If You Don’t Have A Doctor
Public health units and other organizations may provide free or low-cost, confidential testing and counselling about HIV and high-risk behaviour.
If you don’t have a doctor, contact one of the following for information on HIV testing in your area:
- Your local health unit
- CATIE: 1-800-263-1638 or online at www.catie.ca
Treatment Options For Hiv
Treatment should begin as soon as possible after a diagnosis of HIV, regardless of viral load.
The main treatment for HIV is antiretroviral therapy, a combination of daily medications that stop the virus from reproducing. This helps protect CD4 cells, keeping the immune system strong enough to take measures against disease.
Antiretroviral therapy helps keep HIV from progressing to AIDS. It also helps reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others.
When treatment is effective, the viral load will be undetectable. The person still has HIV, but the virus is not visible in test results.
However, the virus is still in the body. And if that person stops taking antiretroviral therapy, the viral load will increase again, and the HIV can again start attacking CD4 cells.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv
After the first month or so, HIV enters the clinical latency stage. This stage can last from a few years to a few decades.
Some people dont have any symptoms during this time, while others may have minimal or nonspecific symptoms. A nonspecific symptom is a symptom that doesnt pertain to one specific disease or condition.
These nonspecific symptoms may include:
- headaches and other aches and pains
- swollen lymph nodes
- recurrent oral or vaginal yeast infections
As with the early stage, HIV is still transferable during this time even without symptoms and can be transmitted to another person.
However, a person wont know they have HIV unless they get tested. If someone has these symptoms and thinks they may have been exposed to HIV, its important that they get tested.
HIV symptoms at this stage may come and go, or they may progress rapidly. This progression can be slowed substantially with treatment.
With the consistent use of this antiretroviral therapy, chronic HIV can last for decades and will likely not develop into AIDS, if treatment was started early enough.
The cause of the rash determines:
- how it looks
- how it can be treated depends on the cause
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Donor History Questionnaire And Donor Interview
According to the haemotherapy guidelines, the state of health and pre-existing relevant diseases have to be assessed by using a donor history questionnaire and a confidential interview. This can help to identify and defer persons whose donation could represent a health risk to themselves or could be associated with the risk of transmitting a disease to others. For further queries and explanations a physician has to be available. The medical history should cover all issues of the donor selection criteria of the haemotherapy guidelines. These constitute a legally binding basis for decision-making in selecting donors. Since 2015 an updated standardised donor history questionnaire is available , and its application is recommended by Vote 41 of the German Advisory Committee Blood .
Perinatally HIV-infected children who since birth have been effectively treated with antiviral drugs for years may be antibody-negative due to early suppression of HIV replication and could theoretically become potential blood donors. They may have no measurable viral load in plasma but HIV DNA in their blood cells . By declaration of the HIV infection and/or disclosure of the continuous use of anti-retroviral drugs they are excluded from donating blood.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet to keep your immune system strong. A heart-healthy diet can help prevent some of the problems, such as high cholesterol, that can be caused by treatment for HIV.footnote 24
- Learn how to deal with the weight loss that HIV infection can cause.
- Learn how to handle food properly to avoid getting a foodborne illness. For more information, see the topic Foodborne Illness and Safe Food Handling.
- Exercise regularly to reduce stress and improve the quality of your life. Take steps to help prevent HIV-related fatigue.
- Don’t smoke. People with HIV are more likely to have a heart attack or get lung cancer.footnote 25, footnote 26 Cigarette smoking can raise these risks even more.
- Don’t use illegal drugs. And limit your use of alcohol.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Disease
Kidney disease can advance very slowly. Slowly worsening kidney disease is called chronic kidney disease.
As kidney disease gets worse, a person may have swelling of the legs, feet, or ankles . Symptoms of advanced chronic kidney disease can include:
- Increased or decreased urination
- Feeling tired or having trouble sleeping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itching or numbness
Blood and urine tests are used to detect kidney disease. Care for people with HIV includes testing for kidney disease.
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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How Hiv Is Spread
HIV is spread when blood, semen, or vaginal fluids from an infected person enter another person’s body, usually through:
- Sexual contact. The virus may enter the body through a tear in the lining of the rectum, vagina, urethra, or mouth. Most cases of HIV are spread this way.
- Infected blood. HIV can be spread when a person:
- Is accidentally stuck with a needle or other sharp item that is contaminated with HIV.
HIV may be spread more easily in the early stage of infection and again later, when symptoms of HIV-related illness develop.
A woman who is infected with HIV can spread the virus to her baby during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.
Emergency Hiv Pills: Pep
72 hours should speak with a healthcare provider about PEP. This medication may be able to stop the infection, especially if a person takes it as soon as possible after the potential exposure.
A person takes PEP for 28 days, and a doctor monitors the person for HIV afterward. PEP is not 100% effective, so it is important to use prevention techniques, such as barrier protection and safe injection practices, including while taking PEP.
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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.
What Are Hiv And Aids
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS . HIV attacks the immune system by destroying specific white blood cells called CD4 positive T cells that are vital to fighting off infection. The resulting shortage of these cells leaves people infected with HIV vulnerable to other infections and diseases, and additional complications.
AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. A person infected with HIV is diagnosed with AIDS when he or she has a dangerously low number of CD4+ T cells as well as one or more opportunistic infections, such as some types of pneumonia or tuberculosis, that do not typically affect people with healthy immune systems.
