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Living a Quality Life: HIV Positive

by Hilary Meyer, LGBT Aging Expert
February 28, 2013

Question: My middle-aged aunt is HIV positive. What can I do to improve her quality of life?

Answer: First of all, it is important that your aunt meet with a health care provider in order to start a treatment regimen that can help her live and maintain a healthy life. If she is already on a treatment regimen, it is equally important that she regularly be in contact with her health care provider to understand whether the treatments are working properly and to decide if anything needs to be adjusted. Staying as healthy as possible is always the best way to maintain a high quality of life.

Often treatment regimens involve taking medication. Depending on the medication and when she started taking it, there is the potential for side effects that may affect your aunt’s quality of life.

Living with HIV can impact many of the factors that affect one’s quality of life because of its effect on one’s physical health in addition to mental and social well-being. Providing emotional support to your aunt should be a priority of yours and the rest of her family in order to maintain and improve her quality of life. Having a strong social support network is vital.

Remember, the best possible quality of life comes when all aspects of a person’s life and treatment can be supported by friends, family and medical providers. Many people lead happy, healthy lives, and age gracefully, with the proper treatments.

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Hilary Meyer is the Director of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, the country's only resource center focused on improving the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults nationwide. Meyer provides leadership for the Center and the activities of its staff, advisory council and national partner organizations, guides content development and tools, and diseeminates best practice publications.

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