A n HIV diagnosis was once a death sentence, but that is no longer the case for those who stay healthy. In fact HIV is now considered to be a long-term chronic condition.

Taking antiretroviral medication every day will allow you to keep healthy with HIV and have a long life expectancy.

Besides taking your medication you need to practice good health: eat smart, move more, don’t smoke, and monitor your cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight. The aim of this is to try to keep your viral load as low as possible – this also makes you less likely to infect anyone else.

Living with HIV can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to take over your life.

HIV Complications

If you experience complications, it can be difficult to know whether they are from the drugs or related to having HIV itself.

The fact is that the immune system may never fully recover from damage after HIV infection. This becomes more apparent as people with HIV reach their 50s. Problems that often come with aging – such as bone thinning or memory loss – are showing up earlier in these people than in those who are uninfected.

Still, some of these problems can be slowed down, or even averted, by taking care of your health.

Following these smart lifestyle practices is a good way to start.

Take Your Medication on Time

The really important thing is to make sure that you take your medication properly and on time.

Many studies have shown a link between taking HIV medications on schedule and as prescribed — sometimes referred to as adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) — with an increase in a person’s level of healthy T-cells. For many people it is easier to set out their medication for a week – you can use the plastic containers you get at a pharmacy or improvise.

Eat a Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet

Maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet is crucial to your overall health when you’re living with HIV. A healthy diet can help keep the immune system strong, protect against illness, and possibly prevent the progression of HIV.

This means you need to eat healthily from each of the following food groups each day:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Dairy
  • Fats & sugars
  • Fruits & vegetables

As someone living with HIV, you will need more of each of these types of foods. This is because your body breaks down the food you eat in a different way, and so you need more nutrients to stay healthy.

Move around More

Living with HIV and doing exercise to keep fit helps to build your muscles, keep your bones strong, burns fat and keeps your heart healthy. You don’t need to enrol at a gym; you can just make an effort to walk more, and if you have a swimming pool nearby, swimming is excellent exercise.

Avoid Alcohol and Drugs

This is a difficult one for many people, but it is true that alcohol and recreational drugs can weaken the immune system, which is particularly dangerous for people with HIV. Alcohol and drugs can also interfere or interact with the HIV medications.

Find Ways to Reduce Stress

We live in a hectic world where everybody seems to be stressed. For people with HIV, reducing stress is an essential part of staying healthy. Stress messes up the immune system, can interfere with appetite, sleep patterns, and other factors that are important for staying healthy.

Empower Yourself – Learn All You Can About HIV

The most important factor to stay healthy with HIV is to empower yourself. Take control of your condition by learning as much as you can about HIV and AIDS through the many resources available to you and do everything you can to get (and stay) in the best physical shape possible




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