Can I Take The Test At Home
At-home HIV tests are a convenient way to take an HIV test in a private location. Testing for HIV at home is a form of HIV screening that requires additional follow-up if preliminary results are positive. At-home HIV tests can be obtained online, at a pharmacy, or at health departments and community-based organizations.
How To Receive Pep
Before you can receive treatment youll need to consent to a HIV test , and answer a few questions about your exposure. Women may be given a pregnancy test and if positive may be offered emergency contraception to stop the pregnancy, although PEP can be taken during pregnancy. Youll be advised on how to lower your risk in the future.
PEP can affect the ways other drugs behave in your system, sometimes making ordinarily safe doses of drugs unsafe. So youll also be asked what medication you take and in what doses.
Youll be given a few days supply of the treatment along with a prescription for the rest. Its taken over four weeks, and its very important no doses are missed. Youll have a follow up appointment after a few days of first starting the treatment, then weekly follow up appointments.
Where Is Prep Available
Currently, PrEP is not available everywhere in the world and even in countries where it has regulatory approval it may not be easy to get hold of for a number of political or resourcing reasons.
In some countries PrEP is available for free, or subsidised as part of the national health system, in other countries you will have to pay for it privately.
The good news is that international guidelines now recommend that PrEP should be made widely available, so even if it’s not available to you right now, it may be an option in the future.
If you are interested in getting PrEP contact a healthcare professional who should be able to advise you on how you can do this. They will also be able to offer the advice, monitoring and support to help you take PrEP correctly and ensure you are fully protected.
There are also dedicated websites that can help you buy PrEP. However, taking PrEP without medical advice and monitoring has health risks, so you should always get a professional health check if you do buy PrEP online.
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Natural Course Of Hiv Infection In Infants
Vertical transmission of HIV can occur in utero, during labor or after delivery. It is estimated that in 65 percent of HIV-infected infants, transmission occurred during labor.8 Multiple factors increase the risk of vertical transmission of HIV .9
Factors Increasing the Risk of Vertical Transmission of HIV
Low CD4+ lymphocyte countHigh viral loadAdvanced AIDS Preterm delivery Chorioamnionitis Presence of p24 core antigen
Instrumental delivery Use of fetal scalp monitor Fetal scalp pH measurement Use of DeLee suctioning Artificial rupture of membranes Rupture of membranes for longer than 4 hours Other events increasing fetal exposure to maternal blood
HIV = human immunodeficiency virus AIDS = acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
Information from Public Health Service Task Force recommendations for the use of antiretroviral drugs in pregnant HIV-1 infected women for maternal health and interventions to reduce perinatal HIV-1 transmission in the United States. Living document: January 24, 2001. Retrieved February 2001, fromhttp://www.hivatis.org/trtgdlns.html#Perinatal.
Factors Increasing the Risk of Vertical Transmission of HIV
HIV = human immunodeficiency virus AIDS = acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
What Happens If I Test Positive For Hiv
If your initial test is positive for HIV antibodies, then additional testing is required to confirm that the first one was accurate. Sometimes this involves a second blood test.
When you are first diagnosed you will probably experience strong emotions. During this time, do not try to cope on your own. Seek support by speaking with your doctor, or contact your local community organisation. They have trained peer workers available to help you through the initial stages of a positive diagnosis, but also through your journey of living well with HIV.
Part of testing best practice includes pre- and post-test counselling. Post-test counselling is important, regardless of the outcome. If you test positive, counselling can provide emotional support, further information about living with HIV, and referrals to support services.
If the test is negative, counselling can provide education about HIV and how to reduce your HIV risk in the future. are community organisations that provide support and advocacy for people with HIV. Peer workers are also available to help you navigate living with HIV.
If you have recently been diagnosed with HIV, visit Next Steps for more information.
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Does Pep Cause Side Effects
PEP is safe, but the HIV medicines used for PEP may cause side effects like nausea in some people. In almost all cases, these side effects can be treated and arent life-threatening.
If you are taking PEP, talk to your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
PEP medicines may also interact with other medicines that a person is taking . For this reason, its important to tell your health care provider about any other medicines that you take.
What Is Rapid Hiv Testing
There are now many tests available which can detect HIV antibodies within a few minutes. Examples of rapid tests include OraQuick, which can detect antibodies in 20 minutes and is the only rapid test that can use oral fluid, and INSTI, which can detect antibodies in under a minute. Other rapid tests are available as well. The technology involved in rapid testing is quite advanced and for any of the various tests, the results are over 99% accurate.
