Publish by: Inanna Women Empowerment Foundation (IWEF)

PROTECTING HOUSEHOLD FROM HIV/AIDS AND ITS CONSEQUENCES…From the Inanna Mothers Handbook on “Protecting Household from HIV/Aids and Its Consequences”.

HIV/AIDS is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus. Is one of the deadliest pandemic diseases enveloping the world; Extreme care is taken to prevent the contraction of HIV as cure is not exactly possible. To a large extent, prevention revolves round sexual responsibility and how we handle our sexual behaviors. Although stringent measures has been taken to prevent its spread and curtail its negative effect on man and the economy at large, the awareness program has been the major help line in managing the epidemic.
On its own, HIV, which infects a vital immune system cell called the CD4 cell (CD4 cells are a type of white blood cell that fights infection. Another name for them is T-helper cells), doesn’t produce many life-threatening symptoms. What makes it so dangerous; however is that the virus ultimately destroys CD4 cells, weakening the immune system and making the body vulnerable to deadly opportunistic infections and diseases; a sign that AIDS has taken hold.


Likely HIV/AIDS infections:

People living with HIV/AIDS are at a high risk of becoming infected by a wide range of different viruses and microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and parasites. The most common opportunistic infections that people with HIV/AIDS experience include:
1. Candidiasis: an infection by yeast in the genus Candida, which in serious cases can affect the esophagus, trachea, bronchi, and the deeper lung tissues.
2. Herpes simplex: This can cause bronchitis, pneumonia and esophagitis.
3. Histoplasmosis: a lung infection by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum that causes a flu- and pneumonia-like symptoms as well as progressive disseminated Histoplasmosis, a disease that can affect other organs.
4. Isosporiasis: a chronic intestinal infection by the parasite Isosporabelli.
5. Tuberculosis: This is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
6. Pneumonia: caused by Streptococcus pneumonia.
7. Septicemia: (blood infection) by the bacteria Salmonella.
8. Toxoplasmosis: a brain infection by the parasite Toxoplasma Gondi.
9. Cryptococcosis: an infection by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, which first affects the lungs (causing pneumonia) and the brain (causing swelling), before spreading to the skin, bones, and urinary tract.
10. Cryptosporidiosis: an infection and diarrheal disease caused by the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium.

Abstinence and Preventions tips
Today, more tool than ever are available to prevent HIV.
A. Limit your number of sexual partners,
B. Never share needles,
C. Use condoms correctly and consistently, you may be able to take advantage of newer biomedical options such as pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis.
D. Abstain from oral sex
E. Treat open or healing wounds, or skin infections.
F. Don’t allow untested blood transfusion
G. Avoid blood or body fluids, secretions, excretions or non-intact skin with infected patient.
H. Talk to your doctor about getting HIV medicine if you’re at substantial risk for HIV. Take to your doctor right away if you have a possible exposure to HIV. Get tested and treated for other STDs and encourage your partner to get and stay on treatment. If you are sexually active, get tested at least once a year. Avoid having your partner ejaculate in your mouth, and use barriers such as condoms, natural rubber latex sheets, dental dams, or cut-open non-lubricated condoms, between your mouth and your partner’s genitals.
If you are living with HIV, use ART. ART reduces the amount of virus (viral load) in your blood and body. Use condoms steadily and avoid risky sexual behaviors. If you are pregnant with a child, you can lower your risk of transmitting HIV to your child by taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) during pregnancy, labor and delivery, having a C-section; and avoiding breastfeeding.

Household precaution tips when managing HIV/AIDS
It is incredibly rare for HIV to be transmitted in a household setting. In a very few cases, HIV has been transmitted when there was unprotected contact between infected blood and broken skin or mucous membranes. To prevent even such rare occurrences, you should take the following precautions when caring for someone living with HIV:
A. Wear gloves if you are going to have contact with blood or other body fluids that could possibly contain visible blood, such as urine, feces, or vomit.
B. Cover cuts, sores, or breaks in the skin with bandages. This applies to both you and the person living with HIV/AIDS.
C. Wash your hands and other parts of your body immediately after contact with blood or other body fluids. Disinfect surfaces soiled with blood.
D. Avoid practices that increase the likelihood of blood contact, such as sharing of razors and toothbrushes.
E. Use needles and other sharp instruments only when medically necessary and handle them according to recommendations for healthcare settings. (Do not put caps back on needles by hand or remove needles from syringes. Dispose of needles in puncture-proof containers out of the reach of children and visitors.)