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What is HIV

Even if you have heard of HIV you might not know all the facts. Understanding HIV is essential for us to be able to understand this virus and end the stigma against those infected.

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus, also known as a retrovirus. It is a virus that attacks the body’s natural immune system – your body’s “good guys” who fight off other infection and disease.

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HIV Testing

The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is through HIV testing.

Knowing your status is important because it helps you make healthy decisions to prevent getting or transmitting HIV. The symptoms of HIV vary, depending on the individual and what stage of the disease you are in so it is vital for anyone who thinks that they are at risk to get tested and know their HIV status.

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New HIV diagnosis

Testing positive for HIV often leaves a person overwhelmed with questions and concerns. The first step after testing positive is to see a health care provider, even if you don’t feel sick. If you have a new HIV diagnosis you will need to talk to a doctor straight away to start getting HIV treatment. HIV medicines can’t cure HIV, but they help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

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HIV medication


Using HIV medication can not only transform the lives of those living with HIV but it is also vital for ending stigma against HIV infected people. Once you have received an HIV diagnosis you will need to get and take your HIV medication.

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Sharing your HIV diagnosis

There are many groups that will help you through sharing your HIV diagnosis  – like us at Effective Treatment Africa – if you are afraid to disclose, get in touch with us. We can help!

When you first learn that you are HIV positive, one of the immediate, dreaded thoughts that can come to mind is this:  How will I ever tell my family and friends that I’m positive? What will they think of me? How do you go about sharing your HIV diagnosis

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Opportunistic Infections

HIV Related symptoms

There are many symptoms that can be experienced by people being infected with HIV. The important thing to note is that if you have these symptoms it might not be HIV but many other health conditions. Here are some to look out for. Headaches, fever, tiredness, swollen glands (there are many in the body but noticeably in the neck below your ear), sore throat, thrush, rashes, muscle and joint pain, ulcers in the mouth, cold sores on the lip, night sweats, diarrhea.

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Facing HIV stigma

So what is stigma and how can you define it?

ETA agree that we feel that Stigma is when you make a judgment about someone for a reason they have no control over changing. Stigma is very painful and very lonely for those suffering it. Not only are they having to struggle with accepting their own HIV status, they may be also be working and parenting. That alone is enough to admire somebody. Not judge and blame them.

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Shaping the future for all people living with HIV in Africa

Effective Treatment Africa NPO 198-463.