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HIV: causes, symptoms, testing, & treatment

HIV is short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which causes AIDS. AIDS is short for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Worldwide, about 37 million people have HIV/AIDS. It’s an STD that destroys your immune system. Over time, HIV damages your immune system so badly that you’re unable to fight off other infections. It’s only in the last stages of HIV infection that you develop AIDS.

A person infected with HIV is described as being HIV positive (HIV+), seropositive, or person living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).

HIV is an incurable disease. However, there are treatments available to prolong the time you remain healthy before you develop AIDS. Nowadays, someone who’s infected with HIV and on treatment can have a near-normal life expectancy.

How do you get HIV?

You can get HIV from infected bodily fluids, such as pre-ejaculate, semen, vaginal secretions, breast milk, and blood.

HIV is spread by both sexual and non-sexual activities.

Sexual activities include having unprotected oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Unprotected anal and vaginal sex carry much higher risks of HIV infection than unprotected oral sex.

Non-sexual activities include sharing of unsterilized hypodermic needles, receiving tainted blood transfusions, and breastfeeding. HIV can also be spread during childbirth from an infected mother to her baby.

You can’t get HIV by sharing food or water, or being bitten by a mosquito.

Certain diseases can increase your risk of getting HIV:

Related: 13 Common STIs and STDs in Men and Women

What are the signs of HIV?

The first signs of an HIV infection can appear like a common cold or flu, which is why most people aren’t aware that they’ve been infected.

If you notice signs like a fever, headache, rash, diarrhoea, and sore throat three to six weeks after you’ve had unsafe sex, it may be wise to get tested for HIV. But of course, the trouble is most people wouldn’t first consider these signs of an HIV infection.

Without treatment, these flu-like symptoms clear up by themselves. However, if you’re infected with HIV, the infection doesn’t go away. Instead, over the next eight to ten years, the infection silently destroys your immune system. And you progress to the late stages of HIV infection also known as AIDS.

Late stages of HIV infection/AIDS
It often takes eight to ten years after being infected with HIV to develop serious illnesses. This is because by this time, HIV has destroyed your immune system to the point where your body can’t fight off other infections.    

Late signs of HIV infection/AIDS:

  • Severe weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constant diarrhoea
  • Skin cancer
  • Meningitis

The only way to know for sure whether you’ve got an HIV infection is to get tested.

How can you protect yourself from getting HIV?

Since HIV is spread by sex, by sharing needles, and from mother to child, protecting yourself from HIV breaks down into three major categories.

To avoid sexual transmission of HIV

1. Always use condoms.
Male or females condoms can reduce your risk of getting HIV.

2. Be faithful to one partner or have fewer partners.
Having one sexual partner or fewer sexual partners can reduce your risk of being exposed to HIV infection or other STDS, which in turn can reduce your risk of HIV infection.

3. Male circumcision
If you’re a man, consider getting circumcised. Male circumcision in a hospital or clinic setting is shown to reduce the risk of getting HIV from a woman by 50 per cent. In comparison, female circumcision or female genital cutting/mutilation hasn’t been shown to be preventative for HIV infection.

4. If you’ve got an unusual discharge, sores, or pain when you urinate get tested for STDs.
These symptoms are signs that something is wrong. Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, genital herpes, trichomoniasis, and bacterial vaginosis have all been shown to increase your risk of getting and spreading HIV. So if you have these symptoms, get them checked out. Also, let your partner know, so he or she can get tested or treated too.

5. Get tested with your partner for HIV.
Whenever you’ve got a new partner, before having unprotected sex, get tested. You or your partner could be infected with HIV and not know it.

Related: What To Expect When Getting Tested For HIV

To avoid blood transmission of HIV

1. Use sterilised needles.
Every time you get a blood transfusion make sure new sterilised needles are used. The same principle applies if you use injection drugs – don’t share needles; use new ones each time you shoot up. The same goes for tattooing, body piercing, and acupuncture.

2. Make sure you’re receiving screened blood for blood transfusions.
HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B can all be passed on by blood transfusions. So it’s important to make sure the blood you’re receiving is screened, particularly in countries where HIV is common.

To prevent mother to child transmission of HIV

1.Take antiretroviral drugs during your pregnancy and childbirth.
If you’re HIV positive and pregnant, you can take antiretroviral drugs during your pregnancy and childbirth to avoid passing HIV to your baby.

2.Caesarean section.
Consider getting a Caesarean section, if you’re HIV positive and pregnant. It decreases the chance that you’ll pass HIV on to your baby.

3. If possible, avoid breastfeeding.
When possible, the World Health Organization advocates HIV positive mothers to use breast milk replacement.
However, if you’re living in a place where safe drinking water isn’t available, and you’re unable to boil water daily, you may opt not to use breast milk replacement. The risk of catching a life threatening disease from unsafe drinking water may outweigh the risk of getting HIV infection from breast milk. These are things to consider with your health care provider. Consider getting a Caesarean section, if you’re HIV-positive and pregnant. It decreases the chance that you’ll pass HIV on to your baby.

These are things to consider with your health care provider.

How do you get tested for HIV?

In general, health care providers will ask you to wait for three months after you’ve had unprotected sex, used an unsterilised needle, or received a suspect blood transfusion before you get an HIV test.

If you want to get tested for HIV, your health care provider must provide you with counselling both before and after the test.

Window period
HIV tests measure your body’s immune system’s response to HIV infection. They measure whether or not your body has produced HIV antibodies. If you test as HIV positive, it means there are HIV antibodies in your blood.

