My 30 year old nephew is newly diagnosed and likes to party
I just found out that my 30-year old nephew who lives in the US is HIV positive.
What, in addition to his medications, should he be doing to stay healthy? I’m thinking nutrition here. He has a problem with alcohol. Is the ingestion of alcohol something we have to worry about? What kind of diet should he follow?
He tends to party all night long – how important is an adequate amount of sleep?
We are very worried about him – he has chosen to hide HIV form his family – I don’t know where to turn to get answers. Any advice would be appreciated.
It is difficult to comment on your nephews situation without knowing a bit more about his health including his CD4 count and viral load. These two tests – especially if you have a history of several test results, mean you can have a good estimate of how much damage HIV has caused, whether treatment is needed now, and sometimes, even to guess at how long someone has been HIV-positive.
If he was now expecting the diagnosis, but is currently well, then he can take time to make other lifestyle changes that will help his health in the long-term.
Eating a balanced diet, getting proper exercise, rest and sleep, using alcohol and drugs in moderation, may all help his general health, and may delay the time until he needs to start treatment. When and if he does need treatment though, antiretrovrial drugs (ARVs) are the only way to effectively control the virus and let his CD4 count recover again to stronger levels.
If he is already on-treatment, then the changes may help him organise his life better so that he never misses his meds, and therefore gets many years of benefit.
As an adult, he will need to do this for himself though – but it is good that he has your support – and checking that he know other HIV-positive people, and is aware of any local support groups and networks would be one think to ask.
For yourselves, there are lots of community-based websites, where you can find out about HIV and treatment.
The i-Base Introduction to Combination Therapy, might be a useful place to start.