Living with HIV: 5 Essential Tips

May 09, 2023
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HIV infection affects many Americans, and while there’s no cure, there are ways to manage it so you can lead a happy, healthy life. In this post, learn five essential tips that can help.

About 1.2 million Americans live with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), with roughly 30,000 new diagnoses made annually. Although there’s still no cure for HIV, therapies today can help people stay healthy and lead long, active lives.

At I & B Medical Associates in Miami, Florida, our team works closely with people diagnosed with HIV, designing therapies comprising medical treatment and lifestyle changes to suit each patient’s needs.

In this post, our team shares five tips to help you lead a healthy, active life while managing your infection.

Eat a healthy diet

Diet plays a central role in staying healthy, with or without a chronic disease. Foods packed with nutrients give you the tools to ward off infections, maintain a healthy weight, manage stress, and enjoy a more positive attitude overall.

A healthy diet works hand in hand with your other therapies, potentially improving how your body absorbs and uses your HIV medicines. 

Generally, you should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid prepackaged and processed foods, unhealthy fats, and sugars.

Get plenty of sleep

It’s not always easy to get the rest you need if you’re worried about an underlying illness. Sometimes, the medications themselves can interfere with normal sleep. But getting enough restful sleep is important for staying healthy.

Your immune system needs ample sleep to recharge and keep other infections at bay. Plus, regular sleep can help you ward off depression and enjoy better health overall.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, these tips from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine can help, and you can ask us about herbal supplements or other treatments that can help.

Stay physically active

Like a healthy diet, regular exercise helps promote overall physical and emotional wellness by improving how your body functions. Regular exercise improves your heart health, strengthens your immune system, and reduces stress. 

HIV doesn’t limit your physical abilities, so you can enjoy the same exercises and activities you did before your diagnosis. To stick with a routine, pick activities you enjoy, like walking, bicycling, swimming, or dancing.

Make mental health a priority

Living with a chronic disease is never easy. In addition to the physical symptoms and health risks, chronic diseases like HIV take an emotional toll. Many people with chronic diseases find themselves dealing with depression and anxiety in addition to managing their other symptoms.

If you struggle with sadness, feelings of hopelessness, or anxiety, seek help right away. These feelings interfere with your ability to enjoy life, and the constant stress they cause can interfere with your physical health.

Our team can help you find a therapist with the background and experience you need to feel comfortable.

Keep your doctor visits

Visiting the doctor is rarely anyone’s idea of a good time. But with HIV, it’s important to visit our office on a regular basis to make sure your therapy remains effective. Seeing us on a regular basis also ensures you learn about new treatments.

During your visits, we discuss your therapy, symptoms you’re experiencing, and concerns you have about your treatment or health. Regular bloodwork helps us monitor your infection and adjust your therapy as needed.

Manage your HIV

HIV requires ongoing management, but your medical team can’t do it alone. Playing a proactive role in your own care is essential. Being an active participant in your care can help you feel more confident and empowered about your healthy future.

If you’ve been diagnosed with HIV, our team is ready to design a treatment plan just for you. To learn more, call 786-321-2399 or book an appointment online at I & B Medical Associates today. Also, check out the CDC’s website for a list of helpful resources.