HIV Treatment Online
HIV is primarily spread through unprotected sexual contact, and although its symptoms are now manageable with medical advances, untreated HIV can progress into the life-threatening condition known as AIDS.
If you suspect you may have HIV or have inquiries about the virus, it is crucial to consult a doctor promptly.
Connect with one of our doctors at Mobi Doctor with the click of a button and receive the care you require.
What is HIV?
HIV is a virus that impairs the immune system's capacity to combat diseases. It spreads through exposure to specific bodily fluids of an infected individual, primarily through unprotected sexual intercourse.
In recent decades, there have been significant breakthroughs in HIV treatment, making it feasible to maintain a long and healthy life even if you acquire the virus.
Nonetheless, without receiving the necessary treatment, symptoms can advance to AIDS, where the immune system cannot protect the body against infections and severe illnesses.
Approximately 80% of individuals contracting HIV may experience flu-like symptoms roughly 2-6 weeks after infection. Experiencing these symptoms following unprotected sexual activity does not guarantee an HIV diagnosis, but it does warrant getting tested.
Common symptoms to be vigilant for include:
- Skin rash
- Sore throat
- Joint pain
- Swollen glands
Following this initial illness, there may be an extended period without noticeable symptoms lasting several years. Nevertheless, the virus continues to harm the immune system during this time, eventually leading to AIDS.
AIDS significantly compromises the immune system, and symptoms may encompass:
- Sudden and dramatic weight loss
- Frequent episodes of diarrhoea
- Excessive sweating, particularly at night
- Dermatological issues
The body becomes highly susceptible to infections and severe illnesses at this stage. The weakened immune system may struggle to defend against these threats. This underscores the importance of seeking treatment before HIV progresses to this critical point.
Discuss your symptoms with a GP
The HIV virus lives in bodily fluids, such as:
- Vaginal secretions
- Anal linings
Saliva and sweat may contain the virus, but in such low amounts that cannot infect others. Hence, activities such as towel-sharing or kissing are thought to have no direct participation in spreading the virus.
Most HIV cases in the EU are contracted through unprotected sex. Around 95% of cases started off from casual sex and unprotected vaginal, oral, and anal sexual activities. Sharing sex toys is also included.
The remaining 5% of HIV cases were contracted through non-sexual means such as:
- Needle sharing for frequent IV drug users
- Pricks from needles infected with blood (mostly faced by health care professionals like nurses and laboratory technicians)
- Mother-to-child transmission through pregnancy and breastfeeding
HIV Treatment Options
While there is no cure for HIV, there is medication available to manage the virus, safeguard your immune system, and enable a long and healthy life.
This medication is known as antiretroviral therapy (ART), which consists of tablets designed to inhibit the replication of HIV. These drugs allow your immune system to recover and repair itself.
To maintain their effectiveness, you will need to take these medications daily. Because HIV can develop resistance to the medication due to its ability to evolve, your healthcare provider might recommend a combination of drugs or changes in your treatment regimen throughout your lifetime.
Furthermore, healthcare professionals can offer guidance on adopting practices that promote your long-term well-being, such as smoking cessation and regular exercise.
What Causes HIV?
Around 95% of HIV cases in the UK are believed to result from unprotected sexual intercourse. In contrast, the remaining instances stem from different activities like needle sharing, sharing of sex toys, or breastfeeding.
The virus is present in the blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and the lining of the anus in individuals with HIV. Engaging in unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse carries a higher risk of HIV transmission compared to oral sex, although the latter still poses some risk.
It's worth noting that bodily fluids like saliva or sweat do not contain sufficiently high levels of the virus to facilitate transmission, so activities such as kissing or sharing towels do not carry a risk of HIV transmission.