Five Things You Should Know About HIV

Today, Dec. 1, is World AIDS Day. I wonder, how much do you think about HIV/AIDS?  If you live in America, I’m guessing not much.  Powerful medications have changed the face of HIV; it is no longer a death sentence.  People with HIV are living long, healthy lives – they’re growing up, going to college, getting married, having children, having grandchildren.

If you live in the developing world, you may think about HIV often, and in parts of the world, you will likely have been personally affected by the virus in some way.

Here are five things you should know about HIV today.

1. Do you know how HIV is transmitted – and how it’s not?

HIV is not spread through kissing, sharing cups, sneezing, holding hands, swimming, sharing a home, or being in the same classroom.

HIV can only be transmitted through sexual contact, blood-to-blood contact (sharing needles), and from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or through breastfeeding.

Don’t take my word for it, take a look at the Center for Disease Control HIV resources.

2.  HIV is a chronic disease, not a death sentence.

Medications for HIV are getting better and better.  The goal is to have an “undetectable viral load.”  That means the medications are working so well, that the amount of virus in a person’s blood cannot be detected by very sophisticated lab equipment.

I personally know many people (especially children) living with HIV, and the vast majority of them have an undetectable viral load.  Quarterly visits to the doctor and adherence to medications are essential.

3.  People with HIV are living long, healthy lives, including getting married and having children.

I recently read this great article written by a woman living with HIV and how she navigated dating, and eventually marriage.  It’s a great, quick read.

Navigating Romance with HIV

The good news is that an HIV+ woman who has good medical care and an undetectable viral load, has a less than 1% risk of transmitting the virus to her baby.

Baby Talk

Suzan writes a great blog about living with HIV as a wife and mom.

Red Ribbon Diaries

4. Children with HIV can be adopted.  

With good education, this “special need” becomes very manageable.  I can attest to this myself and I also have many friends who have adopted HIV+ children.

This great website has lots of good information and family stories.  Take a look.

Positively Adopted

Here is another one.

Project Hopeful

5.  Untreated HIV can lead to AIDS.  

As wonderful as this progress is, let’s not forget the many people in the world who still do not have access to good medical care.  Without ARV medications, HIV can develop into AIDS. AIDS is still killing men, women, and children all over the world.

You can provide help for a child living with HIV through the Lola Children’s Fund.  I personally know the man in Ethiopia who founded Lola and I know the US people who are helping him support it. They are good folks who love kids and are personally touched by HIV.

If you would like to learn more, check out these books.

[This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

Do me a favor and please share this post – on your blogs, on Facebook, twitter, or email it to your mom. Let’s take a moment to spread some education about HIV.

Lisa

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

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