Posted by: Concerned Mom with ill domestic worker | 2007/05/29

HIV Scare

Dear Cyberdoc
My domestic worker has just tested postive for HIV. I insisted she go for a test after her little son, aged six months, died of gastro a month ago - the doctors could not understand why he died as he was hospitalised immediately and one doctor advised me to counsel her re HIV. She got the results yesterday and was very open about it and asked for my help. I dont know how long she has had HIV for. She works for me every day and bathed her baby here and sometimes baths herself (she lives in a shack so I try and help her). She shares our dishes and cups and has even washed my baby's bottles (my son is two). I always sterilise the bottles though. I KNOW that HIV is only passed on through blood and sexual contact but I am still concerned. I never saw her bleeding but I dont know. I am now terrified my baby has picked it up. Am I worred fornothing? Should I get him and the rest of us tested?
Also, she has just told me she is 5 weeks pregnant. She's gone to the hospital today to get the necessary treatment and I bought her a huge pile of fuit and veg. Obviously, I must be really sensitive now but part of me wants to leave town to avoid this intense situation. i have already buried her first child, whom I loved, now what are the chances of this baby also dyiing. I also resent her bringing this virus into my house as my own child is very allergic and sickly. Is there an effective solution to all of this, I dont want to leave her in the lurch as I am all she has but I also want to protect my family?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Dear Concerned mom
What you can do is to ask her to always put a dash of jik in the dishwater - that will kill any HIV viruses. It is unlikely that your baby picked it up unless she breastfed him ( which they sometimes do) so maybe for your own peace of mind, let them test him.
It is unfair labour practice to dismiss her because she has Aids, but you can put preventative rules in place, like using antiseptics in the bathrooms ( Aids is very sensitive and the virus quickly dies when out of blood or semen), only giving her cleaning duties and doing the cooking yourself, and to ensure that she goes for regular medical check ups and TB tests as one of the risks is that they develop TB ( or worse MDR TB) and infect your family. If she gets antiviral treatment and her CD4 count stays high, and the viral load low - the chances of spreading HIV infection or getting secondary infections like TB are low.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Concerned mom | 2007/05/31

Dear Cyberdoc
Thanks so much for the good advice, I wont dismiss her as she needs me more than ever now. She is also going to begin selling Nature's Health products on her days off to other people with the HI Virus. I hope this is a good product, I dont know much about it.
She went for a CD4 count and will get the help she needs.
I took the whole family for an HIV test and we are all negative thank Goodness. It is a lesson in overreacting and also learning to live with someone who is HIV Positive without all the stigma usually attached to that label. She has bathed in my bath, eaten of my plates, I have hugged her and kissed her and she has slept in my spare room (after her baby died) and no one in my family got HIV. I thought I should write just in case anyone else is worried about catching the virus just by sharing their house with someone with the virus.
But I will put jik in the dishwater etc just to be safe and will explain to her why. She says her sister is also worried about catching it from her so your advice has helped me counsel her sister as well

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