Third Stage: Aids Symptoms
AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV infection. This is usually when your CD4 T-cell number drops below 200 and your immune system is badly damaged. You might get an opportunistic infection, an illness that happens more often and is worse in people who have weakened immune systems. Some of these, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma and pneumocystis pneumonia , are also considered âAIDS-defining illnesses.â
If you didn’t know earlier that you were infected with HIV, you may realize it after you have some of these symptoms:
- Being tired all the time
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck or groin
- Fever that lasts more than 10 days
When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone who is showing symptoms of HIV should contact a doctor as soon as possible. This is especially important if the individual has recently had sexual contact with someone else or shared a needle with someone else.
HIV can remain asymptomatic for a long time. For this reason, anyone who has recently had unprotected sex and is concerned about exposure to HIV should contact a doctor as soon as they can, even if they do not have any symptoms. The same goes for anyone who has recently shared a needle.
It can be difficult to discuss the possibility of having HIV. However, without proper treatment, HIV can be life threatening. In these situations, it is very important for people to put their long-term health first and to discuss the matter with a doctor.
Incidence And Prevalence Of Hiv Infection
In 2007, there were 33 million people worldwide with HIV/AIDS, 2.7 million people newly infected with HIV, 2 million death. Ninety-five per cent of infections and deaths occurred in developing countries. In the US, 1.1 million people are estimated to have HIV/AIDS in 2016 with approximately 37,832 new infections, disproportionately affecting African Americans. Transmission occurs by sexual contact, by exposure to infected blood or blood products typically through needle-sharing, or through vertical transmission from an infected mother. Diagnosis is made by detection of virus-specific antibodies and confirmed by Western blot. After diagnosis patients are monitored by quantitative HIV-RNA determinations by PCR.
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Are Women More Likely To Get Hiv
Yes. Biologically speaking, a woman is more vulnerable to heterosexual transmission of the disease because the genitalia are easily exposed to seminal fluids.
Gender inequality has great influence on the spread of HIV/AIDS among women. In some cultures, many women and girls are often put in situations where they engage in non-consensual sex or have sex for money.
In the U.S., minority communities have been hit the hardest by HIV. African American and Hispanic women together represent less than 25% of all U.S. women, yet they account for more than 78% of AIDS cases reported among women in the country.
Living With Hiv And Aids
The first documented AIDS case in the United States was in 1981 . Since then, about 35 million people in the world have died from illnesses related to the disease. Millions of children have been orphaned because of it.
Now, combination drug treatments have turned HIV into a long-term infection that you can manage, even if HIV has progressed to AIDS. At the end of 2017, about 37 million people in the world were living with HIV, including about 2 million kids. About 22 million of these persons were receiving these life-saving treatments. When you work closely with your doctors and stick to your treatment plan, you can live a long time and expect a near normal life expectancy.
It can take HIV many years to damage your immune system enough to make you vulnerable to certain diseases, such as a form of skin cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma. These other “opportunistic infections” are signs that you have AIDS, since people with healthy immune systems rarely get them. The HIV treatments, if taken early, can prevent progression to AIDS.
Because there are drugs you can take for it, some groups of people believe they don’t have to be worried about HIV anymore, even though they’re more likely to get the virus. But treatments don’t change the fact that HIV is a potentially life-threatening illness.
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Talk With Your Hiv Health Care Provider
Talk with your health care provider about the benefits of HIV treatment and which HIV medication is right for you. Discuss how frequently you should get your viral load tested to make sure it remains undetectable.
If your lab results show that the virus is detectable or if you are having trouble taking every dose of your medication, you can still protect your HIV-negative partner by using other methods of preventing sexual transmission of HIV such as condoms, safer sex practices, and/or pre-exposure prophylaxis for an HIV-negative partner until your viral load is undetectable again.
Taking HIV medicine to maintain an undetectable viral load does not protect you or your partner from getting other sexually transmitted diseases , so talk to your provider about ways to prevent other STDs.
Can Hiv Be Spread Through Casual Contact
How does HIV transmission occur? It is not possible to get HIV from an infected person with whom you have casual contact. You can’t get HIV from hugging, shaking hands, a toilet seat, a drinking fountain, or by eating food prepared by a person who is HIV-positive. You cannot get HIV from a bug bite. You cannot contract the virus from tears, saliva, sweat, or closed-mouth kissing. HIV dies quickly when it is on surfaces outside of the human body.
