Start Hiv Treatment As Soon As Possible After Diagnosis
- Get in care and take medicine to treat HIV .
- Taking HIV medicine can reduce the amount of HIV in the blood .
- HIV medicine can make the viral load very low . Viral suppression is defined as having less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
- HIV medicine can make the viral load so low that a test cant detect it .
- Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best thing you can do to stay healthy. Having an undetectable viral load also helps prevent transmission to others. In fact, if you have an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex. Most people can get the virus under control within six months.
Friday 29 November 2019
How much do you actually know about HIV and AIDS? If most of what you know comes from movies or news stories from the 1980s and 90s, it might be time to update your information.
Did you know, for example, that modern medicines mean that most people in Australia who contract HIV will never develop AIDS, and can go on to live a very normal life? Or that theres medication that can protect people from contracting HIV in the first place?
We spoke with Dr Graham Neilsen,a specialist sexual health physician, and Nathan, a young man who has HIV, about what HIV is, how it can be prevented and treated, and what its like to live with HIV in modern-day Queensland.
Genital Warts: Is My Sex Life Over
Guest over a year ago
Guest over a year ago
Guest over a year ago
ULYS, I am trying to figure that one out myself, I mean, am I going to need to wrap my whole body or only half it in celophane to have sex. seriously, I may be old but not dead. This is killing me. I was raped, didn’t know I had warts until first time I was with my partner and now he tells me he thinks he has a wart, and I gave oral sex. Seriously, I am still freaking out over this and I am a nurse. I tried to get into a doc, but can’t get in until after first of August. It wasn’t through my carelessness that I contracted the disease, but my boyfriend chose to go without a condom, and now thinks he has a wart. It is breaking my heart that I could have gotten them, and even more so that it could have been passed on to him. I feel such shame over the whole thing. My man is a good person, a sweetheart, and an educated professional. I mean it is the first sex either of us had in months and this happens. We have started planning a future together, and he travels to find a new job for our future, and now this. He said he wants me to move with him. If it costs me this relationship, I will die!
funkybeats6 over a year ago
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Advice If You’re Pregnant
HIV treatment is available to prevent you passing HIV to your child.
Without treatment, there’s a 1 in 4 chance your baby will become infected with HIV. With treatment, the risk is less than 1 in 100 .
Advances in treatment mean there’s no increased risk of passing the virus to your baby with a normal delivery.
But in some cases, a caesarean section may still be recommended, often for reasons not related to your HIV.
Discuss the risks and benefits of each delivery method with the staff at your HIV clinic. The final decision about how your baby is delivered is yours, and staff will respect that decision.
If you have HIV, do not breastfeed your baby as the virus can be transmitted through breast milk.
What Is The Next Step After Testing Positive For Hiv
Testing positive for HIV often leaves a person overwhelmed with questions and concerns. Its important to remember that HIV can be treated effectively with HIV medicines.
Treatment with HIV medicines is recommended for everyone with HIV. HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
The first step after testing positive for HIV is to see a health care provider, even if you dont feel sick. Prompt medical care and treatment with HIV medicines as soon as possible is the best way to stay healthy.
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What We Know About Hiv Testing
About 1 in 7 people in the United States who have HIV dont know they have it. Getting an HIV test is the only way to know your HIV status. HIV testing is easier, more available, and more accurate than ever. There are three types of HIV tests available in the United States some can detect HIV sooner than others.
How Is Hiv Treated
Antiretroviral treatment is used to treat people with HIV. ART stops the virus from multiplying and reduces a persons risk of developing AIDS.
While not a cure for HIV, ART treatments are so effective that, if taken properly, they can make the virus undetectable in a persons system. This means that HIV wont make the person sick, and that they have virtually no risk of transmitting HIV to other people, even sexual partners.
These treatments have revolutionised the way HIV is treated and drastically changed the prognosis for people diagnosed with HIV. For Nathan, its the difference between needing to self-inject medication, to taking just a few pills each day.
I spent about eight months on the injectable medication when I was only about 16. I was injecting the drugs twice a day in the stomach and having to do that all myself. Comparing that to what Im doing now, its so much easier. Now I’m even talking to my doctor about dropping tablets and going onto one or two tablet regimens.
Dr Neilsen has been working with patients with HIV for decades. He remembers how dire the disease was for his patients in the 1980s.
With modern treatments, it is expected that people with HIV will live normal, healthy lives, and never go on to develop AIDS.
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Facilitators Of Sexual Adjustment
A variety of factors contributed towards positive sexual adjustment after the initial shock of diagnosis wore off. One could be a partners accepting response to an HIV diagnosis: this was a strong indicator of later positive sexual adjustment for the HIV-positive partner.
I told him after our first date. I remember I couldnt look at him so I turned away, and I just felt him lean across and put his head on my shoulder and say he didnt care he just wanted to be with me Female, diagnosed late 1990s.
“A partner who was willing to have sex without fully acknowledging the HIV and who glossed over fears of transmission did not facilitate positive adjustment.”
However, this was a complex process that was not always clear-cut. At the one extreme, outright rejection by a long-term partner would severely impact upon subsequent sexual adjustment. A partner who showed excessive fear around sex and who was overly cautious would also contribute negatively towards sexual adjustment.
However, a partner who was willing to have sex without fully acknowledging the HIV and who glossed over fears of transmission did not facilitate positive adjustment either. For adjustment to occur, the partner needed to acknowledge HIV as part of the individual while not showing undue fear. Some participants described this as an ongoing process as opposed to a one-off event.
