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HIV/AIDS <h2 class="sectHeading">What is HIV?</h2><p>The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system. The immune system normally helps your body fight infections and other diseases.</p><p>If HIV infection is not treated, it can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndroms (AIDS). This is the late stage of HIV infection when the immune system has been severely damaged. People with AIDS are very vulnerable to severe infections and life-threatening diseases.</p><p>There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but medication can keep the immune system strong and prevent the onset of AIDS.</p><div class="notification with-heading dark-copy light-blue bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info quickstat"></i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Quick statS</h4><p>South Africa is home to the world's largest population of people living with HIV: in 2020, the overall prevalence rate was approximately 13.0%. Among South African adults aged 15 to 49 years it was estimated at 18.7%.<br> </p><p> The prevalence of HIV in the Western Cape is lower than the national average: 12.6% of adults aged between 15 to 49 years are estimated to be HIV-positive. <br><br></p><p> <strong>Note:</strong> Wikipedia definition: In epidemiology, prevalence is the proportion of a particular population found to be affected by a medical condition at a specific time. It is derived by comparing the number of people found to have the condition with the total number of people studied, and is usually expressed as a fraction, a percentage, or the number of cases per 10,000 or 100,000 people.<br><br>(Reference: <a href=""></a>)<br></p></div></div><h2 class="sectHeading">Symptoms of HIV</h2><div>The symptoms of HIV depend on the stage of the illness:</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Acute HIV infection:</strong> 1-3 weeks after being newly infected with HIV, flu-like symptoms such as fever and body aches may be experienced. These symptoms can last for a few days or weeks.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Clinical latency: </strong>At this stage the body’s immune system is not yet compromised and there may not be any symptoms. This can last for months or years.<br></div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Chronic HIV:</strong> As the immune system weakens over time, infections start developing. These become more serious and occur more frequently over time. <a href="">Tuberculosis (TB)</a> is an example of an infection more commonly seen in people with HIV. </div><div> <br> </div><h4>Symptoms of chronic HIV may include: </h4><ul><li>weight loss</li><li>coughing<br></li><li>diarrhoea</li><li>fatigue</li></ul><p> <strong>AIDS:</strong> When the immune system is severely damaged by HIV, the body becomes vulnerable to infections and/or diseases including pneumonia, meningitis, skin cancer (Kaposi's Sarcoma), etc. </p><h4>Symptoms of AIDS may include:<br></h4><div><ul><li>significant weight loss</li><li>drenching night sweats</li><li>oral thrush with difficulty swallowing</li><li>severe fatigue</li><li>skin rashes <br></li><li>coughing and shortness of breath</li><li>persistent headaches</li><li>memory problems</li></ul></div><p>Download our Health Symptoms HIV poster below and share it with your family, school or community centre.</p><div class="infographic bg-font-adjust-bg"> <figure> <img class="responsive" alt="placeholder" src="" /></figure> <figcaption> <p> <span class="infoGraphicSpan">POSTER<br>​​<strong>HEALTH SYMPTOMS OF HIV</strong></span></p> <a title="Health symptoms of HIV poster" class="btn dark-blue" href="" target="_blank"><i class="icon download"></i>Download PDF</a> </figcaption> </div><h2 class="sectHeading">How is HIV spread?</h2><div>HIV can enter the body if a person comes into direct contact with certain bodily fluids of another person infected with HIV.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <a href=""><strong>Sexually transmitted infection (STI)</strong></a><strong>:</strong> The most common way HIV is spread is through unprotected sex (i.e. sex without a condom) with someone already infected with the virus; this includes having vaginal, oral or anal sex.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Mother to child transmission: </strong>HIV can spread from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. </div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Blood: </strong>This could be accidental exposure to infected blood - healthcare workers are most at risk of this type of exposure. Sharing of needles or syringes among drug users can also lead to HIV transmission.