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Benefits Of Early Detection
Recognizing the symptoms of ARS is important as it affords a person the opportunity for early detection. This not only helps ensure that HIV is not spread to others, but offers benefits in the way of early treatment.
Studies published in 2013 indicate that the early initiation of antiretroviral therapy correlates to a reduced risk of both HIV-related and AIDS-defining illnesses. By contrast, delaying therapy until a persons CD4 count drops below 350 cells/mL is associated with not only more adverse clinical events, but a significantand even profoundreduction in life years.
Early treatment prevents often-irreversible damage to the immune system. It also reduces the risk of passing the virus to others, a strategy known as treatment as prevention .
HIV Doctor Discussion Guide
Hiv Prevention For High
In the 1990s, HIV infection was the #1 cause of death for those between the ages of 25 to 44. In 2014, HIV was the 8th leading cause of death in those aged 25 to 34 years old and the 9th leading cause of death in those 35 to 44 years of age. Better diagnosis and treatment and increased public awareness are responsible for reduced death rates. There are even newer medications designed to decrease the risk of contracting HIV in those who are exposed. For people who are at high risk of HIV, taking a medication combo known as PrEP decreases the risk of infection. People who have been exposed to HIV can take antiretroviral medication, or post-exposure prophylaxis , to decrease the risk of infection. HIV PrEP effectiveness is increased when these medications are started within 72 hours of the suspected exposure and they must be taken for 28 days. The medications do not guarantee you will not become infected with HIV, but they reduce the risk.
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If I Am Pregnant And Have Hiv Will My Baby Also Have Hiv
Most women with HIV can protect their baby from becoming infected during pregnancy. Proper pre-natal treatment can reduce the risk that an HIV-positive mother will pass the virus to her child to less than 1 percent. The only way these special treatments can be provided is if the health care professionals know the mother is living with HIV. Treatment is most effective when started early in pregnancy. HIV-positive moms should not breastfeed their babies because HIV is sometimes passed this way.
Living With Hiv: What To Expect And Tips For Coping
The most important thing is to start antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible. By taking medications exactly as prescribed, people living with HIV can keep their viral load low and their immune system strong.
Its also important to follow up with a healthcare provider regularly.
Other ways people living with HIV can improve their health include:
- Make their health their top priority. Steps to help people living with HIV feel their best include:
- fueling their body with a well-balanced diet
- exercising regularly
- avoiding tobacco and other drugs
- reporting any new symptoms to their healthcare provider right away
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
If you have been infected with HIV or are at risk of infection, you probably have some questions about the condition and how it can affect your baby.
You may find it helpful to jot down questions as they arisethat way, when you talk to your doctor, you can be sure that all of your concerns are addressed.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- Should I get tested for HIV?
- What can I do to prevent infection?
- Im infected. Is there any way to prevent passing it on to my baby?
- What steps can we take if my baby does get infected?
- Whats the long-term outlook for a baby with HIV?
Hotlines And Text Lines For Hiv And Aids
While the stigma associated with an HIV diagnosis has dissipated in the years since AIDS first entered the world, people often are reluctant to discuss the disease or seek testing and treatment. AIDS and HIV hotlines serve a vital role in providing advice and support going back to the earliest days of the virus. Hotlines offer anonymous information and assistance for people who believe they may be at risk or simply want to know more about HIV and AIDS. Some of these resources include:
- PFLAG is a nationwide support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, their families, and supporters. The group lists support hotlines that provide information about HIV and AIDS, including the AIDS in Prison Project Hotline and the National AIDS Hotline .
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a national health hotline that answers peoples questions about HIV and AIDS.
- The National Institutes of Health provides information about the latest HIV/AIDS medical practice guidelines, HIV treatment, and prevention clinical trials, and other information via its HIVInfo hotline .
- The Health Resources and Services Administration lists state HIV/AIDS hotlines in conjunction with the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.
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Treatment Resources And Hotlines For Hiv And Aids
When the first cases of AIDS were identified in the early 1980sbefore the disease even had a namehealth care providers knew so little about the disease that there was no formal treatment approach. Today, countries around the world are making great strides in slowing the spread of HIV and AIDS and in reducing the number of AIDS-related deaths.
- The number of people with HIV receiving treatment more than tripled globally between 2010 and 2020. UNAIDS reports that of the 37.6 million people with HIV worldwide, 27.4 million are in treatment, compared with only 7.8 million in 2010.
- The widespread availability of affordable, quality HIV treatments has prevented an estimated 16.2 million deaths since 2001. Annual AIDS-related deaths declined by 43% between 2010 and 2020.
