Living a healthy and fulfilling life with HIV

Limit processed foods since they contain a lot of salt, sugar, and unhealthy trans-fats.

Limit processed foods since they contain a lot of salt, sugar, and unhealthy trans-fats that can worsen conditions associated with HIV.

What you need to know:

  • Protecting your mental health is a top priority when it comes to healthy living.
  • Other health problems might develop due to HIV infection such as cardiovascular diseases, digestive disorders, skin problems
  • Unhealthy sexual behaviours can compromise your health and increase your risk of contracting other sexually transmitted infections.

Healthy habits combined with support groups can help those living with HIV live a healthy life.

  •  Taking your medication as prescribed

One of the most important things to do to stay healthy when living with HIV is to follow the instructions of the doctor. This means taking all of your medications every day, at the correct time, and in the proper dosage. Non-adherence can lead to a resurgence of the virus, and cause the virus to develop resistance against your medication.

If you have trouble taking your medications as prescribed, talk with your doctor about it for advice. You can also find support groups that provide information about ways to adhere to your medication.

  •  Healthy eating

Healthy eating is an essential factor in staying healthy. The virus attacks immunity, so what you eat should work towards boosting it. Incorporate vegetables and fruits in your diet because they are high in antioxidants, strengthening the immune system. In addition, it would be best to go for whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, and healthy fats such as avocado oil.

Limit processed foods since they contain a lot of salt, sugar, and unhealthy trans-fats that can worsen conditions associated with HIV. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to flush toxins out of the body.

  •    Exercise regularly

Exercise helps to improve mood, energy levels, sleep, and overall physical health. It also strengthens the immune system and helps to control weight.

You don't need to go to the gym and spend hours working out. Just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises, such as brisk walking, three to five times a week will suffice.

In case of health complications, consult the doctor about safe exercises.

  •   Avoid risky behaviours

Avoid risky behaviours that can put your health at risk. These include smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and using recreational drugs, as they negatively affect the immune system.

Unhealthy sexual behaviours can compromise your health and increase your risk of contracting other sexually transmitted infections.

  •   Join support groups

People living with HIV are likely to have mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. This is due to the stress of living with a life-threatening illness, fear of death, and social isolation.

Joining support groups is immensely helpful for people living with HIV. Support groups provide a platform where people share concerns about adapting to their new lifestyles after being diagnosed with the condition, talk about treatment options, and learn more about healthy lifestyles.

It helps you stay motivated by meeting other people who have gone through what you are going through and are on similar journeys as you.

  • Adhere to your routine check-ups

It is important to visit your doctor regularly to check your viral load.  

Routine check-ups ensure that you are on the right track, treatment is working, and any issues with the medication are flagged early.

Other health problems might develop due to HIV infection such as cardiovascular diseases, digestive disorders, skin problems, etc. Please report them to the doctor at the earliest for prompt treatment.

The health providers also offer support in making changes to your lifestyle if needed.

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