Did You test positive for hiv?

Hugs.

 

It is important to understand that it’s totally possible to live with HIV. Just like diabetes may not necessarily have a cure but can be managed, HIV does not as yet have a cure but can be kept in check.

   

You will be fine, living a long and healthy life, keep calm and take the right medical steps as below:

• Visit a doctor immediately: Seek detailed opinions on treatment, medication, mental health
• Access Free Treatment and medication from Government ART Centres
• Equip yourself with information for managing your life after HIV
• Adhere to the treatment plan (this is crucial)

 

Did you test positive for hiv?

Hugs.

It is important to understand that it is totally possible to live with HIV.

Just like diabetes may not necessarily have a cure but can be managed, HIV does not as yet have a cure but can be kept in check.

You will be fine, living a long and healthy life, keep calm and take the right medical steps as below:

  • Visit a doctor immediately: Seek detailed opinions on treatment, medication, mental health
  • Access Free Treatment and medication from Government ART Centres
  • Equip yourself with information for managing your life after HIV
  • Adhere to the treatment plan (this is Crucial)

 

Life AFTER HIV: VISHWA’S STORY

Vishwa shares about coping with his HIV+ status, and busts myths around HIV. Learn more about his journey: being gay, accepting his HIV status, treatment, and more, as HIV is not the end. Watch now!

What does it mean to be HIV+?
Is it possible that my tests results are inaccurate?
There is a small possibility (0.05-0.2% probability) that your test result is inaccurate. An HIV Test may result in a ‘false-positive’ (you are HIV negative, but your test result shows positive) in some cases. Similarly, there may be a ‘false-negative’ i.e. when results are negative despite the person contracting the virus. Similarly, there may be a ‘false-negative’ i.e. when results are negative despite the person contracting the virus. The chances of inaccuracy are very low (less than 1 in 1000 for the tests performed by the ICTC centres) and can depend on many concurrent health conditions. Moreover, window period is generally not considered as false negative. Therefore, Regular HIV Testing (Hello Doctor Ep8: How Important is HIV Testing?) every 3-6 months is Very Important. (Source: Angel, 2016; Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)


Related Videos:

TMKB 6: Life After HIV: Vishwa


Hello Doctor Ep6: Life After HIV? 

What are the body fluids which can contain HIV?
  • Sexual fluids (semen and vaginal fluid).
  • Mucus from the vagina and anus.
  • Blood.
  • Breastmilk is infectious to a baby but is unlikely to be infectious to an adult.
  • Tears may be infectious, but this is more a theoretical caution than a likely route of actual transmission.
  • Saliva, spit, urine and faeces are NOT infectious for HIV.

What is the medical treatment available for HIV/AIDS? How long can I live with this treatment?
HIV treatment involves taking medicines that slows the progression of the virus in your body. HIV is a type of virus (retrovirus), and the drugs used to treat it are called anti-retroviral (ARV). These drugs are always given in combination with other ARVs; and this combination therapy is called antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART is recommended for everyone who has HIV. People with HIV should start ART as soon as possible. ART cannot cure HIV, but ART helps people with HIV live long, healthy lives. To protect your health, it is important to get on and stay on HIV treatment immediately. HIV treatment is important because it helps your body fight HIV. This “treatment adherence” is essential to manage HIV (to prevent infections or complications). If left untreated, HIV attacks your immune system and can allow different types of life-threatening and opportunistic infections and cancers to develop. If your CD4 cell count falls below a certain level, you are at risk of getting an opportunistic infection. Your health care provider may prescribe medicines to prevent certain infections.
What is CD4 Count? What does it mean for my health?
Your CD4 cell count gives you an indication of the health of your immune system – your body’s natural defence system against pathogens, infections and illnesses. – A normal range for CD4 cells is about 500-1,500. – People living with HIV who have a CD4 count over 500 are usually in pretty good health, and the HIV virus can be controlled with effective HIV treatment. – When the CD4 count drops below 200, a person is diagnosed with AIDS. By reducing the amount of HIV in the body, ART reduces the risk of HIV transmission. Your health care provider will develop a treatment plan will help you learn more about HIV, manage it effectively, and make decisions that help you live a long, healthy life.
Important Links:


