More than 1.2 million people in U.S. are living with HIV and over half of them are over 50. The World Health Organization and UNAIDS estimate there were 36.9 million people globally living with HIV in 2014.
Although it’s no longer a death sentence due to new anti-retroviral medication, the assumption that HIV is now “cured” is not accurate. Some 7,000 people a year still die of AIDS. HIV stigma and shame have been found to negatively impact people living with HIV, affecting their willingness to seek treatment or stick with the complicated regiment of medications that are critical to maintaining health and reducing HIV transmission over the long term. Patients who feel stigmatized can wind up isolated and without the will to manage their disease.
To live a long and healthy life with the disease, patients need to take responsibility for their own treatment. This means being on top of the illness, paying less attention to daily signs and symptoms, reducing stress, eating healthy nutritious foods, getting exercise, working with a medical team and getting support from their community.
Dr. Webel and I discuss:
- How HIV treatments have changed for the better over the last 20 years.
- Whether HIV positive people should reveal their HIV status and to whom.
- What are the side effects of HIV meds.
- Whether or not it is safe to exercise at the same level as people without HIV.
- Can HIV positive women safely have children; will their babies be HIV positive and;
- How HIV affects people as they age and what plans should they make for the future.
Do a F.A.S.T check on new or worsening symptoms:
Fever of 101°F or more
Altered mental status
Severity compared to previous symptoms
Typical or unusual?
Living a Healthy Life with HIV is a practical, easy-to-understand book with content that will help not only patients, but also friends and family members who support anyone dealing with HIV.
It stresses that to succeed in living to a ripe old age with HIV the most important skill is learning to respond to your illness on an ongoing basis to solve day-to-day problems as they arise. The approach the authors of Living a Healthy Life with HIV take--simple, concrete steps to help people find their own answers--has proven to be the approach that works best.
To listen to my interview with Dr. Webel please click below.