Can You Have Hiv For 20 Years And Not Know
HIV can be contracted for years before a person realizes they have it. HIV is a cause of death. The symptoms of HIV may not appear for more than a decade. The fact that HIV does not have symptoms does not mean that it is less serious. In addition, people who do not experience symptoms may still transmit HIV to others if they do not have symptoms.
How Is Hiv Diagnosed
An HIV antibody test, either from a blood sample or an oral sample , can tell whether you have been infected. A negative test result means no HIV antibodies were found. This usually means you are not infected. However, if you engaged in behavior that could spread the virus within three months of having the test, antibodies may not be detectable and you should be re-tested. A positive test result means antibodies to HIV were found. This means you are infected with the virus and can pass HIV to others even if you have no symptoms. You are infected for life. Even if you think you have a low risk for HIV infection, consider getting tested whenever you have a regular medical check-up.
Is Hiv Testing Confidential
HIV testing can be confidential or anonymous.
Confidential testing means that your HIV test results will include your name and other identifying information, and the results will be included in your medical record. HIV-positive test results will be reported to local or state health departments to be counted in statistical reports. Health departments remove all personal information from HIV test results before sharing the information with CDC. CDC uses this information for reporting purposes and does not share this information with any other organizations, including insurance companies.
Anonymous testing means you do not have to give your name when you take an HIV test. When you take the test, you receive a number. To get your HIV test results, you give the number instead of your name.
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‘i Knew I Was Hiv Positive’
Nadja Benaissa‘s story has all the improbable drama of a soap opera: sex, drugs, teenage pregnancy, secrets and blackmail. Behind the headlines, though, is a more familiar story: the daughter of an African immigrant caught between her strict upbringing and a desire for freedom.
Until recently, Benaissa, 28, was a member of Germany’s most successful girl band, No Angels the first pop group in that country formed on a TV talent show. For nearly 10 years, her days, like those of her four bandmates, consisted of chart-topping singles, million-selling albums, sell-out tours, public appearances and a lot of make-up. But in April 2009 she made headlines for a different reason. She was arrested on suspicion of having unprotected sex with three men while knowingly carrying the HIV virus, and for subsequently infecting one of them.
The tabloid press vilified her the broadsheets condemned the manner of her arrest, calling it a “witch-hunt”. A highly charged trial took place last August, during which intimate details of her sex life were revealed to the world.
As a result, he became stricter. Sex was a taboo subject at home if characters kissed on television, her father would switch it off. “Anything I liked, he hated. He thought I was off meeting boys when I wasn’t. It made me more defiant, and I started doing things just to spite him.”
From whom did she contract HIV?
“I will never know for sure, but I can imagine.”
Did she tell him?
Initially Wondered How She Got Hiv But Then Felt The Question Could Not Be Usefully Answered
And I think oh my God. How can How did I get this thing? That’s what I said to myself. And then I said, ‘I’ll never know, really, wh- how I got it.’ Because I was once married. It could be that I had it even before the blood transfusion. It could be. It could be, it could be from my partner. Who knows? BecauseI don’t, I don’t know, really. But we just thought probably it’s the blood. Because that, that did seem the obvious thing. But I’ll never know really the where it really came from. And I said to myself, by the way, ‘Even if I know where it comes from, where how I got it, it’s useless.’ There’s no point now. It’s too late now. I’ve just to think and get on with my life.
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Getting Tested For Hiv
HIV testing is important. Someone living with HIV who isnt getting treatment can still transmit the virus, even if they have no symptoms. Others may pass the virus to others through an exchange of bodily fluids. But todays treatment can effectively eliminate the risk of transmitting the virus to a persons HIV-negative sexual partners.
According to the CDC , antiretroviral therapy can lead to viral suppression. When someone with HIV can maintain an undetectable viral load, they cant transmit HIV to others. The CDC defines an undetectable viral load as fewer than 200 copies per milliliter of blood.
Taking an HIV test is the only way to determine whether the virus is in the body. There are known risk factors that increase a persons chance of contracting HIV. For example, people whove had sex without a condom or shared needles may want to consider seeing their healthcare professional about getting tested.
