How Do You Get Hiv
HIV is carried in semen , vaginal fluids, anal mucus, blood, and breast milk. The virus gets in your body through cuts or sores in your skin, and through mucous membranes . You can get HIV from:
having vaginal or anal sex
sharing needles or syringes for shooting drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.
getting stuck with a needle that has HIV-infected blood on it
getting HIV-infected blood, semen , or vaginal fluids into open cuts or sores on your body
HIV is usually spread through having unprotected sex. Using condoms and/or dental dams every time you have sex and not sharing needles can help protect you and your partners from HIV. If you do have HIV, treatment can lower or even stop the chances of spreading the virus to other people during sex. If you dont have HIV, theres also a daily medicine called PrEP that can protect you from HIV.
HIV can also be passed to babies during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. A pregnant woman with HIV can take medicine to greatly reduce the chance that her baby will get HIV.
HIV isnt spread through saliva , so you CANT get HIV from kissing, sharing food or drinks, or using the same fork or spoon. HIV is also not spread through hugging, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing. And you cant get HIV from a toilet seat.
Rinj/rsac And All Medical Workers Are Reminded:
What Puts You At Risk For Stds And Hiv
You’re at risk if you:
- Have sex without using a condom, with someone who is infected.
- Have had an STD.
- Have more than one sex partner.
- Are under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
- Many women have STDs without having symptoms. This means that unless she gets tested, she may have an STD and not know it.
- Young women are getting HIV or an STD because the tissue lining the vagina is more fragile.
If you are a woman, take charge of your sexual health. Be sure to schedule pelvic exams and pap smears every year. Get tested and learn how to protect yourself from STDs and HIV.
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What Is The Testing Process Like
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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When Should You Get Tested For Hiv
If you think you have been exposed to HIV, it’s important to seek medical advice and to get tested as soon as possible.
Dr Dutt stresses that the only way to find out if you have HIV is to get tested, and an early diagnosis means you can access treatment sooner. This in turn can dramatically reduce your risk of becoming severely ill and passing the virus on to others.
If you start taking post-exposure prophylaxis within 72 hours of exposure to the virus, you may be able to prevent infection altogether. PEP involves taking HIV treatment every day for one month.
There is also PrEP, which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis – a daily pill that can protect you from HIV. With this medication, you can have a normal sexual relationship with an HIV-positive partner with reduced fear of becoming infected yourself.
Regardless of whether you test negative or positive, you may need to repeat the test between one and three months of being exposed to HIV, but you shouldn’t wait this long to seek treatment.
Putting off getting tested and leaving HIV untreated can cause you to develop AIDS, which may lead to death.
How do you know if you have HIV?
Is It Safe For Children With Hiv To Receive Routine Immunizations
MMR, or measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, is safe to give to children with HIV, unless they have a severely weakened immune system.
DTaP/Td vaccine is safe to give to infants and children with HIV.
Hib and Hep B vaccines are safe to give to children with HIV.
Hepatitis A and B vaccines are safe to give to HIV-positive children.
VZIG should be considered for known HIV-positive children, depending on their immune status.
A yearly influenza vaccine is recommended for children with HIV, as well as any individual living in the same household as a child with HIV. There are two types of influenza vaccine children and adults with HIV should receive the “shot” form of the vaccine–not the nasal spray form, as it contains a live virus. Pneumococcal vaccine can be safely administered to age-appropriate HIV-infected children.
Always consult with your child’s doctor regarding immunizations for an HIV-infected child.
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Be Prepared For Different Reactions
They will hopefully be supportive, but may be worried. They may also be angry if they think you contracted HIV while already with them, by being unfaithful reassure them on that if you honestly can.
Know that their initial reaction may not be permanent they may think differently when they calm down and become better informed. Disclosure will either end your relationship, or make it stronger, says Professor McIntosh. If they leave, at least your integrity will be intact.
Can You Still Live A Healthy Life With Hiv
Thanks to advances in research and medicine, medication is available that allows you to manage an HIV diagnosis on a daily basis.
“Antiretroviral medicines come in the form of daily tablets that work by stopping the virus from replicating inside your body. This allows your immune system to repair itself and prevent further damage. That said, HIV can easily become resistant to a single form of medication, which is why most HIV-positive people take a combination of medications,” says Dr Dutt.
Without treatment, your immune system can become extremely damaged. This makes you more susceptible to life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer and other severe infections.
“However, someone with HIV who is taking effective treatment can definitely live a healthy life,” Dr Dutt says.
“The goal of medication is to get the level of the virus in your body so low that it’s undetectable by a test. With effective treatment, you will also significantly reduce your risk of passing HIV on to others.”
In fact, if your virus levels are undetectable on treatment, there is no risk of passing on the virus through sex – as the undetectable = untransmittable campaign has sought to highlight.
HIV is a long-term illness and it can affect your life. Dr Dutt explains how those with HIV cannot donate blood or organs, join the armed forces, or visit certain countries. You may also struggle getting life insurance to cover a mortgage loan .
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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.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Hiv And Stds
- Avoid or put off having sex. If you do have sex, use a male latex or female condom every time.
