More Questions?Text "JOIN" to 878

Symptoms of HIV

Questions about Signs and Symptoms of HIV

  1. What are the symptoms of AIDS?
  2. What are the symptoms of HIV?
Prevention

Questions on how to prevent infection

  1. How can you protect yourself from HIV and other STIs?

Answers

  • What is Zambia U-Report?

    U-Report Zambia is an innovative SMS platform designed by the National AIDS Council and UNICEF to accelerate HIV response for adolescents and young people towards an HIV-free generation in Zambia.   Back to top

  • What’s the difference between Gonorrhea & Syphilis?

    Gonorrhea and Syphilis are both sexually transmitted infections, but caused by different germs. They both have different symptoms.   Back to top

  • What is Gonorrhea?

    Gonorrhea is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) that is caused by a bacteria that mainly affects the private parts of the body.   Back to top

  • What are the symptoms of Gonorrhea?

    It is important to note that it is possible to have an STI and not show any signs or symptoms of infection. The most common symptom of Gonorrhoea is discharge from the penis or vagina, passing urine more frequently than usual, lower abdominal pains and backache are also symptoms of Gonorrhoea.   Back to top

  • Can Gonorrhea affect my baby during pregnancy?

    Yes. Gonorrhoea can cause early miscarriage, abnormal growth of a baby and/or premature delivery. This is why it important to test for STIs during pregnancy.   Back to top

  • Can Gonorrhea cause infertility?

    Yes. If not treated Gonorrhoea can lead to difficulty getting pregnant or not being able to have children at all.   Back to top

  • What is Chlamydia?

    Chlamydia is an STI that gives very little symptoms and can cause infertility if left untreated for a long time.   Back to top

  • What are the symptoms of Chlamydia?

    It is possible to not have any symptoms while infected with Chlamydia, some of the signs of infection are lower abdominal pain, discharge from penis/vagina, painful urination, painful swollen testicles and pain during sex in women.   Back to top

  • Can gonorrhea cause infertility?

    Yes. If not treated Gonorrhoea can lead to difficulty getting pregnant or not being able to have children at all.   Back to top

  • What is chlamydia?

    Chlamydia is an STI that gives very little symptoms and can cause infertility if left untreated for a long time.   Back to top

  • Can you get HIV through kissing?

    If both people kissing have open sores in the mouth and the infected person is actively bleeding, it is possible to transmit/contract HIV through kissing.   Back to top

  • How are STIs treated?

    STIs are caused by different germs. As such, their treatments also differ. Appropriate treatment can therefore be prescribed at the hospital/health centre.   Back to top

  • Can children also get STIs?

    Yes, children can get STIs too. Transmission is mainly congenitally; meaning from an infected mother to the child during pregnancy or birth. Children may also contract STIs if sexually abused by an adult infected with an STI.   Back to top

  • Is HIV the same as STIs?

    STIs are a collective term for all infections that can be transmitted sexually and HIV is just one of them. Therefore, it is correct to say that HIV is an STI though different from other STIs.   Back to top

  • How many STIs are there?

    There are several STIs. Any disease that can be transmitted or contracted through sexual contact is an STI. They are usually classified according to which germ has caused the infection. Common ones include HIV, HPV, Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, Chancroid, Herpes, Trichomoniasis, Genital warts etc.     Back to top

  • What is cervical cancer?

    Cervical cancer, or cancer of the cervix, is cancer of the entrance to the uterus (womb). The cervix is the narrow part of the lower uterus, often referred to as the neck of the womb. The cervix connects the upper end of the vagina to the lower end of the uterus.   Back to top

  • What causes cervical cancer?

    Although it is still not known exactly what causes cancer to develop, it has been shown that women who have been infected with the HPV virus (Human Papilomavirus) have a high chance of developing cervical cancer.   Back to top

  • Can men get cervical cancer?

    No. Men cannot get cervical cancer as they do not have a cervix.   Back to top

  • What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

    Though it may not show signs or symptoms in the early stages, the following may suggest that a woman has cervical cancer: abnormal vaginal bleeding, unjustified menstrual cycle, pelvic pain, unusual vaginal discharge etc.   Back to top

  • What does HIV do to the body?

    HIV destroys the immune system of the body over time, destroying the body’s ability to defend against infections that if left untreated may lead to death.   Back to top

  • What are some of the common STIs?

    Some of the more common STIs in Zambia are Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, HIV, Genital Warts and Candidiasis (fungal Infection).      Back to top

  • How long can a positive mother breastfeed?

    Exclusive breastfeeding for six months is recommended. (Exclusive brestfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk. No other liquids or solids are given – not even water – with the exception of oral rehydration solution, or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicines recommended by a doctor or nurse.) As long as the breastfeeding mother is taking ARVs it is safe for her to breastfeed her child for as long as she likes.   Back to top

  • What are ARVs?