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>HIV is NOT transmitted by:</strong></div><div><ul><li>eating food prepared by someone with HIV</li><li>sharing cups, plates or knives</li><li>working or living with someone who has HIV</li><li>touching, hugging, kissing or shaking hands</li><li>sneezing, coughing, tears or saliva</li><li>swimming pools, baths or public toilets</li><li>telephones, towels or clothing<br></li><li>mosquitoes or other insects<br></li></ul></div><h2 class="sectHeading">HIV testing</h2><p>HIV testing is offered at all <a href="">City clinics</a>. Blood is taken from a finger prick, and a trained healthcare worker provides counselling while you wait for your result. Test results are available within 10-20 minutes. </p> <span> <div class="notification with-heading dark-copy pink bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info remember">​​​</i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Remember</h4><p> HIV testing is voluntary - nobody can force you to get tested.</p></div></div></span> <p>Knowing your HIV status means that you can take the right steps to stay healthy and you can avoid infecting others. Testing regularly can increase your chances of an early diagnosis, which will ensure that you receive the right treatment before the HIV infection damages your immune system.<br></p><h4>HIV Self-Screening and Index Case Testing<br></h4><p>Our Health Department now offers two new HIV testing strategies as part of our ongoing efforts to make testing more accessible, find undiagnosed people and offer them treatment so that they can remain healthy.<br></p><ul><li> <strong>HIV Self-Screening (HIV SS)</strong> is a voluntary process which allows you to collect your own specimen, perform the screening test and interpret the results yourself. There are currently two kinds of HIV SS kits available: a mouth (oral) swab test and a blood/finger prick test. You can do the test in your own home or another private location of your choice. You can choose to do the test alone or with someone you trust. <br></li><li> <strong>Index Case Testing (ICT)</strong> is a case finding approach that focuses on identifying the sexual or needle-sharing partners and biological children of HIV-positive individuals and offering them HIV testing.</li></ul><p>HIV SS and ICT are available on weekdays, from 08:00 until 16:30 at <a href="">selected clinics</a>.<br></p> <span> <div class="notification with-heading dark-copy pink bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info toptip">​​​</i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Top tip</h4><p> If you screen positive or if you are unsure of your result, visit your <a href="">nearest clinic</a> for HIV testing by a health care worker. If this repeat test is positive, you will receive counselling and HIV treatment to keep you healthy.<br></p></div></div></span> <h2 class="sectHeading">Preventing HIV infection<br></h2><p>If you are HIV negative, you can ensure that you stay negative by following these prevention measures:</p><p>Consider the <strong>ABC </strong>of HIV prevention:</p><ul><li> <b>A</b>bstain from sex<br></li><li> <b>B</b>e faithful to one partner<br></li><li>Use a <b>c</b>ondom every time you have sex.<br></li></ul><h4>HIV testing<br></h4><p>Know your status! We recommend that you test with your partner. For couples where only one partner tests positive, appropriate preventative measures can be discussed and implemented.<br></p><h4>Partner ARVs<br></h4><p>If your partner is HIV positive, make sure that they are taking anti-retroviral medication daily and ask about their viral load blood result. This blood test looks at the viral load in the blood. Taking HIV treatment everyday reduces the amount of the virus in the blood until there is too little to show up on a test. This is an undetectable viral load and means your partner cannot pass the virus on to you (U=U: Undetectable = Untransmittable). </p><h4> Treat Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) <br></h4><p> <a href="">STIs</a> increase the risk of contracting or transmitting HIV to your sexual partner. If you have an STI, treating it can help to prevent HIV infection. <br> </p><h4>Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP):</h4><p>Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP for short is an additional HIV preventative strategy offered by our Health Department. It is an oral pill that is taken by an HIV negative person who feels they are at risk of contracting HIV. By taking PrEP daily, the risk of contracting HIV is decreased by 90%. PrEP is not a lifelong medication and it is safe to be used with other medication. Currently, PrEP is offered at <a href="">limited public health sites</a> and will be expanded in the near future. </p><h4> Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP): <br></h4><p>Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a 28-day course of HIV medication that is taken after you have been exposed to HIV. This medication lowers your chance of HIV infection by 80%. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, visit your nearest clinic as soon as possible. Ideally, you should begin taking PEP within one hour, but no later than 72 hours (3 days) after exposure. Treatment must be uninterrupted for the full 28 days, and is followed by HIV testing four months after exposure.