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Getting Knocked Down, But Not Knocked Out By HIV – Part 2

Posted in General, Quality of Life on Thursday, July 1st, 2010 by Kelly - 4 Comments

Part 2 of 4 Part Series

 “Through my illness I learned rejection. I was written off. That was the moment I thought, Okay, game on. No prisoners. Everybody’s going down. “

~Lance Armstrong

In the first part of this series, we shared that we all get knocked down once in a while. Its part of what makes life interesting and it keeps us on our toes.

In this second part of this series, I want to talk about knowing your opponent. You need to see your opponent to understand their game plan. You need to know all about HIV and how it plays the game.

I know that you might say that living with HIV is no game, but what is a game anyway? Isn’t it some form of contest where there are opponents and rules that decide the winner? It is no different when your opponent is HIV and winning means living the healthiest life possible.

What is HIV’s strategy to win? It is a simple strategy of finding the CD4 cells in your immune system and using them to replicate. By destroying the ability of the infected cells to do their job in the immune system, your body then loses the ability to fight many infections. HIV is tricky and it changes its attack over time by mutating.

But your opponent has a weakness that can be exploited. If HIV is not able to replicate and mutate as often as it would like, it can be put into the corner.  A combination of HAART drugs creates problems for HIV replication, keeps the HIV offspring low, and reduces the possibility of HIV mutating.

HIV also doesn’t like healthy living, good nutrition and a toned physique.

For every person in this fight, there is a unique game with its own special set of rules for your body.  Your strategy to fight HIV requires you understanding your opponent and how it fights in your body.

Here are five ways to give you the edge in fighting HIV and in life:

Be real, be authentic, and be yourself. There is no way you can face your opponent with blinders on and no way to win this battle without being in focus. Too often people spend incredible amounts of energy trying to bend themselves into something they’re not or hide from the truth.

Shower your HIV team with honesty. Your team is your lifeline and they deserve your honesty in sharing this battle with you. Tell your HIV doc the truth about your habits and experiences so they can craft a strategy that can win. Be upfront with your support team about how you feel and what you need.

Take a sincere interest in HIV. You have got to understand it to fight it. Take the steps necessary to be the expert on your body and its response to HIV. Be the first to know what is happening and what your next steps should be.

Always be positive. Positive is more than a diagnosis in your life. It is easy to pile on to a complaint fest or add to the chorus of negativity on living with HIV. But you can be the standout who is focused on the positive outcome. It doesn’t just make your life easier; it makes your immune system healthier.

Recognize others. Don’t forget that you aren’t in this battle alone. Your team is with you and this includes caseworkers, doctors, therapists, family and friends. Let them know how much you value what they do for you and the sacrifices they make for you.

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