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 Its Really Like To Live With Hiv
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live with HIV? If you’re not HIV positive and dont know anyone who is, then it’s a good chance you harbor a misperception or two about this disease — most people do. I get it — I held many of the same misunderstandings before my diagnosis 21 years ago.
When my doctor said the word AIDS, I imagined growing thin, getting really sick, and dying. I’ve seen this movie before I grew up on Cape Cod in the early 1980s and we knew the word AIDS well. It was a horrific time — everyone knew that AIDS was a certain death sentence and was terrified of it.
Many people share these memories and believe that nothing has changed since then — even if they didn’t live in that time — because that’s what they’ve been told about it. But allow me to tell you what life with HIV is really like.
After my diagnosis I started antiretroviral treatment and was undetectable within the year. Undetectable means that there’s no longer enough virus to be counted in blood tests — which means I can’t transmit it to others. Now I’m pretty healthy, I take my meds every day, go to all my appointments, and live a largely normal life. To tell the truth, if I didn’t take a pill every day I would probably forget that I even had HIV. But while life may have largely gone back to normal for me, it hasn’t for everyone else.
What Else Should I Know
The two most important things you can do for your friend are to be there for support in whatever way feels natural and to keep your friend’s HIV diagnosis private. Just being there to hang out or eat lunch together can help keep things in perspective for everyone.
Life is for living. If friends know that you care about them for them â for the creative, smart, funny people they are â that can be the best thing you can do for a person living with any type of medical condition.
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Ongoing Stigma And Discrimination
Dr Neilsen says that Queenslanders who are HIV positive, like Nathan, can face ongoing stigma and discrimination, even if theyre taking medication that means they are not at risk of transmitting HIV to others.
Unfortunately, the stigma and discrimination still persist, he says. In recent years, I’ve still seen patients newly diagnosed with HIV experience awful discrimination. We still see rejection by family, rejection by their lovers and so on, at a time when that is really unjustified. It’s appalling. In that respect, HIV still has the potential to destroy relationships and cause major damage to people’s self-esteem.
Dr Neilsen finds this frustrating, particularly because modern treatments mean that people with HIV who are taking ART and have undetectable HIV viral loads in their blood results, are extremely unlikely to transmit the virus to others.
These days people are unlikely to get HIV from someone on HIV treatment, he says. The modes of transmission are well known, and people do not get HIV through normal social contact. If someone has a friend, family member or partner who is infected with HIV, they should be supportive and encourage them to seek treatment. People should be respecting and looking after each other as though they were not infected with HIV.
He thinks a lot of this discrimination comes from a lack of understanding in the community about what HIV actually is.
Are There Long
Over time, HIV can kill cells in the immune system. This can make it difficult for the body to fight serious infections. These opportunistic infections may become life-threatening because they can damage the immune system when its already weak.
If a person living with HIV develops an opportunistic infection, they will be diagnosed with stage 3 HIV, or AIDS.
Some opportunistic infections include:
tuberculosis , remain a major cause of death for people living with stage 3 HIV. The best way to prevent an opportunistic infection is by adhering to treatment and getting routine checkups. Its also important to use condoms during sex, get vaccinated, and eat properly prepared foods.
How Can I Help
Here are some things you can do to help your friend:
- Don’t tell anyone about your friend’s HIV. A health condition like HIV is personal, private health information. Tell your friend that you will not break his or her trust by telling others.
- Be there to talk about your friend’s HIV if he or she wants to. It’s OK to ask questions about living with HIV. But if your friend doesn’t want to talk about it, move on to another topic.
- Do things together that can reduce stress. For example, go for a walk, hang out with friends, or just do something together that you both enjoy.
- Be a good influence on your friend. Avoid activities that can have bad health effects like smoking , alcohol, and drugs.
- If your friend has to miss school because of an appointment or illness, offer to bring homework to him or her.
- If people say mean things about your friend’s HIV, try to help them understand the facts about HIV. They may be acting this way because they don’t know what happens to someone with HIV or how it is spread. If things get too mean, ask a teacher or other adult for help.
