What Does It Mean To Be Durably Undetectable
Taking antiretroviral therapy daily as prescribed to suppress HIV levels leads to an undetectable status. A person is considered to have a durably undetectable viral load if their viral load remains undetectable for at least six months after their first undetectable test result. It is essential to continue to take every pill every day as directed to maintain an undetectable viral load.
What Does It Mean If Hiv Viral Load Is Undetectable
Although there is currently no cure for HIV, the right HIV treatment can help to increase CD4 count and at times an undetectable viral load.
Viral load is the term used to describe the levels of the virus in the body. When treatment is taken correctly, viral load can become so low that its referred to as undetectable. While this does not mean that HIV has been cured, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it does mean that there is no longer a risk of passing the virus on to a partner during sex.
Its important to remember that many people with HIV infection may experience little to no symptoms – making it easy for the virus to go unnoticed and undiagnosed. Early detection of HIV and the correct HIV treatment and medication is key to going on to live a healthy life, which is why regular screening of your sexual health is crucial. Testing can be done with your local healthcare provider or from home with an at-home lab test.
LetsGetCheckeds at-home STI Tests detect some of the most common sexually transmitted infections. The blood test for HIV involves a simple finger-prick sample and online results will be available within 2-5 days. Our dedicated medical team will be available throughout the process to provide medical advice, support, and guidance.
You consider taking a test if:
How Do I Talk To My Partner About Their Risk Of Acquiring Hiv
People living with HIV can involve their partners in their treatment plans. Research shows that adhering to treatment often can improve with support from loving relationships and from the community.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis , in which an HIV-negative person takes antiretroviral medication to prevent infection, can be part of the conversation. Learn more about PrEP.
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What Needs To Be Considered In A Relationship
Herpes often brings about some changes in a couples sex life, such as abstaining from oral sex or intercourse during outbreaks. For most people with herpes this occurs only a few times a year. There is a small risk of spreading the virus in between outbreaks but condoms and certain treatments can help to minimize this risk significantly.
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Why Might People Living With Hiv Get Tested For Hiv
Because we connect with every single person who tests positive at one of our locations, we always ask why people get tested for HIV if theyve already been diagnosed in the past.
It happens for many reasons: People may test with a partner they havent yet disclosed to, they may have mental health concerns that come into play, or they need a letter of diagnosis to access services . Sometimes its because they are confused about the kind of information an HIV test will provide.
Now that weknow undetectable equals untransmittable , some people may have the misconception thatif youre undetectable, you will no longer test positive for HIV. They may think that if they test HIV-negative on an HIV test, theyll be able to show this to their sex partners as a way to prove that theyre undetectable and untransmittable. Or, they may think it will be easier to tell partners theyre HIV-negative rather than undetectable and uninfectious.
If you are living with HIV and have an undetectable viral load, you will still test positive for HIV. But, if you are living with HIV, have been taking HIV medications every day as directed, have a durably suppressed viral load and have been undetectable for at least six months, you will not transmit HIV to sex partners. You are not infectious. Thats the meaning of U=U.
Heres why you will still test positive for HIV even if you are undetectable.
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Testing Positive On Hiv Antibody Tests
Since the early days of the HIV epidemic, we have used antibody tests to test for HIV. Antibody tests are the most affordable and accessible HIV tests. They are the most common types of HIV tests at testing sites around the world because they provide rapid, on-the-spot results.
Antibody tests do not detect HIV. Instead, they detect antibodies that the immune system produces in response to HIV infection.
WHAT ARE ANTIBODIES?
Our immune systems develop antibodies in response to all kinds of pathogens. Anytime you get sick or get any kind of infection, your body builds up a defense system and creates antibodies to try and fight that specific infection off. If these antibodies are successful, some infections will go away but the antibodies never do. They will remain in your body, helping to protect you from getting the same infection in the future.
In this way, antibodies allow our bodies to remember a specific infectious agentlike a particular strain of the fluand then respond to it more quickly if exposed to it again in the future. Once we develop antibodies to a virus we may have those antibodies for life or for many years.
HIV ANTIBODIES WHEN YOURE UNDETECTABLE
Stage : Chronic Hiv Infection
After the acute stage has ended and if the person has not received treatment the virus remains active, reproducing at very low levels but continuing to damage immune cells.
At this stage, there are usually no symptoms or very mild ones. This is why doctors sometimes call stage 2 asymptomatic HIV infection or clinical latency. The virus can still pass to others during this stage, even if it causes no symptoms.
Without treatment, this stage can last for 10 years or more before the person develops stage 3 HIV.