Although HIV infection and AIDS primarily affect the immune system, they also disturb the nervous system and can lead to a wide range of severe neurological disorders, particularly if HIV goes untreated and progresses to AIDS. Many of the most severe neurological conditions can be prevented with antiretroviral therapy. However, even individuals who receive this treatment can develop less severe neurological and cognitive difficulties.
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Can Hiv Be Prevented
To reduce the risk of getting HIV, people who are sexually active should:
- use a 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 HIV infection
- 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.
Using Barrier Protection And Prep
Using a method of barrier protection, such as a condom, during every sexual act can drastically reduce the chances of contracting HIV and other STIs.
In their 2019 guidelines, the Preventive Services Task Force advise that doctors only recommend PrEP to people with recent negative HIV tests.
They also approve a PrEP formation: a combination of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine. They advise people who take PrEP to do so once a day.
The have also approved a second combination drug tenofovir alafenamide and emtricitabine as PrEP.
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Symptoms And Stages Of Hiv Infection
- There are three stages of HIV infection. The symptoms vary in type and severity from person-to-person.
- Stage 1 after initial infection can feel like flu but not everyone will experience this.
- Stage 2 is when many people start to feel better and may last for 10 years or more. During this time a person may have no symptoms.
- Stage 3 is when a persons immune system is very badly damaged and can no longer fight off serious infections and illnesses.
- The earlier a person is diagnosed with HIV and starts treatment, the better their health will be over time.
- Some people dont get any symptoms during stages 1 and 2, and may not know they have the virus, but they can still pass on HIV.
The signs of HIV infection can vary in type and severity from person-to-person, and some people may not have any symptoms for many years.
The stages below describe how HIV infection progresses in the body if it is left untreated. Without antiretroviral treatment for HIV, the virus replicates in the body and causes more and more damage to the immune system.
However with effective treatment, you can keep the virus under control and stop it from progressing. This is why its important to start treatment as soon as possible after testing positive.
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.
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Testing For Drug Resistance
HIV often changes or mutates in the body. Sometimes these changes make the virus resistant to certain medicines. Then the medicine no longer works.
Medical experts recommend testing the blood of everyone diagnosed with HIV to look for this drug resistance.footnote 8 This information helps your doctor know what medicines to use.
You also may be tested for drug resistance when:
- You are ready to begin treatment.
- You’ve been having treatment and your viral load numbers stop going down.
- You’ve been having treatment and your viral load numbers become detectable after not being detectable.
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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Removal Of The Foreskin
For infant circumcision, such as the , and are commonly used in the USA. These follow the same basic procedure. First, the amount of foreskin to be removed is estimated. The practitioner opens the foreskin via the preputial to reveal the glans underneath and ensures it is normal before bluntly separating the inner lining of the foreskin from its attachment to the glans. The practitioner then places the circumcision device , which remains until blood flow has stopped. Finally, the foreskin is . For older babies and adults, circumcision is often performed surgically without specialized instruments, and alternatives such as or the are available.
Can Neurological Complcations Develop In Individuals Treated With Antiretroviral Therapy
Even when HIV is well controlled with ART, many infected individuals still develop HIV-associated neurological and cognitive difficulties. This is because many drugs used to combat HIV cannot cross the protective layer called the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain, and even those that can may not completely control the virus in the brain. Antiretroviral drugs can also become toxic after long-term use and cause neurological side effects.
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Feasibility And Validation Of Procedures For Removal/ Inactivation Of The Infectious Agent
Validation of the various removal and inactivation steps must be carried out following the actual production processes using HIV . HIV can be propagated to sufficient amounts in cell culture, enabling the spiking of the different source materials under laboratory conditions. Individual steps have to be investigated mimicking the different production processes with regard to their virus removal or inactivation capacity by determining the infectious titres at the start and the end of each production step. Because HIV-1 and HIV-2 are considered to have identical inactivation characteristics, it is sufficient to use HIV-1 for the validation of an inactivation method. Although HIV-1 and SIVmac239 2) show similar properties in inactivation experiments , the use of SIV is not accepted.
Donor Testing And Significance
In Germany, both HIV antibody and HIV NAT testing are mandatory.
2.3.1 HIV Antibody Testing
Initial testing of a donation is carried out with antibody screening test systems approved in Europe according to the German Medicinal Products Act in connection with the In Vitro Diagnostics Directive . Tests used in Germany recognise antibodies to all known HIV-1 groups and HIV-2. Reactive screening test results must be followed by a serologic confirmation test or a NAT assay. An additional second blood sample has to be investigated for confirmation of an HIV infection . Until the results are clarified, the donation is separated and should be preserved for additional investigations. The donor is deferred until the final results are available . According to current knowledge, the vast majority of reactive HIV antibody screening test results of blood donors are non-specific, i.e. false-positive, and have other causes, e.g., immune complexes in the specimen .
2.3.2 Detecting HIV RNA by NAT
The diagnostic window period, which is between 3 and 6 weeks for antibody screening tests, can be shortened by application of NAT. Depending on the level of viraemia, the sensitivity of the assay used and the infecting HIV, an infection can be detected as early as about 11 days post infection . The HIV NAT enables sensitive detection also of non-HIV-1 M:B. Reference materials for the detection of different HIV-1 genotypes are available .
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