If your friend seems very sad or overwhelmed, ask if talking to a therapist might be helpful. If your friend seems interested, you can talk to your friend’s parents together or you can go with your friend to a local health clinic and ask for resources for helping someone with HIV/AIDS.
Ask if your friend would be interested in online resources, such as:
What Its Like To Live With Hiv
Having lived with HIV his whole life, Nathan has seen a lot of changes in how HIV is treated medically and seen by the broader community. Growing up in the 1990s, Nathan says that other kids were pretty accepting when it came to him having HIV.
I did a full sort of disclosure in preschool, he says. So that way I came out about being HIV positive straight away. We got a lot of support which was fantastic. I experienced a little bit of stigma, but not necessarily from kids. Most kids didn’t care, but there were a couple of families who acted differently. Like the parents were a bit more cautious or hesitant about things and that was reflected in some of their actions. It was the 90s, and most people were thinking back to the Grim Reaper campaigns.
As he got older, Nathan had to consider his HIV in different ways. Learning about relationships and sex are a normal part of adolescence and young adulthood, but for Nathan, he also had to learn to talk about having HIV in a new way.
At the time, the rule was that I had to disclose that I had HIV to anyone and everyone I wanted to engage in sex, be it protected or unprotected. Just trying to navigate sex as a teenager to begin with is difficult and scary and nerve racking. That was a tricky sort of situation to navigate and it definitely made things a lot more stressful.
But for Nathan, most people close to him didnt seem to care about his HIV.
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Vaccines Recommended For People Living With Hiv
Below is a list of vaccinations that an adult living with HIV may need, based on the recommendations of the British HIV Association . The first column highlights whether the vaccine should be taken generally or when travelling to particular countries.
The second and third columns name the preventable diseases and how many times a vaccine needs to be taken to be effective. The interval between doses will depend on the vaccine.
Many vaccines are recommended for anyone who hasnt previously had the infection or been vaccinated, but some are for specific groups or arent recommended for everyone. When this is the case, it is indicated in the fourth column.
Not recommended if CD4 count is below 200. Not recommended for people over 60 years of age.
BHIVA also has recommendations on vaccinations that may be needed because of your job . They can be found in BHIVAs guideline document.
Some of these vaccinations may be available from your HIV clinic, but for others you may need to see your GP. In some cases, you may need to have disclosed your HIV status to your GP to be eligible for free vaccination.
Telling Your Partner And Former Partners
If you have HIV, it’s important your current sexual partner and any sexual partners you’ve had since becoming infected are tested and treated.
Some people can feel angry, upset or embarrassed about discussing HIV with their current or former partners. Discuss your concerns with a GP or the clinic staff.
They’ll be able to advise you about who should be contacted and the best way to contact them, or they may be able to contact them on your behalf.
They’ll also advise you about disclosing your status to future partners and how you can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to someone else.
Nobody can force you to tell any of your partners you have HIV, but it’s strongly recommended that you do.
Left untested and untreated, HIV can have devastating consequences, and eventually lead to serious illness and death.
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Caring For A Person With Hiv/aids
The carer looking after a person with HIV/AIDS may be a member of the family or, if the person lives alone, a neighbour, relative or friend. It is not easy to care for a person with HIV/AIDS and whoever grows, prepares, cooks food and serves it to a person with HIV/AIDS needs support. The task involves meeting the needs of the sick person and balancing these with the needs of other members of the family. Too much help may be overprotective and take away the dignity, independence and self-respect of the person with HIV/AIDS while too little help may not provide the support that is needed to ensure that the person eats well and has the strength to resist infection.
Preventing Transmission Of Hiv
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How Is Life Expectancy Calculated
Life expectancy is the average number of years that a person can expect to live.
More precisely, it is the average number of years an individual of a given age is expected to live if current mortality rates continue to apply. It is an estimate that is calculated by looking at the current situation of a group of people and projecting that into the future.
However, HIV is a relatively new disease and HIV treatment is a rapidly changing area of medicine. It is therefore hard to know whether our current experience will be an accurate guide to the future.
