HIV / Aids

How is AIDS managed?

It is important that women living with HIV and AIDS have a balanced and healthy lifestyle; this includes:

  • Healthy lifestyle:
    • Balanced diet, food enriched with Selenium e.g., brazil nuts, wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, kidneys, liver, tuna, other oily fish, shellfish, sunflower seeds, lentils and cashew nuts.
    • Daily supplements, of vitamin A (preformedvitamin A and beta carotene), multivitamins (vitamins B, C,and E) http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/351/1/23
    • Exercise
    • Sufficient rest.
    • Protection from cold – a reduction in body temperature will cause a further drop in immune system, thus making it ideal for opportunistic infections to develop.
    • Regular health checks. It is important to have a good relationship with your health provider
    • Early, and sometimes aggressive of treatment of opportunistic diseases.
  • Anti-retrovirals (ARV’s) are a drug that counters or acts against a retrovirus, usually understood to be HIV or a substance or drug that stops or suppresses the activity of retroviruses such as HIV. A person should start on ARV’s when her CD4 count is around 200, and the viral load high. There is constant research carried out about treatment and it is important to keep up to date with the latest information. The following websites can help.

Different ARV’s may have different side effects, some of which are specific to women. One specific side-effect is changes in body shape which can have a serious impact on body image.
Lesbian, bisexual and other women who have sex with women (WSW) may be at greater risk for certain cancers due to certain behaviors and social factors. Breast cancer and uterine cancer may be associated with nulliparity, the state of not having given birth. Some evidence suggests that uterine/endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer are more prevalent among women who have never used oral contraception (the pill).