Related Videos:
Hello Doctor: Episode 6

TMKB Ep6: Life After HIV: Vishwa

Relevant Articles:

How long does it take for HIV to cause AIDS?
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a term which applies to the most advanced stages of HIV infection. The length of time taken for an HIV positive person to develop AIDS varies significantly. Without treatment, most people with HIV will develop AIDS within 10–15 years. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) slows down the disease progression by preventing the virus replicating and therefore decreasing the amount of virus in an infected person’s blood (known as the ‘viral load’). With ART, development of AIDS can even be completely prevented. People with HIV infection who go on ART early can now be expected to have near normal life expectancies if they take their medications and adhere to their treatment plan. As with other chronic diseases, early detection of infection allows for more options for treatment and preventive health care. Important Links: NACO: Understanding ART Treatment http://naco.gov.in/treatment
How will I know if I have AIDS?
There is no certain way of knowing if one has AIDS or not without seeing a medical doctor. If a doctor diagnoses you with an opportunistic infection, then you are likely to have AIDS. This is not true in all the cases though. For example, tuberculosis in a person with HIV can occur even before HIV advances to AIDS.
Is AIDS irreversible?
AIDS as being irreversible is an old concept from the time before HIV treatment. With the current highly active treatment available for HIV, a person with AIDS when started on treatment can have rapid improvement in his general health, CD4 counts and viral load. With improvement in CD4 count, the risk of opportunistic infections also goes down. With continued treatment, good CD4 counts and low viral loads can be maintained for long periods of time.
What happens to your body if you are HIV Positive?
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that (if untreated) causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). HIV destroys CD4 cells in your body, making it harder for your body to fight off infections. Untreated HIV can make even a minor infection (like a cold) more severe because the body has difficulty healing. Within 2-4 weeks of infecting the body, HIV (the virus) multiplies attacking CD4 cells, causing an initial infection with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, rash, sore throat, swollen glands, joint or muscle pain, etc. However, not all people with HIV experience have flu-like symptoms. HIV (the virus) is still active irrespective of the symptoms. After this stage, unfortunately, the HIV infected individual will not show ANY SYMPTOM OR SIGN or HIV infection till he reaches stage 4 when he develops AIDS and opportunistic infections. During the entire quiescent phase, the individual continues to be infectious. Only a blood test can at this stage detect an HIV infection. HIV does not make you sick, but it weakens your immune system, allowing other illnesses and infections to make you sick. Those with HIV and AIDS are usually susceptible to tuberculosis and other kinds of otherwise rare infections of the lung–such as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, infections of the surface covering of the brain, or meningitis, or the brain itself or encephalitis. The immune defect caused by having too few CD4 cells also permits some cancers that are stimulated by viral illness to occur.
Important Links:

Related Videos:
TMKB Ep6: Life After HIV: Vishwa

Relevant Articles:

