111122 Is there a cure for HIV? 1 of 3

HIV, AIDS, and Older Adults

111122 Is there a cure for HIV?

Courtesy of https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hiv-aids-and-older-adults

There is no cure for HIV. But if you acquire the virus, there are drugs that help suppress the level of HIV in the body and prevent its spread to other people. Doctors use a combination of drugs called HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) to treat HIV/AIDS. Although it is not a cure, HAART has greatly reduced the number of deaths from HIV-related complications in the United States. HIV has become like a chronic disease, and people living with HIV receiving successful treatment can live a long and healthy life.

Preventing HIV

Remember, there are things you can do to keep from getting or transmitting HIV. Take the following steps to lower your risk:

  • If you are having sex, consider limiting your number of sexual partners. If you or your partner is having sex with other people, or if you don’t know his or her sexual or drug history, always use protection. The more partners you have, the more likely you are to be exposed to a sexually transmitted infection.
  • Before having sex with someone, talk with them about HIV. Ask about their sexual and drug history. Get tested for sexually transmitted infections every year.
  • Learn about the risks of different sexual activities and reduce your risk. (See the CDC’s HIV Risk Reduction Tool for information about the risk associated with specific sexual behaviors.)
  • Use male or female condoms (latex or polyurethane) during sexual intercourse.
  • Do not share needles or any other equipment used to inject drugs. Always use new, sterile needles for injection.
  • Get tested if you or your partner has had an operation or blood transfusion in a developing country at any time.
  • Get tested if you or your partner had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985 in the United States.

If you are at very high risk for HIV infection through sex or injection drug use, you may prevent it by taking an anti-HIV medication daily, called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. PrEP is effective at reducing the risk of acquiring HIV, but it must be taken every day. Talk with your doctor to find out whether PreP is right for you.

Grace’s story

Grace was dating again. She and George, a family friend she had known for years, became quite close and their relationship became sexual. Because she wasn’t worried about getting pregnant, Grace didn’t think about using condoms. And, because she had known George for so long, she didn’t think to ask him about his sexual history. So, Grace was shocked when she tested positive for HIV.

Like most people, you probably have heard a lot about HIV and AIDS. You may have thought that these diseases aren’t your problem and that only younger people have to worry about them. But, anyone at any age can be infected with HIV.

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