1. Who should get tested for HIV? Everyone.
2. ABC’s of Staying Safe from HIV. Prevention
3. Symptoms. (Get tested if you had a risk event.)
4. Good News. (Read about one pill therapy. Lab mice rid of HIV. Vaccine soon.)
This article was extensively updated 08/04/2019. Today is: 09/20/2019
Part of the RSAC HIV-Test Team in the Philippines. If you see any of our RSAC team, ask for a free test in absolute confidence. Let’s put an end to the spread of this virus as soon as we can.
*A is for abstinence. Abstain from sex unless you have a monogamous partner. Fidelity might be for some people a religious, moral or loyalty issue but for Public Health and for you, it is a life and death issue.
*B, hence, is for Be faithful to your monogamous partner.
*C is for Condom. It is an effective shield against the HIV virus. Unless you know from valid HIV/AIDS testing your sex partner is negative, use a condom. It’s that simple.
*D is for Don’t re-use needles.
*E is for Educate yourself and continue to learn about prevention and treatment breakthroughs.
What are your symptoms?
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) & Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Most people may develop symptoms similar to flu, 2–6 weeks after catching the virus. This is called acute retroviral syndrome. The symptoms of early HIV infection may include:
- joint pain
- muscle aches
- sore throat
- sweats (particularly at night)
- enlarged glands
- a red rash
- unintentional weight loss
It is important to remember that these symptoms appear when the body is fighting off many other types of viruses, not just HIV. However, if you have several of these symptoms and believe you could have been at risk of contracting HIV in the last few weeks, you should take a test.
At Most Risk: Children, Teens, LGBTQ2, in that order.
Among the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit communities (LGBTQ2), more learning is needed. Based on simple statistics, children, teens and the LGBTQ2 communities need more learning and prevention help because they are the statistical breeding ground for new infections.
Medical outreach and education on risk patterns and prevention of the transmission of communicable diseases is important but the most important mantra for HIV is: “Get Tested”.
Afraid of privacy issues? Do it yourself. Self testing is a legitimate, responsible and reliable way to test for HIV.
“OMG I tested Positive”
HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis probably top the list of preventable sexually transmitted diseases. Start preventing.
If it’s too late for you to “prevent” because you have tested positive for HIV in a home test, do a confirming test with your doctor or any hospital/clinic offering this common service.
This is a more complex test that ascertains if your home test has been done in error and also examines the HIV strain present in your blood if at all. Meanwhile, learn to take care of yourself while you wait for results and be certain that you learn how to practice safe sex and do not transmit the disease.
This learning will mitigate your anxiety. Start treatment and suppress the virus to the point of being undetectable.
Chill out. You are not going to die from early-detected HIV if you start treatment as soon as possible.
Yes, gone. Get the free FPMag App and watch for coming developments.
“Most people who fear being positive, test negative,” says nurse Gracie working with The RINJ Foundation HIV and sexual assault clinics.
“Paranoia creates that,” she added. “More people fear they have HIV than those who test positive, in our experience. You don’t get HIV from normal kissing of a person, but some people are terrified that it is possible that could happen. ‘Get tested and put it out of your mind’, is the best advise to give anyone.”
You need medicines. And that might be one pill per day, now.
Follow sound health care advice; take care of yourself; do not transmit the virus; seek the pharmacological solution you need (likely still AntiRetroviral Treatment (ART) but others are on the way) and change your lifestyle to a healthy one–protect your health and your white blood cells (more precisely CD4 cells / ‘T cells’).
With pharmacological prophylaxis halt the progress of the virus and suppress its existence in your blood.
- Don’t let your condition evolve to AIDs.
- Prevention is still very important.
- Do not contract another variant of HIV.
Feminine-Perspective Magazine (FPMag) is this organization’s monthly magazine with daily news updates online.
Patients absolutely MUST get treated and stay healthy waiting for a complete cure.
DON’T just wait for a cure.
Anything can happen, none of it good. If you let this go and don’t take action, all you are doing is walking under a bus. Such a person could benefit from a mental health appointment but that is not the HIV. Depression can also hit anyone. Get treated.
FPMag has been talking to hands-on experts working in the jungles and the mountains of developing nations and they have a lot to say.
“You are not going to die from HIV. HIV has had its butt kicked and it will soon go down for the count,” says Syrian Dr. Buni, stoically.
- Get your spirits up and get tested,
- if positive,
- get treated and stick to your treatment plan.
You will be reducing the function and replication of the HIV virus. Your health care practitioner will want to diminish your viral load to minimal copies of HIV per milliliter of blood. A successful suppression of the viral load leaves undetectable levels of virus in your blood.
“In 150,000 cases, there has been no transmission of the virus from persons who have achieved viral suppression,” noted Dr. Anthony Fauci at the recently concluded IAS Conference. Dr. Fauci is the Director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Vaccines are under development and many are in second and third trial phases. That’s not a cure but if you are infected with a variant of the virus, you don’t want another type of HIV.
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Vaccines are important to patients already infected because a vaccine will afford protection to your family and significant other. The best protection is to suppress ones own virus. But brace yourself. Another breakthrough is quite shattering.
AntiretToviral Therapy (ART) could be obsolete someday, as scientists have successfully used immune cells to kick the dormant form of HIV out of its hiding place and destroy it. These findings may soon lead to an HIV vaccine that also has benefits for patients who have achieved virus suppression.
From this day forward it is quite unlikely you will die from HIV if you have recently been infected; get tested; and start treatment on ART.
