There is life with HIV

I'm HIV Positive. And now?

What does it mean to be HIV positive?

 

Being HIV positive means you have signs of the presence of the virus in the human immunodeficiency  (HIV) in your body, signs are discovered through a test of HIV. There are approximately 1,2 million people living with HIV in the United States today, and 14% of them (one in seven) do not know it.1

An initial positive HIV test result is preliminary. The person testing positive usually needs a follow-up test to confirm the result. Some individuals who initially tested negative for HIV might test positive in the follow-up test because it takes time for the body to produce a detectable number of antibodies (immune window). Currently there is no cure for HIV, but the infection can be controlled with medical treatment Antiretroviral Therapy, ART.

Consider that to have contracted HIV today, or thirty days ago, will not lead you to develop symptoms of AIDS, another thing, which takes years and years to develop. HIV is a different virus, for example, from COVID-19.

HIV is a virus that attacks cells of the immune system, killing them and, over the years, leaving the body defenseless against other infections. It is transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen or vaginal fluids.

 

Meaning of HIV positive result

if someone tests positive for HIV,is considered a preliminary positive result. One  second confirmation test is required to confirm a positive hiv diagnosis. initial.

The only way to know if someone has HIV is through testing. A positive HIV diagnosis is made after detecting HIV antibodies and/or antigens in the body. Once HIV enters the body, the immune system produces Antibodies  (proteins that help fight infection) in response to the virus. An HIV antigen called p24 is produced even before antibodies develop. The presence of antibodies or antigens in a blood, saliva or urine sample detected by an HIV test indicates that HIV has entered the bloodstream and that someone is HIV positive.

The CDC primarily recommends antibody and antigen combination tests, as they can check for hiv antibodies as well as p24 protein. Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 must be tested for HIV at least once. 2

Stages of HIV Infection

Stage 1: Acute HIV infection

There are three stages of HIV. In stage 1 From HIV infection to acute HIV infection, the immune system tries to attack the virus by producing HIV antibodies, a process called seroconversion. Generally occurs within a few weeks of infection.3

These antibodies will remain around and will remain detectable for many years. As a result, someone living with HIV will continue to test positive on HIV tests. even if your viral load (the amount of HIV in your blood) is undetectable.

Within two to four weeks after being infected, those with HIV may experience:

  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • Oral ulcers4

Symptoms may be absent in some people, however.

Stage 2: Clinical Latency

When the body enters stage 2, clinical latency, where the virus still multiplies but at extremely low levels, infected individuals begin to feel better with little or no symptoms.5 HIV can still be transmitted for other people, however, during this phase.

Phase 3: AIDS

If an HIV infection is not treated, it will progress to stage 3, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS/AIDS), where the body's immune system is severely damaged and becomes vulnerable to other infections as well. A doctor will diagnose whether someone has AIDS through CD4 cell tests.

At this stage, someone with HIV may feel recurrent fever,  extreme fatigue,  diarrhea chronic,  depression and loss of memory.6 Other Stage 3 symptoms include:

HIV test

If someone suspects exposure to HIV, they can be tested at a clinic or buy a home test at a pharmacy. If they order a test at a doctor's office, they will be offered pre-test and post-test counseling about its positive result and reduction of transmission risk. Some look to in-house tests for privacy and quick results.

I don't recommend it, as I don't know this or this psychic giant who can handle this diagnosis with peace of mind...

In addition to testing for HIV antibodies and antigens, healthcare professionals will also look at how well a person's immune system is functioning and will examine the level of HIV in the body. One measure they look at is the count of cd4 tests, which is the number of CD4 immune cells in the blood. CD4 cells are vital for the proper functioning of the immune system.7 A normal CD4 count is between 500 and 1.500 cells per cubic millimeter. The more CD4 cells a person has, the healthier they are.8 A low CD4 count, defined as 200 or fewer cells per cubic millimeter, indicates AIDS and a high risk of opportunistic infections, infections that occur more often and are more severe in people with weakened immune systems such as those with HIV.

HIV is spread through sexual contact or sharing medical equipment  with someone who is infected with the virus. It can also be transmitted from mother to son through the breast milk.9

“Things” that can put someone at greater risk for HIV:10

  • Unprotected sex
  • anal and oral
  • Sharing drug needles and syringes
  • Other sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea
  • Unsafe injections for blood transfusions
  • Accidental needle injuries (most common among healthcare professionals)

How common is HIV today?

Antiretroviral therapy

Antiretroviral therapy, or ART, is not a cure, but it can control HIV by preventing the virus from making copies of itself. Antiretroviral therapy can reduce the viral load of a person with HIV and result in viral suppression, which is when a person has fewer than 20 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.4 This can help protect the immune system, which the virus attacks, and make it less likely for the infected individual to get sick.

