There are still many fears associated with HIV infection: you can get infected by drinking water from one glass, giving birth to healthy children is impossible, you can put an end to sexual life.
LADY learned from the expert whether there is any truth in the prevailing stereotypes about relationships, including intimate ones, with HIV-positive people and how to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Expert: infectious disease specialist Nikolai Goloborodko
Be responsible for yourself
Sexual transmission is the main mode of HIV transmission in Belarus. About 70% of all HIV infections occur this way.
But do not assume that only an HIV-positive person is to blame. Each of us is independently responsible for our own health.
If you have unprotected sex, be aware of the risks. Moreover, HIV infection is infected through unprotected sex, not only with unfamiliar people, but often with “partners you can trust”.
HIV infection is transmitted only through several types of fluids: blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. A large number of special receptors that recognize the virus are concentrated on the genitals, and therefore infection occurs quite easily.
An HIV-positive person has every opportunity to have sex so that it is safe for him and others. And subject to certain rules, sexual life will not be any different from HIV-negative people.
The best remedy is a condom
Prevent contraceptive infection where there is some kind of barrier. For example, condoms, when used correctly, the risk of infection is zero.
There are other protective methods that are not as effective as a condom, but they dramatically reduce the risk of infection. For example, the use of drugs. If a person with HIV infection is undergoing antiretroviral therapy, then he has a sharp decrease in the amount of virus in all biological fluids: in blood, in semen, in vaginal fluid. Thus, an HIV-positive person becomes much less contagious.
Also, after sex, you can treat the genitals with microbicides or antiseptic solutions. By treating the genitals with a solution of chlorhexidine or miramistin, you can coolly reduce the risk of infection.
Postexposure prophylaxis is practiced in Belarus. If, for example, rape has occurred and the sexual partner is either unknown or HIV-positive, certain drugs are prescribed.
The quality of sex should not deteriorate
The greatest risk of contracting HIV infection is through penetrative sex. But this does not mean that you should limit yourself and change sexual behavior.
To lead a sex life that you like and that you are used to (without harm to others!) Is worth taking therapy on time.
Having children is more than real
Couples in which one partner is HIV-infected are called discordant. HIV can only be transmitted from the mother. Therefore, if the couple has an HIV-positive father, then an infected child can be born only if the mother becomes infected.
There are several ways to give birth to a healthy baby. If HIV-positive is a father, there is a special service at the Mother and Child Center: cleaning sperm from HIV infection. This is not so difficult: viruses are fairly light, and sperm are large and heavy. Therefore, if you just centrifuge the semen with the addition of certain substances, then the spermatozoa, roughly speaking, will sink to the bottom, and the viruses will swim upstairs. Then the bottom layer with sperm is collected by a pipette and checked for viruses there. If the analysis is negative, then these spermatozoa can be injected into the woman with a syringe, as is done with artificial insemination. The likelihood of becoming pregnant after this procedure is the same as after a normal sexual intercourse.
If a woman is HIV-positive, then, of course, she needs to take drugs so that the virus becomes undetectable. If the virus cannot be suppressed, then a cesarean section is performed before the onset of labor. This also reduces the risks of transmitting the virus to the child, but this method is only for situations where it was not possible to suppress the virus with therapy. A newborn will also be required to take drugs. Since breast milk is contagious, it is not necessary to breast-feed a baby with an HIV-positive woman, but with infant formula, which the clinic provides for free.
Photo: Anna Grinkevich. The heroine of one of our materials, Masha, who has HIV-positive status, recently became a mother.
Many myths are associated with HIV infection - and this is why: when a person is faced with an unpleasant fact, he cannot quickly accept it. If a person finds out that his sexual partner is HIV-infected or that he has HIV himself, he tries to isolate himself from this thought and begins to dream of something mythical that can definitely help.
For example, in many African communities it is believed that sex with a virgin without a condom will cure HIV infection. This, of course, is not true. As well as the opinion that prayers and faith in God can replace the use of a condom in unprotected sex.
If we talk about religious disputes, we recall the caricature: the doctor says to an elderly American woman: “You have gangrene, you need to cut off your leg.” And she answers him: “No, the Lord will save me.” The doctor tells her: "Madame, the Lord wants me to cut your foot off." Following this logic, doctors assume the right to claim that the Lord sent condoms so that people would somehow protect themselves from infections.
