Friday, April 19, 2024

What Does Aids Feel Like

Fact: Anyone Can Get Hiv

What are signs & symptoms of HIV infection? – Dr. Ramakrishna Prasad

One misconception that stubbornly endures is that only gay men can get HIV.

Its true that in the United States, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men continue to have the greatest risk of HIV infection. In 2020, MSM accounted for an estimated 71 percent of new HIV diagnoses, according to the federal government website

But many individuals acquire HIV through heterosexual contact. In 2020 these cases accounted for more than one in five new HIV infections 22 percent.

Drug users who became infected with HIV by sharing needles made up an estimated 7 percent of new 2020 HIV infections, while transgender people accounted for around 2 percent of new HIV diagnoses.

Whatpart Of The Body Does Hiv Infect

HIV infects our immune system. This is the part of our body that stops us getting sick. HIV infects a type of white blood cell in our immune system called a T-helper cell . These cells keep us healthy by fighting off infections and diseases. However, HIV hides inside these cells, tricking the body so that the immune system cant find and destroy it.

How Do People Get Hiv

HIV spreads when infected blood or body fluids enter the body. This can happen:

  • through sharing needles for injecting drugs or tattooing

HIV also can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.

HIV is NOT spread through:

  • pee, poop, spit, throw-up, or sweat
  • coughing or sneezing
  • sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses

Also Check: Can You Catch Hiv By Oral Sex

What Do I Need To Know About Dating With Hiv

Some people feel like their love lives are over when they find out they have HIV, but its just not true. People with HIV can have fulfilling romantic and sexual relationships. People living with HIV can have relationships with partners who dont have HIV or with partners that are also living with HIV . HIV treatment helps keep you healthy and helps you avoid passing HIV to someone else. If your partner does not have HIV, they can also take a medicine called PrEP that can help protect them from getting HIV through sex.

Its important to tell your sexual partners about your HIV status. That way, you and your partners can make more informed decisions about safer sex, testing, and treatment that are right for the both of you.

Its normal to be worried about how your partners going to react. And theres no way around it: some people might get freaked out. If that happens, try to stay calm and talk about your plan to stay healthy and how they can stay HIV negative. It might help to give your partner a little time and space to process. You could also suggest they talk with your HIV doctor about ways to protect themselves from HIV.

If you tell someone you have HIV and they hurt you, shame you, or make you feel bad, its not ok. You deserve to be with someone who respects and cares about you, and there are plenty of people out there who will.

Taking Care Of Yourself


HIV can lead to other illnesses and conditions, such as tuberculosis, diabetes, and depression. So take steps to stay healthy:

  • Take your HIV medicines exactly as prescribed. Make sure to tell your doctor if you have problems with the medicines, like side effects, before you consider stopping them. Most people tolerate the newer medications very well.
  • Eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, some meat, fish, chicken, a bit of dairy, and a minimum of sugar and salt.
  • Socialize. Good friends and good times can lift your mood.
  • Keep up with your checkups.
  • Talk to a counselor if you feel down or anxious.

Also Check: How Long After Hiv Infection Can It Be Detected

It’s Difficult To Get Hiv From Casual Contact

Fact. You can’t catch or spread HIV from hugging someone, using the same towel, or sharing the same glass. It’s very rare to get HIV from a blood transfusion — the U.S. blood supply is carefully tested. However, you can get the disease from having unprotected sex, sharing needles, or getting a tattoo from unsterilized equipment.

Youre Always Waking Up With Night Sweats

Getting damp on a muggy night without air conditioning is definitely not the same as night sweats, which result in puddles of sweat thatll make you want to change your sheets. The body is trying to release off toxins, says Horberg.

Although HIV can cause night sweats, plenty of other potential culprits do as well, including menopause, mononucleosis, and cancers like lymphoma and leukemia, says Horberg. So if youre soaking your sheets over the course of a few nights, definitely check in with your doctor.

Recommended Reading: How Long Hiv Live Outside Body

How Hiv Infects The Body

HIV is a virus that can cause an HIV infection if it gets into our blood stream.

It then goes on to infect our immune system the part of our body that keeps you healthy.

It does this by entering T-helper cells so that our immune system cant find and destroy it. Then it makes copies of itself so it can go on to infect other cells.

This is called the HIV lifecycle and it is how the virus multiplies in our body.

Taking antiretroviral drugs is the only way to interrupt the HIV lifecycle and stay healthy.

  • How does treatment stop HIVprogressing into AIDS?
  • If I Have Hiv How Can I Keep From Spreading It To Others

    What it means to have HIV

    The best ways to keep from spreading HIV to others are many of the same ways you use to protect yourself:

    • Let sexual partners and anyone you inject drugs with know that you have HIV.
    • Follow your treatment plan and dont miss medications. If you have an undetectable viral load, you greatly reduce the risk of transmitting HIV through sex.
    • Talk to your sexual partner about taking PrEP.
    • Dont share needles or other equipment to inject drugs.
    • Limit the number of sexual partners you have.
    • If youre pregnant and have HIV, following your treatment plan, including ART medications, can reduce your risk of transmitting the virus to your child.

