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HIV/AIDS <h2 class="sectHeading">What is HIV?</h2><div>The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the immune system, which usually helps your body fight infections and other diseases. <br></div><div> <br> </div><div>If HIV infection is not treated, it can severely damage your immune system and lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). If you have AIDS, you are vulnerable to severe infections and life threatening diseases. </div><div> <br> </div><div>There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but medication can keep your immune system strong. <br></div><div> <br> </div><p></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> <span>South Africa is home to the world's largest population of people living with HIV. In 2020, the overall prevalence rate was around 13%, and among adults aged 15 - 49 years it was estimated at 18,7%. The number of HIV-positive people in the Western Cape is lower than the national average; approximately 12,6% of adults aged 15 - 49 years are HIV-positive. <em>(STATSSA)</em></span></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 infection, you may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever and body aches. The 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 you may not have any symptoms. This can last for months or years.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Chronic HIV:</strong> As your immune system weakens over time, you start developing infections. 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. Symptoms of chronic HIV may include: </div><div> <b><br></b></div><ul><li>weight loss<br></li><li>coughing<br></li><li>diarrhoea<br></li><li>fatigue</li></ul><p> <span style="font-weight:700;"></span></p><div> <strong>AIDS:</strong> If your immune system is severely damaged by HIV, you are vulnerable to infections and/or diseases including pneumonia, meningitis, skin cancer, etc. Symptoms of AIDS may include:</div><div><ul><li>significant weight loss</li><li>drenching night sweats</li><li>oral thrush with difficulty swallowing</li><li>severe fatigue<br></li><li>skin rashes </li><li>coughing and shortness of breath</li><li>persistent headaches</li><li>memory problems</li></ul></div><div><div>If you become unwell or display any of the symptoms described above, <a href="">visit your nearest clinic</a>.<br></div></div><div> <br> </div><p></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 does HIV spread?</h2><div>HIV can enter the body if you come into direct contact with certain bodily fluids of someone 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 to have vaginal, oral or anal sex with an infected person without a condom.</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. 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 an HIV-infected person;</li><li>sharing cups, plates or knives;</li><li>working or living with an HIV-infected person;</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;</li><li>mosquitoes or other insects. <br></li></ul></div><h2 class="sectHeading">Preventing HIV infection</h2><h4>Preventing HIV as a sexually transmitted infection</h4><p>Consider the ABCs of HIV prevention:</p><ul><li> <b>A</b>bstain from sex.</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><div> <strong>HIV testing:</strong> 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.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP):</strong> People who feel they are at risk of getting HIV can take medication to prevent infection. PrEP is offered at <a href="">limited public health sites</a> and will be expanded in the near future. </div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP):</strong> In emergency situations, a short course of HIV medication can be taken to prevent infection. This must be taken as soon as possible after exposure to prevent the virus from taking hold, so visit a clinic as soon as possible if you think you may have been exposed. </div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Adult male circumcision: </strong>Being circumcised significantly reduces the risk of contracting HIV infection during vaginal sex.</div><div> <br> <strong>Preventing mother to child transmission</strong><br></div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Pregnant women</strong></div><div>They should <a href="">visit their 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 you and your partner should get tested together. If you test positive, you should start HIV treatment as soon as possible to avoid transmission to the baby.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Breastfeeding mothers</strong> <div><ul><li>HIV-negative in pregnancy: Ensure that you and your partner remain HIV-negative by following the above advice. This is important so you can prevent HIV infection of the baby. If you’re breastfeeding, you should regularly be tested for HIV while breastfeeding. Speak to the nurse when taking the baby for check-ups.</li><li>HIV-positive mothers: Take your HIV treatment daily and follow your healthcare worker’s advice on feeding your child. </li></ul></div><div> <strong>Protect yourself and others</strong><br></div><div><div> <strong> <a href="">Wear a condom</a>:</strong> If you are HIV-positive, always practice safe sex by using a male or female condom. </div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Take 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><div>HIV infection is treated with anti-retroviral (ARV) medication. ARVs do not kill the virus but prevent it from multiplying. If treatment is taken correctly, the number of viruses in the body will reduce. But, if you stop taking your medication, or take it incorrectly, the number of viruses will increase.<br></div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>When to start ARVs</strong><br></div><div>The sooner you start taking ARVs, the sooner you will benefit. If you are diagnosed with HIV, you qualify to start treatment immediately.</div><div> <br> </div><div>If you think you have been exposed to HIV, visit your nearest clinic for an HIV test. Don’t wait for symptoms to show.</div><div> <br> </div><div>For up to date information on HIV treatment, see <a href="" target="_blank">The Western Cape Consolidated Guidelines for HIV Treatment</a>. </div><div> <span style="background-color:#ececec;">​​​</span><br></div> <span> <div class="image-gallery-slider img-gal-1" id="img-gal-1" data-slides="3" data-slide="1" style="height:493.5px;"><div class="image-gallery-content" style="height:414px;"> <figure class="itemSlide slide-left slide-1"><img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="display:none;" /><figcaption class="image-slide-text" style="display:none;">Number of people living with HIV and accessing treatment globally</figcaption> </figure><figure class="itemSlide slide-left slide-2"><img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="display:none;" /><figcaption class="image-slide-text" style="display:none;">South Africa has the highest number of PLHIV globally </figcaption> </figure> <figure class="itemSlide slide-left slide-3"><img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="display:none;" /><figcaption class="image-slide-text" style="display:none;">Our <a href="" target="_blank">antiretroviral clinics</a><i class="icon link-external"></i> make it easier for HIV patients to get access to their medication and healthcare. </figcaption> </figure> </div><div class="image-gallery-control"><div class="image-gallery-caption"> </div><div class="image-gallery-nav"><div class="nav-info">1 of 3</div><div class="slide-next"> <i class="icon arrow-white-next"></i> </div></div></div></div></span> <div></div><h2 class="sectHeading">Find a treatment facility</h2><div><ul><li> <a href="">City clinics and healthcare facilities </a></li><li> <a href="" target="_blank">Provincial health facilities with HIV services </a><br></li></ul></div><h2 class="sectHeading">HIV FAQs</h2><p> <b>#1 Why should I get tested?</b><br> Knowing your HIV status means that you can take the right steps to look after your health and you can avoid infecting others. <a href="">Find a clinic</a> near you where you can check your status.</p><p> <b>#2 What does an HIV test involve?</b><br>The test is quick and free and can be done at your <a href="">nearest clinic</a>. After you’ve agreed to the test (no one can force you), blood will be taken using a finger prick. You will be counselled and you will get a result within 10-20 minutes.</p><p> <b>#3 My test says I’m HIV positive. What next?</b><br> 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. You can live a long and healthy life if you look after yourself and get treatment.</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 is confidential. You can decide who you want to tell. But it is important speak to your sexual partners so they can also be tested. <br></p></div></div><p> <b>#4 What is the link between HIV and TB?<br></b>If your immune system is weak, you are more vulnerable to diseases and infections. <a href="">Tuberculosis (TB)</a> is one of the most common infections in HIV-positive people. By taking ARVs you can prevent TB.</p><p> <b>#5 I’m pregnant and HIV positive. Will my baby have HIV?</b><br> It is important that you start anti-retroviral treatment early in your pregnancy to avoid transmission to the baby. Babies should also go for frequent check-ups after the birth, and you should follow the guidelines on feeding.<br></p><p> <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



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