What is CD4 T cell count?
CD4 T cells are white blood cells that are specifically targeted and destroyed by HIV. Your CD4 cell count gives you an indication of the health of your immune system – your body’s natural defence system against pathogens, infections and illnesses. – A normal range for CD4 cells is about 500-1,500. – People living with HIV who have a CD4 count over 500 are usually in pretty good health, and the HIV virus can be controlled with effective HIV treatment. – When the CD4 count drops below 200, a person is diagnosed with AIDS.
What does viral load mean?
Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood of a person living with HIV. It measures the exact number of free viruses in the blood stream. This is an indicator of how well the body is fighting the virus. Typically, viral loads are high in the blood soon after acquiring HIV infection or when no treatment is taken. Viral loads are typically very low in someone who is on HIV treatment and is very regular in his medicines.
What does undetectable mean?
Undetectable is a stage one arrives at during the treatment where the viral copies are so few in the blood that common tests cannot pick up the virus. This stage can be reached when one is very regular with the treatment for at least 6 months. The viral copies are usually less than 50 per millilitre when one is said undetectable. There are a lot of advantages of being undetectable- 1. Since the level of circulating virus is very low in the blood the body is prevented from the harm HIV is causing. This means longer, healthier and near normal life. 2. By being undetectable, there is very little chance of spreading HIV to your sexual partners through sex. What undetectable does not mean is that- 1. It is not a cure from HIV. HIV is still in the body. HIV tests are still positive, and ART must be continued for life time. But by continued ART, you can maintain the undetectable status. 2. It is not a permanent status. Viral loads can fluctuate based on many factors and one needs to be regular in getting his viral loads checked (like every 3-6 months). 3. It does not mean one can have sex without condoms. Because the viral loads can fluctuate and there is a risk of other STDs when condoms are not used.
What to do if I am tested HIV+?
Step-by-step guide on information about immediate medical actions, here is everything you would need to know and do next!
What medical action must I take if I have tested positive for HIV? Is this sequence non-negotiable?
Testing positive for HIV can overwhelm you with questions and concerns. It’s important for you to remember that HIV is a manageable disease that can be treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART cannot cure HIV, but they help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and reduce the risk of HIV transmission. The first step after testing HIV positive is to see a counsellor at the HIV testing centre or a doctor (even if you don’t feel sick). The counsellor will help you reconfirm your HIV status to rule out any inaccuracies with the tests, and then confirm your eligibility for the treatment services and free ARVs. Prompt medical care and treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the best way for you to stay healthy. The medical professional will conduct an HIV baseline evaluation, which includes a review of the person’s health and medical history, a physical exam, and lab tests: Determine how far a person’s HIV infection has progressed. Treatment with ART can prevent HIV from advancing to AIDS. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. Evaluate whether the person is ready to start lifelong treatment with ART. Collect information to decide which medicines to start. During an HIV baseline evaluation, the health care provider will explain to you the benefits and risks of HIV treatment and will discuss ways to reduce the risk of passing HIV to others. You can also ask your health care provider to answer any other questions you might have. Things you can do to help health care provider in charting out a suitable treatment plan for you: Share information on all prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Any issues that can make adherence difficult (personal habits, difficulties, responsibilities etc.). Your daily schedule at home and at work. Ask your health care provider for written directions on how to follow your HIV regimen. Discuss medication adherence at each appointment with your health care provider. If you find the regimen too complicated, let your health care provider know. Discuss any issues that are causing you to skip medicines.

Important Links:

Related Videos:

Hello Doctor Ep6: Life After HIV? 

TMKB Ep6: Life After HIV: Vishwa

Relevant Articles:

What is the most common life-threatening opportunistic infection affecting people living with HIV?
TB, yes. But the chance of cancer rises significantly. So, does muscle wasting – which leads to a host of other health issues. Opportunistic infections (OIs) are infections that occur more frequently among those with weakened immune systems. This includes people with HIV that are not on regular treatment (ART). The most fatal OI with HIV is Tuberculosis (TB) [killed 400,000 (201) HIV positive people globally]. To prevent and manage TB infection among people living with HIV, you must: Get routine-TB symptom screening on each healthcare visit Manage latent TB infection (e.g. with isoniazid preventive treatment) Control TB infection Initiate Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) at the earliest Some of the other common OIs include Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Cryptococcal Meningitis, Toxoplasmosis, PCP (a type of pneumonia), Oesophageal Candidiasis and certain Cancers (including Kaposi’s sarcoma). Please consult your health care provider about specific to prevent OIs.

Important Links:

What other kinds of care do people living with HIV need?
People with HIV ought to consider Counselling and Psychosocial Support. Access to good nutrition, safe water and basic hygiene can also help you maintain a high quality of life. Sometimes, mental health is neglected, causing depression and stress. This may also result in failure to adhere to ART. It is also important to take good care of yourself: Seek support from a friend or family member to help arrange and attend medical health appointments. The body needs extra rest. Try to sleep for eight hours every night. Rest whenever you are tired. Stress can also harm your immune system. Relax more. Be kind to yourself. Try to keep a forward-looking attitude. Feeling good mentally is part of being healthy. Please workout: Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy. Find support and talk to a mental health professional if needed. You can ask for help and accept it when it is offered. Ask for advice and information from your health care provider. Stop smoking. It damages the lungs and many other parts of the body and makes it easier for infections to attack your body. Alcohol is harmful to the body, especially the liver. It increases vulnerability to infection and destroys vitamins in the body; under the influence of alcohol you may forget to practise safe sex. Avoid unnecessary medicines. They often have unwanted side-effects and can interfere with food and nutrition. If you do take medicines, consult your doctor or health care provider. & surround yourself with supporting, loving and fun family and friends!