    ARVs (Anti- Retrovirals) are drugs that are taken by people infected with HIV to help reduce the reproduction of the HIV virus in their bodies, therefore reducing the damage done by the HIV virus.   Back to top

  • Types of ARVs?

    There are 4 (four) main types of ARVs used in Zambia. These are usually given in combination containing 2 or 3 different types of ARVs.   Back to top

  • Why do we take ARVs?

    ARVs are taken by people who are infected with the HIV virus to reduce the reproduction of the HIV virus in the body.   Back to top

  • What do ARVs do?

    ARVs, stop (make it harder) for the HIV virus to reproduce in the human body. They interfere with the process of multiplication of the virus at different stages; thereby improve the quality of life of the patient and restore the immune system.   Back to top

  • Who discovered ARVs?

    ARVs were discovered by scientists who were looking for a cure for HIV infection.   Back to top

  • Do ARVs have side effects?

    Yes, all medicines have side effects and affect every person in a different way. The most common signs of medicine that is swallowed are Nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhoea, headache and body rash.   Back to top

  • What are the side effects of ARVs?

    The side effects of the ARVs will depend on the ARVs that are being taken, the most common signs of medicine that is swallowed are Nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhoea, headache and body rash. In order to know which medicine has caused the side effect go and see a health professional.   Back to top

  • What should i do if i skipped my medication?

    If it has not been more than 2 hours since you were required to take your medicine, you may take it, if it is more than 12 hours since you were to take your ARVs, wait for the next time you need to take your medicine. It is important to take your medicine on time ALL the time in order for it to work correctly in your body and avoid resistance.   Back to top

  • Can i take ARVs if i don't have HIV?

    No. ARVs are only given to people who are infected with HIV or have been exposed to HIV and have tested negative within 2 hours of exposure to HIV.   Back to top

  • What can happen if i am negative & i take ARVs?

    ARVs are toxic and can cause liver and kidney damage. They should therefore only be taken if recommended by a physician.   Back to top

  • What can i do if found HIV positive?

    Lead a healthy lifestyle (i.e. avoid alcohol uptake & smoking, have good nutrition, avoid re-infection, manage your stress levels, exercise, have enough rest etc), seek treatment from your local health centre and adhere to treatment. If necessary, seek counselling services too.   Back to top

  • What are the effects of STIs?

    Untreated STIs may cause infertility, irreversible organ damage or worse, even death.      Back to top

  • What are CD4 cells?

    CD4 cells are a type of specialised white blood cell that helps in fighting germs that invade the body.   Back to top

  • What is CD4 count?

    CD4 count is the number of cells found in a specific amount of blood at a given time.   Back to top

  • Why is it that CD4 important in HIV treatment?

    CD4 cells are the main cells used in the body’s defence. The HIV virus targets these cells so they are measured on a regular basis to determine the severity of the HIV infection.   Back to top

  • Can a positive mother bear a negative child?

    Yes, as long as the mother attends her antenatal (PMTCT) appointments and takes ARVs correctly and consistently and delivery at a health facility she may have a HIV negative child.   Back to top

  • Why doesn't the baby get infected when the mother & father are both positive?

    The cells that make babies do not contain the HIV virus, while the baby is in the mother’s womb there is no exchange of blood or other body fluids.   Back to top

  • Do sperms contain HIV?

    No, sperm does not contain the HIV virus, but SEMEN (the fluid that carries the sperm) does have the HIV virus   Back to top

  • Can a discordant couple have a negative child?

    Yes, as long as the couple follows the instructions given by their health care provider, it is possible for a discordant couple to have a HIV negative child and not pass on the HIV infection.   Back to top

  • How can a discordant couple have a child without infecting the negative partner?

    Discordant couples may have a child without infecting the partner that is HIV negative by following the instructions given by their health care provider. It is important for the couple to speak with their health care provider before trying to get pregnant.   Back to top

  • What makes some couples to have different HIV status?

    Either they just know how to protect each other or in rare cases, one party may have no receptors to facilitate HIV infection.   Back to top

  • How can you live with a positive spouse?

    Be supportive of your partner and get tested regularly. If you are HIV negative, it is important for your partner to start ARV treatment in order to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to you.   Back to top

  • What food can i give to an HIV+ person?

    There is nothing like a special diet for People living with HIV/AIDS. Any healthy, locally available foods containing principle nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, mineral etc, can be given to positive people. Sources of such nutrients includes but not limited to: Nshima, Rice, Fish, Kapenta, Meat, Chicken, Caterpillars, Veggies & Fruits.   Back to top

  • Can Children Get HIV?

