Get Treated To Prevent Symptoms
The symptoms and illnesses described above are likely the result of advanced HIV, which means that the virus has been growing unchecked in your body for months to years.
If youâre not on ART or youâre not taking it exactly as youâre supposed to, now is the time to start taking it correctly. These medications will lower the amount of the virus in your blood so your immune system can recover. Even people with uncontrolled HIV can get the right treatment and go on to live a healthy life. Make sure to follow your doctorâs advice regarding your HIV medicine and other medicines prescribed for your specific conditions.
You may need to change your meds if you canât stand the side effects or if theyâre not controlling your disease well. But donât stop taking them before you talk to your doctor.
Gary Sinclair, MD, HIV/AIDS specialist in Dallas.
Averting AIDS and HIV: âSymptoms and Stages of HIV Infection,â âTuberculosis and HIV Co-infection.â
AIDS.gov: âViral Load,â âHIV Lifecycle,â âChanging or Stopping Treatment.â
U.S Department of Veterans Affairs: âCD4 counts and infections,â âHIV Wasting Syndrome.”
NAM AIDSMap: âFact Sheet: Unintentional Weight Loss,â “Fact Sheet: Skin Problems,â âCough.â
American Academy of Dermatology: âMolluscum Contagiosum.â
The Mayo Clinic: âHIV/AIDS Symptoms.â
CDC: âShingles ,â âPneumocystis pneumonia.â
International Hyperhidrosis Society: âNight Sweats.â
Hiv Symptoms Every Woman Needs To Know
Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, attacks the bodys infection-fighting immune system. Without treatment, HIV can lead to AIDS . At the start of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, people who were infected with HIV quickly progressed to serious disease. But todays treatments help lower the amount of virus in the bloodso people who are HIV-positive can live healthier, longer lives and not necessarily progress to AIDS.
More than one million people in the US live with HIV, and scarily, one in seven of them dont know they have it. HIV symptoms can be hard to detect. Within a month or two of HIV entering the body, 40% to 90% of people experience flu-like symptoms known as acute retroviral syndrome . But sometimes HIV symptoms don’t appear for yearsor even a decadeafter infection.
RELATED: What Is HIV?
“In the early stages of HIV infection, the most common symptoms are none,” Michael Horberg, MD, director of HIV/AIDS for Kaiser Permanente, in Oakland, California, tells Health. As many as one in five people in the United States with HIV doesn’t know they have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control . That’s why it’s so important to get tested, especially if you currently have or have had unprotected sex with more than one partner or use intravenous drugs.
HIV symptoms for women and for men are often the same here are 16 of the most common signs.
Other Prevention Benefits Of Hiv Treatment
In addition to preventing sexual transmission of HIV there are other benefits of taking HIV medication to achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load:
- It reduces the risk of mother-to-child transmission from pregnancy, labor, and delivery. If a woman living with HIV can take HIV medication as prescribed throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery and if HIV medication is given to her baby for 4-6 weeks after delivery, the risk of transmission from pregnancy, labor, and delivery can be reduced to 1% or less. Scientists dont know if a woman living with HIV who has her HIV under control can transmit HIV to her baby through breastfeeding. While it isnt known if or how much being undetectable or virally suppressed prevents some ways that HIV is transmitted, it is reasonable to assume that it provides some risk reduction.
- It may reduce HIV transmission risk for people who inject drugs. Scientists do not yet know whether having a suppressed or undetectable viral load prevents HIV transmission through sharing needles or other injection drug equipment, but it is reasonable to assume that it provides some risk reduction. Even if you are taking HIV medication and are undetectable, use new equipment each time you inject and do not share needles and syringes with other people.
You May Like: What Causes Hiv And Aids
Does Hiv Viral Load Affect Getting Or Transmitting Hiv
Yes. Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood of someone who has HIV. Taking HIV medicine daily as prescribed can make the viral load very lowso low that a test cant detect it .
People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
HIV medicine is a powerful tool for preventing sexual transmission of HIV. But it works only as long as the HIV-positive partner gets and keeps an undetectable viral load. Not everyone taking HIV medicine has an undetectable viral load. To stay undetectable, people with HIV must take HIV medicine every day as prescribed and visit their healthcare provider regularly to get a viral load test. Learn more.
You May Like: Why No Vaccine For Hiv
How Would I Know If I Have Hiv
Are you looking for signs? Dont fool yourself. Dr. Demetre shares how you know for sure if you have HIV.
As with many other sexually transmitted diseases , HIV often shows NO symptoms initially. As a result, people who have HIV often dont find out until much later when the disease is further along and treatments may be less effective.
You cannot rely on symptoms to tell you whether or not you have HIV. The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested.
