Can Hiv/aids Be Prevented
You can reduce the risk of spreading HIV by:
- Getting tested for HIV
- Choosing less risky sexual behaviors. This includes limiting the number of sexual partners you have and using latex condoms every time you have sex. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.
- Getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted diseases
- Not injecting drugs
- Talking to your health care provider about medicines to prevent HIV:
- PrEP is for people who don’t already have HIV but are at very high risk of getting it. PrEP is daily medicine that can reduce this risk.
- PEP is for people who have possibly been exposed to HIV. It is only for emergency situations. PEP must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV.
NIH: National Institutes of Health
Ask Them To Accompany You To Your Doctor Or Clinic
They can have all their questions professionally answered, and get tested. They can also learn how to best protect themselves, whether one or both of you is HIV-positive. If you are both infected, you still need to use condoms, as there is risk of reinfection.
The newest drug, Truvada, is encouraged for discordant couples, where one of you is HIV-positive and the other is not, and is called pre-exposure prophylaxis, says Professor McIntosh.
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.
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What We Know About The Types Of Hiv Tests
HIV tests are very accurate, but no HIV test can detect HIV immediately after a person gets the virus. Some kinds of tests detect HIV sooner than others. In general, nucleic acid tests can detect HIV the soonest, followed by antigen/antibody tests, and then antibody tests.
Most rapid tests and self-tests are antibody tests. Your immune system makes antibodies when youre exposed to bacteria or viruses like HIV. Antibody tests look for these antibodies in your blood or oral fluid. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV slightly sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid.
More Information With a rapid antibody screening test, results are ready in 30 minutes or less.
A self-test is an antibody test you can buy at a pharmacy or online. There is currently one available FDA-approved self-test, the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test.
The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test gives fast results at home. You have to swab your mouth to get an oral fluid sample and use a kit to test it. Results are ready in 20 minutes. If the test says you have HIV, you should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. The manufacturer provides confidential counseling and refers you to follow-up testing sites.
Stage : Clinical Latency
In this stage, the virus still multiplies, but at very low levels. People in this stage may not feel sick or have any symptoms. This stage is also called chronic HIV infection.
Without HIV treatment, people can stay in this stage for 10 or 15 years, but some move through this stage faster.
If you take HIV medicine every day, exactly as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you can protect your health and have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to your sexual partner.
But if your viral load is detectable, you can transmit HIV during this stage, even when you have no symptoms. Its important to see your health care provider regularly to get your viral load checked.
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Telling A Date Or Partner
Revealing that you have HIV to someone youre about to come into sexual contact with is hard. It can be more difficult than telling your friends and family.
But were living in the U equals U era, when most researchers agree that an undetectable viral load means the virus is untransmittable. Although many people understand this, there are still people who may be worried or unsure about having sexual contact with someone who lives with HIV.
Keep the following in mind when making your decision to disclose your positive status to a partner:
- Prepare yourself with the facts. Learn as much as you can about HIV treatments and prevention methods to answer any questions that may arise.
- Support works both ways. If necessary, encourage them to get tested and offer to go with them.
- Whether this is someone you plan to be with long-term, or just a casual encounter, its important that you make any sexual partners aware of your status.
- Relax and share the information as if youre the one who has to hear it. Put yourself in their shoes and envision how youd want to be told if it were the other way around.
- Reassure your date or partner that you follow a healthy lifestyle, adhere to your medication, and actively see a healthcare provider.
- Remember, HIV is not a death sentence.
A Viral Load Test Will Let You Know If You Are Undetectable
If youre living with HIV and want to know if youre undetectable, the right test for you is Similar to nucleic acid tests to detect HIV infection, HIV viral load tests measure the number of copies of HIV in a milliliter of your blood. Its recommended that people living with HIV getHIV viral load tests generally every 3 to 6 months, in addition toother lab tests that measure your CD4 count and more.
The bottom line is that if youre living with HIV and have an undetectable viral load, you will still test positive for HIV if you get tested. But, this is expected, and doesnt mean that your treatment is not working or that you arent undetectable. As always, check with your HIV care provider if you have questions about what HIV test is right for you, or what types of tests will give you the answers you need to best care for your health.
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How Long Do Side Effects Last
People have different experiences with side effects. For some it is mild and does not last for more than a few days while others may experience side effects for a few weeks. In general side effects from taking ARVs should not last more than 2-3 weeks. Talk to your doctor or Adherence Counsellor about managing side effects.
Im Pregnant When Should I Test
Testing for HIV during your pregnancy is very important. Left undiagnosed and untreated women living with HIV can pass the virus on to their unborn babies. In most countries, HIV tests are a routine part of the care women receive during pregnancy . Partners of pregnant women should also get tested during this time.
The earlier you test in your pregnancy the better. You’ll usually be tested in your first appointment, ideally before your tenth week. These tests should be repeated, either every three months or at least once again in your third trimester.
Your doctor will tell you everything you need to know about HIV testing alongside the other blood tests they do during pregnancy.
If you find out you are positive, youll be given treatment to prevent passing HIV on to your child. The earlier you start treatment, the greater the chance your child will be born HIV-negative. Check out our section on Pregnancy, childbirth & breastfeeding for more information.
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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.
How Can You Tell If You Are Hiv
Make sure you are straightforward and specific in your approach. Lightfoot says to tell the person that you are HIV positive rather than saying that you have a chronic disease or virus. Then spell out what you want from the person, such as, I need someone I can talk to and love no matter what, and I hope that person is you..
