Page 1

When Traveling,

Know

Before You

T

Go

ravel for many people is inevitable with the busy holiday season upon us. Living with HIV, you run the risk of coming into contact with germs that can make you sick. Know the medical risks and take steps to protect yourself. Here’s a quick checklist you should follow before taking that trip:

1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

 Make sure you have all the HIV medication you’ll need  you’re away. while Talk to your doctor about your plans before you travel.

Plan in advance for problems that might come up on your medical insurance coverage while you’re away from home.

 Only  eat food and drinks that are generally safe. Be careful when swimming to not  any water. swallow

When traveling, be smart and use common sense. Protect your health and the health of others just as you do at home. Source: CDC (www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/brochures/travel.htm).

Preventing

Infections W

Several strategies can be used to prevent OIs from occurring, but the most important is to take strong antiretroviral therapy. This can allow a damaged immune system to recover and do a better job of fighting OIs. If your CD4 count drops below 200, your doctor may recommend that you start taking prophylactic medications in addition to your current HIV drugs. These drugs are designed to prevent OIs from taking advantage of your weakened immune system. Some OIs are sexually transmitted, but you can reduce your risk of these infections by practicing safer sex. Others are preventable with

Hepatitis C H

epatitis C infection is more serious in people with HIV because it can lead to liver damage more quickly. It can also affect how your HIV is treated. Unfortunately, many people with hepatitis C don’t have symptoms. Your healthcare provider should test your blood regularly to check for hepatitis C.

Feature:

Are Dietary Supplements

Right for You

?

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent being infected by hepatitis C. The best way is to stop injecting drugs or never to start. Substance abuse programs may help. If you continue to inject drugs, always use new syringes and never reuse or share syringes, needles, or other drug equipment. Do not share toothbrushes, razors, or other things that can be contaminated with blood. Tattooing or body piercing may also put you at risk. Always practice safe sex. Be sure to talk to your doctor to learn more about hepatitis C.

Opportunistic

hen your CD4 counts get low, you may be at risk for developing potentially dangerous infections called opportunistic infections, or OIs for short. An OI is any infection or condition that takes the opportunity of a weakened immune system to cause disease. OIs typically happen when CD4 counts get to around 200.

Protect Yourself Against

December 2012/January 2013

vaccines. With some OIs, safer food handling and preparation and becoming aware of and avoiding disease-causing organisms can prevent these infections.

Screening Matters In some cases, exposure to OIs is unavoidable or may have already occurred. To be sure, get screened upon first finding out that you are HIV-positive. This will show if you’re already exposed to an organism and give you a chance to learn about prevention for OIs you don’t have. An important step for any person is to regularly see a healthcare provider who can recognize symptoms of OIs. These HIV care providers will be more familiar with preventive OI medicines and how to treat infections. If you suspect you have an OI, tell your doctor about all symptoms you have so that problems can be diagnosed and treated early. Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art50042.html).

Source: CDC (www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/hepatitis.htm).

Also in this issue: The editorial content for this brochure was developed and created solely by the Patient Education Center. The content does not necessarily represent the opinions and/or views of our advertisers. Healthy Living With HIV is published by the Patient Education Center. Offices: 5 Commerce Way, Suite 202, Hamilton, NJ 08691; and 180 Mount Airy Road, Suite 102, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920. Reproduction without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. Publication of an advertisement or other product mention in Healthy Living With HIV should not be construed as an endorsement of the product or the manufacturer’s claims. Such advertising or product mentions should similarly not be construed as either influencing or controlling the editorial content of Healthy Living With HIV. The appearance of or reference to any person or entity in the editorial material (including photographs) in this brochure does not constitute an expressed or implied endorsement of the product advertised. Readers are encouraged to contact the product manufacturer with any questions about the features and/ or limitations of any product mentioned. The reader also is advised to consult appropriate medical literature and the product information currently provided by the manufacturer of each drug to verify indications, dosage, method, duration of administration, and contraindications. Copyright 2012, Patient Education Center

PEC-HL-DEC-042

Protect Yourself Against Hepatitis C When Traveling, Know Before You Go Preventing Opportunistic Infections

Visit us online at www.patientedu.org/hiv


When Traveling,

Know

Before You

T

Go

ravel for many people is inevitable with the busy holiday season upon us. Living with HIV, you run the risk of coming into contact with germs that can make you sick. Know the medical risks and take steps to protect yourself. Here’s a quick checklist you should follow before taking that trip:

1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

 Make sure you have all the HIV medication you’ll need  you’re away. while Talk to your doctor about your plans before you travel.

Plan in advance for problems that might come up on your medical insurance coverage while you’re away from home.

 Only  eat food and drinks that are generally safe. Be careful when swimming to not  any water. swallow

When traveling, be smart and use common sense. Protect your health and the health of others just as you do at home. Source: CDC (www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/brochures/travel.htm).

Preventing

Infections W

Several strategies can be used to prevent OIs from occurring, but the most important is to take strong antiretroviral therapy. This can allow a damaged immune system to recover and do a better job of fighting OIs. If your CD4 count drops below 200, your doctor may recommend that you start taking prophylactic medications in addition to your current HIV drugs. These drugs are designed to prevent OIs from taking advantage of your weakened immune system. Some OIs are sexually transmitted, but you can reduce your risk of these infections by practicing safer sex. Others are preventable with

Hepatitis C H

epatitis C infection is more serious in people with HIV because it can lead to liver damage more quickly. It can also affect how your HIV is treated. Unfortunately, many people with hepatitis C don’t have symptoms. Your healthcare provider should test your blood regularly to check for hepatitis C.

Feature:

Are Dietary Supplements

Right for You

?

