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A Checklist for HIV-Positive Women

May 2007

This podcast is a part of the series This Month in HIV. To subscribe to this series, click here.

Please note: These files can be quite large. Allow some time for them to download.

A Checklist for HIV-Positive Women

By Cathy Olufs

Learn About HIV!

  • Learn everything you can about HIV and its treatment so that you can be an active participant in your care (and so that you can educate others about the disease if necessary).
  • Know the names of the medications you take, know when/why you take them, know the potential side effects to look out for, and be prepared with a list of questions when you see your provider, then ask them!
  • Keep track of your lab results, especially your viral load and T-cell counts, and look for changes over time.

Get Support!

  • Don't be shy, reach out for help. Seek out support from other HIV-positive women or from HIV/AIDS organizations. There are many resources available on the Internet; many organizations (such as WORLD, The Well Project, Women Alive, BABES, and, of course, The Body) have Web sites.
  • Before you disclose, get support from others who have disclosed. Think about who you should tell (doctors and potential sexual partners) and who you might want to tell (family members). Consider how you will tell them.
  • Telling anyone else besides your doctors and sex partners is optional. There are some people (landlords, employers, etc.) who you might think you need to tell, but who do not have a legal right to know your status.
  • Ensure that your mental and emotional needs are met; seek out individual counseling and/or support groups. Be mindful of the fact that depression is common among HIV-positive women. Also, be conscious of domestic violence issues, and get help if you are in a situation in which you do not feel safe.


A Checklist for HIV-Positive Women

By Dr. Mardge Cohen

Help Your Body Fight HIV by Taking Care of Your Overall Health

  • Get regular Pap smears, get regular breast exams, and consult with a health care provider if you are considering getting pregnant.
  • Get immunized as needed against hepatitis A and B, pneumococcal pneumonia, and the flu.
  • Get lots of rest, exercise, stop smoking, eat a healthy diet, don't use street drugs, and don't drink alcohol in excessive quantities.
  • Know your CD4 count and viral load and the names of your medicines.
  • Find people who you can confide in and turn to for support.
  • If you suffer from depression, or other mental health problems, seek treatment and counseling.
  • Get tested for hepatitis A, B and C, and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Get vaccinated for:
    • Hepatitis B (if you tested negative for hepatitis B)
    • Pneumococcal pneumonia (every five years)
    • Influenza (every fall)
  • Make sure you get Pap smears, both vaginal and anal, at least once a year. Not every doctor offers anal exams, so be sure to ask ahead of time.

Copyright © 2007 Body Health Resources Corporation. All rights reserved. Podcast disclaimer.

This podcast is a part of the series This Month in HIV. To subscribe to this series, click here.


  
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This article was provided by TheBody.com. It is a part of the publication This Month in HIV.
 

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