We express our gratitude to the organization "Positive Movement" for help in preparing the material
HIV negative, husband HIV positive
mother of a five year old son
The fact that my future husband was infected, I learned almost immediately - on our first night, when it came to sex. We didn’t have condoms, and he said that we won’t be able to do without them, not at all, because he is HIV-positive and must tell me about it. I somehow accepted it very easily: his frankness and honesty reassured me and disposed me, even somehow attracted me.
There was no fear. He told me his story in great detail: how he found out about everything by chance, undergoing examinations, and the chain revealed that he had become infected from his girlfriend, and she, in turn, from her previous partner. They had a serious relationship, not some kind of casual relationship, they were even going to get married, but the relationship came to naught for some reason unrelated to the diagnosis. Be that as it may, learning about everything, they immediately registered. This is an official practice: if you, for example, go to a state hospital for an operation, you must have an HIV test, and if it is positive, you will be automatically registered in the infectious diseases hospital on Sokolina Gora, in the AIDS center.
Future parents living in a serodiscordant couple, pregnancy must be planned. It is better to contact your infectious disease specialist and obstetrician-gynecologist of the AIDS center in advance. According to current recommendations, an HIV-infected partner in a discordant couple is indicated for the administration of highly active antiretroviral drugs to prevent sexual transmission of HIV to an uninfected partner.
Already there, my husband passed all studies on the immune status and viral load. If everything is in order, then HIV-positive people do not need to do anything, just lead a normal healthy lifestyle and observe, regularly take tests and check if the virus is progressing. If immunity begins to fall, prescribe therapy. All her husband’s indicators were within normal limits, so he lived and lives a full life now, in which almost nothing has changed since the diagnosis. It only taught us both to be attentive to our health and not to neglect routine examinations, eat right, exercise more, and take care of ourselves. The only limitation that the diagnosis has brought to our lives is protected sex, it does not always matter what state we are in. In a fit of passion, tired after a party, we never lost control, and there was always a supply of condoms in the apartment.
Naturally, after some time of my life together, a wave of emotions swept over me: what awaits us in the future, I rushed to google, I was scared for him, scared for myself and for the opportunity to have children. Actually, the worst thing was that it was a very taboo subject, which you cannot calmly talk about. Therefore, I did not talk for a long time on these topics with my relatives, but with just acquaintances, in whose adequacy I was sure, it was easier. The reaction was most often normal, but I was lucky with the environment.
The fact that people are poorly informed is softly said. Therefore, when we decided to have a baby, we first went to the AIDS center, where they told me about official statistics: that the probability of infection with a normal state of the body and a single sexual intercourse on ovulation days is minimal. I even remember a piece of paper that was glued on the table: the probability of your infection is 0.01%. Yes, it is still there, yes, it’s a little Russian roulette, especially if you can’t get pregnant at once. You can strain and do IVF to completely protect yourself, but this is a burden on the body, coupled with hormonal therapy, which can be avoided.
I had a very clear plan for pregnancy, prepared like any woman: completely eliminated alcohol, began to do yoga, eat right, drank vitamins, minerals. The husband, for his part, went through all the checks at the AIDS center, where he also did not reveal any contraindications.
If a couple where only a man is infected, planning a pregnancy, then the appointment of antiretroviral therapy is mandatory. In this case, to prevent the infection of a partner, you can resort to assisted reproductive technologies: insemination with purified partner sperm or in vitro fertilization (if any of the couples have problems with reproductive health). With an undetectable viral load in the blood of an HIV-infected partner during treatment, the risks of sexually transmitted virus without using a condom are much lower, but the possibility of infection cannot be ruled out in this case.
I became pregnant immediately, after the first attempt, and when I found out that I was pregnant, I immediately went and did an HIV test. I was scared only by the responsibility I bear for my child and his future life - if I suddenly become infected and pass on the virus to him. The analysis was negative.
I immediately decided to conduct a pregnancy in a paid department, and everything was fine until I started to have terrible toxicosis. Then I told my blue eye that my husband is HIV-infected. I remember how the doctor stopped writing and said that "of course, we can recommend that we lie down, but it’s better not to." I stopped by them a couple of times and in the second trimester, when I had a paid contract in my hands, they told me directly: "We can’t take you." Anticipating some questions, I did an analysis in an independent laboratory in advance and brought it with me - it was negative, and they had no reason to refuse me. At my suggestion to retake their analysis, if in doubt, they fussed and said: “No, no, we don’t have to donate anything, go to your AIDS center and donate everything there, and then, if everything is in order, you can return ". The AIDS Center strongly supported us, said that this was an absolute violation of my rights, and even offered help from our legal service if we wanted to sue.
