The Response Of Medical Professionals After Diagnosis
Living with HIV
Bisi was fortunate with the response to his diagnosis, and was told that he could get help.
“I actually got diagnosed at an HIV conference, so the amount of inspiration around me gave me a very solid foundation to build upon the little hope I had.”
He also had friends who had been living for a long time with the virus, offering comfort, but it was still a hard thing to accept. And sadly, not every person is instantly reassured that a long life is possible with HIV.
Nathaniel was told that he had a prognosis of 37 years. The shadow of what HIV meant in the 1980s also loomed over him. A few months later, as HIV healthcare continued to develop rapidly, he was told that medication could keep him alive well into old age.
“I still felt a seriousness about starting medication, as I’d heard of people having adverse side effects. Nowadays, thankfully, people start medication right away and the side effects are less severe. All the staff at my clinic were kind and supportive, but HIV is often separated from other STIs as being more serious. It sometimes feels like people are over-protecting you,” he says.
Similarly, Musa Njoko, 49, wasn’t given hope for the future following her diagnosis in October 1994.
“I was completely perplexed and devastated. Due to my health at the time and what was available medically, or lack thereof, I was given three months to live if I was lucky. I had a 2-year-old son, who is now 28.”
What Are The Stages Of Hiv
HIV has three stages:
Stage 1: Acute HIV
Some people get flu-like symptoms a month or two after theyve been infected with HIV. These symptoms often go away within a week to a month.
Stage 2: Chronic stage/clinical latency
After the acute stage, you can have HIV for many years without feeling sick. It’s important to know that you can still spread HIV to others even if you feel well.
Stage 3: AIDS
AIDS is the most serious stage of HIV infection. In this stage, HIV has severely weakened your immune system and opportunistic infections are much more likely to make you sick.
Opportunistic infections are ones that someone with a healthy immune system could typically fight off. When HIV has advanced to AIDS, these illnesses take advantage of your weakened immune system.
Youre more likely to get certain cancers when you have AIDS. These cancers and opportunistic infections together are called AIDS-defining illnesses.
To be diagnosed with AIDS, you must be infected with HIV and have at least one of the following:
- Fewer than 200 CD4 cells per cubic millimeter of blood .
- An AIDS-defining illness.
Can You Get Hiv From Kissing
Since HIV is not spread through spit, kissing is not a common way to get infected. In certain situations where other body fluids are shared, such as if both people have open sores in their mouths or bleeding gums, there is a chance you could get HIV from deep, open-mouthed kissing.
You also dont get HIV from:
- Touching or hugging someone who has HIV/AIDS.
- Public bathrooms or swimming pools.
- Sharing cups, utensils or telephones with someone who has HIV/AIDS.
- Bug bites.
- Donating blood.
Recommended Reading: Who Was The First Person To Have Aids
Factors That Reduce Life Expectancy
Despite these advances, there are factors that can increase or decrease the life expectancy of people with HIV. These range from things we can control to things we can’t .
These factors not only influence not only how a person responds to treatment but whether they are able to access treatment in the first place. Because of this, how long a person with HIV could live with HIV is often very different from an individual standpoint.
Moreover, HIV is only part of the long-term concern. Even among those on treatment, the risk of non-HIV-associated diseases, like cancer or heart disease, is far greater than in the general population and can occur anywhere from 10 to 15 years earlier.
So serious are these concerns that a person living with HIV today is far more likely to die prematurely of a non-HIV-related illness than an HIV-related one.
How Long Can An Hiv
Scholars who have fervently studied the illness and its developments in the immune system have debated the topic of HIV developing into AIDs for years. Is it true that some people even think that HIV/AIDS is not as asymptomatic as studies suggest? During the course of this article, we shall learn more.
Well be looking at how long a person with HIV can live before the illness progresses to AIDs in this post in accordance with a Healthline article.
As we all know, AIDs is the most severe form of this illness, and if it progresses to this point, the immune system will have been severely compromised, leaving the body vulnerable to a wide range of symptoms and opportunistic illnesses. Simply relax and read this article to learn something new.
How long do HIV patients have before their condition worsens and becomes AIDS?
First of all, HIV can only turn into AIDS if retroviral drugs are not started promptly enough. However, determining how long a person would experience no symptoms before the disease progresses to its final stage is the main goal of this study.
A person can remain symptom-free for up to ten years, or even longer, before entering the deadly stage of AIDS, according to studies and information provided by HIV.gov. One in ten people carry HIV without even being aware of it, which is why people frequently claim that it doesnt show on the face.
