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knut_hamsun
Newbie

Reged: 10/02/08
Posts: 4
sister of my fiance has aids, need advice
      #242530 - 10/02/08 01:05 PM

My fiance just told me her sister has aids. my fiance tested lately, and she is negative. some of the other family members have not been tested. The sister has been sick for 10y.

I am in a bit of shock here, and need some advice. the sister has daily care for 2 kids. i presume this is ok, but how often should the kids be tested? and what precautions can we easily make to avoid the kids get sick? is it no concern at all? how often should the other family members be tested? some have never tested. among these are several kids.

i want to help my future family as best i can, any advice is greatly appreciated.

i know a lot of this knowledge is available in pieces, but i am in dire need of some basic knowledge quickly.

best regards, knut

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Florida69
Legend

Reged: 02/19/07
Posts: 541
Re: sister of my fiance has aids, need advice new
      #242535 - 10/02/08 02:18 PM

HIV is not spread through casual contact. Your kids are of no concern at all, and the other family members unless they are having sex with her without a condom will not need to be tested. HIV can only be transmitted through bodily fluids, air kills the virus. So you would have to have sex with her, or both of you would have to have an open wound and become blood brothers, or if you are drug users and share needles. Those are the only ways to get hiv.

This is from the CDC

How HIV Is and Is Not Transmitted

HIV is a fragile virus. It cannot live for very long outside the body. As a result, the virus is not transmitted through day-to-day activities such as shaking hands, hugging, or a casual kiss. You cannot become infected from a toilet seat, drinking fountain, doorknob, dishes, drinking glasses, food, or pets. You also cannot get HIV from mosquitoes.

HIV is primarily found in the blood, semen, or vaginal fluid of an infected person. HIV is transmitted in 3 main ways:

Having sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with someone infected with HIV
Sharing needles and syringes with someone infected with HIV
Being exposed (fetus or infant) to HIV before or during birth or through breast feeding
For more information view our questions and answers on transmission.

HIV also can be transmitted through blood infected with HIV. However, since 1985, all donated blood in the United States has been tested for HIV. Therefore, the risk for HIV infection through the transfusion of blood or blood products is extremely low. The U.S. blood supply is considered among the safest in the world. For more information view our question and answer on blood safety.

Back to Index

Risk Factors for HIV Transmission

You may be at increased risk for infection if you have

injected drugs or steroids, during which equipment (such as needles, syringes, cotton, water) and blood were shared with others

had unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex (that is, sex without using condoms) with men who have sex with men, multiple partners, or anonymous partners

exchanged sex for drugs or money

been given a diagnosis of, or been treated for, hepatitis, tuberculosis (TB), or a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as syphilis
received a blood transfusion or clotting factor during 1978Ė1985
had unprotected sex with someone who has any of the risk factors listed above

Back to Index

Preventing Transmission


Your risk of getting HIV or passing it to someone else depends on several things. Do you know what they are? You might want to talk to someone who knows about HIV. You can also do the following:

Abstain from sex (do not have oral, anal, or vaginal sex) until you are in a relationship with only one person, are having sex with only each other, and each of you knows the otherís HIV status.
If both you and your partner have HIV, use condoms to prevent other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and possible infection with a different strain of HIV.
If only one of you has HIV, use a latex condom and lubricant every time you have sex.
If you have, or plan to have, more than one sex partner, consider the following:
Get tested for HIV
If you are a man who has had sex with other men, get tested at least once a year.
If you are a woman who is planning to get pregnant or who is pregnant, get tested as soon as possible, before you have your baby.
Talk about HIV and other STDs with each partner before you have sex.
Learn as much as you can about each partnerís past behavior (sex and drug use), and consider the risks to your health before you have sex.
Ask your partners if they have recently been tested for HIV; encourage those who have not been tested to do so.
Use a latex condom and lubricant every time you have sex.
If you think you may have been exposed to another STD such as gonorrhea, syphilis, or Chlamydia trachomatis infection, get treatment. These diseases can increase your risk of getting HIV.
Get vaccinated against hepatitis B virus.
Even if you think you have low risk for HIV infection, get tested whenever you have a regular medical check-up.
Do not inject illicit drugs (drugs not prescribed by your doctor). You can get HIV through needles, syringes, and other works if they are contaminated with the blood of someone who has HIV. Drugs also cloud your mind, which may result in riskier sex.
If you do inject drugs, do the following:
Use only clean needles, syringes, and other works.
Never share needles, syringes, or other works.
Be careful not to expose yourself to another person's blood.
Get tested for HIV test at least once a year.
Consider getting counseling and treatment for your drug use.
Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B viruses.
Do not have sex when you are taking drugs or drinking alcohol because being high can make you more likely to take risks.

