HIV in Women

Women Living With HIV

Women with HIV should not be afraid of their condition. The best years of their lives are still ahead of them and they have better chances of living longer now with the advances in medicine. Read on to learn more.

One of the most dreaded medical problems the world is facing today is HIV. But the truth is, it’s not really as bad as it seems. There are so many treatment options available that would help any HIV patient live a longer, fuller life. There are thousands of women with HIV that are still alive and well, decades after finding out they have been infected.

HIV support for women

What to Do After Finding Out?

Being diagnosed with HIV is understandably a terrible experience to have and you are likely going to go through every kind of emotion possible from anger to desperation, and hopelessness to shame. These reactions are perfectly normal. Most people who have been told they have HIV feel the same way.

So What Happens Now?

There are some very important things you need to understand:

  • First, being infected with HIV doesn’t mean you will die in a matter of months or a couple of years. Most women (and men) living with HIV continue to live long and healthy lives as long as they are given proper treatment.
  • Testing positive for HIV doesn’t automatically mean you will get AIDS. Again, this is where treatment matters.
  • You can still have intimate relationships. You can still embrace, kiss and even have sex with the person you love. You can even have kids. But to be able to do these things, you need to have complete supervision of a qualified doctor. You also need treatment.
  • You don’t have to quit your job. Even women with aids are protected by laws against discrimination and unfair treatment at their place of work, although for some people, the condition has given them a better perception about life that they quit doing the things they hate to do, if these don’t give them any sort of fulfilment, and move on to do the things they love. In a sense, HIV can be an eye opener.

Should You Tell Anyone?

First of all, you are not obligated to tell anybody about your condition. You don’t have to tell any of your friends, your employer, the people you work with, or even your loved ones if you’re not comfortable with the idea. At least, not right away.  Only do so when you are fully comfortable confiding with people you trust.

What HIV Treatments are Available?

Since there is no known cure for HIV at this time, all that can be done is to monitor your immune system and the activity of the virus in your body. You have to prevent HIV-triggered opportunistic infections by treating symptoms as they appear.

You will only feel the effects of HIV when your immune system goes down and you get an infection. So, the main objective of monitoring your immune system is to determine when it needs help. You will be required to undergo two sets of blood tests, the Viral Load and CD4 Count, every three months so that your doctor can prescribe the proper preventive medicines to protect you from possible infections.

Aside from these two tests, it is also advisable to have a Pap smear every six months.

Where Can I Get More Information About HIV?

To get information concerning HIV, it is important that you have a trusted doctor whom you can confide with. HIV is not as bad as it sounds and the reality and medical facts about it are very reassuring.  As you open up and discuss all your questions with your doctor, you will feel better about your condition. With the right medical health providers giving you the treatment, assurance and support you need, you will have some peace of mind.

For any information about your rights and obligations, relationships and emotional issues, you can check out an organization called SHE which stands for Strong, HIV Empowered Women. It’s an HIV support group for women that have a lot of information to share about your rights as an HIV patient, the latest developments on HIV treatment and care as well as some tips from women who also have HIV.

The bottom line is this, if you have HIV, don’t think of it as a life sentence. Thousands of women like yourself are enjoying their lives just like normal people. As long as you get treated and you follow the advice of your health care provider, there’s no reason why you cannot have a normal life. In a way, women with HIV feel it has given them a different perspective, because it has become an eye opener for them. Now they get to appreciate life even more and live each day in the best way possible.