How Is Hiv Treated
HIV is treated with a combination of medicines taken by mouth every day. This combination of pills is called antiretroviral therapy .
Taking a combination of types of pills, rather than just one, is the most effective way to keep HIV from multiplying and destroying your cells. There are also combination pills that have several medications in a single pill. Your healthcare provider will carefully select a combination specifically for you.
The goal of ART is to reduce HIV in the blood to an amount thats not detectable by an HIV test and to slow HIVs weakening of your immune system.
Medications used to treat HIV
Each type of pill used in ART has a different way of keeping HIV from making more copies of itself or from infecting your cells. There can be many different brand names of the same type of ART drug.
Types of ART medications include:
- Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors .
- Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors .
- Protease inhibitors .
- Combination of HIV medicines.
Second Stage: Clinical Latency Symptoms
After your immune system loses the battle with HIV, the flu-like symptoms will go away. But thereâs a lot going on inside your body. Doctors call this the asymptomatic period or chronic HIV infection.
In your body, cells called CD4 T cells coordinate your immune systemâs response. During this stage, untreated HIV will kill CD4 cells and destroy your immune system. Your doctor can check how many of these cells you have with blood tests. Without treatment, the number of CD4 cells will drop, and youâll be more likely to get other infections.
Most people don’t have symptoms they can see or feel. You may not realize that you’re infected and can pass HIV on to others.
If youâre taking ART, you might stay in this phase for decades. You can pass the virus on to other people, but itâs extremely rare if you take your medicines.
Can You Get Hiv From Kissing
Since HIV is not spread through spit, kissing is not a common way to get infected. In certain situations where other body fluids are shared, such as if both people have open sores in their mouths or bleeding gums, there is a chance you could get HIV from deep, open-mouthed kissing.
You also dont get HIV from:
- Touching or hugging someone who has HIV/AIDS.
- Public bathrooms or swimming pools.
- Sharing cups, utensils or telephones with someone who has HIV/AIDS.
- Bug bites.
- Donating blood.
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Symptoms Of The Early Stages Of Hiv
Symptoms of HIV can vary between individuals however the first signs of infection generally appear within the first 1-2 months. Many, but not all, people will experience severe flu-like symptoms which is your bodys natural response to the virus. This is called the seroconversion period.
Its during this time that its crucial to identify if HIV is the cause, as your viral load is very high which greatly increases the risk of passing it on. And the only way to know for sure is by getting tested.
What If My Hiv Test Result Is Positive
If you had an antibody test and the result was positive, the first thing to do is get a follow-up test to confirm the results. If the follow-up test is positive, it means you have HIV. We know how stressful this diagnosis can be. You will feel many emotions such as anger, fear, or sadness.
Having HIV does not mean you have AIDS, which is the most severe and advanced form of the illness. Please know that millions of people live decades with HIV and have full, happy, productive lives. To start down that path, the next step after your diagnosis is to get HIV treatment immediately.
Antiretroviral therapy is the process of taking medication to treat your HIV infection. While ART cannot cure HIV, it can keep your symptoms from progressing. Reducing the HIV in your body also means that you lower the risk of transmitting the disease to someone else. Everyone who has HIV, no matter their symptoms, typically takes medications to lower the viral load in the body.
Today, we have a variety of medications available to treat your HIV. There are seven classes of drugs, all with different effects on the body, so talk with your doctor about a personalized drug therapy regimen designed specifically for you, your body, and your treatment goals.
A diagnosis of HIV, while serious, doesnt mean your health has to decline. Get tested, and talk with the team at the Orlando Immunology Center about your options.
Symptom : Fatigue And Headache
The inflammatory response generated by your besieged immune system can cause you to feel tired and lethargic. Sometimes it can make you feel winded while walking or generally feel out of breath. Fatigue can be both an early and later symptom of HIV.
There are several things that can cause a person to feel fatigued, so pay attention to your body and your lifestyle to see if you can draw a conclusion. If your fatigue persists, seek advice from your doctor.
