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.
How Often Are Medical Appointments For Prep
People who want to take PrEP to prevent HIV can work with their healthcare provider to determine the schedule of medical appointments that best meets their needs. Here is a general description of the schedule of medical appointments for PrEP.
- Initial Medical Appointment: This first appointment includes education about PrEP, a discussion about readiness to take PrEP, a review of daily versus on-demand PrEP, HIV testing, and other lab work. If the person is ready to start PrEP, the medication can be started right after the initial medical appointment.
- First Follow-Up Contact: The healthcare provider and person should make a plan for a follow-up appointment or call at a convenient time, usually within 2-4 weeks, to:
- Check in on how things are going, including side effects
- Troubleshoot any problems with payment or access to support services.
- HIV testing: The person should have an HIV testevery three months to make sure they have not acquired HIV. The healthcare provider can order the testing which can be done at their office, a conveniently located CBO, health facility or lab. It is important that the results of the test are provided to the healthcare provider who prescribed PrEP.
- Follow-Up Appointments and Prescription Refills: The frequency of follow-up appointment is established jointly by the healthcare provider and the person.
Medications For Hiv Infection
Other names: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Acute HIV Infection Acute Retroviral Syndrome AIDS AIDS-Related Complex ARC Chronic Symptomatic HIV Infection HIV HIV Infection, Acute HIV Seroconversion Syndrome HIV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Primary HIV Infection
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is a virus that attacks the immune system, specifically CD4 cells , which eventually reduces a persons ability to fight infection. HIV can progress to AIDS if left untreated.
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Antiretroviral Drug Side Effects And Management
HIV drugs have improved over the years, and serious side effects are less likely than they used to be. However, HIV drugs can still cause side effects. Some are mild, while others are more severe or even life-threatening. A side effect can also get worse the longer a drug is taken.
Its possible for other medications to interact with HIV drugs, causing side effects. Other health conditions can also make the side effects from HIV drugs worse. For these reasons, when starting any new drug, people with HIV should tell their healthcare provider and pharmacist about all the other medications, supplements, or herbs theyre taking.
In addition, if any new or unusual side effects occur, people with HIV should call their healthcare provider. They should do this even if theyve been on the medication for a long time. It can take months or years to start reacting to a drug.
For serious side effects, a healthcare provider might make sure that its the medication and not another factor thats causing the symptoms. If the drug is to blame, they might switch treatment to another antiretroviral drug. However, switching treatments isnt easy. They need to be sure that the new treatment will still work and that it wont cause even more severe side effects.
Here are some of the more common side effects from antiretroviral drugs and tips for managing them.
Examples of drugs that may cause it:
What might help:
What Should You Do If You Forget To Take Your Hiv Medicines
Unless your health care provider tells you otherwise, take the medicine you missed as soon as you realize you skipped it. But if it is almost time for the next dose, do not take the missed dose just take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take a double dose of a medicine to make up for a missed dose.
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Treatment Reduces The Amount Of Hiv In The Blood
- The amount of HIV in the blood is called viral load.
- Taking your HIV medicine as prescribed will help keep your viral load low and your CD4 cell count high.
- HIV medicine can make the viral load very low . Viral suppression is defined as having less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
- HIV medicine can make the viral load so low that a test cant detect it .
- If your viral load goes down after starting HIV treatment, that means treatment is working. Continue to take your medicine as prescribed.
- If you skip your medications, even now and then, you are giving HIV the chance to multiply rapidly. This could weaken your immune system, and you could become sick.
- Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best way to stay healthy and protect others.
How To Use Abacavir
Read the Medication Guide and Warning Card provided by your pharmacist before you start taking abacavir and each time you get a refill. Carry the Warning Card with you at all times. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth, usually 1-2 times daily with or without food or as directed by your doctor. If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. In children, the dosage is also based on weight.
If you stop using abacavir even for a short time and then restart the drug, you have an increased chance of developing a very serious allergic reaction. Refill your medication before you run out. Do not stop treatment unless directed by your doctor. Before restarting abacavir, consult your doctor or pharmacist, and be sure you have easy access to medical care.