How Are Hiv And Aids Treated
Medicines can help people with HIV stay healthy. They can also prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS.
Health care providers prescribe a combination of different medicines for people with HIV and AIDS. They must be taken exactly as prescribed or they won’t work. These medicines:
- help keep the number of CD4 cells high
- reduce the viral load of HIV
Regular blood tests will check the number of CD4 cells in the body and the viral load.
If an HIV-positive person’s CD4 count gets low, doctors prescribe daily antibiotics. This prevents pneumocystis pneumonia, which happens in people with weakened immune systems.
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What Is The Connection To Hiv
People with HIV have been found to have higher rates of shingles than the general population. They are also at risk of experiencing complications as a result of shingles.
HIV targets the immune system by depleting it of its CD4 T lymphocytes . CD4 cells are lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight off infections.
While shingles can be triggered in adults with HIV at any CD4 count, the risk of infection is higher in people with lowered CD4 counts, as in less that 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood . Lowered CD4 counts are linked to untreated HIV and stage 3, or advanced, HIV. This is why shingles may indicate HIV since untreated HIV and stage 3 HIV are associated with a higher chance of developing shingles.
A person with a compromised immune system is more susceptible to getting shingles. This includes people with untreated HIV and stage 3 HIV. This may have to do with depleted levels of CD4 cells, meaning the body is more vulnerable to infection.
Why Is Hiv Testing Important
Knowing your HIV status can help keep youand otherssafe.
If you are HIV negative:
A negative HIV test result shows that you do not have HIV. Continue taking steps to avoid getting HIV, such as using condoms during sex and, if you are at high risk of getting HIV, taking medicines to prevent HIV . For more information, read the HIVinfo fact sheet on The Basics of HIV Prevention.
If you are HIV positive:
A positive HIV test result shows that you have HIV, but you can still take steps to protect your health. Begin by talking to your health care provider about antiretroviral therapy . People on ART take a combination of HIV medicines every day to treat HIV infection. ART is recommended for everyone who has HIV, and people with HIV should start ART as soon as possible. ART cannot cure HIV, but HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives.
A main goal of ART is to reduce a persons viral load to an undetectable level. An undetectable viral load means that the level of HIV in the blood is too low to be detected by a viral load test. People with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partner through sex.
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Hiv Has A Powerful Opponent
Before 1996, contracting the HIV was basically a death sentence. But then, over the course of the next two decades, a regimen of drugs known as antiretroviral therapy evolved and came into use. This drug regimen helps prevent the virus from replicating and can help keep the infection from causing AIDS, transforming a fatal disease into a manageable one. These drugs have been an amazing scientific advancement, Dr. Santiago says. Most of the people who die nowadays are those who are unaware they have until symptoms become severe. Even people who think they may have been exposed to HIV have options if they act very quickly. The CDC advises you to alert your healthcare provider and start a regimen of ART medicines called post-exposure prophylaxis within 72 hours.
Who Should Get Tested For Hiv
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 13 to 64 years of age get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. As a general rule, people at higher risk for HIV should get tested each year. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from getting tested more often, such as every 3 to 6 months. If you are over 64 years of age and at risk, your health care provider may recommend HIV testing.
Factors that increase the risk of HIV include:
- Having vaginal or anal sex with someone who is HIV positive or whose HIV status you do not know
- Injecting drugs and sharing needles, syringes, or other drug equipment with others
- Exchanging sex for money or drugs
- Having a sexually transmitted disease , such as syphilis
- Having sex with anyone who has any of the HIV risk factors listed above
Talk to your health care provider about your risk for HIV and how often you should get tested for HIV.
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A Timeline Of Hiv Symptoms
What is HIV?
HIV is a virus that compromises the immune system. Theres currently no cure for it, but there are treatments available to reduce its effects on peoples lives.
In the majority of cases, once HIV infection takes hold, the virus stays in the body for life. However, unlike what may occur with infections by other types of viruses, HIV symptoms dont suddenly appear and peak overnight.
