Living Positively with HIV Infection 291
Take care of your health
• Look for a HIV care and treatment program as soon as you
test positive for HIV (see page 517).
• Take care of medical problems early. See a health worker
regularly. When you get sick, make sure to get the treatment
you need. Each infection can weaken your immune system
more. Get tested for TB and take cotrimoxazole to prevent
other infections (see page 296).
• Eat nutritious food to keep your body strong. The same
foods that are good to eat when you are healthy are good for
you when you are sick. Buy nutritious food instead of spending
money on vitamin injections (see page 165).
• Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs (see page 435).
• Practice safer sex for your own health and your partner’s.
• Try to get enough rest and exercise. This will help your
body stay strong to fight infection.
• Prevent infection by washing often and by using clean water
for drinking and preparing food (see page 296 for medicine to
prevent infections in people with HIV).
Medicines that treat HIV and AIDS
There is still no cure for HIV, but antiretroviral medicines can help
people with HIV live longer and have fewer health problems. Anti
means against, and the virus that causes HIV is called a retrovirus. If used
correctly, antiretrovirals (called ARVs) fight against and control the HIV
infection.The immune system becomes stronger and the person with
HIV is able to fight off infections and become healthy. But HIV is not
cured. Small amounts of the virus always remain hidden in the body.
Taking antiretroviral medicines is known as Anti Retroviral
Therapy, or ART. ART is becoming cheaper and more available in
many countries. Government health facilities and other programs
may offer ART at low or no cost.
ART works when used correctly
ART means taking a combination of 3 antiretroviral medicines
every day. Once a person with HIV begins ART, the medicines must
be taken faithfully every day. A woman on ART will gain weight,
and look and feel healthier. But if she stops ART, misses doses of
medicine, or takes them at the wrong times, HIV can become
stronger and make her sick again.
ART and drug resistance: When people do not take ART at the
right times every day, their HIV can become resistant (see page 481).
The virus changes so the medicine will not work as well against
it. If drug resistant HIV spreads among many people, then ART
medicines will no longer work very well.Taking ART correctly helps
preserve its effectiveness for everyone.
TB, 303 and 387
➤ If you have
for them a goal.
➤ In some places,
ART is called
HAART or Triple
Therapy. It is all
the same thing.
➤ ART can help
most people with
HIV stay healthy
for many years.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012