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"Ask Me Anything" with HIV expert Angelina Namiba- LIVE NOW!

"Ask Me Anything" with HIV expert Angelina Namiba- LIVE NOW!

Angelina Namiba, an HIV expert with over 16 years experience working in the field, is online answering your questions now!

Scroll down to post your questions as a reply to this post and Angelina will respond as soon as possible. Please refresh the feed intermittently to stay up to date with the latest questions and replies.

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21 Replies

Hello all. Looking forward to receiving your questions. Angelina


Hi Angelina1,

We're so pleased to have you in the community to share your insights into HIV and relating topics!

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Hi Angelina,

It is great to have you here for this Ask me anything event.

The first question to you, Angelina1, is from a user in the community: "I was recently diagnosed but have been struggling with how to share the news. How do you tell your loved ones you are positive?"

Telling your loved ones/significant others that you are living with HIV can be challenging for some though equally a relief for others. The experience differs between people. What we as people living with HIV in many instances, hope for really, is acceptance. However, it doesn't always work out as we hope for. What I have personally found over the years to be key, is being prepared and having the right information or indeed places to refer those whom we are able to tell. There isn't a right or wrong time to do it. But what is important, at is to do it for you, when you are ready, and not because someone else is making you do it. And to be prepared for whatever reaction you might receive. Be that positive or not so good. Below, please find a blog I wrote for telling children, which could work for telling adults too.. Ii touches on the ten top tips of telling significant others & children about your HIV status.

It is also really important, if you can, to speak to peers living with HIV who have done it before.


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Welcome, Angelina. Thank you for being with us. One of our members has asked the following: it is possible to increase my CD4 count without treatment?

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Please see below, a response to a question similar to yours, on the HIV i-base website. Which is a really good resource for treatment and other HIV related questions for people us people living with HIV. They have a whole range of resources in very patient friendly language.

One question I would like to ask Angelina is how have you managed the transition from HIV being a terminal diagnosis to a chronic illness and when did you personally feel that you will probably not die of AIDS and will live as long as most other people?

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Hello Paul. It's actually taken me a few years to come to terms with that fact that I have as near normal life expectancy as my counterparts who do not live with HIV. Having been diagnosed over 20 years ago and seeing a lot of the people who were diagnosed around the dame time, including my brother dying, made it quite challenging to deal with, But I guess, having access to better treatment, realising my dream to have my daughter and seeing peers living with HIV thriving as a result of accessing good quality treatment care and support, seeing them living, really helped me to start to think that, ' yes, actually, I can live'...

Hi Angelina1, another question sent in "What is drug resistance in HIV and how can you avoid it?"

Drug resistance comes about when there is not enough of the medicine in your body to stop the HIV virus from replicating.

If you do not take your medication as you are meant to or if you keep missing doses then there is not enough of it in your body to stop the HIV virus from replicating. When this happened the virus can mutate and become resistant to that drug.

It is important that we take out meds properly and take them every day this is called adherence.

If you become resistant to one drug you might find that you have got resistance to several drugs in the same class.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to be completely adherent to our meds. I would say that once you start treatment this is the most important thing. If you are having problems with you meds then talk to your doctor or nurse that should be able to help you and even change your treatment if you need to.

There is an excellent article on the i-Base website here:

Here is another question for you Angelina1 from a follower of this community: If I am on HIV medications and my viral load is undetectable (meaning that the virus isn't showing up on blood tests), can I still pass the virus to another person through sex?

According to science and recent studies, if you adhere (take your meds on time and as advised by your clinician) to your ARVS (AntiRetroVirals), it shouldn't be possible for you to pass HIV on to your sexual partner.

Over the last year, many HIV organisations, including the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC), have joined a new campaign to endorse the statement that HIV transmission does not occur when viral load is undetectable on ART. You can read more about this here:

Hii, i am a male who is worried from an risky exposure.. i tested negative in the hiv test that i did, but i still feel symptoms until that moment (have passed 5 months from the exposure)... i am planning to do viral load test (RNA hiv test). My question to angelina is, if i am hiv negative then the viral load result must be a ZERO copies exactly??

Thanks in advance

Dear Worried guy

Here is an a link to an excellent resource that answers all your questions regarding risky exposure.

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Labs do not report like that for technical reasons. Depending on the country you are in and the testing facilities the lab have, a PCR test will be <20 <50 or the like. This does not mean you possibly have 14 HIV cells its that this is how PCRs are reported, for HCV HBV and lots of other viruses. If you did have HIV and were not on treatment you would have a detectable VL usually in the thousands and a positive antibody test. As you have had several Antibody tests and tested outside of window period, and then PCR comes back as < 50 or < 20 then you are negative.

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Another question sent in: "I was just diagnosed and am struggling to deal with my emotions. Who can I talk to to help me manage?"

Firstly I would just like to say that I do understand how challenging in can be to be newly diagnosed with HIV. I was diagnosed over 20 years ago, and a number of things really helped me to cope back then. Amongst them was speaking to other women living with HIV. Being able to see and speak with other women in m situation really helped me particularly as I felt as if I was the only woman living with HIV in London (at the time)...

I personally believe that it is really important to speak to our peers who are also living with HIV. Be they male or female.

From your question, it is not clear where in the country you live, however, if you live in the UK, do please try and contact an HIV organisation near you.

If you are not aware of any, Positively UK, have a team of trained Peer Mentors across the UK, and they also run courses for Newly Diagnosed people. Please do get in touch with them and they can point you in the right direction, depending on where you live. Link below:

If however, you live outside the UK, please follow the link below to the NAM website for support organizations in your country.

Are there any upcoming breakthroughs in treatment I should be watching for?

For me the most exciting thing in the pipeline is long acting antiretrovirals. These are injectable versions of medications for treating HIV that last for several weeks. Please see the link below for more information:

Other developments that are very interesting are around developing a cure but this is a very complex area and we are still long way off seeing a cure for HIV.

Pre Exposure Prophylaxis is also very exciting - this is when HIV negative people take antiretroviral medication to prevent HIV infection. There is currently a big trial going on in the UK. You can find out more about this from the Prepster website here:

A big thank you to Angelina1 for passing on all the great information tonight, and a big thank you to everyone who put forward their questions. We hope to have you back on the HIV Partners community again soon, Angelina!

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