It usually takes six to eight weeks to develop HIV antibodies. So to be on the safe side, health care providers ask you to wait for three months before getting tested for HIV – this is known as a window period.

If you get tested earlier, your test could come back as HIV negative when in fact you’ve got HIV. This is called a false negative.

Related: The 3 stages of HIV

Different types of HIV tests
Depending on where you live, there are a few different types of HIV tests available – blood, urine, or oral tests. Your health care provider may take a blood sample, ask you for a urine sample, or take a sample of your spit by swabbing your gums.

Urine tests are less accurate than blood or oral fluid tests for HIV detection.

When will you get your HIV test result?
The time you have to wait for your HIV test result depends on the type of test. In general, with a standard HIV test, it can take up to two weeks to get the result. However, if you’ve chosen a rapid HIV test, you can get your results within 15 minutes.

How do you get rid of HIV?

HIV is an incurable infection. There is no vaccine against the disease.

Without treatment, an infected person who’s adopted a healthy lifestyle can live an average of 10 years after being infected.

Current HIV medications can prolong the time you’re healthy and free of any symptoms of AIDS. These medications are called antiretrovirals (ARVs). They work by stopping the virus from multiplying in your body.

Tell us what you think

Recent Comments (208)

  1. Ai prey god to save my life…
    Ai prey god to save my life sitaki kufika hapo be blessed

    1. (No subject)
      Hey,

      Begin by getting to know your HIV status then take measures to protect yourself but remember a person who is HIV positive can still a healthy and fulfilling life. We wish you well.

      1. If You get you are positive…
        If You get you are positive at the early stage three months will you be treated and become negative?

          1. if iam group blood o and…
            if iam group blood o and have sex with infecteted person blood B can i be affected

          2. Hey Ritah, yes. Ones blood…

            Hey Ritah, yes. Ones blood group cannot protect them for getting infected with HIV if they have sex with an infected person. It is important for this reason to always use protection especially when you are uncertain of the HIV status of the other person.

          3. yes no blood which can
            not…

            yes no blood which can
            not get infected

          4. Thank you Allan, we agree.

            Thank you Allan, we agree.

          1. Hey Boniface, what can we do…

            Hey Boniface, what can we do for you?

      2. And if I test myself after…
        And if I test myself after exposure 9 months and my status is negative does it mean its accurate

        1. Hi Timothy, the window…

          Hi Timothy, the window period is three months usually. If nine months later you are negative it is likely that you are indeed negative.

      3. Bt am afraid of being tested…
        Bt am afraid of being tested en I am six months pregnant

        1. Hi Liz, it is okay to be…

          Hi Liz, it is okay to be scared of what the outcome may be. This is why there is counselling before you get the test. However, it is best to get tested so that you understand how to protect your unborn child. Consider getting the test done and remember there are two possible outcomes, try not to focus on the negative.

    2. I too I do tell God that…
      I too I do tell God that anisaidie nisifie hapo

      1. Pia chukua hatus Ezekiel kwa…
        Pia chukua hatua Ezekiel kwa kutumia kinga kama condom kuzuia kuambukizwa virusi.

    3. We only pray …..God…
      We only pray …..God protect us thankyou

    1. (No subject)
      Hi Thuli,

      Have you sort support from a HIV specialist clinic for support and treatment?

    1. (No subject)
      Thank you for your contribution Winfa.

  2. I am a single mother of four…
    I am a single mother of four children, with HIV l would like your help

    1. (No subject)
      Hello Susan,

      Thank you for sharing with us. What specific help would you like from us?

    2. Do want to get a man
      Do want to get a man

      1. Silasi, Unfortunately we are…
        Silasi, Unfortunately we are not a dating service and for this reason we are not able to link you to a possible partner.

        1. Itz true were are on a…
          Itz true were are on a serious note

          1. We appreciate your…
            We appreciate your contribution.

    3. I have HIV too I a sexual…
      I have HIV too I a sexual relationship

      1. Silasi, We wish you well and…
        Silasi, We wish you well and hope you will meet someone.

    4. We’re are you located in…
      We’re are you located in Kenya

      1. Hey Oscar, We are online…
        Hey Oscar, We are online based. You interact with us here or on our Facebook Page Love Matters Africa.

  3. I am 40yrs (HIV)+I need a…
    I am 40yrs (HIV)+I need a lady like me

    1. Hey Nico,…
      Hey Nico,

      Thank you for sharing. Unfortunately we are not a dating service and so we can’t get you a partner. We wish you well.

  4. THANKS FOR THE EDUCATION
    THANKS FOR THE EDUCATION

  5. thanks for the free…
    thanks for the free knowledge.

      1. Am infected but I want to…
        Am infected but I want to get married, shd I tell them?

        1. Hi Pitos, You need to tell…
          Hi Pitos, You need to tell your partner your HIV status and they also need to share theirs with you. Depending on where you are, its illegal to infect someone else knowingly. Also, there are lots of options you can use to protect each other and still have a great relationship. I know disclosing a HIV positive can be tough since you may not be able to predict the outcome or reaction of your partner but it is better to give your partner the option to choose you just might find they will choose you regardless of what your status is. Wish you well. Check out this article;- https://lovematters.co.ke/safe-sex/sti-prevention/pre-exposure-prophylaxis-top-facts
          https://lovematters.co.ke/safe-sex/sti-prevention/staying-safe

          1. Hello Anonymous, yes?

            Hello Anonymous, yes?

  6. What happens if i am…
    What happens if i am suffering Hiv and diabetic

    1. Hi Kioko, Both can be…
      Hi Kioko, Both can be managed to ensure one remains healthy.

  7. Can i have a sexual…
    Can i have a sexual relationship with a HIV infected person and still live negative and for how long?

