It is estimated that in the United States alone, there are about 1.2 million people living with HIV positive. However, unlike olden times, the stigma and misconceptions around this disease have disappeared largely over the last couple of decades.
Initiatives are being taken by the government as well as several NGOs to spread awareness and educate the public to understand this disease better, support the affected, and also to talk about the changes people need to make if they are diagnosed with the disease.
Primary things to take care of
If someone is affected by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the first thing to be vigilant about is to keep the immune system healthy and strong. This virus attacks the cells called T-cells or CD4 lymphocytes, which strengthen the human immune system, and kills them.
For those who are suffering from HIV, the T-cell count can fall down to dangerously low ranges, which may further lead to a condition called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Changing lifestyle may be difficult, but it is essential for those who are suffering from HIV to do everything possible to stay in best physical shape.
There has been a huge advancement in medical technology and treatment modalities for treating this, which made living with this disease much easier. A first point, you need to get it diagnosed at the earliest, for which ELISA test applications are used.
ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), which is also called EIA, is a unique test to detect the antibodies in the blood. Antibodies are the proteins our body system produces to fight the harmful substances as antigens.
Once diagnosed as positive, you need to start with the treatment, adhere to the doctors’ advice, and adopt the lifestyle changes positively to get rid of the complications. Further, we will discuss a few such measures to live a healthy life despite having HIV.
Keep in close touch with the doctor
If you get diagnosed with HIV at an anonymous clinic or by someone other than your primary care doctor, it is ideal to get an appointment immediately with your doctor. There is nothing wrong with making your doctor know your diagnosis along with the details such as:
- How you got exposed to HIV
- Whether you have any other STD (sexually transmitted diseases) or infections.
- If you have any comorbidity with HIV as IV drug abuse or unsafe sex.
Avoid drugs and alcohol
You should know that alcohol and drugs may further weaken your immune system, which has already been affected by HIV. Moreover, abusive drugs and alcohol can further interfere with the medications, which are necessary to upkeep the immune health.
Keep an eye on diet
With HIV, it is important to maintain a well balanced, nutritious diet, which is crucial to maintain overall health. Proper diet can protect against any further illnesses, keep the immune system sturdy, and also can effectively prevent progression of HIV.
Keep a journal
The treatment of HIV can sometimes be overwhelming and also confusing. So, it is handy to keep a journal which will help you track all the information provided by the primary doctor and the results of all the tests, diet instructions, a dosage of drugs, variations in vital signs etc. Write down everything doctors tell, questions and doubts you have, and any input you get on which you need to do further research.
If you are a sufferer, then you don’t have to fight your disease alone. You can find a support group in which you can find help, share experiences, get counseling, and support of expert professionals to live a stress-free life. If you are weak in socializing, one can also find many such support groups online to enroll.
Author bio: Isabella Rossellinee is HIV care instructor and support group administrator at a leading hospital in New York, who published many articles and blogs on HIV / AIDS, ELISA test applications, and living HIV positive.