Relationship Advice If You Have the HIV Infection
If diagnosed with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and in a relationship, the important thing to remember is that your relationship is built on a lot more than the HIV.
Foundations of good relationships include trust, honesty, love, kindness, respect, and mutual sharing.
Whether you have HIV or not, if these foundations flounder, the relationship may not last.
Strengthening your relationship values enhances the quality of your togetherness during good and hard times.
HIV is a retrovirus infection that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Some people are carriers of the infection. Others have latent HIV and have not developed AIDS because the infection's viral DNA is dormant.
The condition may progress to AIDS which is an increasing failure of the body’s immune system. The body’s vital cells become infected, preventing healthy recovery from infections and diseases.
During pre-AIDS HIV infection, the body’s immune system still functions. However when AIDS is diagnosed, damage to the immune system is fatal and life-threatening diseases, including cancers, set in.
The origin of virus is thought to be transmission from primates to humans. It was further spread through unprotected sexual intercourse (not using a condom) and sharing of infected drug needles.
HIV may be transmitted through exchange of bodily fluids. This can alsoinclude during birth and from breast milk.
There is no known cure however, symptoms may be treated.
Symptoms may include aching muscles and joints, sore throat and fever, and swollen glands.
Thrush (candidiasis), nail fungi, rashes, diarrhoea, weight loss and fatigue, may be experienced. Other illnesses may cause additional symptoms.
Antiretroviral medication taken daily, slows down the impact on the immune system. Other medications and supplements may interact with this medication so medical advice should be sought in this regard.
People infected need to consume a healthy diet, do regular exercise, not smoke and life healthy lifestyles.
Flu vaccines and 5-yearly Pneumococcal vaccines help to reduce risk of contraction.
How HIV impacts Relationships
Living with HIV and managing the symptoms is a way of life.
Relationships may be affected in psychological, emotional, mental, health, physical, sexual ways, economic and financial ways.
There may be differences if one or both partners are infected with HIV, such as using a condom if one partner is not infected. Depending on the stage of HIV infection development and impact on the immune system, care plans may need to be put in place for medical care as the disease progresses.
A person with the viral infection who falls pregnant, is highly likely to transmit the infection to the unborn baby.
Persons with HIV, experience life limitations that may be frustrating or impact self-confidence:
- Not able to donate blood or organs
- May need to declare their infected status to employers
- Not able to join the armed forces
- Need to disclose HIV status in mortgage and insurance applications
Managing HIV positively in relationships includes:
- Being supportive in the living of a healthier lifestyle
- Sharing empathy and caring feelings
- Making home adjustments as needed
- Recognising health needs and addressing these needs
- Positively encouraging healthy living and medication use
- Attending medical reviews
- Practising safe-sex to prevent transmission of HIV
- Realising that life may be short and enjoying each moment together
- Joining a HIV-Relationship support group if it will help
Over To You
Now that we’ve reached the bottom, here’s what you can do next:
- Could your relationship survive, knowing one of you had this infection?
- What do you think would be the biggest challenge in a HIV relationship?
- What’s one thing this post informed you on that you didn't know previously?
- Click one of the Share buttons – your friends can then read this article too.
And thanks for reading too – I’ll see you in the comments.