DEFAULT QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
- WHEN DO I START ANTI RETROVIRAL DRUGS?
As soon as your status is confirmed.
- CAN I GIVE BIRTH TO A HIV NEGATIVE CHILD?
YES. Talk to your medical doctor.
- IF I MISS A DOSE OR FEW DOSES, WILL MY DRUGS STILL BE EFFECTIVE?
Yes, it will likely still be effective and the next dose should be taken as soon as possible. It is however not recommended to miss your drugs, as it increases the likelihood of the drug less effective for you.
- CAN A HIV POSITIVE PERSON HAVE SEX WITH A HIV NEGATIVE PERSON WITHOUT PROBLEM?
There is definitely a risk. The biggest risk is when the positive one has no knowledge of his/her status and is therefore not on Anti-retroviral drugs. It is less if one of them is on anti-retrovirals and lowest if both are on anti-retrovirals.
For discordant couples (where wife or husband is positive and the other is not), it is usually advised that the both be on anti-retrovirals.
- DOES CIRCIMSCISION REDUCE TRANSMISSION OF HIV IN MALES?
YES. It reduces the chances of the male getting infected by up to 40 to 60%
- WHAT IF MY CD4 COUNT KEEPS DECREASING WHILE THE VIRAL LOAD KEEP INCREASING OVER TIME?
This may occur if you are not taking your drugs as prescribed or the drugs are no longer effective, perhaps due to viral resistance. There may also be other causes. Visit your doctor for proper review, investigations and possible change of drugs.
- CAN CORONA-VIRUS AFFECT POSITIVE PATIENTS ON ANTI-RETROVIRALS?
Two major factors come into play to determine the answer to this question;
- The individual’s immunity and
- The anti-retrovirals the individual is on
If the immunity is low, coronavirus can infect such individuals, irrespective of the drugs they are on. If they are on drugs known to be active against covid-19, and they have good CD4 count, they are likely to have higher probability of recovering, even if they get infected.
- AM HAVING STRANGE RASHES AND OTHER THINGS, AFTER STARTING MY ANTI-RETROVIRALS, WHAT DO I DO?
Go see your doctor. For adjuvant drugs to help you or change of drugs.
- WHICH DO YOU PREFER TO DATE…POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE?
Any one is actually good, once they are informed of your status and are willing to be with you, and join you in taking anti-retrovirals.
- IF MY VIRAL LOAD IS UNDETECTABLE…WILL I STILL HAVE A POSITIVE TEST?
YES. Especially in anti-body based test. This is because the test is seeing anti – bodies produced by your body against the virus, and not the virus itself.
- IF MY TESTS COME OUT AS UNDETECTABLE, SHOULD I STILL CONTINUE MY DRUGS?
YES. It is very important to still continue. If you stop, there is high probability that the virus will develop resistance to the drugs you are currently on.
- IS THERE ANY TIME OR REASON I SHOULD STOP MY ANTI-RETROVIRALS?
It is not advisable to stop your drugs. If you have severe side effects or have complaints, talk to your doctor. There are only few occasions when your doctor may stop your drugs, and usually just for a brief period.
- CAN I GET HIV FROM KISSING OR ORAL SEX?
You can get HIV from oral sex, but less likely from kissing.
- CAN HIV BE CURED?
There is currently no known cure for HIV. Abstinence, having sex only in committed relationships and the right use of condoms remain the best ways of prevention. Best form of management is taking daily anti-retroviral drugs.
There are several promising vaccines and possible cures in development, but these are still far from being confirmed.
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