It is very important to continue taking this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not skip any doses. Do not increase your dose, take this drug more often than prescribed, or stop taking it even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor. Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause the amount of virus to increase, make the infection more difficult to treat , or worsen side effects.
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Starting Art During Pregnancy Or Breastfeeding
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding it’s particularly important that you start treatment straight away. This is because ART prevents HIV from being passed on to your baby.
ART is safe to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and will keep you and your baby healthy. Talk to your healthcare worker about which combination of antiretroviral drugs is best for you and feel free to ask them any other questions or concerns that you have. They are there to help.
Do I Still Need To Worry About Other Sexually Transmitted Infections
Neither HIV treatment nor PrEP prevents other sexually transmitted infections, or STIs.
Ways to reduce the risk of STIs include having both partners tested, limiting the number of sexual partners and using condoms. Vaccines are available to prevent some STIs, including hepatitis B and human papillomavirus .
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Herbal Side Effects Chart
Virtually any herb has the potential of causing side effects. For some, the risks are small and only occur when herbs are used in large quantities or for long periods of time. For others, severe and life-threatening side effects have been seen even at very low doses with a single use. A good herbal practitioner should discuss the potential risks of both side effects and herb-drug interactions with you. However, this shouldn’t replace discussing these interactions and side effects with your doctor and pharmacist.
The following is a list of herbs and their known side effects. Those with FDA warnings or heightened safety concerns are highlighted. This list is not comprehensive. If you don’t see the herb you may be taking on this list, it does not mean that there are no reported or possible side effects from using them. Many resources exist on the internet and elsewhere providing even more comprehensive information. One such resource is www.personalhealthzone.com.
Who Should Not Take Truvada For Prep
Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP if you:
- Already have HIV-1 infection or if you do not know your HIV-1 status. If you have HIV-1, you need to take other medicines with TRUVADA to treat HIV-1. TRUVADA by itself is not a complete treatment for HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat now and over time.
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Talk To A Healthcare Provider
Theres no cure for HIV yet, but prescription medications can help slow the progression of the virus. Drugs can also improve HIV symptoms and make living with the condition more comfortable.
This medication list is a brief overview of the types of drugs that are available to treat HIV. Talk to a healthcare provider about all of these options. They can help you determine your best treatment plan.
What If Your Treatment Isn’t Working
Sometimes the HIV medications don’t work. This may occur because the drugs don’t completely stop the virus from reproducing. As the virus makes copies of itself, changes sometimes occur. These changes may result in a new strain of the virus that is resistant to the action of the drugs. If your providers think this has happened, they will do a blood test that can help show which drugs the virus has become resistant to. This can help identify other drugs that might still work against your virus.
If a person has a strain of HIV that is resistant to most or all available drugs, that person may want to consider joining a clinical trial that is testing new drugs that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . See Clinical Trials.
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Can My Medicines Cause Side Effects
Like most other medicines, HAART can cause side effects. Your doctor will talk to you about what side effects your particular medicine might cause.
If a serious reaction occurs, it usually occurs in the first few weeks of therapy. You should call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Constant thirst.
Treatment Helps Prevent Transmission To Others
- If you have an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
- Having an undetectable viral load may also help prevent transmission from injection drug use. We dont have data about whether having an undetectable viral load prevents transmission through sharing needles, syringes, or other injection equipment . It very likely reduces the risk, but we dont know by how much.
- Having an undetectable viral load also helps prevent transmission from mother to baby. If a mother with HIV takes HIV medicine as prescribed throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery and gives HIV medicine to her baby for 4 to 6 weeks after birth, the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby can be 1% or less.
- Having an undetectable viral load reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to the baby through breastfeeding, but doesnt eliminate the risk. The current recommendation in the United States is that mothers with HIV should not breastfeed their babies.
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Starting Antiretroviral Treatment For Hiv
- Antiretroviral treatment keeps HIV under control, protecting your immune system so that you can stay healthy and live a long life.
- People living with HIV are advised to start treatment straight away, but some people may need time to process their diagnosis before they feel ready.
- There are lots of different antiretroviral drug combinations. Your healthcare worker will help you find the right one for you.
Its normal to have lots of questions before starting HIV treatment. Your healthcare workers are there to talk to you about any concerns you have and answer your questions. The information on this page should help you to think through what you need to know and the questions youd like to ask.
