Viral load for HIV is a measure of the amount or quantity of HIV present in 1 ml of blood.
This is used to monitor the goal of therapy when a person is taking anti-retroviral therapy for HIV. With the therapy, the viral load should become undetectable over a period of time. This is the time when a person becomes safe for themselves and will also not transmit HIV to anyone else through sexual contact.
The other measure for monitoring the well being of an HIV positive person is the CD4 count. This indirectly measures the immunity of a person to fight infections. The higher the viral load, the faster CD4 count will fall. With undetectable viral load, the CD4 count is expected to be normal.
If you had a potential exposure/s, it makes sense to get tested since there may only be a flu like syndrome or no symptopms at all, if there is HIV infection. Getting tested is the only way to know your status and going by symptoms is not right. Often people misinterpret any flu like symptoms with HIV, without geting tested , which causes unnecessary worries. In a majority of such cases, no HIV is detected.
HIV if detecetd early is easy to treat with life expectancy being near normal to normal and quality of life, as good as before. If you had no potential exposure, even then CDC recommends that between the age of 13 and 64 , everyone should get tested for HIV once in their lifetimes.
The most common ways of HIV transmission are (a) having sex with a person who has hiv (b) blood transfusion with infected blood (c) use of infected needles or devices (d) mother to baby during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding
Yes. Latex condoms , if used properly, are very effective. The chances of HIV transmission are very low if condom is used properly.
Rarely. Oral sex has the least risk. The highest risk is with anal sex, followed by vaginal sex.
HIV is a weak virus, that is not transmitted easily. It is heat labile and does not survive more than a few minutes if exposed to external environment.
The symptoms of HIV are the same as that of common flu. Hence, you must never relate your symptoms with HIV. If you had a potential exposure , getting tested is the best way to know.
HIV is easy to treat now, provided it is diagnosed early. One just needs to take one pill in a day. People with HIV live normal and high quality life.
HIV , if left untreated, leads to AIDS in 5 to 10 years time. The good news is, with treatment, HIV does not convert to AIDS. HIV is not even detectable in the blood, after goal of therapy is achieved.