How Can I Know If I Have Hiv
The only way to know if you have HIV is to take an HIV test. Many medical groups recommend routine voluntary HIV screening of all patients aged 18 to 75 years of age as a normal part of medical care. The reason for this is that nearly one out of seven people infected with HIV are not aware that they have the infection.
What Conditions Are Considered To Be Opportunistic
Some of the most common of these OIs/cancers among HIV-positive people include:
Cancer: The types of cancers that are you are more likely to get if you have AIDs include lymphoma, Kaposis sarcoma, invasive cervical cancer, anal cancer, liver cancer, and cancers of the mouth, throat and lungs.
Candidiasis : This condition is caused by Candida fungus. It can happen in the skin, nails and mucous membranes throughout the body, such as the mouth or the vagina. The cases can be troublesome, but thrush is especially dangerous when it affects the esophagus or parts of the respiratory system .
Pneumonia: This respiratory condition is most commonly caused by _Pneumocystis jirovecii and the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae._
Salmonella: This infection is spread through contaminated food and water. It causes diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.
Toxoplasmosis: This disease is caused by a parasites that live in cats and rodents and other warm-blooded animals. The infection is spread through the feces. Toxoplasmosis can cause severe problems in the lungs, heart, brain and other organs. If you have a cat, wear gloves to change the litter and be thorough in washing your hands.
Condom Use And Distribution
In the most recent NSP, the South African National AIDs Council aimed to increase the number of male condoms distributed annually to 850 million by 2018.83 However, between 2016/17 and 2017/18 the number of male condoms distributed by the government decreased by more than 220 million.84
South Africas female condom programme is also one of the biggest and most established in the world, with over 26 million female condoms distributed in 2016.85 By 2022, the South African National AIDS Council hopes to increase this to 40 million.86
In regards to condom use, South Africas 2017 national HIV impact survey found around 56% of adults with two or more sexual partners in the last year reported using a condom the last time they had sex. Men and women aged between 25 and 49 had similar levels of condom use, at around 53%. Among young people , 68% of young men with multiple partners reported using a condom the last time they had sex, compared to 47% of young women. In contrast, only 33% of older adults with multiple partners used condoms at last sex.87
Challenges remain in ensuring that condom programmes are able to serve all groups, particularly those with higher HIV risk. The new strategy will expand condom distribution, making them available at non-traditional outlets such as hair salons, petrol stations, shops, hotels, truck stops and brothels as well as secondary schools and non-traditional community settings.88
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How Can I Keep From Getting Hiv
The best way to protect yourself is to avoid activities that put you at risk. There’s no way to tell by looking at someone if he or she has HIV. Always protect yourself. Use latex condoms whenever you have any type of sex .
- Don’t use condoms made from animal products.
- Use water-based lubricants .
- Never share needles to take drugs.
- Avoid getting drunk or high. Intoxicated people might be less likely to protect themselves.
- Consider getting testedit is really important to be aware of your HIV status.
If you are a healthcare worker, you are at a slightly higher risk of getting HIV from a needle-stick injury, skin contact with contaminated fluid or from human bites. You should follow universal precautions:
- Always wear protective equipment when dealing with blood and body fluids.
- Follow careful hand-washing guidelines when dealing with such fluids.
- Follow safe handling guidelines for needles and sharp instruments.
- Be aware of post-exposure policies at your workplace.
If you are in a relationship with a partner who has HIV, or you are at high risk for any other reason, consider using pre-exposure prophylaxis, commonly called PrEP. This means taking one of two medicines every day, emtricitabine-tenofovir or emtricitabine-tenofovir alafen .
If you are a person with HIV who is in a relationship with a person who is HIV-negative, you should also be on a medication regimen.
Whats The Hiv Window Period
As soon as someone contracts HIV, it starts to reproduce in their body. The persons immune system reacts to the antigens by producing antibodies .
The time between exposure to HIV and when it becomes detectable in the blood is called the HIV window period. Most people develop detectable HIV antibodies within 23 to 90 days after transmission.
If a person takes an HIV test during the window period, its likely theyll receive a negative result. However, they can still transmit the virus to others during this time.
If someone thinks they may have been exposed to HIV but tested negative during this time, they should repeat the test in a few months to confirm . And during that time, they need to use condoms or other barrier methods to prevent possibly spreading HIV.
