Letting Partners Know You Have Hiv
If you have just been diagnosed with HIV, it will likely be a difficult time. You might still be struggling to come to terms with diagnosis.
During this time, it is important to let any sexual or injecting partners know they may have been exposed to HIV as soon as you can, so they can be tested and offered PEP if appropriate.
You do not have to do this alone. Your doctor or the Department of Health and Human Services Partner Notification Officers can help you through this process and ensure your identity is not revealed.. Both groups can provide information, support, and guidance for people living with HIV.
How Often Do You Need To Get Tested For Hiv
How often you should get tested depends on your personal practices, risk behaviours, and how often you engage in them.
For most people, it is important to have a full sexual health test at least once each year. This testing includes:
Even if you always use condoms, it is recommended you get tested annually as condoms dont provide 100% protection against HIV and STIs.
Hiv Transmission Through Transfusion
Transmission of human immunodeficiency virus through transfusion of contaminated blood components was documented in the United States in 1982 . Since then, the risk for transfusion-transmitted HIV infection has been almost eliminated by the use of questionnaires to exclude donors at higher risk for HIV infection and the use of highly sensitive laboratory screening tests to identify infected blood donations. The risk for acquiring HIV infection through blood transfusion today is estimated conservatively to be one in 1.5 million, based on 2007–2008 data . This report describes the first U.S. case of transfusion-transmitted HIV infection reported to CDC since 2002 . A blood center in Missouri discovered that blood components from a donation in November 2008 tested positive for HIV infection. A lookback investigation determined that this donor had last donated in June 2008, at which time he incorrectly reported no HIV risk factors and his donation tested negative for the presence of HIV. One of the two recipients of blood components from this donation, a patient undergoing kidney transplantation, was found to be HIV infected, and an investigation determined that the patient’s infection was acquired from the donor’s blood products. Even though such transmissions are rare, health-care providers should consider the possibility of transfusion-transmitted HIV in HIV-infected transfusion recipients with no other risk factors.
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Hiv Treatment Side Effects
Like all drugs, ART can cause side effects. These vary, depending on the person and type of treatment. Even people taking the same HIV drugs can have different side effects. The most common are:
A hypersensitivity reaction to an HIV drug called abacavir which consists of liver damage or severe skin rashes, can be life-threatening. Call your doctor or get emergency care right away if you think you have a severe reaction to this or any medication you take. Before you start any drug, make sure your doctor explains what side effects to watch out for.
Treatment as prevention: The best way to stay healthy and protect others is to start and stick with treatment. When your viral load is undetectable, you will keep yourself healthy, and thereâs no chance you can pass the virus to your sexual partner.
Viral Load & Medications
If someone has HIV, this does not mean that they are restricted to celibacy. Many people with HIV still continue to have safe, enjoyable sex lives without spreading the virus. Always using a condom or barrier method is an important first step to prevent the sharing of HIV containing fluids.
Antiretroviral therapy : Another way to help decrease the risk of spreading HIV is to lower a personâs viral loadâthe amount of HIV in a personâs blood. Viral loads can be lowered using medications called antiretroviral therapy . These medications can lower the HIV viral load so much that HIV may not even be detectable on a blood testâthis is called an undetectable viral load . When a person’s viral load in undetectable, they have effectively no risk of transmitting the HIV virus to a non-infected partner . Taking these medication will help keep a person with HIV healthy while also helping prevent the spread of HIV to another person. This is not a cure, however. If medication is taken incorrectly or stopped, HIV viral loads will increase again and transmission can occur. Condoms and other barrier methods should still always be used during sex .
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Hiv Testing In A Health Care Setting Or Lab
If you take a test in a health care setting or a lab, a health care provider or lab technician will take your sample . If its a rapid test, you may be able to wait for the results, but if its a laboratory test, it can take several days for your results to be available. Your health care provider or counselor may talk with you about your risk factors, answer any questions you might have, and discuss next steps with you, especially if your result is positive.
- If the test comes back negative, and you havent had an exposure during the window period for the test you took, you can be confident you dont have HIV.
- If your HIV test result is positive, the lab will conduct follow-up testing, usually on the same sample as the first.
Treatment For Toxic Shock Syndrome
If you think you could have toxic shock syndrome, stop using tampons immediately and go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital.
- medication to kill the infection
- fluids given through a drip to increase blood pressure and treat dehydration
- medical treatment for any complications, such as kidney failure.
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When To Get Tested For Hiv
If you think you might have been exposed to HIV, its best to speak to a healthcare professional immediately.
Even if you dont think you have been at risk, testing regularly is good practice for people who are having sex. Its important to test for HIV during pregnancy. If you know your status, you can avoid passing the virus on to your baby. A window period is the amount of time it takes after infection for a test to give you an accurate result. Its good to know about window periods, but dont delay getting tested if you think you might have been exposed to HIV.
Will Having Hiv Affect My Menstrual Cycle
As well as affecting your immune system, HIV can sometimes affect your hormonal system and change the frequency of your periods. This may be the case if you have a low CD4 cell count and/or a high viral load.
Here are some changes to the menstrual cycle that HIV can cause:
- long intervals between periods
- missed periods without pregnancy.
Tell your doctor if you notice any changes to your periods as they may need to do further tests.
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When Should You Get Tested For Hiv After Condomless Sex
Keep in mind, if you believe youve been exposed to HIV, its important to see a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
Theres no HIV test that can accurately detect HIV in the body immediately after exposure. Theres a time frame known as the window period before you can be tested for HIV and receive accurate results.
Regardless of the type of test you take after a potential HIV exposure, you should get tested again after the window period has passed to be certain.
