HIV and AIDS are related, but different. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). People that have been exposed to HIV are likely to develop AIDS regardless of medical intervention, though medication will slow the onset of “full-blown AIDS” and likely mitigate the symptoms.
If you have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, it is likely that you are regularly consulting with a physician. If not, you can find a physician with expertise in the field by asking at the Sukhi Lalli Pharmaceutical Care Clinic (which also has a HIV/AIDS satellite pharmacy to meet your needs), AIDS Vancouver Island, or by calling the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) clinic at 1947 Cook St. The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS also provides both advice to individuals and physician referrals.
If you believe that you have been exposed to the HIV virus consult with a physician immediately.
Unprotected sex and the sharing of needles for drug consumption, tattooing and body piercing are the most common means of contracting HIV. Always use a condom when engaging in sexual activity and if using intravenous drugs, never share needles or any other paraphernalia that comes into contact with blood or other bodily fluids.
If you have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, in the Province of British Columbia and Canada as a whole, you are obligated to inform anyone whom you may expose to HIV, be it through sex, intravenous drug use or any other fashion. Failing to do so may constitute a criminal offence.
Living With HIV/AIDS
The above notwithstanding, it is not only possible but common for people with HIV/AIDS to live normal family lives, though regular medication and monitoring of your health are necessary. It is possible for women to have children and breastfeed without transmitting the virus though it requires antiretroviral drugs, thus requiring a planned pregnancy and consultation with your family doctor.
HIV/AIDS is a very fragile virus and is very difficult to transmit. Once the virus has contacted with air, it dies very quickly. However, the bodily fluids needed to transmit the virus are present during sex and intravenous drug use and unlikely, in both cases, to be exposed to air. Therefore, protected sex (only with condoms) and not sharing needles for IV drug use are essential practices for people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. It is not possible to transmit HIV/AIDS to yours or anyone else's partner or children through normal breathing, food preparation or the sharing of food and liquid though normal hygiene protocols should be observed.
HIV/AIDS and Complimentary Care
There is a great deal of scientific evidence supporting the necessity of proper nutrition in treating and containing HIV/AIDS. While there is a great deal of information on the Internet about nutrition and HIV/AIDS, much of it is scholarly in nature and not easily accessible to everyone, so remember, Nutrition Counseling for individuals who are HIV/AIDS positive is available at the Sukhi Lalli Pharmaceutical Care Clinic or from your doctor.
Being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS is not the death sentence that many people assume. With current medication and nutrition regimens, most people who are HIV/AIDS positive are living healthy, normal lives. The diagnosis itself can be the most difficult part to come to terms with. If you have been diagnosed as HIV positive or have AIDS, it is quite possible that you have encountered social and family difficulties and prejudices, generally a byproduct of ignorance. If this has become an issue in your life, the Sukhi Lalli Pharmaceutical Care Clinic offers both counseling services and a satellite HIV/AIDS pharmacy.
Scam Artists and Miracle Cures
Over the years, many claims have been made both about the origins of the HIV/ AIDS epidemic and possible cures outside of mainstream medicine. The only treatment you should avail yourself of is that provided by a medical doctor and licensed pharmacy. There are no miracle cures to HIV/AIDS though the antiretroviral “cocktail” currently being prescribed to people with HIV/AIDS has minimal negative impact on day-to-day living and in most cases, greatly improves overall health. Any treatment that you engage in for HIV/AIDS – or any other health matter – should come from a licensed practitioner such as a doctor or nutrition counselor.