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Knowledge is your only weapon against HIV/AIDS

 HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. 

     This is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is different from most other viruses because it attacks the immune system. The immune system gives our bodies the ability to fight infections. HIV finds and destroys a type of white blood cell (T cells or CD4 cells) that the immune system must have to fight disease. 

 For more information view CDC's questions and answers on   "HIV Science"

                   Virusl

 Aids

         AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. 

  
 AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. It can take years for a person infected with HIV, even without treatment, to reach this stage. Having AIDS means that the virus has weakened the immune system to the point at which the body has a difficult time fighting infections. When someone has one or more of these infections and a low number of T cells, he or she has AIDS. 

For more information view CDC's questions and answers on   "HIV Science".


           

 

    Electron microscope image of HIV, seen as small spheres on the surface of white blood cells

 

 How is HIV transmitted?


HIV transmission can occur when blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), vaginal fluid, or breast milk from an infected person enters the body of an uninfected person. 

HIV can enter the body through a vein (e.g., injection drug use), the lining of the anus or rectum, the lining of the vagina and/or cervix, the opening to the penis, the mouth, other mucous membranes (e.g., eyes or inside of the nose), or cuts and sores. Intact, healthy skin is an excellent barrier against HIV and other viruses and bacteria. 

These are the most common ways in which HIV is transmitted from person to person:

  • by having sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with an HIV-infected person;

  • by sharing needles or injection equipment with an injection drug user who is infected with HIV; or

  • from HIV-infected women to their babies before or during birth, or through breast-feeding after birth.

HIV also can be transmitted through receipt of infected blood or blood clotting factors. However, since 1985, all donated blood in the United States has been tested for HIV. Therefore, the risk of infection through transfusion of blood or blood products is extremely low. The U.S. blood supply is considered to be among the safest in the world. For more information, see   "How safe is the blood supply in the United States?"

Some health-care workers have become infected after being stuck with needles containing HIV-infected blood or, less frequently when infected blood comes in contact with a worker's open cut or is splashed into a worker's eyes or inside their nose. There has been only one instance of patients being infected by an HIV-infected dentist to his patients. For more information, see   "Are health care workers at risk of getting HIV on the job?"   and   "Are patients in a health care setting at risk of getting HIV?".

 

Risk Factors for HIV Transmission

   You may be at increased risk for infection if you have

  • injected drugs or steroids, during which equipment (such as needles, syringes, cotton, water) and blood were shared with others

  • had unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex (that is, sex without using condoms) with men who have sex with men, multiple partners, or anonymous partners

  • exchanged sex for drugs or money

  • been given a diagnosis of, or been treated for, hepatitis, tuberculosis (TB), or a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as syphilis

  • received a blood transfusion or clotting factor during 1978–1985

  • had unprotected sex with someone who has any of the risk factors listed above.
  • Preventing Transmission

  • JungeYour risk of getting HIV or passing it to someone else depends on several things. 
    Do you know what they are? 

    You might want to talk to someone who knows about HIV. 


    You can also do the following:

    • Abstain from sex (do not have oral, anal, or vaginal sex) until you are in a relationship with only one person, are having sex with only each other, and each of you knows the other’s HIV status.
    • If both you and your partner have HIV, use condoms to prevent other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and possible infection with a different strain of HIV.
    • If only one of you has HIV, use a latex condom and lubricant every time you have sex.

    If you have, or plan to have, more than one sex partner, consider the following:
    • Get tested for HIV.
    • If you are a man who has had sex with other men, get tested at least once a year.
    • If you are a woman who is planning to get pregnant or who is pregnant, get tested as soon as possible, before you have your baby.
    • Talk about HIV and other STDs with each partner before you have sex.
    • Learn as much as you can about each partner’s past behavior (sex and drug use), and consider the risks to your health before you have sex.
    • Ask your partners if they have recently been tested for HIV; encourage those who have not been tested to do so.
    • Use a latex condom and lubricant every time you have sex.
    • If you think you may have been exposed to another STD such as gonorrhea, syphilis, or Chlamydia trachomatis infection, get treatment. These diseases can increase your risk of getting HIV.
    • Get vaccinated against hepatitis B virus.

    Even if you think you have low risk for HIV infection, get tested whenever you have a regular medical check-up. 

    Do not inject illicit drugs (drugs not prescribed by your doctor). You can get HIV through needles, syringes, and other works if they are contaminated with the blood of someone who has HIV. Drugs also cloud your mind, which may result in riskier sex. 

    If you do inject drugs, do the following:
    • Use only clean needles, syringes, and other works.
    • Never share needles, syringes, or other works.
    • Be careful not to expose yourself to another person's blood.
    • Get tested for HIV test at least once a year.
    • Consider getting counseling and treatment for your drug use.
    • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B viruses.

    Do not have sex when you are taking drugs or drinking alcohol because being high can make you more likely to take risks. 

    To protect yourself, remember these ABCs:
    • A = Abstinence
    • B = Be faithful
    • C = Condoms

    For more information view CDC's questions and answers on HIV prevention.


Reducing the number of partners


Reducing the number of partnersThe more sexual partners someone has during his or her life, the greater the likelihood of becoming HIV-infected. So reducing the number of sexual partners is an important preventive change in behaviour. Abstinence until one has found the "right" partner would certainly be the ideal, from the point of view of HIV prevention. 

The recommendation to reduce the number of partners must, however, be considered with greater discrimination. A risk of HIV infection only exists if a sexual partner is HIV-infected. The risk of HIV transmission is much higher among the so-called risk groups – such as prostitutes, homosexuals, injecting drug addicts or people who come from an area with a high prevalence of HIV, such as sub-Saharan Africa – than in the average population. On the other hand, two young people have no risk of HIV if neither has yet had any sexual contacts and they do not inject drugs. 

The reduction of HIV risks is not only a matter of reducing the number of sexual partners, but of having no sexual contact at all, if possible, with anyone who is HIV-infected. If a partner is HIV-infected and is being treated with ART, it is certainly a good idea to obtain medical advice before entering into a sexual relationship. 

Young people who enter into sexual relationships at a very early age often display a higher risk of HIV infection, because they often enter into many brief sexual adventures before they build up a stable partnership. 

 

 The condom


KondomIf a sexual partner is infected with HIV, the risk of transmission of the infection can be reduced, but not excluded, by the use of condoms. AIDS kills, so the residual risk have to be taken seriously. 

