Remember Saidy Brown, the girl who found out that she was HIV positive at 14 and thought that she would die by 18 but she’s turning 22 years this year? She broke the internet!
When Saidy discovered she was HIV positive, she went into denial until her health started deteriorating, it was after nasty sores on her neck and face that she was forced to go for treatment. Let’s try to be honest here, how many of us think testing HIV is as good as a death penalty, well your wrong, it just called positive living.
Finding out that you have HIV doesn’t have to stop you living a full and healthy life. With the right treatment and care, you can expect to live just as long as someone who doesn’t have HIV.There’s a lot you can do to take care of yourself and feel fitter, healthier and happier.
Here are a few tips on how you can live a healthy life if you found out that you are HIV positive.
Take your HIV treatment. Treatment for HIV at the moment is not a cure for the virus, but hey, it significantly helps in putting the HIV in check so as to keep your immune system going strong. In the past, older HIV drugs had serious side-effects, but treatment with modern HIV drugs is much better. If a side-effect doesn’t go away and is affecting your quality of life, you should be able to change to a different drug. Once you start HIV treatment, taking it every day is important to keep yourself well. Talk to your healthcare professional if you are having any problems taking treatment. We have compiled a list of referral health centers where you can get treatment. Take a look at the list here.
Eat Healthily. Don’t activate an all time drinking mode and eating weird foods. Aim at eating a balanced diet without too much fat, sugar or salt. For many people, eating well is a pleasure, and learning how to cook and prepare food for yourself, your family, or friends can be fun. Add fruits and vegetables (to provide fibre, vitamins and minerals), starchy carbohydrates (to give you energy – such as brown rice, potatoes, wholemeal pasta and bread), protein such as lean meat, fish, eggs and beans, products, such as milk, yoghurt and cheese and small amounts of fats and sugars.
Exercise to keep fit. Being active is good for you in lots of ways – it can help to build your muscles, keep your bones strong, burn fat and keep your heart healthy. Some people who are living with HIV experience a loss of muscle mass and strength, so exercise can help prevent this. You might get your exercise by taking part in a sport, or going to the gym, but everyday activities like dancing, playing in the park with your children, walking to work and gardening can all help get you moving.
Be happy! We know that Finding out you have HIV can be a shock, and it may take you some time to adjust. Support from your friends and family, or other people living with HIV, can really help when you are finding things difficult. Once you begin coming to terms with HIV, it’s a good idea to think about the rest of your life. What are your goals? What’s important to you? Maybe you want to study, have a family, travel or change career – HIV shouldn’t stop you doing any of these things!
What else you can do to take care of yourself? Well, this is simple. If you smoke, try to stop – it isn’t always easy, but there is support available to help you. If you are concerned about your alcohol or drug use, seek medical advice. It’s also important to think about any other health conditions you have; particularly as we get older, we’re more likely to experience other health problems.