    1. Hey Bob, Having sex with a…
      Hey Bob, Having sex with a HIV infected person will expose you to HIV and eventually lead to getting you infected with the virus. To protect yourself from getting infected, you need to use protection such a s condoms. Using condoms correctly and consistently during sex will prevent one from getting infected. A person who feels they are risk of getting infected can also decide to take Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis which is a drug that helps protect a person from infection even if they are exposed. Have a look at this article;- https://lovematters.co.ke/safe-sex/sti-prevention/pre-exposure-prophylaxis-top-facts

  8. Iam working in Africa I done…
    Iam working in Africa I done three times the sex with African lady but I used condom but still I scare sometimes when I think about hiv

  9. Hi,am a mother of 1,av lived…
    Hi,am a mother of 1,av lived wth da virus for 9yrs n i started treatment this yr.how many yrs am i likely to live?

    1. Hi Sazzan, It’s a good thing…

      Hi Sazzan, It’s a good thing you have started to take treatment. It is not possible to tell how long one will live after starting to take ARVs but ARVs help to boost your immune system which in turn helps to prevent infections and greatly improving the quality of your life. There are people who have taken ARVs and have lived for longer than 20 years. Remember to follow the instructions provided by your health provider for the treatment to be successful. 

  10. for someone to know if’s HIV…
    for someone to know if’s HIV positive, is it amust u observe all symptoms or one of them may tell?

    1. Hi Nyaramba, symptoms are…
      Hi Nyaramba, symptoms are not the best way to know your status, since these symptoms are associated with other infections or diseases. The best way is to get a HIV test done which will tell you what your HIV status is. You can have this test done at a Health centre or buy a self testing kit at a pharmacy and carry out the test at home yourself. Check out this article;- https://lovematters.co.ke/safe-sex/stds-stis/vct-and-hiv-testing-top-five-facts

  11. may God help me not to get…
    may God help me not to get aids..and help me keep off from gals

  12. i have constant flu. can…
    i have constant flu. can this be a symptom of HIV?

  13. my question when some body…
    my question when some body your facking is watery in her vagain can you be affected with HIV from that woman your engaging

    1. Hi Nkwanga, if one has…
      Hi Nkwanga, if one has unprotected sex with a woman who who is HIV infected they will be at a risk of getting infected though the vaginal fluids. The answer to your question is yes, you could get infected. It is for this reason that if one is engaging with a person of unknown status they need to use a condom for protection. Check out this article for more informatin;- https://lovematters.co.ke/safe-sex/sti-prevention/staying-safe

  14. i slept with a lady i didnt…
    i slept with a lady i didnt knew she was.hiv positive . i realised after 7days then i took pep will i be secured? im worried to be positive.

    1. Dear Evans, PEP works within…

      Dear Evans, PEP works within 72 (3 days) after unprotected sex. Unfortunately it cannot work 7 days later. What you can do is to get tested after 1 month to see if you got exposed to HIV. Check out this article for more information: https://lovematters.co.ke/safe-sex/sti-prevention/preventing-hivaids-with-pep

      Perhaps in future you may consider using  preventive measures such as condoms or Pre Exposure Prophlaxis to reduce the chances of getting infected. https://lovematters.co.ke/safe-sex/sti-prevention/pre-exposure-prophylaxis-top-facts

       

  15. Niko na a smelly discharge…
    Niko na a smelly discharge is this a STI symptom?

  16. Hi Rhoda, vaginal discharge…

    Hi Rhoda, vaginal discharge is perfectly normal and healthy, usually there is no need to discuss it with a doctor. However, what may be normal for one women may look completely different for another. However, if what you are experiencing now is a drastic change in smell, color or quantity, especially in combination with itching, pain or redness, it could be a sign of infection. If this is the case, you must consult your doctor and get it checked. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/our-bodies/female-body/vaginal-discharge-top-facts

  17. I tested HIV -ve but the…
    I tested HIV -ve but the person testing me said I should go back after some weeks for another test. Can my status change after this weeks?

    1. Hi Caleb, sometimes one may…

      Hi Caleb, sometimes one may need a retest depending on how soon they got tested after having unprotected sex. The tests can give accurate results from 14 days after unprotected sex. If you got tested earlier than this, it may be the reason why you were asked to get another test. For this reason ones result can be HIV negative and turn out to be HIV positive after a couple weeks. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/stds-stis/hiv

  18. Is is true that there are…
    Is is true that there are drugs that you can take to prevent HIV even if you sleep with someone who has it you won’t get? Tell me also about the HIV self testing I saw in a billboard somewhere?

    1. Dear Sarah, One can take…

      Dear Sarah, One can take PrEP which stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. It’s a way for someone who is at risk of HIV infection to reduce this threat. PrEP involves taking the anti-HIV drug Truvada on a daily basis. When taken correctly PrEP protects one from the risk of HIV infection. On your second question, yes one can buy a HIV testing kit and use it at home to test themselves. The test kit can be bought from a chemist. Check out the following articles for additional information;- 

      https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/sti-prevention/pre-exposure-prophylaxis-top-facts

      https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/stds-stis/my-first-time-hiv-self-test

  19. Hi, where can I get the HIV…
    Hi, where can I get the HIV self testing kit in Nairobi?

  20. hi i wanted to know if you…
    hi i wanted to know if you take vct test does it only test for hiv?what if you already have aids what will your results be?klein.

