Q and A

12 most popular topics – FAQs for each

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Each link below is to a page for the most popular subjects. Each page has the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) on this subject.

See if your question has already been answered. If not, we are very happy to answer you individually.

1. HIV transmission and testing

Although i-Base is about HIV treatment we get many questions on testing and transmission risk. Nearly every question on testing for HIV is answered in this detailed FAQ page.

2. HIV and COVID-19: treatment and prevention

i-Base have answered many questions about HIV and COVID-19. This page includes more than 65 questions, especially on the safety of vaccines.

3. Starting ART FAQs

Questions about starting HIV treatment (ART). When to start? Treatment guidelines. CD4 counts. Why “immune boosters” do not work. Generic drugs. Side effects.

4. Having a baby FAQs

Questions about how to become pregnant (especially if only one partner is positive). When to use ART. The safety of meds during pregnancy, Choice of delivery. Feeding your baby.

5. Side effects FAQs

High safety of modern HIV drugs. Short-term and long-term side effects? Mood changes and sleep problems with efavirenz. Low risk of diarrhoea, rash, other side effects. Worrying about side effects.

6. One of you is positive and the other is negative FAQs

U=U: why HIV treatment prevents the negative partner. Unexpected results: when one partner is positive and the other is negative. How to have a baby? Questions about PrEP. Reducing risks to the negative partner.

7. Efavirenz FAQs

Mood changes and sleep disturbance on efavirenz (including nightmares). What is normal and how long will this last? How to change treatment? What alternative HIV meds can be used? Efavirenz during pregnancy.

8. Body changes (weight gain and weight loss) FAQs

Is weight gain normal? Do modern drugs cause fat loss? Changing treatment. The role of diet and exercise.

9. Viral load FAQs

What is viral load? How to interpret test results? What does undetectable mean? How quickly should viral load drop on ART?

10. CD4 FAQs

How to increase your CD4 count? Why don’t “immune boosters” work? How to interpret your CD4 count and CD4 percentage (CD4%)?  What are risks with low CD4 counts? How quickly should CD4 counts increase on ART?

11. FAQs from South Africa

Using ART during pregnancy. Having a baby. Why sometime one partner is still negative? How to increase your CD4 count? Why “immune boosters” are a scam. Q’s about side effects.

12. Questions about life expectancy

Life expectancy for adults and children at different CD4 counts. Living with HIV long-term. Interpreting research on life expectancy. Long-term effectiveness of ART. Role of other infections.

Please check the date of all answers. Guidelines change and older answers may only be accurate for time they were posted.

Last updated: 4 November 2023.