What Happens If My Test Is Positive
If you test positive for HIV, it is important to remember that with treatment you can live a long, healthy life. In fact, with early treatment, people with HIV can live about as long as people that are not infected.
A team approach will help you get the medical care and support that you need. Start by talking to your doctor or the counselor or social worker at the testing site. He or she can help you with suggestions on how to talk to your parents or guardians and how to find a health care provider who’s an HIV specialist. By starting treatment as soon as possible, you can stay healthy and learn to live well with HIV.
How Can I Protect Myself
To protect yourself from getting infected with HIV, you can use protection or practice abstinence. Being faithful to one partner can also reduce your risk of getting HIV. However, you can get HIV with only one partner if the partner is unfaithful and having unprotected sex.
Other methods of protection include taking antiretroviral drugs, male circumcision, and vaccination.
Using condoms is the most effective method of protection against HIV and sexually transmitted infections. It also helps prevent unwanted pregnancies.
- They are very effective if used properly and this means using a condom that fits properly.
- To ensure that you are using a condom in the right way, here are a few basic things you can do:
- Every time you have intercourse, use a new condom.
- Put on a condom before any kind of sexual contact, whether it may be vaginal, oral or anal.
- Avoid using baby oil, vaseline or any other oil-based lubricant as it can cause the condom to break or split.
Taking Hiv Medication To Stay Healthy And Prevent Transmission
If you have HIV, it is important to start treatment with HIV medication as soon as possible after your diagnosis.
If taken every day, exactly as prescribed, HIV medication can reduce the amount of HIV in your blood to a very low level. This is called viral suppression. It is called viral suppression because HIV medication prevents the virus from growing in your body and keeps the virus very low or suppressed. Viral suppression helps keep you healthy and prevents illness.
If your viral load is so low that it doesnt show up in a standard lab test, this is called having an undetectable viral load. People living with HIV can get and keep an undetectable viral load by taking HIV medication every day, exactly as prescribed. Almost everyone who takes HIV medication daily as prescribed can achieve an undetectable viral load, usually within 6 months after starting treatment.
There are important health benefits to getting the viral load as low as possible. People living with HIV who know their status, take HIV medication daily as prescribed, and get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long, healthy lives.
There is also a major prevention benefit. People living with HIV who take HIV medication daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.
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Why Should Someone Get Tested For Hiv
If someone is infected with HIV, it’s important to know because:
- Starting medicines right away can keep a person stay healthy for a long time.
- There are ways to stop the spread of HIV to others, such as using a condom and taking medicines.
- A pregnant woman who is infected can get treatment to try to prevent passing HIV to her baby.
Another reason to get tested is peace of mind: A negative test result can be a big relief for someone who is worried about being infected.
Case Definition For Epidemiological Surveillance
According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2008, a team led by Robert Shafer at Stanford University School of Medicine has discovered that the gray mouse lemur has an endogenouslentivirus in its genetic makeup. This suggests that lentiviruses have existed for at least 14 million years, much longer than the currently known existence of HIV. In addition, the time frame falls in the period when Madagascar was still connected to what is now the African continent the said lemurs later developed immunity to the virus strain and survived an era when the lentivirus was widespread among other mammals. The study is being hailed as crucial, because it fills the blanks in the origin of the virus, as well as in its evolution, and may be important in the development of new antiviral drugs.
In 2010, researchers reported that SIV had infected monkeys in Bioko for at least 32,000 years. Previous to this time, it was thought that SIV infection in monkeys had happened over the past few hundred years. Scientists estimated that it would take a similar amount of time before humans adapted naturally to HIV infection in the way monkeys in Africa have adapted to SIV and not suffer any harm from the infection.
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Where Can You Find Support As You Manage A Long
Being diagnosed with HIV can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, as it can be very difficult news to take in. There is still a lot of shame and stigma surrounding HIV. Stereotypes from the 1980s about HIV and AIDS being a death sentence often prevent people from getting tested our of fear. Depression is actually twice as common in people with HIV however, help is available and you don’t have to face this by yourself.
Counselling and psychotherapy can help you to understand underlying issues and make longer-term changes to shift your perspective on life. Your GP will be able to help you find a trained counsellor or psychologist to talk to. You may also benefit from antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication, which your doctor can prescribe.
Alternatively, there are specialist helplines designed to help people with HIV.
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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Talking To Your Health Care Provider
Your provider or other members of your health care team may ask you about your sexual practices each time you go in for a checkup. It may feel embarrassing at first to be honest and open. But they are trying to help you stay healthy.
Your VA provider and staff will still give you care if you have had sex with someone of the same sex or someone other than your spouse. VA is not there to judge you. It’s OK to tell your providers the truth. It will not affect your medical benefits. It will help your health care team take better care of you.
Make sure you set aside time to ask questions about safer sex, sexually transmitted diseases , or any other questions you might have. If you feel that you need help dealing with your feelings, ask about support groups or counseling.
Many people living with HIV ask their provider to talk with them and their partners about HIV and how it is transmitted. They can answer technical questions and address the specifics of your situation. If you live with someone, they may have questions about everyday contact as well as sexual contact.
What Is The Difference Between Hiv And Aids
The term AIDS refers to the most advanced stages of HIV infection. Most of the conditions affecting people with AIDS are opportunistic infections that generally do not affect healthy people. In people with AIDS, these infections are often severe and sometimes fatal because the immune system is so ravaged by HIV that the body cannot fight off the infection. Symptoms of opportunistic infections common in people with AIDS include:
- coughing and shortness of breath
- seizures and lack of coordination
- difficult or painful swallowing
- severe headaches
People with AIDS also are particularly prone to developing various cancers. These cancers are usually more aggressive and difficult to treat in people with AIDS.
