How To Support Your Mental Health With HIV

Concern for mental health is often much lower than what people give for their physical health. No matter how healthy and fit you are, the physique could perish in a day without sound mental health. A perfectly healthy person might not easily understand the pain and trauma the ones with a fickle mind have to endure. Living with HIV is considered to be one of the biggest challenges on this planet as the patients, in most cases, get ostracized and tagged as impure. Nothing about them is alien; only the condition they carry makes them unique from others. As the perception of the disease and its acceptance is widening with time, people from all walks of life care to invest time in supporting the AIDS patients.

It is always the support of the fellow-beings that act as the force to fight the battle. But it is also important that you care for yourself, even when you are alone. Survival is your goal, and it is your efforts that matter the most here. People with HIV are likely to undergo different episodes of mood swings and mental health conditions. You may go through depression, which leads to fatigue, loss of interest in exciting activities, guilt, loss of sleep and appetite, and detachment from dear ones. The emotional well-being can be affected by HIV, and these factors can be fought only with sufficient support. Here are a few ways to keep your mental health under control, which will reflect in better management of your HIV too.

1.      Open Up to Your Healthcare Provider

You will need to make frequent visits to your healthcare provider when you are living with HIV. Key to ensuring better mental health is opening up during such appointments; make sure to talk about all the mental stresses you have been experiencing. They can support you in these situations and recommend the best treatments or exercises. Diagnosis of your mental health condition, prescription of medication, and recommendation of other mental health professionals are some of the areas where a healthcare provider can assist you.

2.      Seek Therapy

When you are asked to visit a mental health professional, seek the help of the best psychiatrists, therapists, or psychologists in your area. They can offer you counseling and therapy for cognitive behavior, both of which can help you with changing the bad habits and thoughts into positivity.


3.      Talk to Your Friend or Family

There is no one better to reach out than your family with your issues. They aren’t mental health experts, but the love surely can heal those wounds within your mind. You could always open up to your good friends too.

4.      Support Groups

Not many people are fans of support groups since they consider it as the zone of saccharine stories and emotional rush. But as you share your concerns and issues with a group of people who have been through similar situations, you are introducing yourself into a new family with members who can support you with your survival.

7 Early Stage Symptoms of HIV

Each individual can exhibit different symptoms for the virus they carry in their body. With HIV eating up the CD4 immune cells in a human body, the chances for the affected person to contract various diseases increase as each stage passes onto a more serious one. The first signs of infection usually appear within two months, and in the less healthy people, the symptoms might start to appear in less than a month.

Many people experience symptoms similar to that of the flu; it is the body’s way of responding to the attack of the virus. The duration where your body starts showing such signs is called the seroconversion period. You must make sure to test your blood at this point to make sure if you have been affected by HIV. If the viral load keeps multiplying over time, your health is being subjected to a bigger risk. Look out for the following early-stage symptoms of HIV to head over to a healthcare center for a test, if you experience any of them.

1.      Fever

Fever is usually the first symptom of any


2.      Fatigue and Headache

Feeling lethargic occasionally after a day of activities is natural, but going through such a phase every day indicates declining health conditions. Some people might even end up hyperventilating after a few minutes of walking, while others could be winded. These are other inflammatory responses of your besieged immune system. Fatigue could go on to affect you through all stages of HIV, meaning it would remain both as an early and later symptom.

3.      Swollen Lymph Nodes and Joint Pain

Lymph nodes will get inflamed when the body gets infected, leading to swelling of those parts of the body. The function of the nodes is also impeded, making all bacteria and viruses to enter your body freely. Most of the nodes are located in groin, armpit, and neck, where you will start experiencing pain over time.

4.      Rashes

HIV seroconversion can bring about rashes on your skin as well, both as an early and late symptom. These rashes could surface on your skin in the form of boils.

5.      Vomiting, Nausea, and Diarrhea

HIV can affect the digestive system too, and it could happen in the early stages. Make sure to stay hydrated always since you don’t want to be subject to these multiple times a day.

6.      Dry Cough and Sore Throat

A dry cough that hasn’t been improving for over a month needs to be checked, and your blood must be tested as it could be a symptom of HIV.

7.      Night Sweats

Early stages of HIV could also exhibit symptoms such as night sweats, which could go on increasing in the later stages.

Alternative Medicine for HIV and AIDS Patients

Many people who get affected by HIV or AIDS use complementary and alternative medicine and treatment methods along with traditional medicine to gain better health and well-being in times of agony. Although not to a great extent, some symptoms of AIDS are said to be relieved by such treatments. While many people prefer these methods as an additional treatment to their deteriorating health, others look up to it as a futile step. But that doesn’t prove that these methods are ineffective; neither does it mean that these medicines can cure or treat such conditions in humans.