What Are The 3 Stages Of Hiv When Does Hiv Infection Transition To Aids
There are 3 stages of HIV infection:
- Stage 1: Flu-like symptoms after initial HIV infection
- Stage 2: Clinically latency may last for 10 or more years in some individuals
- Stage 3: After HIV reactivation and/or HIVs progressive attack on the immune system, the damaged immune system has a reduced or an inability to protect the individual from serious infections and other illnesses. This stage is termed AIDS. In this stage, lab testing reveals high viral loads and CD4 counts < 200 cells/mm3.
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Many People Have No Symptoms But Watch For These
There are certain clues that suggest a person has HIV. The signs of HIV depend on whether a person is in the new or persistent stage of infection:
- Acute symptoms of HIV happen when the immune system mounts a defense against the virus as it first enters the body. The early symptoms of HIV are caused by the body’s response to the virus and are referred to as acute retroviral syndrome .
- Chronic symptoms of HIV develop as the virus breaks down the body’s immune defenses, leaving it open to infection. During the chronic stage of HIV, many symptoms are non-specific, meaning that they could be caused by other things.
During the acute stage of HIV infection, as many as 2 out of 3 people with HIV do not know they have it.
HIV can also be a “silent” disease when it becomes chronica person may have symptoms but assume they are from another cause.
This article will go over 6 common signs and symptoms of HIV that you should know, especially if you are at risk of getting the virus.
How Can I Take Care Of Myself While Living With Hiv
It’s very important to take your medications as prescribed and to make sure you dont miss appointments. This is called treatment adherence.
If you miss medications, even by accident, HIV can change how it infects your cells , potentially causing your medications to stop working. If your schedule prevents you from taking medications on time or making it to appointments, talk to your healthcare provider.
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Who Does Hiv Affect
Its a myth that HIV only infects certain people. Anyone can get HIV if theyre exposed to the virus. Having sex without a condom or sharing needles to inject drugs are the most common ways that HIV spreads.
Some populations are statistically more affected by HIV than others. Groups disproportionately affected by HIV include:
- People who identify as gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men .
- Certain races such as people who are Black or Hispanic.
- Those who exchange sex for money or other items are also at high risk for HIV infection.
While these arent the only populations impacted by HIV, its important to consider that they face unique barriers to accessing preventative care, getting tested, and receiving comprehensive treatment. Homophobia, racism, poverty, and social stigmas around HIV continue to drive inequities and keep people from accessing high-quality healthcare.
What Tests Diagnose Hiv
There are three types of HIV tests: antigen/antibody tests, antibody tests and nucleic acid tests :
Antigen tests look for markers on the surface of HIV called p24. Antibody tests look for chemicals your body makes when it reacts to those markers. HIV antigen/antibody tests look for both.
A healthcare provider will take a small sample of blood from your arm with a needle. The blood is sent to a lab and tested for p24 and antibodies to it. An antigen/antibody test is usually able to detect HIV in 18 to 45 days after exposure.
A rapid antigen/antibody test may also be done with a finger prick to draw blood. Youll need to wait at least 18 days after exposure for this type of test to be able to detect HIV. You may need to take the test up to 90 days after exposure for accurate results.
These tests look for antibodies to HIV in your blood or saliva. This can be done with a blood draw from your arm, a finger prick or with a stick that you rub on your gums to collect saliva.
An antibody test can take 23 to 90 days after exposure to detect HIV. Antibody tests done with a blood draw can detect HIV sooner than those done with saliva or blood from a finger prick.
Nucleic acid tests
NATs look for the HIV virus in your blood. A healthcare provider will take a small sample of blood from your arm with a needle. The blood then is sent to a lab and tested for HIV.
- Viral hepatitis screening.
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How Does Hiv Spread
You can get HIV through the blood, semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk and rectal fluids of an infected person. People of all sexes and sexual orientations can get infected with and spread HIV.
The virus can enter your body through your mouth, anus, penis, vagina or broken skin. It cant get through your skin unless you have a cut or wound. Pregnant people with HIV can also give it to their babies.
Having sex without a condom and sharing needles to take drugs are the most common ways that HIV spreads. Even if you feel fine, you can still give HIV to others.
Confusion Or Difficulty Concentrating
Cognitive problems could be a sign of HIV-related dementia, which usually occurs late in the course of the infection, when a person has developed AIDS.
