Hiv Medication And Infectiousness
In the UK, national guidelines currently recommend that anyone with HIV who is ready to commit to treatment should start it regardless of their CD4 count .
This means more people will be on treatment sooner and will have an undetectable viral load, so although reinfection is a theoretical risk, its unlikely.
If you had drug-resistant HIV, your viral load would be more likely to be detectable. You would be aware of that, meaning you could use protection to avoid the risk of reinfection. An undetectable viral load indicates your HIV isn’t resistant to your medication.
If you have a detectable viral load or dont know whether the person youre having sex with is undetectable, using condoms will prevent reinfection.
Can Hiv Treatment Be Used Against Covid
There is no strong evidence that antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV are effective at treating COVID-19.
If you are already taking ART, you can still get COVID-19 and should take precautions to prevent the virus from spreading and reduce your own risk. Learn more on our COVID-19 FAQs page.
Remember, COVID-19 is a new illness and we are still learning more about how it behaves. We urge you to keep an eye on advice from:
- your countrys national public health department,
- local HIV organisations,
- your doctor or healthcare worker.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
No two people with HIV will have the same symptoms, and some may not have any at all. But the infection can cause some common changes over time.
In the first few weeks: These first, flu-like symptoms happen because your body is reacting to HIV. Your immune system is trying to fight it off. The symptoms at this stage can include:
- Aches and pains in muscles and joints
Keep in mind that even if you have these symptoms, that doesnât automatically mean you are HIV-positive. Many different illnesses can cause these problems. Talk to a doctor or an HIV testing facility if you think you might be infected.
At this early stage of HIV infection, itâs important to know that you may not get accurate results from an HIV test. It can take 3-12 weeks for enough signs of the virus to show up on routine tests for the infection, which measure antibodies against HIV. A new kind of screening, called a nucleic acid test, can detect the virus itself during this early stage, but itâs expensive and not usually used for routine HIV testing.
Let the testing site or your doctor know if you think you might be recently infected. Also, be sure to use a condom every time you have sex, and take other steps to prevent spreading the virus.
After years with untreated HIV, youâre likely to get infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that your body is no longer strong enough to fight off. They can be a sign that your infection has gone from HIV to AIDS. You might have:
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How Do I Know If I Have It
You canât tell if someone has HIV just by looking at them. In fact, some people donât know they are infected with the virus for years, because they havenât noticed any symptoms. To know your status, you have to get tested.
However, some people experience symptoms in the first two to four weeks after theyâve been infected. These are usually described as an extremely bad flu â fever, a sore throat, headache, achy muscles and joints, and rash. This is called primary HIV infection, and whatâs happening here is that your body is trying to fight off the HIV infecting it.
Why Should Someone Get Tested For Hiv
If someone is infected with HIV, it’s important to know because:
- Starting medicines right away can keep a person stay healthy for a long time.
- There are ways to stop the spread of HIV to others, such as using a condom and taking medicines.
- A pregnant woman who is infected can get treatment to try to prevent passing HIV to her baby.
Another reason to get tested is peace of mind: A negative test result can be a big relief for someone who is worried about being infected.
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Sharing Responsibility For Safer Sex
Talk to your partner before you have sex so that you can share the responsibility for having safer sex. If your partner knows about HIV, it can make it easier to talk about using condoms.
Having HIV shouldnt stop you from having great sex you have as much right to a fulfilling and healthy sex life as anyone else but dont feel that you have to have sex just because your partner wants to. You can decide when youre ready for sex its your choice and no one elses.
If You Have A Negative Test Result Does That Mean That Your Partner Is Hiv
No. Your HIV test result reveals only your HIV status.
HIV is not necessarily transmitted every time you have sex. Therefore, taking an HIV test is not a way to find out if your partner is infected.
It’s important to be open with your partner and ask them to tell you their HIV status. But keep in mind that your partner may not know or may be wrong about their status, and some may not tell you if they have HIV even if they know they’re infected. Consider getting tested together so you can both know your HIV status and take steps to keep yourselves healthy.
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How Hiv Is Transmitted
The first step in determining whether you are at risk of HIV is to better understand how the virus is transmitted.
HIV thrives in certain body fluids, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk. Most people get infected when exposed to HIV through these fluids.
HIV is transmitted through:
HIV can also be passed from mother to child during childbirth, although this is less common in the developed world due to advances in prevention and treatment.
It is important to note that HIV cannot penetrate intact skin. The virus can enter the body either through porous mucosal tissues , through breaks in vulnerable tissues , or directly through the bloodstream.
HIV infection can occur with just one exposure, particularly in high-risk individuals.
By contrast, HIV does not thrive in saliva, urine, tears, or feces and cannot survive in infectious quantities when exposed to air and environmental conditions.
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.
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Is There A Period When The Virus Isnt Transmittable
HIV is transmittable soon after its introduced into the body. During this phase, the bloodstream contains higher levels of HIV, which makes it easy to transmit it to others.
Since not everyone has early symptoms of HIV, getting tested is the only way to know if the virus has been contracted. An early diagnosis also allows an HIV-positive person to begin treatment. Proper treatment can eliminate their risk of transmitting the virus to their sexual partners.
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.
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Being Young And Hiv Positive
As you get older, youll probably want to manage your own health and treatment but just because youre becoming an adult doesnt mean youre meant to know it all.