However, modern antiretroviral medications can stop the infection from progressing. These drugs greatly reduce the amount of HIV in the body, the viral load, to very low levels.
When the viral load is so low that tests cannot detect it, HIV can no longer damage the immune system or transmit to other people. Some people refer to this as undetectable equals untransmittable or U=U.
A person with stage 2 HIV who takes effective antiretroviral therapy may never develop stage 3 HIV.
For more in-depth information and resources on HIV and AIDS, visit our dedicated hub.
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What Is The Difference Between Hiv And Aids
The term AIDS refers to the most advanced stages of HIV infection. Most of the conditions affecting people with AIDS are opportunistic infections that generally do not affect healthy people. In people with AIDS, these infections are often severe and sometimes fatal because the immune system is so ravaged by HIV that the body cannot fight off the infection. Symptoms of opportunistic infections common in people with AIDS include:
- coughing and shortness of breath
- seizures and lack of coordination
- difficult or painful swallowing
- severe headaches
People with AIDS also are particularly prone to developing various cancers. These cancers are usually more aggressive and difficult to treat in people with AIDS.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Biktarvy
- All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or have had any kidney or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection.
- All the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, antacids, laxatives, vitamins, and herbal supplements. BIKTARVY and other medicines may affect each other. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist, and ask if it is safe to take BIKTARVY with all of your other medicines.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if BIKTARVY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking BIKTARVY.
- If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1800FDA1088.
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Is An Hiv Rash Itchy
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the rash can sometimes be itchy, red, and painful.
Rashes are most common on the abdomen, arms, legs, and face and can coincide with flu-like symptoms. Other possible HIV-related skin changes include:
- Blotches under the skin or inside the eyelids, nose, or mouth
- White spots or unusual blemishes in the throat, in the mouth, or on the tongue
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Testing Positive On Nucleic Acid Tests
In addition to antibody tests, we also have HIV tests that detect viral RNA not necessarily live virus, but parts of the virus genetic material. These are called nucleic acid tests, and they are able to detect very early HIV infections. These tests are not used as often for screening as antibody tests , because results take longer and the test is more expensive. Usually, RNA tests are used to confirm an HIV positive diagnosis after someone tests positive on an antibody test or to see if a person is responding well to treatment.
Some of these viral detection tests are able to detect virus at very low levels. Some research HIV RNA assays can measure HIV RNA levels down to the single copy levels.
We commonly say someone is undetectable if they have a viral load less than 20 copies/mL or 50 copies/mL. Research studies have defined undetectable as any viral load less than 200 copies/mL.
So even if a person has a viral load less than 50 copies/mL or 20 copies/mL, viral RNA will still be detected with one of these viral detection tests.
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How Do People Get Hiv
HIV spreads when infected blood or body fluids enter the body. This can happen:
- through sharing needles for injecting drugs or tattooing
HIV also can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
HIV is NOT spread through:
- pee, poop, spit, throw-up, or sweat
- coughing or sneezing
- sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses
What Should I Do If I Think I Could Have Hiv
Only an HIV test can tell you whether you have HIV.
Try not to guess based on any symptoms you may or may not have, or on the HIV status of a person you have had sex with.
If you test, tell whoever tests you if youve recently taken risks or had symptoms similar to seroconversion illness, as this will affect the kind of HIV test you should have.
To be on the safe side, and until you know your test result, use condoms to protect anyone you have sex with.
You can also call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221.
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Do I Still Need To Worry About Other Sexually Transmitted Infections
Neither HIV treatment nor PrEP prevents other sexually transmitted infections, or STIs.
Ways to reduce the risk of STIs include having both partners tested, limiting the number of sexual partners and using condoms. Vaccines are available to prevent some STIs, including hepatitis B and human papillomavirus .
If I Have Hiv How Can I Keep From Spreading It To Others
The best ways to keep from spreading HIV to others are many of the same ways you use to protect yourself:
- Let sexual partners and anyone you inject drugs with know that you have HIV.
- Follow your treatment plan and dont miss medications. If you have an undetectable viral load, you greatly reduce the risk of transmitting HIV through sex.
- Talk to your sexual partner about taking PrEP.
- Dont share needles or other equipment to inject drugs.
- Limit the number of sexual partners you have.
- If youre pregnant and have HIV, following your treatment plan, including ART medications, can reduce your risk of transmitting the virus to your child.
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Is There Any Treatment Of A Cure For Hiv/aids
Currently, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. People living with HIV will need lifelong treatment. The best treatments right now are combinations of prescription drugs. These medications include antiviral treatment, protease inhibitors and other drugs that help people who are living with HIV stay healthy. People living with HIV also can stay healthy by doing things like eating properly, exercising and getting enough sleep.
