A nurse is giving discharge instructions to a patient with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Which of the following should the nurse include?

Avoid being around sick individuals.
Avoid sharing razor blades with anyone.
Past and current sexual partners should be tested for HIV.
Use condoms consistently and correctly for vaginal or anal sex.

Explanation

• Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread by certain fluids including breast milk, blood, semen, and vaginal fluid. Therefore, the patient should avoid sharing items that could be contaminated with blood, such as a toothbrush or razors.

• All sexual partners should be tested for HIV, and future partners should be made aware that no barrier method (such as condoms) are 100% effective in preventing transmission.

• Persons infected with HIV do not always have AIDS.  AIDS is a diagnosis that is reserved for individuals who either have an active AIDS-defining opportunistic infection or a CD4 cell count less than 200. Patients with AIDS are immunocompromised and are less capable of battling infections, so they should take measures to avoid viral and bacterial illness including thoroughly cleaning fruits and vegetables, cooking meat well-done, and avoiding the sharing of food or drinks with others due to the risk for infection until their CD4 count has improved.

• HIV is not transmitted by casual contact. HIV is NOT transmitted by sharing food, eating utensils, plates, drinking glasses, shared kitchen utensils, food or drink, or showers or hot tubs.

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