Young people often have little or no experience with condoms, so that the danger of incorrect application remains considerable. Here, too, the principle applies: the deeper your relationship with your partner, and the more secure you feel with him/her, the more likely it is that you can also talk frankly about the correct use of condoms.

There is also an increased risk of incorrect use under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Only controlled condoms should be used, and the instructions contained in the pack should be followed exactly.


 

The HIV-Test

  Why it is better to have yourself tested

 Why it is better to have yourself tested

If someone has been at risk of contracting HIV, testing is the only way to find out whether or not they have become infected. The test should be combined with comprehensive counselling by a doctor. 

The HIV infection has, within the space of only a few years, developed into a pandemic (worldwide epidemic). Here too it is becoming more and more widespread, and no longer affects only the risk groups. It is, therefore, important for all persons to know whether they are infected or not, since in this way each one of us can contribute towards preventing the further spreading of this fatal disease. 

Deceptive calm
As a rule an infected person notices nothing (with the exception of an occasionally occurring influenza-like illness within the first weeks) of the HIV infection for several years – a deceptive calm. In this symptom-free period, which lasts on average ten to twelve years, the infected person is already a transmitter of the disease. Whether one has become infected or not can only be ascertained by making an HIV test. Those who have themselves tested are behaving responsibly both towards themselves and towards others. 

 

 The test always makes sense Let us assume that the person in question is not infected at all, i.e. HIV negative. The negative test result indicates the absence of an infection with a high degree of certainty – provided that the recommended waiting period before the test has been observed (see below). Any uncertainty and any unnecessary fears can now be assuaged. In this situation, combined with competent counselling, a responsible pattern of behaviour (with avoidance of risk situations) can be developed for the future. 


Let us assume, on the other hand, that someone is infected, i.e. HIV positive. This person will, as a rule, do everything possible not to spread the disease further. No-one would like to infect his/her partner, the person he/she loves most, or cause the birth of an HIV positive child. On the other hand only those persons can profit from timely therapy (which can postpone the terminal stage AIDS), who know that they are HIV positive. In many of the complications accompanying AIDS, early recognition plays an important role. Such manifestations can be treated in time, and much suffering can be prevented. An HIV positive person who places him/herself under competent medical care, can live longer and better than someone who delays until the onset of AIDS. 

We recommend that you have the test performed by a doctor in whom you have confidence, so that comprehensive counselling can follow. 

Treat immediately and correctly
When an HIV positive person falls victim to other infections, this contributes to the proliferation of the virus, and thus to further weakening of the immune system. Basically harmless diseases – e.g. shingles – can take a very severe course. Many diseases, e.g. diarrhea, must therefore be treated at an early stage. 

It is essential for a doctor to know whether his patient is HIV positive or not. Only then can he make a correct diagnosis and initiate correspondingly effective therapy. For example in the most frequent type of pneumonia encountered in HIV positive patients, Pneumocystis-Carinii-Pneumonia (PCP) completely different drugs have to be employed than in "normal" pneumonia. At the time when PCP was treated as normal pneumonia almost half of the patients died. But now, with early diagnosis and appropriate therapy, less than five per cent of these patients die. 

 In patients known to be HIV positive a virus disease of the eyes (CMV Retinitis), which frequently occurs in AIDS patients, can be diagnosed at an early stage and treated, preventing them from going blind. 


No time to lose
Anyone who keeps putting off the decision to submit him/herself to an HIV test, will, if infection is present, lose valuable treatment time. 

There are also other reasons why a test should be made: in the case of certain inoculations, e.g. before travelling overseas, the doctor has to adopt a different procedure in the presence of an HIV infection to ensure that the patient comes to no further harm. The same applies to major operations which, as everyone knows, represent an exceptional strain on the immune system. In the interest of the patient the nature of the operation must be considered very carefully. 

Medical advice
Only if HIV positive individuals know that they are infected can they take specific precautions to safeguard their health. How many people are aware that birds in the apartment can, with their excrement, cause dangerous fungal diseases in HIV infected persons, or that cat toilets and the soil in flower pots can hold similar risks? Alcohol, cigarettes and drugs are even more harmful for HIV positive persons, since they weaken the immune system additionally. Raw meat and other foodstuffs likely to be contaminated with salmonella should be strictly avoided, as should raw fish, oysters and other sea foods. Mayonnaise and sauce or gravy that have been left standing too long can also be dangerous. In contrast, healthy nutrition rich in calories and vitamins is to be recommended. Contacts with carriers of pathogens (germs) – whether childrens' diseases (e.g. chicken pox) or tuberculosis – can become dangerous. Travelling to countries with a low standard of hygiene – above all tropical countries – may involve above-average dangers of infection. The taking of medicines without first consulting the doctor should be avoided due to possible side effects or weakening of the immune system. And, what many people do not know, severe physical strain or stress, as well as sun-bathing in the open air or in the solarium, can also affect the immune system, and thus accelerate the outbreak of AIDS. 

 

 In the interests of all infected persons, all the points mentioned speak in favour of an HIV test. But there is also a further reason: for several years now the medical world has been in possession of virus-inhibiting medications.

 

When should a test be made?
  • In the event of a previous way of life involving risk (e.g. drug dependence or frequent change of partners)
  • Both partners at the beginning of a sexual relationship
  • Partners wanting a child
  • Women at the beginning of a pregnancy
  • Before inoculation with living vaccines
  • If blood transfusions were received before autumn 1985
  • Prior to major operations
The test should be taken at the earliest two to six weeks after a possible infection and, in the event of a negative result, repeated after three months. The test no longer makes sense for persons who already know that they are infected.

 

Therapy

Antiviral therapy
Currently, the drugs available to combat HIV infection are the reverse transcriptase inhibitors and the protease inhibitors. The reverse transcriptase inhibitors indirectly prevent the viral genome from becoming incorporated in the DNA of the human host cell, as these drugs block an important enzyme for DNA synthesis – reverse transcriptase. The protease inhibitors block protease, a central enzyme responsible for forming new viruses. Nowadays the two types of drug are used in combination. Both help to keep down the level of virus in the blood and lymph nodes and in this way they slow down the progress of the disease. Huge advances have been achieved in the treatment of HIV infection in the last few years. In the early nineties, antiviral therapy was used only in the advanced stages of HIV infection. Nowadays treatment is begun early in the hope: (1) of stopping further proliferation of the virus and destruction of the immune system, thus halting the progress of the disease; (2) of suppressing the formation of resistant HIV variants; (3) of reducing proneness to infection. Studies have shown that in HIV-positive pregnant women, the risk of transmitting the virus to the baby can be greatly reduced by use of antiviral therapy.Nowadays therapy is begun with two different reverse transcriptase inhibitors and one protease inhibitor. Reverse transcriptase inhibitors include AZT (Retrovir®), Lamivudin (3TC®), ddI (Videx®) or ddC (Hivid®). Protease inhibitors are Indinavir (Crixavan®) or Nelfinavir (Viracept®). 

