Ongoing medical care and anti-retroviral treatment (ART) are the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Once you find a doctor or clinic, you should get an evaluation of your general health and immune function. Many doctors will:
- Administer lab tests to evaluate your immune system.
- Determine if you have other diseases that might become problematic in the future, including syphilis, TB, hepatitis-B, and toxoplasmosis.
If you have one or more of these other illnesses, there may be treatments or prophylaxis available to prevent it from becoming more serious or recurring. If you do not have any of these illnesses, doctors may be able to prevent future infection by:
- Administering vaccines. Many HIV-positive people get a hepatitis-B vaccine and bacterial pneumonia vaccines, since contracting these diseases could be dangerous for immune-suppressed people.
- Prescribing antiretroviral treatments and protease inhibitors when tests show immune system impairment.
Scheduling regular check-ups, every three to six months, is essential. Some people need more frequent check-ups, particularly when they are starting new antiviral drugs.
It is also important to take care of your emotional well-being by going to counseling or support groups. Many HIV-positive people struggle emotionally because of isolation, depression, anxiety or other challenges and this support can provide a safe way of sharing feelings and practical information.
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