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AIDS Programme UKZN

Staff

Ms. Eleanor Langley

Acting HIV/AIDS Programme Co-ordinator

Room 228 on the 2nd Floor at Medical School
Contact Number 031-260-4797
Email: langley@ukzn.ac.za

Administrative assistant

Medical School Campus Health Clinic

Room 272,  2nd Floor
Contact Number: 031-260-4185
Email: makhanyan@ukzn.ac.za

FAQ

What is AIDS?

WHAT DOES “AIDS” MEAN? 

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome:   

*     Acquired means it was attained or gotten.     

*     Immune Deficiency means a weakness in the body’s system that fights diseases.  

*     Syndrome means a group of health problems that make up a disease.

AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. If you get infected with HIV, your body will try to fight the infection. It will make “antibodies,” special molecules to fight HIV. A blood test for HIV looks for these antibodies. If you have them in your blood, it means that you have HIV infection. People who have the HIV antibodies are called “HIV-Positive.” Being HIV-positive, or having HIV disease, is not the same as having AIDS. 

Many people are HIV-positive but don’t get sick for many years. As HIV disease continues, it slowly wears down the immune system. Viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria that usually don’t cause any problems can make you very sick if your immune system is damaged. These are called “opportunistic infections.”   

source: http://www.aids.org/factSheets/101-what-is-aids.html

How do I get AIDS?

You don’t actually “get” AIDS. You might get infected with HIV, and later you might develop AIDS. You can get infected with HIV from anyone who’s infected, even if they don’t look sick and even if they haven’t tested HIV-positive yet. The blood, vaginal fluid, semen, and breast milk of people infected with HIV has enough of the virus in it to infect other people. Most people get HIV by:

  •  having sex with an infected person
  •  sharing a needle (shooting drugs) with someone who’s infected
  • being born when their mother is infected, or drinking the breast milk of an infected woman 

Getting a transfusion of infected blood used to be a way people got AIDS, but now the blood supply is screened very carefully and the risk is extremely low.

There are no documented cases of HIV being transmitted by tears or saliva, but it is possible to be infected with HIV through oral sex or in rare cases through deep kissing, especially if you have open sores in your mouth or bleeding gums.

 

http://www.aids.org/factSheets/101-what-is-aids.html

What Happens if I’m HIV Positive?

You might not know if you get infected by HIV. Some people get fever, headache, sore muscles and joints, stomach ache, swollen lymph glands, or a skin rash for one or two weeks. Most people think it’s the flu. Some people have no symptoms. The virus will multiply in your body for a few weeks or even months before your immune system responds. During this time, you won’t test positive for HIV, but you can infect other people.

When your immune system responds, it starts to make antibodies. When this happens, you will test positive for HIV.

After the first flu-like symptoms, some people with HIV stay healthy for ten years or longer. But during this time, HIV is damaging your immune system.

One way to measure the damage to your immune system is to count your CD4 cells you have. These cells, also called “T-helper” cells, are an important part of the immune system. Healthy people have between 500 and 1,500 CD4 cells in a milliliter of blood. Without treatment, your CD4 cell count will most likely go down. You might start having signs of HIV disease like fevers, night sweats, diarrhea, or swollen lymph nodes. If you have HIV disease, these problems will last more than a few days, and probably continue for several weeks. 

How to use Condom Male & Female

Here’s How:

MALE 

  1.  Most condoms are made of latex so check the expiry date before use.
  2.  If your condom is in a box it most likely comes with a leaflet – worth reading.
  3. Open the condom wrapper but don’t tear it with teeth or use scissors. You do not want to perforate the condom- that gives no protection at all!
  4.  Hold the teat end of the condom between your forefinger and thumb.
  5. If needed, pull back the foreskin to expose the head of the penis.
  6. Roll the condom the length of the erect penis.
  7.  NEVER use oil-based lubricants with a condom as it will disintegrate in moments. Always use water or silicone based lubricants.
  8. After sex withdraw the penis while it is still erect making sure you hold the condom on while withdrawing.
  9.  Never re-use a condom; dispose of it after use.

 

FEMALE

The female condom is a sleeve-like device made of polyurethane. It has a small closed end, and a larger open end. Each end contains a flexible ring. Use this simple step-by-step guide to using female condoms to assure that you are using them properly during vaginal and/or rectal intercourse.

 

  1. The female condom must be properly positioned before any contact occurs between the penis and vagina and/or rectum. The female condom may be used for both vaginal and rectal sexual intercourse.
  2. For vaginal use, squeeze the smaller ring and insert it into the vagina. The large end should be place over the vaginal opening to protect the outer genitalia from infection.
  3. For rectal use the small ring should be removed. Place the condom over the erect penis. The condom will be inserted with your partner’s penis.
  4. Be sure the penis goes directly into the large ring to preclude unprotected sexual contact between the penis and the vagina or rectum.
  5. Remove the condom immediately after sexual intercourse and before standing up. To avoid semen leakage the large outer ring should be twisted. Carefully pull the condom out and dispose of it.

Tips:

  1. Use care when storing condoms. They should not be kept in places with extreme temperatures either hot or cold. Do not store them in a pocket or billfold.
  2. Use a new condom for each act of sexual intercourse. Do not use the same condom for vaginal and rectal sex.
  3. Never use a male condom and female condom at the same time.
  4. Always use water-based lubricants with condoms. Oil-based lubricants will destroy latex condoms. Lubricants are not needed when condoms are used for oral sex.
  5. Never throw a used condom into your toilet, they can easily clog up your pipes and require expensive plumbing repairs
  6. Always dispose of condoms away from the reach of children.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnyC_v0-DQ4

Is there a cure for AIDS?

There is no cure for AIDS. There are drugs that can slow down the HIV virus, and slow down the damage to your immune system. There is no way to “clear” the HIV out of your body.

Other drugs can prevent or treat opportunistic infections (OIs). In most cases, these drugs work very well. The newer, stronger ARVs have also helped reduce the rates of most OIs. A few OIs, however, are still very difficult to treat.

 
How do I know if I have AIDS?

HIV becomes AIDS when your immune system is seriously damaged. If you have less than 200 CD4 cells or if your CD4 percentage is less than 14%, you have AIDS.  If you get an opportunistic infection, you have AIDS. There is an “official” list of these opportunistic infections put out by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The most common ones are:

  • PCP (Pneumocystis pneumonia), a lung infection;
  • KS (Kaposi’s sarcoma), a skin cancer;
  • CMV (Cytomegalovirus), an infection that usually affects the eyes
  • Candida, a fungal infection that can cause thrush (a white film in your mouth) or infections in your throat or vagina

AIDS-related diseases also includes serious weight loss, brain tumors, and other health problems. Without treatment, these opportunistic infections can kill you.

The official (technical) CDC definition of AIDS is available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00018871.htm

 

AIDS is different in every infected person. Some people die a few months after getting infected, while others live fairly normal lives for many years, even after they “officially” have AIDS. A few HIV-positive people stay healthy for many years even without taking antiretroviral medications (ARVs).

Source: http://www.aids.org/factSheets/101-what-is-aids.html

 

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