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Most people who get diagnosed with HIV usually think that is the end of life. They become dejected and lose hope in life. All they think about is death. But what they do not know is that death is not always the case.

“When diagnosed with HIV, it is important for one to make choices that keep you healthy and also protect others.” ~ Dr. Antoney Kodiwo.

One should start medication as soon as diagnosed. The treatment is called Antiretroviral treatment (ART). This medication helps to slow progression of HIV and protect the immune system. It is important to take medicines as directed. This helps reduce the viral load (amount of viruses in the body). The higher the viral load the more likely you can transmit the virus to others. Therefore, taking your medication regularly as prescribed reduces the chances of your sexual partner being infected (though this does not mean you can have sex without protection).

Treatment being the main course of action, one cannot ignore the role of supportive therapy. In our society, stigmatization of HIV positive persons is still a major problem. However, talking to other people is very helpful. It is important to join local support groups where you can learn about other people and how they live with the HIV.

It is important for one to be familiar with opportunistic infections (these are infections that occur in patients due to weakened immune system).  Appearance of these opportunistic infections can be an indication that the treatment regimen is not effective. Always report to your doctor for prompt management and probably revision of your ART regimen. Opportunistic infection is usually a diagnosis of progression from HIV to AIDS. AIDS is also diagnosed when CD4 cell count falls (CD4 cells are cells of the body immune system). Some of the opportunistic infections include candidiasis, invasive cervical cancer, TB, Cryptococcosis, Cytomegalovirus, Histoplasmosis, Kaposi’s sarcoma, Recurrent Pneumonia, Toxoplasmosis of the brain and Wasting Syndrome. To prevent these infections, it is important to take your medication regularly. But if the infections occur, see your doctor as soon as possible.

There are other things you can do to stay fit and healthy.

Take a balanced diet without too much fat, sugar and salt. Take diet made up of plenty of fruits and vegetables, starchy carbohydrates, some proteins and some dairy products.

Exercise and keep fit. Being active helps build your muscles, keeps your bones strong, burns fat and keeps your heart healthy. The important types of exercises include cardio or aerobic exercise, resistance training and flexibility training.

“Mental and emotional health is important. Plenty of rest and sleep is helpful.” ~ Dr. Kodiwo

Doing all these and keeping positive, you live as long as those who are not HIV infected. So you can either choose to worry about death or choose to live a normal life.

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