    1. Hey Cristil, HIV is the…

      Hey Cristil, HIV is the various that causes AIDS which is an acronym for Acquired Immune-Deficiency Syndrome. This is condition where ones immune systems have been compromised by the virus HIV. One can only get AIDS if they have HIV and HIV will remain in ones body even when they get to AIDS state, which also means if tested they will test positive for HIV. The HIV test will test whether one is HIV negative or positive. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/stds-stis/vct-and-hiv-testing-top-five-facts

  21. I have heard of drugs that…
    I have heard of drugs that you can take to prevent HIV. Tell me more.

  22. After 6 weeks from the day…
    After 6 weeks from the day of exposure, are the results from alere determine conclusive?

    1. Hi Danny, this test will…

      Hi Danny, this test will give accurate results from 21 to 28 days after likely exposure and this result is conclusive. 

  23. Am coria how can i be helped?
    Am coria how can i be helped?

    1. Hi Coria, what specific help…

      Hi Coria, what specific help do you need?

  24. Is there a chance you have…
    Is there a chance you have sex with a HIV positive person and you don’t get infected? I had sex with someone who I was told latter is HIV positive but when I got tested I was HIV negative as before??

    1. Hey Erick, first there is no…

      Hey Erick, first there is no way to tell whether this person was HIV positive when you had sex. It is however possible to have sex with a person who is HIV positive and not get infected. It is important that one protects themselves at all times if they are having sex with a person of unknown status. Using condoms correctly and all the time will help protect one from the risk of getting HIV. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/sti-prevention/staying-safe

  25. Where can I get prep and is…
    Where can I get prep and is there a reason someone can be denied prep?

    1. Hi, visit a government…

      Hi, visit a government health facility and you shall be guided. PrEP is recommended for people at high risk for HIV infection.This could be people who have multiple sexual partners, persons with frequent sexual transmitted infections or sex workers. If a person is not at a high risk of getting infected they do not qualify.  Heck out the following article for additional information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/sti-prevention/pre-exposure-prophylaxis-top-facts

  26. hi there i just want to know…
    hi there i just want to know if you get tested will the results still stand negative if you are positive, for patients security measures.. but the doctor will somehow know that the negative statement is positive..or will the test reveal the word positive on the test form.

    1. Hi Cristil, where you are…

      Hi Cristil, where you are getting the test will determine the process. If you go to a lab, a sample will be collected and you may be asked to pick your results usually written based on the outcome of your test. But if you choose to go to HTS center formerly VCT centers, the process of testing will be explained to you. The provider performing the test will explain to you the process and how to interpret the results meaning you will be able to see the results and interpret the results for yourself. Healthcare providers are required to inform you of your results regardless of what your results turn out to be. Also, you can get a home test and do the test yourself at home. It comes with instructions and how to read the results. Check out the following articles for more information;- 

      https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/stds-stis/hiv-what-to-expect-when-getting-tested

      https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/stds-stis/my-first-time-hiv-self-test

  27. How can male circumcision…
    How can male circumcision prevent the HIV infection

    1. Hi Mwebesa, circumcision…

      Hi Mwebesa, circumcision reduces the risk of getting HIV by over 60 per cent based on conducted research. The removal of the foreskin ensures makes the skin on the head of the penis to harden which makes HIV transmission harder. Also, the lack of the foreskin ensures there’s no conducive environment for HIV since the head of the penis is exposed and not covered. However, circumcision doesn’t make one immune to HIV infection and for this reason one needs to include other methods to ensure they protect themselves from HIV. Check out the following article for additional information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/stds-stis/hiv

  28. Good evening i just wnt to…
    Good evening i just wnt to know: By having a weakend immune system does that means that you have aids or can there be many causes invloved in having a weakend immune system?

    1. Hey Sandra, there are other…

      Hey Sandra, there are other causes that can lead to a weakened immune system. These include certain chemicals that may get into the body, Cancers among other Diseases. Yes, one can have a weakened immune system even when they are not HIV positive. However, the first place to start is to check once HIV status. 

  29. Hello there can you get a…
    Hello there can you get a life insurance cover if you are hiv +?

    1. Hello Cristil, most…

      Hello Cristil, most insurance companies will provide life insurance cover even when one is HIV positive. This may however affect the premiums one has to pay and they will also need this information disclosed upfront and they do that asking you to take up a medical which they pay over and above the forms you complete. Do speak to your preferred insurance provider for specifics. 

  30. Can you explain to me what…
    Can you explain to me what opertunistic infections are and what causes it..?

    1. Hello Sandra, opportunistic…

      Hello Sandra, opportunistic infections are infections that arise as a result of a lowered immune system sometime as a result of HIV infection. When one is infected with HIV and they do not get treatment, HIV destroys the immune system to the point that the immune system is not able to protect the person from infection. At this point the person gets infections that take advantage of the lowered immune system.

  31. hi So By getting am hiv test…
    hi So By getting am hiv test one should get an std test blood test and a pap test aswell to gaurentee that you are clean.TELL ME:OR IS DOING AN HIV TEST ENOUGH THAN YOU KNW U ARE CLEAN.

    1. Dear Cristil, the HIV test…

      Dear Cristil, the HIV test will only test for the presence of HIV. It is advisable to do a Pap Smear every year. It maybe important to discuss with your health care provider so they advice on what tests to take as opposed to doing all the different tests.  

  32. How accurate are these home…
    How accurate are these home tests for HIV? Can a positive result change to – ve or vice versa?