Drugs for Prophylaxis in cases of AIDS
Prophylaxis is aimed at preventing or at least delaying onset of typical infections (opportunistic infections) in the AIDS stage. It only combats the symptoms and does not cure the HIV infection, nor is it a way of halting the destruction of the immune system. The precise procedure for prophylaxis against opportunistic infections depends on the stage of the disease. Various drugs are used: e.g. Baktrim® for prophylaxis against Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. 

Post-exposure prophylaxis (b)
For several years now, medical and nursing staff exposed to to the risk of HIV infection by an injury at work – from a used syringe, for example – have been treated for two to four weeks with one or more anti-HIV drugs. This has reduced the risk of transmission by 80%. Since 1997 this "treatment" has been available in Switzerland also to persons who may have become infected through unprotected sexual contact with an HIV positive partner. But little is known at present about the effectiveness of the "treatment", except that it should be started as soon as possible, ideally within a few hours, but not later than 72 hours after the infection risk situation, otherwise the HIV will already have spread in the body. These drugs must be taken for two to four weeks and have strong side-effects. The decision to carry out PEP needs careful consideration by a doctor in a central hospital, as nothing is yet known about long-term damage through antiretroviral therapy on healthy individuals. 

Your most important partner: the doctor
Have faith in your doctor. He is an expert and therefore the right partner for you. He will support you and can, where necessary, call upon well trained specialists. Naturally he is bound by the Hippocratic oath of secrecy.

 What you should know about the test

The test used to ascertain whether someone has become infected with the AIDS Virus, HIV, is called the HIV antibody test (e.g. the ELISA). What is looked for is not the virus itself, but the products of the human defence system (immune system) in the blood, i.e. the antibodies. 

The HIV test is one of the surest tests in medicine.
The time from the moment of infection until the appearance of antibodies in the blood (seroconversion time, diagnostic window) varies, and is dependent on various factors (route of transmission, number of virus particles transmitted, etc.). As far as we know today, antibodies appear at the earliest after two to six weeks and, in the majority of people within three months, and therefore testing is effective at the earliest two to six weeks after exposure to risk of infection. If the result is then negative, the test should be repeated 3 months later. 

There are various tests, and these complement each other. The ELISA is used as an HIV antibody detection test. Since other antibodies may also interact, "positive" results are always rechecked. For confirmation or correction the Western Blot Test is used. It is more time-consuming and expensive than the more sensitive ELISA. To exclude possible sample switches in the laboratory, in the event of a "positive" result a second blood sample is to be recommended. 

Antigen tests, which demonstrate viral components directly, are less sensitive than the HIV antibody test, and give no essential shortening of the diagnostic window. The antigen test is important in identifying those newly infected with HIV. The PCR test (gene probes, with which even traces of genetic material of the virus can be detected) is, because of its complexity, used only by specialists and when test results are unclear e.g. in early diagnosis in infants and uncertain cases of infection with HIV. The PCR Test is nowadays used to measure the effectiveness of therapy.

   

The test is in everyone's interest

Only people who are aware of their infection can behave responsibly towards themselves and others.
  • Infected persons should, in principle, inform all previous sexual partners about the existence of the infection, so that they can also have themselves tested at once and receive medical counselling. In this way can it be ensured that they profit at an early stage from the medications available today, and that they do not unwittingly transmit the infection further.

  • Infected persons must inform their present sexual partner about the infection. Safe protection means abstaining from sexual intercourse and the exchange of body fluids. Condoms reduce the risk of infection, but they do not exclude it completely. Someone who does not want to change his/her risky pattern of behaviour should always protect him/herself with condoms.

  • In sexual intercourse between infected persons it is worthwhile using condoms to reduce the risk of infection with other pathogenic organisms (syphilis, herpes, hepatitis etc.) or with a particularly "virulent" HIV strain.

  • Infected persons must inform doctors, dentists and nursing staff about the infection, so that the latter can act accordingly.

  • Blood, organ and sperm donations from infected persons are forbidden.
All the points set out here ought to be obvious as ground rules of caring and considerate behaviour.

 


Source: ©Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

 





This is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is different from most other viruses because it attacks the immune system. The immune system gives our bodies the ability to fight infections. HIV finds and destroys a type of white blood cell (T cells or CD4 cells) that the immune system must have to fight disease. 

For more information view CDC's questions and answers on   "HIV Science".


Virusl

Anatomy of the AIDS Virus



Aids

AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. 

AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. It can take years for a person infected with HIV, even without treatment, to reach this stage. Having AIDS means that the virus has weakened the immune system to the point at which the body has a difficult time fighting infections. When someone has one or more of these infections and a low number of T cells, he or she has AIDS. 

For more information view CDC's questions and answers on   "HIV Science".


Electron microscope image of HIV, seen as small spheres on the surface of white blood cells

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. 

This is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is different from most other viruses because it attacks the immune system. The immune system gives our bodies the ability to fight infections. HIV finds and destroys a type of white blood cell (T cells or CD4 cells) that the immune system must have to fight disease. 

For more information view CDC's questions and answers on   "HIV Science".


Virusl

Anatomy of the AIDS Virus



Aids

AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. 

AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. It can take years for a person infected with HIV, even without treatment, to reach this stage. Having AIDS means that the virus has weakened the immune system to the point at which the body has a difficult time fighting infections. When someone has one or more of these infections and a low number of T cells, he or she has AIDS. 

For more information view CDC's questions and answers on   "HIV Science".


Electron microscope image of HIV, seen as small spheres on the surface of white blood cells

 

 

The HIV-Test


 

 

 

Why it is better to have yourself tested

If someone has been at risk of contracting HIV, testing is the only way to find out whether or not they have become infected. The test should be combined with comprehensive counselling by a doctor. 

