Have more questions about HIV?

Is there a cure for HIV?

No, but doctors have created powerful medicines that can save your life if you are HIV-positive called antiretrovirals (ARVs) or antiretroviral therapy (ART). They do not kill the virus but stop the HIV from making more and more HIV in your body.

How do ARVs work?

Every time you take your ARVs, you top up the amount of ARV there is in your blood. When you keep your ARV level in your blood high, this pushes the HIV in your body down and stops HIV from attacking and killing your CD4 (soldier) cells. Your CD4 cells need to be able to fight other illnesses and infections so you stay healthy. The ARVs make your CD4 cells stronger, so it's important to take your ARVs every day. Every time you miss or forget to take your ARVs, the HIV level in your body increases.

What are CD4s?

CD4s are soldier cells that protect your body from infections. Doctors and nurses will count how many CD4 cells you have to see how strong your body is to fight the HIV.

Can still I pass HIV to someone if I am taking ARVs?

Yes you can. If you take your ARVs everyday there will be less HIV in your body, but it is still there.

Can still I have children one day?

Yes you can if you are healthy enough and take your ARVs every day. But when you decide to have children, it is important to talk to a doctor or nurse about this first. They will tell you how to do it safely.

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Anonymous 22 April 2017 10:28

Ungaphila ithuba elinganani uleHIV

B-Wise Expert Expert 23 April 2017 09:18

Hi, a person with HIV can live as long as a person without HIV. As long as they take ARVs, regularly visit their clinic for check-ups and live a healthy lifestyle.

Anonymous 21 April 2017 19:31

What do i have to do help me ,i want 2 find acceptence abt my status ,what should i do?

B-Wise Expert Expert 25 April 2017 09:12

Hi, Thank you for sending this question to B-Wise. There are different kinds of acceptance. There’s self-acceptance, which means you accept your own HIV status. This can take a short time or a long time, depending on the person. Sometimes it’s very difficult to accept your own status and it can make you feel sad, scared, confused or angry. That’s OK – it’s part of the journey. Finding acceptance means working through all those feelings, and accepting that HIV will always be a part of your life, but that you can still have a long and healthy life. There is also acceptance from other people – and this is sometimes hard because you can’t control how other people feel. But you can tell people you trust about your status, those who will accept you for who you are. These people are more likely to accept your status too.  

BWise Moderators 25 October 2016 09:23

Mampe asked on Facebook:Hi BWise Team I would like to know what should be done to solve my Male friends problem who's HIV+ on ARV's who for the past year is having a problem of discharge(boladu) & rotten private part while he was still attending Local Clinic that later referred him to Baragwanath Hospital but his situation is getting worse even after they inserted a draining pipe?Pls help i'm worried

B-Wise Expert Expert 26 October 2016 12:00

Hi Mamphe, we are sorry to hear about your friend. The right treatment for him depends on what is causing the discharge and sores. It could be an infection or cancer. Since your friend is getting treatment at the hospital, this means the cause for the infection can be found and he can be given the correct treatment. The pipe they have inserted into the penis is to help him to pass urine easily without causing him pain. It will be removed when he gets better.

BWise Moderators 19 October 2016 08:20

Mampe asked on Facebook:Hi BeWise Team i've started my ARV's treatment 2yrs ago taking 1 pill every night at the same time after an hour eating as i was taught to but lately i'm experiencing stomach cramps at night as i'm suffering insomnia too' what could be a problem because i'm drinking enough water & i make sure i eat healthy enough.

B-Wise Expert Expert 26 October 2016 12:00

Hi Mampe, Sorry to hear you or your listener is having trouble with sleeping and getting stomach cramps. Antiretrovirals (ARVs) have different side effects. depending on which kind you are taking. For example, the medicine called, Efavirenz, can cause insomnia, while medicines like AZT and Aluvia can cause stomach cramps. Sometimes not eating before you take your medicine or taking another medicine with your ARVs can give you stomach cramps. It is a good idea to talk to your nurse or doctor and let them know you are having problems. They may be able to give you a different medication or change your dosage. Just remember to keep taking your ARVs no matter what and only make the changes your doctor or nurse recommends.

BWise Moderators 17 October 2016 09:53

Mampe asked on Facebook:Hi Guys is Mampe Likhoeli frm Sharpeville I would like to know dangers of sniffing snuff while a person is infected (with HIV) & is on ARV's?

B-Wise Expert Expert 24 October 2016 12:00

Hi, Mampe. Thank you for another interesting question. Snuff is made of tobacco and has nicotine. This makes it unsafe and very addictive. It can cause illnesses, such as swelling of the sinuses, runny or blocked nose, cancer, stroke and heart attack. The effects are even worse if you are HIV positive and on ARV treatment. It is better to avoid using snuff.

BWise Moderators 30 August 2016 09:19

Mampe asked on Facebook:Hi BWise Team can U help me answer 1of my Listeners as i do HIV/AIDS features on different Community Radio's Stations around Vaal' She's on ARV'S for 3yrs now but complains about swollen feet & has no high blood pressure nor heart problem,She says sometimes it get worse that She can't walk...WHAT MUST BE DONE because Sisters says She will be fine?

