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Precautions to observe with an HIV/AIDS patient

Q: I have some queries related to an HIV infected person. 1. Is it possible for the infected person to stay with the family and what precuation he has to take so that the HIV virus should not be transmitted to any of the family members. Generally the family discard the person after knowing about the disease. 2. Is it possible to have safe sex using a condom without infecting the other person? 3. As the life expectancy has been increased with the medicines available, for how many years the person can further survive if he regularly uses the medicines and medical checkup so as to slow down the deterioration of the immune system. 4. Is the government providing these drugs at low cost? What will be the monthly average cost to be bear to fight against this virus? We must be hopeful that one day we will develop the vaccine for the same.

A:1. It is not only possible but very desirable that the HIV infected person stays with his family. The infected person needs the affection, care and moral support of his/her loved ones. An HIV infected person is no danger to the persons in the same house or even room. Common sense precautions are all that are needed. Care should be taken with all body fluids from the infected person, especially blood. Cleanliness is all that is needed for protection of others. There is no danger in sharing chairs, beds, even clothes or eating utensils as one does in a normal uninfected family. Other diseases such as tuberculosis are much more of a hazard to others than HIV. 2. Safer sex is possible and should always be remembered. A fresh good quality condom used from start to finish and removed without spilling any fluids is good protection (but not 100% as it can very occasionally tear during use) 3. With proper treatment life can be prolonged for many, many years. Unfortunately I can not give you a precise figure because there are many variables; the body's response differs in different people. 4. The cost of treatment includes not only the cost of the medicine but the cost of the testing required to give the drugs optimally. Yes, we must hope for an effective vaccine. Please remember that vaccine is not the answer no matter how good the vaccine, it has to be given to the person before it acts to prevent. Giving vaccine to all those who can be at risk of HIV is a monumental task. The vaccine may also be expensive. (If it costs even 10 rupees per dose, we would need 10 X half billion if half our population needs it. This may be more than our health budget!! The answer today is, and will remain tomorrow, that people must change their behaviour to avoid risk exposure.

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