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Tips to live longer with HIV

By Faeza
03 March 2017

Written by Clement Fana Ntuli:

WHEN HIV first emerged in the early 80s, people were exposed to its scary details. These included things such as developing sores, losing weight, many opportunistic infections and a painful death. This led to everyone being afraid of the virus. I remember the horror when I was told I was HIV positive in 1996. However, there have been a lot of developments since then, which have made it possible to face HIV and live positively.

MEDICATION

When taking your medication, follow the instructions given by the clinic to suppress

the virus and strengthen your immune system. Previously, people were given prophylaxis, which is a combination of vitamins and antibiotics to prevent minor illnesses. This was given prior to ARVs. These days, there is test and treat, which means accessing ARVs as soon as you test positive.

NUTRITION

When it comes to nutrition, eat a variety of foods, identifiable by colour. Your meals should be madeup of at least seven colours. The same goes for fruit and vegetables; ensure you eat at least fivecoloured fruit. Ensure whatever you are eating is giving you all the nutrients you need.

USE PROTECTION

Whether you and your partner are HIV positive or not, use protection at all times to avoid exposure, re-infection, resistance and hampering each other’s progress in improvement.

EXERCISE

Exercising not only ensures fitness, but has a positive impact on your immune system. While many people don’t like exercising, there are activities you can do to ensure your body is active such as walking or doing house chores.

TREAT INFECTIONS

Do your best to treat any illnesses as soon as they appear. Leaving them unattended may

result in damage that will be hard to reverse or will take time to deal with. If you have flu, treat it immediately. You don’t want it affecting your immune system any further.

MANAGE STRESS WELL

Finances, work, studies and relationships can be challenging for all of us. Stress alone can lead to the suppression of your immune system. While we are not immune to challenges, do your best not to let them stress you. Even if they do, find ways to manage the stress.

QUIT BAD HABITS

Smoking is not good for you. It may lead to other illnesses such as cancer. Heavy drinking also has a negative impact on your well-being. It may also make you forget to take your medication