Frequently Asked Question

No. Being diagnosed with HIV does not mean a person will also be diagnosed with AIDS. Healthcare professionals diagnose AIDS only when people with HIV disease begin to get severe opportunistic infections (OI), or their CD4 cell counts fall below a certain level.

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No, AIDS was not created by the United States Government.

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HIV is found only in body fluids, so you cannot get HIV by shaking someone’s hand or giving them a hug or by using the same toilet or towel. While HIV is found in saliva, sharing cups or utensils there has never been any documented case or proof of HIV transmission through sharing such items.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

No, Insects cannot transmit HIV. Research has shown that HIV does not replicate or survive well in insects. In addition, blood-sucking insects digest their food and do not inject blood from the last person they bite into the next person. Therefore blood is the food of the blood-sucking insects and they do not give out their food to their host.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

No. You cannot get HIV from casually kissing someone (or vice versa) who has HIV. Skin is a greater barrier against HIV. It is not recommended to engage long, open mouth kissing (“French Kissing”) with someone who has HIV. If one of you has an open sore in or around the mouth it could make the negative partner vulnerable to the infection.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

No, HIV does not survive outside the body, and fluids like sweat and saliva that are typically secreted during these activities have never been shown to transmit HIV. There are no documented cases or proof from anyone said to have been infected with HIV through sharing the hot tubs or steam rooms with others.

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Abstinence means not engaging in any form of sexual activity where there is a risk of exchanging fluids (semen, vaginal fluids, rectal mucous). This includes kissing, romance, anal, oral, and vaginal sex. Kissing and romance may not be seen as sex, but it is a process that leads to sexual intercourse where most virgins were compelled to start their first sexual experience.

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Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing HIV. Research on the effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing HIV transmission is both comprehensive and conclusive.

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If it’s been less than 72 hours since the condom broke, you may be able to take medication that could keep you from getting infected with HIV, even if your partner is HIV-positive. Visit your health centre and see a doctor immediately and ask about post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP. If it’s been longer than 72 hours, PEP will not protect you from HIV, and you will need to explore HIV testing options. (Click the HIV treatment centres in Nigeria to visit medical health centre closer to you) In most cases, you will have to wait at least 2 weeks after a possible exposure before an HIV test can provide accurate results.

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Research indicates that a significant percentage of teens are sexually active, which automatically puts them at risk for contracting STDs, including HIV. A 2007 CDC survey found that 47% of students in grades 9-12 reported having had sexual intercourse at least once, and 37% of sexually active students did not use a condom during their last act of sexual intercourse. Routine HIV screening would also allow many teens to get tested for HIV, without having to disclose their sexual activity to their parents.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

According to the CDC, the intention behind eliminating prevention counselling was to reduce or end barriers to testing in healthcare settings. CDC believes HIV testing can be covered under a general permission form (consent form) that is signed for all medical care.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

No. HIV diagnostic tests cannot determine who passed the infection to the negative partner. It is good to regularly keep update and monitor your health records to prevent such cases.

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In general, no. A skilled healthcare provider can generally estimate how long you have been infected by looking at the levels of virus in your body, your CD4 (T-cell) count, and whether or not you have had any opportunistic infections. If you are currently suffering from symptoms of acute HIV infection, a healthcare provider can usually conclude that infection occurred within the past few weeks.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

While complications from HIV infection remain a possibility, current treatments and medications are giving to people living with HIV to live a positive prognosis and near-normal life-span. The virus makes people infected with HIV vulnerable to the same health conditions that affect all people at all age. This is why it good to diagnose earlier and start treatment if eligible for ART.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

Your provider will probably check your CD4 count at your first visit immediately after a positive test result. Then—depending on what your counts are and whether you both decide it’s time to begin treatment—you can usually expect to undergo viral load testing every 3-6 months. Typically, once you are on a good medication regimen, have an undetectable viral load, and have an increasing CD4 count, you will take a viral load test every 6 months. Ask your care providers for the result of your CD4 Count Test and viral load test and ensure that they interpret the result and its implications for you.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

