Unfortunately, there are still many myths about HIV that could leave you feeling overwhelmed and concerned. So, let's take a moment to look at some of the false or misleading information and replace it with the facts you need to know to feel prepared to manage your HIV.
We have defined some key terms that might be helpful to know as you are starting and sticking with treatment.
While HIV used to be considered a death sentence, today's treatments make it possible for people living with HIV to live longer and healthier lives. And it's never too late to start treatment. But it's important to stick to treatment and take good care of yourself.
HIV and AIDS are not the same thing. HIV is a virus that weakens the immune system. It can cause inflammation and damage inside the body, making it harder for your immune system to fight off other diseases. If left untreated, HIV can eventually lead to AIDS, also known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Living with HIV does not mean it has to progress to AIDS. Sticking to treatment can help you live a longer and healthier life.
Real person living with HIV.
ADRENA: I understand that, you know, you would be afraid of side effects. I was, too.
I just, I didn’t know.
If you have any questions, concerns, talk to your doctor.
Educate yourself about the medication. And then maybe you’ll feel better about it.
You take care of yourself, your body will take care of you. That’s just how I feel about it.
Because you have a longer ... a longer life to live.
Sometimes the best way to educate yourself and others is by having a conversation with a healthcare provider. The right healthcare provider will always have your best interest in mind.
Adrena | I was concerned, too
HIV can happen to anyone regardless of assigned sex at birth, gender identity, or sexual orientation. And HIV doesn't have to change who you are.
HIV cannot be transmitted through touch, tears, sweat, or air. You can get it from blood, semen, rectal fluid, vaginal fluid, or breast milk. And research shows that while taking treatment as prescribed and getting to and staying undetectable is one way to prevent transmitting HIV through sex, there are other prevention methods available. Undetectable means that there is so little virus in the blood that a lab test can't measure it. Talk to a healthcare provider about other prevention methods that might be right for you.
In the beginning of the HIV epidemic, there were no effective medicines for HIV, and the idea of living a long life with HIV was a distant dream. Today, HIV treatment can help people living with HIV live longer, healthier lives by reducing their viral loads. Have a conversation with your healthcare provider about which HIV treatment may work best for you.