- The rate of new HIV infections fell by 30% globally in the past decade from 2.1 million newly infected in 2010 to 1.5 million in 2020.
How Is Hiv Transmitted Or Spread
The following are the means by which the HIV virus is spread:
Vertical transmission. HIV can be spread to babies born to, or breastfed by, mothers infected with the virus.
Sexual contact. In adults and adolescents, HIV is spread most commonly by sexual contact with an infected partner. The virus enters the body through the lining of the vagina, vulva, penis, rectum, or abraded or irritated tissues in the lining of the mouth through sexual activity.
Blood contamination. HIV may also be spread through contact with infected blood. However, due to the screening of donated blood for evidence of HIV infection, the risk of acquiring HIV from blood transfusions is extremely low.
Needles. HIV is frequently spread by sharing needles, syringes, or drug use equipment with someone who is infected with the virus. Transmission from patient to health care worker, or vice-versa, through accidental sticks with contaminated needles or other medical instruments, is rare.
No known cases of HIV/AIDS have been spread by the following:
Enlarged lymph nodes
An HIV-infected child is usually diagnosed with AIDS when the immune system becomes severely damaged or other types of infections occur. As the immune system deteriorates, complications begin to develop. The following are some common complications, or symptoms, of the onset of AIDS. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Aids
HIV infection follows three stages, the last of which is the most severe and causes full-blown AIDS. The first stage is the acute infection stage. Many people who first acquire HIV do not experience any symptoms. The ones who do may suffer from flu-like symptoms. The second stage of HIV is called clinical latency. This means the virus is inactive, dormant, and reproduces at a much slower rate than it did in the acute phase. This stage may last for up to one decade, but in some people it may progress faster. The third stages of HIV infection is full-blown AIDS. In this stage, people have very low T-cell counts and compromised immune systems that make them susceptible to infections and certain kinds of cancer. Early detection and treatment of HIV can help prevent the development of full-blown AIDS.
How Can A Woman Reduce Her Chances Of Contracting Hiv
HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids like blood and semen. Using injection drugs, having unprotected sex and having multiple sex partners increases the chances of acquiring HIV. The only way to be absolutely certain you do not become infected with HIV is to not have sex and not use injection drugs. You also can avoid infection by only having one sex partner as long as your partner does not have HIV and has sex only with you. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention , using a male or female condom every time you have vaginal or anal sex can greatly lower your risk of infection. Using condoms for oral sex will reduce your risk for other STDs as well. It also is important not to douche, since douching removes some of the normal vaginal bacteria that can protect you from infection.
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What You Can Do To Reduce Stigma
You can help reduce stigma by being respectful, compassionate and non-judgemental. Model this behaviour for others when you witness stigmatizing behaviours.
When talking about HIV, certain terms can be stigmatizing. Be thoughtful about the words you use when discussing the topic.
Learn more about the facts of HIV. Treatment can lower the amount of virus in a person’s blood to a level that’s too low to be measured on a standard blood test. This means it’s undetectable.
People living with HIV on treatment who maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners.
Knowing and sharing these facts widely can help to reduce stigma. Share our Undetectable = Untransmittable infographic to help us raise awareness.
In addition, HIV is not transmitted through:
- healthy, unbroken skin
Needle And Syringe Programs
Needle and syringe programs provide clean needles or syringes to people who inject drugs, reducing the risk of the transmission of HIV and other blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C. This is sometimes referred to as needle exchange.
The types of NSP outlet vary, from participating pharmacies to vending machines. Find an NSP in your state or territory:
You can also find a local needle and syringe program using the healthdirect Service Finder. Select By name and type needle into the search bar.
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How Is An Hiv Test Performed
Before taking an HIV test:
- Ask the clinic what privacy rules it follows.
- Ask your healthcare provider any questions you have about HIV, AIDS, or the HIV test.
To do the HIV test, a small sample of blood is taken from your arm. The blood is sent to a lab and tested for HIV.
Home testing is available. The sample can be obtained via oral secretions , or a blood sample from a finger-stick test strip that is then mailed to a laboratory for screening. Positive results must be confirmed by your doctor before a diagnosis of HIV infection can be established.
Some clinics perform HIV tests without ever taking your name . You must go back to the clinic to get your results. A positive test means you have HIV. A negative test means no signs of HIV were found in your blood.
If your test comes back positive, your healthcare provider is likely to recommend other tests to assess your health. These may include a complete blood count , along with:
- Viral hepatitis screening.