Archive for the ‘Well-Being’ Category
This morning I was reading the Huffington Post blog by Susan Smith Ellis, the CEO of (RED) – the HIV/AIDS organization founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver. (RED) is not a charity. It’s an economic initiative that has become its own brand, and it acts as an agency of sorts, forging partnerships with other brands (Apple, Converse, Motorola, Gap and Hallmark, just to name a few) that sell products/services directly to consumers.
Here is a link to the post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-smith-ellis/hivaids-medicine-is-only_b_674033.html
Susan makes a great point that HIV medicine is only one piece of the puzzle. She notes that successful treatment for HIV/AIDS requires education, care, support, food and nutrition, as well as medication. And she uses the example that with food and nutritional support, the antiretroviral drugs taken to treat HIV/AIDS are likely to be significantly more effective. And programs to provide treatment and care go hand in hand with prevention.
I couldn’t agree more.
Over the past several months, my team and I at MyHIVAIDSAwareness.com have been talking with others who are HIV positive and meeting with HIV community leaders. It has become increasingly clear that we have to know all the pieces of the HIV puzzle. It isn’t enough just to take your meds if you plan on living your life without limitations.
But knowing what those pieces are and fitting them into your life are significant challenges. There is just too much information to retain and too much involved with making it all happen in your life. This is leading to an incredible amount of frustration and unnecessary stress.
So my team has been hard at work focusing on the top ten challenges of living with HIV and doing something about making these pieces of the puzzle fit for you. The result of our work is a groundbreaking series of expert courses that are ten minutes long. That’s right, they are ten minutes – no more.
In the ten minute video course, we highlight key pieces of the puzzle for topics such as nutrition, exercise, and side effects. Then we turn the action over to you in a ten day action guide designed to help you fit what you have learned into your life. In my new online community, you will find support and guidance from others taking the course with you.
You become the expert at putting together your own puzzle. And you take control of your life with HIV.
Please make sure that you have signed up for our mailing list to get the first look at our Eating for HIV Expert Course and my new online community coming very soon.
And remember, there are no solutions without action.
San Francisco public health doctors are urging patients to begin taking HIV medications soon after their diagnosis rather than waiting until their immune systems become compromised. Reports of this major policy change first surfaced last week in a New York Times article.
These new city guidelines – to be announced next week by the Department of Public Health – may be the most forceful in the world in their strong endorsement of early treatment against HIV. Doctors will offer patients combination therapy and advise them to pursue early treatment, but the patients will ultimately decide whether to begin therapy right after their diagnosis.
Antiretroviral therapy is traditionally used to stall or prevent the progression of HIV to AIDS, and it can also prevent other side effects of a degenerating immune system, like opportunistic infections and cancers. The downside is that ART can also cause liver and kidney damage among other complications.
The issue of when to begin treatment is an often discussed decision that we are asked to make with very little information on when to begin a lifetime regimen of costly and sometimes toxic medications. The answer to when remains in dispute, but San Francisco doctors are opting for treatment before permanent damage is done
Even our nation’s experts are solidly divided on the issue of when to begin treatment. In December of last year, only half of the HIV experts on the 38 member Department of Health and Human Services panel favored starting drugs in patients with healthy levels of more than 500 T-cells.
The issue for doctors and patients is whether the damage caused by HIV is more life threatening than the damage caused by some of the antiretroviral drugs. Doctors just don’t know the answer to that question right now. You can expect a great deal of discussion on that in the coming weeks and months.
We will be exploring treatment options in the next few days on our blog. Please check back for new insights on when to start treatment.
Michael Mooney and Nelson Vergel wrote a great article in the September/October 2009 edition of Postively Aware http://positivelyaware.com/2009/09_05/index.shtml about using exercise to manage the side effects of HIV.
In their research, they found that exercise can improve muscle mass and bone density while decreasing triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol). Building back your weight with lean muscles and improving your overall strength make exercise an attractive complement to your HIV therapy.
Starting an exercise program is tough for all of us and they recommend beginning with getting your blood pressure, heart rate, weight, body dimensions, fasting cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar checked. Your doctor should be able to tell you if you are capable of exercising without affecting your health.
The number to remember is 10,000 – as in steps per day. If you are new to exercise, start walking every day and do the best that you can. Walking can help increase energy levels and get your ready for a more intensive exercise program as you are feeling better. Using a cheap pedometer to measure your daily steps is helpful and the number of 10,000 per day supports good cardiovascular health and fat loss.
The article provides a comprehensive guide to getting your workout program off the ground. It is an informative read at http://positivelyaware.com/2009/09_05/exercise.shtml.
Exercise always works best on the buddy system and it a good time to share with friends and family who support you. Beyond the physical benefits, it can improve your overall outlook and help with your quality of life.
Bottomline is that is a choice you make to take back some control. Choose yoga or choose basketball. Exercise can improve strength, fight fatigue and depression, improve endurance, increase cardiovascular fitness, help to reduce stress and promote muscle strength. It may also help the immune system work better.