[+] 4 ways tohelp you live
a healthy life with HIV

Staying healthy with HIV may start with keeping your CD4+ T-cell count high and your viral load low. It also includes eating healthy, exercising routinely, and taking care of your mental, emotional, and sexual health.

Before you head to the gym, talk to your healthcare provider about what exercise program is right for you.

We all know we need to exercise, but for people with HIV, it can be even more important.

  • Know why you need to exercise. Exercise can:
    • help you keep "muscle mass," which people with HIV can lose
    • keep your bones strong to avoid osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones
    • reduce stress and help you sleep
    • boost your energy level
  • Find a workout partner to help you get going and stick to the program.
  • Make time to sleep. Your body rebuilds while you're sleeping.
  • Listen to your body. If it's in pain or tired, you need to take a break.

This helps you see how to balance a healthy diet

Eating healthy and HIV

It's very important for people with HIV to eat healthy, and also to be careful with eating certain foods.

What kinds of foods to eat

  • Protein (fish and meat) builds muscles and a strong immune system
  • Carbohydrates (fruits, grains, starches, and sugars) give you energy
  • Healthy fats (like olive oil or fat in avocado) are good for extra energy
  • Vitamins and minerals are supplements (added nutritional value)
  • Water helps cells—and your body—stay healthy

Food safety for people living with HIV

  • Don't eat raw eggs, raw meats, or raw seafood (including sushi and shellfish)
  • Wash fruits and vegetables well before eating them
  • Use a separate surface for cutting up raw meats to cook
  • Always wash your hands and cooking tools with soap
  • Ask your healthcare provider if there are any foods you shouldn't eat with the medication you're taking

HIV and weight loss

Infection with HIV can lead to losing weight without wanting to. Here are some foods that can help you keep a healthy weight. Of course, don't eat foods you're allergic to, and talk to your healthcare provider before changing your diet.

  • peanut butter
  • legumes (dried beans and peas)
  • dairy foods like pasteurized cheese and cooked eggs
  • instant breakfast drinks
  • milkshakes

Water safety

Water that's not filtered can have bacteria, viruses, and parasites in it that people with HIV have to avoid. Remember these two tips:

  • Never drink water from the outdoors, like lakes, rivers, or streams
  • If you're traveling to a place where the water safety isn't guaranteed, only drink water from a sealed bottle, and avoid ice
  • Don't ignore your emotional and mental health—find a counselor through your healthcare provider or ASO professional.
  • Finding out you're positive and living with HIV may lead to depression and/or anxiety. But these conditions can be treated, and lots of people get better.
  • Ask your ASO professional to connect you with a support group or peer counselor—someone who's also HIV-positive.
  • Taking medicine to treat HIV and practicing safe sex can help prevent someone who is HIV-positive from giving it to someone else.
  • Some people think if both partners have HIV, they don't need to use condoms. Not true. One person can have a different kind of virus—one that's harder to treat.
  • STDs (sexually transmitted diseases, like herpes) can be more dangerous for someone with HIV, whose immune system is weak.
  • Get tested for STDs at least once a year. It is important to treat an STD immediately if you have one.

Go in for regular CD4+ T-cell and
viral load tests

The best way to find out if your HIV is under control is to go to your healthcare provider for regular lab testing, usually once every 3–6 months. This will include checking your CD4+ T-cell count and viral load. Remember, your CD4+ T-cell count should go up and stay up and your viral load should be as low as possible.