Some Hiv Facts You Must Know
How long can HIV go undetected? It is a common question, but people have other concern and questions regarding HIV and AIDs. For instance:
1. Is it possible for tops to get HIV?
The term ‘tops’ refers to the insertive partner in anal sex. Some people believe that male tops are at a lowered risk of getting HIV. A study has confirmed it, stating that tops have 86% reduction in their risk of contracting the infection.
2. Do you have AIDS when you are tested HIV positive?
No, you do not. Millions of people infected with HIV never develop AIDS, which is the last stage of HIV disease. You can avoid having AIDS through regular medical care and proper treatment to strengthen your immune system.
3. Will you die because of HIV?
No, you will not at least not anytime soon. Yes, there will be complications, but that is true for any chronic condition. With modern-day medications and resources, people with HIV can hope to live a near-normal lifespan. You may be at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis and other age-related conditions early, but you can certainly improve the quality of your life through proper medical care.
4. How you can and cannot get HIV?
What Is Viral Suppression
Antiretroviral therapy keeps HIV from making copies of itself. When a person living with HIV begins an antiretroviral treatment regimen, their viral load drops. For almost everyone who starts taking their HIV medication daily as prescribed, viral load will drop to an undetectable level in six months or less. Continuing to take HIV medications as directed is imperative to stay undetectable.
What Are The Effects Of Aids
A weakened immune system increases the risk of developing other conditions. These include:
- transmission from mother to baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding
- oral sex, although this is rare
- healthcare workers receiving ‘needlestick injuries’
It is important to remember that HIV is not spread through activities such as kissing, sharing cups and cutlery, normal social contact, toilet seats or mosquitoes.
You are at higher risk of HIV infection if:
- you are a man, a transgender woman or a person who identifies as gender diverse who has sex with men
- you have sex or share needles with someone else at risk of HIV
- you share sex toys
- you have sex with people from countries with a high rate of HIV infection
- you inject illegal drugs and share needles
- you have had tattoos or other piercings overseas using unsterile equipment
- you have a sexually transmitted infection . People can be infected with several different STIs at the same time. Having an STI can make it easier to become infected with HIV and pass it on to sexual partners.
- you have had a blood transfusion in a country where the blood supply is not safe
Some people are at a higher risk of HIV infection because they are exposed to more people with HIV infection or engage in more high-risk behaviour. These include:
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Benefits Of Early Detection And Treatment
If you think you may have an STD, its important to stop engaging in sexual activity and seek treatment. Early detection and treatment of STDs plays an important role in stopping the transmission of STDs between yourself, your sexual partners, and their sexual partners. In some cases, it can even save your life.
Some of the potential risks of untreated STDs include:
- pregnancy and birth-related risks, from untreated bacterial STDs, HIV, and hepatitis B
- organ damage, dementia, paralysis, or death, from untreated syphilis
Taking care of your sexual health is important. Not everyone will voluntarily disclose their STD status to you. You can take control of your sexual health by asking questions, screening new sexual partners, and having open and honest discussions about sexually transmitted diseases.
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How Do I Take Care Of Myself With Hiv
The best way to take care of yourself while living with HIV is to follow your treatment plan.
- Make sure to take your medications as prescribed and on time.
- Show up to all appointments so your healthcare team can monitor how youre feeling and know if theres a need to adjust your treatment.
- Follow your healthcare providers recommendations on how to avoid additional illnesses.
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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.
What Do The Results Mean
If your result is negative, it can mean you donât have HIV. A negative result may also mean you have HIV but itâs too soon to tell. It can take a few weeks for HIV antibodies and antigens to show up in your body. If your result is negative, your health care provider may order additional HIV tests at a later date.
If your result is positive, you will get a follow-up test to confirm the diagnosis. If both tests are positive, it means you have HIV. It does not mean you have AIDS. While there is no cure for HIV, the disease can be effectively controlled with medicine. The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy . ART can significantly reduce the amount of HIV in the blood. People with HIV who take ART before the disease gets too advanced can live long, healthy lives. If you are living with HIV, itâs important to see your health care provider regularly.