    Yes. The most common way children get HIV is through Mother-to-Child Transmission (MTCT) (e.g. delivery or breastfeeding), blood transfusion and rape.   Back to top

  • What is the window period?

    The window period happens from the time you are exposed to the time you first become reactive with a rapid test kit. During this period your body does not recognise that there is a germ invading the body and does not attack it. This period can be between 2 to 6 weeks after exposure to HIV.   Back to top

  • How long can an HIV positive person live?

    If a person with HIV takes care of their bodies well and/or take ARVs correctly and consistently they can live for as long as a person not infected by HIV.   Back to top

  • What is the incubation period for HIV?

    The incubation period is the time when a germ enters your body and you do not show signs of infection. The HIV virus has an incubation period anywhere between 8 months to 15 years.   Back to top

  • What is the current HIV prevalence rate in Zambia?

    HIV prevalence has dropped from 14.3percent to 13.3percent according to Zambia Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS) 2013 – 2014.   Back to top

  • What is the HIV prevalence in Women?

    HIV prevalence among women is estimated at 16 percent among women between the ages of 15-49 years old (ZDHS, 2007).   Back to top

  • What is the HIV prevalence in men?

    HIV prevalence among men is estimated at 12 percent among men between the ages of 15-59 years old (ZDHS, 2007).   Back to top

  • What is the HIV prevalence in Children?

    Approximately (140,000-170,000) children are living with HIV.   Back to top

  • What is Male circumcision?

    Male circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin from the penis. The foreskin is the loose skin that covers the head of the penis.   Back to top

  • Do women go for circumcision as well?

    Female Circumcision (female Genital Mutilation) is not allowed in Zambia and most countries in the world. This practice is discouraged and even banned in some countries because it has no health benefits.   Back to top

  • Is it true that MC prevents HIV & other STIs?

    Yes, but you must note that this protection is partial and only accounts for 60 percent. It is important to test for HIV and other STIs before you get circumcised.   Back to top

  • How much protection does MC offer?

    MC provides partial protection of up to 60 percent against HIV and some other STIs. It is important to test for HIV and other STIs before you get circumcised.   Back to top

  • What role does MC plays in prevention of Cervical Cancer?

    MC reduces the likelihood of Human Papilomavirus (HPV) transmission. HPV is the leading cause of Cervical Cancer.   Back to top

  • Does MC and Condom use add up to 100% Protection?

    MC & Condom use complement each other. Therefore, depending on how well you use condoms, protection may be effective or not. It greatly reduces the risk of transmission if you use condoms correctly and consistently every time and someone is circumcised.   Back to top

  • What is better between MC & Condom use?

    MC & Condom use complement each other. However, condoms provide more comprehensive protection rated over 99 percent compared to MC which provided only 60 percent protection. As such, circumcised men are still encouraged to use condoms.   Back to top

  • What is the probability of getting HIV & other STIs if you are Circumcised?

    A circumcised man only has 40 percent chances of getting HIV and other STI through unprotected sex.   Back to top

  • What are the benefits of MC?

    MC benefits include personal hygiene & partial protection of up to 60 percent against HIV & other STIs. It also reduces risks of developing cervical cancer in women.   Back to top

  • What are the symptoms of HIV?

    Though it may not show, early HIV infection can manifest through: Fever, Fatigue, flu-like symptoms, Muscle soreness, Rash, Headache, Sore throat, Mouth or genital ulcers, Swollen lymph glands (mainly on the neck), Joint pain, Night sweats, Diarrhoea etc Nonetheless, only a test can confirm HIV infection   Back to top

  • What are the symptoms of Syphilis?

    Syphilis first starts as a single Painless sore; that appears in about 10 to 90 days after infection. Then widespread Rash, Fever, Sore throat, swollen lymph glands, Patchy hair loss, Head and muscle aches, Weight loss and Fatigue may follow.   Back to top

  • What is HIV?

    HIV Stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus of the lentivirus family, that causes a syndrome called AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive.   Back to top

  • How can you protect yourself from HIV and other STIs?

    Abstain from sex, be faithful to each other in sexual relationships or use condoms correctly and consistently whenever you have sex.   Back to top

  • What are STIs?

    STIs are infections that can be passed from one person to another through unprotected sex.      Back to top

  • How do I get STIs?

    STIs are mainly gotten through unprotected sex with an infected person.   Back to top

  • What is AIDS?

     AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. It is a condition characterized by compromised immunity due to advanced HIV infection. AIDS manifest through various opportunistic infections.      Back to top

  • What are the symptoms of AIDS?

    AIDS manifest through various opportunistic infections. These are infections that do not easily affect people with a normal immune system.   Back to top

  • What does STIs stand for?

    STIs stand for Sexually Transmitted Infections.   Back to top