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HIV, AIDS Details, Symptoms, Treatment with Palliative Care

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HIV, AIDS, Details, Symptoms, Treatment, Palliative Care, Virus, Management, Caution, Babies during Pregnancy, Pregnant Women

HIV, AIDS, Details, Symptoms, Treatment, Palliative Care, Virus, Management, Caution, Babies during Pregnancy, Pregnant Women

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  • 1. Having HIV means you have or will develop AIDS Myth. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an infection that targets CD4 immune cells and the brain. During the course of untreated infection, people will experience a gradual decline in CD4 cells that will eventually put them at risk for developing infections or cancers that are included in the definition of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Other symptoms that meet the criteria for AIDS are wasting (for example, extreme weight loss) and dementia. Having HIV means you are at risk for developing AIDS but not that you have it. In fact, those consistently taking currently available anti-HIV medications are likely to completely control the infection, never progress to AIDS, and live a life span approaching that of those without HIV infection.
  • 2. It's Difficult to Get HIV From Casual Contact Fact. HIV is almost exclusively spread by exposures to sexual bodily fluids or blood (for example, from sharing needles, tattooing, or piercing with contaminated equipment from an HIV-infected individual). HIV can also be transmitted from an infected mother to her newborn baby. Transmission is very rare from blood transfusions and even more unlikely to occur from common household exposures, such as sharing kitchen utensils, bathrooms, or even casual contact such as hugging.
  • 3. The risk of HIV transmission can be reduced by taking a pill Fact. The best way to avoid acquiring HIV is to not be exposed to the blood or sexual bodily fluids of an HIV-infected person. The latter is achieved by abstinence or the use of latex barriers (for example, condoms). Recent studies have shown that when used with traditional safe sex precautions the daily administration of select anti-HIV drugs -- that are routinely used to treat infection -- to uninfected individuals further reduces the risk of HIV transmission by both sexual and needle-sharing exposure. Such therapy is now approved in the United States for HIV prevention in high-risk individuals, such as those with multiple sexual exposures to people known to be or at risk for HIV infection. This therapy is referred to as preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
  • 4. You'll Know You Have HIV Because of Your Symptoms Myth. Many people will remain without symptoms and appear perfectly healthy until they have been HIV-infected for many years. The only way to know if you or someone else is HIV-infected is to undergo a simple test which can be performed on blood or saliva with results available within minutes of testing. HIV-infected individuals who do not get tested are at risk for developing AIDS and not having early access to highly effective HIV treatments. It is estimated that more than one in five infected people in the United States are unaware of their status because they have never been tested. Because many have no symptoms until late in the course of disease, it is currently recommended that all individuals between the age of 13 and 64 who encounter the health-care system for any reason have HIV testing performed as part of their routine care.
  • 5. HIV Can Be Cured Myth. It is generally accepted that once someone is infected with HIV they are infected for life -- there is no cure. Nevertheless, highly effective treatment does delay or potentially completely stop disease progression and allows for a person to live a long healthy life with HIV. That said, there is increasing attention being given to "cure research." There are even a few situations in which it is thought that select individuals may have actually been cured of HIV. For now, cure research remains in the very early stages, and the best we can offer is complete control of the disease with effective anti-HIV treatment, which isn't too bad considering where we were not so long ago.
  • 6. Since anti-HIV treatments are so good it is not as important to practice safe sex anymore. Myth. Anti-HIV treatment is excellent and can often be given as one pill per day with minimum side effects and allow for those infected to live long and healthy lives. Nevertheless, having HIV does affect one’'s life in many ways, both emotionally and physically. Living with HIV often requires changing one's approach to relationships, requires taking medications on a daily basis, and establishing a regular relationship with a health-care providerprofessional. Moreover, not everyone tolerates medications as well as others, and some people may experience an increased risk of developing other medical problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. The good news is that if a person has HIV there is every reason to be optimistic, but it is still a chronic medical condition that is best avoided if at all possible.
  • 7. Sex Is Safe When Both Partners Have HIV Myth. Just because you and your partner both have HIV, doesn't mean you should forget about protection when you have sex. Using a condom or other latex barrier can help protect you from other sexually transmitted diseases as well as other strains of HIV, which may be resistant to anti-HIV medication. Even if you are being treated and feel well you can still infect others.
  • 8. You Can Have a Baby if You Are HIV-Positive Fact. Infected mothers can indeed pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy or delivery. However, you can lower the risk by working with your doctor and getting the appropriate care and medication. Pregnant women with HIV can take medications to treat their infection and to protect their babies against the virus. Infected mothers can indeed pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy or delivery. However, you can lower the risk by working with your doctor and getting the appropriate care and medication. Pregnant women with HIV can take medications to treat their infection and to protect their babies against the virus.
  • 9. People on anti-HIV medications can not transmit HIV to their sexual partners. Myth. Due to weakened immune systems, people with HIV can be vulnerable to infections like pneumocystis pneumonia, tuberculosis, candidiasis, cytomegalovirus, and toxoplasmosis. The best way to reduce your risk is to take your HIV medications. Some infections can be prevented with drugs. You can lessen your exposure to some germs by avoiding undercooked meat, litter boxes, and water that may be contaminated.
  • 10. HIV treatment is very good but only available if you have insurance or are rich. Myth. There are government programs, nonprofit groups, and some pharmaceutical companies that may help cover of the cost of HIV/AIDS drugs. But be aware: These drug "cocktails" can cost $15,000 a year. Talk to your local HIV/AIDS service organization to learn about financial help.