Q:What is HIV?

A:HIV stands for “Human Immunodeficiency Virus.” It affects specific cells of the immune system and destroys many of those cells that the body cannot fight off infections.

Q:What are the symptoms of HIV infection?

A:The early symptoms of HIV vary, depending on the individual and what stage of the disease you are in. However, in general, HIV increase rapidly in the body and the initial symptom continues until cells produce antibodies after immune function temporarily weakened. It is similar to symptoms of a cold or flu, such as swelling of the lymph nodes, rash, headache, diarrhea, joint pain, muscle pain, etc. On the other hand, some people do not have any of those symptoms.

Q:How is HIV transmitted?

A:There is a possibility of infection by contaminated blood and body fluid such as semen, vaginal secretion and breast milk which contact mucous membrane or wound. However, there is no possibility of infection by touching sweat, tears, saliva, urine and feces. HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sex (vaginal, anal and oral) with an infected person. It may also be transmitted from mother to child by maternal blood.

Q:What is AIDS?

A:AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is “acquired,” which means “infected after birth.” By HIV infection, immune system gets weakened and various symptoms occurred.

Q:What are the symptoms of AIDS?

A:After immune system is destroyed to some extent, various symptoms occur, such as general malaise, rapid weight loss, diarrhea, exhaustion, shingles, and symptoms like common cold. When a person has any of the symptoms which are on the list of “Indicator Disease” of AIDS, it is diagnosed as a progression of HIV infection to AIDS.

Q:What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

A:HIV is a name of virus which destroys human immune system. AIDS is a name of disease that a person has several symptoms due to immune system damaged. In Japan, person living with HIV is considered as an AIDS patient when any of 23 indicator diseases of AIDS occurs. In other words, HIV infected person is not always an AIDS patient.

「HIV testing」

Q:Where to get tested for HIV?

A:HIV testing is available at public health center, general hospital, clinics of urology or infectious disease.

Q:How much does it cost for HIV testing?

A:If you visit hospital or clinic to verify your HIV status, you pay your own expenses. However, consultation fee after having a result of HIV infection is applicable to medical insurance. (Your payment is normally 30 %.) Any charge for treatment of other diseases and any examination before surgical operation is the same. If you pay all by yourself without any insurance, payment amount differs depending on hospitals, but it can be said that it costs from 3,000 to 10,000 yen. On the other hand, you can get tested anonymously for free at public health center that we recommend.

Q:How do HIV tests work?

A:It is always a blood test. There is no difference between testing at public health center and at hospital. Just 5 – 10cc of blood sampling makes it possible to determine the existence of virus.


Q:How is HIV treated?

A:People on antiretroviral therapy (ART) take a combination of 3 to 4 HIV medicines. There are drugs which slow the progression of HIV in the body. However, there is no medicine which eliminate the virus from a person’s body so it is necessary to continue the treatment for his/her entire life.

Q:How much is the treatment?

A:Once medication begins, we could have a grant of medical expenses for services and supports for persons with disabilities. It depends on his/her amount of income, but his/her burden charge of HIV treatment can be reduced to 0 – 20,000 yen.

「Daily life living with HIV」

Q:Is there any restriction due to being HIV positive?

A:There are some advices to live with HIV, but it does not mean you have to give up many things. Safer sex (using condom properly from the beginning to the end of sexual intercourse) makes people reduce the risk of transmission of HIV. Proper medication of HIV makes people have babies without transmitting the virus. You can also work and go to school without any limitation, but just try to keep you away from injury and other infectious diseases. Moderate amount of alcohol is ok. However, it is better to refrain from smoking in terms of reducing risks of getting lung cancer and cardiac disease.  

「Social welfare support」

Q:Could we get an authorization of disability?

A:It is possible to submit an application form anytime but with a medical certificate written by a qualified doctor to authorize disability. Presence of medication and infection route does not matter. Once a request is accepted, a disability certificate will be issued.

Q:With a certificate of disability, what kind of benefit and support could we have?

A:As a medical support, we could have a medical rehabilitation service and major medical expense supply. In addition, we can use public transportation and drive expressways at cut rates. Tax relief may also be available. Please verify the details at your city because it may differ by regions.

Q:Will Disability Pension be paid?

A:In case that you become disabled before 20 years old or as a member of Nation Pension, you may be able to have a Disability Pension depends on your degree of disability and other criteria.

*For more information, please contact our organization at info@bhctokai.jp.

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