WHAT IS HIV?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus which attacks the body’s immune system. Once the HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), and AIDS cannot be cured, and you will have it for life. The HIV can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, vaginal fluids, and semen. The HIV is usually asymptomatic until it has progressed to AIDS. The infection can stay up to 18 or 45 days inside the body before the symptoms starts showing up.
CAN I PASS MY HIV TO MY UNBORN BABY?
If neither of you take HIV treatment, there is a 15:45 chance of your child getting the virus. HIV can be transmitted from mother to child either during pregnancy, at birth or during breastfeeding. It is wise to get tested for HIV at your first stages of the pregnancy so that you get immediate, get immediate treatment from a combination of medicine known as the ART (antiretroviral therapy), this can guarantee you good health for both you and your unborn baby.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) ON HIV?
Currently there is no reason to believe that people who have HIV are at a higher risk of being infected with coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19. A few studies have shown that people with HIV may be most likely at risk however, there is not enough evidence to confirm it. According to current research HIV is less of a risk factor for severe COVID-19 unlike other health conditions like diabetes, severe asthma, heart disease, obesity, respiratory disease, liver disease, dementia, old age, or stroke. Taking your antiretroviral treatment, along with any medication you have been prescribed is the best way to stay healthy.
People living with HIV can prepare for COVID-19 by stocking up on their antiretroviral treatment, or any other medication they have to take that can last them at least 30days. Making their vaccinations are up-to date for example flu and pneumonia vaccines. Having knowledge of how to get in touch with health care facilities and peer supporters. Make it a point to eat well and exercise as best as they can. Taking good care of their mental health and getting help if need be. These additional steps can be taken to aid the general prevention advice for COVI-19.
What should I do if I feel unwell?
If you are living with HIV and are feeling unwell, you have a fever, a dry cough, and/or loss or change in sense of smell or taste; you should stay at home and call your health worker. Who will in-turn tell you your next steps. At this time, ensure you avoid close contact with others. Majority of COVID-19 cases are mild and can be managed within the household.
Is the Corona Virus vaccine safe for people who have HIV?
The coronavirus vaccines approved for use are well-thought-out to be safe for people living with HIV. In order to be approved, vaccines have to undergo multiple safety trials, and be revised by national regulators to confirm they are both safe and effective. Numerous of the corona virus vaccine trials comprised of people living with HIV.
Just like with the general population, for those living with HIV, the vaccines assist your body to develop immunity towards the virus that causes COVID-19 – so you can be able to fight it off if exposed to it.
After being vaccinated, it is vital to continue to take steps to prevent COVID-19 transmission until cases of the virus have dropped to a safe level in your area.
Can the HIV treatment be used against COVID-19 19?
Currently there is no solid indication that antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV are effective on treating COVID-19. If one is already taking ART, it is possible to still get COVID-19 hence people must take precautions to prevent the virus from spreading and lower own risk.
WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR HIV?
HIV can be controlled during the early stages. The treatment includes antiretroviral therapy. ART involves taking the mixture of HIV medicine. It is advised to take the treatment as soon as possible. The medication lowers the viral load and improve your life quality.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty sleeping
- Dry mouth
WHAT IS THE LIFESPAN AND LIFESTYLE OF HIV PATIENTS?
HIV-positive people are living increasingly long lives. Many people living with HIV can expect to live if their peers who are HIV negative.
Research has proved that a person living with HIV has a similar life expectancy to an HIV-negative person – provided they are diagnosed in good time, have good access to medical care, and are able to take to their HIV treatment.
Improve your lifestyle and health by:
- Eating a more nutritious diet.
- Quitting smoking.
- Stopping illegal drug use.
- Getting average exercise.
- Practicing safer sex.
- Getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted diseases.
- Taking your medications as prescribed and visiting your doctor often.
- Taking steps to prevent infections.
HOW CAN I PREVENT HIV?
The best way to prevent HIV is Abstinence, if you have been active lower your risk of contracting an STI with the following steps:
- Use condoms.
- Get tested.
- Be monogamous.
- Limit your number of sexual partners.
- Get vaccinated.
- Do not douche.
- Do not abuse alcohol or drugs.
Use a multi-disciplinary approach as on step alone can prevent you from getting HIV.