Come on, follow these tips on Living Life with HIV / AIDS
People living with HIV / AIDS (PLWHA) are vulnerable to infectious diseases, stress, and various health problems that can disrupt quality of life. However, this should not be an obstacle for PLWHA to be able to lead productive and healthy lives.
HIV is a virus that damages the immune system. If left untreated, HIV infection can develop into AIDS which is very dangerous.
Based on data from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia in 2018, there are around 640 thousand people with HIV / AIDS in Indonesia. Although not yet curable, there are some simple steps that PLWHA can take to extend life expectancy while increasing their quality of life.
Tips for Living with HIV / AIDS
A healthy lifestyle is something that must always be prioritized, regardless of how severe HIV / AIDS is suffered. For this reason, people living with HIV are advised to follow the following tips about living with HIV / AIDS:
1. Take ART regularly
HIV / AIDS treatment so far has not been able to completely cure and kill the HIV virus. However, this treatment is important for suppressing the amount of virus and preventing the HIV virus from weakening the patient’s immune system. Drugs used to treat HIV / AIDS are called antiretroviral drugs (ART).
Although there are many types of antiretroviral drugs that can be used, the goal remains the same, namely to help the immune system prevent and fight infection, and reduce the risk of spreading the HIV virus to others.
Therefore, in order to be able to live a healthy life and prevent transmission of the virus to others, people with HIV / AIDS need to take ARV drugs regularly according to the dosage and instructions recommended by doctors.
2. Maintain ideal body weight
Every HIV / AIDS sufferer needs to maintain his weight. This is because the body is too fat or too thin can worsen the condition of the disease and potentially cause other health problems, ranging from osteoporosis, kidney disease, stroke, to heart disease.
To find out their ideal weight, PLWHA need to calculate their body mass index (BMI). If the BMI shows excessive weight or even less ODHA, the doctor will help determine the steps that can be taken to achieve ideal body weight.
3. Eat foods that are rich in nutrients
Consumption of foods rich in nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, and milk, has a variety of benefits, including strengthening the immune system, helping the body get nutrients and energy, and maintaining overall body health.
In addition to consuming foods that are highly nutritious, PLWHA must also have adequate fluid intake by consuming 8 glasses of water per day, and limiting their intake of sugar, salt, and fatty foods.
Not only that, make sure the food has been cleaned and cooked until cooked before consumption. Because of a weaker immune system, people with HIV / AIDS are vulnerable to infection if they eat unclean, undercooked food, or eat raw food.
4. Exercise regularly
Exercise can increase strength, endurance, and fitness, while helping the immune system work better in fighting infections. Walking casually, biking, or jogging for 20-30 minutes, at least 3 times a week, can be a good exercise choice for people with HIV / AIDS.
However, ODHA must still consult with a doctor to determine the type of exercise that is safe to do. The doctor will determine the type and duration of exercise according to the patient’s health condition.
5. Avoid cigarettes and alcoholic drinks
People with HIV / AIDS who have smoking habits are at high risk of experiencing health problems due to smoking, such as lung cancer, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Similarly, if people living with HIV consume alcoholic beverages. The habit of consuming alcoholic beverages can cause the immune system to get weaker and damage the liver.
6. Complete immunization
Given that the HIV virus can weaken the immune system and make sufferers vulnerable to infectious diseases, immunization is an important step that needs to be taken by people living with HIV / AIDS.
Immunization cannot eliminate the HIV virus or treat infectious diseases. However, immunization can prevent viral and germ infections which can cause serious illnesses in people living with HIV, such as meningitis, pneumonia and hepatitis B.
However, immunization for PLWHA has a condition. Some types of immunization should not be given if the immune condition of ODHA is weak. To determine whether the condition of his body is suitable for immunization, people living with HIV / AIDS need to routinely conduct health checks to the doctor.
7. Reducing stress
Living with HIV / AIDS is not easy. In addition to being vulnerable to disease, people with HIV / AIDS also often experience mental stress and severe stress. Not even a few ODHA who live with mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety disorders. Therefore, it is important for PLHIV to have friends, relatives, or communities that can provide emotional support.
In addition, people with HIV / AIDS also need to reduce stress and get enough sleep, to prevent the weakening of the immune system. If needed, PLWHA can always consult a doctor to undergo a counseling session (VCT).
To ensure their health condition is maintained, PLWHA need regular control to the doctor. That way, the doctor can find out if the treatment steps taken are effective, and detect if there are other health problems, so they can be treated immediately.
Can People with HIV / AIDS Have Sex?
HIV / AIDS is not an obstacle for sufferers to have a normal sexual life. However, PLWHA indeed have to be more careful when having sex, to prevent the risk of transmitting the HIV virus to their partners. Before having sex, PLWHA must be honest and open with their partners about their status as PLWHA.
Please note that the HIV virus is not transmitted through kisses, handshakes or hugs, except if there is thrush or sores in the mouth, hands, or cuts on the skin. If you already have mouth sores or sores, people with HIV / AIDS should not kiss for a while until the wound is fully healed. If not, it is feared the HIV virus can spread through thrush or canker sores.
During sex, whether penetration sex, anal sex, or oral sex, people living with HIV can prevent the spread of the virus by using condoms.
However, if sex is carried out to have a baby, PLWHA are advised to consult first with a doctor. Without close treatment and supervision by a doctor, the HIV virus risks being transmitted to the fetus.
Healthy life can be lived by anyone, including PLWHA. With good health, people suffering from HIV / AIDS can remain productive and have a good quality of life.