</p><p>PEP may help:<br></p><ul><li>People who think they might have been exposed to HIV during sex </li><li>People who have been sexually assaulted </li><li>Drug users who recently shared needles or other related items </li><li>Health care workers who think they've been exposed to HIV on the job</li></ul><div> <strong>Adult male circumcision: </strong>Being circumcised significantly reduces the risk of contracting HIV infection during vaginal sex.</div><div> <br> <span> <div class="notification with-heading dark-copy light-blue bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info fastfact">​​</i></div><div class="desc"><h4>Men's health</h4><p>The City works in conjunction with an NGO, Jhpiego, and the Western Cape Health Department to promote safe adult male circumcision.</p></div></div></span><strong></strong></div><div> <strong>Preventing mother to child transmission</strong><br></div><div> <strong>Pregnant women</strong> should go to their <a href="">nearest clinic</a> to book for their antenatal care as soon as they find out they are pregnant. HIV testing is part of the routine care offered and it is advisable that pregnant women attend with their partner and get tested together. If the pregnant woman is found to be HIV-positive, HIV treatment should be started as soon as possible to avoid transmission of HIV to the baby.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Breastfeeding mothers</strong> <div><ul><li>HIV-negative in pregnancy: These women must ensure that they, and their partner, remain HIV-negative by following the above preventative recommendations. This is vital to prevent HIV infection of the baby. Mothers should be tested regularly for HIV while breastfeeding, so speak to the nurse when taking the baby for check-ups about when you should have your HIV tests.</li><li>HIV-positive mothers: These women must take their HIV treatment daily and follow their healthcare worker’s advice on feeding their child. </li></ul></div><div> <strong>If you have HIV: protect yourself and others</strong><br></div><div><div> <strong><a href="">Wear a condom</a>:</strong> People with HIV should always practice safe sex by using a male or female condom. </div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Take HIV medication:</strong> Successfully taking HIV medication keeps you healthy and reduces the risk of HIV transmission to others.<br><br></div></div></div><h2 class="sectHeading">Treating HIV​​​​​​​</h2><p>HIV infection is treated with oral medication called anti-retrovirals (ARVs). ARVs do not kill the virus but instead prevent it from multiplying. If treatment is taken correctly every day, the number of viruses in the body will diminish to a point where it is considered undetectable (also known as an undetectable viral load or suppressed viral load). However, some virus will always remain and, if ARV treatment stops or if it is taken incorrectly, the number of viruses will increase.</p><p>Therefore, ARVs are not a cure for HIV/AIDS. They reduce the virus in the body which allows the immune system to stay healthy or recover. People taking ARVs (with an undetectable viral load) find that their appetite improves, they gain weight if their weight was low before and symptoms like diarrhoea or skin rashed clear up.</p><p>ARVs have changed HIV/AIDS from a fatal condition to a manageable chronic condition.</p><div> <span> <div class="notification with-heading dark-copy light-blue bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info fastfact">​​</i></div><div class="desc"><h4>Fast fact​</h4><p> <strong>ARVs</strong> are anti-retrovirals, which are HIV drugs.</p><p> <strong>ART </strong>stands for anti-retroviral treatment, which includes combinations of ARVs used together to treat HIV.</p></div></div></span><strong>When to start ARVs</strong><br></div><div>Starting anti-retroviral treatment (ART) early has been found to have significant heal benefits. It ensures you immune system remains strong and thereby prevents serious AIDS-related diseases. If you are diagnosed with HIV, you qualify to start ART immediately.</div><div> </div><div>Therefore, if you have engaged in any activity putting you at risk of HIV infection, visit your <a href="">nearest clinic </a>for an HIV test. It is not avisable to wait for symptoms of infection or disease to develop.</div><div> </div><div>If you do become unwell or display any of the symptoms described above, visit your nearest treatment facility. Many of the HIV-related illnesses are treatable, particularly when diagnosed early.</div><div> </div><div> <strong>What forms part of HIV treatment?</strong></div><ul><li>ART is always part of HIV treatment</li><li>Treatment of infections commonly seen with HIV/AIDS</li><li>Preventative treatment of certain HIV-related infections (including TB)  </li></ul> <span> <div class="notification with-heading dark-copy light-blue bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info fastfact">​​</i></div><div class="desc"><h4>Fast fact​</h4><p>Fighting HIV/AIDS one of our healthcare priorities. Together with the Western Cape Government Health Department and local organisations, such as the ANOVA Health Institute, we aim to reduce the number of new infections and strengthen strategies in the fight against HIV and AIDS. If we can all understand HIV and AIDS better, we can make smarter choices about our lifestyles. This will help reduce the risk of infection and will guide us to the right treatment if we have the disease.