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CARE AND SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE WITH HIV

A positive HIV test

Testing HIV positive can be shattering experience. Many people thinks that, they will die soon and may give up in life, but are unaware that it can be many years before their infection can turn to AIDS. In many instances thousands of people leaves their homes, stop working, abandon their families, begins living recklessly, or commit suicide because they feel they have nothing to leave for. With support from family and friends, and continued counseling, an HIV –positive can overcome his or her feelings, and return to life with new determination and optimism. Studies have shown that people who have received news of their imminent death go through five emotional stages.

  1. Denial: refusal to accept the results .They may ask for a retest, or tell themselves and other that it is surely a mistake.
  2. depression: spend a lot of time alone, and behave like they have given up in life.
  3. Anger: they may have a strong, aggressive reaction toward others. Blaming them for his or her infection
  4. Negotiation: they plead with God for more time in return for living a healthy life.
  5. Acceptance: with good guidance and counseling during their difficult times, a person can begin to accept what it means to be positive and make the best of their time left, make healthy choices, and seek prompt treatment for illness and infections.

Help people living with HIV /AIDS to understand that, it’s ok to have a variety of feeling and with counseling and support, a person can begin to accept his or her condition. Acceptance means adding more life to your days rather than trying to add more days to your life.

Treatment

A cure means that the germ that causes a disease has been completely killed or eliminated from the body and will not return unless the person has been re infected. There is NO cure for AIDS. However there is way to treat the symptoms. There are interventions that can cause symptoms to be less painful or pronounced or cause them to disappear altogether. There are many strategies people can use to prolong life and improve its quality even if they are infected with HIV.

Proper nutrition

It is important for people with HIV and AIDS to eat a nutritious diet to fight infection and diseases, to stay energetic, strong and productive. Nutrition and HIV are strongly related to each other. Malnourished people are likely to progress faster to AIDS, because their body is weak and unable to fight infection. People with HIV and aids are likely to get malnutrition because they eat less and there body doesn’t use food properly. People with HIV and AIDS should:

  • Eat more than people who are not infected.
  • Eat small meals often and variety of food to help them get all the energy and nutrient they need.
  • Eat even when they are sick or have no appetite.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit of different colors.
  • Eat fat, oil and sugar in small amount and limit processed food.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.

Practicing good hygiene

  • It is important to practice hygiene to avoid infection especially to people with HIV and aids because they have weak immune systems.
  • Wash hands with soap before and after handling the patient or food.
  • Handle food and water properly to avoid contamination and further infection.
  • Boil water for at least 5-10min to kill germ before drinking.
  • Use clean water to wash all fruit and vegetable which will be eaten raw.
  • HIV and aids people should take bath every day to keep their body clean, wear shoes to avoid small injuries and brush teeth after a meal, wash hand with soap after going to the toilet.

Physical support

  • Appetite loss: ask what they would like to eat and drink, when and how much. Eat with them when possible. Physical exercise helps to improve appetite.
  • Nausea vomiting and diarrhea: smaller food with little fat or spice may reduce vomiting and diarrhea. Encourage eating dry food like biscuits or toast. Sucking on lemon may reduce nausea. Encourage drinking water between meals if they can’t eat. Notice when nausea occurs and avoid food at this time. Use gloves to clean up vomit and wash hand with soap after using the rest room.
  • Sores in the mouth: gargle with warm, salty water .avoid acidic foods. Eat warm soft food .use mouth washes.
  • Persistent cough: rest in well aerated room. Seek medical treatment.
  • Fevers: sponge bath .drink extra fluids .panadol may be used see a doctor
  • Weakness: encourage activity. Have rest period .use a bath chair.
  • Skin problem: change sleeping position to avoid skin sores. Encourage short walks .wash sores but use gloves if the sores are open. Apply soothing lotions to dry skin.
  • Confusion and forgetting: AIDS and depression may affect the brain, causing confusion. Keep clock and calendar to remind the person of the day, time and where they are .make sure all precautions are taken. Remove anything that can harm the person

Emotional support

  • Ask the person to talk on how he /she feels and what they can do for themselves and what they need help with.
  • Encourage him or her to do as much as possible for themselves.do not do for the ill person what they can do for themselves.
  • Give support and praise when deserved.
  • Ask the person how they prefer to have things done (food preparation or cleaning)
  • When feelings of anger and crying occur, encourage them to express them. Let them know you are there to listen to them, and there feelings are normal.

Spiritual support

Have faith or belief.

Anti-retroviral therapy (ART)

Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) is a combination of medicines that slow down HIV from spread in the body. They help the immune system to be strong so it can fight infections and illness. ART is not a cure for HIV, they reduce the numbers of HIV in the blood ,but cannot eliminate it. ART does not prevent against re-infection from HIV. Although anti-retroviral therapy can prevent some of the serious illness that often come with AIDS, there are some challenges that HIV-positive individuals must be prepared for.

  • Duration: ART is a lifetime commitment. People on ART need to swallow pills every day according to a strict schedule.
  • Adherence: skipping only a few of these pills can trigger the development of new strains of HIV that are immune to this kind of drugs. This kind of strain could eventually lead to death.
  • Side effects: headaches, dry mouth, skin rashes, diarrhea, anemia, hair loss, tingling in the hands and feet, nausea and vomiting unusual or bad dreams, feeling tired and feeling of sadness or worry.

The home is a very important place for a person with AIDS. He or she has the care and support from the family which is very helpful. He or she needs both moral support and physical care. As there is no cure for AIDS, relatives can often give the best care. The person will feel more secure at home where he or she is among the loved one.

People living with HIV and AIDS can live long, healthy lives if they take care of themselves by eating well, practicing good hygiene, staying active and going to the doctor as soon as they have symptoms of infection or fall ill.

The goal of living positive is to be free of illness, to be productive, and to stay emotionally and physically healthy. For more information and intervention visit your nearest hospital.

Health Care | Health


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