Can I Get Pregnant If I Have Hiv
Some people think that HIV hurts your chances of getting pregnant, but this isnt true. If you have HIV and want to become pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider. Together you can make a plan before you try to get pregnant to keep you, your partner and any future children healthy.
HIV can spread to your partner during unprotected sex and to your baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Taking ART medications can greatly reduce your risk of transmitting HIV to your baby, especially if you have an undetectable viral load. Your provider may recommend that you dont breastfeed your baby and use formula instead.
Initiation Of Antiretroviral Therapy
Antiretroviral drug treatment guidelines have changed over time. Before 1987, no antiretroviral drugs were available and treatment consisted of treating complications from opportunistic infections and malignancies. After antiretroviral medications were introduced, most clinicians agreed that HIV positive patients with low CD4 counts should be treated, but no consensus formed as to whether to treat patients with high CD4 counts.
In April 1995, Merck and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases began recruiting patients for a trial examining the effects of a three drug combination of the protease inhibitor indinavir and two nucleoside analogs. illustrating the substantial benefit of combining 2 NRTIs with a new class of antiretrovirals, protease inhibitors, namely indinavir. Later that year David Ho became an advocate of this “hit hard, hit early” approach with aggressive treatment with multiple antiretrovirals early in the course of the infection. Later reviews in the late 90s and early 2000s noted that this approach of “hit hard, hit early” ran significant risks of increasing side effects and development of multidrug resistance, and this approach was largely abandoned. The only consensus was on treating patients with advanced immunosuppression . Treatment with antiretrovirals was expensive at the time, ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 a year.
Treatment as prevention
How Often Should Viral Load Be Tested
The frequency of viral load testing varies. Typically, viral load testing is done at the time of a new HIV diagnosis and then intermittently over time to confirm that antiretroviral therapy is working.
A viral load usually becomes undetectable within three months of starting treatment, but it often happens faster than that. A viral load is often checked every three to six months, but it may be checked more often if there is concern that the viral load may be detectable.
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Treatment For Hiv And Aids
The goal of much research on HIV and AIDS is to develop effective methods of preventing infection. For example, antiretroviral therapy has made tremendous strides in reducing the amount of HIV in the bodies of infected people.
- ART and other HIV medicines allow most infected people to control the virus within six months.
- Infected people must begin HIV treatment as soon after initial infection as possible and continue the therapy despite the length of infection time or their health status.
- HIV medicines reduce the viral load and increase the CD4 cell count. The medicines help infected individuals achieve viral suppression: having fewer than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
- The medicines can bring the viral load so low that an HIV test cant detect it. Undetectable viral loads mean the person has virtually no risk of transmitting the disease to others through sex.
What Else Should I Know
Treatment has improved greatly for people with HIV. By taking medicines and getting regular medical care, HIV-positive people can live long and healthy lives.
People with HIV need a medical care team for the best treatment and support.
If you or someone you know has HIV or AIDS it is important to:
- goes to all doctor visits
- takes all medicines exactly as directed
- goes for all follow-up blood tests
- understands what HIV/AIDS is and how it spreads
- is physically active, gets enough sleep, and eats well
Find more information at:
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Early Symptoms Of Hiv
Some people with HIV have no symptoms for months or even years after contracting the virus. Partly because of this, about 13% of people with HIV in the U.S. do not know that they have it.
While a person with no symptoms may be unlikely to seek care, there is still a high risk of transmission. For this reason, experts recommend regular testing so that everyone is aware of their HIV status.
Meanwhile, around two-thirds of people with HIV develop flu-like symptoms around 24 weeks after contracting the virus. These symptoms are collectively called acute retroviral syndrome.
Early symptoms of HIV may include:
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:
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Hiv And Aids Treatment
More than 25 antiretroviral therapy drugs are approved to treat the virus. Your doctor will prescribe a mix of these medications.
The drugs will help stop HIV from making copies of itself. That will keep you healthy and lower your risk of spreading it.
Thereâs no cure for HIV or AIDS. ARTâs goal is to lower your viral load and keep your immune system healthy. The idea is to lower the viral load to âundetectableâ and keep it that way, by taking your medicine every day as prescribed.
Can Medications Prevent Hiv
There are medications that can help prevent HIV in people who have been exposed or are at high risk for exposure. These include pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis .
PrEP is a pill you take every day if you dont have HIV but are at high risk of getting infected.