Most community-based organizations who conduct HIV testing in Louisiana follow a rapid-rapid testing model. This means that you will have a rapid test done during your visit and then, if that test is positive, you will have a second test done to verify your result. If both results are positive, you will be offered a referral to medical care. In the very rare event that the second test is negative, your counselor will advise you about next steps.
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Is Prep Only For People Who Have A Lot Of Sex
When Truvada was first approved for PrEP, some people started calling the people who take it Truvada whores. This is stigmatizing, false, and makes people afraid to ask their doctors about PrEPall of which make it harder for us to end the HIV epidemic and can make life worse for people who are living with HIV.
People may want to protect themselves from HIV infection for a wide range of reasons, all of which are completely OK:
- They like to have sex with multiple sex partners.
- They have one partner who is HIV positive.
- They are navigating an addiction to opioids and want to protect themselves from HIV transmission through injection drug use.
- They just want that extra bit of assurance that theyre being safe, especially if theyre in a community of people where a lot of people are HIV positive.
The bottom line is: __Taking PrEP doesnt mean anything about your promiscuity or your worth as a person. It just means youre taking an important step to reduce your risk of HIV. __
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.
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What Hiv Medicines Are Used For Pep
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidelines on recommended HIV medicines for PEP. The CDC guidelines include recommendations for specific groups of people, including adults and adolescents, children, pregnant women, and people with kidney problems. The most recent PEP recommendations can be found on CDCs PEP resources webpage.
Your health care provider or emergency room doctor will work with you to determine which medicines to take for PEP.
What Should I Do After I Start Pep
You need to see a doctor during the four weeks you are on PEP and again at the end of the four weeks when you are done with the PEP medicines. You will be tested for HIV again after the four weeks. Ask your health care provider for a number to call with questions about your PEP treatment.
While you are on PEP, and after you are done, be sure to protect yourself and others from HIV infection.
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How Long Do I Need To Wait Before I Test
Thereâs a window period between exposure to HIV and a positive test because it takes time for your body to either build a response to the infection or for the virus to replicate enough for a test to detect it. HIV window periods can vary.
For example, if you have unprotected sex on a Friday night, and get an HIV test Monday morning, the test wonât be able to detect HIV or an immune response to HIV yet. There hasnât been enough time for a positive result, even if the virus is in your body.
To get the earliest, most accurate result, first consider when you were exposed and whether youâre showing symptoms.
- If you know exactly when you may have come into contact with the virus, take a test 3 months after that date. Tests 3 months after exposure should be 99% accurate.
- If you are having symptoms of HIV, see your doctor right away. Your doctor may want to use a test that can look for the virus directly in your body.
Should Pep Be Used For Non
HIV exposure at work is usually a one-time accident. Other HIV exposures may be due to unsafe behaviors that can occur many times. Some people think that PEP might encourage this unsafe behavior if people think that PEP is an easy way to avoid HIV infection.
There are other reasons why PEP might not be a good idea for non-occupational exposure:
- There is no research to show that PEP works for non-occupational exposure. We dont know how soon after exposure to HIV someone has to start PEP.
- PEP is not a morning-after pill. It is a program of several drugs, several times each day, for at least 30 days. PEP costs between $600 and $1,000.
- For best results, you have to take every dose of every PEP medication. Missing doses could mean that you develop HIV infection. It could also allow the virus to develop resistance to the medications. If that happens they would no longer work for you.
- The medications have serious side effects. About 40% of health care workers did not complete PEP because of the side effects.
Despite these concerns, there is growing interest in PEP for non-occupational exposure. Most programs include counseling to inform and encourage people to avoid exposure to HIV.
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Challenges In Calculating A Number
It isn’t easy for researchers to calculate the risk of transmission from an exposure to HIV through sex. To do this effectively, a group of HIV-negative individuals need to be followed over time and their exposures to HIVboth the number of times they are exposed and the types of exposureneed to be tracked.
As you can imagine, accurately tracking the number of times a person is exposed to HIV is very difficult. Researchers ask HIV-negative individuals enrolled in these studies to report how many times they have had sex in a given period of time, what type of sex they had, how often they used condoms and the HIV status of their partner. Because a person may have trouble remembering their sexual behaviour or may not want to tell the whole truth, this reporting is often inaccurate.