  33. Hi if someone has herpes…
    Hi if someone has herpes does it mean you have hiv

  34. Hi is antriviral treatment…
    Hi is antriviral treatment an hiv treAtment.thanx

    1. Hi Paul, yes Antiretrovirals…

      Hi Paul, yes Antiretrovirals (ARVs) drugs are used for HIV treatment. They are not a cure, they work by stopping the virus from multiplying in the body of an infected person.

  35. Is there a difrence betwn…
    Is there a difrence betwn antiviral
    And antiretroviral or are these 2 the same.

    1. Dear Paul, Antiviral drugs…

      Dear Paul, Antiviral drugs are a class of medication used specifically for treating viral infections rather than bacterial ones. On the other hand, Antiretrovirals (ARVs) are medications that treat HIV. The drugs do not kill or cure the virus. However, when taken in combination they can prevent the growth of the virus. When the virus is slowed down, so is HIV disease. ARVs are an example of Antiviral drugs. 

  36. How can you help a guy who…
    How can you help a guy who has just learnt he is HIV positive cope?

    1. Hey Didi, it is important…

      Hey Didi, it is important for the person to seek medical advice from a Specialized HIV clinic. At the clinic they will get more tests done, including information and counselling and further advice on what steps to take. In the meantime however, they call the following number 1190 toll free (if in Kenya) from a Safaricom line between and 8 am and 10 am and there will be someone to listen and advice them. 

  37. Hi there are rumours that…
    Hi there are rumours that cannabis can help to suppress HIV virus am a marijuana addict but I doubt my status can it help

  38. Is it possible for someone…
    Is it possible for someone to have sex with a positive partner but still remain negative

    1. Hi Murikoo, yes it is…

      Hi Murikoo, yes it is possible. Such partners are known as discordant. The HIV negative remains at a high risk of getting infected because of the repeated exposure through unprotected sex. It is important to continuously protected the HIV negative partner from exposure and possible infection. Partner can use condom which will help keep the HIV negative partner safe. It is important that you discuss further options with your health care provider. Have a look at the following article for additional information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/sti-prevention/pre-exposure-prophylaxis-top-facts

  39. Can someone infected by…
    Can someone infected by having a blood splash of an hiv infected pregnant mother on d nurse leg during delivery ?

  40. Which drugs are effective in…
    Which drugs are effective in fight against HIV… and their costs please

    1. Hello Dan, HIV drugs can be…

      Hello Dan, HIV drugs can be taken to prevent one from getting infected while there are those that are taken after one has been infected to stop HIV from further destroying their immune system. Visit a health care centre, specifically a government run one, for more information based on your needs. The drugs are usually offered free in these facilities.  Have a look at the following article for more information;- 

      https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/sti-prevention/preventing-hivaids-with-pep

      https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/sti-prevention/pre-exposure-prophylaxis-top-facts

  41. when you are affected…
    when you are affected…apart from Arvs any others to cure,, eg like using injection

    1. Hi Joro, I believe you mean…

      Hi Joro, I believe you mean when one is HIV infected what other options they have other than ARVs… ARVs are currently the only treatment available for HIV. Do note that ARVs are not a cure and that they are not a cure, there is no cure for HIV. 

  42. Can you stay with HIV for…
    Can you stay with HIV for more than 10 years without knowing?

    1. Hey Rodgers, the amount of…

      Hey Rodgers, the amount of time it takes for HIV to become AIDS is different for everyone. Without treatment, one can live with the virus for 10-15 years before getting AIDS. However, since everyone is different if one needs to get tested and get treatment as soon as possible. Remember, treatment is free in government health facilities. 

  43. Thank you for the article…
    Thank you for the article but i once went for a hiv test and was affirmed negative but i’m still scared considering all these window period and all. and i dont want to go for the hiv test again

  44. I want to treat infection
    I want to treat infection

    1. Hi Success, what infection…

      Hi Success, what infection do you want to treat? Have you visited a medical centre?

  45. If u have sex with someone…
    If u have sex with someone who is treating himself/herself with ARVs is it possible u won’t contact the virus, HIv?

    1. Hello Lister, yes it is…

      Hello Lister, yes it is possible for one not to get infected if they had sex with a person on ARV treatment. However, the only way to get to know this is to get an HIV test done since there are many factors that may affect this.

  46. I used sure condom recently…
    I used sure condom recently am I save

  47. I hAv a low viral load. Can…
    I hAv a low viral load. Can I infect my partner

  48. Hello Anon. Thank you for…

    Hello Anon. Thank you for reaching out to us. A low viral load does not mean that a person no longer has HIV. Although the chances of passing on the virus are reduced, they are not eliminated. In this case, precaution should be taken so as not to pass on the virus.

  49. HIV is real everybody should…
    HIV is real everybody should be careful god will help us

    1. Thank you Precious for your…

      Thank you Precious for your contribution. 

  50. I’m hiv positive should I…
    I’m hiv positive should I start ARVs immediately?

    1. Hello Nick, thank you for…

      Hello Nick, thank you for reaching out to us. If you have found that you are HIV Positive outside of a health facility, please visit one as soon as you can so that a confirmatory test is carried out. Also, at a health facility you will be advised on what drugs you may need and how to take them.

  51. can H.I.V take more than a…
    can H.I.V take more than a year to show up on an antibody test(eg finger prick)

    1. Hello Anonymous, no it…

      Hello Anonymous, no it cannot. The test is really sensetive especially after three months and it would not take a year for the virus to incubate.

