Hiv Treatment As Prevention
Treatment as prevention refers to taking HIV medication to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. It is one of the highly effective options for preventing HIV transmission. People living with HIV who take HIV medication daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.
TasP works when a person living with HIV takes HIV medication exactly as prescribed and has regular follow-up care, including regular viral load tests to ensure their viral load stays undetectable.
Why Tina Smith Is Trying To Get Congress To Do More To Prevent Not Just Treat Hiv/aids
Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, who has long been an advocate for better healthcare funding in the U.S., introduced a bill in December that would give HIV doctors and activists what theyve long been asking for resources to help stop the spread of the disease.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has overtaken hospitals around the country as well as dominated the media, another decades-long epidemic has continued to exist despite access to medication that could completely eradicate it.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic, which took off in the U.S. in the early 1980s, is still very much a concern to doctors and public health officials, who say that federal funding is paramount to ending the illness.
Currently, there are federal programs that dole out money to states to help fund medication for those who already have HIV, but doctors and HIV/AIDS activists say that treating the disease after its already been contracted doesnt do enough to stop its spread. Instead, they say theres a need for federal funding for preventative medicine, which can be prohibitively expensive even for people with health insurance.
Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, who has long been an advocate for better healthcare funding in the U.S., introduced a bill in December that would give HIV doctors and activists what theyve long been asking for.
How Smiths bill would add to current HIV/AIDS legislation
The Ryan White Act expired in 2013, but funding continues through appropriations.
How Do I Use External And Internal Condoms
Most external condoms are made of latex. For people who are allergic to latex, polyurethane condoms can be used instead. If youve ever experienced irritation from latex, ask your doctor to test you for a latex allergy. When used properly, both latex and polyurethane condoms are effective ways of significantly reducing the risk of HIV transmission.
When using either latex or polyurethane condoms for vaginal or anal sex, water-based lubricants on the outside of the condom will help to reduce friction that could cause the condom to tear. If desired, a small amount can be placed inside the tip of the condom as well.
Important Notes: The use of oil-based lubricants such as Vaseline can deteriorate latex condoms and significantly increase their chance of breaking. Oil-based lubricants should only be used with polyurethane condoms. It is also worth noting that Lambskin condoms will not protect against HIV or STIs.
When Using an External Condom:
For Vaginal Sex:
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New Equipment For Using Drugs
If you use new equipment each time you use drugs, there is no risk of getting HIV or hepatitis C through drug use. When injecting drugs, its best to use new needles, syringes, filters, cookers, acidifiers, alcohol swabs, tourniquets and water each time. When smoking or snorting drugs, the pipe or straws should also be new each time. In many communities, there are places where you can get free needles and other equipment for using drugs. These are often called needle and syringe programs. Some communities also have supervised consumption services, where you can bring your drugs to inject under the supervision of a healthcare worker or peer. Supervised consumption services give you all of the equipment you need to inject drugs and the healthcare worker or peer will help if you have an overdose. Visit an HIV or harm reduction organization to learn what services are available in your community.
Terms Used In This Fact Sheet
Sexually transmitted diseases : Infections that are usually passed during sex. HIV is an example of an STD.
Transmission of HIV: The spread of HIV from a person infected with HIV to another person through the infected person’s blood, semen, genital fluids, or breast milk.
Tuberculosis : A disease caused by germs that spread through the air when a person with active TB coughs, sneezes, or talks. TB usually affects the lungs.
Undetectable viral load: When the amount of HIV in a person’s blood is too low to be detected with a viral load test.
Unprotected sex: Sex without using a condom.
Viral load: The amount of HIV in the blood. One of the goals of antiretroviral therapy is to reduce viral load.
How is HIV transmitted?
HIV is transmitted through the blood, semen, genital fluids, or breast milk of a person infected with HIV. The spread of the virus is called transmission of HIV.
Having unprotected sex or sharing drug injection equipment with a person infected with HIV are the most common ways HIV is transmitted.
Having a sexually transmitted disease can increase a person’s risk of becoming infected with HIV during sex. The risk of spreading HIV during sex is also more likely if the partner infected with HIV also has another STD.
I am taking anti-HIV medications and my viral load is undetectable. Can I still infect another person with HIV?
How can I prevent transmitting HIV?
To prevent infecting another person with HIV:
Can I put my HIV-infected partner at risk?
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv/aids
The first signs of HIV infection may be flu-like symptoms:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
These symptoms may come and go within two to four weeks. This stage is called acute HIV infection.
