The Benefit Of Antiretroviral Drugs
Human immunodeficiency virus transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen or vaginal fluids attacks the body’s immune system, limiting the body’s ability to fight infections. It eventually leads to AIDS, a life-threatening condition in which the immune system is almost totally destroyed.
While there is no cure for HIV, antiretroviral treatments can keep the virus under control. Antiretroviral therapy is a group of drugs that slows the progression of HIV/AIDS.
A new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, analyzed U.S. HIV/AIDS death rates between 1999 and 2017. Researchers found that the difference in early death rates between people with HIV and the rest of the country dropped from 11% between 1999 and 2004 to 2.7% between 2011 and 2017.
The biggest reduction in early death rates happened after 2011, they said. The early death rate of people ages 18-34 who were just entering HIV care was only 1% higher over the next five years than their peers without the virus.
“In the early days of the AIDS pandemic, getting a diagnosis with AIDS was incredibly bad news and the prognosis for survival was really poor, and that’s not true today,” Jessie Edwards, a research assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, told U.S. News & World Report.
“Someone diagnosed with HIV in this day and age can be linked to care and receive highly effective treatment and feel confident that their survival outlook is actually very good.”
How Do I Know If I Have Hiv
HIV is a virus that spreads through unprotected anal or vaginal sex. You can also get it if you share needles with an infected person. Itâs possible but a lot less likely youâll get it from oral sex or from things like kissing or sharing a toothbrush. You canât get it from saliva, tears, or sweat. And you wonât get it if you share a toilet, food, or dishes with someone who is HIV positive.
If you and your partner are sexually active or you come into contact with bodily fluids, including blood, semen, or vaginal fluid, then youâre at risk of HIV infection. Thereâs only one way to know if you have HIV and thatâs to get tested. Your HIV status is crucial for you to decide what you need to do next to protect yourself and others you care about.
When you get tested, make sure you let the clinic know that your partner has HIV. This will help your doctors choose the best HIV test to use. They can also connect you with an HIV counselor and other resources to help you.
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.
Also Check: How Long Can Hiv Virus Live Outside The Body
What Do I Do If I Find Out I Have Hiv
Millions of people have HIV youre definitely not alone. Most people get at least one STD in their lifetime, and having HIV or another STD is nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about. It doesnt mean youre dirty or a bad person.
Finding out that you have HIV can be really upsetting. You might feel mad, embarrassed, scared, or ashamed at first. But youll probably feel better as time goes by having a good support system and getting counseling really helps. There are medicines you can take to help you stay healthy, and lots of ways to avoid giving HIV to anyone you have sex with. The reality is, people with HIV can be in relationships, have sex, and live normal lives by taking a few precautions.
Although theres no cure for HIV, there are medicines that help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV treatment called antiretroviral therapy lowers the amount of virus in your body . This does two things:
Slows down the effects of HIV in your body, which keeps you healthy.
Lowers or even stops your chances of giving HIV to sexual partners.
Some people on ART have such a small amount of virus in their body, they cant transmit HIV to their sexual partners at all.
Even if youre feeling totally fine right now, see a doctor as soon as you can so you can talk about the best ways to stay healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions hotline can help you find a doctor near you who specializes in treating HIV: 1-800-CDC-INFO .
When Your Partner Is Hiv Negative
Finding out that you have HIV doesnt mean an end to relationships with HIV negative partners. These relationships are sometimes called serodiscordant.
Whether you were diagnosed with HIV during a relationship, or you knew you were HIV positive when the relationship started, its important for your partner to know their status too.
Remember that if youre on treatment and have an undetectable viral load, you can’t pass on HIV.
Read Also: Can You Live With Someone With Hiv
Aids Or Hiv Life Expectancy Without Medication
How long can you live with HIV or AIDS if you chose not to treat with ART combinations or other prescription drugs? In the absence of such therapy, a patient should expect to see a notable decrease in life expectancy.
In countries where health care and ARTs arent readily accessible, HIV rates are above 20 percent. Shorter HIV life expectancy in these regions, combined with a high incidence of AIDS in younger age groups, boosts their overall mortality rate.
Population studies proved that AIDS patients who did not take HIV medications survived for roughly three years. Once they developed a dangerous opportunistic illness, life expectancy with AIDS decreased to one year or less.
Thats why HIV and AIDS remain a serious threat to public health, and why early detection is absolutely critical to long-term survival.
How Can I Make Sure I Dont Give Hiv To Anyone During Sex
If you find out that you have HIV, try to stay calm. People living with HIV can have normal, healthy relationships and sex lives. But its important to take precautions to help your partner stay HIV-free.
There are a few ways that you can avoid giving HIV to other people:
Always use condoms when you have vaginal and anal sex.
Start treatment for HIV as soon as possible, and keep taking your HIV medicine. When you take it correctly, HIV treatment can lower or even stop your chances of spreading the virus to your sexual partners .
Theres a daily pill your partner can take to lower the risk of getting HIV, called PrEP.
Dont share needles for shooting drugs, piercings, or tattoos.
Get tested and treated for other STDs besides HIV regularly. Having other STDs makes it easier for you to spread HIV to others.
If you test positive for HIV, its important to tell your sexual partners about it so they can be tested, too. Even if youre really careful to not spread HIV, be honest with your future partners about your status so you can both be informed and help each other stay healthy. Read more about talking with your partners about HIV.
