Living Healthy With HIV
important thing you can do to improve your chances for a long, healthy life. Without treatment, a newly infected person can expect to live about 10 more years, and he or she will probably be sick and weak for much of that time. Modern treatments for HIV – especially highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) – have turned the infection from a death sentence into an illness you can live with for decades.
Thanks to these treatments, researchers now estimate that a 25-year-old with a newly diagnosed HIV infection can expect to live almost 40 more years. That’s enough time to have a lasting relationship, start a family, and complete a career. But advances in medicine won’t do you much good if you don’t keep up with your treatment. For the rest of your life, you’ll need to keep taking your medicines exactly as directed and to keep seeing your doctor often.
An eye-opening study recently showed the life-saving power of regular medical care. Researchers followed more than 2,600 HIV-positive men for more than four years. All the men were receiving care at a Veteran’s Affairs clinic or hospital. As reported in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in 2007, the researchers found that men who visited the clinic at least once every three months for the first year were about 50 percent more likely to be alive at the end of the study than men who visited only once during that year.
Since many medications for HIV have powerful side effects, keep in close touch with your physician about what you’re experiencing; he or she may be able to adjust the dosage or change your medication regimen if necessary.
Living Well, Staying Healthy
Getting the right treatment is just one part of staying healthy with HIV. You also need to take a look at your lifestyle: Are you doing what you can to protect your body now and for years to come?
Good nutrition is an excellent start. Your immune system runs on