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Things To Know About Hiv Suppression
A vial of blood
A vial of blood
Development of antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV has turned what was once an almost always fatal infection into a manageable chronic condition. Daily antiretroviral therapy can reduce the amount of HIV in the blood to levels that are undetectable with standard tests. Staying on treatment is crucial to keep the virus suppressed. NIAID-supported research has demonstrated that achieving and maintaining a durably undetectable viral load not only preserves the health of the person living with HIV, but also prevents sexual transmission of the virus to an HIV-negative partner.
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Testing Outside Of The United States
Rapid tests that have been approved for HIV home testing outside of the United States include:
- Atomo HIV Self Test. This test is available in Australia and has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration , the countrys regulatory agency. It tests for HIV in 15 minutes.
- autotest VIH. This test is only available in certain parts of Europe. It tests for HIV in 15 to 20 minutes.
- BioSure HIV Self Test. This test is only available in certain parts of Europe. It tests for HIV in about 15 minutes.
- INSTI HIV Self Test. This test launched in the Netherlands in 2017 and can be purchased everywhere except the United States and Canada. It promises results within 60 seconds.
- Simplitude ByMe HIV Test. This test launched in July 2020 and is available in the United Kingdom and Germany. It tests for HIV in 15 minutes.
These particular tests all rely on a blood sample taken from the fingertip.
None of them have been FDA approved for use in the United States. However, the autotest VIH, BioSure, INSTI, and Simplitude ByMe kits all have CE marking.
If a product has CE marking, it complies with the safety, health, and environmental standards set forth by the European Economic Area .
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Detecting Hiv: Seroconversion Time Is Important
When a person contracts the human immunodeficiency virus , timing can affect HIV test results. Although tests have become more accurate, none of them can detect an HIV infection immediately after its contracted.
The bodys defense mechanisms kick into action after contracting HIV. The immune system begins to develop antibodies to attack the virus. This production of HIV antibodies is called seroconversion. Before seroconversion, there may not be detectable levels of HIV antibodies in a persons blood.
Before seroconversion, an HIV blood test could produce a false negative result. A positive HIV antibody test will not appear until the body makes enough HIV antibodies to be detected.
Get Tested For Hiv As Soon As Possible To Know Your Status
- If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, get tested for HIV as early as possible during each pregnancy. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information.
- If you learn you have HIV, the sooner you start treatment the betterfor your health and your babys health and to prevent transmitting HIV to your partner.
- If you learn you dont have HIV, but you are at increased risk of acquiring it, get tested again in your third trimester.
- You should also encourage your partner to get tested for HIV.
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When And Who Should Get Tested
The CDC recommends that anyone between ages 13 and 64 should have them tested for the infection. It is important to undergo a repeat test if you have changed your sexual partner. In most cases, you should have your HIV test after 3 months of engaging in sexual activity with a new partner. Some people are at high risk for contracting the virus this is true for IV drug users, homosexual males, and those who change sex partners often. For them, it is important to go for HIV testing every 6-12 months.
Your body may have enough antibodies after 3 months of becoming infected some people may have those antibodies within 20 days of becoming infected. Therefore, it is a good idea to go for testing every six months, especially if you have had unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex with a different partner during this time. To get tested, you can go to your local health department, doctor’s office, or hospital. Nowadays, special sites are set up to help you with HIV testing these testing sites keep your data private and share it only with medical experts authorized to see your record.
Risk of HIV
It is worth mentioning that certain factors put you at an increased risk of becoming infected. For instance, you are likely to contract the HIV virus if:
You should talk to your healthcare provider to get more information regarding how long can HIV go undetected and how often you should go for HIV testing.
Whats The Difference Between Hiv And Aids
The difference between HIV and AIDS is that HIV is a virus that weakens your immune system. AIDS is a condition that can happen as a result of an HIV infection when your immune system is severely weakened.
You cant get AIDS if you arent infected with HIV. Thanks to treatment that slows down the effects of the virus, not everyone with HIV progresses to AIDS. But without treatment, almost all people living with HIV will advance to AIDS.