Someone who tests negative during the window might benefit from post-exposure prophylaxis . This is medication taken after an exposure to prevent getting HIV.
PEP needs to be taken as soon as possible after the exposure it should be taken no later than 72 hours after exposure but ideally before then.
Another way to prevent getting HIV is pre-exposure prophylaxis . A combination of HIV drugs taken before potential exposure to HIV, PrEP can lower the risk of contracting or transmitting HIV when taken consistently.
Timing is important when testing for HIV.
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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.
Phases Of Hiv Infection
Clinical HIV infection undergoes 3 distinct phases: acute seroconversion, asymptomatic infection, and AIDS. Each is discussed below.
Animal models show that Langerhans cells are the first cellular targets of HIV, which fuse with CD4+ lymphocytes and spread into deeper tissues. In humans, rapid occurrence of plasma viremia with widespread dissemination of the virus is observed 4 days to 11 days after mucosal entrance of the virus.
There is no fixed site of integration, but the virus tends to integrate in areas of active transcription, probably because these areas have more open chromatin and more easily accessible DNA. This greatly complicates eradication of the virus by the host, as latent proviral genomes can persist without being detected by the immune system and cannot be targeted by antivirals.
During this phase, the infection is established and a proviral reservoir is created. This reservoir consists of persistently infected cells, typically macrophages, and appears to steadily release virus. Some of the viral release replenishes the reservoir, and some goes on to produce more active infection.
The proviral reservoir, as measured by DNA polymerase chain reaction , seems to be incredibly stable. Although it does decline with aggressive antiviral therapy, the half-life is such that eradication is not a viable expectation.
Asymptomatic HIV infection
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Stage : Acute Hiv Infection
Within 2 to 4 weeks after infection with HIV, about two-thirds of people will have a flu-like illness. This is the bodys natural response to HIV infection.
Flu-like symptoms can include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. But some people do not have any symptoms at all during this early stage of HIV.
Dont assume you have HIV just because you have any of these symptomsthey can be similar to those caused by other illnesses. But if you think you may have been exposed to HIV, get an HIV test.
Heres what to do:
Living With Hiv: What To Expect And Tips For Coping
The most important thing is to start antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible. By taking medications exactly as prescribed, people living with HIV can keep their viral load low and their immune system strong.
Its also important to follow up with a healthcare provider regularly.
Other ways people living with HIV can improve their health include:
- Make their health their top priority. Steps to help people living with HIV feel their best include:
- fueling their body with a well-balanced diet
- exercising regularly
- avoiding tobacco and other drugs
- reporting any new symptoms to their healthcare provider right away
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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.
How Is An Hiv Test Performed
Before taking an HIV test:
- Ask the clinic what privacy rules it follows.
- Ask your healthcare provider any questions you have about HIV, AIDS, or the HIV test.
To do the HIV test, a small sample of blood is taken from your arm. The blood is sent to a lab and tested for HIV.
Home testing is available. The sample can be obtained via oral secretions , or a blood sample from a finger-stick test strip that is then mailed to a laboratory for screening. Positive results must be confirmed by your doctor before a diagnosis of HIV infection can be established.
Some clinics perform HIV tests without ever taking your name . You must go back to the clinic to get your results. A positive test means you have HIV. A negative test means no signs of HIV were found in your blood.
If your test comes back positive, your healthcare provider is likely to recommend other tests to assess your health. These may include a complete blood count , along with:
- Viral hepatitis screening.
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How Is Hiv Treated
Treatments for HIV typically involve antiretroviral therapy. This isnt a specific regimen, but instead a combination of three or four drugs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has currently approved nearly 50 different medications to treat HIV.
Antiretroviral therapy works to prevent the virus from copying itself. This maintains immunity levels while slowing the progression of HIV.
Before prescribing medication, a healthcare provider will take the following factors into consideration:
- a persons health history
- the levels of the virus in the blood
HIV doesnt cause a lot of outward or noticeable symptoms until the disease has progressed. For this reason, its important to understand how HIV is transmitted and the ways to prevent transmission.
HIV can be transmitted by:
- having sex, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex
- sharing needles, including tattoo needles, needles used for body piercing, and needles used for injecting drugs
- coming into contact with body fluids, such as semen, vaginal fluid, blood, and breast milk
HIV is not transmitted by:
- breathing the same air as a person living with HIV
- getting bitten by a mosquito or other biting insect
- hugging, holding hands with, kissing, or touching a person living with HIV
- touching a door handle or toilet seat thats been used by an HIV-positive person
Keeping this in mind, some of the ways a person can prevent HIV include:
Symptoms can take years to appear, which is why its so important to get tested regularly.
