Having HIV doesn’t have to stop you living a healthy life in the way that you choose to do. With the right treatment and care, you can expect to live as long as someone who doesn’t have HIV. Find out how you can look after yourself and stay healthy.
Taking antiretroviral treatment for HIV
If you’ve been diagnosed with HIV then starting treatment as soon as possible is the first step to taking care of yourself and keeping your immune system strong. Although antiretroviral treatment is not a cure for HIV, it does keep the virus under control.
Like a lot of medication, you may experience some side effects in the first few months. If they persist and are affecting your quality of life, you should be able to switch to a different drug regimen.
Once you start treatment, the key to staying well is to make sure that you take it regularly as prescribed – which usually means every day at the same time. Skipping doses, or taking it at different times each day, will stop it from protecting your immune system.
Nutritional advice for people living with HIV is the same as for people with a negative status: eat a balanced diet, without too much processed fat, sugar or salt. This will also help your body to absorb the treatment and fight off everyday infections.
You may benefit from talking to your healthcare professional about your diet if you:
are underweight (perhaps because HIV was already making you unwell by the time you were diagnosed)
have any particular dietary problems
are experiencing side effects that make it hard to eat well.