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What Are Viral Load Blips
Even if a person is durably undetectable and taking antiretroviral therapy daily as prescribed, they may experience small, transient increases in viral load called blips followed by a decrease back to undetectable levels. Having a blip is relatively common and does not indicate that antiretroviral therapy has failed to control the virus. Scientists are working to better understand what causes blips.
What You Need To Know About The Links Between Hiv And Stds
Many people think that STDs are a harmless “fact of life.” Since most STDs can be cured, people think, “Doctors give you medicine and that’s the end of it, right?” Well, not quite! Having an STD can increase your chances of getting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv Infection
Most people have no symptoms or just a mild flu-like illness when they are first infected, and it may be difficult to tell the HIV apart from other viral infections. This illness, called seroconversion illness, often occurs around 10 to 14 days after infection.
Seroconversion illness can have a range of symptoms, including:
- swollen lymph glands in the neck, underarm or groin areas
After the initial illness, people with HIV infection usually have no other symptoms. However, the virus remains in the body.
Making Hiv Testing Routine
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.
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Can I Get Pregnant If I Have Hiv
Some people think that HIV hurts your chances of getting pregnant, but this isnt true. If you have HIV and want to become pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider. Together you can make a plan before you try to get pregnant to keep you, your partner and any future children healthy.
HIV can spread to your partner during unprotected sex and to your baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Taking ART medications can greatly reduce your risk of transmitting HIV to your baby, especially if you have an undetectable viral load. Your provider may recommend that you dont breastfeed your baby and use formula instead.
What Does The Hiv Test Involve
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all people between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once for HIV. People with known risk factors should be tested yearly, or more frequently.
HIV tests are very accurate, but no test can detect the virus immediately after transmission. How soon a test can detect HIV depends on what the test is looking forantibodies, antigens, or the virus itself.
HIV testing uses a blood draw, a finger stick, or an oral swab. The type of sample used depends on the test.
These three types of diagnostic tests are used to detect HIV:
Antibody and antigen/antibody tests are typically used first because they are less expensive and easier to administer. They may also detect signs of HIV sooner. A NAT test may be used to confirm a positive result on an antibody or antigen/antibody test, or if these tests are negative and there is a strong suspicion for new HIV infection.
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Trials Focused On Infection Not On Transmission
How can it be that after conducting clinical trials that involved tens of thousands of people, there was still uncertainty about whether the three authorized COVID-19 vaccinesfrom Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnsoncould prevent or reduce transmission?
In large part, its because the clinical trials for these vaccines were primarily focused on determining whether the vaccines protected against symptomatic COVID-19 infection. And though the trials showed that the vaccines are very effective in preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death, none were found to be 100% protective against infection, meaning that some trial participants had mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 cases, even after vaccination.
With the initial coronavirus strain, or even with the Alpha variant, the post-vaccine immune response is usually fast and potent enough that it clears out the infection quicklybefore the virus can spread far in the body or serious symptoms have a chance to develop. But because infection could technically occur, transmission was still considered a possibilityalbeit a remote one.
The Delta variant is showing every day its willingness to outsmart us, said CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, at a recent news briefing.
Can You Get Hiv From Having Sex With Someone Who Has Aids
If you have sex with someone who has AIDS, not HIV, can you still get HIV? Sarah*
Yes. People who have AIDS are infected with the HIV virus. This means they can pass HIV on to others.
AIDS happens after someone has had HIV for many years. In AIDS, the immune system is severely weakened. When someone gets HIV, that person can spread the infection to other people immediately. And if HIV develops into AIDS, the virus can spread to others.
HIV/AIDS spreads when infected blood or body fluids enter the body. This can happen:
- during sex
- through sharing needles for injecting drugs or tattooing
HIV/AIDS also can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
To reduce your risk of getting HIV/AIDS if you are sexually active:
- Use a condom every time you have sex .
- Get tested for HIV and make sure all partners do too.
- Have fewer sexual partners.
- Get tested and treated for STDs having an STD increases the risk of HIV infection.
- Consider taking a medicine every day if you are at very high risk of getting infected .
It’s also important to:
- not inject drugs or share any kind of needle
- not share razors or other personal objects that may touch blood
- not touch anyone else’s blood from a cut or sore
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
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