THE WORD HIV IS MENTIONED SO OFTEN, BUT HOW MANY PEOPLE ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT IT IS?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It affects the immune system and weakens your ability to fight infections and disease.
HIV is a virus which is most commonly transmitted by having sex without a condom. There are other ways it can be caught – by sharing infected needles, from contaminated blood products, and from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.
Find out how HIV can be contracted.
Currently there is no cure for HIV, but with the right treatment, you can live normal and healthy lives. HIV is treated with antiretrovirals (ARVs), which reduce the viral load (ie, the amount of virus circulating in the body) to undetectable levels. Effective treatment prevents HIV progressing to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
Find a good doctor with experience in treating HIV through your local sexual health clinic. Maintaining your physical and mental wellbeing is important for people living with HIV. Eat well. If you’re on medication then stick to your regime, exercise and get plenty of rest. If you feel depressed, help is only a phone call away. There are many organisations that can provide you with support and connect you to other people who are going through what you are going through.