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HIV and Exercise - Topic Overview

Exercise can't control the HIV infection. But exercise may help you feel better by reducing stress. Exercise may also help your immune system work better.

Exercise:

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The most common way people are infected with HIV is by having sex with an infected person. You can't tell by looking at a person whether they have HIV, so you have to protect yourself -- and your sex partner. Safe Sex and HIV Prevention Don't have unprotected sex outside marriage or a committed relationship. If you or your partner has ever had unprotected sex -- or if either of you uses injected drugs -- the only way to be sure you don't have HIV is to get tested. Have two...

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  • Is safe.
  • Improves strength and endurance.
  • Improves heart and lung fitness.
  • May help you feel less tired or fatigued.
  • Enhances your sense of well-being.
  • May help stabilize or prevent declines in CD4+ cell counts.

Start exercising while you are healthy, and do your best to find new ways to keep yourself motivated to maintain your exercise program.

The ability of a person who has HIV to improve his or her fitness through training is similar to that of a person who does not have HIV. But people with HIV may find it harder to continue with a training program because of fatigue or muscle wasting.

Participation in competitive sports does not pose a risk of spreading HIV to other athletes or coaches. In sports in which exposure to blood can occur, the risk of spreading HIV is very small. But if a person (HIV-infected or not) does start to bleed, he or she should be taken out of the game and the wounds should be covered before the person returns to the game.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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