Healthy Life

Maintaining their general health is crucial for people living with HIV. But that doesn’t mean taking extra precautions besides general health rules. As every healthy person, people living with HIV should also avoid getting sick, maintain a strong immune system and protect themselves.

What makes people living with HIV become prominent in this matter is the extra challenge that a second illness might cause while they’re already dealing with an infection.

A healthy life can be ensured with four simple factors: hygiene, nutrition, sports and resting.

Hygiene

First secret to a healthy life is to be careful about personal and environmental hygiene. Personal hygiene means regular body cleansing, frequent hand-washing with liquid soap during day, minding your oral and dental health.

Most effective way to protect yourself from upper respiratory infections, such as flu and so on, is regular hand washing. Avoid touching your mouth or nose and eating without washing your hands. Make sure to wash your hands after toilet use. Opt for liquid hand soaps. Although antibacterial soaps seem more hygienic, there are several warnings about the damages they may cause. A standard liquid soap would suffice for required hand cleansing. Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Instead of using a shared towel, dry your hands while holding them in the air, or use a paper towel.

Ensure the body hygiene by taking shower at least every other day. Taking shower is crucial to cleanse our skin which is covered by clothes all day long. By taking shower, you can get rid of the bacterias settled on your skin.

People with suppressed immune system have a high risk of developing gum and oral diseases. Therefore you should mind your oral hygiene. Minding your oral hygiene, having your dental and gum treatments on time, being careful about toothbrushing and dental care are very important. And scheduling a dental appointment 1 or 2 times a year is recommended. You don’t have to share your condition with your dentist, but make sure they take the universal infectious precautions (wearing a mask, gloves, glasses) that would protect you both. Don’t hesitate to question them to make sure if they properly sterilized their tools before and after the procedure.

However you maintain your body hygiene, encountering many risk factors is possible if you’re not living in a clean environment. Food crumbs in kitchen or other rooms attract the bugs. Increased moisture in toilet, bathroom, piles of water cause mold occurrence. Make sure your tiles and furniture are made of an easy-clean, dust-free material. No need for special cleaning materials, standard ones would suffice for house cleaning. Make sure there’s good air ventilation in your living/work space.

Beslenme

Kaliteli bir yaşamın altın kuralı dengeli ve düzenli beslenmedir. eğer özel diyet gerektiren başka bir rahatsızlığınız yoksa ( şeker, tansiyon, kalp vb) HIV ile yaşayan bireyler için önereceğimiz özel bir diyet bulunmamaktadır. Tüm bireyler için geçerli olan standart beslenme kuralları sizler için de geçerlidir.

Öncelikle beslenme sıklığınıza ve miktarınıza dikkat etmeli günde sabah, öğle ve akşam olmak üzere en az 3 ana öğünde beslenmelisiniz. İşlenmiş gıdalar ve fastfood tüketimi yerine taze ve doğal ürünler ve yemekler tüketmelisiniz. Çiğ et yemekten kaçınmalı, çiğ sebze ve meyveleri tüketmeden önce iyice temizlemelisiniz. Gıdalarınızın hijyenik bir ortamda hazırlanmış olduğundan emin olun ve kuşku duyduğunuz gıdaları tüketmekten kaçının.

Bir haftalık periyot içerisinde tüm gıda gruplarından tüketmeniz gerekmektedir. Yani 7 günlük beslenme programınızda mutlaka mevsim sebzeleri, et ve et ürünleri, mevsiminde balık, baklagiller, tahıllar, meyveler ve süt ve süt ürünleri yer almalıdır. 7 günlük bir zaman diliminde saydığımız bu gıdaları dengeli olarak tüketiyorsanız vücudunuzun ihtiyaç duyduğu vitamin, mineral ve elementleri beslenme yoluyla alıyor ve düzenli besleniyorsunuz demektir.