The HIV infection has, within the space of only a few years, developed into a pandemic (worldwide epidemic). Here too it is becoming more and more widespread, and no longer affects only the risk groups. It is, therefore, important for all persons to know whether they are infected or not, since in this way each one of us can contribute towards preventing the further spreading of this fatal disease. 

Deceptive calm
As a rule an infected person notices nothing (with the exception of an occasionally occurring influenza-like illness within the first weeks) of the HIV infection for several years – a deceptive calm. In this symptom-free period, which lasts on average ten to twelve years, the infected person is already a transmitter of the disease. Whether one has become infected or not can only be ascertained by making an HIV test. Those who have themselves tested are behaving responsibly both towards themselves and towards others. 

The test always makes sense Let us assume that the person in question is not infected at all, i.e. HIV negative. The negative test result indicates the absence of an infection with a high degree of certainty – provided that the recommended waiting period before the test has been observed (see below). Any uncertainty and any unnecessary fears can now be assuaged. In this situation, combined with competent counselling, a responsible pattern of behaviour (with avoidance of risk situations) can be developed for the future. 

Let us assume, on the other hand, that someone is infected, i.e. HIV positive. This person will, as a rule, do everything possible not to spread the disease further. No-one would like to infect his/her partner, the person he/she loves most, or cause the birth of an HIV positive child. On the other hand only those persons can profit from timely therapy (which can postpone the terminal stage AIDS), who know that they are HIV positive. In many of the complications accompanying AIDS, early recognition plays an important role. Such manifestations can be treated in time, and much suffering can be prevented. An HIV positive person who places him/herself under competent medical care, can live longer and better than someone who delays until the onset of AIDS. 

We recommend that you have the test performed by a doctor in whom you have confidence, so that comprehensive counselling can follow. 

Treat immediately and correctly
When an HIV positive person falls victim to other infections, this contributes to the proliferation of the virus, and thus to further weakening of the immune system. Basically harmless diseases – e.g. shingles – can take a very severe course. Many diseases, e.g. diarrhea, must therefore be treated at an early stage. 

It is essential for a doctor to know whether his patient is HIV positive or not. Only then can he make a correct diagnosis and initiate correspondingly effective therapy. For example in the most frequent type of pneumonia encountered in HIV positive patients, Pneumocystis-Carinii-Pneumonia (PCP) completely different drugs have to be employed than in "normal" pneumonia. At the time when PCP was treated as normal pneumonia almost half of the patients died. But now, with early diagnosis and appropriate therapy, less than five per cent of these patients die. 

In patients known to be HIV positive a virus disease of the eyes (CMV Retinitis), which frequently occurs in AIDS patients, can be diagnosed at an early stage and treated, preventing them from going blind. 

No time to lose
Anyone who keeps putting off the decision to submit him/herself to an HIV test, will, if infection is present, lose valuable treatment time. 

There are also other reasons why a test should be made: in the case of certain inoculations, e.g. before travelling overseas, the doctor has to adopt a different procedure in the presence of an HIV infection to ensure that the patient comes to no further harm. The same applies to major operations which, as everyone knows, represent an exceptional strain on the immune system. In the interest of the patient the nature of the operation must be considered very carefully. 

Medical advice
Only if HIV positive individuals know that they are infected can they take specific precautions to safeguard their health. How many people are aware that birds in the apartment can, with their excrement, cause dangerous fungal diseases in HIV infected persons, or that cat toilets and the soil in flower pots can hold similar risks? Alcohol, cigarettes and drugs are even more harmful for HIV positive persons, since they weaken the immune system additionally. Raw meat and other foodstuffs likely to be contaminated with salmonella should be strictly avoided, as should raw fish, oysters and other sea foods. Mayonnaise and sauce or gravy that have been left standing too long can also be dangerous. In contrast, healthy nutrition rich in calories and vitamins is to be recommended. Contacts with carriers of pathogens (germs) – whether childrens' diseases (e.g. chicken pox) or tuberculosis – can become dangerous. Travelling to countries with a low standard of hygiene – above all tropical countries – may involve above-average dangers of infection. The taking of medicines without first consulting the doctor should be avoided due to possible side effects or weakening of the immune system. And, what many people do not know, severe physical strain or stress, as well as sun-bathing in the open air or in the solarium, can also affect the immune system, and thus accelerate the outbreak of AIDS. 

In the interests of all infected persons, all the points mentioned speak in favour of an HIV test. But there is also a further reason: for several years now the medical world has been in possession of virus-inhibiting medications.

 

 

When should a test be made?

  • In the event of a previous way of life involving risk (e.g. drug dependence or frequent change of partners)
  • Both partners at the beginning of a sexual relationship
  • Partners wanting a child
  • Women at the beginning of a pregnancy
  • Before inoculation with living vaccines
  • If blood transfusions were received before autumn 1985
  • Prior to major operations
The test should be taken at the earliest two to six weeks after a possible infection and, in the event of a negative result, repeated after three months. The test no longer makes sense for persons who already know that they are infected.

 

 

Therapy

Antiviral therapy
Currently, the drugs available to combat HIV infection are the reverse transcriptase inhibitors and the protease inhibitors. The reverse transcriptase inhibitors indirectly prevent the viral genome from becoming incorporated in the DNA of the human host cell, as these drugs block an important enzyme for DNA synthesis – reverse transcriptase. The protease inhibitors block protease, a central enzyme responsible for forming new viruses. Nowadays the two types of drug are used in combination. Both help to keep down the level of virus in the blood and lymph nodes and in this way they slow down the progress of the disease. Huge advances have been achieved in the treatment of HIV infection in the last few years. In the early nineties, antiviral therapy was used only in the advanced stages of HIV infection. Nowadays treatment is begun early in the hope: (1) of stopping further proliferation of the virus and destruction of the immune system, thus halting the progress of the disease; (2) of suppressing the formation of resistant HIV variants; (3) of reducing proneness to infection. Studies have shown that in HIV-positive pregnant women, the risk of transmitting the virus to the baby can be greatly reduced by use of antiviral therapy.Nowadays therapy is begun with two different reverse transcriptase inhibitors and one protease inhibitor. Reverse transcriptase inhibitors include AZT (Retrovir®), Lamivudin (3TC®), ddI (Videx®) or ddC (Hivid®). Protease inhibitors are Indinavir (Crixavan®) or Nelfinavir (Viracept®). 

