If you learn that someone that you slept with is HIV positive, it's natural for you to become alarmed. You might be thinking about how to learn if you have contracted the infection. You may also wonder if there is anything you can do to limit the likelihood of such a possibility. You can do achieve both of these goals, among others if you know where to go and what to do.
The treatment must begin as soon as possible from the moment of exposure to maximize effectiveness. You must take the drugs every day for 4-weeks after exposure. The treatment is not applicable to all cases, and a healthcare provider can advise you on whether or not is an appropriate course of action for you.
If you have had unprotected sex with an HIV-positive individual within the past 72-hours, an emergency treatment may be able to prevent infection. Known as Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, this treatment involves taking a short course of antiretroviral drugs. The drugs are the same used to treat HIV in those with lifelong infection.
In general, PEP is suitable if your situation meets the following criteria:
- It has been less than 72-hours since possible exposure.
- You came into direct contact with someone's HIV positive fluids.
- You do not already have HIV.
In most cases, you will need to take an HIV test 3-months and 6-months after a potential exposure. This is because the antibodies the standard test detects are not present immediately after exposure. Most infected individuals develop these antibodies within 3 to 6-months.
Standard HIV testing often takes the form of rapid tests that analyze the blood or saliva. They can determine a result in approximately 20-minutes. They are available at doctor's offices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities across the nation. Several websites exist that show the location of screening locations near you.
Home tests for HIV also exist. They require you to mail a blood or saliva sample to a testing facility and then call in for your results.
In some situations, doctors may order early detection methods for HIV. These tests do not rely on antibodies. Instead, they test the blood for genetic material indicative of HIV infection. There is a chance of false results, so early detection testing is usually followed up with antibody testing for greater certainty.
If you receive a positive test result for HIV, you will need to work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan. There is no cure for HIV, but the virus and its effects can be controlled. With proper treatment, an individual with HIV can enjoy near-normal life expectancy and quality of life.
Left untreated, though, HIV will eventually ravage your immune system. It will develop into AIDS, and leave infected individuals susceptible to secondary opportunistic infections. In dire situations, these infections can result in death.
If you receive a negative test HIV test result, you do not have the infection. You will need to take steps to prevent future risk and understand details about the disease if you may have intimate contact with an HIV-positive individual in the future.
Preventing HIV Infection And Understanding The Disease
If you are sexually active, the best method for preventing the spread of HIV is to use protection. Condoms are 98-99% effective at curtailing HIV transmission when used correctly. Use a new condom every time that you have sex, and remember to review the proper procedure for wearing them.
Doctors may sometimes prescribe a medication known as Truvada as a form of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. This drug can help prevent HIV from taking hold in the body when taken consistently.
- You should also keep in mind the following facts about HIV transmission.
- You cannot contract HIV from skin-to-skin contact, tears, sweat, or saliva.
- You cannot contract HIV from utensils or glassware with an HIV positive individual.
- You cannot contract HIV from breathing the same air as an HIV positive individual.
- You cannot contract HIV from mosquitoes.
- Most men contract HIV from having unprotected sex with other men.
- You can still, however, contract HIV from unprotected heterosexual sex.
- You can contract HIV from oral sex.
- Outward symptoms of HIV are rarely present. Therefore, testing is important in determining if you have the infection
HIV infection is a scary prospect. Finding out if you have HIV and getting treatment, though, is possible. Resources for dealing with HIV are abundant, and trained healthcare professionals can support you in finding the resources you need for your specific situation.