  52. Please I got tested once and…
    Please I got tested once and I was told none reactive, later on I started noticing some signs like headache for like a week, though am exposed to lot of stress but I can’t figure what’s really happening to me, because reading sign and symptoms of hiv got me scared daily, I think a lot. I even regret ever doing the test. And if par-adventure I had it can the drug be gotten in any chemist because I can’t do any test again am just 30years of age i won’t kill myself with thinking, badly do I have a 30munite of a whole day without having a thought of it

    1. Hello Daniel, thank you for…

      Hello Daniel, thank you for reaching out and we are sorry you are going through a hard time. Pole sana, you must be terrified. Most people who have active sex lives have endured a similar moment of terror. Perhaps you hear that a former lover died of an undetermined illness, or you get a weird rash or you are simply sitting in the VCT waiting for your test to declare that you are HIV-negative. But before you start analysing every mole and mosquito bite on your body as a potential symptom, I suggest you visit the VCT and find out what your status is. It’s better to know the truth than to bury yourself in a lifetime of anxiety wouldn’t you agree? Visit this link https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/stds-stis/am-i-hiv-positive and keep your chin up! It is not the end of the world and all will be well! Have a fantastic week ahead and stay safe!

       

  53. Asante kwa ushauri wenu,…
    Asante kwa ushauri wenu,
    Nlkua discouraged na hzi story za aids ju nlkua naona nko + but I thank God,
    Sina,
    En my dear friends,lets pray ili Mungu asaidie tusipatikane,
    ???

    1. Hello Emmy, tume shukuru…

      Hello Emmy, tume shukuru sana ku sikia haberi na hali yako. Mungu akonawewe na sisi sote! Happy Easter dear! Stay blessed! 

  54. i have swollen lymph nodes…
    i have swollen lymph nodes and many other signs of hiv, i had unprotected sex about 2 months ago. am so scared of contracting hiv but am yet to test caus it takes about 3 month for the antibodies to be detected. am just 27 not married yet does it mean if am positive my future is doomed

    1. Hi Ford, thank you for…

      Hi Ford, thank you for reaching out to us. Don’t panic, wait for the 3 months to pass and visit an LVCT. With modern therapies and medications people live very long and fulfilling lives with HIV. They get married, and even have children. Stay calm, everything will be fine.

  55. To LOOOOOOOOOONG????????????…
    To LOOOOOOOOOONG?????????????????

    1. Hello Nameless, What’s up?

      Hello Nameless, What’s up?

  56. i had unprotected sex with a…
    i had unprotected sex with a man and am doubting he is HIV negative, i mean positive, am afraid of going for test at the hospital what should i do?

    1. Hello Joane, the best thing…

      Hello Joane, the best thing to do is go for the test to llay any fears you may have There relly is no way around it.

  57. It’s 8 weeks(2 months) since…
    It’s 8 weeks(2 months) since finished peps and tested negative, what are chances to get positive after 12 weeks (3 months)

  58. Mie Nlikuw Kw R/shp Last…
    Mie Nlikuw Kw R/shp Last Year.Thn On Augost Nlifanya Nae Sex .Kfka September Nlianxa Kuambiw Kuw Ako HIV+.nlikuw na waswas xna.nkaambiw na marafiki xangu kuw nwait 3months kama ntaona dalili zozote.had sasa sijawah ona dalili zozote.je mimi pia naweza kuwa affected ama nko tw xaw??

    1. Sasa Sharon? Thanks kwa…

      Sasa Sharon? Thanks kwa kureach out. Kama unataka kujua kwa uhakika kuwa hutapata virus, enda VCT ama hosi upimwe. Lakini siku hizi jua hii ugonjwa watu wanaishi nayo miaka mingi sana. Madawa zenye ziko zinafanya kazi vizuri sana. Usijali wala usitensse. Kila kitu itakuwa tu sawa

       

  59. Hey am taking care of a hiv+…
    Hey am taking care of a hiv+ patient and to tell you the truth am scared of getting infected since am still young am only 19 plz what should i doo

  60. Hi Maya, thank you for…

    Hi Maya, thank you for reaching out to us. You are doing a great job! Primarily HIV is passed from one person to another through exposure to blood from the infected person and condomless sex. Other body fluids have negligible amounts of the virus. While taking care of this person make sure you wear gloves while handling bodily fluids. Make sure all cuts and grazes on your body are covered while working with this person. Another level of protection would be to dispose of any sharp objects like needles carefully.

    In case you feel you have been exposed at any point go to the nearest medical facility and explain the circumstances and you should be given drugs to prevent the virus from replicating.

  61. hea, partner tested positive…
    hea, partner tested positive but l tested negative and we’ve had unprotected sex for last 8months,l fear going back to her again please advice me

    1. Hi Ericko, thank you so much…

      Hi Ericko, thank you so much for reaching out to us. We are sorry to hear that your partner tested positive but it is great that you turned out negative. The first thing to do is to stop having condomless sex with them at this time. If you feel that you will be with them for a long while go to the hospital and have them talk to you about PrEP. Also, you will not know if you are truly negative until you have another test in three months. It is also important that you and your partner see a medical practitioner to be informed of all your options especially in terms of medical interventions.

      Do not let this situation make you abandon your relationship. During this period you need each other more than ever.

  62. I have leaned a lot about…
    I have leaned a lot about the best way I can stay safe and be faithful to my wife not to walk out of my mariage,God protect me

    1. Thank you for your input…

      Thank you for your input Ayub. Are you able to share these things you have learned?

       

  63. Hey i got a partner some 6…
    Hey i got a partner some 6 weeks ago we’ve been having unprotected sex several times am not sure if she’s postive but i doubt since recently i dont have lost my appetite on food completely even though i take alcohol sometimes.. Will it be one of the HIV sighns?