Important Links:
The Better India: Here’s a List of Support Groups for HIV+ People in India

Related Videos:
Hello Doctor Ep6: Life After HIV?

Hello Doctor Ep7: Sex Life After HIV?

TMKB Ep6: Life After HIV: Vishwa 

TMKB Ep8: Family: Vishwa and his Mother 

Relevant Articles:

When to start treatment?
The treatment should start as soon as you are tested positive. Absolutely Anyone with HIV infection, regardless of CD4 T cell count, should be offered antiviral medication as soon as possible. HIV therapy is particularly crucial for the following situations: You have severe symptoms. You have an opportunistic infection. Your CD4 T cell count is under 350. You are pregnant. You have HIV-related kidney disease. You’re being treated for hepatitis B or C.

Important Links:

Related Videos:

TMKB Ep6: Life After HIV: Vishwa

Will the HIV treatment have any effect on how I feel?
Like most other drugs, some HIV medication may have side effects including an adverse impact on one’s mind. On the odd occasion, this could include reducing you functional and emotional well-being too. Symptoms of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) can include the following: Muscle weakness Clumsiness Forgetfulness Confusion Difficulty paying attention Sudden shifts in mood and behaviour Efavirenz is known to cause depression Please do consult your doctor if you experience difficulties in your daily life. Please Do Not Stop treatment (medication) Without Consulting Your Doctor. Keep a diary or use another way of making notes on any symptoms or unusual thoughts or bodily reactions. Share this information with your doctor, it would help him/her develop and share an accurate diagnosis. Build as much support as possible, including friends, family, and health care providers for yourself. Although it’s possible to treat HAND successfully, it may take time for some symptoms to reduce. (UCSF, 2017; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

Important Links:

The Better India: Here’s a List of Support Groups for HIV+ People in India 

What is relation between Tuberculosis and HIV?
Tuberculosis (TB) is the most prominent opportunistic diseases to develop amongst HIV positive people. HIV debilitates the immune system increasing the vulnerability to TB and increasing the risk of progression from TB infection to TB disease [People with TB also become susceptible to HIV infection]. TB is entirely curable with a full course of treatment. Free TB treatment is available at Primary Health centres (PHCs), and ART centres. (NACO)

Important Links:

Are there specialist doctors for HIV treatment? Where/Who?
Yes. There are certified infectious disease physicians and HIV specialists in most cities. Also, most doctors learn about the pathogenesis of HIV, how to diagnose and treat it. If you are HIV positive, then you can get in touch with the nearest ART centre at a government hospital in your city. They would be able to put you in touch with friendly doctors in and outside of the hospital. The Government of India provides Free Treatment for HIV. You can visit your nearest ART centre and collect free Medicine from there. Many NGOs across the country help with finding doctors and recommending treatment. In addition, the National AIDS Toll-Free Helpline (NACO) is 1097. You can also message us at Safe Masti. In addition to treating your HIV, your doctor, health care provider or local AIDS service organization can also help you access health care and other support services that can help you stay well, physically and emotionally.

Important Links:

Related Videos: 

Hello Doctor: Episode 6 (name needs to be changed to Hello Doctor Ep6: Life After HIV?)

