What Is Art And How Does It Help Prevent Hiv
Antiretroviral therapy is a combination of medicines that slows down the effects of HIV in your body and can help you stay healthy for many years. It can also lower or even stop your chances of giving HIV to anyone else.
ART lowers the amount of HIV in your body sometimes to the point where HIV wont show up on standard blood tests. If your HIV viral load is so low that certain tests cant see it, its called undetectable. When someone has an undetectable viral load, they cant spread HIV to others during sex.
Its important to remember that even with an undetectable viral load, HIV is still present in your body. If you stop treatment your viral load can go up, making it possible to pass HIV to others you have sex with. Your doctor or nurse can help you find the treatment thats best for you to help keep your viral load low, so you can stay healthy.
What Is Pep And How Does It Prevent Hiv
PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. Its a series of pills you start taking after youve been exposed to HIV that lowers your chances of getting HIV. You have to start PEP within 72 hours , after you were exposed to HIV for it to work. The sooner you start it, the better. Every hour counts, so if you think you were exposed to HIV, call your nurse or doctor or go to the emergency room right away. PEP is only for emergencies it doesnt take the place of using condoms or PrEP. Read more about PEP.
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.
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What Is The Hiv Continuum Of Care
The HIV care continuum is a public health model that outlines the steps or stages that people with HIV go through from diagnosis to achieving and maintaining viral suppression .
The steps are:
- Linkage to HIV medical care
- Receipt of HIV medical care
- Retention in medical care
- Achievement and maintenance of viral suppression
The HIV care continuum is useful both as an individual-level tool to assess care outcomes, as well as a population-level framework to analyze the proportion of people with HIV in a given community who are engaged in each successive step. This helps policymakers and service providers better pinpoint where gaps in services might exist and develop strategies to better support people with HIV to achieve the treatment goal of viral suppression.
Supporting people with HIV to move through the steps of the continuum to achieve and maintain viral suppression is critical. There are important health benefits to getting the viral load as low as possible: people living with HIV who get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long, healthy lives. There is also a major prevention benefit: people with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative sexual partners.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
- Am I at high risk for HIV?
- What can I do to reduce my risk of HIV?
- How can I make sure I take my medications correctly?
- What can I do to protect myself from other illnesses?
- How can prevent the spread of HIV?
- What do my test results mean?
- What do my blood counts mean?
- What vaccinations should I get?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Treatments have come a long way since the height of the AIDS epidemic. You have the best chance of living a long life if youre diagnosed early and are able to get on and stick with ART medications. People living with HIV today are able to work, have active social lives and families, and pursue fulfilling relationships. In fact, this can have a positive impact on your well-being.
While weve come a long way with treatments, unfortunately, social stigmas around HIV still persist. In addition to the feelings of fear and uncertainty a new diagnosis can bring, you may wonder how those around you will respond. If youre hesitant to get tested or get treatment, or if you just arent sure what your next steps are, you can reach out to a community organization that specializes in HIV. Remember that you are deserving of support, compassion and high-quality healthcare.
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Ways Hiv/aids Can Be Transmitted
No matter how much information there is available about AIDS and HIV, the thought of it makes a person shudder. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV is the virus responsible for AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. This virus attacks the immune system and over time leaves the body defenseless against other infections and types of cancer. Till date, there is no cure for HIV or AIDS. However, what we do know is how the disease can be transmitted from one person to another. Knowing this enables us to control the transmission of the disease…
Unlike other viruses, HIV cannot be transmitted through air, water etc. This virus can only be transmitted through:
Receiving blood transfusions from an HIV positive person is sure to put you at risk of suffering from the disease as well. For this reason, it is essential to only take blood from registered blood banks that run HIV screening tests. This holds true for organ and tissue transplants as well. Being stuck with an HIV infected needle can also put you at risk of coming in contact the virus. In some cases, direct contact between broken skin, wounds and mucus membranes can also lead to the transferring of HIV cells from one person to another. HIV does not spread through saliva, however, if while kissing, both partners suffer from bleeding gums and one partner is HIV positive, there is a risk of the transference of HIV from one person to the other.
From a mother to an unborn child-
How Do You Get Hiv
You can only get HIV if specific bodily fluids of someone who has HIV get into your body. A person with HIV can pass the virus to others whether they have symptoms or not.
There are a lot of myths around how HIV is passed from one person to another but there are only a few ways you can get it. Plus, the good news is that there are things you can do to protect yourself and others.
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Blood Transfusions And Transplants
In the early days of the HIV epidemic in the 1980s to early 1990s, there were many people infected with HIV due to tainted blood transfusions. Prior to 1992, there were no screening tools available to ensure that the U.S. blood supply, including clotting factors and plasma, was free of the virus.
That risk has fallen dramatically in recent decades due to advances in detection technologies and the universal screening of blood and tissue donations in the United States and other countries. This not only includes the screening of HIV but other bloodborne infections like hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Today, the risk of HIV from a blood transfusion in the United States is roughly one in 1.5 million. From 2002 to 2008, only one documented case of HIV transmission from a transfusion was reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
The risk outside of the United States can vary dramatically. In Egypt, for instance, one in four HIV infections is the result of a transfusion. By contrast, in South Africa, the country with the highest HIV incidence in the world, the transmission risk is closer to one of every 76,000 transfusions.
How Can I Protect Myself
The best way to protect yourself from HIV is to not have sex and not share needles.