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What Is A Realistic Possibility Of Transmission
Persons living with HIV have a duty to disclose their HIV status before sex that poses a realistic possibility of transmission. This legal test determines when non-disclosure invalidates consent to sexual activity in other words, when the law will deem after the fact that the HIV negative partner did not consent, even though she or he may have consented at the time of sexual activity.
The SCC held that there is no realistic possibility of transmission where the person living with HIV had a low or undetectable viral load at the time the sexual activity took place, and a condom was used . The SCC also acknowledged that advances in medical treatment of HIV may narrow the circumstances where there is a duty to disclose HIV positive status. The most recent medical science on HIV transmission is therefore relevant to determining if there was a realistic possibility of transmitting HIV.
Learn What It Means To Be Hiv
Information is power, especially when that information can save your life. These steps will allow you to take an active role in your care.
- Read about HIV in other sections of this website.
- Seek information from government or nonprofit educational organizations with a focus on HIV and AIDS.
- Learn about experimental and standard HIV treatments, as well as their side effects.
- Talk with others who are HIV-positive.
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How Are Hiv And Aids Treated
Medicines can help people with HIV stay healthy. They can also prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS.
Health care providers prescribe a combination of different medicines for people with HIV and AIDS. They must be taken exactly as prescribed or they won’t work. These medicines:
- help keep the number of CD4 cells high
- reduce the viral load of HIV
Regular blood tests will check the number of CD4 cells in the body and the viral load.
If an HIV-positive person’s CD4 count gets low, doctors prescribe daily antibiotics. This prevents pneumocystis pneumonia, which happens in people with weakened immune systems.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv Infection
Most people have no symptoms or just a mild flu-like illness when they are first infected, and it may be difficult to tell the HIV apart from other viral infections. This illness, called seroconversion illness, often occurs around 10 to 14 days after infection.
Seroconversion illness can have a range of symptoms, including:
- swollen lymph glands in the neck, underarm or groin areas
After the initial illness, people with HIV infection usually have no other symptoms. However, the virus remains in the body.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
No two people with HIV will have the same symptoms, and some may not have any at all. But the infection can cause some common changes over time.
In the first few weeks: These first, flu-like symptoms happen because your body is reacting to HIV. Your immune system is trying to fight it off. The symptoms at this stage can include:
- Aches and pains in muscles and joints
Keep in mind that even if you have these symptoms, that doesnât automatically mean you are HIV-positive. Many different illnesses can cause these problems. Talk to a doctor or an HIV testing facility if you think you might be infected.
At this early stage of HIV infection, itâs important to know that you may not get accurate results from an HIV test. It can take 3-12 weeks for enough signs of the virus to show up on routine tests for the infection, which measure antibodies against HIV. A new kind of screening, called a nucleic acid test, can detect the virus itself during this early stage, but itâs expensive and not usually used for routine HIV testing.
Let the testing site or your doctor know if you think you might be recently infected. Also, be sure to use a condom every time you have sex, and take other steps to prevent spreading the virus.
After years with untreated HIV, youâre likely to get infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that your body is no longer strong enough to fight off. They can be a sign that your infection has gone from HIV to AIDS. You might have:
You Must Also Tell Your Family That You Are Hiv Positive
Dont forget to be specific in what you say. Lightfoot says to tell someone you are HIV-positive rather than saying they are sick or dying from viruses. What you should want your potential love interest to say to you, for example, : I need you to love me no matter what the circumstances may be, and I pray I meet you there..
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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.
How Much Do Hiv Tests Cost
Unlike rapid tests, blood tests for HIV are covered by Medicare, which means your doctor can order the test free of charge for you.
If you are not eligible for Medicare, you may also be able to claim some of the testing costs through private health insurance. Check with your provider to see if youre eligible.
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When To Get Tested For Hiv
If you think you might have been exposed to HIV, its best to speak to a healthcare professional immediately.
Even if you dont think you have been at risk, testing regularly is good practice for people who are having sex. Its important to test for HIV during pregnancy. If you know your status, you can avoid passing the virus on to your baby. A window period is the amount of time it takes after infection for a test to give you an accurate result. Its good to know about window periods, but dont delay getting tested if you think you might have been exposed to HIV.
What Happens If I Test Positive For Hiv
If your initial test is positive for HIV antibodies, then additional testing is required to confirm that the first one was accurate. Sometimes this involves a second blood test.
When you are first diagnosed you will probably experience strong emotions. During this time, do not try to cope on your own. Seek support by speaking with your doctor, or contact your local community organisation. They have trained peer workers available to help you through the initial stages of a positive diagnosis, but also through your journey of living well with HIV.
Part of testing best practice includes pre- and post-test counselling. Post-test counselling is important, regardless of the outcome. If you test positive, counselling can provide emotional support, further information about living with HIV, and referrals to support services.
If the test is negative, counselling can provide education about HIV and how to reduce your HIV risk in the future. are community organisations that provide support and advocacy for people with HIV. Peer workers are also available to help you navigate living with HIV.
If you have recently been diagnosed with HIV, visit Next Steps for more information.
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Diagnosis In Men Vs Women
Doctors diagnose HIV in both men and women by testing a blood or saliva sample, although they could also test a urine sample. This test looks for antibodies produced by the person to fight the virus. The test typically takes around 3 to 12 weeks to detect antibodies.
Another test looks for HIV antigens, which are substances that the virus produces immediately after transmission. These antigens cause the immune system to activate. HIV produces the p24 antigen in the body even before antibodies develop.
Usually, both the antibody and the antigen tests are done in labs, but there are also home tests that people can take.
Home tests may require a small sample of blood or saliva, and their results are quickly available. If the test is positive, it is essential to confirm the results with a doctor. If the test is negative, a person should repeat it after a few months to confirm the results.