 

Mental Health and HIV
To make sure you treat HIV effectively, mental, emotional, and psychosocial well-being is invaluable. Here’s what you can do to ensure you have excellent mental health.
How hard is it to live with HIV?
With the right treatment and care, you can easily live As Long As someone without HIV. Here’s how you can look after yourself and stay healthy: Check-in with your healthcare professional regularly Adhere to antiretroviral treatment (ARTs) for HIV Eat healthy Exercise regularly Avoid alcohol or drug use Manage stress If you feel the need, get mental health support (or counselling)

Important Links:

The Better India: Here’s a List of Support Groups for HIV+ People in India 

Related Videos:

TMKB Ep6: Life After HIV: Vishwa

Relevant Articles: 

What are the thoughts (and challenges) that will come to you? How to address these thoughts?
HIV infection affects all dimensions of a person’s life: physical, psychological, sexual, and social. Counselling and social support can help people and their carers cope more effectively with each stage of the infection and enhances quality of life. With adequate support, HIV positive people are more likely to be able to respond adequately to the stress of being infected and are less likely to develop serious mental health problems. Fear of Discrimination What is it: Societies, cultures and religions struggle to accept people living with HIV, causing numerous instances of discrimination, and lack of empathy, care and support to them. What you should know: If you have HIV, you have right to treatment, right to confidentiality about your HIV status, right to employment, and right against discrimination at workplace. Fear of Homophobia What is it: Homophobia is “the irrational hatred, intolerance, and fear” of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and is also a form of discrimination. The global HIV epidemic has always been closely linked with negative attitudes towards LGBT people, especially men who have sex with men (sometimes referred to as MSM); a group that is particularly affected by HIV and AIDS. What you should know: No one can deny you information or treatment for HIV based on your sexual or gender identity. Fear of Dying What is it: Testing positive for HIV means that you now carry the virus that causes AIDS, but it does not mean that you will die. What you should know: Although there is no cure for AIDS, but there is treatment to keep the virus in check, and many opportunistic infections that make people sick can be controlled, prevented or eliminated. This can substantially increase your longevity and quality of life against HIV/AIDS. Fear of Isolation What is it: Isolation shouldn’t be confused with the number of people around an individual. A person living with HIV can be surrounded by crowds of people, yet because of stigma and discrimination, they can experience low self-worth or feel ostracised in their social settings. What you should know: For people with HIV, their partners and families, psychosocial support can assist people in making informed decisions, coping better with illness and dealing more effectively with discrimination. It improves the quality of their lives and prevents further transmission of HIV infection.

Important Links:

Related Videos: 

TMKB Ep6: Life After HIV: Vishwa

TMKB Ep7: Love & Acceptance: Vishwa & Vivek

TMKB Ep8: Family: Vishwa and his Mother

Relevant Articles: 

I AM HIV+… AND I AM STILL SMILING

Why is good mental health essential for good health (when you are HIV positive)?
People with HIV are vulnerable to mental health challenges including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts, and insomnia. This can impair your immune functions, reduces adherence to treatment and significantly degrades your quality of life. Such issues can be caused due to personal and social isolation, loneliness, fear of not being accepted, self-hate, guilt, discrimination, mistreatment, etc. It’s important to remember that mental health conditions are treatable and that you can recover with the help of suitable counselling, therapy, and medicines.

Related Videos: 

Hello Doctor: Episode 6 Life After HIV?

TMKB Ep6: Life After HIV: Vishwa

TMKB Ep7: Love & Acceptance: Vishwa & Vivek

TMKB Ep8: Family: Vishwa and his Mother

Relevant Articles: 

Does it help to seek professional help when self-help does not work?
Speaking to someone who has experience treating people with HIV is beneficial as they will have a better understanding of what you’re going through and can help you in dealing with the psychological impact. Good mental health would include: Emotional well-being (life satisfaction, happiness, cheerfulness, peacefulness) Psychological well-being (self-acceptance, optimism, hopefulness, purpose in life, self-direction, healthy relationships) Social well-being (social acceptance, believing in the potential of people and society, self-worth and usefulness to society, sense of community) Many patients with HIV/AIDS experience numerous challenges beyond those posed by the physical effects of their disease—including poverty, mental illness, drug addiction, social alienation, and homophobia. If you find yourself struggling after your diagnosis, isolating yourself, feeling low or bad about yourself, you should seek support from certified mental health professionals too.

