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Akwa Ibom State Agency for the Control of AIDS
    Akwa Ibom State Agency for the Control of AIDS    
 
 
   

FAQs

 

WHAT IS HIV?
HIV means Human Immuno-deficiency Virus. It is a disease causing microorganism (germ) in the group of viruses. HIV is strictly a virus that causes disease in human. When HIV penetrates the body it attaches itself to the cells (the CD4 + T cells) which make up the immune system of the body. HIV causes these cells to make many copies (replicate) of HIV and then die releasing them to infect other cells. This process continues until the immune system is gradually destroyed. In response to HIV infection the body produces specific antibodies against HIV.

WHAT IS AIDS?
AIDS means Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is a condition caused by HIV when it has gradually destroyed and weakened the immune system so much that the body can no longer fight off disease. The infected person becomes ill. These diseases may come one after the other or several may come at the same time. This progression of HIV to AIDS can take many years depending on the health status of the person and especially if the person practices positive living and/or use anti-retroviral drugs. The many diseases following HIV infection are called opportunistic infections or diseases.

WHERE CAN HIV BE FOUND IN THE BODY?
A Substantial number of HIV is found in the following Body fluids:
  1. Blood
  2. Semen
  3. Vaginal Fluid
  4. Breast Milk

HOW IS HIV TRANSMITTED?

  1. Unprotected sexual intercourse with infected person
  2. Transfusing blood that contains HIV
  3. Sharing syringes or other skin perching instruments such as needles, razor blades etc with an infected person.
  4. Sharing barbing clippers, manicure and pedicure kits with infected persons
  5. From an infected mother to the baby during pregnancy, delivery and through breastfeeding (Mother-to-Child Transmission).
HIV IS NOT CONTACTED BY:
  1. Sharing eating utensils or toilet seats
  2. Eating together with infected person
  3. Sharing clothes with infected person
  4. Hand shake with infected person
  5. Touching person living with the virus
  6. Embracing infected persons
  7. Mosquito bites
  8. Witches and Wizards

NOTE THAT:
HIV/AIDS is not a “man” or “woman” disease. Anybody can acquire the infection when he/she engages in actions which allow the virus to enter his or her body.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF AIDS
THE COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS ARE:
  1. Persistent Fever
  2. Persistent Cough
  3. Prolonged diarrhoea
  4. White coating on the tongue
  5. Enlargement of glands in the neck, groins or armpits
  6. Skin rashes
  7. Marked Weight loss
  8. Weakness
  9. Body pains
  10. Sore throat etc

N/B
The signs and symptoms mentioned above are not peculiar to AIDS. There are other disease conditions that may present similar symptoms. You need a blood test to confirm or rule out HIV

CAN MOSQUITOES TRANSMIT HIV?
Based on scientific investigations, it has been proved that mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects are not capable of transmitting HIV.

Since HIV is found in body fluids, can it be transmitted during kissing, through saliva?
It is true that HIV is found in body fluids but the quantity found in the saliva is so little that is unlikely it could be transmitted through it.

But the presence of sores in the mouth can increase the chances of HIV transmission.

CAN WITCHES CAUSE ONE TO CONTRACT HIV?
  1. The safest way is to abstain from sex if you are not married.
  2. If you are married and uninfected remain faithful to your partner.
  3. But if one or both of you are infected use condom correctly and consistently to reduce the risk of re-infection.
  4. Ensure that blood transfused is properly screened and is free of HIV.
  5. Avoid sharing any skin piercing instruments.
  6. Avoid using unsterilized instruments.
  7. Pregnant women should register early for ante-natal and follow medical advice.

WHO IS AT RISK & HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE HIV OR NOT?
As far as HIV is concerned everybody is at risk. The only sure way to know you HIV status is by going for a test. The test will indicate the presence or absence of HIV antibodies in the blood. A person must be counseled before the test is conducted. There are counseling and testing centers all over the State. Go to the one nearest to you. A person is positive only when the test shows the presence of HIV antibodies in the system and positive test results require counseling to enable the person live positively with his or her sero status.

WHAT IS THE WINDOW PERIOD?
This is the period between when a person is infected with HIV and when antibodies can be detected in the body. At this stage of infection the infected person has the virus in the body but the system may not have produced enough antibodies   that could be detected by the test. Although there are no antibodies the person can transmit the virus to another person through one of the routes mentioned earlier. A test during the window period does not give the true status of the person. It is therefore advisable that the person repeats the test three to six months later.

WHAT WILL I DO IF I HAVE AIDS?
AIDS is a progressive disease condition due to HIV infection. When the diagnosis of AIDS has been confirmed by a health worker, and there are signs and symptoms, you need to be in constant contact with your health provider. Remember to keep all appointments, practice positive living and join a support group for additional care and support.

IS THERE ANY CURE FOR HIV/AIDS?
At the moment, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. But different drugs (Anti-Retroactive Therapy -ART) have been produced over the years that are capable of mitigating the situation either by slowing down the activities of the virus or controlling opportunistic infections to slow down the progression of the infection to AIDS. Click here for the ART Centers
Since there is no cure, our emphasis has been on taking preventive measures to protect ourselves and others.

WHERE CAN I BE D TESTED?
You could visit any Public health institution nearest to for free HIV counseling and testing services. Click here for the HCT Centers

WHERE CAN I RECEIVE HELP?
Please feel free to visit or contact:
Akwa Ibom State Agency for the Control of  AIDS (AKSACA), Governor’s Office, Plot 7, F- Line, Ewet Housing Estate Uyo.

AT AKSACA YOU WOULD HAVE INFORMATION ON:

  • The nearest test centre to you
  • NGOs and the Support Groups work in your neighborhood
  • How to get the type of support you need (whether resource materials, financial support, moral support, skill acquisition, etc)
IF SOMEONE IS INFECTED, WHAT NEXT?
A person infected with HIV needs a lot of information, discipline, care and support. The infected person should:
  • Eat enough nutritious food
  • Maintain good hygiene
  • Take enough rest daily
  • Avoid unnecessary anxiety
  • Treat all infections properly
  • Avoid further exposure to infections
  • Avoid alcohol, hard drugs, tobacco and other harmful substances
  • Develop interest in HIV/AIDS issues and development
  • Get involved in the campaign against the spread of HIV
  • Get involved in the care and support of People Living with HIV/AIDS
  • Get himself/herself linked up with other persons living with the infection
  • Develop very positive outlook in life
  • Take all medical advice without failure.

WHAT IS POSITIVE LIVING?
Positive living implies an attitude aimed at maintaining optimum health by engaging in practices which promote good health and avoiding practices which affect one’s health adversely. In respect to HIV/AIDS, it includes good nutrition, good hygiene, adherence to treatment requirement, faith, hope, positive attitude to life and prompt reporting of adverse feelings, avoiding self-stigmatization, fear and anxiety.

 
   

     
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