Frequently Asked Questions
As of December 2003 there were approximately 40 million people world wide who were infected with the HI virus. Of that number 25-28 million lived in Sub Saharan Africa. It was also estimated that 600 people died every day from opportunistic diseases as a result of the virus damaging the immune system.
This depends on the type of test used and where it is done.\r\nThe most common test for detecting HIV is called a rapid test. The advantage of the rapid test is that you do not have to return to get your test result. The test results from the rapid test are usually available within 20 minutes to one hour. Rapid tests are single use and do not require laboratory facilities or highly trained staff.\r\nAn HIV Elisa test is a blood sample which is sent to a laboratory facility for processing. It may take three days to one week to receive the test results. This is dependent on the location of the laboratory.
Yes, many people who test positive stay healthy for several years. HIV is now a chronic manageable disease. If a person falls ill, there are drugs called antiretrovirals that can help to slow down the virus and maintain the immune system. Antiretroviral therapy is given to suppress HIV in the blood. You can also prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS if you follow a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, doing exercise living positively.
The virus is very complex. It gets into the cells of the person and multiplies. It is difficult for the treatment to get into each and every cell as there are too many cells. It would take up to 60 years of Antiretroviral therapy to get rid of theses cells.
HIV was first recognised to be the course of AIDS in the early 1980s. There is evidence that the virus may have been around for a very long time. We are not sure as to when this disease will end but scientists are l working to find a cure.
Condoms are the best protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted Infections .Practicing safe sex is an effective way of reducing the risk of becoming infected with HIV. Condoms are very reliable and effective if used correctly.
Yes, it is possible to live positively without medication. Not everyone who tests HIV positive will need to go on medication immediately. Living positively means to take care of physically, mentally and spiritually. This also means to eat healthy, doing exercise, staying mentally positive and having good support systems.
It is difficult to diagnose AIDS on the basis of signs and symptoms alone. It is necessary to have a full clinical examination together with certain blood tests before making a diagnosis. There are certain diseases such as Kaposi Sarcoma which is evident of AIDS and can be visibly seen on the body. It is always best not to self diagnose and to always consult a doctor.
Hospitals have had an increase in the rate of admissions because of the AIDS pandemic. The wards are often full patients are discharged in the care of their families. Home based caregivers and community volunteers are available in some areas to support and help the families take care the person who is ill at home.
People do not get a disability social grant when they are diagnosed with HIV because HIV is not a debilitating illness. People with AIDS when the CD4 count is 200 and less or have a stage 4 AIDS defining illness qualify for a disability grant as this is when most people start to get ill if not on treatment and cannot keep up with their normal work performance.
AIDS is caused by a germ or virus called HIV. The HIV germ can only be seen in blood, sperm and vaginal secretions. The virus slowly damages the immune system if it gets into a persons body. A person has AIDS when the immune system is very weak and the person starts to get ill from many different germs. This is when the CD4 count is 200 and less. Antiretroviral therapy is used to delay HIV disease progression. There is no cure as yet, however, scientists are working to find a cure. This may take many years.
Yes, a mother who is HIV positive can give birth to an HIV negative baby. A pregnant mother who is infected with HIV is encouraged to join a PMTCT program to reduce the risk of baby being infected. Not all mothers who are HIV positive will transmit the virus to their babies. Research shows that there is a 30 chance of transmission of HIV from mother to child. This means that if a mother is HIV positive, there is a 1 in 3 chance that her infant will be born with HIV infection.
It is not safe to have oral sex if you have sores, cuts and bleeding gums in your mouth. It is best to avoid swallowing semen To make oral sex safer it is safer to use a condom. You can have oral sex through a condom on the penis or you can cut the condom length wise to open it up and then hold it over the clitoris.
pIn some instances it is likely that the person who is HIV positive came into the relationship already infected and did not know it. If the two people are practicing safe sex by using condoms, then the chances of passing the virus onto the other person is unlikely. p\r\n\r\nThere are situations where the partners are not practicing safe sex and yet one person remains HIV negative. \r\n\r\nThere is no clear understanding as to how this happens but research is being carried out to find out what causes this difference in relationships.\r\n
You may contract HIV in the following ways even if you have been faithful to one partner If you have had other sexual partners in the past. You may have been infected without you knowing or if your partner is infected and you have engaged in unprotected sex. It is important to note that HIV is passed from one person to another in the following ways Via sexual intercourse having unprotected sex, when HIVinfected blood is passed directly into the body or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth and via breast feeding.
pThis is possible in the following waysp\r\n\r\nIf the partners know that the father is HIV positive, they may have chosen to use a condom every time they had sex.\r\n\r\nThey could then stop using a condom around the time that the woman was ovulating so that she could become pregnant. \r\n\r\nRemember that although the risk of infection through unprotected sex is high, it IS possible for a person to be exposed to HIV and not become infected.\r\n\r\nThe couple could then go back to using condoms once the woman has passed her ovulation period.\r\n\r\nSince the woman is not HIV positive, then there is no virus in her body to be passed onto the baby.\r\n\r\npAnother way this is possible is through artificial insemination, where sperm from the father is inserted into the womans uterus via the use of a laboratory. \r\n\r\nSince HIV does not live in sperm, but in semen, the woman would not have come into contact with the virus from the father and would remain HIV negative.\r\n\r\nRemember that HIV has to be in a womans body for it to be passed onto her child.p\r\n