Flu and People Living with HIV | CDC

What is HIV?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, making it unable to fight off many infections. If the virus goes untreated, it can progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) when your T-cell / CD4 count is below 200 copies per milliliter

How is HIV Transmitted?

HIV is spread through infected body fluids:

    • Blood
    • semen
    • pre-seminal fluid
    • fluid from the rectum
    • fluid from the vagina / front hole
    • breast milk

HIV can only spread when infected fluid from a person with HIV gets into the body of another person through:

    • broken skin
    • mucosal membranes of the body (vagina, rectum, foreskin) 
    • the opening of the penis  

If you have HIV and are not on ART, you can pass the virus to your baby during:

      • Pregnancy
      • Childbirth
      • Breastfeeding / chestfeeding

Treatment of HIV infection

There is currently NO cure for HIV.

If you have HIV, you can be treated with highly effective antiretroviral (ART) drugs.

These drugs help:

  • Lower the level of HIV in your body (viral suppression)
  • Slow the spread of the virus in your body
  • Help your immune system fight off other infections
  • Undetectable = Untransmittable

Diagnosis of HIV

HIV can be diagnosed using several types of blood tests:

  1. Anonymous rapid test: tests for antibodies in a finger-prick blood test and only takes a few minutes to get results. It can detect antibodies 3-4 weeks after infection. 
  2. Standard Blood draw tests: can be taken in a clinic. It can detect antibodies 3-4 weeks after infection. Results can take about 1 to 2 weeks depending on where you live.
  3. Early Blood Draw Tests (NAAT/RNA): detects the virus seven to 14 days after infection. Results can take about 1 to 2 weeks depending on where you live.
  4. Dry Blood Spot tests: (used in the sex now campaign) can be self-administered and mailed to a testing centre. Results can take about 1 to 2 weeks depending on where you live.

Symptoms of HIV infection

  • Many do not develop any symptoms immediately after being infected with HIV but can still have a very high viral load (Acute stage).
  • Of those that do show symptoms, many develop mild flu-like symptoms 2 to 4 weeks after becoming infected with HIV. 
  • Common early symptoms include:
    • Fever, fatigue, chills, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, joint pain & swollen glands (lymph nodes)
  • The symptoms of HIV infection may last from several days to weeks and may go away on their own.

 

History of HIV

In Canada in 2016:

  • An estimated 63,110 people were living with HIV
  • An estimated 2,165 new HIV infections occurred
  • 86% of Canadians living with HIV were diagnosed
  • 81% of Canadians diagnosed with HIV were on treatment
  • 91% of HIV positive Canadians on treatment had achieved viral suppression
  • The federal government does not track data on trans or non-binary people

Transmission of new HIV infections

  • Male-to-male sexual contact – 53%
  • Heterosexual contact – 33%
  • Injection drug use – 11%
  • Male-to-male sexual contact & injection drug use – 3%

To learn more about HIV and what you can do to prevent the virus, visit: Canada.ca and search HIV/AIDS.

What are the Problems today? 

  • Stigma and discrimination
  • Criminalization has been focused on 2SLGBTQ+
  • Lack of access to testing, treatment and prevention for all

Transmission of new HIV infections

HIV and the Law

  • People with HIV can be prosecuted for not disclosing their HIV status to sexual partners even if there is low or no risk
  • Only if you use condoms AND your viral load is below 1500 copies/ml, at the same time, you do not need to disclose. In many places, including Ontario, if you can prove that you have a viral load below 200 copies/ml for 6 months prior to sexual activity you do not need to disclose.
  • This adds to the many layers of stigma surrounding HIV+ people and the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
  • Please visit aidslaw.ca for more information.

Transmission of new HIV infections

  • Male-to-male sexual contact – 53%
  • Heterosexual contact – 33%
  • Injection drug use – 11%
  • Male-to-male sexual contact & injection drug use – 3%

To learn more about HIV and what you can do to prevent the virus, visit: Canada.ca and search HIV/AIDS.

 What are the Problems today? 

  • Stigma and discrimination
  • Criminalization has been focused on 2SLGBTQ+
  • Lack of access to testing, treatment and prevention for all
  • There is a lack of access to and knowledge of PrEP & HIV medication
  • The U=U Campaign and message is not being endorsed by everyone
  • Government information almost always targets those already diagnosed HIV+