Drugs for Prophylaxis in cases of AIDS
Prophylaxis is aimed at preventing or at least delaying onset of typical infections (opportunistic infections) in the AIDS stage. It only combats the symptoms and does not cure the HIV infection, nor is it a way of halting the destruction of the immune system. The precise procedure for prophylaxis against opportunistic infections depends on the stage of the disease. Various drugs are used: e.g. Baktrim® for prophylaxis against Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. 

Post-exposure prophylaxis (b)
For several years now, medical and nursing staff exposed to to the risk of HIV infection by an injury at work – from a used syringe, for example – have been treated for two to four weeks with one or more anti-HIV drugs. This has reduced the risk of transmission by 80%. Since 1997 this "treatment" has been available in Switzerland also to persons who may have become infected through unprotected sexual contact with an HIV positive partner. But little is known at present about the effectiveness of the "treatment", except that it should be started as soon as possible, ideally within a few hours, but not later than 72 hours after the infection risk situation, otherwise the HIV will already have spread in the body. These drugs must be taken for two to four weeks and have strong side-effects. The decision to carry out PEP needs careful consideration by a doctor in a central hospital, as nothing is yet known about long-term damage through antiretroviral therapy on healthy individuals. 

Your most important partner: the doctor
Have faith in your doctor. He is an expert and therefore the right partner for you. He will support you and can, where necessary, call upon well trained specialists. Naturally he is bound by the Hippocratic oath of secrecy.

 

 

What you should know about the test

The test used to ascertain whether someone has become infected with the AIDS Virus, HIV, is called the HIV antibody test (e.g. the ELISA). What is looked for is not the virus itself, but the products of the human defence system (immune system) in the blood, i.e. the antibodies. 

The HIV test is one of the surest tests in medicine.
The time from the moment of infection until the appearance of antibodies in the blood (seroconversion time, diagnostic window) varies, and is dependent on various factors (route of transmission, number of virus particles transmitted, etc.). As far as we know today, antibodies appear at the earliest after two to six weeks and, in the majority of people within three months, and therefore testing is effective at the earliest two to six weeks after exposure to risk of infection. If the result is then negative, the test should be repeated 3 months later. 

There are various tests, and these complement each other. The ELISA is used as an HIV antibody detection test. Since other antibodies may also interact, "positive" results are always rechecked. For confirmation or correction the Western Blot Test is used. It is more time-consuming and expensive than the more sensitive ELISA. To exclude possible sample switches in the laboratory, in the event of a "positive" result a second blood sample is to be recommended. 

Antigen tests, which demonstrate viral components directly, are less sensitive than the HIV antibody test, and give no essential shortening of the diagnostic window. The antigen test is important in identifying those newly infected with HIV. The PCR test (gene probes, with which even traces of genetic material of the virus can be detected) is, because of its complexity, used only by specialists and when test results are unclear e.g. in early diagnosis in infants and uncertain cases of infection with HIV. The PCR Test is nowadays used to measure the effectiveness of therapy.

 

 

The test is in everyone's interest

Only people who are aware of their infection can behave responsibly towards themselves and others.
  • Infected persons should, in principle, inform all previous sexual partners about the existence of the infection, so that they can also have themselves tested at once and receive medical counselling. In this way can it be ensured that they profit at an early stage from the medications available today, and that they do not unwittingly transmit the infection further.

  • Infected persons must inform their present sexual partner about the infection. Safe protection means abstaining from sexual intercourse and the exchange of body fluids. Condoms reduce the risk of infection, but they do not exclude it completely. Someone who does not want to change his/her risky pattern of behaviour should always protect him/herself with condoms.

  • In sexual intercourse between infected persons it is worthwhile using condoms to reduce the risk of infection with other pathogenic organisms (syphilis, herpes, hepatitis etc.) or with a particularly "virulent" HIV strain.

  • Infected persons must inform doctors, dentists and nursing staff about the infection, so that the latter can act accordingly.

  • Blood, organ and sperm donations from infected persons are forbidden.
All the points set out here ought to be obvious as ground rules of caring and considerate behaviour.

 





Source: ©Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Last updated: 22/01/2007


The HIV-Test


 

 

 

Why it is better to have yourself tested

If someone has been at risk of contracting HIV, testing is the only way to find out whether or not they have become infected. The test should be combined with comprehensive counselling by a doctor. 

The HIV infection has, within the space of only a few years, developed into a pandemic (worldwide epidemic). Here too it is becoming more and more widespread, and no longer affects only the risk groups. It is, therefore, important for all persons to know whether they are infected or not, since in this way each one of us can contribute towards preventing the further spreading of this fatal disease. 

Deceptive calm
As a rule an infected person notices nothing (with the exception of an occasionally occurring influenza-like illness within the first weeks) of the HIV infection for several years – a deceptive calm. In this symptom-free period, which lasts on average ten to twelve years, the infected person is already a transmitter of the disease. Whether one has become infected or not can only be ascertained by making an HIV test. Those who have themselves tested are behaving responsibly both towards themselves and towards others. 

The test always makes sense Let us assume that the person in question is not infected at all, i.e. HIV negative. The negative test result indicates the absence of an infection with a high degree of certainty – provided that the recommended waiting period before the test has been observed (see below). Any uncertainty and any unnecessary fears can now be assuaged. In this situation, combined with competent counselling, a responsible pattern of behaviour (with avoidance of risk situations) can be developed for the future. 

Let us assume, on the other hand, that someone is infected, i.e. HIV positive. This person will, as a rule, do everything possible not to spread the disease further. No-one would like to infect his/her partner, the person he/she loves most, or cause the birth of an HIV positive child. On the other hand only those persons can profit from timely therapy (which can postpone the terminal stage AIDS), who know that they are HIV positive. In many of the complications accompanying AIDS, early recognition plays an important role. Such manifestations can be treated in time, and much suffering can be prevented. An HIV positive person who places him/herself under competent medical care, can live longer and better than someone who delays until the onset of AIDS. 

We recommend that you have the test performed by a doctor in whom you have confidence, so that comprehensive counselling can follow. 

Treat immediately and correctly
When an HIV positive person falls victim to other infections, this contributes to the proliferation of the virus, and thus to further weakening of the immune system. Basically harmless diseases – e.g. shingles – can take a very severe course. Many diseases, e.g. diarrhea, must therefore be treated at an early stage. 

