Why Does Having An Std Put Me More At Risk For Getting Hiv
If you get an STD, you are more likely to get HIV than someone who is STD-free. This is because the same behaviors and circumstances that may put you at risk for getting an STD also can put you at greater risk for getting HIV. In addition, having a sore or break in the skin from an STD may allow HIV to more easily enter your body. If you are sexually active, get tested for STDs and HIV regularly, even if you dont have symptoms.
Can You Still Live A Healthy Life With Hiv
Thanks to advances in research and medicine, medication is available that allows you to manage an HIV diagnosis on a daily basis.
“Antiretroviral medicines come in the form of daily tablets that work by stopping the virus from replicating inside your body. This allows your immune system to repair itself and prevent further damage. That said, HIV can easily become resistant to a single form of medication, which is why most HIV-positive people take a combination of medications,” says Dr Dutt.
Without treatment, your immune system can become extremely damaged. This makes you more susceptible to life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer and other severe infections.
“However, someone with HIV who is taking effective treatment can definitely live a healthy life,” Dr Dutt says.
“The goal of medication is to get the level of the virus in your body so low that it’s undetectable by a test. With effective treatment, you will also significantly reduce your risk of passing HIV on to others.”
In fact, if your virus levels are undetectable on treatment, there is no risk of passing on the virus through sex – as the undetectable = untransmittable campaign has sought to highlight.
HIV is a long-term illness and it can affect your life. Dr Dutt explains how those with HIV cannot donate blood or organs, join the armed forces, or visit certain countries. You may also struggle getting life insurance to cover a mortgage loan .
Being Honest With Your Healthcare Professional
Be honest with your healthcare professional, they are not there to judge you, but help you make decisions so that they can plan and manage your care appropriately.
Its important to share information such as your sexuality as well as your alcohol and drug use history, as these factors can contribute to different risks, for example, complications with your treatment or sexually transmitted infections .
If you have any underlying health conditions or STIs, its important to get treated for these too. Sometimes different treatments interact with each other, so your healthcare professional needs to know what other drugs you might be taking.
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What Are The Signs Of An Hiv Infection
Fever is usually the first sign of an HIV infection. Many people also experience other flu-like symptoms as the disease manifests itself two to four weeks after exposure. This early, acute phase of HIV can last up to several weeks. Some of the other possible signs of the infection include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Weight loss
Knowing you have HIV is almost impossible without a test. Thats because the disease can masquerade as other illnesses and sometimes may not have symptoms at all at first. At least 13% of people with HIV dont even know they have the virus. This makes it much more likely that they will spread the disease to others. If youve had unprotected sex recently, the only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested.
Hiv: A Brief Overview
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is a sexually transmitted virus that spreads through exposure to certain body fluidsâlike genital secretions or blood. HIV transmission can also occur from a mother to a child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
HIV attacks and impairs the bodyâs immune cells, which weakens the immune system and can eventually progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome if it isnât treated. AIDS can be a life-threatening condition, particularly if HIV treatment is not initiated promptly, which is why HIV testing is crucial for protecting your health.
Learn more: What is the difference between HIV and AIDs?
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What You Can Do
Get tested for HIV. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. People with certain risk factors should get tested at least once a year.
If you were HIV-negative the last time you were tested and answer yes to any of the following questions, you should get an HIV test because these things inc rease your chances of getting HIV.
- Are you a man who has had sex with another man?
- Have you had sex —anal or vaginal— with a partner who has HIV?
- Have you had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test?
- Do you have another sexually transmitted disease ?
- Do you have hepatitis or tuberculosis ?
- Have you had sex with someone who could answer yes to any of these questions or someone whose sexual history you dont know?
You should be tested at least once a year if you answered yes to any of these questions. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing , depending on their risk.
If you think youve recently been exposed to HIV during sex or through sharing needles, syringes, or other injection equipment , talk to your health care provider or an emergency room doctor right away about taking post-exposure prophylaxis . You must start PEP within 72 hours of a possible exposure, but the sooner you start PEP, the better.
Also, anyone who has been sexually assaulted should get an HIV test as soon as possible after the assault.