At the moment, there are large numbers of people living with HIV in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties. Current death rates are very low, resulting in encouraging figures for future life expectancy. But we have very little experience of people living with HIV in their seventies or eighties, so we know less about the impact HIV may have later in life.
Also, healthcare for people with HIV is likely to get better in the future. People living with HIV will benefit from improved anti-HIV drugs that have fewer side-effects, are easier to take and are more effective in suppressing HIV. Doctors understanding of how best to prevent and treat heart disease, diabetes, cancers and other conditions in people with HIV is improving. This could mean that people actually live longer than our current estimates suggest.
What Is Art And How Does It Help Prevent Hiv
Antiretroviral therapy is a combination of medicines that slows down the effects of HIV in your body and can help you stay healthy for many years. It can also lower or even stop your chances of giving HIV to anyone else.
ART lowers the amount of HIV in your body sometimes to the point where HIV wont show up on standard blood tests. If your HIV viral load is so low that certain tests cant see it, its called undetectable. When someone has an undetectable viral load, they cant spread HIV to others during sex.
Its important to remember that even with an undetectable viral load, HIV is still present in your body. If you stop treatment your viral load can go up, making it possible to pass HIV to others you have sex with. Your doctor or nurse can help you find the treatment thats best for you to help keep your viral load low, so you can stay healthy.
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Jonathan Van Ness: Proud To Be A Member Of The Hiv
The 32-year-old style icon on televisions Queer Eye says he was a bullied and badgered little baby queen who turned to sex work to make money.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, he described himself as a healthy and proud member of the beautiful HIV positive community.
How Can You Help Someone Who Has Been Newly Diagnosed With Hiv
There are many things that you can do to help a friend or loved one who has been recently diagnosed with HIV:
If you are the sexual partner of someone who has been diagnosed with HIV, you should also get tested so that you know your own HIV status. If you test negative, talk to your healthcare provider about PrEP , taking HIV medicine daily to prevent HIV infection. PrEP is recommended for people at high risk of HIV infection, including those who are in a long-term relationship with a partner who has HIV. If you test positive, get connected to HIV treatment and care as soon as possible.
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Depression Can Be Treated
Ask your health care provider, social worker, or case manager about local support groups. They may also refer you to a mental health provider who can give you the care you need:
- Psychiatrists treat mental health problems with various therapies, like talk therapy, and by prescribing medicine.
- Psychologists help people cope with life challenges and mental health problems with therapies, like talk therapy. Psychologists usually cannot prescribe medicine.
- Therapists are mental health or marriage and family counselors. They help people cope with life issues and mental health problems.
How Has Treatment Improved
Antiretroviral medications can help to slow damage caused by HIV infection and prevent it from developing into stage 3 HIV, or AIDS.
A healthcare provider will recommend undergoing antiretroviral therapy. This treatment requires taking three or more antiretroviral medications daily. The combination helps suppress the amount of HIV in the body . Pills that combine multiple medications are available.
The different classes of antiretroviral drugs include:
- non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
- integrase inhibitors
Viral-load suppression allows people with HIV to live healthy lives and decreases their chances of developing stage 3 HIV. The other benefit of an undetectable viral load is that it helps reduce transmission of HIV.
The 2014 European PARTNER study found that the risk of HIV transmission is very small when a person has an undetectable load. This means that the viral load is below 50 copies per milliliter .
This discovery has led to an HIV prevention strategy known as treatment as prevention. It promotes constant and consistent treatment as a way to reduce the spread of the virus.
HIV treatment has evolved tremendously since the onset of the epidemic, and advancements continued to be made. Initial reports from a clinical trial in the United Kingdom and a from the United States showed promising results in experimental HIV treatments that could put the virus into remission and boost immunity.
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Low Uptake Of Management Options
Some women in all groups reported severe symptoms. Around a third of perimenopausal and post-menopausal women reported severe symptoms. Ten percent of premenopausal women reported severe symptoms.
Although 46% of participants with somatic symptoms had heard of HRT, only 9% had used it. Only 6% of women with vaginal problems had used topical oestrogen. This shows an unmet educational need, which is preventing women from making informed choices.