Zee Media Bureau
Living with (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) HIV can be traumatic. Along with your physical illness, you need to deal with your mental health conditions that may come up on being diagnosed with the disease. Looking after a person with HIV/AIDS isn't easy, the carer needs support as well.
It might be extremely tough initially for the person to deal with both physical and emotional conditions, but thanks to better treatments today, people with HIV are now living longer and with a better quality of life than ever before.
Meanwhile, The Indian government on Wednesday approved amendments to the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014, which was drafted to safeguard the rights of people living with and affected by HIV.
The bill makes antiretroviral treatment a legal right of HIV/AIDS patients in India. It also seeks to prohibit discrimination in jobs and education and improve healthcare access and privacy statutes for HIV-positive patients.
According to official data, there are approximately 21 lakh persons estimated to be living with HIV in India.
If you're suffering from HIV, there are many things you can do to keep yourself healthy and reduce the risk of transmission to others.
HIV can be transmitted from an infected person to another through certain body fluids – blood, semen and pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, breastmilk.
HIV is spread mainly by:
- Having anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to treat it.
- Sharing needles, syringes or other equipment used to prepare and inject drugs with someone who has HIV.
HIV can also be spread from mother to child via her blood during pregnancy and birth, and through her breast milk when breastfeeding or by pre-chewing her baby's food.
In rare cases, HIV can be transmitted by:
- Receiving blood transfusions, blood products, or organ/tissue transplants that are contaminated with HIV.
- Eating food that has been pre-chewed by an HIV-infected person – this can occur when infected blood from a caregiver’s mouth mixes with food while chewing.
- Being bitten by a person with HIV.
Besides taking HIV medicines daily, you can reduce your risk of passing HIV to your partner by keeping in mind the following guidelines such as - using condoms correctly every time you have sex with him/her, not sharing needles or other drug injection equipment with others, getting your partner tested and treated for other STDs, etc.