People at higher risk of contracting HIV should get regularly tested as often as every 3 months.
Changes In Your Periods
Your periods can change for example, they may last longer or get lighter. This does not necessarily mean there’s a problem, but it does need to be investigated.
You can see your GP, or visit your nearest women’s clinic or contraceptive clinic.
It might be caused by an infection, abnormalities in the neck of the womb or, in rare cases, it could be cancer.
You could be pregnant if you miss a period and you’ve had sex. See your GP if you’ve taken a pregnancy test and the result is negative and you’ve missed 3 consecutive periods.
They will investigate the cause and recommend any necessary treatment.
Read more about stopped or missed periods.
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What Happens If I Test Positive For Hiv
If your initial test is positive for HIV antibodies, then additional testing is required to confirm that the first one was accurate. Sometimes this involves a second blood test.
When you are first diagnosed you will probably experience strong emotions. During this time, do not try to cope on your own. Seek support by speaking with your doctor, or contact your local community organisation. They have trained peer workers available to help you through the initial stages of a positive diagnosis, but also through your journey of living well with HIV.
Part of testing best practice includes pre- and post-test counselling. Post-test counselling is important, regardless of the outcome. If you test positive, counselling can provide emotional support, further information about living with HIV, and referrals to support services.
If the test is negative, counselling can provide education about HIV and how to reduce your HIV risk in the future. are community organisations that provide support and advocacy for people with HIV. Peer workers are also available to help you navigate living with HIV.
If you have recently been diagnosed with HIV, visit Next Steps for more information.
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.
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Can You Get Pregnant
If you arent actively trying to conceive, using protection is a good idea, no matter what part of your menstrual cycle youre in. Your odds of conceiving are lower during your period, but its still possible to become pregnant at this time.
Youre most likely to get pregnant during ovulation, which happens about 14 days before your period starts. Yet every womans cycle length is different, and your cycle length can change monthly. If you have a short menstrual cycle, your risk of getting pregnant during your period is higher.
Also consider that sperm can stay alive in your body for up to seven days. So, if you have a 22-day cycle and you ovulate soon after getting your period, theres a chance youll be releasing an egg while sperm are still in your reproductive tract.
When To Get Tested
Seek medical advice immediately if you think there’s a chance you could have HIV. The earlier it’s diagnosed, the earlier you can start treatment and avoid becoming seriously ill.
Some HIV tests may need to be repeated 1-3 months after exposure to HIV infection, but you should not wait this long to seek help.
A GP or a sexual health professional can talk to you about having a test and discuss whether you should take emergency HIV medicine.
Anti-HIV medicine called post-exposure prophylaxis may stop you becoming infected if taken within 72 hours of being exposed to the virus.
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Hormonal Contraceptives And Hiv Risk
Evidence that hormonal contraceptives can increase a woman’s risk of HIV has been inconsistent, either by way of oral or injectable birth control drugs. A robust meta-analysis of 12 studieseight done in the general population and four among high-risk womendid show a moderate, overall increase in HIV risk in women using the long-acting injectable, depot medroxyprogesterone acetate . For women in the general population, the risk was seen to be smaller.
The analysis, which included over 25,000 female participants, showed no tangible association between oral contraceptives and HIV risk.
While the data is considered insufficient to suggest the termination of DPMA usage, the researchers advise that women using progestin-only injectables be informed about the uncertainty regarding DPMA and HIV risk, and that they be encouraged to use condoms and explore other preventive strategies such as HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis .
Hiv And Maternal Transmission
HIV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or through breastfeeding. If left untreated throughout these stages, there is a 15-45% chance of an HIV positive mother transmitting the virus to their child . However there are treatment options to prevent this from happening.
If pregnancy occurs and there has been potential HIV exposure, ask a healthcare provider about getting tested for HIV as early as possible. Taking medications called antiretroviral therapy as prescribed can reduce the viral load so that the baby has a very low chance of contracting HIV .
A person with HIV should not breastfeed their child, as breast milk can transmit HIV. Even if a person is taking ART and their viral loads are undetectable, they should still not breastfeed.
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How Long Can Hiv Live Outside Of The Body
Human immunodeficiency virus has created such an intense fear of infection in some that it extends well beyond the fear of sexual transmission. In fact, some people remain convinced that you can get HIV by coming into contact with an object or surface on which there may be HIV-infected blood or semen.
After all, it would seem reasonable to suggest that the more blood or semen there is, the longer the virus can survive outside of the body. And, in turn, if the virus is able to survive, it surely has the potential to infect, right?
What We Know About Injecting Drugs
The risk for getting or transmitting HIV is very high if an HIV-negative person uses needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment after someone with HIV has used them. This is because the needles, syringes, or other injection equipment may have blood in them, and blood can carry HIV. Likewise, youre at risk for getting or transmitting hepatitis B and C if you share needles, syringes, or other injection equipment because these infections are also transmitted through blood.
In 2017, 6% of new HIV diagnoses in the United States were attributed to injection drug use and 3% were attributed to injection drug use and male-to-male sexual contact . On average, an HIV-negative person has about a 1 in 160 chance of getting HIV every time they share needles, syringes, or other injection equipment with a person who has HIV.
More Information There may be extremely tiny amounts of blood in syringes or works that you may not be able to see, but could still carry HIV. Be aware that HIV can survive in a used syringe for up to 42 days depending on temperature and other factors.
There are medicines to treat hepatitis B. If youve never had hepatitis B, theres a vaccine to prevent it. There are medicines to treat hepatitis C, but they arent right for everyone. Theres no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. Talk to your health care provider to learn more about hepatitis B and C.
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