AIDS and the family " Q & A
QUESTION: How can the HIV virus enter the family?
The HIV virus enters the family usually by one married partner becoming infected outside the marriage first, and then infecting the other partner.
A married partner may become infected by one or more of the following ways:
• having unsafe (i.e. unprotected) sex outside the marriage
• using unclean needles to shoot drugs or sharing needles and syringes with HIV infected person
• receiving a blood transfusion that is HIV infected.
QUESTION: Can a woman who a has HIV infection become pregnant?
QUESTION: What happens to a woman with HIV infection if she becomes pregnant?
Pregnancy may increase the risk of her actually developing AIDS, instead of just carrying the virus. This has not been proved conclusively, but it is possible, especially if she has been infected for a long time.
QUESTION: What happens to a child born to a woman with HIV infection?
The child may be born infected with the virus. There is a real danger that a mother may pass the AIDS virus on to her child before or during childbirth.
Research suggests that up to 50 percent of infants from infected mothers will be born infected with the virus. In addition, infants will get HIV infection during delivery.
Infants with AIDS virus will develop severe illnesses during their first year of life. The majority of the infected infants will not survive until their fifth birthday.
QUESTION: How can I protect my family from AIDS/HIV infection?
The most important way to protect your family and yourself from infection is to know your marriage partner. This begins before you get married. Because of the danger of STDs, including HIV infection, both men and women should seriously consider abstaining from sex until you are in a serious relationship. You should also choose a partner that will remain faithful to you in your relationship.
Once you have found yourself in a serious relationship, you and your partner should consider having the HIV antibody test performed if there is any question about anyone's past sexual history or drug use.
If you are married already, and suspect that your partner is engaging in unsafe behavior, you should use a condom every time you have sex. Also, strongly encourage your partner to go with you to get HIV testing and counselling at the local Provincial or District Anonymous Clinic or ask your local Public Health Office for the testing and counselling clinic nearest you.