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Avoid Drugs And Drink Alcohol In Moderation
If you have HIV, using drugs and drinking alcohol can compromise an already weakened immune system. The liver, in particular, which helps remove toxins from the body, can be damaged by alcohol and drug use, according to the HHS. Recreational drugs and drinking can also impair your judgment, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , leading to risky behavior like engaging in unsafe sex and forgetting to take your HIV medications on time and as prescribed. Some recreational drugs can also interfere with or interact dangerously with the medications used to keep HIV in check. If you drink alcohol, advises the HHS, do so in moderation this means one drink a day for women and no more than two for men.
Who Is At Risk For Hiv Infection
Anyone can get HIV, but certain groups have a higher risk of getting it:
- People who have another sexually transmitted disease . Having an STD can increase your risk of getting or spreading HIV.
- People who inject drugs with shared needles
- Gay and bisexual men, especially those who are Black/African American or Hispanic/Latino American
- People who engage in risky sexual behaviors, such as not using condoms
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Dealing With Discrimination When You Have Hiv
We’ve come a long way in our understanding of HIV and AIDS, but discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS is still rampant. Advances in research have made it possible to live with the disease, as people do with other chronic illnesses. But the greatest challenge for many people is still the stigma that accompanies the illness.
You may worry about what others will think about your diagnosis. Or you may fear coming out as gay or bisexual, or as an intravenous drug user. These worries and fears can encourage behaviors that put you and others at risk. These behaviors include:
Avoiding getting tested for HIV
Not using condoms
Hiding an HIV-positive status from sex partners
Avoiding medical care that can save or prolong your life
Not taking medication as directed
Hiding health problems from your family
The burden of AIDS is much higher among African-Americans. Homophobia and fear of people with HIV/AIDS are particularly strong in the African-American community. These fears mean that many people are afraid to acknowledge their sexual orientation or HIV-positive status. For these reasons, many prefer to risk infection rather than face the stigma of HIV/AIDS.
Canadian Flight Attendant Theory
A Canadian airline steward named Gaëtan Dugas was referred to as “Case 057” and later “Patient O” with the alphabet letter “O” standing for “outside Southern California”, in an early AIDS study by Dr. William Darrow of the Centers for Disease Control. Because of this, many people had considered Dugas to be responsible for taking HIV to North America. However, HIV reached New York City around 1971 while Dugas did not start work at Air Canada until 1974. In Randy Shilts‘ 1987 book And the Band Played On , Dugas is referred to as AIDS’s Patient Zero instead of “Patient O”, but neither the book nor the movie states that he had been the first to bring the virus to North America. He was incorrectly called “Patient Zero” because at least 40 of the 248 people known to be infected by HIV in 1983 had had sex with him, or with a person who had sexual intercourse with Dugas.
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Caring For An Hiv+ Family Member Or Friend
HIV cannot penetrate healthy skin. In order for it to enter the body, there must be a break in the skin. As a safeguard against contact with blood or body fluids, a person providing care for bleeding wounds should wear disposable gloves. This is a precautionary measure to ensure that the person is not exposed to the virus through tiny cuts in the hands that may be unnoticed.
The infected person should reserve a thermometer for personal use. It should be washed with warm soapy water after each use, soaked in rubbing alcohol for 10 minutes, dried and stored.
Accept Your New Normal
Living with HIV marks a new phase of your life. But if you take your HIV medicines as prescribed, it can be as healthy, active, and fulfilling as before. Make it a priority to take care of your body and mind. Get help if you feel depressed, and stay connected to people in your life you love and who support you.
CDC: “Basic Statistics,” “A Glance at the HIV/AIDS Epidemic,” âAct Against AIDS: Conversation Starters,â âHIV/AIDS: Telling Others,â âBreastfeeding: Human Immunodeficiency Virus ,â âAIDS and Opportunistic Infections.â
University of California, San Francisco HIVInsite: “I just tested positive — now what?”
AIDS InfoNet: “Safer Sex Guidelines.”
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “HIV Infection and AIDS: An Overview.”
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: âJust Diagnosed: Next Steps After Testing Positive for HIV,â âHow to Find HIV Treatment Services,â âHIV/AIDS: The Basics,â âHIV and Mental Health,â âState HIV/AIDS Hotlines.â
HIV.gov: âTalking About Your HIV Status: Should You Tell Other People About Your Positive Test Results?â âPreventing Sexual Transmission of HIV.â
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: âHIV/AIDS: Protect Others,â âFind Support,â âBe Aware of Possible Complications.â
Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange : âYour Guide to HIV Treatment: Monitoring Your Health.â
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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.
If You Have A Negative Test Result Does That Mean That Your Partner Is Hiv
No. Your HIV test result reveals only your HIV status.
HIV is not necessarily transmitted every time you have sex. Therefore, taking an HIV test is not a way to find out if your partner is infected.
It’s important to be open with your partner and ask them to tell you their HIV status. But keep in mind that your partner may not know or may be wrong about their status, and some may not tell you if they have HIV even if they know they’re infected. Consider getting tested together so you can both know your HIV status and take steps to keep yourselves healthy.
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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.
Living With Hiv: What To Expect And Tips For Coping
More than 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV. Its different for everybody, but with treatment, many can expect to live a long, productive life.
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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