Acute HIV Infections
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV  is the most feared sexually-transmitted virus. It is the virus known to cause Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, which attacks the immune system and making the body susceptible to a number of diseases and bacteria, even the ones which cannot cause a disease to a healthy individual. HIV harms and infects cells of the immune system, causing the body to acquire certain diseases which attacks the body with low defenses called opportunistic infections.

Getting HIV

Aside from unprotected sex, which is a famous cause of transmitting HIV, there are also other ways this virus could be passed such as using unsterile needles to inject drugs or for tattoo, having an HIV positive mother during the time of giving birth (it could be passed through placenta) and from infected blood during transfusion (most unlikely since blood banks use several tests to make sure the blood bags are free from blood-borne diseases).

Sometimes, people around the individuals who are known to be HIV positive become very paranoid that they may be infected too. There are some false beliefs on how HIV can be transmitted. One cannot get HIV by just being with the infected person around, like talking, working with him or even physical contact. Also, being bitten by insects, sharing toilet and sharing food utensils cannot transmit HIV right away. Just be careful with their blood getting into your open wound.

Survival Rate

The survival rate of HIV infected people depends on their lifestyle and their environment. Those who live in countries with enough health support have higher chances of living through the years unlike those who live in countries with poor resources like Africa, since the arrival of medicines and latest treatments are delayed. It is important even in poor countries to have consistent medical treatment to avoid being infected with other diseases, which could greatly weaken the immune system. Research shows that people who try to live a normal life and careful with the diseases they may be infected with, are more likely to live longer and almost normal up to 25 years after being diagnosed. The only reason why people die with HIV is due to combination of few diseases which can become deadly on the long run to people with weak immunity.

Getting Support and Guidance

Doctors are the experts when it comes to prescribing medicines and treatment for HIV. Infected individuals must not alter the prescribed dosages without medical consultation since this may cause HIV to strengthen its strain and become more resistant to medicines. Visit the doctor regularly for checkup and to get the proper health guidance you need. You should avoid stressing yourself to keep your immune system strong. Most HIV positive individuals are stressed out due to this disease but it wouldn’t help improve the disease that way. It is advised that meditation and prayer, together with healthy diet and proper exercise may improve your health through time. Begin eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables to boost your immune system. Also avoid smoking, drinking and taking drugs not prescribed by your doctor.

Being infected with HIV is like fighting an uphill battle and one must be given enough medical, emotional and financial support. It is not easy fighting this battle alone, and it is suggested to HIV infected individuals to ask for information and guidance from doctors, emotional support from loved ones, and insurance companies for health benefits. It is also proven that it can be helpful if one should talk to or interact with other people who are also infected with HIV to make them feel that they are not alone and must not self-pity since there is also a high chance of living normally. Other people who have different opinions and outlooks in life may help the patient to feel secured and loved. If you’re infected with HIV and you read this article, don’t feel too sad about what life has given you and feel like you’re dying tomorrow. Make the most out of your time, instead of locking yourself alone and feel sorry for yourself.