- You have a sexual partner with HIV.
- You havent consistently used a condom.
- In the past six months, youve been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease .
PrEP is also recommended if you dont have HIV, you inject drugs and at least one of the following is true:
- You inject drugs with a partner who has HIV.
- You share needles or other equipment to inject drugs.
PrEP is not a replacement for other preventative measures. You should still use condoms and avoid sharing needles to inject drugs while taking PrEP.
PEP uses HIV medicines to try to prevent an HIV infection soon after you are exposed. PEP is for those who dont have HIV or dont know if they have HIV and think theyve been exposed through consensual sex, sexual assault, shared needles , or work.
You must start PEP within 72 hours of exposure and take it every day for 28 days. PEP is only for emergency use and does not replace other precautions, like condom use.
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How Can You Tell If You Have Hiv
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. You cant rely on symptoms to tell whether you have HIV.
Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information so you can take steps to keep yourself and your partner healthy:
- If you test positive, you can take medicine to treat HIV. People with HIV who take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long and healthy lives and will not transmit HIV to their HIV-negative partners through sex. An undetectable viral load is a level of HIV in the blood so low that it cant be detected in a standard lab test.
- If you test negative, you have more HIV prevention tools available today than ever before, like pre-exposure prophylaxis , medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use, and post-exposure prophylaxis , HIV medicine taken within 72 hours after a possible exposure to prevent the virus from taking hold.
- If you are pregnant, you should be tested for HIV so that you can begin treatment if you’re HIV-positive. If you have HIV and take HIV medicine as prescribed throughout your pregnancy and childbirth and give HIV medicine to your baby for 4 to 6 weeks after giving birth, your risk of transmitting HIV to your baby can be less than 1%. HIV medicine will protect your own health as well.
Use the HIV Services Locator to find an HIV testing site near you.
What Is A Retrovirus
rather than as DNA DNA Genes are segments of deoxyribonucleic acid that contain the code for a specific protein that functions in one or more types of cells in the body. Chromosomes are structures within cells… read more .
When HIV enters a human cell, it releases its RNA, and an enzyme called reverse transcriptase makes a DNA copy of the HIV RNA. The resulting HIV DNA is integrated into the infected cells DNA. This process is the reverse of that used by human cells, which make an RNA copy of DNA. Thus, HIV is called a retrovirus, referring to the reversed process.
Other RNA viruses , unlike retroviruses, do not make DNA copies after they invade cells. They simply make RNA copies of their original RNA.
Each time an HIV-infected cell divides, it makes a new copy of the integrated HIV DNA as well as its own genes. The HIV DNA copy is either
HIV-1 originated in Central Africa during the first half of the 20th century when a closely related chimpanzee virus first infected people. The global spread of HIV-1 began in the late 1970s, and AIDS was first recognized in 1981.
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Resources For Hiv And Aids Prevention
These are among the U.S. government agencies that provide helpful information for individuals and health care professionals about the most effective approaches for preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HIV National Strategic Plan The plan presents the departments strategy for ending the HIV epidemic in the U.S. by 2030 by preventing new infections and improving health outcomes for people with HIV.
Side Effects And Costs
Side effects of antiretroviral therapy vary and may include nausea, headache, and dizziness. These symptoms are often temporary and disappear with time.
Serious side effects can include swelling of the mouth and tongue and liver or kidney damage. If side effects are severe, the medications can be adjusted.
Costs for antiretroviral therapy vary according to geographic location and type of insurance coverage. Some pharmaceutical companies have assistance programs to help lower the cost.
To develop AIDS, a person has to have contracted HIV. But having HIV doesnt necessarily mean that someone will develop AIDS.
Cases of HIV progress through three stages:
- stage 1:acute stage, the first few weeks after transmission
- stage 2: clinical latency, or chronic stage
- stage 3: AIDS
As HIV lowers the CD4 cell count, the immune system weakens. A typical adults CD4 count is 500 to 1,500 per cubic millimeter. A person with a count below 200 is considered to have AIDS.
How quickly a case of HIV progresses through the chronic stage varies significantly from person to person. Without treatment, it can last up to a decade before advancing to AIDS. With treatment, it can last indefinitely.
Theres currently no cure for HIV, but it can be managed. People with HIV often have a near-normal lifespan with early treatment with antiretroviral therapy.
Also, treatment can typically help manage opportunistic infections.