To protect yourself, remember these ABCs:

A=Abstinence

B=Be Faithful

C=Condoms

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/basic/index.htm#transmission

Take care, D

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franfrog
Legend

Reged: 01/05/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: NJ
Re: sister of my fiance has aids, need advice new
      #242536 - 10/02/08 02:58 PM

That is great info that D has given you. I would just like to say that I am poz now for 10 years and have a 14yo and an 11yo. BOth of which have been tested when I found out about my status and bot which have tested negative. I do not plan on having them tested unless they are put into a high risk which would be sex or blood contact. They both share from my utensils and cups.
I think it is great that you are trying to become educated and help. As for the other family memebers, unless they have had unprotected intercourse or have come into a blood to blood contact should they worry. Casual contact does not transmit the disease.
Good luck and come back with any other questions.

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knut_hamsun
Newbie

Reged: 10/02/08
Posts: 4
Re: sister of my fiance has aids, need advice new
      #242538 - 10/02/08 03:58 PM

thanks guys.

i am a health care professional, but i was still a bit overwhelmed when i got this info. so, i am grateful for your fast, very useful info.

best regards, knut

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Jackie__Blue
Legend

Reged: 01/20/07
Posts: 1186
Re: sister of my fiance has aids, need advice new
      #242540 - 10/02/08 04:07 PM

Like Fran I raised children while living with HIV. I asked my doctor when I first became infected if my being HIV postive put my kids at risk. He said no. Casual contact, which regular family life is, is not a risk.

HIV can be transmitted by sex, needles and mother to child during birth or nursing. If she isn't doing any of the above with her kids then there isn't a risk.

Neither of mine were even tested until they grew up and started to follow the CDC guidelines that says EVERYONE should be testing once a year if sexual active. They are both negative.

You mention that your future sister in law has been living with HIV for the last 10 years. I know you want to help your future family, but that probably doesn't mean second guessing what or how they do things. Such as: "the sister has daily care for 2 kids. i presume this is ok, but how often should the kids be tested? and what precautions can we easily make to avoid the kids get sick? is it no concern at all? how often should the other family members be tested? some have never tested. among these are several kids." What I'm hearing is you are worried that the family members don't seem to be as concerned as you think they should about casual contact. However, after 10 years these issues you bring up have probably already been dealt with. Please do take into account that while this is all new to you, it isn't to them and they will be your best source of knowledge.


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knut_hamsun
Newbie

Reged: 10/02/08
Posts: 4
Re: sister of my fiance has aids, need advice new
      #242542 - 10/02/08 04:27 PM

very interesting comment esmeralda.

i think i agree. i need to listen to how they have coped with this, and at the same time read up on these things myself.

my thinking as of now: i want all the family to be tested when going to their regular health check. the sister can and should care for the kids, and at the same time educate herself about the disease (right now she doesnt have a specialist doc).

and over to my overanxious side: i know that hiv affect the immune system. and that if u have the disease, u will get sick easier. is this correlation pragmatic? in other words, if a person is sick often and has had contact with an hiv positive a lot, is this reason for test?

thanks again for your kind comments and help,
knut

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Jackie__Blue
Legend

Reged: 01/20/07
Posts: 1186
Re: sister of my fiance has aids, need advice new
      #242544 - 10/02/08 06:16 PM

OK before I start, I want to give you a little info about myself so you will understand that I'm not a novice and that what I say comes from years of educating myself about this disease.

I have been living with HIV since 1996. My husband, the kids step-dad, became infected in 1987. I have volunteered as a risk assessment counselor. Was a board member on my local AIDS service organization, current member of the regional consortia for Ryan White, and I speak to groups about living with HIV and I used to blog about living with it. I have been posting on this board since 2000. First as Jackie Blue, then as an anon, now as Esmeralda. Iíve logged a lot of hours trying to help HIV negative people to understand this disease and the associated risks. Again, I tell you this to remove any doubt that you think I have not educated myself about this disease.

Quote:

my thinking as of now: i want all the family to be tested when going to their regular health check. the sister can and should care for the kids, and at the same time educate herself about the disease (right now she doesnt have a specialist doc).




At one point my daughterís PCP thought she should be tested just because she lived in a household with both parents HIV+. I asked my ID doctor about this. He scoffed at the idea that she needed to be tested just because she lives in the same house. You need to internalize this fact: causal contact is not implicated in the transmission of HIV.

