An HIV diagnosis can be a devastating discovery, but there are many ways to live a meaningful life after diagnosis. HIV does not have a face, meaning anyone is subject to contracting the disease. Everyday, there is a new patient who learns that he/she is living with the virus.
What is HIV?
HIV is one of the most serious public health endemics, it is the virus that causes AIDS. If you don’t know, HIV is a human immunodeficiency virus that attacks the immune system. According to HIV.gov, there are around 37.6 million people living with the virus across the globe. 35.9 million are adults and 1.7 million are children.
A Brief History of The Virus
No one really knows where the disease comes from for sure, but it is put to belief that it comes from Kinshasa in the Dominican Republic of Congo around 1920, according to Avert. Supposedly, the virus crossed species from Chimpanzee to humans. However, cases didn’t become noticeable until 1980. Before the 80s, the amount of of people living with the disease is unknown.
In 1981, scientist discover a rare lung infection, PCP(pneumocystis carinii pneumonia) in five young gay men. In California and New York, doctors find Kaposi’s Sarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer, in gay patients. Then, in 1981, HIV was ruled as a disease that intravenous drug users contract.
As more men contract the virus, by 1982, the disease was named GRID(gay related immune deficiency). However, in 1983, the disease spread to female sex partners of infected men. This discovery leads to the suggestion that the virus passed through heterosexual intercourse.
By the 90s, thousands of gay men died of AIDS(acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) related diseases due to HIV.
Fortunately, scientists found a way to curve the statistics by inventing an antiviral medication in the early 90s. Since then, HIV discoveries are no longer a death sentence.
9 Ways to Live A Meaningful Life With HIV
- Eat better: Maintaining energy levels with HIV is paramount. Involving healthy eating habits promotes sufficient immunity.
- Exercise: The key to life is a healthy heart. Sweat for at least 30 minutes a day to rid body of toxins, thus boosting your immunity.
- Seek emotional support: Though living with the virus can be challenging, having an accountable support system matters. Contact a therapist or counselor for help with processing your emotions.
- Practice safe sex: Safe sex prevents the spread of other diseases like chlamydia and syphilis that further weaken immunity. It also prevents to spread of the virus to other people.
- Take prescription medication daily: Modern antiviral drugs help delay progression of the virus. Follow your doctor’s orders with daily regimens.
- Avoid drug and alcohol abuse: Not only does alcohol destroy immunity, it is deadly. So many deaths occur due to the consumption of alcohol, outside of health reasons.
- Quit smoking: Tobacco destroys immunity, it kills.
- Take vitamins: Daily vitamins also help boost immunity, they are energizing as well!
- Self-care: Do what makes you happy. Turn off the news and enjoy some ice cream. Get a massage. Relax.