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    What Is Hiv What Is Aids

    HIV is a virus that damages and weakens the body’s immune system the system your body uses to fight off infection and disease. Having HIV puts a person in danger of experiencing other life-threatening infections and certain cancers.

    When the body cannot fight off infections and some other diseases anymore, HIV can lead to a serious illness called AIDS. When someone has AIDS, they are more likely to get infections, and more vulnerable to unusual forms of cancers and other serious diseases. But, with early and uninterrupted treatment, it is possible that a person with HIV will never develop AIDS.

    If you think you may have HIV, you should get tested. Everyone age 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV. If you are over 64 and are at risk for HIV, talk with your doctor. Your doctor can help determine how often you should be tested and help find ways to reduce your risk.

    There are drugs that, when taken consistently, can help suppress the amount of HIV in your blood to undetectable levels, improving your health overall and making it harder to pass HIV on to your sexual partners. To get the best results, it is important to start treatment as soon as possible. If you are unsure about your HIV status, get tested. Always protect yourself and your partners when having sex or using needles.

    How Does Hiv Spread Throughout The Body

    HIV cannot reproduce on its own, so it must get into these cells so that it can copy itself.

    First, the virus attaches itself to a T-helper cell and fuses with it . It then takes control of the cells DNA, makes copies of itself inside the cell, and finally releases more HIV into the blood.

    HIV will continue to multiply and spread throughout the body. This is a process called theHIV lifecycle.

    Recommended Reading: How To Know If You Have Aids

    If You Have Hiv Who Do You Tell

    HIV carries a stigma for some. If youâre HIV-positive, start with people you trust and those who may be affected by the illness:

    • Supportive family members or friends.
    • Your sex or needle-sharing partners. They may be at risk.
    • Others with HIV, who may offer support.

    In some states, not telling certain people is a crime. But itâs illegal for employers to discriminate based on HIV status.

    What Can I Expect If I Have Hiv

    HIV and Gay and Bisexual Men

    If youre diagnosed with HIV, its important to know that those living with HIV who follow treatment guidelines can live full lives for nearly as long as those without HIV.

    If you have a high CD4 count and an undetectable viral load within a year of starting treatment, research suggests youll have the best outcomes, as long as you continue your treatment plan.

    You can improve your outlook by:

    • Getting tested as part of routine healthcare or if you think youve been exposed.
    • Starting ART soon after being diagnosed.
    • Taking your medicine every day.
    • Keeping your appointments with your healthcare team.

    ART can keep blood levels undetectable but cant entirely rid your body of the virus . If you dont take your medication every day, the virus can start multiplying again and mutate, which may cause your medications to stop working.

    Left untreated, it can take about 10 years for HIV to advance to AIDS. If you progress to AIDS and it goes untreated, you can expect to live about three years more.

    For those on treatment, if you have a high CD4 count and undetectable viral load within a year of starting treatment, you can expect to live about as long as someone without HIV. If you have a low CD4 count or a detectable viral load within a year of starting treatment, you may live 10 to 20 years less than someone without HIV.

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    Signs You Might Have Hiv

    An HIV test is the only way to tell for sure if youre infected

    Within a month or two of being infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, 40 percent to 90 percent of people feel like theyre coming down with the flu. This is known as acute retroviral syndrome . But the early stages of HIV infection often dont have any symptoms.

    And since one in five people with HIV doesnt know he or she has it, the only way to know for sure if youre infected is to get tested.

    Still, here are 10 signs you could be HIV-positive.

    An early sign of ARS is a mild fever accompanied by other flu-like symptoms: sore throat, swollen lymph glands, fatigue.Itchy rashes on your arms or the trunk of your body that cant be explained by an allergic reaction to your new detergent could be another early sign of HIV.

    A dry coughone that gets worse despite treatment with allergy medicine, antibiotics or inhalersis typical in HIV patients.Roughly 30 percent to 60 percent of people newly infected with HIV experience short-term nausea, vomiting or diarrhea .

    Night sweatssimilar to hot flashes that come with menopausehappen to about 50 percent of people with the early stages of HIV infection. They can happen even if the room is relatively cool and typically soak your pajamas and the sheets.

    Herpesboth oral and genitalcan be a sign of ARS. If you already have herpes, HIV infection can make outbreaks more severe because of your weakened immune system.

    An Increase In Vaginal Infections

    Women with HIV are more likely to get vaginal yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis than women without HIV .

