HIV and AIDS
How Do I Know If the HIV Treatments Are Working?
Your doctor can monitor how well your HIV treatment is working by measuring the amount of HIV in your blood (also called the viral load.) The goal of treatment is to get the viral load undetectable on labs tests; ideally less than 20 copies. This does not mean the virus is gone or cured, it means the medication is working and must be continued.
How Can I Keep From Getting HIV?
The best way to protect yourself from HIV is to avoid activities that put you at risk. There's no way to tell by looking at someone if he or she has HIV. Always protect yourself.
- Use latex condoms (rubbers) whenever you have any type of sex (vaginal, anal, or oral).
- Don't use condoms made from animal products.
- Use water-based lubricants. Oil-based lubricants can weaken condoms.
- Never share needles to take drugs.
- Avoid getting drunk or high. People who are drunk or high may be less likely to protect themselves.
How Can I Prevent HIV From Progressing to AIDS?
You can help prolong your life by taking good care of yourself and developing a good relationship with an experienced doctor specializing in HIV and AIDS. Also, be consistent about taking your HIV medications as prescribed and getting regular lab work to catch any problems early.
What Is the Outlook for Someone With HIV or AIDS?
It depends on if that person is on treatment and how the virus responds to early treatment. When treatment fails to decrease the replication of the virus, the effects can become life threatening, and the infection can progress to AIDS.
Even with treatment, some people seem to naturally experience a more rapid course towards AIDS. However, the majority of HIV patients who receive appropriate treatment do well and live healthy lives for years.
For more information contact the CDC National AIDS Hotline: 1 (800) CDC-INFO (232-4636)