You’ve been diagnosed with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). This is the virus that causes AIDS, a disease than can be life threatening. HIV attacks the body's immune system, making it tougher to fight infection. For most people, infections are normally not severe or fatal. However, for people with HIV or AIDS, these infections can cause death because the body can’t fight them. Unlike other viruses, the body can't get rid of HIV. Here's what you can do to help stay healthier and prevent the spread of HIV.
Take your medicine exactly as directed.
Don’t take any other medicine, including over-the-counter drugs or supplements, unless your doctor says it’s OK.
Report any side effects to your doctor.
See your doctor regularly. Your doctor will need to follow you closely for the rest of your life.
Tell all your healthcare providers that you are HIV-positive. This includes dentists and dental hygienists.
Talk to your doctor before getting vaccines. There are some vaccines you should avoid.
Practice safe sex. Use condoms. Don't risk spreading your illness to noninfected people.
Ask any sexual partners to be tested for HIV.
Never share needles for drug use.
If you get tattoos or have any parts of your body pierced, be sure that the needles are destroyed afterward.
Don't donate blood, plasma, semen, or body parts.
If you are a woman, talk with your doctor before getting pregnant.
There is a small risk of spreading the virus through deep, open-mouthed kissing.
Take care of your skin.
Wash your hands often, especially after using the bathroom.
Wash your hands before taking care of any wounds or injuries.
Use hypoallergenic sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater.
Avoid direct sun exposure on your skin.
Use an electric razor for shaving.
Ask your doctor before using cosmetics, contact lenses, tampons, or douches.
Avoid contact with animals.
If you do have contact with an animal, wash your hands right away.
Avoid contact with pet urine or feces.
Don’t clean litter boxes, cages, or aquariums.
Keep your home clean.
Clean floors, carpets, furniture, and countertops regularly.
Be sure your bathroom is clean.
Wash your hands after handling trash.
Don’t smoke or use tobacco products.
Don’t use portable humidifiers or vaporizers.
Avoid contact with anyone who has a cold, the flu, or other contagious condition. This includes measles, chickenpox, herpes, viruses, pinkeye, cough, or sore throat.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:
Blurred vision or eye problems
Trouble concentrating or ongoing fatigue
Wheezing, trouble breathing, or shortness of breath
Rapid, irregular heartbeat
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Rash or hives
Cut or rash that swells, turns red, feels hot or painful, or begins to ooze
Fever of 100.4°F (38˚C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider
Diarrhea that does not go away after two loose stools
Pain or cramping in the abdomen