Almost every person who is tested positive for HIV/AIDS at a point in life, loses all hope to lead a normal beneficial life. The person begins to suffer from depression and thinks that it is the end of life. This stage of extreme feelings affect very negatively on the sufferers. They are in a dilemma about what is really important to him and what isn’t.
To change to this attitude and develop an understanding on how to deal with life positively doesn’t comes overnight. This is how a lot of people suffering from HIV/AIDS have outlived their expected life time. So find a way to reduce stress and live positive!
Talk to someone you trust
There is also a heavy need of encouragement from people who truly love you and care for you, let it be your family members, close friends or even your doctor or counselor. Often people who confide in others don’t regret it and get a lot of support and strength out of it. It can help you feel a lot better and continue with your daily life. This also changes the perception of people towards HIV and AIDS in a good way.
If you are still in doubt about whom to talk to about your HIV, discussing your doubts with a counselor would be a better option. If you are a family member or a friend you should respect the trust the HIV positive person puts in you and support him or her as good as you can.
Remember, HIV/AIDS is not a punishment but an illness.
Fight HIV with your mind
Your mindset plays a vital role in deciding whether you want to live your life worthily or let your life go waste under depression and degraded physical health. Meditation comes out as a lifesaver in this condition. It lets you think about your matters of concern calmly and quietly. It is best to do this early in the morning, late at night or any other quiet time you find.
To meditate best you can:
- Find a peaceful place for the same, your room or nearby garden is are preferable.
- Sit or lie in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Sitting with your legs crossed and your arms resting on your knees is a favored position for meditation.
- Breathe slowly and deeply.
- Get positive thoughts about any issue, in your mind. Check out various positive ways to change the scenario in your favor.
- You can also think of a positive statement such as ‘I will fight this HIV in my body and get strong’. This helps in building up your morale.
Keep an eye on your nutrition
Your mind and body need to work together to fight disease. Find ways to strengthen your immune system and staying healthier without any ARV medicines. ‘Good nutrition’ means eating different foods everyday, fulfilling your bodily needs of enough vitamins (found in fruits and vegetables), minerals (found in pumpkin seeds, fish, nuts, spinach, fruits etc), carbohydrates (found in grains and cereals) and proteins (found in poultry foods) to:
- Keep your immune system strong.
- Build your muscles.
- Keep a healthy body weight.
- Give your body energy.
Avoid junk food (chips, buns, fizzy drinks, sweets and so on).
Keep your surroundings clean
It is important that you practice personal hygiene and keep yourself clean at all times. It is also important for you to keep your surroundings very clean from dirt and insects. It would be good to develop a habit of:
- Washing your hands with soap after using the toilet and before cooking or eating.
- Cut short your nails regularly and clean their inside area every-time you wash your hands.
- Don’t touch any wounds with naked hands. Dirty hands are germ-carriers which can cause diseases.
- Flushing your toilet each time you use it.
- Removing dropped food from floors, wipe water or fluids that spilt on a surface or floor, and clean surfaces from dust and dirt everyday. This will keep away flies, cockroaches, rats and other disease-carrying animals.
- Avoiding animals inside your house, unless you bathe them very well each day. These animals can carry many germs with them which can contribute to you getting ill.
Exercise regularly and stay fit
When your body parts can handle everyday activity then you can be said to be ‘fit’. To stay fit you need to exercise regularly. These following tips will help:
- Keep your mind healthy and refreshed and help you deal better with situations.
- Keep your body strong and able to fight disease better.
- Make you feel alive and healthy and happy.
- Help you to sleep better.
- Improve the way your face and body looks.
- Improve your appetite.
- There are many ways to get some exercise – even when you are feeling ill:
- Walking fast, or up and down stairs, or for long distances.
- Carrying household items from where you get it to your home.
- Gardening or farming.
- Doing household chores, e.g. sweeping and polishing floors, dusting, washing clothes, ironing, washing windows and other activities.
- Any enjoyable sport with your friends.
- Dancing casually gives a nice workout to your body.
- Swimming in a pool.
- Walking around or outside if you are not feeling very well, or just moving your arms and legs up and down when sitting or lying down can help exercise your body.
Get a good and sound sleep
A good sleep works as a healer as it allows your body and mind to rest after losing energy throughout the day. Your immune system will work best when your mind and body are stronger and refreshed. You can tell that you are getting enough sleep if you wake up feeling good, awake, fresh and with energy.
To help you sleep better, here are some tips:
- Sleep for regular hours. Set a daily routine for yourself to build a rhythm and help your immune system cope with everyday activities.
- Try and sleep in a dark, clean and quiet room with enough fresh air.
- Choose a firm mattress.
- You may choose to read a book, take a warm bath just before sleeping, do some light exercise, meditate or pray, listen to music or sing to yourself, or anything else which will helps you relax before falling asleep.
Avoid alcohol, illegal drugs and smoking
Alcohol, illegal drugs (like marijuana) and smoking, all degrade your immune system by breaking down cells in your body. They will make you prone to be sick and it will take much longer for you to get better. Avoid going to the places where you would usually drink alcohol or smoke. Find out how other people living with HIV and AIDS reduced or stopped drinking alcohol or quit smoking.
Some ways to help you stay occupied include:
- Doing some exercise.
- Eating healthier foods – especially during the times you would drink alcohol.
- Watching a program on television or listening to a radio program you like.
- Begin an activity you enjoy, such as farming, drawing, reading, learning a craft and keep yourself busy in a positive way.
Stop the spread of HIV in your body
There are four stages of HIV divided according to the different levels of the HIV virus in the body. Doctors decide what stage we are in by doing blood tests and our physical appearance. The above sequence of photographs shows what is happening in our blood at each stage. The gradual reduction in white blood cells (WBCs or CD4 cells, shown as white dots) and increase in count of HIV viruses (shown as red dots) results in degradation of health of the patient and at last the patient is said to be suffering from AIDS. You can see the related sickness which can come at that particular stage and what you can do to keep your body strong, in respective yellow and green boxes.
Doctors recommend taking ARVs (Anti-retro Virals), which do not get rid of HIV viruses, but they help your body to make enough white blood cells to keep you well.
Reduce stress in your life
A person suffering from HIV is more likely to be undergoing through a lot of stress. Stress levels are needed to be controlled as they affect both the body and the mind. HIV positive people may feel stressed dealing with the effects of their illness and medications but they are found to be mostly stressed out due to their social stigmas and fear of rejection. Confiding in and discussing the matter with a trusted friend or therapist can help you in dealing with HIV-related stress. Some suggested techniques to reduce are:
- Take out some time out of your daily routine to participate in activities you enjoy.
- Get a massage in a peaceful environment.
- Spend some time with friends.
- Listen to classical music or some other form of music you like.
- Take long deep breaths whenever feel stressed.
If you cannot do anything to reduce stress, see a psychologist or therapist to learn calming techniques.