First Stage: Acute Hiv Infection Symptoms
Most people don’t know right away when they’ve been infected with HIV. But they may have symptoms within 2 to 6 weeks after theyâve gotten the virus. This is when your body’s immune system puts up a fight. It’s called acute retroviral syndrome or primary HIV infection.
- Ulcers in your mouth, esophagus, anus, or genitals
- Headache and other neurological symptoms
If you have symptoms like these and might have come into contact with someone with HIV in the past 2 to 6 weeks, go to a doctor and ask that you get an HIV test. If you donât have symptoms but still think you might have come into contact with the virus, get tested.
Early testing is important for two reasons. First, at this stage, levels of HIV in your blood and bodily fluids are very high. This makes it especially contagious. Second, starting treatment as soon as possible might help boost your immune system and ease your symptoms.
A combination of medications can help fight HIV, keep your immune system healthy, and keep you from spreading the virus. If you take these medications and have healthy habits, your HIV infection probably wonât get worse.
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What You Need To Know When You First Find Out You Have Hiv
Your diagnosis may seem overwhelming, but we can help you through it. Heres what you need to do next.
You just found out you are HIV-positive. You have a lot of questions, and the biggest one is What do I do next? Heres your guide to getting through the first days and weeks after learning your status.
Breathe. Freaking out is a normal response after learning youre living with HIV. But take a moment to breathe because the news is not as bad as you think. Having HIV is not what it used to be. Things have changed tremendously even in the past couple of years. HIV is a manageable chronic illness, similar to diabetes. You will keep living, you will keep loving, you will still have a long happy life. So breathe. Be positive. Very little about your future needs to change.
Dont wait too long. You want time to process, to grieve the healthy life you think youve lost. Thats OK. But while youre doing that, make an appointment, go to it, fill your prescription, and start taking your meds right away. This is really important because it may affect the rest of your life. Studies show that getting on treatment early can improve your long-term health outlook significantly.
Find a care provider. There are resources that can help you find the appropriate providers, including:
NASTAD Membership Directory:The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors directory can help you find health care specialists involved with the ADAP in your state.
Diagnosis In Men Vs Women
Doctors diagnose HIV in both men and women by testing a blood or saliva sample, although they could also test a urine sample. This test looks for antibodies produced by the person to fight the virus. The test typically takes around 3 to 12 weeks to detect antibodies.
Another test looks for HIV antigens, which are substances that the virus produces immediately after transmission. These antigens cause the immune system to activate. HIV produces the p24 antigen in the body even before antibodies develop.
Usually, both the antibody and the antigen tests are done in labs, but there are also home tests that people can take.
Home tests may require a small sample of blood or saliva, and their results are quickly available. If the test is positive, it is essential to confirm the results with a doctor. If the test is negative, a person should repeat it after a few months to confirm the results.
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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.
When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone who is showing symptoms of HIV should contact a doctor as soon as possible. This is especially important if the individual has recently had sexual contact with someone else or shared a needle with someone else.
HIV can remain asymptomatic for a long time. For this reason, anyone who has recently had unprotected sex and is concerned about exposure to HIV should contact a doctor as soon as they can, even if they do not have any symptoms. The same goes for anyone who has recently shared a needle.
It can be difficult to discuss the possibility of having HIV. However, without proper treatment, HIV can be life threatening. In these situations, it is very important for people to put their long-term health first and to discuss the matter with a doctor.
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What About Hiv Stigma
You might not be able to keep your HIV status secret. You could tell a family member and hope they can keep a secret, and find out 24 hours later theyve blabbed it to the whole world. HIV stigma is real. Some people dont understand HIV and are fearful of what they dont know. However, with the right education, youd be surprised how quickly people come around.
People youve known all your life might start treating you like a stranger. But thats not a sure thing. People who truly care for you will be there for you. The rest are not the kind of people you need in your life anyway, right?
Todays HIV drugs are so effective that they can keep someone living with HIV just as healthy as someone who is HIV negative. In fact, if someone takes their HIV meds as prescribed by their doctor, they can even reduce the amount of HIV in their blood to the point of being undetectable. Undetectable = untransmittable.