Important Links:

The Better India: Here’s a List of Support Groups for HIV+ People in India 

Who can offer me professional help?
A certified mental health professional (counsellor or therapist) can help you with dealing with any psychosocial issues you might face due to your HIV diagnosis. It would be helpful for the counsellor or therapist to have an experience in dealing with HIV positive patients. It could include medication, one-on-one therapy, or both. Family counselling might also be beneficial to those who wish to inform their family of their diagnosis, explain what it means, and help family members in adapting to the news. Some people with HIV or AIDS benefit from group therapy and/or support groups where they can connect and share with other people who are also infected as well as those who are not infected but may have a loved one who is. It may also be invaluable to reach out to others who are HIV Positive and have managed their lives brilliantly. There are Many such excellent people! We are happy to connect you.

Important Links:

The Better India: Here’s a List of Support Groups for HIV+ People in India 

I know someone who is HIV positive. How can I help him/her?
You can be a very important source of support to someone who is HIV positive: by helping with psychosocial, medical and logistical support. Here are few things you can do to help: Inform yourself about HIV and difficulties (physical, social, mental) faced by people living with HIV Let them know you are available to help in your own capacity Listen to what they have to say. It can help with reducing their fears, inhibitions, and reservations around HIV (or their sexuality) Help them access mental health and HIV treatment services (Do Not Force) Treat with Respect and Empathy, and Not Pity Accept the person as you would without HIV Help neighbours, colleagues, friends and relatives to understand the nature of the illness and the care and precautions required.

Important Links:

Related Videos: 

Hello Doctor: Episode 6 Life After HIV?

TMKB Ep7: Love & Acceptance: Vishwa & Vivek

TMKB Ep8: Family: Vishwa and his Mother

Relevant Articles: 

 

 

Can Being HIV+ Affect My Job?
Your HIV status does not define your professional abilities and will to work. You have the right to equal employment opportunities irrespective of your status.
Do I have to tell my employer about my HIV status?
If you are HIV positive, you have the Right to Control the Disclosure of your HIV status, especially in workplace and educational institutions. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017 was passed in the Lok Sabha on 11th April 2017. The bill (link: http://naco.gov.in/hivaids-act-2017) was introduced to help strengthen the rights of the people who have been suffering from HIV or AIDS. Here are certain rights that an HIV positive person must know about, when living in India: The bill lists that denial or discontinuation of employment, education, healthcare services, renting or residing property, standing for public or private office will count as discrimination along with unfair treatment in any of the above-mentioned categories. It also prohibits HIV testing being used as a pre-requisite for securing a job, accessing health care or education. The Bill proposes that a person cannot be forced to take an HIV test without their consent. The informed consent of a person before taking such a test is mandatory after proper counselling and imparting of knowledge about the test. It also has a provision under which no person shall be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required, only by a court order. With these provisions in place to protect your rights as an HIV positive person, you can choose to disclose or not disclose your HIV status. You can also look through the company policy around employment of people with HIV or chronic diseases, and for determining if the company or the employer would provide a suitable workplace for you or not.

Important Links:

POZ: HIV Status Disclosure: Your Right 

ED Times: Basic Rights Of HIV Positive People In India 

Related Videos: 

TMKB Ep6: Life After HIV: Vishwa

Relevant Articles:

I AM HIV+… AND I AM STILL SMILING

Will me being positive affect my educational/career opportunities?
The HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017 prohibits discrimination in jobs and education for those living with HIV. Any denial/termination/discontinuation or unfair treatment of HIV positive people in jobs, education, healthcare is prohibited. Right against discrimination is a fundamental right enjoyed by all citizens of India. “No person shall be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required by a court order,” the bill clarified. (pib.nic.in)

Important Links:

What are my legal rights at work and in social context if I am HIV positive?
As an HIV positive person, your rights as a citizen are protected under the Constitution of India. You can also read about the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017 which was introduced to help strengthen the rights of the people who have been suffering from HIV or AIDS. Four important rights you should know about include: Right to Treatment: A person suffering from any ailment has the right to get treatment for his suffering. Information and treatment cannot be denied to a patient because of her/his HIV/AIDS status. If any HIV/AIDS patient is denied treatment, it amounts to discrimination. The Government of India provides free treatment of HIV. You can visit your nearest ART centre and collect free Medicine from there. Right to Informed Consent: HIV Testing requires specific and informed consent of the person being tested for the test results to be used for any research and information sharing. Right to Confidentiality: A person has the right to keep information on their HIV status confidential. Right against Discrimination: A person has the right to be treated equally as any other citizen of the country as per the fundamental rights covered under law and constitution.

