Fear of HIV or getting an HIV test?
September 10, 2018 | In Uncategorized
Fear of HIV? Holdsworth House General Practitioner, Dr Shiva Rayar, speaks about HIV management and prevention in the video below
Hi Everyone, today is “Wear it Purple Day” – hence the purple shirt. But I also thought it would be a great opportunity to talk to you about the fear of HIV. So do you have a fear of HIV or getting an HIV test? It’s actually a very common feeling to have. But there have been some significant developments in how we manage HIV as well as the prevention of its transmission.
The first thing is that HIV is now often managed with one tablet a day and most people living with HIV can expect to have an almost normal life span. The second thing is that we have a few extra tools up our sleeves to prevent the transmission of HIV.
Traditionally condoms have been used, and we still encourage its use as well. However, we also PreP, PEP and treating people living with HIV effectively.
So PreP – Pre exposure prophylaxis, this is where someone who is at potential risk of getting HIV takes one antiretroviral tablet everyday and if they do have sex with someone who is living with HIV without condoms, the risk of HIV transmission is virtually impossible. But we still recommend the use of condoms because PreP prevents HIV fairly effectively however it doesn’t prevent the transmission of other STIs.
Secondly we have PEP – post exposure prophylaxis. So this is where someone has already had sex without condoms and its deemed to be a high risk event. As long as they see the doctor within 72 hours, the earlier the better, and they are started off on antiretroviral tablets, HIV transmission can be prevented.
And lastly and most excitingly U=U, this means that undetectable equals untransmittable. So a person who is living with HIV who is taking their medication regularly and has an undetectable viral load for over 6 months, if they were to have sex with someone who is HIV negative without condoms, the risk of transmission would be virtually impossible.
So I hope this helps to allay some of your fears and also helps to reduce some of the stigma and discrimination people living with HIV can sometimes face. Keep in mind that all of this information is not comprehensive so you should have a conversation with your S100 Prescribing General Practitioner.