Frequently Asked Questions

Kindly find below some common question that has been addressed.


H= Human
Because the virus only thrives in humans
I= Immunodeficiency
The virus attacks and progressively destroys the body’s immune system or defense mechanism
V= Virus
A disease-causing germ


A= Acquired
People get through exposure to the virus and do not genetically inherit the disease
I= Immune
Protection or resistance from infection
D= Deficiency
Lacking natural protection due to the virus that causes AIDS
S= Syndrome
A group of symptoms and disease conditions


The most common ways that someone can get HIV are by:
•    Having unprotected sex (penal-vaginal, penal-anal  or oral) with a person who has HIV
•    Sharing sharp objects such as needles for drugs or razor blades with someone who has HIV
•    Use of contaminated blood or blood products
•    From an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding


When used consistently and correctly, they're very good at stopping the transmission and spread of HIV during sex. But condom use can't give you perfect protection.
If either partner is allergic to latex, try plastic (polyurethane) condoms. You can get them for both men and women.
The surest ways to avoid getting HIV are to not have sex or to be in a long-term relationship with a partner who's tested negative and you both stay faithful to each other.


Yes, it's possible -- whether you're giving or getting oral sex. While no one knows exactly how risky it is, evidence suggests it has less of a risk than unprotected anal or vaginal sex.
You should use protection for oral sex, too: Both the male or female can wear a condom during the act to act as a barrier between the sex organ and the partner’s mouth. In cases where there is no condom, the barrier could be a natural rubber latex sheet, a dental dam, or a cut-open condom that makes a square. In a pinch, you can even use plastic food wrap.


Yes. In fact, anal sex without a condom is very risky behavior. Either sex partner can become infected with HIV.
When you have anal sex, use a latex condom. They're more likely to break during anal than vaginal sex, so also use a lot of water-based lubricant to lower the chance of that happening.


Many people who have HIV don't have any symptoms at all for many years. The only way to know if you're infected is to get tested.
Don't wait for symptoms to show up. If you find out you're infected soon after it happens, you'll have more options for treatment and care to help prevent you from getting sick.


Most often, a technician or doctor will draw a little blood from you and check it to see if there are antibodies for HIV. You can also test other body fluids -- oral fluid (not saliva, collected from your mouth using a special device) or urine -- but these aren't as sensitive or accurate as traditional blood tests. Some rapid screening tests can give results in 20-60 minutes.
Current blood tests can find the HIV antibodies. These could give a positive result as soon as 3 weeks after HIV exposure.


Common places include the nearest public health centre, a clinic, your doctor's office, a hospital, and other sites set up specifically for HIV testing within the community.


Most people will develop enough antibodies to test positive within 2 to 8 weeks after they're exposed to the virus. The average is 20 days to 25 days. Even so, there's a chance it could take longer. If you think you've been exposed and your HIV test within the first 3 months was negative, get another test at 6 months.


HIV-positive mothers who get treatment during pregnancy have a much lower chance of passing HIV to their baby before, during, or after birth.
The sooner you start treatment, the more effective the treatment is.
This will also ensure that fewer babies are born HIV positive.


Prompt, early medical treatment and a healthy lifestyle can help you stay well after your positive diagnoses. We have more and better treatments today, and people are living longer and with a better quality of life than ever before.  In fact, depending on what else is going on with their health, HIV-infected persons who get on and stay on their antiretroviral medicines can expect to live almost as long as people who don’t have HIV.
You'll need to keep your doctor appointments, take your antiretroviral medicines exactly as directed, and take steps so others don't get the virus from you.


Before HIV medicines became available, Scientists used to think that about half the people with HIV would develop AIDS within 10 years after they were infected. However, current drug therapies have dramatically changed the outlook for people living with HIV. If you start HIV medicines early in the course of your infection, keep your medical appointments, and stay on your medicines, you may never develop HIV-related illnesses.   


If you have missed a dose you should take it as soon as you remember. If you have only realised when you’re taking your next dose do not take a double dose. Almost everyone will be late or miss a dose occasionally. However this becomes a concern if it is happening regularly.

If you are regularly missing doses you are at risk of developing resistance. This means that your anti-retroviral medication will stop working effectively. This is why adherence is important. Adherence means taking your medication every day and as close to the same time as possible.


Short answer: This is just good luck up to now – HIV is difficult to catch. Sometimes this question comes from the positive partner and sometimes from the negative partner. Often both partners can be confused if they have not been using condoms, sometimes for several years. 


Yes, but you need to use HIV treatment (ART). Sometimes this question comes from a positive man and sometimes from a positive woman. Sometimes both people are positive. ART covers all situations. ART lets couples conceive naturally if one partner is HIV negative. It also protects the health of the mother and baby during pregnancy, if the mother is positive.  


Short answer: your viral load will rebound quickly (maybe within a week). Your CD4 is likely to drop, though this takes a little longer to change. The viral rebound will usually be to the level your viral load was at before you started HIV treatment. 


While you may be 'undetectable', you can still remain healthy. Using condoms will prevent both HIV transmission and other sexually transmitted infections. 


With effective HIV treatment (ART) life expectancy is similar to being HIV negative. The situation is slightly more complicated if you are diagnosed late or have other co-infections. Otherwise, so long as you are good taking antiretroviral medication you can plan to have a full and active life. 


Quick answer: HIV treatment (ART) starts to work from the first dose on day one. Viral load drops quickly, perhaps by 90% in the first week, then steadily until it gets to undetectable. The CD4 count increases more slowly and steadily, 


Please contact your doctor or clinic if you are worried about a new symptom. Your doctor needs to decide what the cause of the symptoms is and whether it is a side effect or linked to another infection. 


Unless there is evidence to prove safety, use with caution. It is better to consult your doctor on this because interaction of other medications might stop your antiretroviral drugs from working or cause serious side effects. 


Yes. Undetectable viral load means HIV is Untransmitable (U=U).  But it is always good to use a condom to prevent other Sexually Transmitted Infections.


Yes, for most people. HIV tests look for antibodies and even if there is an HIV cure the HIV test will be positive. But very early ART might be an exception. 

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The Ghana AIDS Commission is a supra-ministerial and multi-sectoral body established under the Chairmanship of H. E. the President of the Republic of Ghana by Act 2016, Act 938 of Parliament. The objective of the Commission is to formulate policy on the HIV and AIDS epidemic and...

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