    1. Hello Mike, thank you for…

      Hello Mike, thank you for getting in touch and we are sorry you are going through a hard time. The first signs of an HIV infection can appear like a common cold or flu, which is why most people aren’t aware that they’ve been infected. If you notice signs like fever, headache, rash, diarrhea, and sore throat three to six weeks after you’ve had unsafe sex, it may be wise to get tested for HIV. But of course, the trouble is most people wouldn’t first consider these signs of an HIV infection. Without treatment, these flu-like symptoms clear up by themselves. However, if you’re infected with HIV, the infection doesn’t go away. Instead, over the next eight to ten years, the infection silently destroys your immune system. And you progress to the late stages of HIV infection also known as AIDS. The best thing to do is to first visit your local VCT center or doctor with your partner and get tested to confirm your HIV status. Loss of appetite and alcohol consumption could also be a sign of stress-related issues that need to be looked into from other unrelated issues. 

  64. If your partner is postive…
    If your partner is postive but tested negative at early stages is possible you can also be infected after having unprotected sex?

    1. Hello Mike, thank you for…

      Hello Mike, thank you for reaching out to us and asking a great question. If you had unprotected sex with your partner and they are already HIV positive, then yes, there is a chance that they could have sexually transmitted the disease to you even if they tested negative in early stages. The best thing you can do is visit your doctor as soon as possible and get a proper medical diagnosis. We hope everything is okay at your end, please have a wonderful week ahead and stay safe.

  65. Can one test negative and…
    Can one test negative and still have the diseases??
    Basing on the history that you got infected on the process and 3 months is already gone.

    1. If you are in the window…

      If you are in the window period then you could indeed test negative.

  66. hi I heard someone tell that…
    hi I heard someone tell that when you take a soda and go for HIV test the status remain negative is it true

  67. hi I heard someone tell that…
    hi I heard someone tell that when you take a soda and go for HIV test the status remain negative is it true

    1. Hi Alex, thank you for…

      Hi Alex, thank you for getting in touch and asking a great question. HIV antibody tests are not affected by other circumstances. This includes infections, medications, most vaccinations, putting on weight, eating or drinking anything before the test, use of alcohol or recreational drugs, mouthwash or time of day. Your test result is accurate even if you had flu or a cold or are using any medication. You do not need to fast before your test. Food and drink such as soda or any other beverage do not affect the results. Have a wonderful week ahead and stay safe!
       

  68. Hi I slept with man and…
    Hi I slept with man and condom burst after six weeks I tested negative could I be safe or ?

    1. Hi Mercylene, thank you for…

      Hi Mercylene, thank you for getting in touch and asking a great question. Were you testing to find out your HIV status or pregnancy?

       

  69. Can someone develops early…
    Can someone develops early signs and symptoms of HIV after three days of infection

    1. Hi Duncan, thank you for…

      Hi Duncan, thank you for reaching out to us. Three days is a little too early to develop symptoms. If you feel you have been exposed take an HIV test and then take another one after three months.

    1. Hi Jasmne, what’s up?

      Hi Jasmne, what’s up?

  70. I have slept with a person…
    I have slept with a person who is breast feeding but she is positive am at risk

    1. Hi Brian, if you have had…

      Hi Brian, if you have had condomless sex with someone who is HIV positive you could have put yourself at risk. Try and get to a hospital within 78 hours of suspected exposure so that you may be put on Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).

  71. I had sex with h.I.v + girl…
    I had sex with h.I.v + girl but I used condom,unknowingly I ran to wash my penis,though I protected myself I’m afraid,help?

    1. Hi Ron, thank you so much…

      Hi Ron, thank you so much for reaching out to us. First, calm down. HIV can indeed be scary but if you did everything you should hve done in terms of protection then chances are very high that you are fine. However, if you suspect that you may have been exposed kindly get to a health facility within the next 72 hours and explain wht might have happened. They should advise you on the best way forward.

  72. I recently visited a clinic…
    I recently visited a clinic and got HIV + but am afraid of what am gonna do. And really afraid…please help

  73. Hey Jj, thank you so much…

    Hey Jj, thank you so much for reaching out to us and we are so sorry you are going through a hard time buddy. I know that this may be one of the most difficult things that you have ever gone through but please be rest assured that it is not the end of the world. So many people such as yourself who are HIV+ have still been able to live very long, healthy, and happy lives. The first step is acknowledging this and then taking the steps to ensure it which we are so proud of you for doing by actually having the courage to come and talk to us for guidance. Do not be afraid, we are here for you! Click on the following link to understand more about what is happening and how you can go about it: https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/stds-stis/telling-others-youre-hiv-dos-and-donts

  74. How many tablet does one…
    How many tablet does one take of the ARVs a day?

  75. Hello Jj, thank you for…

    Hello Jj, thank you for getting in touch and asking a great question. Healthcare providers treat HIV with antiretroviral therapy, which involves a combination of drugs. A person receiving HIV treatment usually takes two or more tablets every day. Why do you ask?

    1. Because am positive and am…
      Because am positive and am fearing to go to the health facility to start the medication

  76. It is understandable to be…

    It is understandable to be afraid but it is better to get treated and get better and maintain a healthier lifestyle than be in denial and get worse. Plus, there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to getting treated! Let us tell you more, do you know how one gets treated? Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is an important step towards achieving zero new HIV infections. But few people know what PrEP actually is. Click here to find out more: https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/sti-prevention/pre-exposure-prophylaxis-top-facts

    And trust us, everything will be okay!

