Death and dying can affect anyone, whether HIV is involved or not. HIV still an incurable condition so issues around dying can be hard to ignore.
When people are diagnosed with HIV, one of the first things they think about is their life expectancy. You may have assumed that because HIV is not curable, your life expectancy will be reduced. This can be upsetting and make you feel frightened, but the good news is that these days people living with HIV can live a more or less normal lifespan.
Early diagnosis of HIV and starting treatment on time are key factors in the increased life expectancy of people living with HIV. But even if you have been diagnosed late and have a low CD4 count, there are steps you can take to improve your immune system, such as eating well and getting enough exercise, relaxation and sleep.
Attending your appointments and taking your treatment correctly without missing doses are also important ways to keep your HIV suppressed and allow your immune system to begin to recover.
Modern antiretroviral treatment is very potent, but usually have fewer side effects which makes it easier to keep your HIV under control. Adhering to your treatment is one of the best ways to suppress the virus.
Death can affect anyone, whether HIV is involved or not. If you have lost someone, whether or not it was because of HIV, it may be useful to get some support.
Grieving can be a very long, slow process which can take a year or two. If an HIV-related illness was the cause of death, this can be an obstacle to talking openly.
Grief often involves the following stages:
Points to bear in mind about grieving:
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This article was last reviewed on
by C. Berry
Date due for the next review: 30/9/2017
Content Author: Tom Bishop
Current Owner: Health Trainers
NHS Choices What is the life expectancy for someone living with HIV? (2011) NHS Choices HIV and AIDS – Diagnosis: (2010) NHS Choices HIV and AIDS – Living with: (2010)
Various people talk about their experiences of living with HIV.
CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau
HIV Drug Interactions
George House Trust
Equality and Human Rights Commission
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