Do you have more questions about HIV? Here are the answers to some very important questions…
Can HIV be cured? No. There is no cure for HIV. There is antiretroviral therapy (ART), medicines that prevent HIV from multiplying and killing your immune system cells.
How does ART work? HIV attacks your immune system – specifically your ‘fighter’ cells called CD4 cells that fight infections in your body. You need these cells so you don’t get sick all the time. The antiretrovirals (ARVs) keep HIV from multiplying (increasing). You need to take your ARVs every day at the same time, if you forget, the HIV level in your body will start to increase.
What is a CD4 cell? These are the ‘soldier’ or ‘fighter’ cells that fight infections in your body. When you are HIV-positive, healthcare workers will take a CD4 count to figure out how strong your immune system is.
If I’m on ARV therapy, can I still pass HIV on to someone? Yes, you can. Once you have HIV, you will have it for the rest of your life. But you are less likely to pass the virus if you are taking your ARVs every day as directed by your healthcare worker.
If you test positive for HIV, a healthcare worker will tell you everything you need to know about antiretroviral medicines, how and when to take them properly. Antiretroviral medicines will be given to you at your nearest health facility.
If you have a partner, it’s a good idea to go for HIV testing together. You will learn your results together. Join U-Report to find your nearest testing and counselling location. Text the word “JOIN” to 8500 on all networks for free. Once you’re connected, you can text your counsellor.