Recommended Reading: Does Hiv Show Up In Blood Work
What Is Risky Sex
Risky sex is sex that may lead to infection of an HIV-negative individual. There are many ways to decrease the risk of HIV infection, like taking HIV medications every day, or using PrEP, or using condoms or other latex barriers during sex.
HIV is passed through body fluids such as semen, vaginal, or anal fluid, or blood. The less contact you have with these, the lower the risk. The most sensitive areas where these fluids are risky are in the vagina or anus and rectum . The protective tissue there is thin, and is easily torn, which makes it easier for the virus to enter your body. Saliva and tears aren’t as risky.
In general, vaginal or anal sex without a condom is the most risky.
Here is a list of sexual activities organized by level of risk to help you and your partner make decisions:
- Anal sex without a condom
- Vaginal sex without a condom
- Sex with a condom when you use it correctly
- Oral sex, but don’t swallow semen
- Deep kissing
- Sharing sex toys that have been cleaned or covered with a new condom between uses
- Cyber sex
- Using sex toys that you don’t share
Caring For People With Hiv And Aids
|HIV/AIDS is a serious disease that affects millions of South Africans. People who are infected with HIV need care and support form their friends,families and the community, especially when they are ill.|
|Friends and family members sometimes worry that they might be infected when caring for a person with HIV.HIV cannot be passed on by touching, hugging, coughing, or sharing eating utensils. HIV can only be passed on:|
|It is possible for people who are infected with HIV to live long healthy lives. You can help those who are infected by:|
|There may be situations where you need to clean up body fluids or blood form someone infected with HIV. It is important to use rubber or plasticgloves or other barriers such as plastic bags or thick cloth to prevent direct contact. Make sure that you have these easily available at all times|
Recommended Reading: How Do You Test For Hiv
How Can You Get Hiv
While you may already know that HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sex, theres actually a number of ways HIV transmission can happen. HIV is transmitted through blood and other bodily fluids, such as semen, vaginal fluids and breastmilk.
Dr Neilsen says, HIV is a bloodborne virus, and that means that it’s possible to be transmitted through sexual activity without condoms, sharing injecting equipment, from mother to child during pregnancy, at delivery or after delivery through breast milk. And, also, in parts of the world where blood is not screened, through blood transfusions and blood products.
When someone has HIV, they can be described as being HIV positive. At 26, Nathan has lived with HIV his whole life. He contracted HIV from his mum, who was HIV positive when she was pregnant with him.
My mum contracted HIV first and then passed it on to my dad, says Nathan. They were both very well aware of it my mum was pretty sick at the time when I was conceived.
Hiv Life Expectancy: How Long Can You Live With Hiv Or Aids
The most frequently asked question for HIV-positive patients is how long can you live with HIV? Fortunately, the answer is far more promising than it was 20 years ago. Join Flo as we discuss how advancements in medical technology have altered the prognosis for those living with HIV or AIDS.
A national database containing statistics from 25 states shows that the average HIV life expectancy has more than doubled between 1996 and 2005. The bump from 10.5 to 22.5 years after diagnosis can be attributed to vast improvements in drug therapy and related approaches. However, experts still say this is only an average, and plenty of other circumstances must be taken into account regarding HIV life expectancy.
Read Also: How Do People Get Hiv
What Are Hiv Symptoms
A day or two after getting infected, the HIV virus is detectable in the regional lymphatic tissue. Within 6 days,it can be found in the regional lymph nodes.
After 2 weeks, it is possible to detect the virus in the nervous system and pretty much in the entire body.
Once the virus replicates itself in the body, you may start to see symptoms in about 6 weeks.
Symptoms may include:
- Herpes simplex recurrent
- Tinea infections.
These symptoms can last up to 6 weeks or less. However, these symptoms are not specific to HIV. There are other virus infections that have similar symptoms such as influenza. The only way to eliminate HIV as the cause is by going for a test.
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.
Also Check: How Long Does It Take To Be Hiv Positive
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.
If The Test Is Negative Does That Mean I Dont Have Hiv
Most HIV tests look for antibodies. In most people, those antibodies take at least 3 weeks to develop. Sometimes they take 12 weeks to appear.
If your test comes back negative, thatâs good news. But itâs still possible you have the virus and it hasnât yet shown up. You should take extra steps to protect yourself and others and have a doctor test you again in 3 months to make sure.
Also Check: What Are The Side Effects Of Hiv Aids
What If A Friend Tells You That They Have Hiv
More than a million people in the United States are living with HIV, so you may know someone who has the virus. If your friend, family member, or co-worker has been HIV-positive for some time and has just told you, heres how you can be supportive:
- Acknowledge. If someone has disclosed their HIV status to you, thank them for trusting you with their private health information.
- Ask. If appropriate, ask if theres anything that you can do to help them. One reason they may have chosen to disclose their status to you is that they need an ally or advocate, or they may need help with a particular issue or challenge. Some people are public with this information other people keep it very private. Ask whether other people know this information, and how private they are about their HIV status.
- Reassure. Let the person know, through your words or actions, that their HIV status does not change your relationship and that you will keep this information private if they want you to.
- Learn. Educate yourself about HIV. Today, lots of people living with HIV are on ART and have the virus under control. Others are at different stages of treatment and care. Dont make assumptions and look to your friend for guidance.