- Latex male condoms and female condoms, when used the right way every time, are very effective in preventing HIV and many other STDs. Condoms may prevent the spread of other STDs like HPV or genital herpes, only when the condom covers the infected areas or sores.
- Talk with your partner about HIV and STDs.
- Don’t share drug “works”
- Get STD and HIV counseling and testing.
To find out if you might have an STD, visit your doctor or clinic as soon as you can.
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How Often Should A Man Get Tested
Sexually active men should get routine tests for HIV.
Men who are sexually active should get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime as part of their routine health care.
The CDC recommend that everyone between the ages of should take an HIV test.
The CDC also recommend that people with specific risk factors should take a test at least once a year . This recommendation applies to gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men, and users of injectable drugs.
Besides these formal recommendations, everyone who may have been exposed to HIV or had sex without a condom should also take a test.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
Some people experience flu-like symptoms at the start of an HIV infection. These early HIV symptoms usually develop within 2-4 weeks in an infected person and may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. This early stage of the infection is known as an acute HIV infection.
Possible early symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Mouth ulcers
Itâs worth keeping in mind that such early symptoms can also be caused by other health conditionsânot just HIV. In short, if youâre experiencing these symptoms, it doesnât necessarily mean that you have HIVâwhich is why STI testing and consulting with your healthcare provider can be helpful next steps to take.
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How Should I Know My Hiv+ Partner Cares About Me
If your HIV positive partner cares about you, they will tell you about their HIV status. They will also encourage you to go for a test.
Once you go for a test and you find that you are HIV negative, talk to your physician about PreP and other methods of prevention. But if the test result comes out positive, get treatment as soon as possible and talk to your doctor on what else you can do to stay healthy.
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If I Am Pregnant And Have Hiv Will My Baby Also Have Hiv
Most women with HIV can protect their baby from becoming infected during pregnancy. Proper pre-natal treatment can reduce the risk that an HIV-positive mother will pass the virus to her child to less than 1 percent. The only way these special treatments can be provided is if the health care professionals know the mother is living with HIV. Treatment is most effective when started early in pregnancy. HIV-positive moms should not breastfeed their babies because HIV is sometimes passed this way.
Working With An Employee Who Has Hiv
When you learn that a coworker has HIV, you may be surprised, and unsure of what to do. Although this may be an initial reaction, you should treat all of your coworkers in a respectful and equal manner.
People with HIV want to continue to live and work to the fullest extent possible. If you are unsure of what to do when responding to a coworker who has HIV, the best advice is to maintain professionalism and respect. There are many ways to respond when learning a coworker has HIV:
- Be compassionate. Try to empathize with the difficult circumstances and uncertainties that your coworker is experiencing. Be there to listen and help if needed.
- Be supportive. Be the workplace friend and coworker you have always been. Include your coworker in the same work and social activities as always, whenever possible. Extend your support just as you would to other coworkers.
- Protect the right to privacy and confidentiality. If your coworker tells you that they have HIV, it is illegal for you to tell others without their permission.
- If you hear a rumor that a coworker has HIV, dont repeat it.
- Even if a person has told others that they have HIV, dont tell your other coworkers. Allow your coworker the right to tell others.
- Once a coworker has told you that they have HIV, you may be curious and want to know more. First, ask if they want to talk about it. Dont pressure your coworker with questions. Let your coworker decide how much or how little they want to share.
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Hiv And Stds Are Spread In The Same Ways
You can get HIV or an STD by having sex without a condom with a person who is already infected. HIV and some STDs can be passed from a mother to her baby while she is pregnant, during birth or through breast feeding. HIV and some STDs can also be spread by sharing drug “works” with someone who has HIV or an STD.
Its Not A Legal Obligation But You Could Be Sued
The South African Constitutions Bill of Rights protects the rights and privacy of those living with HIV/AIDS, thus it is not a legal obligation that you disclose your status to anyone.
However, not disclosing an incurable STI like HIV can be a prosecutable offence, if you know your status and have unprotected sex, says Verlie Oosthuizen, a partner at the law firm, Shepstone & Wylie. In 1997, pioneering civil proceedings were instituted for HIV in Venter v Nel, where a woman claimed damages from her Durban businessman lover who infected her. The matter went undefended and she was awarded R344 399 for medical expenses and general damages.
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Omg I Tested Positive Get Treated And Suppress The Virus
If its too late for you to prevent because you have tested positive for HIV in a home test, do a confirming test with your doctor or any hospital/clinic offering this common service.
This is a more complex test that ascertains if your home test has been done in error and also examines the HIV strain present in your blood if at all. Meanwhile, learn to take care of yourself while you wait for results and be certain that you learn how to practice safe sex and do not transmit the disease.
This learning will mitigate your anxiety. Start treatment and suppress the virus to the point of being undetectable. You then will not be spreading the virus and your health will be improved.
Chill out. You are not going to die from early-detected HIV if you start treatment as soon as possible.
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Most people who fear being positive, test negative,says nurse Gracie working with The RINJ FoundationHIV and sexual assault clinics.
Paranoia creates that, she added. More people fear they have HIV than those who test positive, in our experience. You dont get HIV from normal kissing of a person, but some people are terrified that it is possible that could happen. Get tested and put it out of your mind, is the best advise to give anyone.