Everything worked out peacefully, although it was necessary to raise the head doctor who was very harsh and even cruel to me - and at that moment I was also in the third month of toxicosis. And they talked with me, a man in an exhausted state, very disparagingly, as if with some kind of garbage from society. I remember her words: "Well, you got in touch with something like that." Of course, I had a hysteria, I cried, said that you can’t humiliate a person like that. In fact, if I had not said anything about the status of my husband, they would not have even asked. As a result, they apologized to me and behaved much more correctly - problems arose only before childbirth, when it turned out that the HIV-infected partner could not be present at them. Moreover, it seems to me, seeing our relationship with her husband, seeing what kind of doctors we are aware of. And this very well demonstrates the public attitude towards HIV-infected people: it seems to everyone that they are some kind of “not such people”, but in fact, anyone can be the carrier of the virus. It doesn’t even occur to you that a person can be HIV + if he looks “normal”.
Pregnant, not infected with HIV If you are living with an HIV-infected partner, it is also recommended that you consult an obstetrician-gynecologist at the AIDS Center for advice and, possibly, an additional examination. In some cases, a pregnant woman living in a discordant couple may require the appointment of prophylaxis during pregnancy, childbirth, and a newborn will also need a preventive course.
For the entire duration of my pregnancy, I took an analysis seven times, and everything was always in order: we had a completely healthy baby, and I told my mother in the third month, when this whole crisis erupted. She has hepatitis C itself - she was infected by chance during an operation, many years ago, and she knows what it means to live with a taboo disease. Therefore, my mother understood and supported me very well. It turned out that at one time she went through a very similar story when she was told: "Baby, I am very sorry for you, you are still young and beautiful, but get ready for the worst." Of course, all doctors are different, everything very much depends on the knowledge and sensitivity of the person, but unfortunately there are many similar insensibility around.
The other day, an article about a boy with HIV who was refused to be admitted to a comprehensive school appeared on the portal [email protected] Under the article, a large-scale (600 comments) battlefield unfolded. The score is clearly kept by parents who under no circumstances want to see an HIV-infected student in the classroom with their children. A humanist minority sighs and asks how exactly a child can transmit HIV to classmates. Of course, the question does not seem rhetorical to opponents at all: in response, a sea of versions has been voiced.
The inhabitants of the forums on the email are not alone. If you make a short trip to the English-speaking Internet, it is easy to find similar (and quite recent) discussions from members of the forum from English-speaking countries.
Moreover, just two years ago, three children who were allegedly infected with HIV were kicked out of an Arkansas school. Of course, local human rights associations quartered the school’s leadership and allowed the children to return. But the bottom line is that provincial school leaders in America and Russia are equally concerned about students with HIV.
In general, it's time to figure out what and how dangerous it can be to study in the same class with a carrier of HIV infection. Thanks to the mail.ru commentators for the detailed list of threats.
The absolute leader in popularity is a comment about schoolchildren who have unprotected sex.
A few facts: by the age of 12 years, 2% of teenagers had sex, by the age of 15 - already 16%, and by 16 (that is, conditional graduation) - a third. At the same time, 78% of girls and 85% of boys used condoms from the first time.
And now the final: in 2011, 21% of the initially diagnosed HIV carriers are adolescents and young people aged 13-24. And this is with active educational work in the US on HIV and the importance of condoms.
Yes, children are stupid, irresponsible, and believing that true love is stronger than STDs. They may also not know that oral sex can lead to infection (interesting, but did the parents themselves hear about the silicone wipes that were invented just about this?). Therefore, we will leave sex with an HIV-infected schoolchild in the list of threats where worried parents have placed him.
Is it possible to fight to transmit HIV? No such cases have been documented, but contact between the damaged skin of an HIV carrier and another child may be a transmission channel.
The version with bites was voiced repeatedly. And the truth is - if you bite hard enough, to the blood, transmitting HIV is also real.
To complete the picture, we write about random scratches and spitting - both of which can be a channel of infection.
And now some statistics.
For 10,000 cases of blood transfusion, HIV is transmitted in 9,250 cases.
For 10,000 cases of using a common needle when using drugs - in 63 cases.
