Living positive with HIV

By December 1, 2014HIV / AIDS

Antiretroviral medications (ARVs) have changed the lives of millions of people all over the world tunnelbear 다운로드. Why is it so important? Because it’s the only medication that’s known to help manage the disease we call HIV/Aids.

How Have ARVs Changed Life?

Without treatment life expectancy of an HIV positive person was around 10 years and people experienced a poor quality of life with multiple infections and secondary diseases (like flu). But with the introduction of ARVs, along with a good diet and some lifestyle changes, life expectancy has pushed past the 20-30 year marker.

While researchers are still hard at work trying to find a cure for the viral disease, people living with HIV should not despair as successful management of the disease can make it as harmful to lifespan and quality of life as other non-infective chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

Sticking to Your Schedule

If you’re on ARVs, it’s very important for you to follow the treatment plan. If you mess up by choosing to skip a dose or forget to take your meds, or stop medication without first speaking your doctor, you could help the virus build up resistance towards the drug.

You Need a Little More Than Just ARVs

But using ARVs alone will not get you to the 30-year survival line. You have to use them in partnership with healthy changes to your lifestyle, which include:

  • Changes to what you eat and the way you eat
  • How you move your body and whether you get enough exercise
  • The thoughts and emotions you experience – keeping a calm mind and an open heart.
  • Stopping smoking
Read  How Botswana is turning HIV on its head

All of these can either build up your immune system, or break it down. The immune system is the target of HIV and when it has collapsed your body deteriorates into the Aids-phase of the disease. By making lifestyle choices that also suppress your immune system you make it easier for the HIV to take over. By doing the opposite you can proactively boost your immune system and make the virus a non-issue.

You are not alone

Magic Johnson is an American basketball player who came out as HIV positive in 1991. People thought he was on his way out, but 23 years later this 55-year-old man is still running strong.

A successful businessman, a sports personality in the USA and a prominent HIV activist, Johnson isn’t on a special expensive American-only drug. In fact, he is using the same drug regimen available in countries like South Africa. But he combines the meds with immune-supportive lifestyle choices, which make the world of a difference.

Another local example is Judge Edwin Cameron, a 61-year-old South African Constitutional Court Judge who has lived with HIV for over 25 years. He is someone who has used ARV’s to successfully keep the virus under control in combination with healthy lifestyle change.

These gentlemen are examples of people who have made HIV a manageable chronic disease, one that is not to be feared and denied but engaged with and proactively managed. By combining responsible ARV use, a healthy anti-inflammatory diet, an immune-building exercise regime and a stress-reducing mental and emotional health practice like meditation, you too can create a long and healthy future.

Author: Dr Yesheen Singh