Important Links:

Related Videos: 

TMKB Ep6: Life After HIV: Vishwa

TMKB Ep7: Love & Acceptance: Vishwa & Vivek

TMKB Ep8: Family: Vishwa and his Mother

Relevant Articles: 

 

 

Being HIV+ and Family
HIV affects your life, and of those around you. But not knowing how it affects you or others, can lead to stress and mental health issues while dealing with HIV. How best to ensure that your family is a pillar of strength for you, rather than an additional problem to address?
How do I ensure I do not transmit HIV to anyone around me?
If you have been tested positive for HIV and are worried about transmitting the virus to those around you (family, friends, care providers, partners, colleagues, etc), here’s what you need to know: HIV is NOT transmitted if you hug, shake hands, share toilets, share dishes, or closed-mouth or “social” kissing with someone who is HIV-negative. Only certain body fluids—blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk—from an HIV-infected person can transmit HIV. Educate yourself about HIV/AIDS, so you are equipped to clear out any concerns or misconceptions people might have around transmission of HIV. Take your HIV medication regularly and as prescribed by your doctor. Always keep your medication with you so that even if you’re traveling, you won’t have to miss a dose. Get tested regularly for viral load to know how likely you are to transmit the virus. [Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood of someone who is HIV-positive. Undetectable viral load is when the amount of HIV in the blood is so low that it can’t be measured. The higher someone’s viral load, the more likely that person is to transmit HIV.] Follow hygiene methods like handwashing, maintaining personal articles like razorblades/razors, and keeping a check on any broken skin or cuts you might develop, causing transmission of infected bodily fluids. Use condoms with a water-based lubricant to avoid passing on HIV and protect you and your partners from STDs. There is a low risk of passing on HIV through oral sex but using a condom or dental dams will also protect you and your partners from HIV and other STDs. Accidents can happen. If you think you may have exposed another person to HIV, then they can take PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) within 72 hours of exposure. To find out if the person is eligible for PEP treatment or not, it is crucial to consult a doctor immediately.

  Related Videos: 

Hello Doctor: Episode 6  Life After HIV?

Hello Doctor: Episode 7 Sex Life After HIV?

TMKB Ep6: Life After HIV: Vishwa

TMKB Ep7: Love & Acceptance: Vishwa & Vivek

TMKB Ep8: Family: Vishwa and his Mother

Relevant Articles: 

My partner has HIV. What precautions do I need to take?
Do not need to stress. With proper precautions and information, couples or sexual partners can reduce (but not eliminate) the risk of transmitting HIV to the healthier partner: Consult a doctor and get advice on preventive measures like PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (Post exposure prophylaxis) that reduce the risk of HIV. Make sure your partner is taking regular medication and treatment for HIV. People who aren’t on HIV treatment will have higher concentration of the virus in their bodily fluids, making it more probable to pass it on to a sexual partner. People living with HIV taking proper medication, undergoing HIV treatment and Antiretroviral therapy (ART) will usually have less of the virus in their bloodstream and consequently reduced risk of transmission. Please consistently use of condoms with lubricants is a must. (buy here) Regular HIV testing (every 3-6 months) is crucial for you, to keep a check on your HIV status. (book a test) Do not avoid intimacy! Couples dealing with HIV should be aware of the risk of transmission (unsafe activities elimination/reduction). Hugging, kissing, and touching are all safe activities — so Give love!

Related Videos: 

Hello Doctor: Episode 6 Life After HIV?

Hello Doctor: Episode 7 Sex Life After HIV?

