Hesperian Health Guides

Other Ways to Stay Healthy

In this chapter:

When a person has HIV, their immune system is always somewhat weaker, making illness more likely. It may get increasingly weaker with each illness. Without ART, this continues until the person’s body is too weak to survive.

Preventing infections and illness with ART and other medicines is the best way to support the immune system. It is also important to treat any infections to keep them from getting worse or spreading. This way a person with HIV can stay as healthy as possible.

Mental Health

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HIV infection can be emotionally stressful. People living with HIV may feel afraid and tense (anxiety), very sad, or without energy or pleasure in life (depression). Anxiety and depression also weaken the body, making it easier to get sick or miss doses of ART.

Reach out to friends or a support group for help—it is difficult to come out of depression or worry on your own. A health worker can help you tell the difference between signs of illness that are caused by physical problems and signs that may be caused by anxiety or depression. Knowing the cause of a problem may make it easier to treat. It is possible to overcome feelings of anxiety and depression. Also see the Mental Health chapter.

This page was updated:13 Nov 2023