Agony Aunt: HIV

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Dear Auntie
I’m an HIV positive lady and I would like to know if I’m at a larger risk of contaminating food and waterborne diseases.
Thank you for your question and taking the step to be tested. Positive prevention is one thing that you need to uphold and that includes preventing yourself from getting unnecessary infections. Since HIV lowers your immunity, you are better off preventing yourself from exposure to food and waterborne diseases because these may be difficult to treat when you get them.
Maybe I can not explain to you all about these diseases in this column but health workers can do that. Once you feel there is some information you need to know about HIV please feel free to visit your doctor or your health centre. This support service is necessary and always available to all of us.

Dear Auntie
My partner and I are both HIV positive. Is there any need for us to use condoms since we are both infected?
I applaud both of you for getting tested as this enables you to access HIV services. It is necessary for you to use condoms in order for both of you to avoid re-infection and getting a different strain of the HIV virus from each other. It is better for one to keep their own strain which your body learns to manage. Now that both of you know your status, you can get counselling from the nearest health centre where you can also get condoms free of charge. The health workers can also train you on how to use both the female and male condoms. This also should be done free of charge. I am not sure whether you are married or not but you would benefit more from your relationship if you settle down together as there is commitment to each other.

Dear Auntie
I heard about HIV rapid tests, what are they? What benefits do I derive from HIV rapid tests?
These are different tests that are used for testing for HIV. The benefit is that you get yor result in about 15 to 20 minutes. What would take your time at the testing site is the time spent on counselling before you get tested.

Dear Auntie
Can I get HIV from seeing dentists since they use sharp instruments which are also used on other people? I ask this because there were reports which claimed that HIV is contracted through dental surgeries.
In Zimbabwe all practitioners, including dentists, have been educated on the need to prevent the spread of HIV through their instruments hence the need for them to sterilise instruments after use on one individual before use on the next individual. I would also encourage you to discuss your concerns with your dentist before you get treatment so that you can be assured that you are prevented from getting infection.

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