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5 Surprising HIV Facts You Ought to Know

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Did you know that over 1 Million sexually transmitted infections are contracted each day around the world? Or that one in five people living with HIV experience diarrhea? (Yep, you're not alone!) 

In the latest issue of Plus, we collected a plethora of interesting facts and figures. Here are a few: 

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Ditch the cigs! 

Poz people are now more likely to die from lung cancer than HIV, according to a 2017 report. Researchers found that people who continued to smoke were six to 13 times more likely to die from lung cancer than from traditional AIDS-related causes.

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine 2017

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Watch the Bum 

Rectal douching might increase the odds of contracting HIV and other STIs—including hepatitis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Researchers in a new study state that douching before sex can damage the lining of the rectum, which leads to an increased risk of transmission due to indirect entry into the bloodstream. More studies are needed to examine co-occurring high-risk sexual behaviors among gay and bisexual men who practice douching.

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How often should you see a doctor?

For people living with HIV, it is recommended to check in with your doctor every three to four months. HIV is a treatable and manageable condition not unlike diabetes. You can lead a happy, healthy life with a normal life expectancy and reduce the chances of transmitting HIV to others once you get on treatment. Once your viral load becomes suppressed to undetectable levels, it becomes impossible to transmit the virus to a sexual partner. But part of staying healthy is seeing your HIV care provider regularly so they can track your progress and make sure your treatment is working for you. Though guidelines recommend seeing a provider for lab tests every three to four months, some people might go more frequently—especially during the first two years of treatment or if their viral load is not suppressed. Those who take their medication every day and have had a suppressed viral load at every test for more than two years only need to have their lab tests done two times a year.

Source: HIV.gov

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Can’t afford your meds?

8 PERCENT of people living with HIV aren’t adhering properly due to cost.

13 PERCENT of people living with HIV reported at least one cost-saving strategy.

Source: 2019 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI)

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