What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv Infection
Most people have no symptoms or just a mild flu-like illness when they are first infected, and it may be difficult to tell the HIV apart from other viral infections. This illness, called seroconversion illness, often occurs around 10 to 14 days after infection.
Seroconversion illness can have a range of symptoms, including:
- swollen lymph glands in the neck, underarm or groin areas
After the initial illness, people with HIV infection usually have no other symptoms. However, the virus remains in the body.
What You Can Do
Get tested for HIV. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. People with certain risk factors should get tested at least once a year.
If you were HIV-negative the last time you were tested and answer yes to any of the following questions, you should get an HIV test because these things inc rease your chances of getting HIV.
- Are you a man who has had sex with another man?
- Have you had sex —anal or vaginal— with a partner who has HIV?
- Have you had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test?
- Do you have another sexually transmitted disease ?
- Do you have hepatitis or tuberculosis ?
- Have you had sex with someone who could answer yes to any of these questions or someone whose sexual history you dont know?
You should be tested at least once a year if you answered yes to any of these questions. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing , depending on their risk.
If you think youve recently been exposed to HIV during sex or through sharing needles, syringes, or other injection equipment , talk to your health care provider or an emergency room doctor right away about taking post-exposure prophylaxis . You must start PEP within 72 hours of a possible exposure, but the sooner you start PEP, the better.
Also, anyone who has been sexually assaulted should get an HIV test as soon as possible after the assault.
Ways Hiv Cannot Be Spread
HIV is not spread by:
- Air or water
- 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 social kissing with a person with HIV
- Drinking fountains
Recommended Reading: Where Can You Test For Hiv
Advice If You’re Pregnant
HIV treatment is available to prevent you passing HIV to your child.
Without treatment, there’s a 1 in 4 chance your baby will become infected with HIV. With treatment, the risk is less than 1 in 100 .
Advances in treatment mean there’s no increased risk of passing the virus to your baby with a normal delivery.
But in some cases, a caesarean section may still be recommended, often for reasons not related to your HIV.
Discuss the risks and benefits of each delivery method with the staff at your HIV clinic. The final decision about how your baby is delivered is yours, and staff will respect that decision.
If you have HIV, do not breastfeed your baby as the virus can be transmitted through breast milk.
How Do I Talk With People About Having Hiv
It might feel scary to admit that you have HIV, but talking about things can really ease your mind. You could lean on a close, non-judgmental friend or family member whom you trust to keep the conversation private. Counselors and support groups can also be sources of comfort and they can help you figure out how to talk with others about your HIV. Be careful about who you tell your status to people with HIV sometimes deal with unfair discrimination.
Theres no one right way to talk to your partners about having HIV, but here are some basic tips that might help:
Try to stay calm and remember that youre not the only one dealing with this. Millions of people have HIV, and plenty of them are in relationships. Try to go into the conversation with a calm, positive attitude. Having HIV is a health issue, and it doesnt mean anything about you as a person.
Know your HIV and AIDS facts. There are a lot of myths about HIV out there, so read up on the facts and be ready to answer your partners questions. Check out HIV.gov. Let your partner know there are medications that can help you live for a long time and avoid passing HIV to them. Safer sex like condoms and PrEP can also help protect your partner.
Its really important to also tell your past partners that you have HIV, so they can get tested, too. A lot of health departments have programs that let your partners know they were exposed to HIV without giving them your name unless you want them to.
Also Check: Is Hiv Easy To Get
What Is ‘safer Sex’
We know a lot about how HIV is transmitted from person to person. Having safer sex means you take this into account and avoid risky practices.
There are two reasons to practice safer sex: to protect yourself and to protect others.
If you have HIV, you need to protect your health. When it comes to sex, this means practicing safer sex to avoid sexually transmitted diseases like herpes and hepatitis. HIV makes it harder for your body to fight off diseases. What might be a small health problem for someone without HIV could be big health problem for you. Your VA provider can prescribe condoms for you if you need them.
Protecting your partner
Taking care of others means making sure that you do not pass HIV or any other sexually transmitted infections to them.
“Being safe” usually means protecting yourself and others by using condoms for the highest-risk sex activities, specifically for anal and vaginal sex. When done correctly, condom use is very effective at preventing HIV transmission. In recent years, “being safe” has come to include two other important strategies for reducing HIV infections: 1. HIV treatment for people with HIV and, 2. PrEP for HIV negative people . Both are very effective at reducing the risk of HIV infection. One or more of them is likely to be appropriate for your situation–be sure to ask your health care provider for more information.
