Love them or hate them, stick to them or ditch ‘em, New Year resolutions are common talk around this time of year. We promise ourselves acts of self-improvement or doing something nice for others, yet whether they last really depends on our level of motivation.
I consider managing my HIV to be a worthy resolution. Every year I promise myself to remain engaged in clinical care and adhere to my HIV medication. It might seem like a no brainer, but for me after years and years of living with HIV it really does take a back seat to what’s going on in the rest of my life.
Wherever you are on your HIV journey perhaps you can make a New Year resolution about managing your HIV in 2015?
Things you can do to get on and stay on track:
- Start HIV treatment (if you haven’t already). Studies prove starting treatment regardless of CD4 count has significant benefit to your health, reducing viral load and onward transmission.
- Adhere to your medication, set an alarm (if like me you get a bit forgetful)!
- Write down scheduled hospital and GP appointments in your diary, calendar or smartphone. If you’re worried someone might look you could write these in code, i.e. Coffee with Fiona (aka Fiona Stanley Hospital).
- Work out in advance medication refills. Nothing is worse than stressing you don’t have enough tablets to get you through to Monday!
- Keep up with regular blood tests, typically every time you collect a new script. This is the only way of knowing the HIV medication is working correctly and you have an undetectable viral load (UVL)
- Foster a good relationship with a HIV clinician/GP, one where you feel there is a partnership and are confident having a two-way conversation.
Get help & support for other concerns such as financial vulnerability, mental health, substance use or unstable housing in order to help you fully engage with medical care and adhere to HIV treatment.
Perhaps if you need some help to get started you could schedule an appointment with a support officer at WAAC on 9482 0000. Good luck and let’s kick start our HIV management with a bang in 2015!!!