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Dr Kay D Mahomed
MBChB (Natal), DCH, DA, DIP HIV (SA)
HIV = ARV

We live in a world where HIV is prominent. Thankfully, it is easier now than ever to know your HIV status, and to live a long, healthy life regardless of your status. In fact, the life expectancy of an HIV positive person can be the exact same as a person who is HIV negative.

Here are a few important details that every South African citizen should consider:

Test! If you do not test, you will not know your HIV status

  • We are in the “test and treat” era
  • You can have a quick finger prick test (you will know immediately) or a lab blood test (you will know the next day)
  • We always confirm with two tests

Start treatment while you are still well so that you do not get ill

  • You can access treatment within a day or two of testing positive
  • Treatment should suit your lifestyle
  • Treatment should preferably be taken once a day
  • Treatment should have no side effects
  • Treatment should have no toxic effects
  • Within four months of being on treatment, your viral load should be undetectable

One’s viral load must be undetectable

  • This is the most important tool we use for monitoring HIV
  • The viral load tells:
    • If taking your treatment
    • If you are taking your treatment properly
    • If the drugs work for you

Do not wait to get ill before you start treatment

  • Do not get TB and then start treatment
  • Do not get diarrhoea and then start treatment
  • Do not get a chest infection and then start treatment
  • Do not lose weight and then start treatment
  • Do not get skin infections and then start treatment

Fertility shouldn’t be a problem, as long as you are virally undetectable

  • Whether one partner is positive or both are positive
  • One can have as many babies as one likes
  • No baby should be born HIV positive

You can live as long as you like

  • Treatment is for life
  • Treatment means ARVs, a healthy diet, a good lifestyle
  • Life expectancy can be exactly the same as that of HIV negative people

HIV = Human Immunodeficiency Virus

ARV = Antiretroviral

* The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for seeking any form of professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it as a result of something you have read on this Website. Legal and Tax Services, their employees, agents and representatives, are hereby indemnified from any damages or consequential loss suffered for any reason whatsoever that may arise out of or in connection with any article published or made in good faith.

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