If you decide to have sex, reduce your risk of getting HIV by:
- using a condom every time you have sex
- getting tested for HIV and making sure all partners do too
- reducing the number of sexual partners you have
- getting tested and treated for STDs having an STD increases the risk of HIV infection
Understanding how HIV spreads can help you make safer choices about sex. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about HIV and if you want to get tested.
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Questions To Ask Your Healthcare Provider
No questions are off-limits when you meet with them, and it’s great to come prepared. Here are some questions to copy and save for your visit.
- How long have you been treating people with HIV?
- What is your approach to treating HIV?
- Do you have a partnership with your patients? Why or why not?
- How often can I call you with questions or concerns? What’s the best time? If you’re not available, who should I call?
- Do you have anything I can read for more information? Which websites should I check out?
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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Reasons To Stick With Treatment
Current research shows that taking HIV treatment as prescribed and getting to an undetectable viral load and staying undetectable prevents the transmission of HIV to others through sex. And that is just one of many reasons why sticking to treatment is important.
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Model portrayal below
Hiv Is Not Transmitted By:
HIV is not spread by:
- Mosquitoes, ticks or other insects.
- Saliva, tears, or sweat that is not mixed with the blood of a person with HIV.
- Shaking hands hugging sharing toilets sharing dishes, silverware, or drinking glasses or engaging in closed-mouth or âsocialâ kissing with a person with HIV.
- Drinking fountains.
- Other sexual activities that donât involve the exchange of body fluids .
HIV canât be passed through healthy, unbroken skin.
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Lowering The Risk Of Sexual Transmission
There are several protective measures which dramatically reduce the risk of HIV transmission during sex. You can find out more about these on other pages.
Undetectable viral load: when people with HIV take effective treatment, the amount of HIV in their body fluids falls drastically, to the point where they cannot pass HIV on to their sexual partners. An extremely low level of HIV in body fluids is referred to as an undetectable viral load. The knowledge that this prevents transmission is often referred to ‘Undetectable equals Untransmittable’ .
PrEP: if the HIV-negative person takes antiretroviral medications as pre-exposure prophylaxis , this significantly reduces the risk of acquiring HIV. The most common form of PrEP is in a tablet, but it can also be provided as a vaginal ring or an injection.
Condoms: if male condoms or female condoms are used, this significantly reduces the risk of acquiring HIV.
Male circumcision: if you are circumcised, this partially lowers your risk of acquiring HIV during vaginal sex.
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.
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Unlikely Methods Of Transmission
The above methods account for over 99% of all known HIV transmissions. Clearly, the potential exists for HIV to be transmitted by other situations where bodily fluids are exposed. However, HIV transmission is known to be very unlikely to occur in, for example:
- Bites from insects
- Body rubbing, etc.
It is always important to keep a sense of proportion. To help us do this, you can use some figures to roughly estimate the risks of transmission for each contact. It must be stressed that these are only estimates, and that they are drawn from studies of large numbers of people. Each human being is unique and the ability to transmit or become infected varies enormously from one individual to another.
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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What Is The Hiv Antibody Test
There are several types of HIV antibody tests used today. All are highly accurate at detecting HIV antibodies, specific proteins made in response to an HIV infection. After infection with HIV, however, it can take up to 3 months for HIV antibodies to develop. The City of Laredo Health Department offers three different types of HIV testing to include confirmation of HIV.
Myth : If A Couple Has Hiv They Do Not Need To Protect Themselves
Fact: Different strains of HIV exist, and strains can change over time. If a person and their partner have two different strains of HIV, it is possible for them to transmit these to each other. This can lead to reinfection, which can complicate treatment.
Current medications can reduce the levels of this virus in the body so that it is untransmittable. If this happens for both partners, HIV protection may be unnecessary.
A healthcare provider can advise each couple on their situation.
Even if there is no risk of transmitting HIV, other sexually transmitted infections can spread as a result of having sex without a condom or other barrier method.
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There Needs To Be Enough Virus
The concentration of HIV determines whether infection will occur. In blood, for example, the virus is very concentrated. A small amount of blood is enough to infect someone. The concentration of virus in blood or other fluids can change, in the same person, over time. People who take HIV medications as prescribed can have very low quantities of HIV present in bodily fluids, greatly reducing the risk of transmitting HIV to their partners.
It is important to note that HIV is a very fragile virus that will die quickly when exposed to light and air. Exposure to small amounts of dried blood or other infectious fluids is not a realistic risk for HIV transmission.
Body Piercings And Tattoos
While theoretically feasible, the risk of HIV from body piercings and tattoos is low due to the licensing and strict regulation of practitioners within the industry. For its part, the CDC insists that the risk of HIV transmission is low to negligible.
Among unlicensed practitioners who do not adhere to industry sterilization and hygiene practices, the risk is potentially higher, although it is unclear by how much.
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Hiv Can Only Be Transmitted By Very Intimate Bodily Contact
This is because HIV is a very fragile organism despite the fact that once the virus has entered the body, it can cause such devastating effects.
- Unprotected sexual intercourse is the most common means of transmission worldwide . In South Africa, most of this is heterosexual transmission, but in some areas homosexual spread between men is the most common. As we shall see later, genital secretions are particularly prone to picking up and transmitting HIV.
- Sharing of equipment used by injecting drug users is common in certain communities. Small amounts of blood in needles and syringes left after an infected person has used the equipment contains HIV that is then injected into the bloodstream of the next user. It is important to note that injecting drug use is NOT the key risk activity for the transmission of HIV it is the sharing of equipment.