Leaps in science and understanding of the HIV disease means that new treatment if applied properly, allow HIV-positive persons to live normal, healthy lives. In , act recent studies show that someone who is HIV-positive but in routine care and in optimal heath can live to their late 70s.
While in the past treatment involved dangerous medicinal regimens with pretty severe side effects current drugs and treatment methods are much more effective and have fewer or heavily reduced side effects that are more manageable. It is also important to note are that HIV treatments are much easier to apply than in the past, with some patients only taking one pill a day.
Therefore, the first step to staying healthy as a HIV positive individual is to begin a treatment regimen. Antiretroviral therapy, also known as ART, is a mix of HIV medicines taken every day that help stop HIV from multiplying, which allows the immune system to recover and begin fighting off infections and HIV related diseases. While this is not a cure for HIV, if begun promptly, it does allow HIV positive individuals to maintain long term health.
For the treatments to be most successful the regimen should be started as soon as possible after testing as HIV positive, so that the medicine can help suppress the disease more effectively and help the immune system regain its hold over the body quicker.
Besides medical treatment your body is still governed by the same needs and laws as people who are HIV negative.
Exercise should still be a fundamental part of your daily routine, it is an effective way of maintaining muscle mass, boosting the immune system and energy levels, reducing stress and improving mental health.
Diet is even more important than before. A proper balanced diet based on Australian Dietary Guidelines is vital for long term health, and certain foods such as raw meat or fish should be avoided.
Emotional Wellbeing should be a priority, asking your family and friends for support or finding a counsellor should be one of the first things you do after your diagnosis. This support will be important for working through the practical and emotional impacts of the virus.
Smoking, is heavily discouraged. Due to the nature of HIV and its impacts on the immune system, smoking becomes even more deadly. In fact a study in Denmark concluded that people with HIV would, on average, live to the age of 78, while people who smoked and had HIV, would on average live to 63.
In reality this type of balanced lifestyle is just as necessary for people who are HIV negative as positive, and should be a basic goal for anyone wishing to maintain optimal, long term health, so keeping up to date with recent health and lifestyle news can be a great way for HIV positive individuals to continue to improve their lifestyle and health knowledge, to supplement their medical treatment, and improve their everyday life.