Side effects of these medicines are also unknown to this day, making the patients quite skeptical about the effectiveness of these treatment methods. Also, some medicines, though natural, can be unsafe for consumption since they could interact with other medications and bring about further trouble to the health conditions. Healthcare providers are to be informed if you are interested in trying the alternative treatment method in order to manage your symptoms. Here are a few alternative methods that can be used for HIV patients.

Body Therapies

Yoga and Massage Therapy

Some people have experienced an alleviation of pain after taking yoga or massage therapy sessions, and research has proven that yoga could further help the AIDS patients in reducing depression and anxiety and improving feelings of overall health. Levels of CD4 cells are also said to improve with these body therapies, and with the increase in these immune cells that were attacked by HIV, the patients grow stronger and a lot more immune to several other diseases.


This ancient Chinese medical practice is a method of releasing chemicals in the body to relieve you of the pain. Acupuncture involves placing thin, solid needles into different parts of the body that are pressure points, and it can help HIV affected patients with several treatment side effects and nausea.


Relaxation Therapies

Anxiety can be reduced to a great extent by taking up various forms or relaxation treatment and meditation, and it would also help in coping with the stresses related to chronic illness.

Herbal Medicine

Although herbs haven’t been proven to have the power to relieve HIV symptoms, several people use such medications hoping for better health conditions. However, you need to use these herbal medications with caution since it could impact on different people differently. Since an improvement in liver functions are recorded, and no significant interactions are made with antivirals, milk thistle is considered to be an effective herb in the treatment of HIV. Other herbs could, however, interact with the conventional HIV treatments to affect your already deteriorating health. So, you must inform your healthcare provider about the consumption of such herbs, which will allow them to monitor for any possible side effects or drug interactions.


Helpful Supplements for People with HIV

  • Bone health could be improved using vitamin D and calcium
  • Cholesterol can be reduced with fish oil
  • Progression of HIV slowed by selenium
  • Vitamin B-12 would be helpful in time of pregnancies
  • Weight gain can be backed by soy or whey protein

Treatment for HIV or AIDS

AIDS, as you all might know, is a disease that has always frightened the people with its deadly claws that cling onto the body of humans to attack the CD4 immune cells. Not many people might know the technical side of the disease since it isn’t an area that is constantly under discussion. Medicine is not of great interest for many people as well, but the people who get infected by the disease will surely check through the various possibilities to recover from it. The dear and near ones of the patients are also equally into the fight against the virus.

Treatment methods are constantly being searched by such people so that a healthier life is lead with the virus eating up the immune cells. As these cells within a human body are being attacked, the people being affected will start having recurrent fever, chronic fatigue, night sweats, bumps and rashes on the skin, chronic swollen lymph glands, sores and spots on tongue and genitals, and dark splotches inside eyelids, mouth, and nose. There are a few treatment methods that can help the patients get better with time; a complete recovery for AIDS is not possible. Let us have a look at the various treatment options for HIV.

Treatment Options

Every infected person should make sure to get treatment as soon as they are diagnosed with the virus. No matter how loaded the virus is in a person’s body, treatment is essential to control the malicious spread. Antiretroviral therapy is the main treatment for HIV, and it is a combination of daily medications that curb the reproduction of the virus. The CD4 cells are protected this way, keeping the immune system strong to combat the disease.

This therapy will help in keeping HIV from building up to AIDS. Transmission risks are also reduced by taking the therapy. Once you are an HIV patient, you will need to keep taking the sessions of antiretroviral therapy to stop the growth of the virus. If the treatment turns out to be effective, the virus will remain undetectable in tests. But if the person stops taking therapy, the virus that still exists in the body will begin to multiply and attack the CD4 cells.


Disease Effects


The immune system is helped by various medications to fight the incoming and existing virus in the body. Developing complications can be brought down to risk-free limits by taking the antiretroviral therapy medications which include six classes such as protease inhibitors, fusion inhibitors, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, integrase strand transfer inhibitors, and entry inhibitors (CCR5 antagonists). The regimen that is best to start with is of three HIV medications from two drug classes. Other medications are combined with the antiretroviral regimens to allow a person with HIV to take only one or two pills daily. Personal circumstances and overall health of a person have to be considered before deciding on a particular regimen. Therefore, when consulting a healthcare provider, all these have to mentioned in order to fix a certain regimen for your disease.