summer 2018. PrEP is set to be made routinely available through HSCNI imminently.
The drugs used for PrEP are the same as those used for the treatment of people living with HIV and are very safe, with serious side effects occurring very rarely.
Bear in mind that, unlike condoms, PrEP will not protect you from other sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy.
For more information on accessing PrEP, the risks and how to protect yourself, .
You May Like: Does Nba Youngboy Have An Std
When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone who is showing symptoms of HIV should contact a doctor as soon as possible. This is especially important if the individual has recently had sexual contact with someone else or shared a needle with someone else.
HIV can remain asymptomatic for a long time. For this reason, anyone who has recently had unprotected sex and is concerned about exposure to HIV should contact a doctor as soon as they can, even if they do not have any symptoms. The same goes for anyone who has recently shared a needle.
It can be difficult to discuss the possibility of having HIV. However, without proper treatment, HIV can be life threatening. In these situations, it is very important for people to put their long-term health first and to discuss the matter with a doctor.
How To Prevent Hiv From Progressing
The most effective way is to take antiretroviral medication as soon as possible and to do so consistently as prescribed.
Antiretroviral therapy keeps the immune system healthy and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to virtually zero.
The sooner a person receives a diagnosis, the sooner they can begin treatment. Early treatment can improve the persons outlook and lower the risk of the virus passing on to others.
You May Like: Oraquick At Walgreens
Can Hiv Be Detected Right Away
HIV can not be detected immediately after infection with an HIV test. In the last 72 hours, if you believe you have been exposed to HIV, talk to your health care provider about post-exposure prophylaxis . During the window period, when an HIV test can accurately detect the disease, a person is at risk for getting HIV.
When To Get Tested
Seek medical advice immediately if you think there’s a chance you could have HIV. The earlier it’s diagnosed, the earlier you can start treatment and avoid becoming seriously ill.
Some HIV tests may need to be repeated 1-3 months after exposure to HIV infection, but you should not wait this long to seek help.
A GP or a sexual health professional can talk to you about having a test and discuss whether you should take emergency HIV medicine.
Anti-HIV medicine called post-exposure prophylaxis may stop you becoming infected if taken within 72 hours of being exposed to the virus.
Read Also: Is Hair Loss A Symptom Of Hiv
Why Should I Get Tested
Getting tested is the only way to find out if you may have HIV. If you have had sex without using a condom or have sharedinjecting drug equipment, you have been at risk of HIV infection. If you have been infected with HIV:
- A test in good time can ensure that you get excellent treatment and care
- If you start treatment early, before HIV weakens the immune system, you will most likely be able to live a full,healthy and productive life
- Without treatment, your HIV infection may develop into AIDS, which is highly likely to shorten your lifespan considerably
- People diagnosed late have a ten-fold increased risk of death within 1 year of HIV diagnosis compared to those diagnosed promptly
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.
You May Like: Hiv Without Ejaculation
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.
I Think I’ve Been Exposed To Hiv Can I Still Prevent Hiv Infection
There may be times when you have a high-risk exposure to HIV and you cannot or did not protect yourself. For example:
- The condom slipped or broke during use.
- Your partner has HIV and you usually use condoms, but didn’t the last time you had sex.
- Rape or a sexual assault.
- You shared a needle to shoot drugs with someone and you are not sure if he or she has HIV.
- You know that the person with whom you shared needles or had unprotected sex has HIV.
- Go to a hospital emergency room or health care setting right away so that you can get all of the care you need. Women can also get emergency birth control to prevent pregnancy. Medicaid and Medicare pay for PEP for rape and sexual assault survivors. The Crime Victims Board may also pay for PEP, call 1-800-247-8035. TTY: 1-888-289-9747, Monday – Friday 9:00AM – 5:00PM.If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, call the NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault at 1-800-942-6906. TTY: 1-800-655-1789.
In these cases, if you seek medical care right away, you may be able to take medicines that may help you from getting infected with HIV. This is called
PEP has been used for people who come in contact with HIV by accident – like a nurse getting stuck by a used needle. Now, PEP can be used for more than just on-the-job accidents. Sometimes this is called nPEP. The “n” in nPEP stands for “non-occupational” which means that you did not get exposed to HIV at work. PEP is only for people who were just exposed to HIV and do not already have it.
Don’t Miss: Do Youngboy Have Herpes
Where To Get Tested For Hiv
Getting an HIV test is easy. Tests for HIV and other STIs are confidential and available from your local doctor , or a sexual and reproductive health clinic.
It is a good idea to have some pre-test counselling. Before the test, talk with your doctor, nurse, or peer tester about any concerns, your level of risk, whether you are likely to be HIV-positive and what a positive result may mean.