Su tüketimi her bireyde olduğu gibi HIV ile yaşayan bireyler açısından da oldukça önemlidir. Özellikle böbrek sağlığınızı koruyabilmek, ilacın toksin etkilerini azaltabilmek için günde ortalama 2 litre ( herhangi bir böbrek hastalığınız yok ve hekiminiz farklı bir program önermediyse) su içmeniz gerekmektedir. Zaman zaman danışanlarımız yalnızca ilaç zamanında saf su içtiklerini gün içinde sıvı ihtiyaçlarını çay, kahve vb ürünlerle giderdiklerini söylemektedir. unutmayınız ki su haricindeki hiç bir sıvı vücudunuzun gerek gördüğü su ihtiyacını karşılamaz.

HIV ile yaşayan bireylerin ilk tanı aldıkları dönemde en sık görülen davranışlarından biri de gıda, vitamin ve mineral takviyesi almalarıdır. Beslenme programınız dışında aldığınız bu ek ürünlerin hepsinin birer ilaç olduğunu ve doğal olmadıklarını lütfen aklınızdan çıkarmayınız. HIV tedavisinde etkili herhangi bir alternatif tıp tekniği, şifalı bitki ve bitkisel ilaç bulunmamaktadır. Yine bağışıklık sisteminizi güçlendirecek herhangi bir mucize bitki ve ürün bulunmamaktadır. Destekleyici olduğu söylenen bir çok ürünün uzun vadeli kullanımıysa vücudunuzda toksin birikmesine neden olabilmektedir. Düzenli doktor kontrollerinizde hekiminiz tarafından vücudunuzdaki vitamin ve mineraller ölçülecek ve gerekli olması halinde belirli bir süre için yalnızca eksikliği bulunan vitamin ya da mineralin hekiminiz tarafından uygun görülen formunu kullanmanız istenecektir. Birbirine ilaç önermeye meraklı olan toplumumuzda HIV ile yaşayan bir başka bireyin dahi önerdiği hiçbir şeyi hekiminize danışmadan kullanmayın. Unutmayın ki başkasına faydalı gelen şey sizde ciddi zararlar yaratabilir.

Herhangi bir bitkisel ilaç kullanımınızdan önce mutlaka hekiminizle bitkisel ilacınızın içeriği ve HIV ilacınız hakkında görüşün.

Nutrition

A balanced and healthy nutrition is the golden rule of a quality life. If you don’t have another condition (diabetes, hypertension, heart condition etc.) requiring a special diet, there’s no special diet we can recommend for people living with HIV. Standard nutrition rules apply for you, too. First of all, you should mind your eating frequency and amount, and have at least 3 meals a day; breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead of processed food and fast food, you should consume fresh and natural food. You should avoid eating raw meat, and thoroughly cleanse the raw vegetables and fruits before consumption. Make sure your food is prepared in hygienic conditions, and avoid consuming suspicious food.

You need to consume all food groups in one week period of time. Meaning, your 7-day nutrition plan should include seasonal vegetables, meat and its products, seasonal fish, legumes, cereals, fruits, milk and dairy products. Regular consumption of these foods in a 7-day period ensures the intake of vitamins, minerals and elements your body needs by nutrition, and it means that you’re eating healthy. As same applies for everyone, water consumption is crucial for people living with HIV, too. You should drink at least 2 liters of water a day (if you have no kidney disease and your doctor didn’t recommend another diet) especially to maintain your kidney health and reduce the toxic effects of the medication. Sometimes our counselees say that they only drink pure water while medication intake, and fulfill their daily fluid need with tea, coffee and so on. Remember, no other fluid except water can fulfill your body’s water need.

One of the common behaviors in early diagnosis period among people living with HIV is taking food, vitamin and mineral supplements. Remember that all these supplements you take besides your nutrition diet are medication and unnatural. No alternative medicine technique, herbs nor herbal medication exist for HIV treatment. Nor a miraculous herb or product that can strengthen your immune system. And long term use of many so called supplementary products might cause toxin accumulation in your body. Vitamin and mineral levels in your body will be measured by your doctor during your routine examinations and if required only deficient vitamins or minerals intake for a certain period of time will be prescribed by your doctor. Our people love recommending medications to each other, so do not use anything, even if recommended by another person living with HIV, without consulting your doctor. Remember that something beneficial for someone else might cause serious damages in your body. Before using any herbal medication make sure to consult your doctor about the ingredients of your herbal medication and your HIV medication.