#AskTheHIVDoc is a video series from Greater Than AIDS featuring top HIV doctors providing answers to commonly-asked questions about HIV prevention, testing and treatment.
This information is shared for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at time of filming. Always consult a health care provider for any personal health decision.
While we make every effort to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information reflects the most up-to-date research. Also, please note the views expressed by individuals who appear in Greater Than AIDS videos and other content are their own and are not made on behalf of any groups/organizations/associations.
Also Check: How Does Hiv Disable The Immune System
How Do I Protect Myself From Hiv
There are a number of ways you can protect yourself from HIV, including:
- using a condom every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex
- in some countries PrEP is available. This is a course of HIV drugs which if taken consistently as advised by your healthcare professional prevents HIV infection through sex
- avoiding sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment
- taking HIV treatment if you are a new or expectant mother living with HIV, as this will dramatically reduce the risk of passing HIV to your baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding
- asking your healthcare professional if the blood product you are receiving has been tested for HIV
- taking precautions if you are a healthcare worker, such as wearing protection , washing hands after contact with blood and other bodily fluids, and safely disposing of sharp equipment
- if you think you have been exposed to HIV you may be able to access PEP, a 4-week course of ARV drugs taken after possible HIV exposure to prevent HIV infection. You must start PEP within 72 hours of possible exposure to be effective.
For more detailed information on how to prevent HIV infection visit the relevant page from the listed below:
Read Also: How Hiv Is Transmitted During Intercourse
How Do People Get Hiv
HIV is transmitted by contact with body fluids and blood that is infected with the virus. Any behavior that makes you come in contact with these substances puts you at risk of getting infected.
The most common routes of transmission of HIV are the following:
- Unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Unprotected sex is when a condom is not used.
- Sharing needles or syringes during intravenous drug use, tattooing, body piercing, etc.
Other less common ways to be infected with HIV are:
- Mother to infant transmission. Women who have HIV may transmit the virus to their baby during the pregnancy or the delivery, or through breastmilk. Drug therapy given to HIV-positive mothers during pregnancy and to infants after birth greatly reduces the possibility of transmission.
- Needle stick injuries in the health care setting.
- Blood and blood product transfusions. The donors of blood products undergo a vigorous screening process before they are accepted to donate. The blood products are also tested to prevent the transmission of infectious agents through them.
Recommended Reading: Can Someone Hiv Positive Become Hiv Negative
What Conditions Are Considered To Be Opportunistic
Some of the most common of these OIs/cancers among HIV-positive people include:
Cancer: The types of cancers that are you are more likely to get if you have AIDs include lymphoma, Kaposis sarcoma, invasive cervical cancer, anal cancer, liver cancer, and cancers of the mouth, throat and lungs.
Candidiasis : This condition is caused by Candida fungus. It can happen in the skin, nails and mucous membranes throughout the body, such as the mouth or the vagina. The cases can be troublesome, but thrush is especially dangerous when it affects the esophagus or parts of the respiratory system .
Pneumonia: This respiratory condition is most commonly caused by _Pneumocystis jirovecii and the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae._
Salmonella: This infection is spread through contaminated food and water. It causes diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.
Toxoplasmosis: This disease is caused by a parasites that live in cats and rodents and other warm-blooded animals. The infection is spread through the feces. Toxoplasmosis can cause severe problems in the lungs, heart, brain and other organs. If you have a cat, wear gloves to change the litter and be thorough in washing your hands.
Get Tested Regularly If You Are At Greater Risk Of Hiv
If you are at greater risk of HIV get tested regularly.
Gay, bisexual, trans and other men who have sex with men should get tested every 3 months . This may vary depending on how many sexual partners you have during the year.
Talk with your doctor or sexual health specialist for advice. They can also provide information about how to reduce your risk for HIV and other STIs.
You May Like: How Do They Treat Hiv
You May Like: Can I Get Hiv If My Partner Is On Prep
Causes Of Swollen Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes have immune cells called lymphocytes in them. They attack bacteria, viruses, and other things that can make you sick. When you’re fighting off harmful germs, your body makes more of those immune cells — that causes the swelling.
Your lymph nodes come across all kinds of germs, so they can be swollen for lots of reasons. Usually, it’s something that’s relatively easy to treat, like:
- A virus, like a cold
- A bacterial infection, like an ear infection, skin infection, or infected tooth
Much less often, it can be a more serious illness. They can include:
- Tuberculosis, an infection that usually affects your lungs
- Lyme disease, an infection spread through a tick bite
- A problem with your immune system, like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
- HIV/AIDS, an infection spread through sexual contact and IV drug use
- Certain kinds of cancer, including:
- Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system
- Leukemia, a cancer of the blood
Is There A Cure For Hiv
There is no cure for HIV. But if you acquire the virus, there are drugs that help suppress the level of HIV in the body and prevent its spread to other people. Doctors use a combination of drugs called HAART to treat HIV/AIDS. Although it is not a cure, HAART has greatly reduced the number of deaths from HIV-related complications in the United States. HIV has become like a chronic disease, and people living with HIV receiving successful treatment can live a long and healthy life.
