HIV treatment should be the top priority immediately after being diagnosed. The benefits of treatment include minimizing the likelihood of transmitting the virus to others, prolonging life expectancy, and drastically slowing the progression from HIV to the end stage, AIDS.
The drug class used in the treatment of HIV is called antiretroviral therapy or ART. HIV is a type of retrovirus, which is why ART is the preferred treatment method. Unfortunately, there is no cure for HIV, so it is imperative to manage the disease through ART. This therapy is effective at reducing the viral load through the use of multiple medications. Essentially, ART keeps the viral load low and CD4 levels high, which, in turn, continues to allow the immune system to function. Side effects of ART medications include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, dizziness, and fatigue. It is of utmost importance to take the medications as prescribed by your physician. If you discontinue the use of ART or even miss multiple doses, you are at risk to transmit the virus to others and possibly progress more quickly to the subsequent stage.
In this day and age, a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle is easily obtainable even with HIV. Proper exercise, healthy eating habits, and adequate rest are essential to allow the body to rejuvenate and function optimally. There are support groups and other tools at your disposal to help emotionally cope with HIV. As always, consult with your physician before making any lifestyle or medication changes. Your physician is part of your care team, and they strive to help you achieve the very best life.