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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is AIDS preventable once you have HIV infection?

    I have HIV infection and understand that it can cause AIDS. What are all the possible measures I can take to prevent AIDS?
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  • I have been a paediatric registered nurse for over twenty years. I am trained asthma educator, early childhood nurse and currently work in the area … View Profile

    In Australia we diagnose someone as having an AIDS defining illness which means that someone's immune system has been damaged enough to cause an illness which usually only occurs in someone who has a damaged immune system. The HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that causes damage to a persons immune system. The main cells affected are the CD4 cells, these cells are damaged by the HIV and cannot do their job properly, once enough if these cells are damaged an AIDS defining illness  may occur. 
    In Australia you can prevent this by occurring by maintaining good health, seeking care from an immunologist, ID consultant specialising in HIV and following the treatment regime if you have been commenced on medications. The mainstay of treatment is taking antiretroviral medications to control the HIV in your body which means that the virus cannot be found when it is looked for on blood tests. It is not cured, it is just that you can't find the copies of the virus anymore, this means the medications are working well. Once you start on treatment you must ensure you continue to take your medications. 
    The other blood measurement your specialist will check is the CD4 count, if this is within normal limits Gand you have a HIV count that cannot be found on blood tests, then you can prevent a AIDS defining illness from occurring. 

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