HIV counselling is becoming a critical proposition in HIV prevention and
management. HIV counselling helps pregnant women take good care of
themselves while minimizing the risk of spreading the infection to the fetus. Similarly, HIV counselling helps patients better manage their condition and prevents the spread of disease.
HIV AND HIV INFECTION
HIV, also known as Human Immunodeficiency Virus, causes HIV infection in humans. The infection may progress to become Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). HIV attacks the patient’s immune system, and the person is not able to fight against this virus, resulting in infection. As the patient’s immune system gets compromised, the risk of opportunistic infection increases, and the patient suffers from recurring infections. Further, the risk of cancer significantly increases as the immune system keeps a check on the malignant cells in the initial stage.
Although HIV can develop in any person, certain groups are at more risk when compared to other people in society. These people should have to take extra care of themselves. They should implement sufficient precautionary measures to prevent developing HIV infection. Some of the high-risk groups include:
Medical Professionals: Contaminated blood may be a source of transmission of HIV infection, and it has been recognized as one of the most potent sources of spreading not only HIV but also other pathological diseases in healthcare workers. Thus, medical professionals should have detailed knowledge about how to prevent the transmission of this infection.
LGBT: LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. These groups are at high risk of contracting HIV infection. Of the above category, lesbian and bisexual females are at increased risk of HIV infection.
Sex Workers: Female sex workers are at high risk of developing HIV infection. The trouble is even high in developing countries. The risk of female sex workers living with HIV is 13.5%. In comparison, the risk is increased to 30% when the geography is narrowed down to Asia.
A person with frequent exposure to sex workers: People who have regular exposure to sex workers and indulge in unprotected sexual intercourse are at higher risk of getting HIV.
CAUSES OF HIV INFECTION
There are various causes for HIV infection, but the prerequisite for such an infection is the exposure of body fluid to HIV. AIDS is not transmitted through air, water, shaking hands, kissing, dancing with the infected person or hugging. The following are the various causes of HIV infection:
1) Unprotected Sexual activity: If the sexual activity is done without any protection, such as a condom, and the partner is infected with the virus, the virus would enter the body through semen or vaginal secretion. Therefore, it is always advisable to have protected sex.
2) Blood transfusion: Although seen in a small number of cases, the infection gets transmitted if the infected blood is transfused into a healthy person.
3) Sharing Sex Toys: When a healthy person uses the sex toys already used by an infected person, the HIV infection may spread to the person.
4) Sharing needles: Commonly seen in people taking drugs, the hand infected with HIV may lead to transmission of HIV infection. Further, infected needles in the hospital also result in HIV and hepatitis.
5) During delivery or breastfeeding: HIV can be transferred to the fetus during pregnancy, or the newborn may be infected with the virus during delivery or breastfeeding.
SYMPTOMS OF HIV
The patient suffering from HIV infection experiences the symptoms based on the stage of the disease. Following are the various symptoms at different stages:
a) Acute HIV: Although the viral load in the blood is high during the acute infective stage, the patient experiences mild symptoms. The symptoms experienced during this stage are:
• Swollen lymph nodes
• Painful joints and muscles
• Sore throat
• Body rash
The symptoms are mild as the immune system is fighting against the virus during this stage.
b) Symptomatic HIV infection:
This is the stage at which the patient starts experiencing severe symptoms. These symptoms include:
• Weight loss
• Enlarged lymph nodes
• Muscle and joint pain with increased severity
• Oral thrush
All the above symptoms are non-specific to HIV infection and can be caused due to various other diseases. If you are experiencing these symptoms and fear that you may have an HIV infection, you should undergo an HIV test.
c) Progression to AIDS: If the HIV infection goes unnoticed for several years, the virus severely damages the immune system, and the disease develops into AIDS. When the immune system gets damaged, the patient experiences the following symptoms:
• Severe weight loss
• Chronic diarrhoea
• Skin rash
• Night Sweats
• Life-threatening disorders
• Recurrent infections
• White spots on the tongue
• Chronic fatigue
HIV infection or AIDS is not only a disease; it is also considered a social stigma in our society. People fear talking about it and do not even visit the doctor because they are concerned about maintaining confidentiality. To sum up, HIV is a disease that involves both the physical as well as psychological health of the patient. The stress of social rejection, disease progression, and associated complications further complicate the situation. This results in the need for well-trained professionals, better known as HIV counsellors. These professionals manage the patient’s stress on a psychological level, as it is also part of the holistic approach to HIV/ AIDS management. The function of these professionals is to provide tips to the people for the prevention of HIV infection and also to counsel the patients who suffer from this infection. The counselling is done on a one-to-one basis to have a frank discussion on various topics related to sexual health. As a result, a professional relationship is built, providing confidence in the patients that their identities should be kept confidential.
BENEFITS OF HIV COUNSELLING
Active HIV counselling helps prevent HIV infection in high-risk individuals and advises the patients on how to deal with the disease. The following are the various benefits of HIV counselling:
a) Managing the condition: Through counselling, the counsellor helps the patients manage their condition and advises the benefit of taking medications. Further, the main aim of the counsellor is to make the patient comfortable and help them realize that it’s just a disease.
b) Prevents further complications: Unless and until the patient feels comfortable discussing his disease with the doctor, the HIV infection may lead to AIDS, which is a life-threatening condition. Therefore, the counsellor should convincingly give this message.
c) Stress management: Diagnosed with HIV infection creates havoc in the patient’s life, and the person may be deeply depressed. Therefore, the counsellor should provide some exercises or techniques to manage stress.
d) Prevent HIV/AIDS: Counseling is also done for people at high risk of developing HIV, such as those who indulge in drugs or are sexually active. Thus, the counsellor helps in preventing the spread of HIV infection.
e) Remove fear from the mind of the person: Various patients, after unprotected sex, became so tense that they searched for an HIV doctor near them, the best HIV treatment hospital in India, the best HIV treatment in India, the best HIV specialist in India, HIV counselling in Delhi, HIV specialist doctor in Noida, HIV doctor, latest HIV treatment in India, an ayurvedic clinic in Delhi, best HIV doctors in India, HIV treatment in India in Hindi, HIV treatment in Gurgaon, and even HIV treatment cost per year. The symptoms of other STDs are similar to that of HIV infection, and people may have a fear of suffering from HIV infection. Counsellor clears the cloud of worries in such people and helps them reduce tension.
BEST HIV DOCTORS IN DELHI-NCR FOR HIV COUNSELLING
The best HIV doctors for HIV counseling should have experience counseling many patients of all ages. Further, the counseling they do should be practical, and people must change their attitude and lifestyle after counseling. Sidri International Skin Hair & Sexology Clinic, the best Ayurvedic clinic in Delhi, is one of the best HIV counselors in the Delhi-NCR region. If you have any questions regarding HIV, please visit the clinic with a prior appointment and get relief from all your tensions.