Fortunately there are many highly effective treatments available to people living with HIV. Over the past ten years the treatments for HIV have improved dramatically. You will hear many terms such as HAART, protease inhibitor, CD4 and viral load. You may be confused by all of the new language, but the most important thing you can do is find a good HIV specialist. If you aren’t under the care of an HIV specialist and can’t find one call the staff at Black CAP and we will help you find one.
Just like all medications, people react differently to different medications. Not all medications have the same side effects nor will the response be the same for everyone. For example if you have HIV/AIDS and TB, or HIV and HEP C you may have a difficult time taking both treatments at the same time. When visiting your doctor or HIV specialist you should ask what may be the best treatment for you to take.
According to CATIE:
Remember: today, people with HIV are living for a long time with the infection. Part of making that happen is keeping yourself healthy, and that means taking control of your health. Learning about HIV and its effects on your body means that you can be in control of the virus and not it in control of you.
You won't necessarily need to start treatment right away. The decision to start will be something that you will discuss with your doctor. Together you will weigh many factors. During this time, you might find it helpful to learn more about HIV and HIV treatment.
It's true that the amount of HIV treatment information available can be overwhelming because HIV treatment is complicated and there is new information all the time. But there are excellent, reliable HIV treatment resources that can help, including CATIE. Other HIV treatment resources are listed in the Resources section.
If you learned of your HIV diagnosis because you had a life-threatening infection, then a good first step might be to learn more about that particular infection and its treatment and prevention. You likely took some medications to help fight the infection and your doctor or nurse spoke with you about some of the basics of taking care of yourself. You might have received a lot of information really quickly. If you missed some of it, don't hesitate to ask again at your next visit.
Aside from learning about HIV there are other aspects to keeping healthy; some are simple while others might be more difficult. Three of the most important things you can do are eat well, exercise and get the emotional support you need. For people living with HIV/AIDS, staying healthy means taking care of your immune system. That includes eating nutritious food, exercising regularly and finding ways to deal with anxiety, stress and depression.
Also, drinking alcohol and using drugs can make it harder for you to stay healthy as a person with HIV. You might decide to try to change your habits. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
To learn more about treatment visit www.catie.ca or download this resources from: www.catie.ca/pdf/Brochures/StartingPoints.pdf