Which Drugs Should You Take
Now that you have learned a little about the types of drugs that are available and how they work, you may be wondering how your provider will know which treatment you should take.
HIV drugs are used in combination with one another in order to get the best results. The goal is to get the viral load as low as possible for as long as possible.
HIV drugs do different things to the virus–they attack it in different ways–so using combinations works better than using just one by itself. Combinations usually include three antiretroviral drugs. Except in very special circumstances, anti-HIV drugs should never be used one or two at a time. Using only one or two drugs at a time can fail to control the viral load and let the virus adapt to the drug. Once the virus adapts to a drug, the drug won’t work as well against the virus, and maybe it won’t work at all.
There is no one combination of HIV drugs that works best for everyone. Each combination has its pluses and minuses.
So, how will your provider know which combination to choose? You and your provider can consider the options, keeping certain things in mind, such as possible side effects, the number of pills you’ll need to take, and how the drugs interact with each other and with other medications you may take.
Print out these questions to ask your health care provider so that you will be ready to discuss combination therapy.
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How Is Dapsone Taken
Dapsone is available in tablets of 25 or 100 milligrams It is normally taken once a day or three times a week. The dose you take depends on the type of infection you are trying to treat or prevent.
The treatment continues as long as your CD4 cell count is low enough for you to develop toxo or PCP.
Dapsone can be taken with or without food. If your stomach gets upset when you take dapsone, take it with food.
What Are The Types Of Hiv/aids Medicines
There are several different types of HIV/AIDS medicines. Some work by blocking or changing enzymes that HIV needs to make copies of itself. This prevents HIV from copying itself, which reduces the amount of HIV in the body. Several medicines do this:
- Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors block an enzyme called reverse transcriptase
- Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors bind to and later change reverse transcriptase
- Integrase inhibitors block an enzyme called integrase
- Protease inhibitors block an enzyme called protease
Some HIV/AIDS medicines interfere with HIV’s ability to infect CD4 immune system cells:
- Fusion inhibitors block HIV from entering the cells
- CCR5 antagonists and post-attachment inhibitors block different molecules on the CD4 cells. To infect a cell, HIV has to bind to two types of molecules on the cell’s surface. Blocking either of these molecules prevents HIV from entering the cells.
- Attachment inhibitors bind to a specific protein on the outer surface of HIV. This prevents HIV from entering the cell.
In some cases, people take more than one medicine:
- Pharmacokinetic enhancers boost the effectiveness of certain HIV/AIDS medicines. A pharmacokinetic enhancer slows the breakdown of the other medicine. This allows that medicine to stay in the body longer at a higher concentration.
- Multidrug combinations include a combination of two or more different HIV/AIDS medicines
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How Should I Use Acyclovir
Use acyclovir according to your health care providers instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much acyclovir to use and when to use it. Before you start acyclovir and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.
Common Side Effects Of Hiv Drugs
The following chart lists some HIV medication side effects that are more common and a few special precautions. To prevent interactions with other medicines, it is important to tell your doctor about all drugs you take. Also tell your doctor right away if you have new, unusual, or long-lasting symptoms.
|Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors||Common Side Effects|
- Stopping protease inhibitors, but only under the guidance of your doctor
- Hypoglycemic drugs taken by mouth
- Insulin injected under the skin
Hyperlipidemia is an increase of fat in the blood. These fats include cholesterol and triglycerides. This condition can lead to heart disease and pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas. Some protease inhibitors can increase this side effect.
Symptoms of hyperlipidemia do not exist. The only way to know if you have this condition is to have lab tests at least once a year.
Treatment of hyperlipidemia includes taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins or fibrates.
Lipodystrophy is also called fat redistribution. If you have it, your body produces, uses, and stores fat differently. This side effect is associated with the use of both NRTIs and PIs as well as the HIV virus itself. It is less common with the newer medications.
Symptoms of lipodystrophy include:
- A buildup of fat in the neck or upper shoulders, belly, or breasts
- A loss of fat in the face, arms, legs, or buttocks
Treatment of lipodystrophy may include:
Symptoms of liver damage include:
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