A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE ARE IGNORANT ABOUT HIV AND AIDS. EVEN MEMBERS OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSIONS DO NOT ALWAYS KNOW AS MUCH ABOUT IT AS MIGHT IMAGINE
The two are NOT the same.
HIV is a virus, not an illness.
AIDS is the illness that results from the HIV virus taking over the body, destroying a person’s immune system and cells and untreated leading to death.
People with HIV and on successful treatment can live normal live normal lives and now live so long they die of the “normal” illnesses like cancer strokes or heart attacks.
The oldest HIV patient I know is 87 has had totally controlled HIV for over 30 years and is fit enough to cycle his bike everyday.
In the old days before the modern drugs were invested people went very quickly from HIV to AIDS and died very quickly.
In the early 1980s I ministered to several men dying of AIDS. They became like skeletons, had lesions all over their bodies and often died of pneumonia.
In those days you had to wear the equivalent of a space suit to visit them.
The HIV virus survives by entering our human cells and turning the cell into a HIV cell.
The wonderful drugs called antiretrovirals stop the HIV virus entering and damaging the human cell and therefore the HIV virus is locked out of the human cell and it cannot replicate and survive.
That means that HIV never becomes AIDS and people never become ill from it.
That in effect means that antiretrovirals are a “functional cure” – not a conventional cure but a cure for all intents and purposes as long as you take your meds.
In the early days people had to take 30 or 40 tablets a day. Nowadays many people with HIV are on one tiny tablet a day.
And of course the medics and scientists are working on a total cure using stem cell therapy or genetic engineering.
This cure will be found but the technology still has a long way to go.
25% OF IRISH PEOPLE WITH HIV DO NOT KNOW THEY HAVE IT!
Anyone who is sexually active with more than one person who they know to be absolutely HIV negative should get tested regularly – every 6 months.
When someone has HIV the secret to their continued good health is to have an undetectable viral load – a load so small it cannot be detected in the tests.
When you are UNDETECTABLE you cannot pass on HIV. In other words people can not get HIV from you if they are declared UNDETECTABLE.