Living with HIV/AIDS


5.1 What do I need to do at home?
5.2 Can I have sex?
5.3 Pregnancy and children
5.4 What happens if I inject drugs?
5.5 Can I travel overseas?

"My husband and I are both HIV - positive. He found out first and then I had the test. We were both shocked – we'd never thought we were at high risk. I was really angry with him at first. But then I thought that maybe I gave the virus to him. We'll never know and now it doesn't matter. What matters is that we enjoy life and work together to stay well. We go to the AIDS Council for information, joined People Living with HIV/AIDS and found a doctor we trust. We are learning and living as HIV-positive people all the time."

5.1 What do I need to do at home?

You may be worried that you risk infecting the people you live with. You may be especially concerned for the safety and well being of any children living in the household. You may also need to reassure people that they are not at risk of infection because you live together.

HIV is not transmitted through casual contact between people sharing a home. Kissing, hugging, playing, eating, sharing the same bed or household appliances such as plates, cups and cutlery will not result in the transmission of HIV.

Your health is important. When your immune system is not working well you can be at risk of catching infections from the people around you. Avoid kissing and close contact with people suffering colds or flu'.

If there are children in the house it is especially important that you take care. Most children experience diseases such as chicken pox, mumps or measles. Infection with these illnesses can have more serious health consequences for people with HIV/AIDS.

It is recommended that the following precautions become part of routine hygiene and household chores. These are regarded as sufficient to prevent transmission of HIV to other members of your household and will also help protect you from other household members' infections.
• Make sure that everyone in the house washes his or her hands after using the toilet and before preparing or handling food.
• Always wear gloves when cleaning up blood and other spilt body fluids. Clean the area with a paper towel, followed by a soapy water wash. Finally, the area should be disinfected with quality household bleach. (Bleach containing 5.25% sodium hypochlorite). The bleach and water mix should be made up accordingly to the instructions on the pack. Dry the area with a clean paper towel.
• Bed linen, towels and clothing should be washed as usual. Items that have been soiled by blood or other body fluids should be washed separately.

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