TMKB Ep6: Life After HIV: Vishwa

TMKB Ep7: Love & Acceptance: Vishwa & Vivek

TMKB Ep8: Family: Vishwa and his Mother

Relevant Articles: 

I am HIV+. Does that mean I cannot have children now and never start a family?
One of the most common questions from those who learn they are HIV-positive is whether they can still have kids. Here’s what you need to know: Many (heterosexual) couples, one of whom is HIV positive and the other person is not, have children. This requires careful planning to ensure a safe and successful pregnancy. It is essential to plan to prevent HIV from passing to the HIV-negative partner (or to the baby). Couples can also apply for child adoption (http://cara.nic.in/). Many gay couples, in which one person is HIV positive and the other person isn’t, want to have children, and they cannot legally adopt a child (in India). Either one of you can apply for adoption as a single man. Check out the eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents here (http://cara.nic.in/Parents/eg_ri.html) It is legal for single HIV positive men (irrespective of sexuality) to adopt a child, but they might find it a bit difficult to get through with the adoption process because of the social stigma attached to HIV/AIDS and misinformation in the society about the virus.

Important Links:

Related Videos: 

Hello Doctor: Episode 6 Life After HIV?

Hello Doctor: Episode 7 Sex Life After HIV?

TMKB Ep6: Life After HIV: Vishwa

TMKB Ep7: Love & Acceptance: Vishwa & Vivek

TMKB Ep8: Family: Vishwa and his Mother

Relevant Articles: 

 

HIV and Sexual Well-Being
Being HIV positive does not mean you cannot enjoy your sexual life anymore! For preventing transmission of HIV further or protecting yourself from contracting HIV and enjoying your sex life, read more.
Can I not have sex if I am HIV positive?
Of course, you can! And you can have sex without any fear of transmitting HIV to the partner if you are practicing safe sex. Also, if you are taking regular ART, then in a few months’ time the ART will make your viral load undetectable which makes HIV transmission highly unlikely. (Refer to Viral Load and Undetectable)

 

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I am Positive. How do I prevent my partner from getting HIV?
When one of the partners is HIV positive and the other is negative, such a couple is called a ‘sero-discordant couple’. There are numerous ways of enjoying a healthy sexual relationship with a HIV negative partner without having the risk of transmitting the HIV virus to him. Regular HIV medications (ART): When the positive partner takes ART regularly, every day, without fail, then his viral load will be undetectable in a few months. With undetectable viral load, the risk of transmission of HIV through sex is very small. But do remember, the positive partner must be very regular with his medicines. This approach is called as TasP: treatment as prevention. Treatment of the HIV in the positive partner is working as a preventive measure for the negative partner. Condoms: Condoms along with regular ART can further minimize the risk of HIV along with protecting from other STDs. PrEP: PrEP for the negative partner is another option if the positive partner is not undetectable or is not regular on treatment. Please remember PrEP along with condoms is more efficacious than PrEP alone. PEP: If there is an accidental high-risk exposure in a sero-discordant couple, such as a condom rupture, you could go and see a doctor immediately to avail PEP. Please remember if your partner is on regular medications and is undetectable, PEP is not indicated. Combination: Combination of the above methods (such as ART + condoms + PrEP) can significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission if the positive partner is not undetectable.

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Can I have safe sex with my negative partner?
If you are regular on ART and have undetectable viral load, then the theoretical risk of transmission of HIV to your negative partner through unsafe anal sex is close to zero. Risk can be further reduced if the negative partner is on PrEP. But please remember, undetectable is a status you can be sure of only after 2 tests of viral load, 3 months apart, are undetectable. Also, it is not a permanent status and fluctuation in viral load (Blips) are possible. And irregular medications can increase viral load and put you and your partner at health risk. (Refer to Viral Load and Undetectable)

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How often does my partner needs to get tested?
If one of the partners is HIV negative while the other being positive, the negative partner is advised to get regular HIV and STD testing once in 6 months. If the negative partner is on PrEP, he may be required to get tested once in 3 months.

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In Part I, Vivek answered questions about the emotional labour of loving and living with an HIV+ person. In this part, he addresses questions about the practical aspects of their relationship.
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http://safemasti.com/loving-an-hiv-person-part-ii/
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