When it comes to people living with HIV and AIDS, we all have preconceived notions about their health, their lifestyle and lifespan. Thanks to all movies and TV shows, AIDS is always linked to a short and painful life. But that is not true anymore. With medical advancements, people with AIDS can live a long and healthy life. Today is World AIDS Day and we spoke to Dr. Dolly Chandarana, a Paediatrician and Neonatologist, with over 30 years of experience. She says,
I have employed two women who are HIV positive and they have been working with me for the past 15 years. They are in their 50s and in great health. Their kids are HIV negative as well. They take care of themselves, and with antiviral drugs and a good diet, they are enjoying perfect health.
Scroll down to read her recommendations on living a healthy life with HIV and AIDS.
1. Get Detected Early To Get Treatment Early
The earlier you get detected, the better it is as you can start treatment sooner. With medical advancements, newer drugs and powerful anti-viral medication, AIDS can be controlled, and one can live a long and healthy life. So, if you have the slightest doubt about having HIV, get tested ASAP!
2. Always Have Safe Sex (Preferably With A Single Partner)
While this rule applies to everyone in general, it especially applies to those with HIV. Always have safe sex and use a condom. Using protection will not only limit the transmission of AIDS but also other STIs. People with AIDS have poor immunity, and a simple STI could be very dangerous for them. Dr. Dolly also adds that having a single partner is preferred as it is safer for both people involved.
3. Do Away With Internalised Stigma
AIDS is not something to be ashamed of. It is natural, especially now with the burgeoning awareness and medical advancements. The stigma attached to it is reducing as well. By being open about their illness, people with HIV can lead a healthy life, mentally as well. HIV can often lead to depression, stress, anxiety and more, and bottling it in makes it worse. So, be open about it! Speak to a therapist if needed too. Additionally, from a medical view, it is good to be open about AIDS as it will ensure that others are safe around you as well.
4. Have A Nutritious Diet
This is a no-brainer, but a balanced and nutritious diet is a must to lead a healthy life with AIDS. Have a good mix of carbohydrates, fats, protein and fibre. Stay away from overly processed, fried and sugary food. But this doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a tub of KFC‘s popcorn chicken once in a while!
5. Follow A Healthy And Holistic Lifestyle
To live a healthy life with AIDS you have to be holistically healthy. Eat well, fix your body clock, exercise, meditate and more. Take care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. Quit smoking, don’t do drugs and curb your alcohol intake as well. Being active also boosts your immune system, which is vital for those with AIDS. While these may seem like massive changes, they aren’t! Leading a healthy life is possible.
HIV and AIDS can be scary to live with. It can drain you in every way. But, you can make it better, extremely better. Follow the suggestions above, stay up to date and regular with your treatment, and embody a positive attitude, and it will get easier.
Do you have any other advice on how to lead a healthy life with AIDS? Share it with us in the comments below!