Decreasing Your Risk of Infections and Keeping Your Immune System Healthy
If you are infected with HIV, your immune system may not be able to fight off other infections. Suggestions to lower your risk of infections and to keep your immune system as healthy as possible include:
Having sex or sharing needles with another person can transmit HIV.
To avoid infecting anyone else:
Abstain from sex. If you are sexually active, use a male latex condom or female polyurethane condom. Sexual activity includes intercourse and any other sexual acts that result in the exchange of bodily fluids.
Inform former or potential sexual partners of your HIV positive status.
Do not share personal items, such as razors, toothbrushes, or tweezers.
Do not donate blood or organs.
Try not to get pregnant.
If you are sexually active, get professional advice about contraception.
If you have a baby, do not breastfeed.
The virus can be transmitted in your milk.
Improve your coping strategies for dealing with the physical symptoms of AIDS
Help you tell your family and friends that you have HIV infection
Assist you in dealing with the stress and anger that often accompanies diagnosis of HIV infection
Help you deal with losses associated with the disease, such as the inability to work and dependence on others for housekeeping or personal care
Cognitive behavioral therapy
(CBT) is a form of counseling that focuses on how your thoughts affect the way you feel and act. CBT can help relieve stress, diminish feelings of anger, and improve symptoms of
In addition, you may find benefit from attending
. Other types of therapy, like art therapy, may also be helpful.
When to Contact Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if you notice new or worsening health problems or symptoms.
HIV/AIDS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
. Updated September 2008. Accessed September 25, 2008.
HIV/AIDS. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at:
. Accessed September 25, 2008.
Noble J, Greene HL.
Textbook of Primary Care Medicine
. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc; 2000.
2/24/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
: Rao D, Nainis N, Williams L, Langner D, Eisin A, Paice J. Art therapy for relief of symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS.
7/21/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
: Crepaz N, Passin WF, Herbst JH, et al. Meta-analysis of cognitive-behavioral interventions on HIV-positive persons' mental health and immune functioning.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a