  77. Hi love matters, i recently…
    Hi love matters, i recently had sexual contact with a woman who i don’t know her status. Neither penetration nor oral but i kissed and sucked her nipples. 2 month later I had a flu continuously for 3 weeks, now i appear to have skin rash. I worry I am infected.

    1. Hi Tommy, thank you for…

      Hi Tommy, thank you for reaching out to us. From what you have described it is highly unlikely that you may have caught HIV or a sexually transmitted disease. However, enough time has passed for you to take an HIV test. Kindly take one to remove the aspect of fear and uncertainty.

  78. want to know more about a…
    want to know more about a person been a ‘carier’

    1. Hello Koi, thank you for…

      Hello Koi, thank you for reaching out to us. Typically with HIV the word “carrier” is seldom used. What is more common is using “undetected” which means that a person whose viral load is too low to be detected by the test. Such a person usually is not able to transmit the virus. This should not be taken to mean that the person is healed. It just means that their body is keeping the virus supressed.

  79. nafeel mwili ukiwa na joto…
    nafeel mwili ukiwa na joto umechoka sana na maumifu inawesakua n HIV plz

    1. Hello Kevin, thank you for…

      Hello Kevin, thank you for reaching out to us. Hizo ni symptoms za magonjwa mengi. The best thing to do is see a medical practitioner as soon as you can so that you may get a proper diagnosis and advice on the way forward.

  80. I had that my patner had HIV…
    I had that my patner had HIV but when i insisted for test,she was negative but i suspected that she is UNDETECTABLE.can i have been affected its 2 1/2 months and am still negative

    1. Hi Elves, 

      When one’s viral…

      Hi Elves, 

      When one’s viral load is undetectable, the tests turn out negative and they cannot transmit HIV to their partner through sex. 

  81. I was sexually active…
    I was sexually active through out my campus life but I do fear I might have contracted HIV, though no visible sign, one of my friends tested postive… How long should I wait to see the signs?

    1. Hi Lisa, 

      Signs and…

      Hi Lisa, 

      Signs and symptoms manifest at different times in different people. Most people, will have the symptoms within 2 to 6 weeks after infection. In some cases, HIV may not cause any symptoms for several years. Also remember that even if you haven’t experienced symptoms yet, you could still transmit HIV to others if you are infected. The best thing do to is to go for a test to confirm if, indeed, you are infected with HIV. Today, a home test kit should do but you still need to visit a hospital so that you can get advice on the next steps especially if the result is positive. Well wishes!

  82. I used expired oraquick self…
    I used expired oraquick self test,turn +ve do I have

    1. Hi Soni, 

      An expired test…

      Hi Soni, 

      An expired test can give a false result. The components of the test get unstable after expiry thus the results cannot be trusted. Get another test to confirm the result. 

  83. Are condoms 100 percent…
    Are condoms 100 percent accurate ,if only they do not burst.. Against hiv

    1. Hi Chris, 

      No, condoms are…

      Hi Chris, 

      No, condoms are about 98% effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies and STIs, including HIV. The best thing about condoms is that nothing protects against STIs better than a condom when properly used. 

  84. having sex with an infected…
    having sex with an infected person just of one shot for 20seconds and am circumised can l get the virus

    1. Hi Kevin, 

      Yes, you can get…

      Hi Kevin, 

      Yes, you can get infected with HIV even if you are circumcised or had sex for 20 seconds. HIV infection occurs when vaginal fluid and semen are exchanged during sex. Always use a condom to protect yourself from HIV and other STIs. 

  85. I’m not sure about my Status…
    I’m not sure about my Status but I’m afraid to get a test and I’m not the signs in my body

    1. Hi Linus, 

      It is totally…

      Hi Linus, 

      It is totally normal to feel afraid of getting an HIV test. Even people who have not engaged in activities that don’t put them at risk of infection are afraid too.

      That said, note that it is important to know your status so that you can take charge of your health and that of your partner(s). Perhaps you can try the home testing kit first? Read this article to learn more about home testing kit: All you need to know about HIV self-testing.

      The best part of that nowadays, HIV is not a death sentence, you can leave a normal healthy life while living with HIV. 

      So go our and get tested. Its a cool thing to do!

    1. Hi there,

      This is totally…

      Hi there,

      This is totally normal. Many people are afraid of testing as well. the good news is that we have at-home self-testing kits that can be bought at your nearest pharmacy and used in the comfort of your home. An important thing to note is that taking the test is taking control of your health. If you are negative, you will take precautions to ensure that you protect yourself. If you are positive, visit the nearest health facility for a second test, if it still turns positive, the doctor will advise on the Antiretroviral treatment (ART). Go ahead and take the test! It is a great thing to do!

  86. Can someone using PrEP…
    Can someone using PrEP spread the virus to another person after exposure with someone with the virus before he/she started using PrEP

  87. Hello Munene, 

    It can…

    Hello Munene, 

    It can happen (because no drug is 100% effective) but very rarely. If you are HIV-negative and take PrEP as prescribed and have regular ongoing medical care, chances of you contracting HIV are very low and this means that spreading it is hard as well. The trick is to take your pills when you are supposed to because PrEP can be less effective when pills are missed.

  88. I need to talk privately…
    I need to talk privately
    With you guys

    1. Hi Nice, 

      We are happy and…

      Hi Nice, 

      We are happy and open to talking to you. Since this comments section is a public forum, kindly visit our Facebook page and talk to us privately in the inbox. Here is the link to our Facebook page: Love Matters Facebook or copy this link: https://web.facebook.com/LoveMattersAfrica. We ate looking forward to hearing from you. 

  89. I have learnt something new.cplease send me your no for more questions

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