HIV Diagnosed and treated

Posted by Agatha / on 06/17/2009 / 0 Comments

Source: CDC-INFO
1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636)
TTY: 1-888-232-6348
In English, en Español
24 Hours/Day

Certain symptoms can occur with opportunistic infections.

  • Breathing problems
  • Mouth problems, such as thrush (white spots), sores, change in taste, dryness, trouble swallowing, or loose teeth
  • Fever for more than 2 days
  • Weight loss
  • Change in vision or floaters (moving lines or spots in your vision)
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rashes or itching

Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these problems. Your doctor can treat most of your HIV-related problems, but sometimes you may need to go to a specialist. Visit a dentist at least twice a year, more often if you have mouth problems.

You can learn more about how to prevent the most serious opportunistic infections by reading the brochures in the CDC Opportunistic Infections series. You can get these brochures by calling CDC-INFO at 1-800-232-4638

How do I protect other people from my HIV?

Things you SHOULD do

  • Abstain from sex. The surest way to avoid transmission of STDs, including a different strain of HIV, is to not have sexual intercourse.
  • Use condoms correctly and consistently. Correct and consistent use of the male latex condom can reduce the risk for STD transmission. However, no protective method is 100% effective. Condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against any STD.
    • If you are allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.
    • Condoms lubricated with spermicides are no more effective than other lubricated condoms in protecting against the transmission of HIV and other STDs.
    • If you use condoms incorrectly, they can slip off or break, which reduces their protective effects. Inconsistent use, such as not using condoms with every act of intercourse, can lead to STD transmission because transmission can occur with just one act of intercourse.
  • Use protection during oral sex. A condom or dental dam (a square piece of latex used by dentists) can be used. Do not reuse these items.
  • Tell others that you have HIV.
    • Tell people you've had sex with. This can be difficult, but they need to know so they can get the help they need. Your local public health department may help you find these people and tell them they have been exposed to HIV. If they have HIV, this may help them get care and avoid spreading HIV to others.
    • Tell people you are planning on having sex with. Practicing safe sex will help protect your health and that of your partners.
    • If you are a man and had sex with a woman who became pregnant, you need to tell the woman that you have HIV, even if you are not the father of the baby. If she has HIV, she needs to get early medical care for her own health and her baby's health.

Things you should NOT do

  • Don't share sex toys. Keep sex toys for your own use only.
  • Don't share drug needles or drug works. Use a needle exchange program if one is available. Seek help if you inject drugs. You can fight HIV much better if you don't have a drug habit.
  • Don't donate blood, plasma, or organs.
  • Don't share razors or toothbrushes. HIV can be spread through fresh blood on such items.

Is there special advice for women with HIV?

Yes. If you are a woman with HIV, your doctor should check you for STDs and perform a Pap test at least once a year.

As a woman with HIV, you are more likely to have abnormal Pap test results. Infection with HIV means your body is less effective in controlling all types of viruses. The human papilloma virus (HPV) is a specific virus that can infect cervical cells (the cells that the Pap test looks at). Your doctor may recommend a special test that can look for HPV as part of your exam. If your Pap test result is abnormal, your doctor may need to repeat it or do other tests. If you have had an abnormal Pap test result in the past, tell your doctor.

If you are thinking about avoiding pregnancy or becoming pregnant, talk with your doctor. You might ask some of the following questions:

  • What birth control methods are best for me?
  • Will HIV cause problems for me during pregnancy or delivery?
  • Will my baby have HIV?
  • Will treatment for my HIV infection cause problems for my baby?
  • If I choose to get pregnant, what medical and community programs and support groups can help me and my baby?

If you become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about medical care for you and your baby. You also need to plan for your child's future in case you get sick.

Your HIV treatment will not change very much from what it was before you became pregnant. You should have a Pap test and tests for STDs during your pregnancy. Your doctor will order tests and suggest medicines for you to take. Talk with him or her about all the pros and cons of taking medicine while you are pregnant.

Talk with your doctor about how you can prevent giving HIV to your baby. It is very important that you get good care early in your pregnancy. The chances of passing HIV to your baby before or during birth are about 1 in 4, or 25%, but treatment with antiretroviral medicines has been shown to greatly lower this risk. Your doctor will want you to take these medicines to increase your baby's chance of not getting HIV.

Although you are pregnant, to avoid catching other diseases and to avoid spreading HIV, you should still use condoms each time you have sex. Even if your partner already has HIV, he should still use condoms.

After birth, your baby will need to be tested for HIV, even if you took antiretroviral medicines while you were pregnant. Your baby will need to take medicine to prevent HIV infection and PCP. Talk with your doctor about your baby's special medical needs. Because HIV infection can be passed through breast milk, you should not breast-feed your baby.

Where can I find help in dealing with HIV?

If you are living with HIV or AIDS, you may need many kinds of support: medical, emotional, psychological, and financial. Your doctor, your local health and social services departments, local AIDS service organizations, and libraries can help you in finding all kinds of help, such as the following:

  • Answers to your questions about HIV and AIDS
  • Doctors, insurance, and help in making health care decisions
  • Food, housing, and transportation
  • Planning to meet financial and daily needs
  • Support groups for you and your loved ones
  • Home nursing care
  • Help in legal matters, including Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims
  • Confidential help in applying for Social Security disability benefits

You can also get help by calling CDC-INFO at 1-800-232-4636.

Many people living with HIV feel better if they can talk with other people who also have HIV. Here are some ways to find support.

  • Contact your local AIDS service organization. Look under "AIDS" or "Social Service Organizations" in the yellow pages of your telephone book.
  • Contact a local hospital, church, or American Red Cross chapter for referrals.
  • Read HIV newsletters or magazines.
  • Join support groups or Internet forums.
  • Volunteer to help others with HIV.
  • Be an HIV educator or public speaker, or work on a newsletter.
  • Attend social events to meet other people who have HIV.

Today, thousands of people are living with HIV or AIDS. Many are leading full, happy, and productive lives. You can too if you work with your doctor and others and take the steps outlined in this booklet to stay healthy.


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