In addition to confusion and difficulty concentrating, HIV-related dementia might also involve memory problems and behavioral issues, such as anger or irritability.
It may even include motor changes: becoming clumsy, lack of coordination, and problems with tasks requiring fine motor skills such as writing by hand.
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We Know That Men Who Have Sex With Men In Illinois Are At Higher Risk For Hiv What About Women Who Have Sex With Women
It is not a personâs gender, sexual orientation, race or class that puts them at risk for HIV. People are at risk for HIV when they practice risky behaviors. Women who identify as lesbian or gay can be at risk for HIV by practicing any of the behaviors that place women at risk. Lesbian women have become infected with HIV by using injection drugs or having unprotected sex with male or female partners who are already infected with HIV. Women who have sex with other women should follow guidelines in this fact sheet to protect themselves, and can call the Illinois AIDS/HIV/STD Hotline at 800-243-AIDS for specific information.
Common And Uncommon Symptoms Of Early Hiv
Anywhere from 23% to 92% of newly infected individuals will experience signs of acute retroviral syndrome . ARS is simply the body’s response to HIV as it mounts a defense against the viral invader, with the ensuing inflammation causing symptoms similar to that of the flu.
Fever, fatigue, headache, sore throat, swollen lymph glands, and muscle/joint pain are not uncommon features of ARS. Others might develop a rash , which can manifest with bumpy patches, generally on the upper half of the body. Still others might experience short-term nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
While these are considered the most common signs of ARS, an increasing body of evidence seems to suggest that some might experience more serious conditions, even life-threatening ones.
In 2015, scientists with the Zurich Primary HIV Prevention Study in Switzerland aimed to establish the range and frequency of symptoms that can occur during acute HIV infection. According to the research, not only were they able to identify 18 different illnesses or conditionsfar more than had been previously establishedthey reported a significant number has been missed in initial diagnosis.
Only patients identified during early infection were included, defined as:
Perhaps of more concern, almost half of these cases received a diagnosis other than HIV before finally being tested for the virus.
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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.
What If I Dont Have Hiv Symptoms
Always get tested if you believe you have been at risk from HIV infection. On exceedingly rare occasions the seroconversion illness can take up to a year to manifest. Sometimes the symptoms wont occur at all. Regular HIV testing is important if you are somebody who might be at risk from HIV: frequently practicing unprotected sex or sharing needles. Even if not, getting tested for HIV once a year is an individually and socially responsible act.
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Getting Tested For Hiv
HIV testing is important. Someone living with HIV who isnt getting treatment can still transmit the virus, even if they have no symptoms. Others may pass the virus to others through an exchange of bodily fluids. But todays treatment can effectively eliminate the risk of transmitting the virus to a persons HIV-negative sexual partners.
According to the CDC , antiretroviral therapy can lead to viral suppression. When someone with HIV can maintain an undetectable viral load, they cant transmit HIV to others. The CDC defines an undetectable viral load as fewer than 200 copies per milliliter of blood.
Taking an HIV test is the only way to determine whether the virus is in the body. There are known risk factors that increase a persons chance of contracting HIV. For example, people whove had sex without a condom or shared needles may want to consider seeing their healthcare professional about getting tested.
What Are The Treatments For Hiv/aids
There is no cure for HIV infection, but it can be treated with medicines. This is called antiretroviral therapy . ART can make HIV infection a manageable chronic condition. It also reduces the risk of spreading the virus to others.
Most people with HIV live long and healthy lives if they get and stay on ART. It’s also important to take care of yourself. Making sure that you have the support you need, living a healthy lifestyle, and getting regular medical care can help you enjoy a better quality of life.
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Can Hiv Be Prevented
To reduce the risk of getting HIV, people who are sexually active should:
- use a latex condom every time they have sex
- get tested for HIV and make sure all partners do too
- reduce their number of sexual partners
- get tested and treated for STDs having an STD increases the risk of getting infected with HIV. To find a testing site, visit the CDC’s National HIV and STD Testing Resources.
- consider taking a medicine every day if they are at very high risk of getting infected
- Do not inject drugs or share any kind of needle.
- Do not share razors or other personal objects that may touch blood.
- Do not touch anyone else’s blood from a cut or sore.
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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