Only having sex with other HIV-positive people facilitated adjustment for some interviewees:
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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Which Lab Tests Are Used To Make Decisions About Hiv Treatment
A health care provider reviews a persons lab test results to:
- Determine how far the persons HIV infection has advanced
Results from the following three lab tests help answer these questions.
CD4 countA CD4 count measures the number of CD4 cells in a sample of blood. CD4 cells are infection-fighting cells of the immune system. As HIV advances, a persons CD4 count drops, which indicates increasing damage to the immune system. Treatment with HIV medicines prevents HIV from destroying CD4 cells.
Viral loadA viral load test measures how much virus is in the blood . As HIV progresses to AIDS, a persons viral load increases. HIV medicines prevent HIV from multiplying, which reduces a persons viral load. A goal of HIV treatment is to keep a persons viral load so low that the virus cant be detected by a viral load test. This is known as having an undetectable viral load.
Once HIV treatment is started, the CD4 count and viral load are used to monitor whether the HIV medicines are controlling a persons HIV.
Drug-resistance testingHealth care providers consider many factors when recommending HIV medicines, including a persons drug resistance test results. Drug-resistance testing identifies which, if any, HIV medicines will not be effective against a persons strain of HIV.
The ClinicalInfo infographic What do my lab results mean? has more information about tests used to monitor HIV infection and treatment.
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.
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Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
Guaranteed issue life insurance doesnât require a medical exam, and you wonât be asked any questions about your health, but premiums are steep and death benefit levels are low . Coverage is also generally restricted to people 50 years or older. Still, acceptance is nearly guaranteed, so it may be your best option if youâre over 50 and canât find a policy elsewhere.
Health Issues And Aging With Hiv
People aging with HIV share many of the same health concerns as the general population aged 50 and older: multiple chronic diseases or conditions, the use of multiple medications, changes in physical and cognitive abilities, and increased vulnerability to stressors. In addition, while effective HIV treatment has decreased the likelihood of AIDS-defining illnesses among people aging with HIV, many HIV-associated non-AIDS conditions occur frequently in older persons with HIV, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, renal disease, and cancer. These conditions are likely related to a number of interacting factors, including chronic inflammation caused by HIV. Researchers are working to better understand what causes chronic inflammation, even when people are being treated with ART.
HIV and its treatment can also have effects on the brain. Researchers estimate that between 25 and 50% of people with HIV have HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder , a spectrum of cognitive, motor, and/or mood disorders categorized into three levels: asymptomatic, mild, and HIV-associated dementia. Researchers are studying how HIV and its treatment affect the brain, including the effects on older people living with HIV.
HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day
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How Will I Know If I Get Hiv
The only way you can know that you have the HIV virus is by getting tested. Although you may experience symptoms, there is no way of knowing that you have HIV unless you get tested. In fact, some people who have HIV go for years without experiencing any symptoms. So if you have had unprotected sex and you think that maybe you could be a risk, go get tested even if you are not experiencing any symptoms.
An HIV diagnosis can be done using:
- Antibody screening test
This test is also referred to as the ELISA test and it is used to check for a specific HIV-Ab in the body.
Usually, your doctor will take a small sample of your blood for testing. Some ELISA tests check fluids or urine, but a blood test provides more accurate results. It is possible to get a negative result even when you are actually positive when you take a fluid or urine test. This is because the antibodies in fluids are few.
- Antibody/Antigen combination test
The antibody/antigen combination test can detect the HIV virus 20 days after infection. With the antibody screening test, you would have to wait about 8 weeks to get tested if you want to get accurate results.
This test checks for an HIV antigen called core p24 antigen, which is a protein that is found in the virus. This protein shows up 3 weeks after you become infected. The test also checks for the HIV antibodies much like the antibody screening test.
- RNA Test
- Home Test Kits
Treating The Rash At Home
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Where To Get Pep
PEP is available on the NHS for free, but is only given to people who meet guidelines about its use.
The best place to get PEP is a sexual health or HIV clinic. If you need PEP over the weekend or outside of office hours, when clinics will often be closed, the best place to go is an Accident and Emergency department.
PEP is not normally available from GPs.
As PEP is a powerful course of drugs, and is expensive to prescribe, you might be asked about:
- the person you had sex with
- what sort of sex you had
- if the other person had HIV, what their viral load is.
If the person you had sex with is living with HIV and has an undetectable viral load, you will not need PEP as it wont be possible for the virus to have been transmitted.
Once a doctor decides that its appropriate for you to have PEP, you will be asked to take an HIV test. This is to make sure you dont already have HIV. If HIV is detected by a test, other forms of treatment will be recommended to you.
How To Plan Your Future When Youre Living With Hiv:
Thinking about your future is a difficult task at first. The idea of being diagnosed HIV-positive initially filled you with dread, but now thats just a memory. Nowadays, youre not afraid to think about the future, and plan to continue to build towards the happy life you know you deserve.
This is why we recommend that here, 6 months into your journey with HIV, you start thinking about ways to build for that future. Many HIV-positive people use a future-focused approach to remedy the mixed emotions that come from dwelling on the past, and wondering how it may have all happened. Changing your mindset takes time, takes patience, and takes planning.
Thats why we recommend you keep a diary or a journal, to document your thoughts and feelings on your journey with HIV. Weve shared some information on how to manage telling other people about your status, but theres no pressure or obligation for you to do this. Maybe you feel ready to take that step now, or maybe not: either way, its perfectly acceptable.
If you live alone or youre certain that your privacy will be respected, if you keep a journal, its worth trying. You may find it helpful to get some perspective on your journey, and itll also help you start thinking about the ways you want to build and plan for your future. In particular, you may be thinking about how your status has changed the possibilities of your future.
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