There are seven classes of antiretrovirals and within these classes there are 39 different antiretroviral drugs.

ART can also reduce the risk of HIV transmission by keeping the viral load low and helping someone achieve something called an undetectable viral load, which means the amount of HIV in your blood is so low that it cannot be transmitted through sex. . A study found that serodiscordant couples  (where one person is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative) who were on ART had 96% less likely to infect your partners.11

Doctors recommend that patients start ART immediately after the HIV-positive diagnosis is confirmed. Starting treatment early can stop the progression of HIV and maintain the individual health of the infected person for many years. People who have undetectable viral loads within six months of therapy are more likely to have a normal life expectancy compared to those who have failed to achieve viral suppression.12

Other lifestyle changes to consider after an HIV-positive result include:

  • Keeping your vaccinations up to date
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduction of alcohol intake
  • taking pain relievers

Having HIV means ongoing therapy and regular medical appointments to properly monitor the progression of the infection. The diagnosis can bring feelings of anguish and anxiety. It is important to surround yourself with a support system and deal healthily with a new HIV-positive diagnosis.8

HIV vs. AIDS

HIV and AIDS are often described. incorrectly as the same disease. Actually, HIV is a virus, and AIDS is a condition. AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body's immune system is damaged by the virus.5 Most people with HIV do not develop AIDS because taking HIV drugs as prescribed prevents the progression of the disease. HIV is a virus and AIDS is a condition.

Without HIV medicine, people with AIDS typically survive for about three years. Once someone has an opportunistic infection, the untreated life expectancy drops to about a year. HIV medicine can still help people at this stage, but those who start ART soon after HIV experience more benefit.

A point to ponder

Getting an HIV-positive diagnosis can be overwhelming, but finding out now can help start treatment and prevent the infection from getting worse. Many people living with HIV are able to keep their infection under control with the latest treatment options.

If you have been diagnosed with HIV, locate your and an expert infectious disease specialist. in HIV. The CDC (in the United States) offers a large list of  means  for housing, mental health care, travel and fighting stigma around HIV. I lived in support houses and, for me, the street was better.

For those who feel alienated or confused, join a group of support , stay up to date on HIV therapy and focus on your well-being. An HIV positive diagnosis is not the end of your future. Keeping a positive mindset and taking proactive steps to control your infection can help you continue to live a healthy life.

Translated by Claudio Souza

HIV or AIDS? I'm a Reagent, now what? Life goes on!

Article Sources
  1. HIV.gov statistics from the USA.  Last updated June 30, 2020.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV test. Last updated on June 9, 2020.
  3. Smith MK, Rutstein SE, Powers KA, Fidler S, Miller WC, Eron JJ Jr, Cohen MS. The detection and management of early HIV infection: a clinical and health emergencypublic. J Acquire Immune Defic Syndr. 2013 Jul;63 Suppl 2(0 2):S187-99. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e31829871e0
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Treatment as Prevention. Last updated on March 3, 2020.
  5. HIV.gov. HIV symptoms.  Last updated on July 1, 2020.
  6. July 01 CSH govDate last update:, 2020. HIV symptoms. HIV.gov.
  7. MedlinePlus. CD4 Lymphocyte Count. Last updated on November 30, 2020.
  8. B-Lajoie MR, Drouin O, Bartlett G, Nguyen Q, Low A, Gavriilidis G, Easterbrook P, Muhe L. Incidence and Prevalence of Opportunistic and Other Infections and the Impact of Antiretroviral Therapy Among HIV-Infected Children in-20000: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Clin Infect Dis. 2016 Jun 15;62(12):1586-1594. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciw139
  9. Naif HM. Pathogenesis of Infection byHIV. Infect Dis Rep. 2013 Jun 6;5(Suppl 1):e6. doi: 10.4081/idr.2013.s1.e6
  10. World Health Organization. HIV / AIDS. Last updated on November 30, 2020.
  11. Curran K, Baeten JM, Coates TJ, Kurth A, Mugo NR, Celum C. HIV-1 prevention for HIV-1 serodiscordant couples. Curr HIV/Aids Rep. 2012 Jun;9(2):160-70. doi: 10.1007/s11904-012-0114-z
  12. Jiamsakul A, Kariminia A, Althoff KN, Cesar C, Cortes CP, Davies MA, Do VC, Eley B, Gill J, Kumarasamy N, Ax DM, Moore R, Prozesky H, Zaniewski E, Law M. HIV Viral Load Suppression in Adults and Children Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy-Results From the IeDEA Collaboration. J Acquire Immune Defic Syndr. 2017 Nov 1;76(3):319-329. doi: 10.1097/QAI.000000000001499


Source of matter: What Does It Mean to Be HIV-Positive?

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