Sub-Saharan Africa (area in Africa below the Sahara desert) has about 10% of the world's population.
60% of all people that have HIV live in Sub-Saharn Africa. This area has the worst case of HIV infection.
What to do
What you can do if you have HIV/AIDS. Is there hope?
If you have HIV, there are many things that you can do to stay healthy. However, there is no way, at this point in time, to completely cure your body from HIV/AIDS.
What is the treatment for HIV/AIDS?
HIV is treated with medicine known as Antiretrovirals (ARV's). HIV is a certain type of virus, called a retrovirus - that's where the word 'Antiretroviral' got its name. These highly effective medicines control the virus and slow down the progression of your HIV infection. They are very powerful, but do not cure HIV/AIDS. They must only be taken under a doctor's prescription.
Currently, the recommendation for HIV treatment is a combination of 3 or more ARV medicines. This programme of medicines is known as Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART).
The amount of pills that you need to take and how often will be prescribed by your doctor. It is important to know that each HAART programme is unique for each individual patient. There is no one best HAART programme.
HAART can cause some side effects. If you notice any side effects, even small ones, notify your doctor.
There are other medicines that your doctor may prescribe for you, depending on your current situation. Once again, make sure that you discuss any side effects that you notice with your doctor. Don't just alter your treatment without asking your doctor first, it is important to take your medicine the right way.
Treating other infections
As your HIV infection gets worse, your chances of getting other infections will increase. Your doctor can prescribe other treatments for you, in order to prevent particular infections, such as pneumonia.
The most important thing to do, once you know that you have HIV, is to work closely with your doctor. Communicate with him, and inform him of any side effects or symptoms you are experiencing.
Other diseases you can get
HIV destroys your immune system, therefore increasing your chance of getting certain infections, known as opportunistic infections. They are called this because with your weakened The part of your body that recognizes and destroys diseases and infectionsimmune system, it gives the disease more opportunity to develop. HIV infected people who are taking HAART can go a long time before their immune system is weak enough to contract an opportunistic infection.
Examples of opportunistic infections:
Protect others from your HIV!
Don't be ashamed of the fact that you have HIV. Tell others that you have HIV. If you have HIV, and you have sex with them, TELL THEM! This may be hard, but it will enable them to get help faster and possibly help them to avoid sharing their HIV with others. Never try to hide the fact that you have HIV/AIDS, it will only cause more problems for everyone.
To view the ways in which HIV is transmitted, GO HERE.
Women and HIV
If you are pregnant, and you are infected with HIV, there is a lot to think about before you just jump into parenthood.
Your HIV treatment should not change much as you are pregnant. You may talk with your doctor about all the pros and cons of taking medicine while you are pregnant.
It is definitely possible to pass the HIV virus to your new baby before or during birth. The chances of transmitting HIV in this way are about 1 in 4. However, treatment with antiretrovirals will greatly reduce this risk. You should be encouraged to take these medicines.
After your baby is born, he/she will be tested for HIV, even if you took antiretrovirals during pregnancy. Your baby may need to start taking medication for an HIV infection, or pneumonia. Remember to ask your doctor for help if you are in this situation.
Breast-feeding your baby can transmit the HIV virus. However, there are some ways to prevent this from happening.
Where to find help
If you are living with HIV or AIDS, you may need support. Here are a few references to places that will help you to deal with your situation:
Sources of information used in this page:http://www.aidshelpline.org.za/
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