If you have had any kind of risk incident, get tested. Get tested again until at least three months have passed since the incident. If positive, start treatment. If negative, stop scaring yourself and follow the ABCs of prevention listed in this article. :o)
You have somewhere around a 76% chance of complete virus suppression when you start treatment immediately after testing positive and stay with your treatment plan and medical care. A lessor result could include slightly detectable levels of the virus in your blood. From there your doctor might adjust your medicine and fetch you the result you want.
Notes of great encouragement worth learning about.
Five thousand experts from 140 countries came together this July past, with answers. Mabuhay.
Better combinations of medications are being formed into single pills taken one per day is a big takeway from the biennial IAS Conference that concluded at the end of July.
Watch a summary of the 10th (2019) IAS Conference which concluded 15 July in Mexico City. The biennial IAS Conference on HIV Science is the largest open scientific conference on HIV and this year assembled more than 5,000 participants from more than 140 countries. This conference presents the latest critical advances in basic, clinical, and operational research that move science into policy and practice. Findings from research supported by the NIH as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID were among the more than 1,000 abstracts presented.
From Nairobi to Saskatoon, scientists are working on vaccines to prevent HIV.
Other studies and tests seek to REMOVE the HIV virus from a human body. Believe it or not, successful gene manipulation has already worked to remove HIV from mice. This was accomplished by a Kenyan professor working at the University of Nebraska in the USA.
A clinical trial named the ‘IAVI W001 trial’ is now being conducted in Kenya. The vaccine candidate dubbed BG505 SOSIP is a molecule cloned to resemble HIV. It will be tested on Kenyan volunteers to check for safety and efficacy.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDCP) of Beijing has been working on an HIV vaccine since first trials in 2007. The vaccine is called DNA-rTV and, in this second phase of human trials, researchers are testing the replication of the DNA of HIV in order to trigger the immunization.
An American project called HVTN 706 has been developing for 15-years. HVTN 706 involves the US National Institutes of Health (NIH); the HIV Vaccine Trials Network headquartered at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; the US Army Medical Research and Development Command; and the private sector firm, Janssen div. of Johnson & Johnson.
You can beat HIV. Before long, new solutions will be discovered and you can avail those as they are tested and evolving. Meanwhile you can suppress the virus in your body. Stop it in its tracks.
The Enemy is a Virus. Achieve viral suppression!
Each “germ” is so small they can only be seen under a strong microscope.
Most viruses hijack red blood cells to clone themselves. HIV is different and more sinister.
Think of this: about 200 different viruses can cause what we refer to as a “cold.” Many others cause the flu, chicken pox, polio, measles, mumps, and a variety of other diseases. There are no cures for viruses and most are fought by your body’s immune system. For many serious diseases, medical scientists have developed vaccines to prevent your body from getting the disease in the first place.
HIV is awaiting such a vaccine. More dialogue; more testing; and more prevention will help the process. Let’s openly talk about HIV. Let’s encourage the development of a vaccine.
Most importantly, every single person infected with the virus must start treatment.
Start treatment immediately upon learning you are HIV Positive.
You can live a normal life with pharmacological assistance (medicine). Do this while you wait for a cure. See your MD or specialist ASAP and have your meds prescribed. Start treatment. Do not let your HIV infection become AIDS. A vaccine is in the works and a cure for HIV may also be imminent. Stay as healthy as possible until then.
These medications are some conversation starters (or explanations) with your health care provider. Remember this may change as more discoveries emerge from completion of testing.
- Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) block the reverse transcriptase enzyme.
- Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) bind to and later change the reverse transcriptase enzyme.
- Integrase inhibitors block the integrase enzyme.
- Protease inhibitors (PIs) block the protease enzyme.
Some HIV/AIDS medicines interfere with HIV’s ability to infect CD4 immune system cells:
- Fusion inhibitors block HIV from entering the cells.
- CCR5 antagonists and post-attachment inhibitors block different molecules on the CD4 cells. To infect a cell, HIV has to bind to two types of molecules on the cell’s surface. Blocking either of these molecules prevents HIV from entering the cells.
In some cases, people may take more than one medicine:
- Pharmacokinetic enhancers boost the effectiveness of certain HIV/AIDS medicines.
- A pharmacokinetic enhancer slows the breakdown of the other medicine. This allows that medicine to stay in the body longer at a higher concentration.
- Multidrug combinations include a combination of two or more different HIV/AIDS medicines. This has become accepted practice if not even recommended practice.
Here is HIV. Not pretty, is it. It directly attacks your immune system. Rather than attacking your red blood cells like most viruses it goes after your white blood cells, your body’s disease fighting soldiers. This slowly reduces your defences against all disease and infections. There are yet no cures for HIV nor is there a vaccine yet that prevents you from being infected by HIV. Once enough of your white blood cells have been destroyed, you are reclassified as having AIDS. Don’t let it get that far. There are medications that can suppress the HIV and allow you to live a normal life.
A healthy young person is exposed to the virus. HIV enters their blood stream. It is somewhat possible a person can be infected for 10 years or more without showing symptoms.
That’s why testing is so important. The person’s immune system begins to fight back. White blood cells attack the virus, but cannot kill HIV.
HIV begins to destroy white (CD4) blood cells. The patient’s immune system becomes severely damaged. The victim’s body can no longer fight other microbiological invaders. Eventually another virus, such as pneumonia or the influenza, enters the body. The patient’s mortality risk becomes elevated.
Go today and get tested or test yourself. If positive, start treatment.
RINJ/RSAC and all Medical Workers are reminded:
- Test patients for HIV as a regular part of medical care.
- Counsel patients who do not have HIV on how to prevent it.
- Make sure people living with HIV are prescribed and take HIV medicines, stay in care and get supportive services such as nutrition, housing, or mental health services.
- Work with health departments to get and keep people in HIV medical care.