HIV as You Get Older
7 Steps to Take
1. See an HIV expert. The more your health is complicated by age and other conditions, the more crucial it is to have an expert overseeing your HIV care.
2. Get good routine medical care. Specialty HIV care is not enough. Because your risks of other medical problems are higher, keep on top of your general health, says Hare. Get your annual physicals, keep tabs on your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other tests your doctor recommends.
3. Avoid drug interactions. Make certain every doctor you see knows about every medication and supplement you take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter products, vitamins, and natural products. Doctors may adjust your medicines, dosages, or schedules to prevent interactions.
4. Improve your lifestyle. To enjoy life as you age, stay fit. Exercise regularly, and if you smoke, stop.
5. Eat a healthy diet. Go for lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. "Eating a heart-healthy diet makes sense for everyone," says Bartlett. "But because people with HIV have higher risks of heart disease, it makes even more sense for them."
6. Seek support. Having a support system of family and friends is key. Make an effort to stay connected. If close friends or family have died or moved away, work on making new friends. You might also connect through a support group.
7. Get help. Call your local health department to learn about local resources for people with HIV, says Hare. Your local Council on Aging is a good place to start; it can point you toward programs and services that could help. A financial planner may also help you work on savings and expenses.