Kelly's Blog

25 Things You Should Know About HIV (And Probably Don’t) – Day 5

Posted in Awareness, treatment on Friday, October 15th, 2010 by Kelly - 1 Comment


We are sharing 25 things you should know about HIV (and probably don’t) over 25 days. Today is #5.  These 25 things will impact what you do and the moves you will make.

“It is always your next move.” ~Napolean Hill

#5: HIV doesn’t just affect your immune system            

From the day you are infected with HIV, changes are happening in your body. We talk a lot about the changes in your immune system, but other things are happening as well.

Some of the changes are a result of the HIV infection and some are an unintended result of the treatment. Regardless of how they came about, issues that we might associate with aging like diabetes (high blood sugar), high cholesterol and triglycerides, and fat redistribution can affect those who are HIV positive.

Lipodystrophy, also called fat redistribution syndrome is the name of this group of symptoms. It is known for its changes in your body shape and in your metabolism.

Your body shape may change by the accumulation and/or loss of fat, which can affect your appearance. Metabolic changes may include increased resistance to insulin and those abnormally high levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides. You may get one or more of these conditions if you are HIV positive.

Why is this important to you?

Doctors aren’t really sure why those who are HIV positive develop lipodystrophy, but they think it may be related to antiretroviral medications you take to control your HIV. It may also have something to do with your age, overall health, and how long you have been HIV positive.

But they are sure that you have a plenty of choices you can make each day that can improve the effects of lipodystrophy on your body.  A single choice that you make can often control more than one symptom.

These are long term conditions that have a progressive effect on your overall health.

How does this affect your path?

You are faced with choices every day and you can make healthy choices that can improve your symptoms of lipodystrophy. These include eating a healthy diet rich in fiber and “good fats” like Omega 3 and a daily dose of exercise that includes some use of resistance (weight training) and aerobic exercises.

Along with some treatments prescribed by your doctor, you have the power to make a real impact in this aspect of HIV and how it affects your life. If you have your viral load under control, you may as well look good while you are feeling good.

“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.”~ Lao Tzu

The power is yours. What path will you choose?


To read all of the 25 Things You Should Know About HIV (And Probably Don’t), please click on Kellys Blog to read each one of them as they are released. Or enter your name and email address in the boxes in the right column of this page. We will send you a complete copy of all 25 Things.

For more information on Lipodystrophy and other HIV related conditions, please check out our Info Center.

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One Response to “25 Things You Should Know About HIV (And Probably Don’t) – Day 5”

  • carolyn mcfarland says:

    My daughter’s 22 year old girl friend was just diagnosed with HIV. She and her boyfriend had one night of unprotected sex. She was unaware that he was HIV positive. She had asked about the medicine he was taking and he said that it was an antibiotic. Turns out that it was medicine to treat hiv. This is all very sad and real. I just helped to pay for the copay for the medicine she will need to take. The real problem here is that she cannot tell her parents because they are very strict traditionally and would write her off if she told them. I want to help her navigate the ends and outs of what she will have to do over the coming months and years. She is in shock and denial. She is now facing this and realizes finally what is happeing to her. She found out last week and since then has been in complete denial. Today she had a complete melt down and my daughter was able to get her medicine filled because she works but didnt have the copay money to pay for the meds. She has an appointment tomorrow with the doctor. Unfortunately, my daughter has to go to her first day of work and cannot go with her. Worse, is that she does not know that my daughter has confided in me about this situation. I feel like this your girl is on the edge. She is feeling very sick and my daughter says she looks terrible. She finally got her to take the medicine. I went out and baught some really good multi vitamins to also help bolster her immune system. I need some good information to help me help her. I don’t know what to do. I know she’s embarrased and feels that people will feel like she is somehow a “slut”, from what my daughter has told me. I am sad that at such a young age someone has to deal with their own mortality. Please help with any information that you have. I am going to contact one of the hotlines to get some more immediate information. It’s so heartbreaking to here from my daughter about how frail she looks. I am so sad about this situation and want my daughter to demand that she tell me. She needs an adult figure that can help her deal with all that is coming her way, and also as a system of support. Help.

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