Remember, its your choice as to when, where and how you tell people about your HIV status.
You might benefit from joining a support group for young people living with HIV to share your feelings and experiences.
Living with HIV shouldnt stop you from having fulfilling relationships and a healthy sex life when youre ready.
Your teenage years are a time of great change your body develops during puberty, and its often very emotional. It can be an intense and exciting time, but it can also feel difficult to cope with everything.
You may be finishing school and taking exams, and youre probably thinking about your future. This is also a time when many people have their first relationships.
Whatever challenges you face its important to remember you are not alone. Lots of other people have been, and still are in, similar situations. Many people find it helpful to speak to a counsellor or join a support group.
How Do The Tests Work
Most HIV tests use a blood sample, either from a blood draw or finger prick. Others use saliva , but this is a little less accurate than blood tests.
Some HIV tests look for the virus itself. But most look for the antibodies for HIV. Antibodies are part of the immune system and fight infections. When someone is infected with HIV, the body creates antibodies to fight HIV.
Testing results may be available that day or can take longer come back.
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When To Seek Medical Care
Early diagnosis is key. If you think youve been exposed to HIV or have an encounter that put you at risk for HIV, you should seek medical care right away with a primary care doctor, urgent or walk-in clinic, or, if those are not available to you, a local emergency room.
Doctors can give you a medication called post-exposure prophylaxis after exposure to reduce your chances of developing HIV. But this medication needs to be taken within 72 hours of exposure. Ideally, youd start taking it within the first 24 hours.
If you think you were exposed to HIV in the past for example, if a former sexual partner tells you they have HIV its critical to seek medical care as soon as possible. The sooner you find out you have HIV, the sooner you can start treatment.
What If My Hiv Test Result Is Positive
If you had an antibody test and the result was positive, the first thing to do is get a follow-up test to confirm the results. If the follow-up test is positive, it means you have HIV. We know how stressful this diagnosis can be. You will feel many emotions such as anger, fear, or sadness.
Having HIV does not mean you have AIDS, which is the most severe and advanced form of the illness. Please know that millions of people live decades with HIV and have full, happy, productive lives. To start down that path, the next step after your diagnosis is to get HIV treatment immediately.
Antiretroviral therapy is the process of taking medication to treat your HIV infection. While ART cannot cure HIV, it can keep your symptoms from progressing. Reducing the HIV in your body also means that you lower the risk of transmitting the disease to someone else. Everyone who has HIV, no matter their symptoms, typically takes medications to lower the viral load in the body.
Today, we have a variety of medications available to treat your HIV. There are seven classes of drugs, all with different effects on the body, so talk with your doctor about a personalized drug therapy regimen designed specifically for you, your body, and your treatment goals.
A diagnosis of HIV, while serious, doesnt mean your health has to decline. Get tested, and talk with the team at the Orlando Immunology Center about your options.
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Treating The Rash At Home
How Can I Protect Myself
To protect yourself from getting infected with HIV, you can use protection or practice abstinence. Being faithful to one partner can also reduce your risk of getting HIV. However, you can get HIV with only one partner if the partner is unfaithful and having unprotected sex.
Other methods of protection include taking antiretroviral drugs, male circumcision, and vaccination.
Using condoms is the most effective method of protection against HIV and sexually transmitted infections. It also helps prevent unwanted pregnancies.
- They are very effective if used properly and this means using a condom that fits properly.
- To ensure that you are using a condom in the right way, here are a few basic things you can do:
- Every time you have intercourse, use a new condom.
- Put on a condom before any kind of sexual contact, whether it may be vaginal, oral or anal.
- Avoid using baby oil, vaseline or any other oil-based lubricant as it can cause the condom to break or split.
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Testing Positive On Hiv Antibody Tests
Since the early days of the HIV epidemic, we have used antibody tests to test for HIV. Antibody tests are the most affordable and accessible HIV tests. They are the most common types of HIV tests at testing sites around the world because they provide rapid, on-the-spot results.
Antibody tests do not detect HIV. Instead, they detect antibodies that the immune system produces in response to HIV infection.
WHAT ARE ANTIBODIES?
Our immune systems develop antibodies in response to all kinds of pathogens. Anytime you get sick or get any kind of infection, your body builds up a defense system and creates antibodies to try and fight that specific infection off. If these antibodies are successful, some infections will go away but the antibodies never do. They will remain in your body, helping to protect you from getting the same infection in the future.
In this way, antibodies allow our bodies to remember a specific infectious agentlike a particular strain of the fluand then respond to it more quickly if exposed to it again in the future. Once we develop antibodies to a virus we may have those antibodies for life or for many years.
HIV ANTIBODIES WHEN YOURE UNDETECTABLE
Diagnosis In Men Vs Women
Doctors diagnose HIV in both men and women by testing a blood or saliva sample, although they could also test a urine sample. This test looks for antibodies produced by the person to fight the virus. The test typically takes around 3 to 12 weeks to detect antibodies.
Another test looks for HIV antigens, which are substances that the virus produces immediately after transmission. These antigens cause the immune system to activate. HIV produces the p24 antigen in the body even before antibodies develop.
Usually, both the antibody and the antigen tests are done in labs, but there are also home tests that people can take.
Home tests may require a small sample of blood or saliva, and their results are quickly available. If the test is positive, it is essential to confirm the results with a doctor. If the test is negative, a person should repeat it after a few months to confirm the results.
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