It is essential for a doctor to know whether his patient is HIV positive or not. Only then can he make a correct diagnosis and initiate correspondingly effective therapy. For example in the most frequent type of pneumonia encountered in HIV positive patients, Pneumocystis-Carinii-Pneumonia (PCP) completely different drugs have to be employed than in "normal" pneumonia. At the time when PCP was treated as normal pneumonia almost half of the patients died. But now, with early diagnosis and appropriate therapy, less than five per cent of these patients die. 

In patients known to be HIV positive a virus disease of the eyes (CMV Retinitis), which frequently occurs in AIDS patients, can be diagnosed at an early stage and treated, preventing them from going blind. 

No time to lose
Anyone who keeps putting off the decision to submit him/herself to an HIV test, will, if infection is present, lose valuable treatment time. 

There are also other reasons why a test should be made: in the case of certain inoculations, e.g. before travelling overseas, the doctor has to adopt a different procedure in the presence of an HIV infection to ensure that the patient comes to no further harm. The same applies to major operations which, as everyone knows, represent an exceptional strain on the immune system. In the interest of the patient the nature of the operation must be considered very carefully. 

Medical advice
Only if HIV positive individuals know that they are infected can they take specific precautions to safeguard their health. How many people are aware that birds in the apartment can, with their excrement, cause dangerous fungal diseases in HIV infected persons, or that cat toilets and the soil in flower pots can hold similar risks? Alcohol, cigarettes and drugs are even more harmful for HIV positive persons, since they weaken the immune system additionally. Raw meat and other foodstuffs likely to be contaminated with salmonella should be strictly avoided, as should raw fish, oysters and other sea foods. Mayonnaise and sauce or gravy that have been left standing too long can also be dangerous. In contrast, healthy nutrition rich in calories and vitamins is to be recommended. Contacts with carriers of pathogens (germs) – whether childrens' diseases (e.g. chicken pox) or tuberculosis – can become dangerous. Travelling to countries with a low standard of hygiene – above all tropical countries – may involve above-average dangers of infection. The taking of medicines without first consulting the doctor should be avoided due to possible side effects or weakening of the immune system. And, what many people do not know, severe physical strain or stress, as well as sun-bathing in the open air or in the solarium, can also affect the immune system, and thus accelerate the outbreak of AIDS. 

In the interests of all infected persons, all the points mentioned speak in favour of an HIV test. But there is also a further reason: for several years now the medical world has been in possession of virus-inhibiting medications.

 

 

When should a test be made?

  • In the event of a previous way of life involving risk (e.g. drug dependence or frequent change of partners)
  • Both partners at the beginning of a sexual relationship
  • Partners wanting a child
  • Women at the beginning of a pregnancy
  • Before inoculation with living vaccines
  • If blood transfusions were received before autumn 1985
  • Prior to major operations
The test should be taken at the earliest two to six weeks after a possible infection and, in the event of a negative result, repeated after three months. The test no longer makes sense for persons who already know that they are infected.

 

 

Therapy

Antiviral therapy
Currently, the drugs available to combat HIV infection are the reverse transcriptase inhibitors and the protease inhibitors. The reverse transcriptase inhibitors indirectly prevent the viral genome from becoming incorporated in the DNA of the human host cell, as these drugs block an important enzyme for DNA synthesis – reverse transcriptase. The protease inhibitors block protease, a central enzyme responsible for forming new viruses. Nowadays the two types of drug are used in combination. Both help to keep down the level of virus in the blood and lymph nodes and in this way they slow down the progress of the disease. Huge advances have been achieved in the treatment of HIV infection in the last few years. In the early nineties, antiviral therapy was used only in the advanced stages of HIV infection. Nowadays treatment is begun early in the hope: (1) of stopping further proliferation of the virus and destruction of the immune system, thus halting the progress of the disease; (2) of suppressing the formation of resistant HIV variants; (3) of reducing proneness to infection. Studies have shown that in HIV-positive pregnant women, the risk of transmitting the virus to the baby can be greatly reduced by use of antiviral therapy.Nowadays therapy is begun with two different reverse transcriptase inhibitors and one protease inhibitor. Reverse transcriptase inhibitors include AZT (Retrovir®), Lamivudin (3TC®), ddI (Videx®) or ddC (Hivid®). Protease inhibitors are Indinavir (Crixavan®) or Nelfinavir (Viracept®). 

Drugs for Prophylaxis in cases of AIDS
Prophylaxis is aimed at preventing or at least delaying onset of typical infections (opportunistic infections) in the AIDS stage. It only combats the symptoms and does not cure the HIV infection, nor is it a way of halting the destruction of the immune system. The precise procedure for prophylaxis against opportunistic infections depends on the stage of the disease. Various drugs are used: e.g. Baktrim® for prophylaxis against Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. 

Post-exposure prophylaxis (b)
For several years now, medical and nursing staff exposed to to the risk of HIV infection by an injury at work – from a used syringe, for example – have been treated for two to four weeks with one or more anti-HIV drugs. This has reduced the risk of transmission by 80%. Since 1997 this "treatment" has been available in Switzerland also to persons who may have become infected through unprotected sexual contact with an HIV positive partner. But little is known at present about the effectiveness of the "treatment", except that it should be started as soon as possible, ideally within a few hours, but not later than 72 hours after the infection risk situation, otherwise the HIV will already have spread in the body. These drugs must be taken for two to four weeks and have strong side-effects. The decision to carry out PEP needs careful consideration by a doctor in a central hospital, as nothing is yet known about long-term damage through antiretroviral therapy on healthy individuals. 

Your most important partner: the doctor
Have faith in your doctor. He is an expert and therefore the right partner for you. He will support you and can, where necessary, call upon well trained specialists. Naturally he is bound by the Hippocratic oath of secrecy.

 

 

What you should know about the test

The test used to ascertain whether someone has become infected with the AIDS Virus, HIV, is called the HIV antibody test (e.g. the ELISA). What is looked for is not the virus itself, but the products of the human defence system (immune system) in the blood, i.e. the antibodies. 

The HIV test is one of the surest tests in medicine.
The time from the moment of infection until the appearance of antibodies in the blood (seroconversion time, diagnostic window) varies, and is dependent on various factors (route of transmission, number of virus particles transmitted, etc.). As far as we know today, antibodies appear at the earliest after two to six weeks and, in the majority of people within three months, and therefore testing is effective at the earliest two to six weeks after exposure to risk of infection. If the result is then negative, the test should be repeated 3 months later. 