</p></div></div></span> <p>Remember to look after your health by <a href="">caring for your body</a>.</p><p>For up to date information on HIV treatment, please see the <a href="" target="_blank">National Antiretroviral therapy (ART) Clinical Guidelines<i class="icon link-external"></i></a>.</p> <span> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" />​</span><span> <h2 class="sectHeading">Children and HIV</h2> </span> <p>Children with HIV infection need to start ARV treatment as soon as possible. Please consult with a healthcare practitioner for more information on how to take care of your child.</p><h2 class="sectHeading">Find a treatment facility</h2><p>In Cape Town you can receive treatment at City Health facilities or the Western Cape Government's primary healthcare facilities which provide free care.</p><h4> Fint the best option near you:</h4><div><ul><li>See all <a href="">City clinics and healthcare facilities </a><br></li><li><a href="" target="_blank">Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness health facilities with HIV services </a><br></li></ul></div><h2 class="sectHeading">HIV FAQs</h2><p> <b>1. My test says I’m HIV positive. What next?</b><br> Receiving a positive HIV test result can be very difficult, but you can live a long and healthy life if you look after yourself and get treatment. Speak to your clinic about getting the right treatment and support. If the facility doesn’t provide treatment, you will be referred to a clinic that does.<br></p><p> <b>2. What if I test or screen HIV negative?</b><br> HIV tests can show incorrect negative results in the first 3 months of HIV infection; this is known as the “window period”. If you were potentially exposed to HIV (e.g. by having sex without a condom) you should test again 3 months after this exposure to confirm your negative test.</p><div class="notification with-heading dark-copy pink bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info note"></i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Please note</h4><p>Your HIV status will remain confidential among the healthcare providers. You can decide who you want to tell. However, it is important to discuss your HIV status with your sexual partners so they can also be tested. <br></p></div></div><p> <b>3. What is the link between HIV and TB?<br></b>Certain diseases occur more frequently and are more severe in people with weakened immune systems. These are known as 'opportunistic infections'. <a href="">Tuberculosis (TB)</a> is one of the most common opportunistic infections in HIV-positive people. By taking ARVs to manage your HIV, you can ward off TB.</p><p> <b>4. I’m pregnant and HIV positive. Will my baby have HIV?</b><br> It is very important for HIV-positive mothers to start anti-retroviral treatment early in their pregnancy to avoid transmission of HIV to the baby. Babies should also go for frequent check-ups after the birth, and mothers should follow strict guidelines about feeding.</p><p> <strong>Let's stop HIV together!</strong><br></p>GP0|#36dc68da-1293-4e9d-b530-a96ba91a108d;L0|#036dc68da-1293-4e9d-b530-a96ba91a108d|HIV and AIDS;GTSet|#ef3a64a2-d764-44bc-9d69-3a63d3fadea1;GPP|#29d3d5b5-6925-47c8-aa75-e5870bf478ca;GPP|#090e430c-3809-42d5-a80b-caea93b2beaf;GPP|#245ec7aa-a528-4cd3-bcac-597c292db711;GP0|#cbfeaf68-72bd-4477-8f83-36c828283219;L0|#0cbfeaf68-72bd-4477-8f83-36c828283219|HIV and AIDS;GPP|#d65ab879-2884-426b-a380-7b8f9433c812;GP0|#c7b794c6-c148-4231-aae2-aa42c9579f5b;L0|#0c7b794c6-c148-4231-aae2-aa42c9579f5b|HIV + AIDS;GPP|#efa62315-f7b4-4cf5-8d1b-b074b98de032;GPP|#36dcb5fe-6bfc-4ae9-92d7-8bd08d1f6414;GPP|#af370586-9ba3-404a-9d6e-02066ca42752;GP0|#227a87f7-5eeb-48ee-82fa-d15f31a3bc50;L0|#0227a87f7-5eeb-48ee-82fa-d15f31a3bc50|HIV and AIDS;GPP|#4d9ccd12-a383-4753-97d8-71d13417b782;GP0|#6a87c559-7a0e-4583-b374-63f7530807b9;L0|#06a87c559-7a0e-4583-b374-63f7530807b9|HIV and AIDS;GPP|#2e91f663-1e15-45c7-b8f5-fbb8c225a695;GPP|#df0a3405-0ca1-4617-8047-15a034219feeLearn about HIV/AIDS, what you can do to prevent infection, and where to get help.0



Health: HIV Symptoms Poster875171GP0|#591e1d8b-7507-4dd3-8a9a-59b5cdd318c6;L0|#0591e1d8b-7507-4dd3-8a9a-59b5cdd318c6|Poster;GTSet|#f1e8889f-f7d7-4d5b-a3f5-af0ca2e076ea;GPP|#5340fe0b-73a7-472c-bef7-04e450fb5c4f;GPP|#0972c695-fd19-46c4-ab5d-9601f17b780e2015-12-31T22:00:00Z
Pre-exposure prophylaxis FAQ426382GP0|#7d9df7be-4d49-4007-95e2-153219f9c783;L0|#07d9df7be-4d49-4007-95e2-153219f9c783|FAQs;GTSet|#f1e8889f-f7d7-4d5b-a3f5-af0ca2e076ea;GPP|#d8892104-ce90-493e-b813-93c488f4b1d3;GPP|#0972c695-fd19-46c4-ab5d-9601f17b780e2022-03-06T22:00:00Z



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