Time to get tested for HIV and living healthy life.
When to start HIV treatment?
The treatment should start as soon as you are tested positive. Absolutely Anyone with HIV infection, regardless of CD4 T cell count, should be offered antiviral medication as soon as possible. HIV therapy is particularly crucial for the following situations:
- You have severe symptoms.
- You have an opportunistic infection.
- Your CD4 T cell count is under 350.
- You are pregnant.
- You have HIV-related kidney disease.
- You’re being treated for hepatitis B or C.
Will the HIV treatment have any effect on how I feel?
Like most other drugs, some HIV medication may have side effects including an adverse impact on one’s mind. On the odd occasion, this could include reducing you functional and emotional well-being too. Symptoms of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) can include the following:
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty paying attention
- Sudden shifts in mood and behaviour
- Efavirenz is known to cause depression
Please do consult your doctor if you experience difficulties in your daily life.
Please Do Not Stop treatment (medication) Without Consulting Your Doctor. Keep a diary or use another way of making notes on any symptoms or unusual thoughts or bodily reactions. Share this information with your doctor, it would help him/her develop and share an accurate diagnosis. Build as much support as possible, including friends, family, and health care providers for yourself. Although it’s possible to treat HAND successfully, it may take time for some symptoms to reduce. (UCSF, 2017; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
What other kinds of care do people living with HIV need?
People with HIV ought to consider Counselling and Psychosocial Support. Access to good nutrition, safe water and basic hygiene can also help you maintain a high quality of life. Sometimes, mental health is neglected, causing depression and stress. This may also result in failure to adhere to ART.
It is also important to take good care of yourself:
- Seek support from a friend or family member to help arrange and attend medical health appointments.
- The body needs extra rest. Try to sleep for eight hours every night. Rest whenever you are tired.
- Stress can also harm your immune system. Relax more.
- Be kind to yourself. Try to keep a forward-looking attitude. Feeling good mentally is part of being healthy.
- Please workout: Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy.
- Find support and talk to a mental health professional if needed. You can ask for help and accept it when it is offered.
- Ask for advice and information from your health care provider.
- Stop smoking. It damages the lungs and many other parts of the body and makes it easier for infections to attack your body.
- Alcohol is harmful to the body, especially the liver. It increases vulnerability to infection and destroys vitamins in the body; under the influence of alcohol you may forget to practise safe sex.
- Avoid unnecessary medicines. They often have unwanted side-effects and can interfere with food and nutrition. If you do take medicines, consult your doctor or health care provider.
- & surround yourself with supporting, loving and fun family and friends!