For 10,000 cases of needle sticking with the virus - in 23 cases.
In anal sex in a passive role - in 138 cases (due to possible injuries of the rectum), in an active role - in 11 cases.
With vaginal sex, men become infected in 4 cases, women in 8 (per 10,000).
With oral sex, the risk is so low that specific numbers are no longer there.
With bites, scratches, spitting, fights and sharing sex toys, the risk is negligible.
Let’s leave a question about sex for a minute. Let's talk about all the other channels of HIV transmission that frighten parents. “Negligible risk” - this is much less than when driving a car, flying on an airplane, swimming in any reservoirs ... the number of everyday activities that turn out to be much more dangerous can be listed indefinitely (if you do manicure, think about it during the next going to the salon). This means that for a comparable reduction of risks for the child in all areas of his life, you will have to keep him in a bubble with purified air in an underground bomb shelter.
No one, of course, will do this. Because parents do not want their child to be unhappy. For the same reason, they will not stop taking him in a car, taking him on air flights and taking him to the water park.
But “being against having a child with HIV attend school” is a completely different matter. This is unlikely to make their own children miserable. Therefore, the reduction of risks (albeit almost zero) does not threaten any disadvantages at all.
In addition, another child will be unhappy. And his parents. And his other close people. And many other children who, in the framework of the paradigm “it’s so customary with us,” will also not be taken to schools.
From a certain angle to the parents of "ordinary children" all this is irrelevant. But, changing the angle of view, you can see that, probably, each child will live much better in a humane world, where the feelings and desires of other people are taken into account.
Of course, “own shirt closer to the body” is not the only argument. There is also the fact that people are more afraid of odious, albeit unlikely, threats than everyday, familiar and likely much more. For example, the danger of being eaten by a shark can scare tourists on vacation more than the possibility of an accident when riding a moped without a license in a country with unknown traffic rules after a couple of cans of beer. It is in the order of things, we are so arranged. The whole trick is that, thinking about it only once, it’s easy to understand that it’s more reasonable to focus on statistics than on horror films and front pages of tabloids.
It would seem that you can finish here, but no. Unprotected sex, which is really dangerous, remains on the agenda. Turning to it, one key thing needs to be said: please teach your child how to use condoms.
Just in case, I’ll leave links to sources here:
- It is important to know everyone
- How to protect your children from the virus?
HIV infection can definitely be called the most serious disease of the 21st century. More than one million people are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus in the Russian Federation. Of course, most of them are people aged 18 to 50 years, but among HIV-positive children. How to protect your child from this terrible virus?
First you need to have the most complete and reliable knowledge base about the human immunodeficiency virus. We also recommend that you take up the issue of the safety of your child at the time of his planning. Future parents must undergo mandatory HIV testing. If the girl's analysis showed a positive result, then breastfeeding is prohibited, because it is through breast milk that the immunodeficiency virus is transmitted to the baby. HIV is not transmitted in everyday life, therefore, following simple rules, your child is not at risk. Regular examinations at the AIDS center and antiretroviral therapy will help reduce the risk of acquiring loved ones to a minimum.
It is also necessary to tell the child about sexually transmitted diseases and directly about HIV. If your son or your daughter knows everything about diseases of this kind (not only about HIV, but also herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea), about the methods of protection and the consequences that an active sex life threatens with a frequent change of partners, they will be more conscious both to the choice of a sexual partner in the future, and to the use of contraception.
We already wrote about how to talk with a child about HIV. We add only that it is important to create conditions under which the child does not want to become at risk and will avoid drugs (not only because there is a chance of contracting HIV infection, but also because drugs destroy the body as a whole). To do this, it is necessary to interest him in a hobby. For example, you can go hiking together, have picnics in the forest, ski, snowboard, ice-skate in winter, roller-skate, ride bicycles and water ski in summer. Various sports sections work year-round, where your child can not only improve his health physically and spiritually, but also train discipline, responsibility and willpower. If your child is not very active, then you can send him to a music or art school, where he will learn how to do painstaking work patiently, create beauty out of nothing, and simply delight mom and dad with his success. However, it is very important that the hobby is liked not only by you, but also by the child himself - then he will voluntarily engage and achieve great success.
To increase your child’s awareness of HIV, you can attend various events organized by regional AIDS centers. Regular checks of the whole family for HIV status, sports and an active life position will help to prevent not only immunodeficiency virus diseases, but also any infectious diseases in general.