HIV is a virus that attacks the white blood cells of humans and eventually known to kill the immune system. If you test negative, you are required to repeat the trials three months later for confirmation of status. The earlier you get diagnosed, the more likely you will live a long healthy life. This infection manifests itself in three stages.
The initial phase is the first four weeks. Symptoms include fever, stomach upsets, body rash, sore throat, swollen glands, body aches and flu. The second stage may last up to ten years without showing any symptoms.
The third is where your immune system is severely damaged. Your viral load has increased and your cd4 count levels reduced. You experience chronic diarrhea, mouth and skin problems, weight loss, persistent cough, and other serious diseases manifest themselves.
Following the tips below will assist you to continue to live for many years without any health problems regardless of your status.
1. Research on the Virus and Other Opportunistic Infections
Being well informed on stages, symptoms, and management of the illness will help you go through the process of acceptance faster and usher you into a journey of living positively without falling sick. Familiarize yourself with the facts and myths about HIV infection and aids to avoid ruining your health.
There is a lot of useful information you can find on the net, that will give you a start on ways to enhance the quality of your life.
2. Practice Safe Sex
Sexually active persons must always ensure that they use latex condoms every time. If you do not, you risk re-infecting yourself with a different strain of the Hiv virus, which may be resistant to the type of Arv drugs prescribed to you. You also are at a high risk of being infected with other sexually transmitted infections.
3. Have a Lifestyle Change
You may be forced to make a personal lifestyle adjustment. One should avoid the excess intake of alcohol or any drugs and quit smoking, as they weaken your immune system. Regular exercises are essential as well, to help in relaxation, better your self-esteem, improve your physiology, maintain a healthy weight range and be able to handle emotional challenges better.
Conscious eating is essential as well. You will need to consult a nutritionist to help you with professional advice on how to ensure you have a proper diet plan. Your meals should be balanced and low in fat, sugar, and salt. Remember to have enough hours of rest daily.
4. Have a Reliable Support System
Your mental well being and emotional health is a factor that needs consideration. Avoid stress, and depression as much as possible. Un-avoidable circumstances should be dealt with immediately, and any cases of stigmatization reported.
Look for someone you can trust and make them your accountability partner. This person should be in a position to walk with you on your journey and be a source of encouragement during your low moments. You should share with them your challenges and prescription so that they can help you keep time with your medication.
5. Have Regular Medical Check-ups
HIV attacks the cd4 immune cells which help us fight diseases. When your cd4 count goes below two hundred, you become at risk of contracting opportunistic infections. Your viral load should be on check too, to ensure that the anti-retro viral drugs you have been put on, are responding positively to the virus strain in your blood.
If the viral load levels goes up, your doctor may have to change your medication. If you do not follow the doctor’s orders, you may end up being resistant to prescribed drugs, a significant setback to the treatment. Have a constant check-up for any sexually transmitted diseases as well. Remember to seek medical advice before taking any herbal medicines as some may interfere with ARV functioning.
When you test positive, you will be required to begin your regular intake of anti-retro viral medicine (ARV’s) to keep the virus level low. With drugs, you will live healthy, free from opportunistic infections that lead to a more severe condition known as AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
However, anyone who is said to be HIV positive is not under a death sentence. By following the doctor’s advice and prescription, together with having a good support system, you can enjoy life to the fullest just like those who test negative. Note that most transmissions are by blood contamination and sexual intercourse. If you are under eighteen you may consider abstaining.