It’s important to remember that your provider will be treating your HIV but also needs to consider your overall health and well-being. These tests, along with the information you provide and your physical exam, all help your provider to develop the best plan of care to help you lead a healthy life.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

Your provider should closely monitor your viral load during the first few weeks after you start your medication regimen. Typically, if your medications are appropriate, your viral load should start to reach undetectable levels by 16-24 weeks after you begin treatment.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

No. Viral load is the amount of HIV in a sample of your blood. Viral set point is the viral load that your body establishes within a few weeks or months after you are infected with HIV. Some research suggests that if your viral set point is lowered with medications, the progression of your HIV disease may be slower and less severe, your immune function may be preserved longer, and the risk of viral mutation (which is how new strains of HIV are created) may be lowered.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

Recreational or occasional drug use can be just as dangerous as an addictive pattern of behaviour. In particular, excessive alcohol or stimulant (meth) use can be damaging even on an intermittent basis. These behaviours can be associated with immune system damage, lack of medication or treatment adherence, infection, organ damage, and overdose. Some of these effects can be seen even if a person only uses them on the weekends or when out "partying." Sometimes this behaviour is more dangerous because it leads to a greater loss of control and more risky behaviour.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

No. While most bacterial infections are curable with an antibiotic injection or pill, some viral infections (including herpes and HPV) may or may not resolve on their own. HIV is a viral STD that will not go away once you have it. There are currently no cures for these viruses—only treatments. In particular, having herpes can increase the risks of transmitting or acquiring HIV.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

Yes! There are many medications and natural remedies for combating nausea. Talk to your healthcare provider about your options.

Yes, you really do! While it isn’t clear whether people with HIV are susceptible to a more severe case of the flu than others, studies show that HIV-positive people tend to have higher rates of complications from influenza than others and more prolonged cases of flu and flu symptoms (especially in "flu season"). For this reason, HIV-positive clients are considered a high priority for vaccination. However, people with HIV should not receive the nasal spray form of the vaccine, which is a weakened but live form of the specific flu virus. Only the injectable form should be used.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

If you are concerned, check with your healthcare provider. There are some infections (pneumonia, sinus infections, skin infections, etc.) that can be associated with a weakened immune system--these will not get better until you get treatment. In general, if you are in good health, with a CD4 count above 400-500, you are not at risk for the more dangerous OIs. However, if you are unsure of your CD4 count, have had an OI before, or your symptoms worsen instead of improving over time, you should contact your care provider immediately.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

Not necessarily. Family history is an important risk factor for developing diabetes, especially if you have other risk factors too. But no one can be 100% sure that you will or won’t develop diabetes. That’s why it’s important to consult a healthcare provider who can monitor you for signs and symptoms of insulin resistance and diabetes. You can also take steps to prevent diabetes, including exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet always.

For more information, please visit the health care centre around you.

Germs in food and water that can make someone with HIV ill include E.coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria and Cryptosporidium. They can cause diarrhea, upset stomach, vomiting, stomach cramps, fever, headache, muscle pain, bloodstream infection, meningitis, or encephalitis.

For more information, please visit the health care centre and consult your nutritionist around you.

Yes, there are public, private, and not-for-profit job training programs available to you. Start first with a volunteer service with any close Non-for Profit making organization to acquire some level of experience and then build your capacities and your curriculum vitae in preparing you for a better placed job opportunities. You could make lots of impact in other people’s lives by helping out, acquire experiences and then fit into a leadership sit one day.

For more information consult your support group coordinator

Joining a support group of People Living with HIV/AIDS in your community is a strategic opportunity to bridge the gap of being lonely and reducing self-stigmatization. Click on the list of support groups in Nigeria on the home page and find the contact close to your community where you can meet with others living with HIV to share experience and learn on how to cope with living with HIV.

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