There are various tests, and these complement each other. The ELISA is used as an HIV antibody detection test. Since other antibodies may also interact, "positive" results are always rechecked. For confirmation or correction the Western Blot Test is used. It is more time-consuming and expensive than the more sensitive ELISA. To exclude possible sample switches in the laboratory, in the event of a "positive" result a second blood sample is to be recommended. 

Antigen tests, which demonstrate viral components directly, are less sensitive than the HIV antibody test, and give no essential shortening of the diagnostic window. The antigen test is important in identifying those newly infected with HIV. The PCR test (gene probes, with which even traces of genetic material of the virus can be detected) is, because of its complexity, used only by specialists and when test results are unclear e.g. in early diagnosis in infants and uncertain cases of infection with HIV. The PCR Test is nowadays used to measure the effectiveness of therapy.

 

 

The test is in everyone's interest

Only people who are aware of their infection can behave responsibly towards themselves and others.
  • Infected persons should, in principle, inform all previous sexual partners about the existence of the infection, so that they can also have themselves tested at once and receive medical counselling. In this way can it be ensured that they profit at an early stage from the medications available today, and that they do not unwittingly transmit the infection further.

  • Infected persons must inform their present sexual partner about the infection. Safe protection means abstaining from sexual intercourse and the exchange of body fluids. Condoms reduce the risk of infection, but they do not exclude it completely. Someone who does not want to change his/her risky pattern of behaviour should always protect him/herself with condoms.

  • In sexual intercourse between infected persons it is worthwhile using condoms to reduce the risk of infection with other pathogenic organisms (syphilis, herpes, hepatitis etc.) or with a particularly "virulent" HIV strain.

  • Infected persons must inform doctors, dentists and nursing staff about the infection, so that the latter can act accordingly.

  • Blood, organ and sperm donations from infected persons are forbidden.
All the points set out here ought to be obvious as ground rules of caring and considerate behaviour.

 





Source: ©Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Last updated: 22/01/2007


The HIV-Test


 

 

 

Why it is better to have yourself tested

If someone has been at risk of contracting HIV, testing is the only way to find out whether or not they have become infected. The test should be combined with comprehensive counselling by a doctor. 

The HIV infection has, within the space of only a few years, developed into a pandemic (worldwide epidemic). Here too it is becoming more and more widespread, and no longer affects only the risk groups. It is, therefore, important for all persons to know whether they are infected or not, since in this way each one of us can contribute towards preventing the further spreading of this fatal disease. 

Deceptive calm
As a rule an infected person notices nothing (with the exception of an occasionally occurring influenza-like illness within the first weeks) of the HIV infection for several years – a deceptive calm. In this symptom-free period, which lasts on average ten to twelve years, the infected person is already a transmitter of the disease. Whether one has become infected or not can only be ascertained by making an HIV test. Those who have themselves tested are behaving responsibly both towards themselves and towards others. 

The test always makes sense Let us assume that the person in question is not infected at all, i.e. HIV negative. The negative test result indicates the absence of an infection with a high degree of certainty – provided that the recommended waiting period before the test has been observed (see below). Any uncertainty and any unnecessary fears can now be assuaged. In this situation, combined with competent counselling, a responsible pattern of behaviour (with avoidance of risk situations) can be developed for the future. 

Let us assume, on the other hand, that someone is infected, i.e. HIV positive. This person will, as a rule, do everything possible not to spread the disease further. No-one would like to infect his/her partner, the person he/she loves most, or cause the birth of an HIV positive child. On the other hand only those persons can profit from timely therapy (which can postpone the terminal stage AIDS), who know that they are HIV positive. In many of the complications accompanying AIDS, early recognition plays an important role. Such manifestations can be treated in time, and much suffering can be prevented. An HIV positive person who places him/herself under competent medical care, can live longer and better than someone who delays until the onset of AIDS. 

We recommend that you have the test performed by a doctor in whom you have confidence, so that comprehensive counselling can follow. 

Treat immediately and correctly
When an HIV positive person falls victim to other infections, this contributes to the proliferation of the virus, and thus to further weakening of the immune system. Basically harmless diseases – e.g. shingles – can take a very severe course. Many diseases, e.g. diarrhea, must therefore be treated at an early stage. 

It is essential for a doctor to know whether his patient is HIV positive or not. Only then can he make a correct diagnosis and initiate correspondingly effective therapy. For example in the most frequent type of pneumonia encountered in HIV positive patients, Pneumocystis-Carinii-Pneumonia (PCP) completely different drugs have to be employed than in "normal" pneumonia. At the time when PCP was treated as normal pneumonia almost half of the patients died. But now, with early diagnosis and appropriate therapy, less than five per cent of these patients die. 

In patients known to be HIV positive a virus disease of the eyes (CMV Retinitis), which frequently occurs in AIDS patients, can be diagnosed at an early stage and treated, preventing them from going blind. 

No time to lose
Anyone who keeps putting off the decision to submit him/herself to an HIV test, will, if infection is present, lose valuable treatment time. 

There are also other reasons why a test should be made: in the case of certain inoculations, e.g. before travelling overseas, the doctor has to adopt a different procedure in the presence of an HIV infection to ensure that the patient comes to no further harm. The same applies to major operations which, as everyone knows, represent an exceptional strain on the immune system. In the interest of the patient the nature of the operation must be considered very carefully. 

Medical advice
Only if HIV positive individuals know that they are infected can they take specific precautions to safeguard their health. How many people are aware that birds in the apartment can, with their excrement, cause dangerous fungal diseases in HIV infected persons, or that cat toilets and the soil in flower pots can hold similar risks? Alcohol, cigarettes and drugs are even more harmful for HIV positive persons, since they weaken the immune system additionally. Raw meat and other foodstuffs likely to be contaminated with salmonella should be strictly avoided, as should raw fish, oysters and other sea foods. Mayonnaise and sauce or gravy that have been left standing too long can also be dangerous. In contrast, healthy nutrition rich in calories and vitamins is to be recommended. Contacts with carriers of pathogens (germs) – whether childrens' diseases (e.g. chicken pox) or tuberculosis – can become dangerous. Travelling to countries with a low standard of hygiene – above all tropical countries – may involve above-average dangers of infection. The taking of medicines without first consulting the doctor should be avoided due to possible side effects or weakening of the immune system. And, what many people do not know, severe physical strain or stress, as well as sun-bathing in the open air or in the solarium, can also affect the immune system, and thus accelerate the outbreak of AIDS. 