If the infection is not treated, it becomes chronic HIV infection. Often, there are no symptoms during this stage. If it is not treated, eventually the virus will weaken your body’s immune system. Then the infection will progress to AIDS. This is the late stage of HIV infection. With AIDS, your immune system is badly damaged. You can get more and more severe infections. These are known as opportunistic infections .
Some people may not feel sick during the earlier stages of HIV infection. So the only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested.
How Do You Get Or Transmit Hiv
You can only get HIV by coming into direct contact with certain body fluids from a person with HIV who has a detectable viral load. These fluids are:
- Semen and pre-seminal fluid
- Rectal fluids
- Vaginal fluids
- Breast milk
For transmission to occur, the HIV in these fluids must get into the bloodstream of an HIV-negative person through a mucous membrane open cuts or sores or by direct injection.
People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.
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How Is Hiv Transmitted
The person-to-person spread of HIV is called HIV transmission. People can get or transmit HIV only through specific activities, such as sex or injection drug use. HIV can be transmitted only in certain body fluids from a person who has HIV:
- Vaginal fluids
- Breast milk
HIV transmission is only possible if these fluids come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or are directly injected into the bloodstream . Mucous membranes are found inside the rectum, the vagina, the opening of the penis, and the mouth.
In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by:
- Having anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV
- Sharing injection drug equipment , such as needles, with someone who has HIV
HIV can also spread from a woman with HIV to her child during pregnancy, childbirth , or breastfeeding. This is called perinatal transmission of HIV. Perinatal transmission of HIV is also called mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
You cannot get HIV from casual contact with a person who has HIV, such as a handshake, a hug, or a closed-mouth kiss. And you cannot get HIV from contact with objects, such as toilet seats, doorknobs, or dishes used by a person who has HIV.
Use the You Can Safely ShareWith Someone With HIV infographic from HIVinfo to spread this message.
How Is Hiv Spread
HIV can be spread through:
- vaginal or anal sex without a condom, or other form of barrier protection, with a person who has detectable levels of HIV in their blood. People on treatment for HIV with undetectable levels of HIV cannot transmit the virus through vaginal or anal sex. Unprotected oral sex is extremely low risk for the transmission of HIV
- sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment with a person who has HIV
- transmission from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth and through breastfeeding, if the mother has untreated HIV infection and detectable HIV in her blood or breast milk.
HIV cannot be spread via:
- casual contact such as shaking hands, kissing, hugging or massage
- being washed
Even if a healthcare worker has HIV infection, there are strict infection prevention and control guidelines that protect you as the patient.
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Why We Need To Stop Hiv From Spreading
HIV is one of the most serious illnesses that mankind has fallen victim to. In the early days of the AIDS epidemic, having an HIV diagnosis was essentially a death sentence. Now, they call it a life sentence.
Thats because while we havent cured it, and were far from having serious treatments available, people are able to live a lot longer with the virus. However, your quality of life will be drastically reduced, and thats the best-case scenario. That is if the virus is caught early enough and you can afford all of the treatments, time off of work, and more. Once you have it, you have it for life.
Most people have to take between 1 and 3 pills a day at the start, but that number goes a lot higher. The virus itself attacks your immune system, making your ability to fight off other infections severely weakened over time. That means that even a common cold could be devastating to your body if it cant fight it off.
Some people, later in their life, will have to take dozens upon dozens of pills and supplements at the exact right times just to keep their bodies going, and will still find themselves in and out of hospitals for the rest of their lives.
How Does Hiv Affect The Body
The human immune system involves many types of cells which guard against germs responsible for most diseases. The immune systems most important guard cells are B-cells and T-cells, which are special white blood cells. B-cells and T-cells cooperate to fight any germ that attacks the human body.
B-cells produce particular proteins, called antibodies, that try to neutralize the invading germ. After a person recovers from an infection, these antibodies continue to circulate in the bloodstream, acting as part of the immune systems memory. Immune system memory explains why a person rarely suffers a second attack from an infectious disease such as measles. If the same germ is encountered again, the antibodies will recognize and neutralize it. T-cells attack the germ directly and try to kill it.
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How You Can Stop The Spread Of Hiv/aids In Your Community
If that doesnt send a message to the black community that AIDS is a bigger problem than we would like to admit then I dont know what more we can do.
We have to have our own national day during Black History Month, a month during which we should be praising and recognizing the accomplishments of African-Americans who came before us.
Yet on this day in February we must spread awareness about the fact that the black community is being disproportionally impacted by AIDS.