What about antiretroviral therapy for HIV prevention?
What about pre-exposure prophylaxis ?
What Are Your Rights As A Person Living With Hiv
You are protected by the laws mentioned above. Your employer should only treat you differently when it comes to ensuring that reasonable adjustments are made, but not in a manner that is discriminatory or unfairly biased.
Confidentiality regarding sensitive personal information, such as health-related information, is protected under the Data Protection Act. Your employer is responsible for having procedures in place to keep this information confidential. Information about your HIV-status can only be shared with a third party if it is necessary to do so, with your prior written consent. This would usually be the Human Resources department or a direct manager responsible for making reasonable adjustments. If any colleagues need to be told about your status in order for reasonable adjustments to be made, you need to consent to this sensitive information being shared.
In situations where there is an occupational-health service or a company doctor, confidential information that is held by them should not normally be shared with an individuals line manager, even if the manager puts the occupational-health staff under pressure to do so.
In these situations, it may be helpful to first have an informal conversation with your employer outlining why you believe you have been treated unfairly and how the employer could change their behaviour or attitudes towards you.
National AIDS Trust
You May Like: What Is Prep Hiv Side Effects
How Can You Get Hiv
HIV is found in the following bodily fluids of someone living with the virus:
- vaginal fluids
For you to get HIV, these bodily fluids need to get into your blood through a mucous membrane , via shared injecting equipment, or through broken skin .
There is not enough HIV virus in other bodily fluids, like saliva, sweat or urine, to transmit it from one person to another.
Someone living with HIV who has an undetectable viral load, meaning effective treatment has lowered the amount of virus in their blood to levels where it cannot be detected by a normal blood test, cannot pass on HIV.
A person living with HIV with a detectable viral load can pass the virus to others whether they have symptoms or not.
HIV is most infectious in the first few weeks after infection. At this time many people are unaware of their status.
The main ways you can get HIV are:
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Is there any sure way to avoid acquiring HIV?
- What is the best treatment for me?
- How can I avoid getting any infections that will make me very sick?
- How can I find support groups in my community?
- What diagnostic tests will you run?
- How often will I need to see my doctor?
- Will there be any side effects to my treatment?
- How does this affect my plans for having a family?
- Is it safe for me to breastfeed my baby?
- Will using a condom keep my sex partners from acquiring HIV?
- Should I follow a special diet?
Read Also: Do You Need To Fast For Hiv Blood Test
During A Persons First Visit With A Health Care Provider Is There Time To Ask Questions
- Because I have HIV, will I eventually get AIDS?
- What can I do to stay healthy and avoid getting other infections?
- How can I prevent passing HIV to others?
- How will HIV treatment affect my lifestyle?
- How should I tell my partner that I have HIV?
- Is there any reason to tell my employer and those I work with that I have HIV?
- Are there support groups for people with HIV?
- Are there resources available to help me pay for my HIV medicines?
Unlikely Modes Of Transmission
- Night sweats
- Genital, anal, or mouth ulcers
This range of symptoms, typically referred to as acute retroviral syndrome , generally begin within five days of exposure and usually last for around 14 days .
If you have had a recent exposureâsuch as unprotected sex with a partner of unknown statusâthese early signs and symptoms strongly suggest the need for immediate HIV testing.
With that said, not everyone experiences ARS in the same way. The symptoms are non-specific and often mild and are sometimes attributed to other conditions, such as the common cold or simple exhaustion.
According to a 2016 review in Emerging Infectious Diseases, as many as 43% of acute HIV infections are entirely asymptomatic .ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿
Less commonly, some people may develop atypical symptoms of HIV soon after exposure, some of which may be serious. These include tonsillitis, meningitis, herpes zoster , gastric bleeding, and esophageal thrush.
Also Check: How Long Can You Have Hiv Without Knowing
What Else Can I Do To Take Care Of Myself
Many of the things we do to take care of ourselves are common sense, such as eating well, exercising and getting plenty of rest and sleep.
However, if youre living with HIV, checking in with your healthcare professional regularly is also important. They should monitor you for other health conditions, which you may experience more as you age, and adjust your treatment as needed.
Teeth and mouth complaints are more common among people living with HIV. Regular brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist can lower the risk of cavities and mouth infections.
Causes Of Hiv Infection
HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person. This includes semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood and breast milk.
It’s a fragile virus and does not survive outside the body for long.
HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat, urine or saliva.
The most common way of getting HIV in the UK is through having anal or vaginal sex without a condom.
