Welcome to Let’s Talk with Eva. In this very first edition, it is imperative that we tackle Health & wellness. So my first focus is on HIV and AIDS in our community.
HIV and AIDS affect all of us. As a Health Counsellor working with clients on wellbeing and mental stability in South Africa, I have witnessed that a large number of non-adherent clients have experiences of social depression and self-neglect. The reality is that for some people, being infected with the HIV virus still brings much anxiety and pain.
Compared to previous years now HIV/AIDS treatment has been advanced and can be found as one fixed pill with a combination of various pills. For most this also means fewer side effects and pill burdens. That said, It is important to mention that the success rate for treatment can be improved by-
- Using reminders to remind you of the specifically administer time.
- Having a disclosed support structure in place to nurture 100 % of adherence.
- Limiting the usage of substance abuse, the main cause of missed doses and unnecessary pressure on the kidney and liver function.
- Controlling social aspects like living environment, having a set place to store medications and also less mental pressure.
- Resistance, caused by abusing treatment. Treatment is supposed to be used daily at the same time every 24 hours to promote Viral suppression.
The CD4 count and the Viral load- is the essence of every HIV positive person and the important to consider. According to health practitioners, the best possible CD4 count should be between 500 and 1600 and Viral load <20 or lower than detectable.
If HIV is treated accordingly there are possibilities that one will have a prolonged and healthier life. In addition to a proper healthy eating plan, regular exercise, getting enough rest/sleep and reducing levels of anxiety and stress ensures that opportunistic infections such as Tuberculosis TB can be kept at bay. TB which is one of the leading causes of deaths among HIV-positive people in our region can also be successfully treated with a 6-month course of treatment.
Unfortunately, we continue to witness a large number of HIV-infected people within our LGBTQ community succumb to opportunistic infections. For most transgender person criminalisation of our lives, discrimination and a general lack of understanding of our issues and relevant support from medical professionals further places us at higher risk of infection. This situation is even worse for those who live in rural areas where stigma and discrimination are rife, further isolating LGBTQ individuals from accessing basic healthcare services.
If you are living with HIV, being positive about life and setting appropriate goals to achieve is known to be a source of hope throughout this journey. Try and draft at least three goals or reasons for living, for example.
- To be able to achieve in school, education, employment.
- To follow your passion and give inspiration to others,
- To be kind to yourself and live each day as it comes.
Remember the decisions we make today will affect our tomorrow.
Queerstion Magazine: Writer/co-Editor: Eva Wilhelmina a South African based LGBTIQ activist and Counsellor specialized in HIV/AIDS, chronic illnesses, adherence, grief and sexual health. She has experience on multiple LGBT focused magazines as freelance writer and is a Fashion design graduate. Eva is a creative being and is dedicated to equal rights and freedom of expression for all. firstname.lastname@example.org