If you have HIV, it can be difficult to figure out how to navigate a period of time in which setbacks make your situation difficult. Following your treatment, browsing relationshipsand maintaining your overall health during these periods can be overwhelming.
But there are ways to overcome these difficult times.
Keep in touch with your doctor
One of the largest parts of cash HIV treatment adheres to yours medication regime. If you take the medicine every day and follow your doctor’s instructions, it will help you immune system Stay strong so you are better equipped to fight infection.
If you have trouble starting or following a medication, it is important to talk to your doctor.
“Establish a relationship with a medical provider if you have not yet established it. This will ultimately control the appearance of your treatment, ”says certified Brandon Kennedy mental health therapist.
Kennedy became interested in volunteering with local HIV / AIDS organizations in March 2010. In June of that year, he discovered that yes HIV-positive. In early 2011, he was already doing defense work.
But it didn’t stop there.
“I got to the point where I no longer wanted to be the person who gave customers to one licensed mental health counselor“He wanted to be the person who received the customers,” he says.
Now, he focuses on helping people overcome the setbacks that come from all aspects of their lives.
Kennedy says staying in close contact with your doctor can help you:
- Stay up to date with routine testing to make sure your treatment can work as well as possible.
- Reduce the chances of drug resistance. That’s when the HIV virus mutates and your medications also stop working.
- You are less likely to spread HIV to anyone you have sex with, as you are more likely to stick with your treatment plan.
To help your treatments become an easy part of your daily routine, you can do the following:
- Use a pill box daily to organize your medication.
- Take the medication at the same time each day.
- Ask a loved one to remind you, set alarms on your phone, or take notes.
- Plan ahead for more medication if you are traveling or unable to refill a prescription.
- Keep track of your doctor’s appointments and make sure you schedule them routinely.
Don’t be afraid to change things
Mental and physical care is crucial to maintaining a good treatment regimen. Kennedy says the best way to avoid setbacks is to look at your self-care as a whole and find out what’s useful and what’s not.
And then, take action.
“If you see that you are not able to figure it out, seek help,” he says. “There are professionals who can help you process, navigate and find out what works and what doesn’t, and how to come up with different personalized interventions for you.”
Maggie White, NP, an infectious disease specialist in Houston, says there are many reasons why people may not take their medications consistently, such as:
- Unwanted side effects
- Simple oblivion
- To judge him
“Sometimes people don’t take medication because there’s a stigma,” White says.
If you’ve missed a dose due to a simple slip, White says it won’t ruin your entire schedule.
“If you forget a dose, it’s not the end of the world. … It’s when people skip doses all the time, “she says. When medication is constantly started or stopped, the HIV virus can get worse over time and become drug-resistant. But drugs against HIV are much harder to be resistant nowadays, compared to previous medications.
If you miss a dose and don’t know what to do, call your doctor. In most cases, it’s okay to take the missed medication as soon as you remember, unless it’s almost time for the next dose. In this case, take the next dose at the normal scheduled time and do not take it.
If you have lost a constant dose for any reason, consult your doctor to check your viral load: how much HIV virus is there? blood. They will do a blood test to see if your medicine is working well enough or not.
If you have an undetectable viral load, your treatment is controlling HIV. Your immune system will be better protected and you will not be able to spread the virus to other people.
But if your viral load is detected, it’s important to talk about medications with your doctor. They will help you define a better treatment program. This may include adjusting the medication to make it easier to manage.
You may have resisted HIV medications. Your doctor may test for drug resistance to find out which medications are working and not working for your body.
Another possibility is that your HIV medication may interfere with other medications you are taking.
Most people with HIV will show no symptoms when their viral load increases or they become resistant to a drug. The best way to find out is through a blood test. Today, most people with HIV do not develop AIDS. But if you have been out of treatment for an extended period of time, it could damage your immune system. This can lead to certain infections, cancers or AIDS.
Call your doctor immediately if you have:
If you are concerned about HIV treatment or symptoms, for any reason, it is best to talk to your doctor immediately. Asking them questions can help you understand what’s going on in your body.
“I tell my patients all the time,‘ I want you to know, the good, the bad, and the ugly, ’” White says. “I want to be a resource, but I want you to understand what’s going on as much or as little as you want.”
Once your care team has found out why your viral load has changed, they will advise you on how you can continue the same treatment or start a new medication.
Support yourself in your circle
Throughout your journey through HIV, you may not be sure how to navigate the next steps. When this happens, breathe and look for your support system.
“There is a ebb and flow in life,” says Kalee Garland, an HIV patient and activist. “We can be our worst enemies. It is important to be strong mental health, to be open advice, and to have good friends you can trust. “
Garland, 34, was born with HIV and has overcome changes throughout his journey through HIV. She says the best way to deal with setbacks is through social understanding.
“HIV is an acronym and the first word is human. … What if it affects your best friend? What if it affects someone? love? ”
A difficult part of the disadvantages of HIV is sharing information with other people, especially your partner or those with whom you may have sex.
Garland encourages herself and others to feel empowered by holding these discussions.
“It simply came to our notice then. It’s the most vulnerable, “says Garland.” Try to do it breathe through it. You’re being emotionally open and honest with them, which is the most amazing way to treat a human being. ”
While you may get occasional ignorant responses, she says, it’s important that you don’t separate yourself from deeper relationships. Garland points out that there are many “emotionally intelligent” people who will accept and support you.
If your viral load is no longer detectable and you have a relationship with someone who is HIV-negative, it can be difficult to treat. But there are many solutions to help you control your partner and you.
As a therapist, Kennedy talks to many couples preventive care they can use it if it increases one of their viral loads.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a drug that people without the virus can take to prevent them from getting HIV. Talk to your medical team.
Regardless of the situation, Kennedy believes that acceptance is the best way to overcome setbacks.
“Let me accept the fact that this in particular is happening,” he says. “Only then can I go back and evaluate. What are the next steps I need to take to keep moving forward? “