Preparing for HIV treatment
Finding out that you are HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)-positive may be difficult to accept at first choma and leave you feeling overwhelmed with many questions to ask.
You may need to start going on HIV treatment as soon as possible to improve your health and slow down the disease – Test and Treat. But, before you start going on HIV treatment, it’s important to physically and mentally prepare yourself for this new journey because once you start treatment, understand that it’s a lifetime commitment choma.
Before going on treatment, understand what it will take to stay committed to your medication routine. With a combination of the right health care provider, getting enough knowledge and emotional support about HIV and gaining a positive outlook, it’s possible to fully prepare yourself for HIV treatment.
See a health care professional first
Immediately after testing positive for HIV, consider seeing a health care professional/provider, even if you don’t feel sick. You and your health care provider will work closely together and discuss what the best treatment options are for you. Before you decide on your health care provider, you may want to ask yourself a few questions like:
“Am I confident in what my health care provider is advising me on?”
“Can I trust my health care provider and be fully open with them?”
If you answered yes to these questions, that means you’re comfortable with your health care provider. If you’re not, you may want to get a second opinion by going to another health care provider. If you’re not comfortable, they’ll understand and you can move on to another one.
A health care provider is there to help answer any questions you have about HIV and anything else related to it, like antiretroviral treatment (ARTs) medication, guide you on how to eat healthily and to support you with anything else. Sometimes choma, writing down your questions before your meetings with your provider may help you remember those important questions you have. Your health care provider may also have questions for you which would benefit the both of you if you answer truthfully, not with what you believe your provider may want to hear.
You can contact the Health Professions Councils of South Africa to help you find a heath care provider/practitioner you can be comfortable talking to. Ask for one who specializes in HIV because they are experienced in helping you best manage your health while living with HIV. Or you can visit your nearest clinic and speak to a nurse or doctor, choma. You can also call the AIDS Helpline on 0800 021 322 if you have more questions that you may not feel comfortable telling anyone
Getting enough knowledge about HIV
Choma, before you start going on treatment, your health care provider may need to take a few blood tests, called original tests. This is to measure the type of HIV medication you need to take and also these original test results will later be compared to future results to measure how well your treatment is going. If you don’t take care of your health, there is a high chance that opportunistic infections can come and cause your immune system to weaken. Find out how you can get and keep your viral load low and for as long as possible, to help you improve the quality of your life. Learn how to prevent spreading HIV by learning more about how to correctly use a condom every time you have sex.
There may be days where you feel down, this is understandable choma. It’s normal to feel this way chomas. Getting into a new routine where you have to take treatment can be daunting, especially in the beginning. Try not to go through this alone by speaking to someone you trust or Ask Choma, I’m also here for you. By focusing on staying healthy, you learn to adapt to this new way of living.
As soon as you test positive for HIV, you can go on treatment almost immediately afterwards. You don’t need to wait until your immune system is damaged before you go on treatment. Before you start treatment, understand that you need to be prepared to take HIV medication every day for the rest of your life, which is OK. Choma, remember that HIV is a manageable illness. HIV medicine is not a cure for HIV, but it does help you live a healthier, longer life because it helps slow down HIV from becoming Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Take care of yourself and ask as many questions as you want in order to better manage your health.
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