B-Wise Expert Expert 31 August 2016 09:00

Hi Mampe, thanks for using B-wise as your reference on your radio show. Swollen feet can be caused by different things - many of these are not related to HIV or HIV medicines. They can range from heart problems (as you have said) to problems with the kidneys, liver or even veins in the legs. Your listener should return to the clinic and explain exactly what happens to her legs, when it happens and for how long this has been occurring. If the Sister is unsure, she will refer her to a doctor or hospital for further tests.

BWise Moderators 17 August 2016 09:07

Mampe asked on Facebook:Evening Guys is Mampe Likhoeli frm Sharpeville in the Vaal again' i'm worried because since i was diagnosed 1999 but started taking treatment in 2014 with a CD4 count of 349 now i'm non-detactable but it feels like my stomach needs servicing though i drink enough water & eating healthy WHAT MUST I DO?

B-Wise Expert Expert 22 August 2016 09:00

Hi, Mampe. Thanks again for another interesting question. It is not a good idea to use anything that causes diarrhoea, as the body does not need to be cleaned by vomiting or diarrhoea. Doing this can be dangerous. It causes a water imbalance and imbalance of other important things in your body called electrolytes. This can also be dangerous if you are taking ARVs, because it can make your viral load high and CD4 count low. This which leads to a low immune system, which can make you sick. If you are feeling that you don't have enough energy, try taking a multivitamin or vitamin B. It is also a good idea to visit your clinic or doctor for a check-up.

Anonymous 11 August 2016 12:23

5 ways which HIV can be contracted

B-Wise Expert Expert 12 August 2016 11:00

Hi Anonymous. Thank you for that interesting questions. Here are 5 ways HIV can be contracted: 1. Sexual intercourse without a condom with a person who is HIV positive. 2. Using injections (needles) or blades that were used by a HIV positive person. 3. Contact with body fluids of a HIV positive person. For example from blood or semen. This includes oral sex or touching someone's blood while you have cuts or sores. 4. A person can be born with it if their mother is HIV positive and not on treatment. 5. From a mother who is HIV positive and is breast-feeding their child.

Anonymous 10 August 2016 11:57

Is it normal wen u re taking your ARVs and you became fat i mean I'm getting big ,i was 55kg before now I'm 98kg,and am having 11months on my medication now

B-Wise Expert Expert 12 August 2016 11:30

Hi Anonymous. Thank you very much for your question. Yes, ARVs can cause you to gain weight. The best thing you can do is to start exercising and eating healthy foods (like fruits and vegetables) instead of junk food (like takeaways and sweets) in order to lose weight in a healthy way.

Anonymous 2 August 2016 22:25

Lawa amanje ama arvs ayawushitsha yini mzimba womuntu ube enye indlela engasafana nalena obuyiyona,akwakhe isifumbu nezihluzu

B-Wise Expert Expert 4 August 2016 12:39

Hi Anonymous. Thanks for the interesting question. Newer ARVs don't have the same side effects as the older drugs. The side affects you mentioned were common with the older drugs, but don't usually happen with the current ARVs.

BWise Moderators 2 August 2016 11:50

Mampe asked on Facebook: Is it possible for HIV+ Patient to be off His/Her treatment because of taking another treatment like Kidney failer & liver problem but after treatment of those 2 problems not continue with Her/His ARV'S treatment? if so what must be done because the Clinic refuses to put Her/Him back to ARV'S.

B-Wise Expert Expert 24 April 2017 19:14

Once you are diagnosed with HIV it is important to start your ARVs and not stop taking them. If you have very bad side effects from the ARVS, then a healthcare worker can stop you for a while or change your ARV treatment. If severe side effects occur as a result of ART use, very occasionally a health care worker may suspend ART use temporarily or may change the type of ART drugs used. Some ARVs can cause kidney and liver problems. If this happens then it is important that the ARVs are changed to ones that don’t affect the kidneys or liver or take a smaller dose. If the clinic does not want to put you back on ARVs then ask them to refer you to a bigger HIV clinic for further management.

Anonymous 26 July 2016 14:54

Uma si posetive sobabili nomuntu wami and asisebenzisi condom kungaba igciwane liyabhebhetheka olthoug siwudla kahle umshanguzo

B-Wise Expert Expert 2 August 2016 10:00

Hi Anonymous, thanks for this great question. Yes, it is possible to be re-infected with HIV if you have sex without a condom. The HIV virus changes very quickly in the body. The virus in your body and the one in your partner's body is not the same. This is why "re-infection" can happen: you can get a new kind of HIV from your partner, and sometimes one person has a type of HIV that doesn't respond to medicine (ARVs). Condoms can help stop you and your partner from re-infecting each other. Condoms are also important for making sure you don't get other sexually transmitted infections (STI's) and for preventing pregnancy. To keep you and your partner safe, make sure you always use condoms.