Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the patient’s immune system. As a result, the patient is unable to fight infections or other diseases.
HIV is transmitted when a person shares IV needles of an infected person, comes in contact with blood and fluids of the infected person or has sexual contact with an HIV infected patient.
The CNA should be careful and follow all safety measures when handling body fluids and blood of an infected patient. It is possible to get HIV due to needlestick injuries and also when handling other equipment that can cause cuts or injuries. However, it is important to note that HIV does not spread by touching or coughing an infected person.
HIV eventually progresses to AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome that further weakens the patient’s immune system and makes him prone to several diseases.
HIV/AIDS has no cure and the patient with this condition needs early treatment for infection, pain, and weakness. As the patient’s immune system is not working properly, there can be other health problems such as drug dependency, nausea, and vomiting. Even though HIV is a chronic disease and has no cure, the condition is manageable if the patient starts treatment on time.
The caregiver should encourage the patient to take the prescribed medications. It is important to inform the patient about his health condition so that he does not have any misconceptions related to the disease. It is also important to provide a great amount of emotional support and care to such patients. A CNA should be non-judgmental when providing care and also build a good rapport with the patient. This will encourage the patient to be co-operative in the plan of care and also accept their health condition.
As with other conditions, the family members and support groups should be involved in the patient’s plan of care. This will provide hope and confidence to the patient and further improve his life.