Kindly say your thoughts in the comment section and dont forget to follow me for more interesting updates.
Don’t Miss: How Did Humans Get Hiv
Growing Older With Hiv
Today, thanks to improvements in the effectiveness of treatment with HIV medicine , people with HIV who are diagnosed early and who get and stay on ART can keep the virus suppressed and live long and healthy lives. For this reason, nearly half of people living with diagnosed HIV in the United States are aged 50 and older. Many of them have been living with HIV for many years others were diagnosed with HIV later in life.
Thats a significant change from the early years of the epidemic when people who were diagnosed with HIV or AIDS could expect to live only 1-2 years after their diagnosis. This meant that the issues of aging were not a major focus for people with HIV disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , in 2018, over half of people in the United States and dependent areas with diagnosed HIV were aged 50 and older. In addition, people aged 50 and older accounted for 17% of the 37,968 new HIV diagnoses in 2018 in the United States and dependent areas. Though new HIV diagnoses are declining among people aged 50 and older, around 1 in 6 HIV diagnoses in 2018 were in this group.
People over age 50 with HIV make up 46.8% of the over half a million clients served by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program . In 2019, 92.2% of clients aged 50 and older receiving RWHAP HIV medical care were virally suppressed, which was higher than the national RWHAP average .
What Do I Do If I Find Out I Have Hiv
Millions of people have HIV youre definitely not alone. Most people get at least one STD in their lifetime, and having HIV or another STD is nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about. It doesnt mean youre dirty or a bad person.
Finding out that you have HIV can be really upsetting. You might feel mad, embarrassed, scared, or ashamed at first. But youll probably feel better as time goes by having a good support system and getting counseling really helps. There are medicines you can take to help you stay healthy, and lots of ways to avoid giving HIV to anyone you have sex with. The reality is, people with HIV can be in relationships, have sex, and live normal lives by taking a few precautions.
Although theres no cure for HIV, there are medicines that help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV treatment called antiretroviral therapy lowers the amount of virus in your body . This does two things:
Slows down the effects of HIV in your body, which keeps you healthy.
Lowers or even stops your chances of giving HIV to sexual partners.
Some people on ART have such a small amount of virus in their body, they cant transmit HIV to their sexual partners at all.
Even if youre feeling totally fine right now, see a doctor as soon as you can so you can talk about the best ways to stay healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions hotline can help you find a doctor near you who specializes in treating HIV: 1-800-CDC-INFO .
You May Like: Can You Get Hiv From Just Sticking It In
How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Hiv
The best way to reduce your risk of HIV is to be aware of how it spreads and protect yourself during certain activities. Having sex without a condom and sharing needles to take drugs are the most common ways that HIV spreads.
These are some ways to reduce your risk:
- Use latex condoms whenever you have any type of sex .
- Don’t use condoms made from animal products .
- Use water-based lubricants .
- Never share needles to take drugs.
- Get tested and treated for other STDs. Other STDs can put you at higher risk for an HIV infection.
- Avoid getting drunk or high. Intoxicated people might be less likely to protect themselves.
- If you are at high risk of HIV exposure, ask your healthcare provider if you should be taking pre-exposure prophylaxis .
- If you think youve been exposed to HIV, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible to see if you should take post-exposure prophylaxis .
- Consider getting tested to know if you can pass HIV to others.
It’s important to use a condom correctly to protect yourself against HIV. Use a male condom for any sex act that involves your penis.
You can also protect the vagina or anus with dental dams or internal condoms. Dental dams are flat pieces of polyurethane or latex that you can put over your vagina or anus if you are having oral sex. An internal condom can be used by insertion into your vagina or anus.
You should only use one type of condom at a time. Do not use both a male condom and an internal condom.
Causes Of Hiv Infection
Many HIV patients are living longer
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.
You May Like: What Type Of Cell Does Hiv Attack
If I Am Pregnant And Have Hiv Will My Baby Also Have Hiv
Most women with HIV can protect their baby from becoming infected during pregnancy. Proper pre-natal treatment can reduce the risk that an HIV-positive mother will pass the virus to her child to less than 1 percent. The only way these special treatments can be provided is if the health care professionals know the mother is living with HIV. Treatment is most effective when started early in pregnancy. HIV-positive moms should not breastfeed their babies because HIV is sometimes passed this way.
Where Did Aids Come From
Scientists have traced the origin of HIV back to chimpanzees and simian immunodeficiency virus , an HIV-like virus that attacks the immune system of monkeys and apes.
