What do I do if I am HIV positive?

HIV/AIDS Dictionary

HIV- Human Immune deficiency Virus
AIDS- Acquired Immune deficiency Syndrome
Antibodies- Cells produced by the body to fight infection.
CD4- Fighter cells/ immune cells
Antiretrovirals- Medication to slow the progress of the HI virus
STI- Sexually Transmitted Infection
Kaposi Sarcoma- Aids related cancer
Lesions- Injury to the living tissue of the body, usually as a result of disease or injury
ADC- Aids dementia complex
Adherence- Taking medication exactly as prescribed
Viral evolution- The change in the make-up of the virus. Influences ART
ART- Antiretroviral therapy
ARV- Antiretrovirals
VCT- Voluntary counseling and testing

Telephone numbers
to remember:

National AIDS Helpline: 0800 012 322
HIV Health Workers Hotline: 0800 212 506
AIDS Consortium: 011-403 0265
AIDS Law Project ALP: 011- 717 8600
National Association of people living with AIDS(NAPWA): 011-872 0975

Treatment Action Campaign (TAC):
Cape Town: 021-364-5489
Johannesburg: 011-403-2293
KZN: 031-304-3673
Eastern Cape: 043-760-0050

  1. Start treatment immediately.
  2. Inform your sexual partners, or if you have shared any kind of needle inform the people you shared it with.
  3. Test for any other possible STI.
  4. Advise your healthcare worker of any medication or supplements you may be taking.
  5. Stop smoking, it will help in preventing respiratory issues. (A good idea regardless of your status)
  6. If you are pregnant or intend becoming pregnant speak to your health care worker about it.
  7. Do not skip any medication. Take all your medication as instructed.
  8. Avoid passing on the HIV infection through unsafe behaviour.
  9. Do not indulge unsafe behaviour as you are now more prone to infection.
  10. If you are unable to weather the side effects of the antiretroviral medication, advise your health care worker. Do not simply stop the medication as you run the risk of complications both now and later.
  11. Join a support group

How do I prevent HIV infection?

The best way to prevent an HIV infection is total abstinence. If you and your partner both test negative for the HIV antibodies and are in a monogamous relationship you will remain safe from a sexually transmitted HIV infection.

Use a condom. Condoms are available for both male and female, insist that you or your partner use a condom during sex and radically decrease the chances of HIV infection.condoms can prevent HIV  transmission

How to use a male condom:

  1. Be aware of the expiry date on the packaging
  2. Do not use the condom if the packaging has been damaged in any way
  3. Tear the package open with your fingers, do not use your teeth or a sharp object as they may damage the condom
  4. Hold the teat of the condom between your thumb and fore-finger
  5. Roll the condom down your erect penis
  6. After sex, hold the condom in place and withdraw while still erect
  7. Use a water based lubricant only, oil will cause the condom to tear and disintegrate
  8. NEVER re-use a condom, dispose of it after use.


How to use a female condom:

How to insert a female condom
1.Position the female condom before any contact between the penis and vagina occur
2.Squeeze the smaller ring and insert it into the vagina, leaving the larger ring on the outside to protect the exterior of the vagina
3.The penis goes into the large ring
4.After intercourse, do not stand up. Twist the large ring so it closes againts leakage and remove.
5.Dispose of safely.



You CAN NOT transmit HIV by:

What is PEP? Post Exposure Prophylaxis

PEP is a course of drugs, if taken within 72hours of exposure to HIV can prevent a person becoming infected with HIV. PEP is not a cure for HIV but rather a preventative measure in instances where one has been exposed to HIV, for example rape or a needle stick injury.

Because HIV is not immediately established within the body, the use of PEP within 72hours can prevent the virus from gaining a foothold and increasing the number of infected cells. The cells which were originally infected will not multiply, but die off over time.

Things you should know about PEP


Can Male Circumcision prevent HIV transmission?

As early as 1991 the thought that male circumcision was a viable tool in the prevention of HIV infection has been explored. Studies have been conducted to ascertain the efficacy of this measure and have shown that in the test groups the prevalence of HIV was reduced by approximately two thirds.

The world health organisation suggests that in a region where HIV prevalence is high and incidence of circumcision is low and increase in male circumcision by ethical, trained professionals will assist in lowering the rate of HIV infection.

How was the conclusion the male circumcision is a HIV preventative measure reached?
A total of approximately 10 000 men from South Africa, Kenya and Uganda participated in these trials. These trials were strictly controlled using techniques that had proven safe and effective. These studies have taken place over a number of years and in Uganda as the incidence of circumcision climbed, HIV infections showed a 73% decrease. In South Africa circumcisions were done outside of the controlled setting and even there a decrease in new infections amongst young men was as high as 76%.

Health care workers are however concerned at the change in behaviour as a result of these studies. There is a prevailing sense among these newly circumcised young men that they are now immune to HIV infection.

Why does male circumcision help prevent HIV infection?

Studies have shown that the mucosal surface of the foreskin is more susceptible to HIV because it has more cells which are open to HIV infection. The surface of the foreskin effectively traps the virus against the skin allowing it a longer lifespan and facilitating infection.

A number of medical facilities have now begun to add voluntary male circumcision to their HIV treatment and prevention plan.

Male circumcision is not a 100% effective preventative measure, but rather an added means of transmission which should be used in conjuction with:
single partner relationship

References and links