Civil Society’s Role In South Africa
In March 2015 an estimated 136,453 civil society organisations were working in the South African HIV response. In 2017 a new civil society forum was created to provide a platform for civil society and government to work together in the HIV response. 116
One of the most visible civil societies is the Treatment Action Campaign , formed in 1998. TAC has been a driving force in the South African response, promoting access to HIV treatment and care for all South Africans. TACs first major success came in 2002, with the Constitutional Court ruling that the South African government must provide ARVs to prevent mother-to child-transmission.117 The organisation is currently campaigning to improve and strengthen the healthcare system.118
Funding is a major issue facing many civil society organisations. Drops in external funding are making civil society organisations more dependent on financing from the government. While domestic funding is a more sustainable model, the shift has increased competition amongst organisations, and is seen by some as undermining their ability to challenge government policy in their work.119
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Hiv Effects On The Immune System
Your immune system has many types of white blood cells that fight infection. HIV gets inside a kind called CD4 cells and makes copies of itself. The virus kills the cell, and the new viruses go off to find more.
Your body responds by making more CD4 cells, but after a while, it canât keep up with the virus. This makes your immune system weak. Youâre more likely to get sick, even from common germs. Infections last longer, are more severe, and might come back more often.
If you follow your doctorâs directions with ART, it knocks out HIV, stopping it from infecting more CD4 cells and from weakening your immune system.
Start Treatment As Soon As Possible After Diagnosis
- HIV medicine is recommended for all people with HIV, regardless of how long theyve had the virus or how healthy they are.
- Talk to your health care provider about any medical conditions you may have or any other medicines you are taking.
- Let your health care provider know if you or your partner is pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant. They will determine the right type of HIV medicine that can help prevent transmitting HIV to your baby.
What if I delay treatment?
- HIV will continue to harm your immune system.
- This will put you at higher risk for developing AIDS. Learn more about AIDS and opportunistic infections.
- This will put you at higher risk for transmitting HIV to your sexual and injection partners.
What are the benefits of taking my HIV medicine every day as prescribed?
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Antiretroviral Treatment In Eswatini
In 2018, 86% of people living with HIV in Eswatini were receiving ART. Significantly more women living with HIV were on treatment than HIV positive men .78Coverage is lower among children, with 76% of 0 to 14 year-olds living with HIV on treatment.79
ART has been free in Eswatini since 2003.80 In 2014 the country adopted World Health Organization guidelines recommending that anyone diagnosed with HIV be started on ART regardless of their CD4 count . This approach, known as treat all or test and treat, means thousands more people are eligible for treatment than before.81
Adherence to treatment is generally good, with over 95% of adults and children known to be on ART 12 months after starting it.82 As a result, 94% of adults diagnosed with HIV and on treatment are virally suppressed. Overall, this equates to 81% of all people living with HIV in the country being virally suppressed.83
In 2016, Eswatini conducted an HIV drug resistance survey. This found 10.6% of people who had not previously been on ART were resistant to a common type of antiretrovirals known as non-nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors . WHO recommends that, if this rate is more than 10%, alternative regimens should be offered. In response, in 2019 the US Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief began supporting Eswatini to move all those with NNRTI resistance to Dolutegravir-based regimens.84
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Funding For Hiv In Eswatini
The largest contributor of funding for Eswatinis HIV response is PEPFAR, providing 59% of total resources in 2017/18. This is followed by the Eswatini government and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis .117
Eswatini received approximately US$146.5 million from international donors in 2017, with the health sector the largest beneficiary of external assistance. The procurement of ARVs alone accounted for nearly US$19 million in 2017/18. Due to test and treat, the budget for this has increased to more than US$21 million for 2018/19. Despite economic challenges, domestic expenditure on HIV is set to increase from US$23 million in 2017/18 to $25 million in 2018/19.118
Eswatini has set ambitious targets to eliminate new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths by 2023, which means that finding sustainable financing for its HIV response is now a key priority, particularly as international funding is likely to reduce. The countrys 2018-2023 HIV strategy states that it is looking to shift focus to internal resource mobilisation while investing in interventions that have the greatest impact.119
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