What You Need To Know About HIV/AIDS
HIV and AIDS have caused heartaches to families over the years, and sadly no definite cure has been found to get rid of this deadly virus and disease. However, some people do not know what HIV and AIDS are all about, while some have misconceptions about this deadly plague. Is a Cure for AIDS here?
However, research has been done, and what you are about to read is what HIV and AIDS are all about and how to live with HIV positive patient.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, and it attacks the body cells in the immune system. The human immunodeficiency goes straight to the body’s natural defense (white blood cells or T-helper cell) that protect the body against illness fights it, weakens the defense system so much that they cannot carry out their duties.
How HIV operates
Basically, the virus goes straight to a type of white blood cell called the T-helper in the immune system, destroys the cells at the same time making copies of itself inside these cells. These make other defense cells not to detect the foreign virus living within them, and gradually as the HIV makes more copies of itself inside these cells, the person’s immune system begins to deteriorate.
However, with the help of antiretroviral treatment, the HIV effect can be slowed down. The infected person may not have the medicine to get rid of the virus from the system entirely, but he may slow the process. That is, a person with the treatment may live longer than the HIV patient without the antiretroviral treatment.
In addition, the human immunodeficiency virus may take up to ten to 15 years for it to completely destroy the defense system. However, the progression of the virus varies; it depends on the general health, age and lifestyle of the patient.
What you need to know about HIV
Contrary to popular belief, HIV patients can live a normal life; they can enjoy a long and healthy life if they take the necessary treatment, which is the antiretroviral treatment that is available to all.
The earlier the virus is detected, the sooner they can start treatment, which means the patient can enjoy better health in the long term, compared to those without the treatment.
The antiretroviral treatment is so effective that it reduces the level of HIV in the body to the extent that blood tests cannot detect it and they cannot transfer the virus.
HIV can be transferred through semen, blood, vaginal, breast milk, and anal fluid, but it cannot be transferred through urine, sweat or saliva. In addition, using unsterilized needles, clippers, or other sharp objects can increase the chances of getting HIV.
Condoms can prevent the transference of the virus during sexual intercourse. Also, it can also stop the transfer of other sexually transmitted infections.
A pregnant woman living with HIV can transfer the virus to the baby during childbirth, or afterwards through breastfeeding. However, taking HIV treatment and becoming undetectable can reduce this risk.
What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome; in other words, it is the advanced HIV infection. HIV causes AIDS; AIDS occurs when HIV has successfully broken down the body’s defense system. Sadly, when left untreated, it leads to death. In a more straightforward definition, when the body is too weak to ward off infection, they develop specific defining symptoms and illnesses (AIDS). Fortunately, fewer people develop AIDS now because of the antiretroviral treatment designed to reduce the deteriorating effect of HIV in the system.
Furthermore, it is essential to commit to taking treatment correctly if you are affected by the virus and wants to live a normal life.
How to care for yourself as someone living with HIV/AIDS
Sleep is highly needed; your body deserves extra rest, so try to sleep for eight hours every night. Do not push yourself to do much work; rest whenever possible. Help Stop The Virus !
It is not the end of the world, so do things you enjoy; for instance, you love to music, read a book, or read a newspaper, then go ahead.
Take light exercises, or better still, select a form of exercise that you enjoy.
Stress can harm the immune system; so relax more with people that you love.
Stop harmful habits like smoking; smoking, drinking and unhealthy foods destroy the lungs and some other parts of the body. Indulging in such practices can reduce your lifespan, and can make the virus to kill the body faster than it should have.
Be positive, it may be difficult to be positive in such a situation, but it is the best thing to do at this stage to enjoy life.
Avoid taking medications, without the doctor’s prescriptions because such drugs can aggravate the situation instead of helping.
Ask for help and accept help when it is offered. Also, join support groups, and seek advice from health workers.
How to care for a person with HIV/AIDS
Some of the helpful tips for taking care of HIV/AIDS patients include the following;
Be positive, try as much as you can to wipe of fear. Encourage them; they are going through a lot already, the last thing they want to see from you is fear, doubts, and anxiety.
When the body is too weak to ward off infection, they develop specific defining symptoms and illnesses (AIDS). Fortunately, fewer people develop AIDS now because of the antiretroviral treatment designed to reduce the deteriorating effect of HIV in the system.
Encourage Yourself: Furthermore, it is essential to commit to taking treatment correctly if you are affected by the virus and wants to live a normal life.
SAAF: The mission of the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation is to cultivate a healthy and stigma-free society through transformative action.
In 1985, a few concerned citizens decided to make a difference in the Tucson community’s response to HIV & AIDS. They formed the Tucson AIDS Project (TAP), followed shortly by the Shanti Foundation. In 1987, a group of people living with HIV/AIDS incorporated their grassroots advocacy efforts into the People with AIDS Coalition of Tucson, PACT for Life.
Working in concert, the three agencies created an array of services for people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS, meeting basic needs as well as more sophisticated ones, while simultaneously providing information and skill-building programs to help others prevent further infection.
In 1997, again responding to the needs of their clients and community, PACT, Shanti, and TAP merged under the name Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) creating one of the largest nonprofit consolidations in the history of Pima County. SAAF continues the traditions of PACT, Shanti, and TAP, providing direct services and programs in safe, supportive environments that enhance the quality of life for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS; assisting people in avoiding HIV infection; and empowering people to lead healthy, productive lives. At the heart of our mission is the conviction that people living with HIV/AIDS have the right to determine what services they require and that stigma is a problem affecting us all.
In 2014, SAAF took over several initiatives from Wingspan, formerly southern Arizona’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community center. This has helped to broaden SAAF’s scope of services which now include the Eon Youth Lounge & Anti-Violence Programs. SAAF changed it’s mission to more accurately reflect our expanded reach. SAAF’s new mission, to cultivate a healthy & stigma-free society through transformative action, more accurately reflects the work SAAF does in our community.
In 2015, SAAF celebrated 30 years of providing services and continues to be the only community-based organization in southern Arizona providing case management and ancillary support services for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families; culturally appropriate prevention and education programs to reduce the rate of infection; & LGBTQ community outreach & engagement.
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