Living with HIV The Dr Mol show chats to Criselda Kananda about living with HIV
As one of the few people to bring HIV to the nation’s attention with her hit radio program Criselda Kananda on MetroFM, Criselda Kananda is not just concerned about raising awareness around HIV, she’s passionate about living with HIV, making her an admirable role model to so many Africans.
Criselda was diagnosed with HIV 11 years ago, while 7 months pregnant. Her daughter was born without HIV. She has lived a healthy, symptom free life since. She shares with Dr Mol how she has continued to stay symptom free for 11 years and discusses the role that ARVs play in her life.
Advice on living healthily with HIV:
Take medications as prescribed - strict adherence is essential - it will reduce the risk that HIV will become drug resistant.
Get regular health checkups, to catch any illnesses at the early stages.
Eat a nutritious diet – 10% more calories to compensate for the calories burned because of the HIV infection.
Get plenty of sleep each night - During sleep your body regenerates and heals, especially important for people who have HIV because the immune system is working in overdrive to fight the virus.
South Africa has the largest number of people living with HIV in the world, with a 17.8% HIV prevalence.
Women continue to be worst affected by the HIV epidemic in South Africa, with 1 in 3 females infected compared to 1 in 4 males.
CD4 cells are a type of cell that assist in protecting against infection and normally initiate an immune response. Over time, HIV infection leads to a decline in the total number of CD4 cells resulting in an increase risk of contracting other diseases.
Blood tests are used to determine the level of “CD4” cells which provides an indication of the severity of the infection.
South African government regulations only allow treatment to begin at a CD4 count of 200 unless the patient is pregnant (then at 350) or has an AIDS defining illness.
Treatment is given in the form of ARVs (anti-retovirals).
ARVs are drugs that can slow down the progress of HIV and thus slow down the damage to the immune system.
Goals for ARV treatment: 1. to ensure maximum and lasting control of the amount HIV in the body; 2. to restore and protect the immune functioning of the body by allowing the CD4 cells to replenish their numbers; 3. to reduce HIV-related illnesses and deaths and 4. in the long run to improve the quality of life for people living with AIDS.
Opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs because of a weakened immune system.
The HIV virus itself does not cause death, but the opportunistic infections that occur because of its effect on the immune system can.
At the start of 2010, only 59% of all South Africans in need of treatment were receiving it.
An estimated 40,000 children in South Africa are infected with HIV each year.
There are a number of ongoing clinical trials both in South Africa and globally in an attempt to develop an effective HIV vaccine.
The only sure way to know and to diagnose HIV infection is by being tested since a positive result will show before any symptoms may be felt.
It is possible to live and long, healthy, happy life while HIV positive
7 steps to help you live a healthy life with HIV:
1. Take medications as prescribed.
2. Regular health check ups.
3. Eat a nutritious diet:
Help you remain healthier overall despite your HIV infection.
Slow down the progression of HIV to AIDS.
Help prevent health problems related to malnutrition.
Help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid the excess weight loss that can occur in HIV-infected individuals.
Eat 10 percent more calories a day than is normally required for a person of your weight. Extra calorie intake is required to combat the extra calories that are burned due to the HIV infection.
Diet should be rich in whole grains, low fat dairy products, protein, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Include multivitamins, especially B12 and zinc, wherever possible.
Cut out fried foods and sugary drinks as much as possible
4. Exercise Regularly
Being physically active three to six times a week can help improve your mood and your outlook as well as improve your overall quality of life.
Exercising boosts the metabolism, builds muscle and stimulates the feeling of hunger.
The benefits of exercise include fighting HIV symptoms of appetite loss and nerve pain, and reducing the risk of other chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis
5. Get plenty of sleep
During sleep your body regenerates and heals
6. Reduce Stress
7. Take steps to prevent opportunistic infections
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This website is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.