Thursday, December 8, 2022

What Can Happen If Hiv Is Not Treated

Stage : Chronic Hiv Infection

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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.

How Is Hiv Diagnosed

A doctor may suspect HIV if symptoms last and no other cause can be found.

If you have been exposed to HIV, your immune system will make antibodies to try to destroy the virus. Doctors use tests to find these HIV antibodies or antigens in urine, saliva, or blood.

If a test on urine or saliva shows that you are infected with HIV, you will probably have a blood test to confirm the results.

Most doctors use a blood test to diagnose HIV infection. If the test is positive , a test to detect HIV DNA or RNA will be done to be sure.

HIV antibodies may show up in the blood as early as 2 to 4 weeks after contact but can also take as long as 3 to 6 months to show up in the blood. If you think you have been exposed to HIV but you test negative for it:

  • Get tested again. A repeat test can be done after a few weeks to be sure you are not infected.
  • Meanwhile, take steps to prevent the spread of the virus, in case you do have it.

You can get HIV testing in most doctors’ offices, public health units, hospitals, and HIV care clinics.

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Through Needles Or Other Instruments

Health care workers who are accidentally pricked with an HIV-contaminated needle have about a 1 in 300 chance of contracting HIV unless they are treated as soon as possible after exposure. Such treatment reduces the chance of infection to less than 1 in 1,500. The risk increases if the needle penetrates deeply or if the needle is hollow and contains HIV-contaminated blood rather than simply being coated with blood .

Infected fluid splashing into the mouth or eyes has less than a 1 in 1,000 chance of causing infection.

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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 Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Hiv And Aids

When first infected with HIV, a person may have:

  • fever
  • increased number of infections
  • infections that are more severe than is typical

Without treatment, HIV can lead to a very weakened immune system and progress to AIDS. Illnesses that happen in AIDS are called “AIDS-defining conditions.”

AIDS-defining conditions include:

  • very fast and severe weight loss
  • a lung infection called pneumocystis pneumonia
  • Kaposi sarcoma
  • lymphoma

Prevention Of Hiv Infection

At present, there is no effective HIV vaccine to prevent HIV infection or slow the progression of AIDS in people who are already infected. However, treating people who have HIV infection reduces the risk of their transmitting the infection to other people.

Transmission of HIV through its most common routessexual contact or sharing of needlesis almost completely preventable. However, the measures required for preventionsexual abstinence or consistent condom use Prevention Sexually transmitted diseases are infections that are typically, but not exclusively, passed from person to person through sexual contact. Sexually transmitted diseases may be caused… read more and access to clean needlesare sometimes personally or socially unpopular. Many people have difficulty changing their addictive or sexual behaviors, so they continue to put themselves at risk of HIV infection. Also, safe sex practices are not foolproof. For example, condoms can leak or break.

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What Are Viral Load Blips

Even if a person is durably undetectable and taking antiretroviral therapy daily as prescribed, they may experience small, transient increases in viral load called blips followed by a decrease back to undetectable levels. Having a blip is relatively common and does not indicate that antiretroviral therapy has failed to control the virus. Scientists are working to better understand what causes blips.

What Is Hiv What Is Aids

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HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body’s natural defence system. Without a strong immune system, the body has trouble fighting off disease. Both the virus and the infection it causes are called HIV.

White blood cells are an important part of the immune system. HIV infects and destroys certain white blood cells called CD4+ cells. If too many CD4+ cells are destroyed, the body can no longer defend itself against infection.

The last stage of HIV infection is AIDS . People with AIDS have a low number of CD4+ cells and get infections or cancers that rarely occur in healthy people. These can be deadly.

But having HIV doesn’t mean you have AIDS. Even without treatment, it takes a long time for HIV to progress to AIDSusually 10 to 12 years.

When HIV is diagnosed before it becomes AIDS, medicines can slow or stop the damage to the immune system. If AIDS does develop, medicines can often help the immune system return to a healthier state.

With treatment, many people with HIV are able to live long and active lives.

There are two types of HIV:

  • HIV-1, which causes almost all the cases of AIDS worldwide
  • HIV-2, which causes an AIDS-like illness. HIV-2 infection is uncommon in North America.

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The Effects Of Hiv On The Body

Most people are likely familiar with HIV, but they may not know how it can affect the body.

HIV destroys CD4 cells , which are critical to the immune system. CD4 cells are responsible for keeping people healthy and protecting them from common diseases and infections.

As HIV gradually weakens the bodys natural defenses, signs and symptoms will occur.

Find out what happens when the virus enters the body and interrupts its systems.

Once HIV enters the body, it launches a direct attack on the immune system.

How quickly the virus progresses will vary by:

  • a persons age
  • how quickly theyre diagnosed

The timing of their treatment can make a huge difference as well.

HIV targets the types of cells that would normally fight off an invader such as HIV. As the virus replicates, it damages or destroys the infected CD4 cell and produces more virus to infect more CD4 cells.

Without treatment, this cycle can continue until the immune system is badly compromised, leaving a person at risk for serious illnesses and infections.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is the final stage of HIV. At this stage, the immune system is severely weakened, and the risk of contracting opportunistic infections is much greater.

However, not everyone with HIV will go on to develop AIDS. The earlier a person receives treatment, the better their outcome will be.

Early on, HIV symptoms may be mild enough to be dismissed.