Can Hiv Be Prevented Or Avoided
The best way to prevent HIV is to not have sex with a person who has HIV, or share a needle with a person who has HIV. However, there is also a medicine called PrEP that people can take before coming into contact with HIV that can prevent them from getting an HIV infection.
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is for people who are at long-term risk of getting HIV either through sexual activity or by injecting drugs. If youre taking PrEP and come into contact with HIV, the medicine makes it difficult for HIV to develop inside your body.
Other ways to prevent HIV include:
- When you have sex, practice safer sex by using a condom. The best condom is a male latex condom. A female condom is not as effective but does offer some protection.
- Do not share needles and syringes.
- Never let someone elses blood, semen, urine, vaginal fluid, or feces get into your anus, vagina, or mouth.
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.
Don’t Miss: What Type Of Virus Is Hiv
What Is The Outlook For Someone With Hiv/aids
If you are diagnosed with HIV and you start ART soon after, your immune system will not be as compromised. If you continue to take your medicines every day, your outlook is very good.
ART can keep blood levels undetectable but cannot entirely rid the body of the virus . If you do not keep up on your medication, the virus goes back into the blood.
If you have HIV and dont treat it, it can take about 10 years to lead to AIDS. If you have AIDS and dont treat it, the survival rate is about three years.
It is so important to know that people who have HIV and who follow treatment guidelines are able to live full lives for nearly as long as HIV-negative people.
What Does A Negative Hiv Test Result Mean
A negative result doesnt necessarily mean that you dont have HIV. Thats because of the window periodthe time between when a person gets HIV and when a test can accurately detect it. The window period varies from person to person and is also different depending upon the type of HIV test.
Ask your health care provider about the window period for the kind of test youre taking. If youre using a home test, you can get that information from the materials included in the tests package. If you get an HIV test after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again after the window period for the test youre using to be sure. To learn more about the window period and when a person should get retested, see CDCs How soon after an exposure to HIV can an HIV test if I am infected?. If you get an HIV test within 3 months after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again in 3 more months to be sure.
If you learned you were HIV-negative the last time you were tested, you can only be sure youre still negative if you havent had a potential HIV exposure since your last test. If youre sexually active, continue to take actions to prevent HIV, like using condoms the right way every time you have sex and taking medicines to prevent HIV if youre at high risk.
Also Check: Can You Test For Hiv
Also Check: How Much Does Hiv Treatment Cost Per Year
Symptoms And Stages Of Hiv Infection
- There are three stages of HIV infection. The symptoms vary in type and severity from person-to-person.
- Stage 1 after initial infection can feel like flu but not everyone will experience this.
- Stage 2 is when many people start to feel better and may last for 10 years or more. During this time a person may have no symptoms.
- Stage 3 is when a persons immune system is very badly damaged and can no longer fight off serious infections and illnesses.
- The earlier a person is diagnosed with HIV and starts treatment, the better their health will be over time.
- Some people dont get any symptoms during stages 1 and 2, and may not know they have the virus, but they can still pass on HIV.
The signs of HIV infection can vary in type and severity from person-to-person, and some people may not have any symptoms for many years.
The stages below describe how HIV infection progresses in the body if it is left untreated. Without antiretroviral treatment for HIV, the virus replicates in the body and causes more and more damage to the immune system.
However with effective treatment, you can keep the virus under control and stop it from progressing. This is why its important to start treatment as soon as possible after testing positive.
Unlikely Modes Of Transmission
- Night sweats
- Genital, anal, or mouth ulcers
This range of symptoms, typically referred to as acute retroviral syndrome , generally begin within five days of exposure and usually last for around 14 days .
If you have had a recent exposureâsuch as unprotected sex with a partner of unknown statusâthese early signs and symptoms strongly suggest the need for immediate HIV testing.
With that said, not everyone experiences ARS in the same way. The symptoms are non-specific and often mild and are sometimes attributed to other conditions, such as the common cold or simple exhaustion.
According to a 2016 review in Emerging Infectious Diseases, as many as 43% of acute HIV infections are entirely asymptomatic .ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿
Less commonly, some people may develop atypical symptoms of HIV soon after exposure, some of which may be serious. These include tonsillitis, meningitis, herpes zoster , gastric bleeding, and esophageal thrush.
Also Check: How Does Art Work For Hiv