HIV/AIDS is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In fact, it is estimated that over 36 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. With approximately 1.5 million deaths each year. South Africa currently has the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world, although it is important to note that it has the largest ART programme, and has managed to reach its 90-90-90 target, meaning that 90% of South Africans are aware of their status.
How is HIV/AIDS spread?
HIV/AIDS can be spread in many ways, for example, anyone can get HIV/AIDS through swapping bodily fluids like blood, semen, or vaginal fluid. It can also be passed from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth. It is NOT possible to get transmit HIV through toilet seats, sharing eating utensils or cups, or non-sexual contact such as handshaking or hugging.
I tested positive, what now?
If you receive a diagnosis of HIV, it is essential that your first step is to seek medical attention and start on ART (antiretroviral therapy) as soon possible. ART can reduce the amount of or severity of symptoms like fever and night sweats, which makes living with this disease easier.
How to get support after your HIV diagnosis?
Receiving a diagnosis of HIV can be life-changing, but it does not mean you are done for. Most people with the Virus live long and healthy lives if they get treated correctly from early on.
Some people may feel a range of emotions after receiving an HIV diagnosis, including sadness and anger. It can help if you take care of your mental health too. By getting professional support from doctors or therapists who are sensitive to this issue.
Do you have to share your HIV status?
The answer is no, but it may be a good idea. A lot of people live with the belief that they will contract or give their infection away if someone knows – this can lead to them feeling isolated and alone, which makes fighting the illness more difficult when those we love are not there by our side.
How can I live a healthy lifestyle?
- Make sure you take your medication regularly
- Learn as much as you can about HIV/AIDS and the treatments
- Get support and manage stress
- Find a health care provider who has experience
- Try to live a healthy lifestyle including; Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating healthy foods and avoiding excessive alcohol and smoking.