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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

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(Videos have been reviewed by NEHH and are provided for the sole purpose of education. It is not intended to replace advice given to you by your primary care provider.)

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Living with HIV

It is especially important to take diligent care of yourself if you are living with HIV. Taking diligent care of yourself can prevent HIV progression to AIDS. (Acquired immunodeficiency virus) Your doctor will establish a plan of care based on your needs. You must make sure you understand your medical plan. Remember to take over the counter and prescription medications only as told by your health care provider and consult with your physician before starting any herbal or medication regimens.

Diet and Exercise

Here are a few pointers:

  • Eat a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Drink enough fluids to keep your urine pale yellow.
  • Do not drink unpasteurized dairy products.
  • Take caution when preparing food and take steps to lower your risk of foodborne illnesses. Make sure to cook all meats and poultry thoroughly.
  • Avoid drinking water that may contain human or animal waste, such as rivers and lakes. Be cautious about drinking from public water fountains or tap water.
  • Talk to your physician about any exercise programs you are considering.


HIV is transmitted by coming in contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. These fluids include blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, rectal fluids, and vaginal fluids. In the United States, the most common ways of transmission are:

  • Unprotected vaginal or anal sex with someone infected with HIV.
  • Sharing drug use equipment, such as needles, with someone infected with HIV.

How can you avoid the transmission of HIV?

  • Avoid risky sexual behaviors and limit the number of sexual partners you have.
  • Use a condom correctly every time you engage in sexual activities that can expose you or your partner to bodily fluids.
  • Talk to your doctor about other ways to protect your sexual partner. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment may be right for you.
  • DO NOT share needles. Talk to your doctor if you need help with drug addiction and treatment.
  • Consider joining a support group for people living with HIV.
  • Visit your primary care provider regularly and get tested for HIV and other STDs regularly.

Contact your health care provider if:

  • You develop respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, or wheezing.
  • You experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as persistent diarrhea, Nause, and vomiting.
  • You have a fever.
  • You are bruising or bleeding.
  • You experience weakness, fatigue, or malaise.
  • You have a headache that does not improve with medicine.
  • You are losing weight without trying.
  • You have flu-like symptoms.

As always! We are here to help. At NEHH we strive to provide education and make information readily available. This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your primary care provider.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, April 7). HIV basics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 26, 2021, from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, November 30). HIV. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 26, 2021, from

Content Source: HIV.govDate last updated: June 05, 2020. (2021, April 8). What are HIV and AIDS? Retrieved December 26, 2021, from

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