HIV/AIDS has no cure as of this writing - this is the hard truth. Once you have this disease, you will have this until the end of your life. Science has made it possible for the effective treatment and management of HIV in such a way that the HIV-positive population can live a long and healthy life despite having a lifelong condition. Counseling is also available in many healthcare facilities so people can have an easier transition into a life with HIV.
If detected and treated at an earlier stage, there is a higher chance that your body remains as healthy as possible. Additionally, if your body responds to the treatment positively - you can still work competitively in your field and achieve your career goals. If you are in the academe, you can still continue studying and pursue further studies. In summary, HIV may limit your health condition but not your mental capacity unless you have advanced to AIDS or have a serious complication affecting the brain rendering you having a difficult time working or study. It is possible that there can be some prejudice about people with HIV in a workplace but with proper information and the right for reasonable accommodation, an HIV-positive person can still work effectively in the workplace.
Most people who have HIV go on about their life and still have relationships and have sex with other people. The important thing is, to be honest, and open with the people you are having a relationship with. Having children is possible too especially if your body has responded well with treatment. With careful planning and various family planning options (e.g. adoption) it is possible to grow a family with your partner and live a happy life.
Some people who have contracted HIV can be shy about having their condition being disclosed but others use it to inform people about the disease. By using their experience, they share prevention methods and encourage people to be tested for their own good. Even celebrities such as Magic Johnson and Elton John have set up foundations in order to educate, innovate prevention methods and provide support to the HIV-positive population.
Because you have a lifelong condition, you have to live cautiously for your health’s sake. Be cautious it means that you have to keep a healthy lifestyle as much as possible - exercise, healthy diet and a clean environment as much as possible. These factors help in avoiding the possibility of complications or infections that you might suffer from if exposed to any bacteria or other viruses.
Since treatment for HIV is for a lifetime, regular checkups and screening are necessary to keep track of your health - this will be an integral part of your life so you should be committed to it. Some of the conditions that need to check through testing you’re diagnosed with HIV are as follows:
These regular checkups and screenings also help in assessing the course or direction of your treatment as well as the safety of those you are in a relationship with.
Death is inevitable even for those who don’t have HIV. But for those who have HIV, the possibility of dying because of a complication is even a higher probability - this is why checkups, screening and lifestyle amendment is necessary.
If HIV is detected at an early stage and with effective treatment an HIV-positive person can live as long as any healthy person. Life expectancy is dependent on many factors such as lifestyle, congenital conditions, and the physical environment - if these factors are taken into account along with the treatment, it is very possible to have a high life expectancy.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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