Your HIV

You can grow old with HIV. In fact, there is a very good chance that you will. More than half of those who are HIVhiv positive (or ‘seropositive’) give their current health a score of eight, nine or ten (out of a possible ten). One in ten gives their health a score of ‘unsatisfactory’. Nevertheless it is very important that you start using HIV medications at some point and that you take them on time every day: one to six pills, once or twice a day.

HIV is a virus that weakens your body’s natural defence (the immune system) against bacteria, viruses and other things that can cause disease. If the HIV virus (also known as the ‘AIDS virus’) damages your immune system, you will not be able to fight off certain diseases properly anymore. You might become ill from infections that a normal immune system would be able to handle.

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Your future

You can grow old with HIV. In fact, there is a very good chance that you will. Although much is still unknown, ittoekomst appears that the older you get with HIV, the greater your chances of getting certain diseases. And it appears that people with HIV can get ‘old- age’ health problems at a somewhat younger age.

There are thought to be some 20,000 people living with HIV in the Netherlands. Over the past few years, an average of about sixty people have died each year from the consequences of HIV and AIDS in the Netherlands. There are older people who have been living with HIV for years, and there are also people who become infected with HIV relatively late in life.

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Your medical supervision

You will receive medical supervision for your HIV at an HIV treatment centre. That is a hospital with a ward thatbehandeling specialises in HIV. There are HIV treatment centres in 18 cities throughout the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam you can choose between different hospitals. You have the freedom to choose a hospital and a doctor yourself. Many people simply choose for the hospital nearest to where they live. You can also think about whether you prefer to go to a normal hospital (which are often somewhat smaller) or to a hospital that is connected to a university. University hospitals are often somewhat larger. They also often carry out studies with new medicines. Many people always find going to hospital and hearing the results of their blood tests a bit stressful. But that often gets a bit easier as time goes on. That is especially the case once someone has started taking HIV medications and when it turns out that the side effects are not so bad and that the virus is being properly suppressed.

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Your cultural background

If you are not used to Dutch culture, your contact with your doctor and nurse may seem strange to you. Language can also be a problem. Maybe you have other ideas about being sick or about the treatment.

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Contact

Hiv Vereniging Nederland

Eerste Helmersstraat 17

1054 CX AMSTERDAM

020 6 160 160

servicepunt@hivnet.org
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Servicepunt

020 689 25 77
servicepunt@hivnet.org


For questions about living with HIV. Available monday, tuesday and thursday from 2 PM till 10 PM

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