In the interests of all infected persons, all the points mentioned speak in favour of an HIV test. But there is also a further reason: for several years now the medical world has been in possession of virus-inhibiting medications.

 

 

When should a test be made?

  • In the event of a previous way of life involving risk (e.g. drug dependence or frequent change of partners)
  • Both partners at the beginning of a sexual relationship
  • Partners wanting a child
  • Women at the beginning of a pregnancy
  • Before inoculation with living vaccines
  • If blood transfusions were received before autumn 1985
  • Prior to major operations
The test should be taken at the earliest two to six weeks after a possible infection and, in the event of a negative result, repeated after three months. The test no longer makes sense for persons who already know that they are infected.

 

 

Therapy

Antiviral therapy
Currently, the drugs available to combat HIV infection are the reverse transcriptase inhibitors and the protease inhibitors. The reverse transcriptase inhibitors indirectly prevent the viral genome from becoming incorporated in the DNA of the human host cell, as these drugs block an important enzyme for DNA synthesis – reverse transcriptase. The protease inhibitors block protease, a central enzyme responsible for forming new viruses. Nowadays the two types of drug are used in combination. Both help to keep down the level of virus in the blood and lymph nodes and in this way they slow down the progress of the disease. Huge advances have been achieved in the treatment of HIV infection in the last few years. In the early nineties, antiviral therapy was used only in the advanced stages of HIV infection. Nowadays treatment is begun early in the hope: (1) of stopping further proliferation of the virus and destruction of the immune system, thus halting the progress of the disease; (2) of suppressing the formation of resistant HIV variants; (3) of reducing proneness to infection. Studies have shown that in HIV-positive pregnant women, the risk of transmitting the virus to the baby can be greatly reduced by use of antiviral therapy.Nowadays therapy is begun with two different reverse transcriptase inhibitors and one protease inhibitor. Reverse transcriptase inhibitors include AZT (Retrovir®), Lamivudin (3TC®), ddI (Videx®) or ddC (Hivid®). Protease inhibitors are Indinavir (Crixavan®) or Nelfinavir (Viracept®). 

Drugs for Prophylaxis in cases of AIDS
Prophylaxis is aimed at preventing or at least delaying onset of typical infections (opportunistic infections) in the AIDS stage. It only combats the symptoms and does not cure the HIV infection, nor is it a way of halting the destruction of the immune system. The precise procedure for prophylaxis against opportunistic infections depends on the stage of the disease. Various drugs are used: e.g. Baktrim® for prophylaxis against Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. 

Post-exposure prophylaxis (b)
For several years now, medical and nursing staff exposed to to the risk of HIV infection by an injury at work – from a used syringe, for example – have been treated for two to four weeks with one or more anti-HIV drugs. This has reduced the risk of transmission by 80%. Since 1997 this "treatment" has been available in Switzerland also to persons who may have become infected through unprotected sexual contact with an HIV positive partner. But little is known at present about the effectiveness of the "treatment", except that it should be started as soon as possible, ideally within a few hours, but not later than 72 hours after the infection risk situation, otherwise the HIV will already have spread in the body. These drugs must be taken for two to four weeks and have strong side-effects. The decision to carry out PEP needs careful consideration by a doctor in a central hospital, as nothing is yet known about long-term damage through antiretroviral therapy on healthy individuals. 

Your most important partner: the doctor
Have faith in your doctor. He is an expert and therefore the right partner for you. He will support you and can, where necessary, call upon well trained specialists. Naturally he is bound by the Hippocratic oath of secrecy.

 

 

What you should know about the test

The test used to ascertain whether someone has become infected with the AIDS Virus, HIV, is called the HIV antibody test (e.g. the ELISA). What is looked for is not the virus itself, but the products of the human defence system (immune system) in the blood, i.e. the antibodies. 

The HIV test is one of the surest tests in medicine.
The time from the moment of infection until the appearance of antibodies in the blood (seroconversion time, diagnostic window) varies, and is dependent on various factors (route of transmission, number of virus particles transmitted, etc.). As far as we know today, antibodies appear at the earliest after two to six weeks and, in the majority of people within three months, and therefore testing is effective at the earliest two to six weeks after exposure to risk of infection. If the result is then negative, the test should be repeated 3 months later. 

There are various tests, and these complement each other. The ELISA is used as an HIV antibody detection test. Since other antibodies may also interact, "positive" results are always rechecked. For confirmation or correction the Western Blot Test is used. It is more time-consuming and expensive than the more sensitive ELISA. To exclude possible sample switches in the laboratory, in the event of a "positive" result a second blood sample is to be recommended. 

Antigen tests, which demonstrate viral components directly, are less sensitive than the HIV antibody test, and give no essential shortening of the diagnostic window. The antigen test is important in identifying those newly infected with HIV. The PCR test (gene probes, with which even traces of genetic material of the virus can be detected) is, because of its complexity, used only by specialists and when test results are unclear e.g. in early diagnosis in infants and uncertain cases of infection with HIV. The PCR Test is nowadays used to measure the effectiveness of therapy.

 

 

The test is in everyone's interest

Only people who are aware of their infection can behave responsibly towards themselves and others.
  • Infected persons should, in principle, inform all previous sexual partners about the existence of the infection, so that they can also have themselves tested at once and receive medical counselling. In this way can it be ensured that they profit at an early stage from the medications available today, and that they do not unwittingly transmit the infection further.

  • Infected persons must inform their present sexual partner about the infection. Safe protection means abstaining from sexual intercourse and the exchange of body fluids. Condoms reduce the risk of infection, but they do not exclude it completely. Someone who does not want to change his/her risky pattern of behaviour should always protect him/herself with condoms.

  • In sexual intercourse between infected persons it is worthwhile using condoms to reduce the risk of infection with other pathogenic organisms (syphilis, herpes, hepatitis etc.) or with a particularly "virulent" HIV strain.

  • Infected persons must inform doctors, dentists and nursing staff about the infection, so that the latter can act accordingly.

  • Blood, organ and sperm donations from infected persons are forbidden.
All the points set out here ought to be obvious as ground rules of caring and considerate behaviour.

 





Source: ©Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Last updated: 22/01/2007


 

 

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