The Most Dangerous Complications Of Hiv And Aids

HIV overview

Living with HIV can result in a weakened immune system. This makes the body more susceptible to a host of illnesses. Over time, HIV attacks the bodys CD4 cells. These cells play a critical role in maintaining a healthy immune system. People living with HIV can proactively reduce the likelihood of developing common, life-threatening illnesses by taking their prescribed daily medications and practicing healthy living habits.

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What Behaviors Are The Most Risky For Getting Or Transmitting Hiv

Since there is a fairly high number of people who have HIV and dont know it, you should be tested for HIV so you know your status. Being intoxicated is risky because you are more likely to engage in risky sex if you are drunk or high. In terms of sex acts, anal sex and vaginal intercourse are the most risky behaviors.

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In the absence of symptoms, it may be tempting to ignore an STDin the hopes that it will go away on its own, resolving to take care of it if the symptoms get worse. With some STDs, though, there isnt a progression of symptoms the disease could go from symptomless to life-threatening with nothing in between.

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When Should You Call The Doctor If You Have Hiv Or You Think You Have Been Exposed To Hiv

There is also post-exposure prophylaxis , which is used in emergencies and should be started within 72 hours after the possible exposure. This involves taking antiretroviral therapy after this exposure. ART may be prescribed after sexual assault, or if you think you have been exposed during consensual sex or drug-taking.

If you already know you have HIV, you should follow your healthcare providers instructions on when to call. It is important to treat any type of infection, so call if you have new symptoms or things like a fever, sweating episodes, diarrhea, and so on. Its better to check with your doctor if you have any kind of symptom that worries you.

The main feature of managing AIDS is to continue to take your medicines and to fight back at opportunistic infections at the first sign of them.

Is It Safe For Children With Hiv To Receive Routine Immunizations

  • MMR, or measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, is safe to give to children with HIV, unless they have a severely weakened immune system.

  • DTaP/Td vaccine is safe to give to infants and children with HIV.

  • Hib and Hep B vaccines are safe to give to children with HIV.

  • Hepatitis A and B vaccines are safe to give to HIV-positive children.

  • VZIG should be considered for known HIV-positive children, depending on their immune status.

  • A yearly influenza vaccine is recommended for children with HIV, as well as any individual living in the same household as a child with HIV. There are two types of influenza vaccine children and adults with HIV should receive the “shot” form of the vaccine–not the nasal spray form, as it contains a live virus. Pneumococcal vaccine can be safely administered to age-appropriate HIV-infected children.

Always consult with your child’s doctor regarding immunizations for an HIV-infected child.

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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 .

How Is Hiv Transmitted Or Spread

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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:

  • Saliva

  • Malaise

  • 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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Hiv Diagnosis And ‘window Period’

You wonât know if you have HIV right after youâre infected. It takes time for your body to make antibodies and for antigens to show up.

The âwindow periodâ is the time between when you might have been exposed to HIV and a test can tell for sure you have it. This varies from person to person and test to test. Your testing counselor can tell you more about the window period for the test youâre taking. Here are some general guidelines:

An antibody test can detect HIV 23 to 90 days after youâre exposed to the virus. The window for a test that uses blood from a vein is faster than one that uses oral fluid or blood from a finger stick.

An antigen/antibody test done in a lab on blood from a vein can detect HIV infection within 18 to 45 days. It takes longer if the testâs done with blood from a finger stick.

A nucleic acid test usually has the shortest window: 10 to 33 days. This test is not generally used to diagnose HIV infection unless you have symptoms and a history that suggest you were infected only a few days ago.

If you have a negative test and werenât exposed to the virus during the window period for that test, you can be certain you didnât have HIV when you were tested.

The CDC recommends that all adults have an HIV test at least once, even if theyâre not at risk. If your risk is higher — for example, you have multiple sex partners or use needles for drugs — you should be tested every year.

Should I Get Vaccines If I Have Hiv/aids

Check with your healthcare provider. Certain vaccines are generally recommended, including:

  • Influenza vaccine.
  • Human papillomavirus vaccine if you are age 26 or younger.
  • Meningococcal series of shots.
  • Pneumonia vaccine.
  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine, with a repeat every 10 years of the tetanus/diphtheria vaccine.

You should probably avoid live vaccines, such as the ones for chickenpox and measles, mumps and rubella . This is true especially if your CD4 numbers are 200 or lower. Make sure you discuss vaccine questions with your healthcare provider.

HIV can affect how well the vaccine works. It can also make your viral load increase for a time because your immune system is stimulated by the vaccine.

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If You Already Have Hiv

If you are infected with HIV, you can greatly lower the risk of spreading the infection to your sex partner by starting treatment when your immune system is still healthy.

Experts recommend starting treatment as soon as you know you are infected.footnote 21

Studies have shown that early treatment greatly lowers the risk of spreading HIV to an uninfected partner.footnote 22, footnote 23

Your partner may also be able to take medicine to prevent getting infected.footnote 17 This is called pre-exposure prophylaxis .

Steps to avoid spreading HIV

If you are infected with HIV, you can greatly lower the risk of spreading the infection to your sex partner by starting treatment when your immune system is still healthy.

  • Take antiretroviral medicines. Getting treated for HIV can help prevent the spread of HIV to people who are not infected.
  • Tell your sex partner or partners about your behaviour and whether you are HIV-positive.
  • Follow safer sex practices, such as using condoms.
  • Do not donate blood, plasma, semen, body organs, or body tissues.
  • Do not share personal items, such as toothbrushes, razors, or sex toys, that may be contaminated with blood, semen, or vaginal fluids.

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