HIV is a deadly disease, but it does not have to be a painful and lonely one. Here are some tips on caring for someone with HIV.
The first case of AIDS was reported in the US in the year 1981 and today after almost 40 years there are 1.2 million cases in the country.
Over the past 20 years, the perspective of people for an HIV-positive patient has changed drastically. And it’s proven now that a person can live a longer, healthier, and fuller life with it if they receive the right care at the right time.
Caring for someone with HIV can be very difficult. But, it can provide you with precious time and some memories to cherish with them. It may help you to find new strength and passion within yourself. There can be no greater joy than helping your loved one in their time of need.
You can include them in various health decisions as an integral part of the family. As their health changes, so will their strength and ability. You can understand various tips for caring for someone who has HIV. This article will explore tips for looking after an HIV patient.
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Practical Tips For Caring For An HIV Patient
Get educated first:
The first thing you need to understand is learning about HIV and AIDS. It will help to care for your loved ones and prepare you for what to expect from them. It will ease your fears and debunk various myths in tIe society related to HIV. You can take different courses by organizations like-
- Your state health department
- The American red cross
- HIV service organizations
Protect them from infections:
People who are HIV positive are known to have weaker immune systems than other people. They can be infected through various germs, which results in serious issues. It can turn out to be life threatening for someone who develops AIDS.
Please make sure that you take your loved one for immunizations on time. Do not let other family members or relatives visit if they are sick. You can wash your hands often. You can use rubber gloves if there are chances that you touch body fluid or waste of the person. Do not share personal tools like razors, tweezers, toothbrushes, and injections. Try to keep their laundry and house clean. It will give them some good vibes.
Pay attention to their general wellness:
It is essential to pay towards the diet. A well-balanced diet with all the vital nutrients like macronutrients, micronutrients, fluids, and fibers plays a vital role in a person’s health. Make sure that two major meals consist of all the nutrients. Fatty foods are not suitable for them.
So make sure that you take all the necessary precautions. When making meals and snacks, try to avoid any food-borne illnesses. Wash the fruits and vegetables properly. You can even use organic vegetables. Try to keep the poultry and meat properly and avoid uncooked seafood raw eggs as they can harm them.
When they are sick, make them feel comfortable:
Everyone feels most comfortable in their own home. You can do many things to make their living space feel comfortable and easier for them to navigate.
Many people hesitate to ask for help, especially essential things like using the toilet or bathing. You can help them with all these tasks as they become problematic. You can allow them a room which is close to the bathroom.
You can keep towels, tissues, and blankets near them, so it is easy for them to reach out. If they are not comfortable talking with you, do not insist on that. They may be afraid to speak to you, which can make you uneasy. If they seem uncomfortable talking on any topic, you can change the subject. It is completely fine if you sit together quietly.
You can ask them to do their favorite things like watching television, listening to music and reading different books. You can express your love and concern for them without uttering a single word just by helping them.
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Help them in their daily chores:
You can help them carry out their daily activities. If they spend a lot of time on the bed, you can help them shift around. Staying in one position on the bed can lead to stiff joints and bed sores. You can teach them some easy legs, hands, arms, and foot exercises from a physical therapist or a doctor.
You can ask them to perform these exercises for at least 15 minutes a day and examine whether they are doing it in the correct form or not. Ask them to walk for at least 15 minutes. This exercise reduces joint stiffness and enhances blood circulation in the body.
To protect their skin, you can use a soft material under them, such as an egg crate or sheepskin foam mattress. You can massage their body parts as this could relax them. If you come across any broken areas or redness on the skin, inform the doctor straightaway.
If they are too sick to leave their bed, you can make sure that they have enough water to drink and a healthy snack near the bed.
Help them manage their daily affairs:
Sometimes it may become difficult for them to carry out their daily activities independently. So it is essential to help them. They may hesitate to ask for help, but you can make them feel comfortable over the period.
You can help them book appointments with the doctor. You can help them fill out different forms like insurance forms and help them in the hospital billing. You can help them in medical care or support decisions as a coordinator.
Weight management is essential:
Having a healthy weight and maintaining cholesterol levels are essential for everybody. People who are HIV positive need to take special care of their weight. Any sudden weight changes are a warning sign of some other internal problem.
You can keep an eye on their weight and check out their weight regularly. You can maintain a record. Always keep an eye out if there is an unexpected weight loss.
You can take necessary actions and consult the doctor about the problems they are suffering from. You can take all the necessary suggestions from the doctor for their diet and other health factors.
Always be positive
It is essential to be encouraging and loving. If you behave in a well-mannered and proper way, they will try to be more open to you. If they crave any particular cuisine on a certain day, you can get them that. They may suddenly feel like eating something different.
This is not because of their taste buds. They may feel like eating a bit differently due to their illness. It is completely fine if they eat unhealthy food once in a while but make sure it doesn’t become their habit. You need to maintain a balance in their lives and help them understand the significance of healthy practices in their lives.
Check the medications they are consuming:
Always keep a check on the prescription and the medications they are consuming. Try to read the instructions mentioned by the doctor to find out when these medicines are to be taken. Try to understand which foods are to be avoided. You can exclude that food if it has any side effects on the body.
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Help them overcome their loneliness:
Often, the sick person lives alone, and we recollect all the cherishing memories of the family and the loved ones. You can help them overcome loneliness by helping them to find a hobby and work for that passion. This will keep them occupied for a more extended period.
If they miss their family members, you can invite them for lunch. You can ask other people in the community to visit them and invite them out. You can invite some close friends. This will make them feel better and refreshed. It would be a break for them from a monotonous routine.
Encourage them to perform some light exercises:
Laying all day on the bed can lead to boredom. Exercising and being active is integral part of everybody’s life. It helps build muscles, and it is an excellent way to keep your bones healthy and melt excessive fat. People who live with HIV lose muscle mass and overall strength. Exercising regularly can help you prevent this. Exercising regularly helps them to cope with depression and stress.
Try to avoid drug and alcohol use:
There are various risks associated with using drugs and alcohol if the person is living with HIV. Excessive use of alcohol can weaken the liver, which is responsible for processing anti-HIV drugs. So make sure that the alcohol intake is within the recommended limits.
If they consume drugs and overdrink alcohol, it weakens their immune system, making it difficult for them to cope with the infections. So make sure that they do not consume drugs and avoid alcohol.
Take care of their mental wellbeing:
Taking care of their mental wellbeing and looking after their emotional concerns is extremely important, just like taking care of their body. Being diagnosed with HIV can be a shock for them, and it becomes difficult for them to adjust for a while. Many people complicate it, and thus it can become stressful to talk to friends and family members. You can take the sick person to a psychiatrist and help them in stress management.
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Many people are affected by HIV. It is necessary to understand that HIV is not contagious. The person affected with HIV has a weaker immune system. A caregiver needs to understand all the aspects related to HIV.
Being educated will help them cope with challenging situations and overcome them easily. In this segment, you will come across all the essential caregiving tips for an HIV patient. Make sure that you go through it.
We feel that it is very important for society to come together and stop the stigma surrounding patients with HIV. While it is a deadly disease, it is not a communicable one, and it is important that we treat HIV patients just like we treat anyone else.
We hope that this article has given you some ideas of how you can bring sunshine into the lives of any friends or person who you know has HIV. Please share your own experiences and questions in the comments section below. And if you liked what you read, please pass it on to others through your social media handles.