Frequently Asked Questions about HIV/AIDS

What is HIV?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus

What is AIDS?

AIDS is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This condition progressively reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and leaves individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections and tumors.

How do HIV spreads?

HIV spreads through the direct contact of a mucous membrane or the blood stream with a bodily fluid containing HIV virus, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid, and breast milk. This transmission can take place through sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or other exposure to one of the body fluids.

What are the tests to know HIV infection?

HIV testing by ELISA tells you if you have HIV or not. In case of exposure to HIV and if test is negative you need to repeat testing after 3 months which is the window period.

•     A window period is the time where inspite of having the virus in the body , the virus does not appear in the blood in the number required to show by testing.

What are the symptoms of HIV infection?

It can start with getting fatigued easily, fever on and off, loss of weight and having skin infections like Herpes zoster. As the disease progresses one can get any of the infections prevalent in the community. The most common infection among HIV in India is Tuberculosis.

How long a person can live after getting infected with HIV?

How long one will live with or without HIV is beyond anyone to say. But one can live in a good quality of life for a long time if one takes care of his health by doing as below:
•    Maintain good hygiene
•    Eat balanced nutritious food which includes fresh fruits and vegetables
•    Regular exercise- walking, jogging or swimming
•    Do not smoke or drink alcohol
•    Visit your doctor regularly and take medications as advised

Most importantly, spiritual life. Those who have come to a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus by faith seem to live longer and happier with the new hope found in life.

What are the treatments for HIV?

Till today, there is no conclusive treatment to eliminate HIV from the body; however, timely treatment of opportunistic infections can keep one healthy for many years.The commonly available treatment for HIV is the treatment against opportunistic infections. Normally standard treatment regimens, used against such infections in non-HIV patients, also work well HIV+ve persons. If properly trated, all the opportunistic infections can be controlled.

However, during the last decade, researchers have developed powerful drugs that check the replication of virus at various levels called Anti-retroviral drugs, they are available under three classes and under various brands.Taken in combinations ( called cocktail or combination therapy) under specialized medical advice, these drugs drastically reduce the viral load in blood. However they do not permanently cure HIV. This line of treatment, has resulted in a huge reduction of AIDS- related deaths.Though many positive persons and caregivers have welcomed these drugs, others have experienced some side effects.

Now government is giving ART medicines through government hospitals and these should be taken under medical advice and observation. ACCEPT provides medical care for opportunistic infections and counseling help for those taking ART medicines, by treating side effects and counseling patients for regular ART treatment.

You will not get HIV through mosquito bites, tears, saliva, shaking hands, normal kissing, sharing toilets, plates/ cups, bed linen, coughing or sneezing and traveling or working together.

Will mosquito bite cause HIV infection?

No. You can read more about this from here.

Here are some links to know more about HIV


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