In 1999, researchers identified a strain of chimpanzee SIV called SIVcpz, which was nearly identical to HIV. Chimps, the scientist later discovered, hunt and eat two smaller species of monkeysred-capped mangabeys and greater spot-nosed monkeysthat carry and infect the chimps with two strains of SIV. These two strains likely combined to form SIVcpz, which can spread between chimpanzees and humans.
SIVcpz likely jumped to humans when hunters in Africa ate infected chimps, or the chimps infected blood got into the cuts or wounds of hunters. Researchers believe the first transmission of SIV to HIV in humans that then led to the global pandemic occurred in 1920 in Kinshasa, the capital and largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The virus spread may have spread from Kinshasa along infrastructure routes via migrants and the sex trade.
In the 1960s, HIV spread from Africa to Haiti and the Caribbean when Haitian professionals in the colonial Democratic Republic of Congo returned home. The virus then moved from the Caribbean to New York City around 1970 and then to San Francisco later in the decade.
International travel from the United States helped the virus spread across the rest of the globe.
You May Like: Would You Date Someone With Hiv
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.
Comorbidities And Healthy Aging
Because modern-day HIV medications are highly effective and well-tolerated, interventions that improve the life expectancies of people living with HIV will need to address other health conditions that may affect people living with HIV at a disproportionate rate or more severely.
Improving the health of people growing older with HIV is a critical priority, said Harris, Rabkin and El-Sadr, in an editorial published in AIDS. Older adults living with HIV may experience more severe side effects of antiretroviral medications, higher risk of kidney disease, declines in bone mineral density, peripheral neuropathy and cardiovascular disease. An estimated 6.9 million people living with HIV will be over age 50 by the year 2020.
The greying of the epidemic raises important questions regarding understanding the effect of aging on people living with HIV, the effect of HIV infection on the aging process, and optimal approaches to HIV prevention among older adults, said Harris and colleagues.
Harris, T. G., Rabkin, M. and El-Sadrr, W. M. Achieving the fourth 90: healthy aging for people living with HIV. AIDS, 2018.
Recommended Reading: Has Anyone Been Cured Of Hiv
Stage : Acute Hiv Infection
After a person comes into contact with HIV, the virus replicates quickly, and the blood contains high levels of the virus. At this time, it can easily transmit to others through blood, semen and preseminal fluids, rectal fluid, vaginal fluid, and breast milk.
Within 24 weeks of exposure to the virus, some people develop a nonspecific syndrome with a fever and other flu-like symptoms. This may last for several days or weeks.
Not everyone experiences these symptoms, however. If a person does not undergo testing, it is possible for HIV to progress without any indication that it is in the body.
The flu-like symptoms of a stage 1 HIV infection may include:
- swollen glands
- nausea or vomiting
These symptoms are collectively known as a seroconversion illness. They represent the bodys natural response to an infection as it attempts to kill off the virus. However, the human body cannot completely remove this virus once it is present.
At this stage, the virus replicates using the bodys CD4 T cells and spreads throughout the body. In doing so, it destroys CD4 T cells.
Eventually, this process stabilizes. The immune system reduces the number of viral particles, and levels of CD4 T cells may rise. However, the number of these cells may not return to its original level.
Tuberculosis Among People Living With Hiv
Tuberculosis is the leading HIV-associated opportunistic infection in low- and middle- income countries, and it is a leading cause of death globally among people living with HIV. Death due to tuberculosis still remains high among people living with HIV, however the number of deaths is decreasing. Most of the global mortality due to TB among those with HIV is from cases in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In the charts here we see the number of tuberculosis patients who tested positive for HIV the number receiving antiretroviral therapy and the number of TB-related deaths among those living with HIV.
People who use ART are living longer
ART not only saves lives but also gives a chance for people living with HIV/AIDS to live long lives. Without ART very few infected people survive beyond ten years.3
Today, a person living in a high-income country who started ART in their twenties can expect to live for another 46 years that is well into their 60s.4
While the life expectancy of people living with HIV/AIDS in high-income countries has still not reached the life expectancy of the general population, we are getting closer to this goal.5
ART prevents new HIV infections
There is considerable evidence to show that people who use ART are less likely to transmit HIV to another person.7 ART reduces the number of viral particles present in an HIV-positive individual and therefore, the likelihood of passing the virus to another person decreases.
We need to increase ART coverage
You May Like: Can You Be Hiv Positive And Test Negative