HIV and AIDS are related, but theyre not the same thing.
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What Are Viral Infections
Viral infection is defined as the pathological state in which the human body is attacked by one or more viral agents thatpropagate rapidly within the body.
Viral infections occur when the immune system of the body fails to fight the invading pathogens.
These infections are also triggered by unhealthy lifestyle and unhygienic dietary and sanitary habits.
Very often, an individual may not show symptoms of any kind of infection.
But he or she might be the carrier of the infection and may transfer it to another person under favorable conditions.Domestic animals and certain insects may also be active carriers of different infections. Severe diseases may occur due to infections of any kind. Some vital organs may be damaged in the course of a viral infection, leading to death.This article will discuss the different types of viral infections along with the associated complications.
Why Do Some People With Hiv Infection Develop Aids
Over time, untreated HIV infection damages the immune system and makes it more difficult to fight infections and cancers.
Before there were effective treatments for HIV infection, all infected people went on to develop AIDS within about 10 years. Today, people with HIV who take effective treatment are unlikely to develop AIDS and will have a near-normal life expectancy. This is because these medicines keep the amount of virus in their blood under control and protect the immune system.
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Immunologic Control Of Hiv
The primary mechanism for immunologic control of HIV appears to be CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells. T-cell responses are correlated with the steady-state viral load and hence, the rate of progression. Cellular immunity is apparently responsible for some multiply-exposed, but uninfected individuals.
Although antibodies against HIV can be detected, it is clear that they are not sufficiently neutralizing to assist with immunologic control of the infection.
The role of NK cells may be important in the initial control of HIV. Escape mutations have been detected, implying that immunologic pressure on HIV exists from NK cells.
Initial Stem Cell Cures Of Hiv/aids
In 2007, Timothy Ray Brown, a 40-year-old HIV-positive man, also known as “the Berlin Patient”, was given a stem cell transplant as part of his treatment for acute myeloid leukemia . A second transplant was made a year later after a relapse. The donor was chosen not only for genetic compatibility but also for being homozygous for a CCR5-Î32 mutation that confers resistance to HIV infection. After 20 months without antiretroviral drug treatment, it was reported that HIV levels in Brown’s blood, bone marrow, and bowel were below the limit of detection. The virus remained undetectable over three years after the first transplant. Although the researchers and some commentators have characterized this result as a cure, others suggest that the virus may remain hidden in tissues such as the brain . Stem cell treatment remains investigational because of its anecdotal nature, the disease and mortality risk associated with stem cell transplants, and the difficulty of finding suitable donors. As of 2022 there have been four patient cured by stem cell transplant
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Stage : Clinical Latency
In this stage, the virus still multiplies, but at very low levels. People in this stage may not feel sick or have any symptoms. This stage is also called chronic HIV infection.
Without HIV treatment, people can stay in this stage for 10 or 15 years, but some move through this stage faster.
If you take HIV medicine exactly as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you can live and long and healthy life and will not transmit HIV to your HIV-negative partners through sex.
But if your viral load is detectable, you can transmit HIV during this stage, even when you have no symptoms. Its important to see your health care provider regularly to get your viral load checked.
Changing Attitudes About Hiv
When someone is diagnosed with HIV, other people may have negative attitudes and beliefs about that person’s behaviour, lifestyle or circumstances in life. These negative associations form what’s called stigma, an experience that can decrease quality of life because it includes:
Efforts to end stigma will help to:
- prevent new infections
- ensure that people living with HIV receive the care, treatment and support they need
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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.
Transmission During Pregnancy Or Breastfeeding
For women who are pregnant and living with HIV, taking antiretroviral medication during pregnancy and labor dramatically reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to the baby. Many women living with HIV are able to have healthy, HIV-negative babies by accessing good prenatal care, which includes support for antiretroviral therapy.
Babies born to HIV-positive mothers receive HIV medication for four to six weeks after birth and are tested for the virus over the first six months of life.
According to the
Its important to track viral load over time. Any time viral load increases, its a good idea to find out why. An increase in viral load can occur for many reasons, such as:
- not taking antiretroviral medication consistently
- the HIV has mutated
- antiretroviral medication isnt the right dose
- a lab error occurred
- having a concurrent illness
If viral load increases after being undetectable while on treatment with antiretroviral therapy, or if it doesnt become undetectable despite treatment, the healthcare provider will likely order additional testing to determine the reason.
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