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What is HIV?

What is HIV?

HIV and AIDS AWARENESS

Definitions:

HIV:

H Human

I Immunodeficiency

V Virus

AIDS:

A  – Acquired

I   –  Immune

D  –  Deficiency

S –   Syndrome

3 ways of contracting HIV:

  1. Unprotected sex with an infected person.
  2. Blood to blood contact e.g. needle stick injury
  3. Mother to child transmission.

 You will not get HIV from:

  • Hugging a person already infected
  • Sharing crockery and cutlery
  • Sleeping in the same room’
  • Using the same toilet
  • Being bitten by a mosquito

For transmission to take place, the following has to be present:

  1. An HIV infected person
  2. An exit point from the infected individual
  3. An unsafe act
  4. Body fluid coming out of the exit point of the HIV positive person
  5. An entry point into the HIV negative person

Viral load measures how much HIV is present in the blood.  If this is high it is not good as it means that the body is not able to fight the virus any longer.

There is only 1 intervention that will reduce the viral load: Anti retrovirals

What can be done to slow down the progression from HIV to AIDS and to remain as healthy as possible?

  • Find out HIV status as soon as possible
  • Eat healthy foods in the correct proportions
  • Take additional vitamins and minerals
  • Tell your health care team of your HIV status so that you can get the correct treatment
  • Practice health seeking behaviour (going to the clinic as soon as you become sick.)
  • Take medicine correctly
  • Take preventative medication.  If possible ARV.

Precautions to take in the home:

  • Know your HIV status
  • Always cover open wounds
  • Never touch anyone else’s blood without protection on your hands e.g. gloves or a plastic packet
  • Live a healthy life style to remain well

You do not have to disclose your HIV status to your employer, however if you do she may be more understanding of your need to treat infections early.