What is HIV?
- The Human Immunodeficiency Virus slowly attacks the immune system so that the body cannot protect itself from infections and some cancers.
When the body becomes sick, this is called AIDS.
- HIV spreads through having sex without a condom, blood, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- The goal of HIV treatment is an ‘undetectable viral load’ – this is when the virus level is so low that the immune system can work normally.
What can help you reach your goal for HIV?
Take antiretroviral treatment for life.
There is no cure for HIV, but lifelong daily antiretroviral medication can prevent AIDS.
Avoid spreading HIV to those you love.
- Use a condom, even if your partner has HIV or you are on antiretroviral treatment.
- Have one partner at a time.
- Test your partner and children.
Keep a check on your condition
Attend your check-ups at the clinic regularly.
Know your viral load result – aim to keep it ‘undetectable.’
Look out for symptoms that you might be getting sick – especially TB symptoms (cough, weight loss, drenching night sweats).
Take your medication as instructed
- Take your antiretroviral medication at the right time every day, even when you are feeling healthy so that the virus stays at very low levels.
- If you miss doses, virus levels rise and resistance to antiretroviral medication can occur.
- Check the medication list to understand how your medication works and what side effects it might cause.
- If you have too much medication left over or are unsure how to take it, ask your healthcare worker.
Know when to seek healthcare
Visit the healthcare facility urgently today if you have any of the following:
- Are breathing too fast to speak properly
- Are vomiting everything
- Have a headache and are vomiting
- Have yellow skin and eyes
- Are unable to swallow
Make contact with your healthcare facility if:
- You run out of medication.
- You don’t know how to take your medication.
- You have an appointment for a check-up.
- You develop a side effect of your medication.