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How do I tell my partner I have HIV?

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How do I tell my partner I have HIV?

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We have collected your questions on HIV and sexual health, and are delighted to have Caroline Maposphere to answer them below.

Qn: What are some symptoms and early stage signs of HIV?

Acute HIV infection may present as a ‘flu-like’ illness as the immune system attempts to fight the virus. Some of the signs may include but are not limited to Fever; Sore throat; Tiredness; Diarrhoea; Joint/ muscle pain; Swollen glands; Skin rash. This may then be followed by an asymptomatic stage where one has no obvious signs and symptoms of an illness except for generalized lymphadenopathy (swollen glands).

Qn: How well do condoms and use of lube prevent HIV?

When correctly and consistently used, condoms have been demonstrated to be effective for HIV prevention. This has been demonstrated both in the laboratory and demographically. Laboratory studies have shown that condoms provide an effective barrier against HIV. Studies have indicated that people who report correct and consistent use of condoms have reduced risk of HIV transmission.

Although safety of lubes has been debated however, it is generally safer to use lubes with condoms than have dry sex which increases the risk of friction and consequent condom tearing or bursting. If the objective of using lubes is to have a condom protected sexual intercourse session, then lubes are safe and help to prevent HIV.

Qn: What is the best way for one to inform their partner of possible HIV infection?

There is no prescribed formula for disclosing one’s HIV status to a partner but having a relationship that allows or is based on open and honest communication is helpful. Bringing a brochure on HIV could be helpful or tuning in to a TV /radio program on HIV and then personalize the discussion might help. One can also make an appointment with a professional counselor/ doctor for their partner and have the professional call the partner.

Qn: What are the potential health problems one will encounter if HIV positive?

Once the virus is inside the human body, HIV attacks the body defense system – the immune system which would normally fight off any infections. With a weakened immune system, one can expect to get sick more often and the illnesses to last longer than in a person whose immunity is intact. Because the virus targets cells that are all over the body, all body systems may get affected. The severity of how the systems are affected and at what point in time, depends on one’s nutritional status, other co infections and one’s general health.

Qn: If I have an active lifestyle, how often should I be tested for HIV?

Ideally, one should get tested at every routine health check, after every risky exposure to HIV or at least every 3 – 6 months.

Caroline Maposphere is a registered nurse (RN) and a midwife with training in public health and holds a BA in Theology.

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Caroline Maposphere

Caroline is a registered nurse (RN) and a midwife with training in public health and holds a BA in Theology.


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