Caring for people with HIV and AIDS

HIV/AIDS is a serious disease that affects millions of South Africans.  People who are infected with HIV need care and support form their friends, families and the community, especially when they are ill.

Friends and family members sometimes worry that they might be infected when caring for a person with HIV.
HIV cannot be passed on by touching, hugging, coughing, or sharing eating utensils.  HIV can only be passed on:

  • by having unprotected sex with an infected person
  • through contact with infected blood
  • from an infected mother to her unborn or newborn baby (but only some babies born to infected mothers become infected with HIV)

It is possible for people who are infected with HIV to live long healthy lives.  You can help those who are infected by:

  • showing love, respect and support
  • knowing the facts about HIV/AIDS and talking openly about the disease
  • helping to reduce stress and stressful situations
  • helping to provide balanced and nutritious meals
  • encouraging them to get treatment if they are sick.  Most infections are easily treated and cured, even if a person is HIV positive.

There may be situations where you need to clean up body fluids or blood form someone infected with HIV. It is important to use rubber or plastic gloves or other barriers such as plastic bags or thick cloth to prevent direct contact. Make sure that you have these easily available at all times

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This page last edited on 22 May, 2023

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