Hiv Testing In A Health Care Setting Or Lab
If you take a test in a health care setting or a lab, a health care provider or lab technician will take your sample . If its a rapid test, you may be able to wait for the results, but if its a laboratory test, it can take several days for your results to be available. Your health care provider or counselor may talk with you about your risk factors, answer any questions you might have, and discuss next steps with you, especially if your result is positive.
- If the test comes back negative, and you havent had an exposure during the window period for the test you took, you can be confident you dont have HIV.
- If your HIV test result is positive, the lab will conduct follow-up testing, usually on the same sample as the first.
You May Like: Average Hiv Life Expectancy
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.
Benefits Of Knowing Youre Hiv Positive
Whatever your result might be, there are now many good reasons to test and few reasons to avoid testing. The earlier HIV is diagnosed, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful. This means you are more likely to have a healthy life and have fewer problems with symptoms of the infection.
It will also help to protect your sexual partners.
For pregnant women, the chances of passing on HIV infection to your baby either during pregnancy, at delivery or afterwards by breastfeeding, can be greatly reduced through:
- careful management
Read Also: How Long Does Aids Take To Show
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.
Some Practices Dont Reduce Your Risk Of Hiv
Some people use unreliable methods to reduce their risk of HIV. These include:
- Serosorting choosing your sexual partner based upon them having the same HIV status as you.
- Strategic positioning where an HIV-negative partner penetrates an HIV-positive partner.
- Withdrawal when the insertive partner pulls out before ejaculating .
None of these strategies are reliable, so you are at risk of HIV transmission.Having sex only with people who have the same HIV status can be very risky. For example, a person may think they are HIV-negative, but may have been exposed to HIV since their last test, or may never have been tested at all.
Using a combination of proven, reliable strategies like condoms, PrEP, and undetectable viral load is the best way to prevent HIV transmission.
Also Check: Hiv Stays Alive In Dried Blood
What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv
Dr Dutt says most people with HIV experience a short illness with flu-like symptoms. This normally occurs 2-6 weeks after HIV infection and can last for a couple of weeks.
“Once these symptoms eventually disappear, you might not notice any symptoms for many years, even though the virus can continue to damage your immune system.
“This ultimately means that many people with HIV won’t realise they’re infected, unless they get tested for it,” she explains.
Other symptoms of HIV besides flu include:
- Swollen lymph nodes around the neck and groin.
- Skin rashes.
How Do You Know If You Have Hiv
While there are symptoms and early warning signs of an HIV infection, the only way to know for sure whether you have the virus is by getting tested. This needn’t be a scary process, and it’s vital you seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid further complications or infecting others.
21-Nov-21·5 mins read
Read Also: How Long Does Hiv Last
Stage : Clinical Latency
In this stage, the virus still multiplies, but at very low levels. People in this stage may not feel sick or have any symptoms. This stage is also called chronic HIV infection.
Without HIV treatment, people can stay in this stage for 10 or 15 years, but some move through this stage faster.
If you take HIV medicine every day, exactly as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you can protect your health and have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to your sexual partner.
But if your viral load is detectable, you can transmit HIV during this stage, even when you have no symptoms. Its important to see your health care provider regularly to get your viral load checked.
Do I Need To Start Treatment
The latest guidelines recommend that all people who are diagnosed with HIV should start treatment straight away.
Current treatment for HIV is not a cure, but it can keep HIV under control which keeps your immune system strong.
Once you start taking treatment, you will need to take it every day for life, so its important that you feel ready to start. Take your time to feel prepared and find out more about starting HIV treatment.
I was speechless, frozen in time. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t stop crying… It has been six years and my boyfriend now husband has stayed by my side. He is currently negative and we have four kids together. Just because you are positive doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold. Take your meds and enjoy life. Don’t sit around allowing life to pass you by.
You May Like: Does Cookie Johnson Have Aids
How Long Do I Need To Wait Before I Test
Thereâs a window period between exposure to HIV and a positive test because it takes time for your body to either build a response to the infection or for the virus to replicate enough for a test to detect it. HIV window periods can vary.
For example, if you have unprotected sex on a Friday night, and get an HIV test Monday morning, the test wonât be able to detect HIV or an immune response to HIV yet. There hasnât been enough time for a positive result, even if the virus is in your body.
To get the earliest, most accurate result, first consider when you were exposed and whether youâre showing symptoms.
- If you know exactly when you may have come into contact with the virus, take a test 3 months after that date. Tests 3 months after exposure should be 99% accurate.
- If you are having symptoms of HIV, see your doctor right away. Your doctor may want to use a test that can look for the virus directly in your body.
What Should I Do After I Start Pep
You need to see a doctor during the four weeks you are on PEP and again at the end of the four weeks when you are done with the PEP medicines. You will be tested for HIV again after the four weeks. Ask your health care provider for a number to call with questions about your PEP treatment.
While you are on PEP, and after you are done, be sure to protect yourself and others from HIV infection.
Read Also: How Long Can Aids Go Undetected