EMPOWER YOURSELF! Nearly 40 years into the HIV and AIDS epidemic there is a wealth of information available, but it is
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English Year 2020
Table of contents :
Introduction and Preface to the Fifth Edition
Part 1: Now That You Know
Questions 1–6 provide information for people who’ve just been diagnosed with HIV.
What’s my prognosis?
Can I live a normal life? What about sex and relationships?
What do I do now?
Who should I tell?
Should I keep working?
But I don’t know! Should I get tested?
Part 2: The Basics
Questions 7–14 tell you what you need to know about HIV, your immune system, and the
disease in order to understand your condition, your healthcare provider, your treatment
options, and how to live with HIV.
What is HIV?
Where did HIV come from?
How does HIV make you sick?
What’s the difference between HIV and AIDS?
What are the stages of HIV?
How is HIV spread?
How can HIV be prevented? What is PrEP?
Why isn’t there a cure?
Part 3: Diagnosis
Questions 15–17 are written for people who haven’t been diagnosed.
How is HIV diagnosed?
How do I know if I’ve been recently infected?
What if all of my tests are negative, but I’m sure that I have HIV?
Part 4: Medical Care
Questions 18–21 provide information on finding and paying for medical care.
How do I find the right medical care?
How do I deal with my healthcare provider?
What are my provider’s responsibilities and what are mine?
How will I pay for medical care?
Part 5: Getting Started
Questions 22–26 discuss the laboratory tests and vaccinations you need.
What does my CD4 count mean?
What’s a viral load?
What is a resistance test, and when should I get one?
What other tests do I need?
What vaccinations do I need?
Part 6: Starting Treatment
Questions 27–34 discuss things you need to know before starting treatment.
How does antiretroviral therapy work?
Should I start treatment?
What are the classes of antiretroviral drugs, and why do they matter?
How do my provider and I choose my first regimen?
Why is adherence so important?
What if I have side effects?
How should my treatment be monitored?
Can my HIV drugs interact with other medications?
Part 7: Staying on Therapy
Questions 35–42 discuss issues important to people who are on therapy.
How long will therapy last?
Can therapy ever be stopped?
How will I know if my therapy stops working?
What if my virus becomes resistant to the medications?
Are new drugs being developed?
What if I decide not to take medications?
Should I take complementary or alternative therapies?
What is immune-based therapy?
Part 8: Side Effects and Toxicity
Questions 43–52 discuss side effects and toxicities of antiretroviral drugs.
What are the side effects of protease inhibitors?
What are the side effects of the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
What should I know about nucleoside analog side effects?
What can I do about changes in my body shape?
Am I at higher risk for heart disease?
How can I protect my liver?
Should I worry about my kidneys?
Are there risks to my bones and joints?
Can HIV or ART affect my hormones?
Can ART affect my nervous system?
Part 9: Opportunistic Infections and Other Complications
Questions 53–63 provide information on the complications of HIV.
What are opportunistic infections?
What is PCP?
What is MAC (MAI)?
What is toxo?
What about cryptococcal meningitis and other fungal infections?
What is CMV?
How do I prevent or treat tuberculosis?
How do I prevent opportunistic infections?
Can HIV cause cancer?
What is immune reconstitution?
Will HIV or ART make me age faster?
Part 10: Symptoms
Questions 64–73 discuss common symptoms caused by HIV and its treatment and how to
deal with them.
What’s wrong with my mouth?
Why does it hurt to swallow?
What can I do about nausea and diarrhea?
What do I do about cough or shortness of breath?
What if I get a cold or the flu?
Why am I losing weight?
Why am I tired?
Can HIV affect my skin?
Why do I have a headache?
Can HIV affect my nervous system?
Part 11: Women’s Issues, Pregnancy, and Children
Questions 74–78 discuss HIV in women and children and HIV treatment in pregnant
How is HIV different for women?
Does HIV cause gynecologic problems?
What if I want to get pregnant?
How can I father a child with an HIV-negative woman?
What if my child is HIV positive?
Part 12: Coinfection
Questions 79–81 discuss other infections that often accompany HIV.
What if I also have hepatitis C?
What if I also have hepatitis B?
How do I prevent cervical and anal cancer?
Part 13: Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Questions 82–84 discuss depression, substance abuse, and other mental health problems.
How do I know if I’m depressed?
What should I do if I’m depressed?
What are the risks of using drugs if I have HIV?
Part 14: Relationships, Sexuality, and Prevention
Questions 85–89 discuss relationships, safer sex, and sexually transmitted infections.
How and when should I disclose my HIV status to partners?
How do I have safe sex?
What if my partner is negative?
What if my partner and I are both positive?
What should I know about sexually transmitted infections?
Part 15: Living with HIV
Questions 90–96 discuss important lifestyle considerations for HIV-positive people.
What foods and water are safe?
Should I take vitamins or supplements?
Can I still drink alcohol?
Can I travel abroad?
Can I have pets?
Can I still exercise?
What are advance directives?
Part 16: Questions for Those Who Still Have Questions
Questions 97–100 discuss some of the controversial questions that still come up with
respect to HIV.
What about the theory that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS?
Isn’t it true that the drug companies are withholding the cure to make money?
How do we know HIV wasn’t created in a lab?
What’s the state of the global epidemic?
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