HIV/AIDS does not discriminate by any means and affects every community. The H in HIV stands for HUMAN so we are all at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS but we cant ignore the facts.
African-Americans make up 46 percent of all new diagnosis but are only 12 percent of the US population. I try my very best to understand why people dont feel they should educate themselves on HIV.
We have an image in our minds of what a person with AIDS looks like, we can spot someone with HIV/AIDS a mile away?
Someone who has AIDS is skinny and has a wasting away look to them with lesions all over their body, or lives in the inner city. Only the girl in the club every weekend or the brother on the corner is at risk for HIV.
Please stop! Shake your head and get those stereotypes, right out of your mind.
I am a size 7 with perfect skin and a pretty face living with full-blown AIDS.
I am not gay nor am I a girl who is promiscuous but yet I am living with AIDS.
Hydeia Broadbent, HIV/AIDS Activist, www.HydeiaBroadbent.com.
Hiv Transmission Risk Factors And Prevention
Joseph Bennington-CastroLaura Martin, MDYaroslav Danylchenko/Stocksy Everyday Health
When the human immunodeficiency virus causes infection, it attacks certain immune system cells called T helper cells, or CD4 cells. The virus replicates itself and, over time, damages its host cells, impairing the body’s ability to fight off infections and making it susceptible to other diseases. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, is the final stage of an infection with HIV.
Anyone can get HIV, but certain populations are at greater risk. There are, however, a number of ways to reduce your risk, and certain medicines and precautions can prevent the spread of the virus.
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What Unique Challenges Do Women Face In Preventing Hiv
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some prevention challenges are unique to women:2
- Women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy and birth and through breastfeeding.
- A woman’s anatomy makes it easier to get HIV through sex compared with a man’s anatomy.
- Having a sexually transmitted infection raises a woman’s risk for HIV more than a man’s.
- Women are more likely to lack control in relationships and fear violence, stigma, or abandonment when trying to prevent HIV exposure.
- Women are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse. People with a history of sexual abuse are more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors like exchanging sex for drugs, having multiple partners, or having sex with a partner who is physically abusive when asked to use a condom.
Why Do Some People With Hiv Infection Develop Aids
Over time, untreated HIV infection damages the immune system and makes it more difficult to fight infections and cancers.
Before there were effective treatments for HIV infection, all infected people went on to develop AIDS within about 10 years. Today, people with HIV who take effective treatment are unlikely to develop AIDS and will have a near-normal life expectancy. This is because these medicines keep the amount of virus in their blood under control and protect the immune system.
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Choosing Types Of Sex With A Lower Risk For Hiv
Some types of sex have a lower risk for HIV than others. Oral sex has little to no chance of passing HIV. Fingering, handjobs, mutual masturbation and using unshared sex toys have no chance of passing HIV. However, STIs can be passed through some of these types of sex. In some situations, you might choose to avoid having vaginal or anal sex and instead choose a type of sex with a lower chance of passing HIV.
How Do We Know Treatment As Prevention Works
Large research studies with newer HIV medications have shown that treatment is prevention. These studies monitored thousands of male-female and male-male couples in which one partner has HIV and the other does not over several years. No HIV transmissions were observed when the HIV-positive partner was virally suppressed. This means that if you keep your viral load undetectable, there is effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to someone you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex with. Read about the scientific evidence.
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How Can You Protect Yourself And Others
Unless you are 100% sure that you and the people you are with do not have HIV infection, you should take steps to prevent getting infected. People recently infected are most likely to transmit HIV to others. This is when theirviral load is the highest. In general, the risk of transmission ishigher with higher viral loads. This fact sheet provides an overview ofHIV prevention, and refers you to other fact sheets for more details on specific topics.
You can avoid any risk of HIV if you practice abstinence . You also wont get infected if your penis, mouth, vagina or rectum doesnt touch anyone elses penis, mouth, vagina, or rectum. Safe activities include kissing, erotic massage, masturbation or hand jobs . There are no documented cases of HIV transmission through wet clothing.
Having sex in a monogamous relationship is safe if:
- Both of you are uninfected
- You both have sex only with your partner
- Neither one of you gets exposed to HIV through drug use or other activities
Oral sex has a lower risk of infection than anal or vaginal sex, especially if there are no open sores or blood in the mouth. See Fact Sheet 152 for more information on the risks of various behaviors.
You can reduce the risk of infection with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases by using barriers like condoms. Traditional condoms go on the penis, and a new type of condom goes in the vagina or in the rectum. For more information on condoms, see Fact Sheet 153.
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