Oh No I have AIDS
When there is no cure, you treat to relieve suffering and to preserve human dignity. You have been told your HIV
test is positive. You have the human immunodeficiency virus coursing through your veins. You are told there i
s no cure. You are also told that there is hope. There are new treatments for AIDS that have
been shown to improve your expected quality of life. You are told that you must make adjustments in your life as
part of your AIDS management. You must tell your family, friends and those you have had close contact with that you
are HIV positive. You need to find out about the disease that now invades your body. You need to learn how to
monitor your immune system's response to this viral attack. You need to decide what to do about your disease and
how to go about controlling what it is doing to your body; instead of letting it control you.
Your first step to managing your disease is to learn as much as you can about it. Your doctor or health care
provider can answer some of your questions and give you information during your office visit. Your doctor can also
direct you to other resources: Websites, organizations, books, groups, and your local health department. Be sure
that if you look around on your own for information that you check to see where the information is coming from;
what source was used to gather the information - is it accurate? Let the medical team treating you know what you
are reading or viewing and they can validate if the information is reliable. You do not want to waste your time on
Did You Know?
Since 1981 when the HIV and Aids was first recognized as something new in the
medical world, researchers and scientists have been working to learn as much about the new disease
So far they have determined the virus is spread by contact with another
contaminated person’s body fluids. This could be through contact with blood, semen, and vaginal
fluids. Once the body has the HIV virus it begins to produce more HIV particles and these begin
attacking the T-cells.
The T-cells or CD4 cells burst and that allows the virus to enter the bloodstream
and invade other cells. You should already know the difference between HIV and AIDS.
HIV is a subgroup of retroviruses that cause AIDS. The virus kills cells in the
body’s immune system and progressively destroys the body’s ability to fight infections. This
inability to fight off infections also affects some cancers too.
HIV gradually gets worse until the body is no longer able to fight off the
infections and other bacteria that would normally not make people sick. These opportunistic
infections will attack the body and could be potentially life threatening.
AIDS is the acronym for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. It was first recognized
in New York City in 1981. The virus was isolated and identified in 1983, but it wasn’t until 1985
that a diagnostic test was developed to test for the disease.
You will be seeing your doctor or health care provider (depending on your medical coverage) on a regular basis.
You will need to have regular blood tests drawn that will monitor the progress of your disease. These tests are
called: the viral load test and the CD4 cell (used to be called t4). The viral load test tells your medical team
the amount of HIV in your blood. The lower the levels in your bloodstream the better. The medical professionals
will use this data to determine when it is the right time to start you on antiretroviral medications (ARVs). Blood
tests also tell them when the medications they are giving you are working and when to change medications.
The CD4 cell test is used to find out how strong your immune system is and how many white blood cells you have. The
white blood cells are the fighting armies of your blood steam that fights off invading infections. You may hear
different names for this particular kind of white blood cells (T-4, T-cell or T-helper cells). When your test
reveals that your CD4 count is low than that means that your body is ripe for the development of what is called a
Making sure your immune system is in top shape is the best way to prolong life with
HIV and Aids.
Your doctor will use this test to decide when to start using ARVs or other medications that will
help prevent opportunistic infections. You and your doctor will decide based on the test results how often to
repeat these tests and when to start medications. If the CD4 cell count is high and stays that way and your viral
load test stays low then treatment may be delayed. Blood tests will continue approximately every 3 to 6 months and
your levels monitored closely.