Whats The Outlook For People With Hiv
With treatment, an average rash will generally go away in one or two weeks.
If a person has been diagnosed with HIV, their healthcare provider will work with them to start a treatment regimen. Controlling HIV and preventing it from progressing to stage 3 HIV requires a daily dedication to antiretroviral therapy. People living with HIV should also consider using condoms during sex and avoiding behaviors that could put them and their health at risk.
Successful HIV management demands a good working relationship and open communication between an HIV-positive person and their healthcare provider. If a person living with HIV doesnt feel theyre getting the answers they want from their healthcare provider, they might want to seek out a new one who has experience working with HIV-positive people.
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What Else Should I Know
Treatment has improved greatly for people with HIV. By taking medicines and getting regular medical care, HIV-positive people can live long and healthy lives.
People with HIV need a medical care team for the best treatment and support.
If you or someone you know has HIV or AIDS it is important to:
- goes to all doctor visits
- takes all medicines exactly as directed
- goes for all follow-up blood tests
- understands what HIV/AIDS is and how it spreads
- is physically active, gets enough sleep, and eats well
Find more information at:
Why Genital Herpes Comes Back
Genital herpes is caused by a virus called herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, it stays in your body.
It will not spread in your body to cause blisters elsewhere. It stays in a nearby nerve and causes blisters in the same area.
If you can, avoid things that trigger your symptoms.
Triggers can include:
- surgery on your genital area
- a weakened immune system for example, from having chemotherapy for cancer
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Whats The Difference Between Hiv And Aids
The difference between HIV and AIDS is that HIV is a virus that weakens your immune system. AIDS is a condition that can happen as a result of an HIV infection when your immune system is severely weakened.
You cant get AIDS if you arent infected with HIV. Thanks to treatment that slows down the effects of the virus, not everyone with HIV progresses to AIDS. But without treatment, almost all people living with HIV will advance to AIDS.
What Is The Treatment For Oral Herpes
Possibly more commonly known to the majority of us as cold sores or fever blisters, oral herpes is primarily caused by HSV-1 . This type of herpes is typically spread through direct skin contact with someone who has the virus. In fact, according to Mayo Clinic, many people contract HSV-1 as babies if they have been kissed by a family member who had a cold sore.
Though oral herpes usually clears up on its own within a number of days, there are some things you can consider that will help relieve any irritation or pain:
- Cream to ease pain and irritation
- Antiviral cream to speed up healing time
- Cold sore patches
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After I Begin Hiv Treatment How Long Does It Take For The Risk Of Sexually Transmitting Hiv To Become Effectively Zero
There is effectively no risk of sexual transmission of HIV when the partner living with HIV has achieved an undetectable viral load and then maintained it for at least six months. Most people living with HIV who start taking antiretroviral therapy daily as prescribed achieve an undetectable viral load within one to six months after beginning treatment.
A persons viral load is considered durably undetectable when all viral load test results are undetectable for at least six months after their first undetectable test result. This means that most people will need to be on treatment for 7 to 12 months to have a durably undetectable viral load. It is essential to take every pill every day to maintain durably undetectable status.
How Do I Take Care Of Myself With Hiv
The best way to take care of yourself while living with HIV is to follow your treatment plan.
- Make sure to take your medications as prescribed and on time.
- Show up to all appointments so your healthcare team can monitor how youre feeling and know if theres a need to adjust your treatment.
- Follow your healthcare providers recommendations on how to avoid additional illnesses.
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Forty Years Of Hiv/aids: Will The Epidemic End
June marks the 40th anniversary of the first scientific report describing pneumocystis pneumonia, which later became known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome . More than 32 million people have died worldwide from AIDS and 38 million people are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The last 40 years of the HIV epidemic have given us an in-depth look at society, science, medicine, and socioeconomic impacts of disease on communities and countries. Forty years ago was the very first report. Still, we didn’t even know what the causative agent was,” says Dr. Stacey Rizza, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases physician and HIV researcher.
Unfortunately, the AIDS crisis of the 1980s was steeped in misinformation and discrimination, especially against gay men who were disproportionately affected by the disease. Much progress has been made since that time, but there is still more work to be done.
“Being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS has a different meaning than it did just two decades ago, says Dr. Rizza. “Its a whole new world, and, for those of us who are a little older and started treating HIV in the 90s and saw that world, it was tragic. We watched wonderful people who were brave and fought their virus but unfortunately, we werent able to stop the virus from replicating.”