Using a condom and taking meds everyday make it impossible to pass the virus to other people. People living with HIV need to tell their partner about their status before they have sex. So this is useful to bring up in that conversation when things start heading towards the hot and heavy. Prep is a possibility too, as another barrier to keep HIV from transmitting to the negative partner.
But a lot of people just dont know these facts. Their thinking is stuck in the 1980s and early 1990s, before powerful anti-retroviral drugs and PrEP came on the scene.
Swollen Lymph Nodes Diagnosis
Your doctor will start by asking you about your medical history and giving you a physical exam. They might be able to get an idea of whats making your glands swell by where they are in your body.
They also may recommend one of these tests to find out more about whats going on:
Ultrasound. High-frequency sound waves are used to let your doctor see whatâs happening inside your body.
Magnetic resonance imaging scan . A powerful magnet and radio waves are used to make detailed images of your organs and tissues.
Biopsy. Lymph node tissue is removed and looked at under a microscope.
CT scan. A series of X-rays are taken from different angles and put together to form a more complete picture.
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Is There Any Treatment Of A Cure For Hiv/aids
Currently, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. People living with HIV will need lifelong treatment. The best treatments right now are combinations of prescription drugs. These medications include antiviral treatment, protease inhibitors and other drugs that help people who are living with HIV stay healthy. People living with HIV also can stay healthy by doing things like eating properly, exercising and getting enough sleep.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv/aids
The first signs of HIV infection may be flu-like symptoms:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
These symptoms may come and go within two to four weeks. This stage is called acute HIV infection.
If the infection is not treated, it becomes chronic HIV infection. Often, there are no symptoms during this stage. If it is not treated, eventually the virus will weaken your body’s immune system. Then the infection will progress to AIDS. This is the late stage of HIV infection. With AIDS, your immune system is badly damaged. You can get more and more severe infections. These are known as opportunistic infections .
Some people may not feel sick during the earlier stages of HIV infection. So the only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested.
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If I Already Have Hiv And Then I Get An Std Does That Put My Sex Partner At An Increased Risk For Getting Hiv
It can. If you already have HIV, and then get another STD, it can put your HIV-negative partners at greater risk of getting HIV from you.
Your sex partners are less likely to get HIV from you if you
- Get on and stay on treatment called antiretroviral therapy . Taking HIV medicine as prescribed can make your viral load very low by reducing the amount of virus in your blood and body fluids. HIV medicine can make your viral load so low that a test cant detect it . If your viral load stays undetectable, you have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to HIV-negative partners, even if you have other STDs.
- Choose less risky sex activities.
- Use a new condom, consistently and correctly, for every act of vaginal, anal, and oral sex throughout the entire sex act .
The risk of getting HIV also may be reduced if your partner takes PrEP medications, as prescribed, after discussing this option with his or her healthcare provider and determining whether it is appropriate. When taken as prescribed, PrEP medications are highly effective for preventing HIV from sex. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently. Since PrEP does not protect against other STDs, use condoms the right way every time you have sex.
Stage : Acute Primary Infection
The early symptoms of HIV can feel like having the flu. Around one to four weeks after getting HIV, you may start to experience these flu-like symptoms. These normally dont last long . You may only get some of the symptoms and some people dont have any symptoms at all.
Symptoms can include:
- joint aches and pains
- muscle pain.
These symptoms happen because your body is reacting to the HIV virus. Cells that are infected with HIV are circulating throughout your blood system. In response, your immune system tries to attack the virus by producing HIV antibodies this process is called seroconversion. Timing varies but once you have HIV it can take your body up to a few months to go through the seroconversion process.
Having these symptoms alone does not mean you definitely have HIV. The only way to know if you have HIV is by taking a test. You should always visit your healthcare professional if youre worried about or think youve been at risk of getting HIV, even if you feel well and dont have any symptoms. They can then arrange for you to get tested.
HIV will not always show up in a test at this early stage, and you may need to test again later to confirm your result . Your healthcare professional will talk to you about the timing of your test and answer any concerns. Its important not delay speaking to a healthcare worker if you are worried about HIV.
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