If left untreated, the disease progresses over time through three stages, each with its own set of possible symptoms and complications some severe.
Regular antiretroviral treatment can reduce HIV to undetectable levels in the blood. At undetectable levels, the virus wont progress to the later stages of HIV infection. In addition, the virus cant be transmitted to a partner during sex.
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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Can You Tell If Someone Has Hiv Or Aids
The majority of HIV patients do not exhibit any physical symptoms. Thus, an HIV-positive person may not know they have the disease. A person who has HIV may experience symptoms within a few weeks of infection with the virus. There are similar symptoms to those of other common illnesses in these cases.
To 28 Days After Exposure
The exception: a symptom called lymphadenopathy, the sometimes painful swelling of lymph nodes in areas of the body such as the neck, armpits, or groin region. Even when the other symptoms have disappeared, lymphadenopathy may continue for months or even longer.
“The important thing to remember is that the resolution of symptoms does not mean the infection is gone,” says Dennis Sifris, MD, an HIV specialist with the Lifesense Disease Management Group, located in South Africa. “HIV is not like hepatitis, which can spontaneously clear. HIV is forever and is better treated sooner rather than later.”
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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.
Can Hiv Be Prevented Or Avoided
The best way to prevent HIV is to not have sex with a person who has HIV, or share a needle with a person who has HIV. However, there is also a medicine called PrEP that people can take before coming into contact with HIV that can prevent them from getting an HIV infection.
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is for people who are at long-term risk of getting HIV either through sexual activity or by injecting drugs. If youre taking PrEP and come into contact with HIV, the medicine makes it difficult for HIV to develop inside your body.
Other ways to prevent HIV include:
- When you have sex, practice safer sex by using a condom. The best condom is a male latex condom. A female condom is not as effective but does offer some protection.
- Do not share needles and syringes.
- Never let someone elses blood, semen, urine, vaginal fluid, or feces get into your anus, vagina, or mouth.
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Early Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
Some people experience flu-like symptoms at the start of an HIV infection. These early HIV symptoms usually develop within 2-4 weeks in an infected person and may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. This early stage of the infection is known as an acute HIV infection.
Possible early symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Mouth ulcers
Itâs worth keeping in mind that such early symptoms can also be caused by other health conditionsânot just HIV. In short, if youâre experiencing these symptoms, it doesnât necessarily mean that you have HIVâwhich is why STI testing and consulting with your healthcare provider can be helpful next steps to take.
When Should You Get Tested For Hiv
If you think you have been exposed to HIV, it’s important to seek medical advice and to get tested as soon as possible.
Dr Dutt stresses that the only way to find out if you have HIV is to get tested, and an early diagnosis means you can access treatment sooner. This in turn can dramatically reduce your risk of becoming severely ill and passing the virus on to others.
If you start taking post-exposure prophylaxis within 72 hours of exposure to the virus, you may be able to prevent infection altogether. PEP involves taking HIV treatment every day for one month.
There is also PrEP, which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis – a daily pill that can protect you from HIV. With this medication, you can have a normal sexual relationship with an HIV-positive partner with reduced fear of becoming infected yourself.
Regardless of whether you test negative or positive, you may need to repeat the test between one and three months of being exposed to HIV, but you shouldn’t wait this long to seek treatment.
Putting off getting tested and leaving HIV untreated can cause you to develop AIDS, which may lead to death.
How do you know if you have HIV?
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He Assumed He Had Got Hiv From His Long
People who believed they might have been exposed to HIV in the past 72 hours could get access to Post Exposure Prophylaxis , although ideally this should be started within 24 hours of exposure. PEP is a month-long course of HIV drugs the same ones taken by people with HIV. The sooner PEP is started, the more likely it is to work. For PEP to work the drugs must be taken for four weeks. If someone stops taking it before 28 days it is unlikely that it will work. It is accessible at all sexual health clinics or, when these are closed, Accident & Emergency departments. One man said, ‘If a condom splits on a weekend, I’ve got to go to Accident & Emergency in order to get hold of this treatment. There should be a clinic somewhere you can go and pick up these pills to prevent someone else getting the virus.’Loading…