When should HIV positive patient be treated?
Q: My 33 years old husband is HIV positive, which was diagnosed 9 months back. His CD4 count is 300 cells per mcl. When he has to start the treatment? He is normal in health except some cough because he smokes. Now he had stopped smoking. He is taking a glass of milk daily. What additional food should to take for improving his immunity?
A:It is very praise worthy that you have taken such an enlightened view about your husbands' illness and it is only an illness. Unless some serious symptoms develop he should not think of starting anti-retrovirals unless his CD4 count comes down to a level below 200. However he must make sure every illness he has, even a minor one, is treated properly and early. You are right to be concerned about his nutritional status. Generally a well-balanced normal diet is adequate to maintain good health and therefore keep his immune levels high, nutritional supplements are a luxury and may not be needed for an otherwise healthy individual who is eating adequate amounts of a normal balanced meal. It is important also to live a regular life with enough rest and some daily exercise. It is important that your husband realises that he will be better off if he consults a doctor or/and an HIV counsellor. He should be assured of your and the family support and accept that confidentiality will be maintained by every ethical doctor and especially the approved counselling and testing centre in your area. It is extremely important that the two of you use a condom correctly for your sexual relations and that you too get yourself tested. Use a condom irrespective of your HIV status.