What you need to know about HIV AIDS

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WHAT IS HIV/AIDS?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency virus, which is the virus that causes HIV infection. The abbreviation “HIV” can refer to the virus or to HIV infection.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.
HIV attacks and destroys the infection-fighting CD4 Cells of the immune system. The loss of CD4 cells makes it difficult for the body to fight infections and certain cancers. Without treatment, HIV can gradually destroy the immune system and advance to AIDS.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HIV/AIDS.
Swollen lymph nodes.
Fever.
Diarrhoea.
Headache.
Muscle aches.
Nausea and vomiting.
Rash on the abdomen, arms, legs and face.
Sore throat.
Oral thrush (a fungal infection found in the mouth).

CARE FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS.
Spend time with the person living with HIV/AIDS. Get to know what kind of foods they like and do not like. Involve them in planning their meals.
Check the medicines they are taking. Read the instructions to find out when they need to be taken, what foods to be avoided and any side-effects.
Keep an eye on their weight.
Be encouraging and loving. There is always changing taste on food prepared is a result of illness, this may be difficult for person care of the infected person. Therefore, it needs a lot of love despite this difficulty.
Be firm about the importance of eating and encourage them to eat frequently, but do not force them to eat.
If the sick person lives alone, invite them to join your family for a meal. Encourage others in the community to visit them and invite them out. This will help reduce stigma.
If they are too sick to leave their beds, make sure that they have something to drink.

TREATMENT
Emergency HIV pills, or post-exposure prophylaxis. If an individual believes they have been exposed to the virus within the last 3 days, anti-HIV medications, called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), may be able to stop infection. Take PEP as soon as possible after potential contact with the virus. PEP is a treatment lasting a total of 28 days, and physicians will continue to monitor for HIV after the completion of the treatment.
ARVs Drugs. Medications that fight the HIV infection and slows down the spread of the virus in the body.
Protease inhibitors. Protease is an enzyme that HIV needs to replicate. These medications bind to the enzyme and inhibit its action, preventing HIV from making copies of itself.
Integrase inhibitors. HIV needs integrase, another enzyme that faciltates multiapplication. This drug blocks integrase.

PREVENTION
Sex using a condom or Prep. Use of condoms and Prep is an effective and proactive form of HIV prevention, in which people who are HIV negative and have active and substantial risk factors for HIV infection take antiretroviral medication to prevent infection.
Drug injection and needle sharing. Sharing needles and other drug equipment can expose users to HIV.
Body fluid exposure. A person can limit their potential exposure to HIV by taking precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to contaminated blood.
Pregnancy. An effective, well-managed treatment plan can prevent mother-to-foetus HIV transmission. Delivery through caesarean section may be necessary. Women who are pregnant but have HIV might also pass on the virus through their breast milk. However, regularly taking the correct regimen of medications greatly reduces the risk of transmitting the virus.
Education. Teaching people about known risk factors is vital to equip them with the tools to avoid exposure to HIV.

DISPOSAL OF CONDOMS
Most importantly fact is, never flush a condom down the toilet. There are several reasons for this. Once latex is in water, it is no longer biodegradable. Flushed condoms can clog your plumbing this can be expensive to fix. The best way is to wrap a used condom in toilet paper, a tissue, or even a paper bag, and put it in the garbage. This is the most environmentally-friendly way to throw away a condom.

Common steps to dispose a condom:
•Remove the condom correctly.
•Tie the condom off.
•Wrap it up.
•Put it in the garbage.
•Take out the trash.

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The Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (BRANDKE) is a new State Corporation established under the State Corporations Act Cap 446 through Legal Notice No.110 of August 9th, 2019
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