    Yeast infections that happen at least four times a year, meaning they are recurring, are more common among women with advanced HIV . Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include:

    • Pain when urinating or having sex
    • A thick, white, odorless vaginal discharge
    • A strong fish-like odor, especially after sex
    • Burning when urinating

    These yeast infections and cases of BV might not only happen more often, but they might also be harder to treat than usual .

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    Watch Out For Fake Remedies

    You canât treat HIV with industrial solvents, oxygen therapy, electricity, intravenous aloe vera, hot baths, or âwonder herbs.â In perhaps the most extreme case, some cultures believed having sex with a virgin female would cure HIV. The myth reportedly led to a number of rapes of young girls in South Africa. Apart from devastating the girlsâ lives, they could well have become infected, too.

    Third Stage: Aids Symptoms

    Why its so hard to cure HIV/AIDS – Janet Iwasa

    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

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    Second Stage: Clinical Latency Symptoms

    After your immune system loses the battle with HIV, the flu-like symptoms will go away. But thereâs a lot going on inside your body. Doctors call this the asymptomatic period or chronic HIV infection.

    In your body, cells called CD4 T cells coordinate your immune systemâs response. During this stage, untreated HIV will kill CD4 cells and destroy your immune system. Your doctor can check how many of these cells you have with blood tests. Without treatment, the number of CD4 cells will drop, and youâll be more likely to get other infections.

    Most people don’t have symptoms they can see or feel. You may not realize that you’re infected and can pass HIV on to others.

    If youâre taking ART, you might stay in this phase for decades. You can pass the virus on to other people, but itâs extremely rare if you take your medicines.

    When To Seek Medical Care

    Early diagnosis is key. If you think youve been exposed to HIV or have an encounter that put you at risk for HIV, you should seek medical care right away with a primary care doctor, urgent or walk-in clinic, or, if those are not available to you, a local emergency room.

    Doctors can give you a medication called post-exposure prophylaxis after exposure to reduce your chances of developing HIV. But this medication needs to be taken within 72 hours of exposure. Ideally, youd start taking it within the first 24 hours.

    If you think you were exposed to HIV in the past for example, if a former sexual partner tells you they have HIV its critical to seek medical care as soon as possible. The sooner you find out you have HIV, the sooner you can start treatment.

    Also Check: Senior Aids For Daily Living

    What Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Symptoms Should I Look For

    Many people dont know they have pelvic inflammatory disease in its earlier stages. PID often doesnt show any symptoms, or the symptoms are so mild you dont feel them especially when you first get the infection. The longer you have PID, the worse the symptoms tend to get.

    PID symptoms may include:

    • bad-smelling vaginal discharge
    • pain during sex

    If you have any of these symptoms, go to your doctor or to your local Planned Parenthood health center right away. PID can be dangerous if you dont get treated.

    Some PID symptoms can be mistaken for other health problems, like appendicitis or endometriosis. So getting checked out by a doctor is the only way to know for sure whats going on.

    Does Hiv Go Away


    HIV doesnt go away on its own. It inserts itself into your DNA so your cells think that its a part of you. There can be many years without symptoms after initial infection, but HIV can still be damaging your immune system even if you dont feel sick.

    There may be periods while on medication where the virus is not detectable by an HIV test. In these cases, HIV can be hiding in your body, undetected. It can wake up and start destroying your cells again in the future.

    This is why continuing to take HIV medication, even if you dont feel sick or the virus is undetectable, is extremely important. Without treatment, HIV will weaken your immune system until you cant fight off other serious illnesses.

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    You’ll Know You Have Hiv Because Of Your Symptoms

    Myth. Some people don’t show signs of HIV for years after being infected. However, many can have some symptoms within 10 days to a few weeks after infection. These first symptoms are similar to the flu or mononucleosis and may include fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, rash, and muscle aches. They usually disappear after a few weeks and you may not have symptoms again for several years. The only way to tell you have HIV is to get tested.

    How To Manage Hiv Symptoms

    Antiretroviral medications are the first-line treatment for human immunodeficiency virus . Patients should be compliant with the medications to reduce the amount of virus in the body.

    The various symptoms and their treatments are as follows

    • Weight loss: In addition to the HIV medications , patients should eat a well-balanced diet and high-protein supplements and perform exercises to build muscle mass. The physician may prescribe medications such as Megace and to treat wasting syndrome commonly seen in HIV patients.
    • Skin problems: Skin infections or dry itchy skin are usually treated with antifungal or antibacterial cream. Oral medicines may also be required.
    • Herpes : Shingles can cause a painful, blisteringrash. Antiviral medications, pain relievers and calamine lotions are mainly used to treat rashes.
    • Fever: Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and applying cold compresses may bring down the temperature.
    • Nagging cough: Dry cough can be due to an infection known as pneumocystis pneumonia. The physician may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. Medicines to thin the mucus may also help.
    • Diarrhea: Doctors may prescribe antidiarrheals to control diarrhea. Patients need to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

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