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HIV / AIDS Is a Manageable Disease

by Margot F. December 22nd, 2017 | Health Observance, Women's Health
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womans faceThere is no cure for HIV so if possible, take steps to reduce your risk of getting the disease. Practicing “safer needle use” and “safer sex” are recommended.

The term “safer sex” refers to using a latex or polyurethane condom or female condom correctly each time you engage in vaginal or anal intercourse, especially if you have multiple partners or are unsure of your partner’s HIV status. It is important to use a condom or dental dam (piece of latex used to cover the vagina or anus) when engaging in oral sex. Water based lubricants are recommended because oil-based ones like Vaseline can weaken a latex condom possibly causing breakage.

The term “safer needle use” means to use clean needles when getting tattoos, body piercing or acupuncture. Sterile syringes should be used when injecting all drugs including cocaine, heroin or steroids. If clean needles are unavailable, sterilize your supplies using clean water and bleach.
Women who engage in risky behavior such as drinking and dating should get tested for HIV if they have flu-like symptoms including fever, sore throat, and headaches; having diarrhea or losing weight unexpectedly are also cause for concern.  While these symptoms may disappear, the disease will progress. Fearing the worst, some women might procrastinate about getting tested. Remember, support is available for HIV positive women.
Being diagnosed with HIV understandably is overwhelming. It is important to find a doctor with experience treating HIV patients. Further tests will reveal how well the immune system is working and how fast the HIV is progressing. Knowing the woman’s general health profile allows a doctor to recommend the best treatment plan including medication to slow or prevent the HIV from progressing to AIDS. With appropriate medical treatment and personal care a woman can live well for many years. Also, a woman who is HIV-Positive and pregnant can get the necessary treatment to prevent the baby from getting infected.

While there have been significant advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, there is no cure. Community support from government and nonprofit agencies is recommended to help adjust to the challenges of the disease. Become educated and learn about the stages of HIV. Make nutritional changes to improve and maintain general health. Protect yourself against opportunistic infections including pneumonia and tuberculosis among others. Stay informed about advances in the treatment for HIV/AIDS and side-effects from medications. The cocktail of pills can be expensive. Find out how much is covered by your health plan, and know there is more financial support through a HIV/AIDS organization.

While managing HIV, stay socially involved. There are groups for people who are HIV-Positive. When engaging in sexual relations with another person who has HIV, remember to practice “safer sex” to avoid other sexually transmitted diseases and other strains of HIV, which may be resistant to medication. Unfortunately, even if you feel well and are being treated, you can still infect others.
In 2013, HIV/AIDS is a manageable disease. Get educated. Get tested. Enjoy life!

 (Photo courtesy of Helmut Gever)

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.