Other ways of getting HIV include:
- sharing needles, syringes or other injecting equipment
- transmission from mother to baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
The chance of getting HIV through oral sex is very low and will be dependent on many things, such as whether you receive or give oral sex and the oral hygiene of the person giving the oral sex.
Recommended Reading: What Bodily Fluids Contain Hiv
Hiv Symptoms Every Woman Needs To Know
Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, attacks the bodys infection-fighting immune system. Without treatment, HIV can lead to AIDS . At the start of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, people who were infected with HIV quickly progressed to serious disease. But todays treatments help lower the amount of virus in the bloodso people who are HIV-positive can live healthier, longer lives and not necessarily progress to AIDS.
More than one million people in the US live with HIV, and scarily, one in seven of them dont know they have it. HIV symptoms can be hard to detect. Within a month or two of HIV entering the body, 40% to 90% of people experience flu-like symptoms known as acute retroviral syndrome . But sometimes HIV symptoms don’t appear for yearsor even a decadeafter infection.
RELATED: What Is HIV?
“In the early stages of HIV infection, the most common symptoms are none,” Michael Horberg, MD, director of HIV/AIDS for Kaiser Permanente, in Oakland, California, tells Health. As many as one in five people in the United States with HIV doesn’t know they have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control . That’s why it’s so important to get tested, especially if you currently have or have had unprotected sex with more than one partner or use intravenous drugs.
HIV symptoms for women and for men are often the same here are 16 of the most common signs.
What Do I Do If I Find Out I Have Hiv
Millions of people have HIV youre definitely not alone. Most people get at least one STD in their lifetime, and having HIV or another STD is nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about. It doesnt mean youre dirty or a bad person.
Finding out that you have HIV can be really upsetting. You might feel mad, embarrassed, scared, or ashamed at first. But youll probably feel better as time goes by having a good support system and getting counseling really helps. There are medicines you can take to help you stay healthy, and lots of ways to avoid giving HIV to anyone you have sex with. The reality is, people with HIV can be in relationships, have sex, and live normal lives by taking a few precautions.
Although theres no cure for HIV, there are medicines that help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV treatment called antiretroviral therapy lowers the amount of virus in your body . This does two things:
Slows down the effects of HIV in your body, which keeps you healthy.
Lowers or even stops your chances of giving HIV to sexual partners.
Some people on ART have such a small amount of virus in their body, they cant transmit HIV to their sexual partners at all.
Even if youre feeling totally fine right now, see a doctor as soon as you can so you can talk about the best ways to stay healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions hotline can help you find a doctor near you who specializes in treating HIV: 1-800-CDC-INFO .
Recommended Reading: How Was Hiv Treated In The Past
Whats The Difference Between Hiv And Aids
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV and AIDS are not the same thing. And people with HIV do not always have AIDS.
HIV is the virus thats passed from person to person. Over time, HIV destroys an important kind of the cell in your immune system that helps protect you from infections. When you dont have enough of these CD4 cells, your body cant fight off infections the way it normally can.
AIDS is the disease caused by the damage that HIV does to your immune system. You have AIDS when you get dangerous infections or have a super low number of CD4 cells. AIDS is the most serious stage of HIV, and it leads to death over time.
Without treatment, it usually takes about 10 years for someone with HIV to develop AIDS. Treatment slows down the damage the virus causes and can help people stay healthy for several decades.
What Are The Factors That Affect Disease Progression
The most important factor affecting HIV progression is the ability to achieve viral suppression. Taking antiretroviral therapy regularly helps many people slow the progression of HIV and reach viral suppression.
However, a variety of factors affect HIV progression, and some people progress through the phases of HIV more quickly than others.
Factors that affect HIV progression can include:
- Ability to achieve viral suppression. Whether someone can take their antiretroviral medications and achieve viral suppression is the most important factor by far.
- Age when symptoms start. Being older can result in faster progression of HIV.
- Health before treatment. If a person had other diseases, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis C, or other sexually transmitted diseases , it can affect their overall health.
- Timing of diagnosis. Another important factor is how soon a person was diagnosed after they contracted HIV. The longer between their diagnosis and treatment, the more time the disease has to progress unchecked.
- Lifestyle. Practicing an unhealthy lifestyle, such as having a poor diet and experiencing severe stress, can cause HIV to progress more quickly.
- Genetic history. Some people seem to progress more quickly through their disease given their genetic makeup.
Some factors can delay or slow the progression of HIV. These include:
Living a healthy lifestyle and seeing a healthcare provider regularly can make a big difference in a persons overall health.
You May Like: Can You Live With Someone With Hiv