Furthermore, a person does not always know the HIV status of their partner. For this reason, researchers usually enroll HIV-negative individuals who are in stable relationships with an HIV-positive partner . Researchers can then conclude that any unprotected sex reported by a study participant counts as an exposure to HIV.
Latency Causes A Break In Symptoms
After initial exposure and possible primary infection, HIV may transition into a stage called clinically latent infection. Its also referred to as asymptomatic HIV infection due to a noticeable lack of symptoms. This lack of symptoms includes possible chronic symptoms.
According to HIV.gov, latency in HIV infection can last for 10 or 15 years. This doesnt mean that HIV is gone, nor does it mean that the virus cant be transmitted to others. Clinically latent infection may progress to the third and final stage of HIV, also referred to as AIDS.
The risk for progression is higher if a person with HIV isnt receiving treatment, such as antiretroviral therapy. Its important to take prescribed medications during all stages of HIV even if there arent any noticeable symptoms. There are several medications used for HIV treatment.
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After I Begin Hiv Treatment How Long Does It Take For The Risk Of Sexually Transmitting Hiv To Become Effectively Zero
There is effectively no risk of sexual transmission of HIV when the partner living with HIV has achieved an undetectable viral load and then maintained it for at least six months. Most people living with HIV who start taking antiretroviral therapy daily as prescribed achieve an undetectable viral load within one to six months after beginning treatment.
A persons viral load is considered durably undetectable when all viral load test results are undetectable for at least six months after their first undetectable test result. This means that most people will need to be on treatment for 7 to 12 months to have a durably undetectable viral load. It is essential to take every pill every day to maintain durably undetectable status.
What Is Viral Suppression
Antiretroviral therapy keeps HIV from making copies of itself. When a person living with HIV begins an antiretroviral treatment regimen, their viral load drops. For almost everyone who starts taking their HIV medication daily as prescribed, viral load will drop to an undetectable level in six months or less. Continuing to take HIV medications as directed is imperative to stay undetectable.
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Once I Start Taking Prep Do I Have To Keep Taking It For Life
No. People change, their circumstances change, and so too does their need for PrEP.
You can stop taking PrEP if your situation changes and you think its unlikely youll be exposed to HIV for the foreseeable future. But similarly to starting PrEP, stopping is a decision you should make after talking it over with your health care provider.
Ultimately, PrEP is about having an extra tool to prevent HIV infection. Every person deserves to feel empowered to have sex in exactly the way they prefer. Educating yourself on the potential benefits of PrEP can help you make better choices about your sexual health.
The bottom line is: PrEP is a good HIV prevention tool thats there for you whenand ifyou need it.
Myles Helfand contributed reporting to this article.
Whats The Evidence To Support Prep
PrEP has been studied in at least 15 large experimental trials that demonstrated it is safe and effective when taken correctly. It has been studied in gay and bisexual men, transgender women, and cisgender, heterosexual couples.
These studies found that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV through sex by 99% and reduces the risk of getting HIV by sharing needles or injection drug equipment by 74%, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
But these studies also revealed that when it comes to PrEP, most people need to take it every day for it to work. The people in the studies who missed days were more likely to become HIV positive. Thats why PrEP is often just one part of a larger HIV prevention plan that includes regular check-ins with your doctor and periodic HIV testing to make sure youre still negative.
Its also worth noting that although PrEP can offer effective protection against HIV, it doesnt protect people from other sexually transmitted infections , such as syphilis and gonorrhea. For people who are exposed to HIV through injection drug use, PrEP also wont help prevent blood-borne infections like hepatitis C.
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Who Should Use Pep
PEP has been standard procedure since 1996 for healthcare workers exposed to HIV. Workers start taking medications within a few hours of exposure. Usually the exposure is from a needle stick, when a health care worker accidentally gets jabbed with a needle containing HIV-infected blood. PEP reduced the rate of HIV infection from workplace exposures by 79%. However, some health care workers who take PEP still get HIV infection.
In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control reviewed information on PEP. They concluded that it should also be available for use after HIV exposures that are not work-related. People can be exposed to HIV during unsafe sexual activity, when a condom breaks during sex, or if they share needles for injecting drugs. Infants can be exposed if they drink breast milk from an infected woman. In a study of PEP in 400 cases of possible sexual exposure to HIV, not one person became infected with HIV.