An early diagnosis of positive HIV status helps prevent and significantly delay morbid conditions associated with HIV/AIDS. A healthy lifestyle with a regular routine, positive thinking and family support helps in better management of the infection. In this, health care system and community-based organisations/faith-based organisations work together in providing medical care, counselling, economic and legal support to people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
Cardinal Principles for Better Life
Since HIV infection is about the weakening of the immune system, for longevity and productive life positive people need to take special care of their health and well-being. Post-test counselling provided at Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres guides PLHA and their families about this and a positive outlook towards maintaining a healthy schedule. Here, people living with HIV and their families are counselled to
- adopt positive healthy living with an appropriate balanced diet
- be regular at work, and if that is not possible to take up some other acceptable job profile
- seek healthcare
- importance of adherence to ARV drugs as and when ARV treatment is started
Besides this, risk reduction behaviour further delays the onset of conditions associated with the infection. PLHAs are, therefore, counselled in behaviour change, particularly in use of condoms in all their sexual encounters. When necessary they are also counselled on substance abuse.
Asymptomatic positive people need to periodically get screened for sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and other opportunistic infections. As all people living with HIV/AIDS are likely to receive ART at some point, they must adhere to treatment as this is integral for successful outcome.
CBOs and Positive Network Groups Support
Since family and community support are critical in care for PLHA, community-based organisations, faith-based organisations and Positive Network Groups are involved in providing care, support, social and legal counselling to PLHA. These organisations also provide vocational or occupational rehabilitation to PLHA and their families. Apart from this they provide care homes and education to children affected or infected with AIDS.