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Understanding HIV

UNDERSTANDING HIV
When someone becomes HIV positive it means that he has been infected by a virus.
Does it mean that he is sick? The virus will harm their immune system (which protects against germs) very slowly over many years, sometimes decades. Many people don’t know they are positive they feel well and haven’t been tested for HIV in their blood. It is better to know you have HIV as early as possible before you start becoming sick.
If you have recently learnt that you are HIV positive you might feel worried, confused or even scared but at least you know your status and you can start looking after yourself. Knowing your status allows you to make decisions about your health.
Staff at Ishtar MSM will provide you with important information and support, and when you are ready we will discuss treatment with you. Treatment is free of charge in most facilities in Kenya.

What you should know
We know how HIV is affecting your body by doing a simple CD4 count. It will be done soon after you’ve tested positive. And depending on the results will be repeated every 6months.
HIV is not AIDS! If you do not get treatment you will, after a time, develop AIDS but if you have your CD4 count checked and you start treatment at the right time you will never get AIDS. HIV positive people who take treatment correctly can live a quality normal life and normal life span.

What you can do
Eat healthy foods and get enough sleep and exercise. You do not need a special diet or supplements. A balanced diet is enough. Avoid drinking too much alcohol which is bad for your liver.
You need to tell your partner that you are HIV positive so that they can be checked for HIV too. You must develop a plan to manage HIV in your relationship. You may not want to have sex for a while, that is normal. When you have sex, use a condom and water based lubricant to ensure that your partner is protected from HIV.
When you are ready talk to someone you really trust about your HIV status. This could be a friend, brother, sister or parent. Learn as much as you can about HIV; ask your nurse or counsellor questions. You can also use the Ishtar Wellness Facebook page to ask questions, you can also call our cellphone on +254 713 797 157.
Don’t get worried if you get a cold of flu, but if you feel very sick or are worried come I and see your doctor or nurse.

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