A diagnosis of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can be a devastating one; and the fact that subsequent stage of AIDS can leave a person prone to all kinds of infections and cancers can make this a life altering diagnosis.
However it is important to remember that not only is living with HIV possible, it is possible also to live a full and fruitful life even after this devastating diagnosis.
HIV and AIDS
Living with the HIV need not be so very different from your life up to that point, since HIV is not the same thing as AIDS and this difference is important to understand.
According to the WHO Disease Staging System for HIV Infection and Disease, the first stage of HIV is not considered AIDS and is asymptomatic.
Even stage two of the HIV infection will manifest only in certain recurrent conditions such as repeated upper respiratory tract infections.
Stage three may include serious conditions such as pulmonary tuberculosis, chronic diarrhea and severe bacterial infections.
It is only stage 4 that is classified as AIDS, which can have life threatening conditions such as toxoplasmosis of the brain, candidiasis of the lungs, trachea etc, and Kaposi’s Sacroma.
Living with HIV; and living a healthy and full life even after this diagnosis, should become the aim of each person with this condition. There are changes/alterations that a person with HIV can make to their life to help them achieve that goal.
Live a healthy life
Make healthy lifestyle choices not only in terms of improving physical health but also in terms of sexual health. It is important to break the chain of infection by choosing safe sex and condoms every single time.
This is important even if both partners are HIV positive because there are different strains of HIV and these can pass between two infected people and make treatment ineffective for either or both.
Condom use also prevents other sexually transmitted diseases which a person with compromised immunity is already at higher risk of contracting.
Become informed and consult a specialist
One of the most important aspects of living with HIV is to become well informed on the subject of HIV, AIDS, and the way that opportunistic infections work and so on. Also it is important to consult with a doctor who is an HIV specialist so that he can offer valuable guidance and monitor your condition.
Keep in regular touch with the specialist to help safeguard health most effectively by taking necessary steps towards illness prevention.
Seek Inspiration from other HIV positive individuals
Support groups, online and elsewhere of other people living with HIV and AIDs can prove to be highly inspirational and educative. When you read success stories of people who have successfully lived normal lives with HIV for years, this can be reassuring and encouraging.
Such support groups and communities can also help a person overcome and deal with the kind of stigma that HIV and AIDS inevitably have associated with them. Getting emotional support and coming to terms with the condition can be a large part of learning to live with HIV.