Living SMART with HIV

Living SMART with HIV

Stay Healthy

It’s very important for you to take your HIV medicines exactly as directed. Not taking medications correctly may lower the level of immune system defenders called CD4 cells and cause the level of virus in your blood (viral load) to go up. The medicines then become less effective when taken. Some people report not feeling well as a reason for stopping their medication or not taking it as prescribed. Tell your doctor if your medicines are making you sick. He or she may be able to help you deal with side effects so you can feel better. Don’t just stop taking your medicines, because your health depends on it.

Do Tell

Be sure that your partner or partners know that you have HIV. Then they will know it’s important to use condoms for all sexual activity and to be tested often for HIV. Health departments offer Partner Services to help you tell your partners about their exposure.

Don’t Take Risks

HIV is spread through body fluids such as blood, semen (cum), vaginal and anal fluids, and breast milk. In the United States, HIV is most commonly passed from one person to another through unprotected anal or vaginal sex and through sharing needles or other drug equipment. In addition, a mother can pass HIV to her baby during pregnancy, during labor, through breastfeeding, or if by pre-chewing her baby’s food.

Viral load can range from undetectable levels of 40 to 75 copies per milliliter of blood to millions of copies. The higher your viral load, the greater the risk of spreading HIV to others. Protect your partners by keeping yourself healthy. Take all of your medicines and get tested and treated for other STDs.

If you have HIV plus another STD or hepatitis, you are 3 to 5 times more likely to spread HIV than if you only have HIV. Your viral load goes up and your CD4 count goes down when you have an STD.

Recently Diagnosed with HIV?

If you have been newly infected with HIV, please go to this resource for great information to assist you. CLICK HERE

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