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Top 10 Ten Things Everyone Should Know About HIV

Essential Information that Will Help You Gain Control of Your Life

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Updated July 08, 2007

Gaining and understanding HIV information is the most important way to stay healthy. HIV is a complex and very confusing disease. Myths and misconceptions make it difficult for those living with HIV. There is so much HIV information and AIDS information on the Internet it's hard to decide which is accurate. About.com can help. Learn a bit about HIV with these ten things that everyone should know about HIV and AIDS.

1. Tell Me About HIV Medicines

The advent of HIV medicines has changed the way we treat and people live with HIV. BUt they are complex, expensive and often hard to take. But don't let rumor and myth turn you off to medications. Learn all you can about medications before starting.

2. I'm Positive...Can I Still Plan A Family?

Years ago, if a woman was infected with HIV, it meant that she lost all hope of having children. The fear of transmitting her HIV to her unborn baby was too high of a risk for most women. But now HIV medications and the acceptance by physicians to the idea of HIV positive women getting pregnant has given women new hope in fulfilling their dream of becoming pregnant and having children.

3. I'm Already Positive...Do I Need To Use Condoms?

The question is a common one heard in HIV practices and prevention clinics across the country. "My partner and I are both HIV positive. Do we still need to use condoms?" Simply put, the answer is a resounding YES!

4. How Can I Protect Myself And Others

The key to prevention is education. And the first thing we teach is to use condoms with each and every sexual contact; oral, vaginal or anal. Latex condoms are our best weapon in the fight against new HIV infections. Use them every time.

5. How Bad Is The HIV Epidemic?

Twenty years after the HIV epidemic began, new infections continue. People are living longer but some populations are seeing an alarming increase in new cases. And the problem in sub-Sahara Africa is at a critical level. Here are some statistics that puts HIV and AIDS in perspective.

6. How Do I Choose The Right Doctor?

Choosing the right doctor can be very difficult. Because HIV is a rapidly changing and very complex discipline, make sure the doctor you choose cares for many HIV positive patients on a regular basis. You have to feel comfortable with your doctor and in his or her abilities. make a list of questions, traits you are looking for in a doctor, and concerns and start looking.

7. How To Tell Someone You Have HIV

It could be the hardest thing you would ever have to do; telling a loved one, family member, or partner you have HIV. But there is a way to do so that will limit the stress, shock, grief and pain for you and the person you are telling.

8. Know Your HIV Status.

Simply put, everyine should know their HIV status, both for their healthy and safety and that of their partner. But how do you know if you are at risk for HIV?

9. The HIV/AIDS Glossary of Terms

Do you have a term or terms that you just don't understand. Here is an easy to use but very informative glossary of HIV and AIDS related terms. Definitions are up to date with links to additional information.

10. HIV 101...The Basics

Let's start with the basics. HIV is the virus that damages the body's ability to fight off infection. As the body's defenses weaken, a person becomes more at risk for other infections. HIV is transmitted from person to person by sexual contact, sharing needles when using drugs, during pregnancy, or by breastfeeding. While there is no cure people do live a long healthy life with HIV.

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