HIV: Self-Care and Emotional Support

If you have been diagnosed with HIV and are already on antiretroviral therapy, in addition to your traditional medical treatment, it is critical to be proactive in your self-care. Here are some recommendations that can boost your health.

Adopt a Healthy Diet

Make sure your diet is rich in fresh vegetables and fruits, sources of lean protein, and whole grains as all these foods are filled with nutrients that can support and strengthen your immune system.

Do Not Consume Raw Foods

Raw foods that contain raw meats or eggs carry the risk of foodborne diseases, and these illnesses can affect those with HIV more severely than those with healthy immune systems. Make sure to only consume well-cooked meats; avoid consuming unpasteurized dairy, as well as uncooked seafood like oysters, sashimi, or sushi and foods containing raw eggs.

Get Vaccinated

It is especially important for people with HIV to keep infections at bay considering they are more susceptible to them due to their weakened immune systems. Hence, it is essential to get the vaccinations for the flu and pneumonia to avoid infections. Ensure that these vaccinations are free of live viruses as these can be particularly risky for those with a compromised immune system.

Be Mindful of Pets

As important as they are as emotional support, animals can host bacteria that can easily lead to infections in individuals with HIV. For instance, cat feces can result in toxoplasmosis, and birds can cause histoplasmosis. It is imperative to wash your hands meticulously after getting in close contact with pets or unloading a litter box.

Coping with HIV

Getting diagnosed with any potentially deadly condition is distressing. Coping with HIV/AIDS can be particularly taxing due to its psychological, economic, and social ramifications both for you and your loved ones.

However, individuals who are HIV-positive have access to copious resources and assistance. A majority of HIV/AIDS centers are equipped with counseling and experienced nurses who are happy to help those with HIV either themselves or get them in contact with the right people if they are unable to. Most clinics offer services such as transportation for doctor visits, shelter and child care support, employment and legal aid, and financial support in case of emergencies.

It is of utmost importance to have a strong support system in place because most patients with HIV/AIDS find comfort in speaking with someone who is understanding of their hardship.

Featured Image: Depositphotos/© obencem

Posted on May 5, 2023