Sex, needles and mother to child. Thatís it. If someone is bleeding, well thatís why we have universal precautions, which are in place not just for HIV, but ANY disease that could be spread by blood under the right conditions, many much easier than HIV to transmit.

In a perfect world, she should be being followed by a specialist. I donít know why she isnít seeing one, and you havenít elaborated. Perhaps her insurance limits her ability to seek out a specialist. Perhaps her primary doctor is well versed about HIV and she feels comfortable. Perhaps she is doing well and all that is needed right now is blood work done every 3-6 months to make sure the disease isnít progressing. Maybe there arenít many IDís in the area you live. I just changed insurance and now find Iím limited to just one ID practice 35 miles from me and I'm not thrilled with either of those doctors, but since I'm doing well and very healthy, I may just opt for getting my blood work done by my new family doctor every 3-6 months until there is really a need to see a specialist.

You say she must educate herself about this disease. This is true. But again. Sheís been living with this for a decade. What do you mean by that? Is she unaware of her counts? Does she not understand her choices about medications? Whoís to say she hasnít educated herself about it?

To a more practical point. Again, they have lived with this for 10 years. Do you think itís wise to go rushing in and tell everyone what you think needs to be done? I think any of us that have raised kids while we deal with HIV would be put off by someone insinuating that we have not been careful enough not to transmit our virus to those we love. My family is my life. I would never put them at risk by reckless behavior. Iím sure your future sister-in-law is the same. What you maybe taking as a careless attitude may very well just be people educated enough about HIV transmission that they donít get anxious over things that are not considered a risk.

Quote:


and over to my overanxious side: i know that hiv affect the immune system. and that if u have the disease, u will get sick easier. is this correlation pragmatic? in other words, if a person is sick often and has had contact with an hiv positive a lot, is this reason for test?



Yes, HIV affects the immune system. However, it is a misconception to think that people with HIV get sick easier or that people that get sick easily are at more risk for getting HIV.

The part of the immune system that is compromised when you have HIV is the cellular level. As the CD4 drop people will become more prone to cancers, and other illnesses that the body can keep in check until the CD4 falls too low.

On the humeral level a person with HIV is just as healthy as someone without HIV. Thatís the part of the immune system that protects us from colds, etc. We also keep all the antibodies we have developed against different diseases, just like any person without HIV.

It doesnít matter if a person is sick often or healthy as a horse. If they have risky behaviorsÖ..unprotected sex, sharing needles, etc, then they are at risk. But if they donít have those risky activities then they are not at risk.

Just because someone is Ďsicklyí and is around a person with HIV is not a reason to get tested.

I understand that HIV can be a big bombshell and I sense your discomfort. Just take a deep breath.


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knut_hamsun
Newbie

Reged: 10/02/08
Posts: 4
Re: sister of my fiance has aids, need advice new
      #242548 - 10/02/08 07:08 PM

thanks esmeralda,

i will forward this thread to my fiance as well, good info. i think u are correct that i need to listen and relax. at the same time, i need to be proactive and develop my own knowledge base on this issue. right now, i need some more facts about the situation before i can draw more conclusions. the important thing for me is to know the current research and advice, and then make decisions with my family. and it is this process i have begun here. i have already learned a lot, especially about how to deal with it in daily life.

thanks,
knut.


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Margaret
Regular

Reged: 03/15/07
Posts: 38
Re: sister of my fiance has aids, need advice new
      #242661 - 10/10/08 03:31 AM

You need do nothing OK Just be there
If she had cancer you woldnt be worried think of it like that
As for children as long as all normal hygene steps are taken thats enough. I dont know why you think the children should be tested? One of those urban myths I presume
Life with a partner parent child with HIV is 99.9% same as a partner parent child sibling with out HIV.
OK info unproted sex injecting drugs and the oldie blood products thats the ONLY way you can get infected
I presume non of the above are afact in the childrens lives and the other family members so forget it dont worry about it
Your fiances sister is exactly the same person she was BEFORE you knew its YOU thats not and thats OK your scared if you dont know about HIV then you would be
YOU LIVE WITH HIV NOT DIE OK!
Regards and good luck for your futures Margaret

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kelseyelaine
Newbie

Reged: 11/24/08
Posts: 6
Re: sister of my fiance has aids, need advice new
      #243330 - 11/24/08 02:48 PM

unless something happens that the kids are exposed to her blood there really is a whole lot of reasoning to keep testing them. I do think people involved with her before she knew she had it should get tested... because they are more likely to have it.. if she didn't know she had it. But other than that.. BREATHE

--------------------
<3Kelsey Elaine
(A life you don't live is still lost)
(a closed mouth gathers no foot)

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