How can I stay healthy?

There are many things you can do for yourself to stay healthy. Here are a few.

Make sure you have a health care provider who knows how to treat HIV. Begin treatment promptly once your doctor tells you to. Keep your appointments. Follow your doctor’s instructions. If your doctor prescribes medicine for you, take the medicine just the way he or she tells you to because taking only some of your medicine gives your HIV infection more chance to fight back. If you get sick from your medicine, call your doctor for advice; don’t make changes to your medicine on your own or because of advice from friends. Get immunizations (shots) to prevent infections such as pneumonia and flu. Your doctor will tell you when to get these shots. Practice safe sex to reduce your risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or another strain of HIV. If you smoke or use drugs not prescribed by your doctor, quit. Eat healthy foods. This will help keep you strong, keep your energy and weight up, and help your body protect itself. Exercise regularly. Get enough sleep and rest. Take time to relax. Many people find that meditation or prayer, along with exercise and rest, help them cope with the stress of having HIV or AIDS.

There are also many things you can do to protect your health when you prepare food or eat, when you travel, and when you’re around pets and other animals. You can read more about these things in the brochures in the CDC Opportunistic Infection series. You can get these brochures and other information about HIV by calling CDC-INFO at 1-800-232-4636 or by going to the CDC Internet address, www.cdc.gov/hiv/