HIV

Thomas S. Ziering, MD, FAAFP

Family Practitioner located in Morristown, NJ

Many people who have HIV experience no symptoms at first, and the initial signs of the disease, like fever, sore throat, and nausea, may be minimal for a while. If you think you’re at risk for HIV, experienced family medicine physician Thomas S. Ziering, MD, in Morristown, New Jersey, can help with preventive measures and start care right away upon diagnosis. Call Dr. Ziering's practice today or schedule an appointment online.

HIV Q & A

What causes HIV?

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is spread through bodily fluids like blood, semen, or vaginal fluids, transferring the virus from one body to another. The infection typically spreads through sexual activity, during birth from mother to baby, or from sharing contaminated needles when injecting drugs.    

When inside the body, HIV destroys white blood cells, which help the body fight off infection. As a result, HIV compromises your immune system. Dr. Ziering has extensive experience caring for patients with HIV. He was one of the first doctors to work on the successful clinical trials of treatments for HIV in the early 90s that changed the disease from an automatic death sentence to a manageable chronic condition.

What are the symptoms of HIV?

Some clients experience minor symptoms at the onset of HIV, while others may feel normal for a long time while the disease progresses. The symptoms of HIV can include:

  • Diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • Thrush (a yeast infection in the mouth)

If you experience any of those symptoms, contact Dr. Ziering immediately.

How is HIV treated?

There are several treatments used to address HIV. For example, you can slow the progression of HIV/AIDS through medication. 

Though there is currently no cure for HIV and AIDS, many clients with HIV today never develop AIDS because medication keeps the disease and the destruction of white blood cells in check.

You can also take antiretrovirals (ARVs) to treat HIV, usually in combination with other types of ARV for antiretroviral therapy (ART). It’s important to follow your medication schedule to keep HIV at bay.

If you haven’t been diagnosed with HIV but are at risk, you might also benefit from PrEP or PEP.

PrEP

PrEP is an acronym that stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. Dr. Ziering usually recommends PrEP for people who are at risk of exposure to HIV. This type of treatment requires you to take preventive medication on a daily basis. PrEP is incredibly effective at preventing HIV through sexual intercourse or injection drug use.

To achieve the best possible results, it’s crucial you take your medication as prescribed. Missing a day or several days in a row increases your risk of HIV exposure.

PEP

PEP is an acronym that stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. This type of treatment is beneficial for people exposed to HIV. It involves the use of antiretroviral (ART) medicines to prevent infection. Dr. Ziering only recommends PEP for emergency situations. To work, PEP must occur within 72 hours of HIV exposure.

If you’re concerned about your risk of HIV, schedule an appointment at the office of Thomas S. Ziering, MD. Call the office and speak with a friendly staff member or book a consultation online today.