20 Jul Long-Term Survival With HIV: A Generation Grows Older
With an effective treatment for the HIV virus now readily available, the condition is being perceived as a long-term condition. People are not only living longer lives with the condition, but they are also leading healthy, active lives as well.
According to a recently concluded study, over 4.3 million people globally who are living with this condition are over 50 years of age. While an HIV-positive status will definitely have an effect on your overall health and well-being, the good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to take proper care of yourself as you age.
Going Through Long-Term HIV Treatment
Ever since the introduction of antiretroviral treatment in the mid 1990s, which was truly revolutionary, patients who would have otherwise died from HIV witnessed their immune systems recover miraculously. The drugs used for purposes of treating the condition have improved tremendously since then, something that has made it possible for scores of people living with the virus to lead long, healthy lives. There are actually many HIV-positive people who are living much longer than their HIV-negative counterparts after taking their treatment seriously, staying on their meds, and making healthy nutritional choices.
But still, most of the HIV drugs haven’t been around for long. Again, it is only the short-term effects of these drugs that have been extensively researched and documented, but the long-term effects remain less understood. For instance, some drugs have been known to affect the liver, kidneys, heart and bones in subtle ways. As such, it is imperative for your doctor to keep a close eye on how your body is responding to treatment so as to identify any serious problems, and further offer early treatment options. This should be part and parcel of your personal routine health monitoring.
Growing Older With HIV
As you age, you are more prone to experiencing other conditions that generally come with age regardless of your HIV status. In fact, there are some issues that affect health that are attributed to ageing even among persons who are otherwise viewed as completely healthy. Such issues may include hearing problems, receding gums as well as menopause for women.
Aging with an HIV-positive diagnosis can increase your risk of experiencing illness, though the real reasons for this aren’t clearly understood. Most probably, it is because of the fact that there are long-term effects of living with an HIV-positive diagnosis as well as long-term effects of being under HIV treatment. In addition, there is still the risk of prolonged effects of smoking (which is quite common among people with HIV) or being overweight.
In order to remain healthy throughout your golden years, it is important you make a point of improving your overall health by quitting smoking, eating healthy, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.
Other Health Issues
Most of us experience other health conditions as we age, such as problems with the kidneys, bones or heart, or even cancer. It is therefore important for your doctor to monitor your urine and test your blood regularly for symptoms of any health problems. Again, it is also imperative to let your doctor know when you are experiencing other new symptoms, side-effects or illnesses so that these issues can be investigated in advance.
There are chances that you will be taking additional medication as you age and as you continue to experience other health issues. You therefore need to schedule an appointment with a doctor with a specialty in HIV treatment to make sure you are receiving proper care and medication. In some instances, the drugs that are used for purposes of treating other conditions can easily interact with those used for treating HIV, hence making these drugs less effective. It is incredibly important to let your doctor know about any medications you are taking.
Dr. Sue Reddy specializes in the treatment of HIV and AIDS. She understands what is required to live a healthy, active life not only with HIV but also as you grow older. If you are looking for a doctor with extensive experience in HIV treatment, give Dr. Reddy a call. Her staff would be more than happy to set up an appointment and answer any questions you may have.