Sports

Sports is essential for a healthy life.

By now, we all know that you can’t tell if someone is living with HIV by looking from outside. Likewise, the puny African look identified with HIV long years ago is not what eventually awaits the people who have the virus. But can people living with HIV have that fit, athletic body they want? How much should sports be included in daily life and what are the things to be mindful of?

First of all, if someone wants to do physical exercise, it doesn’t matter whether they are HIV positive or HIV negative. People infected with HIV can maintain a very long and healthy life as long as they continue their treatment and take care of themselves. And physical exercise is part of this healthy life.

Sports is actually more effective on physical and mental health than many preventive and remedial medications. Regular exercise prevents the new infections clinging in the body and also helps the CD4 levels reach to desired levels and stabilize by boosting the immune system.

Today, side effects of medications used in HIV suppressing treatment are rarely observed.

Most common ones among these are increase in blood cholesterol level, osteoporosis, depression, increase in liver enzymes and sleeping disorders. Exercise prevents most of these side effects and increases the treatment compliance. Regular exercise helps us achieve a healthy body balance by increasing our muscle rate and decreasing the fat rate.

It decreases triglyceride in blood and LDL (bad cholesterol), and increases HDL (good cholesterol). This way major cardiovascular diseases are prevented. Exercise has been observed to reduce osteoporosis risk and increase the bone functions. It enhances the lung capacity, helps the liver regeneration and empowers its medication tolerance.

Various mental issues such as depression, anxiety have been significantly reduced in those who regularly exercise. And exercise has been proved to have an almost therapeutic effect on mental health. By helping blood pressure regulation, it prevents diabetes and many cancer occurrences.

There’s no difference between a HIV positive person taking medical treatment and a HIV negative person by means of exercise capability. People living with HIV can also pursue their professional sports career ceaselessly. And there are examples of this. However, those who have other accompanying diseases should consult a relevant doctor before scheduling an exercise plan.

Those who have any difficulty or experience temporary chest pains should have the required check-ups before pursuing sports.

Resistance trainings, which are performed with weight or against weight and preferred by people who wish to have a muscular body, are exercises that people living with HIV can perform just like anyone else do. So HIV is not an obstacle for having or maintaining your dream muscular body, on the contrary, an opportunity for people living with HIV to benefit from sports.

Doing the exercises involving weightlifting more than necessary or without enough nutrition would cause muscle loss. Resistance trainings should be performed regularly, ideally 3-4 times a week, and enough carbohydrate and protein intake during this process must be ensured.

Performing the moves properly is important to reduce the injury risk. During the exercise there should be no pain, person should increase the weight gradually without exceeding their own limits and in a controlled way.

Aerobic exercise enhances lung and heart capacity, enables muscle mass increase by burning the fats. It’s the ideal exercise type recommended by World Health Organization and can be mixed with resistance trainings.

One of the crucial things that an active sports person must ensure is enough fluid intake. Enough fluid must be taken before, during and after the exercise, and dehydration must be prevented. Nutrition based on the performed exercise and aim, a good night’s sleep will peak the benefit you’ll get from exercise.

Whether you’re HIV positive or not, let’s exercise!

Resting

Exercise is so important, so is resting your body. Regular sleeping is particularly essential for people living with HIV. Sleeping is the time period when your body rests and gets the chance to regenerate. A healthy sleep pattern would significantly help maintain your body resistance.

Ideal resting time for everyone is 7 hours, no matter if they’re living with HIV or not. Especially a 7-hour sleep at pitch- black night would maximize the benefits your body will get.

However, our sleep pattern changes sometimes due to entertainment, and sometimes due to work, or sometimes we just can’t get enough sleep. In such cases, it’s important to make up those sleepless times in the following days. For instance, if you’ve slept three days less in a week, ensure a 7-hour night’s sleep for rest of the week.