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent being infected by hepatitis C. The best way is to stop injecting drugs or never to start. Substance abuse programs may help. If you continue to inject drugs, always use new syringes and never reuse or share syringes, needles, or other drug equipment. Do not share toothbrushes, razors, or other things that can be contaminated with blood. Tattooing or body piercing may also put you at risk. Always practice safe sex. Be sure to talk to your doctor to learn more about hepatitis C.

Opportunistic

hen your CD4 counts get low, you may be at risk for developing potentially dangerous infections called opportunistic infections, or OIs for short. An OI is any infection or condition that takes the opportunity of a weakened immune system to cause disease. OIs typically happen when CD4 counts get to around 200.

Protect Yourself Against

December 2012/January 2013

vaccines. With some OIs, safer food handling and preparation and becoming aware of and avoiding disease-causing organisms can prevent these infections.

Screening Matters In some cases, exposure to OIs is unavoidable or may have already occurred. To be sure, get screened upon first finding out that you are HIV-positive. This will show if you’re already exposed to an organism and give you a chance to learn about prevention for OIs you don’t have. An important step for any person is to regularly see a healthcare provider who can recognize symptoms of OIs. These HIV care providers will be more familiar with preventive OI medicines and how to treat infections. If you suspect you have an OI, tell your doctor about all symptoms you have so that problems can be diagnosed and treated early. Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art50042.html).

Source: CDC (www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/hepatitis.htm).

Also in this issue: The editorial content for this brochure was developed and created solely by the Patient Education Center. The content does not necessarily represent the opinions and/or views of our advertisers. Healthy Living With HIV is published by the Patient Education Center. Offices: 5 Commerce Way, Suite 202, Hamilton, NJ 08691; and 180 Mount Airy Road, Suite 102, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920. Reproduction without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. Publication of an advertisement or other product mention in Healthy Living With HIV should not be construed as an endorsement of the product or the manufacturer’s claims. Such advertising or product mentions should similarly not be construed as either influencing or controlling the editorial content of Healthy Living With HIV. The appearance of or reference to any person or entity in the editorial material (including photographs) in this brochure does not constitute an expressed or implied endorsement of the product advertised. Readers are encouraged to contact the product manufacturer with any questions about the features and/ or limitations of any product mentioned. The reader also is advised to consult appropriate medical literature and the product information currently provided by the manufacturer of each drug to verify indications, dosage, method, duration of administration, and contraindications. Copyright 2012, Patient Education Center

PEC-HL-DEC-042

Protect Yourself Against Hepatitis C When Traveling, Know Before You Go Preventing Opportunistic Infections

Visit us online at www.patientedu.org/hiv


When Traveling,

Know

Before You

T

Go

ravel for many people is inevitable with the busy holiday season upon us. Living with HIV, you run the risk of coming into contact with germs that can make you sick. Know the medical risks and take steps to protect yourself. Here’s a quick checklist you should follow before taking that trip:

1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

 Make sure you have all the HIV medication you’ll need  you’re away. while Talk to your doctor about your plans before you travel.

Plan in advance for problems that might come up on your medical insurance coverage while you’re away from home.

 Only  eat food and drinks that are generally safe. Be careful when swimming to not  any water. swallow

When traveling, be smart and use common sense. Protect your health and the health of others just as you do at home. Source: CDC (www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/brochures/travel.htm).

Preventing

Infections W

Several strategies can be used to prevent OIs from occurring, but the most important is to take strong antiretroviral therapy. This can allow a damaged immune system to recover and do a better job of fighting OIs. If your CD4 count drops below 200, your doctor may recommend that you start taking prophylactic medications in addition to your current HIV drugs. These drugs are designed to prevent OIs from taking advantage of your weakened immune system. Some OIs are sexually transmitted, but you can reduce your risk of these infections by practicing safer sex. Others are preventable with

Hepatitis C H

epatitis C infection is more serious in people with HIV because it can lead to liver damage more quickly. It can also affect how your HIV is treated. Unfortunately, many people with hepatitis C don’t have symptoms. Your healthcare provider should test your blood regularly to check for hepatitis C.

Feature:

Are Dietary Supplements

Right for You

?

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent being infected by hepatitis C. The best way is to stop injecting drugs or never to start. Substance abuse programs may help. If you continue to inject drugs, always use new syringes and never reuse or share syringes, needles, or other drug equipment. Do not share toothbrushes, razors, or other things that can be contaminated with blood. Tattooing or body piercing may also put you at risk. Always practice safe sex. Be sure to talk to your doctor to learn more about hepatitis C.

Opportunistic

hen your CD4 counts get low, you may be at risk for developing potentially dangerous infections called opportunistic infections, or OIs for short. An OI is any infection or condition that takes the opportunity of a weakened immune system to cause disease. OIs typically happen when CD4 counts get to around 200.

Protect Yourself Against

December 2012/January 2013

vaccines. With some OIs, safer food handling and preparation and becoming aware of and avoiding disease-causing organisms can prevent these infections.

Screening Matters In some cases, exposure to OIs is unavoidable or may have already occurred. To be sure, get screened upon first finding out that you are HIV-positive. This will show if you’re already exposed to an organism and give you a chance to learn about prevention for OIs you don’t have. An important step for any person is to regularly see a healthcare provider who can recognize symptoms of OIs. These HIV care providers will be more familiar with preventive OI medicines and how to treat infections. If you suspect you have an OI, tell your doctor about all symptoms you have so that problems can be diagnosed and treated early. Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art50042.html).

Source: CDC (www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/hepatitis.htm).

Also in this issue: The editorial content for this brochure was developed and created solely by the Patient Education Center. The content does not necessarily represent the opinions and/or views of our advertisers. Healthy Living With HIV is published by the Patient Education Center. Offices: 5 Commerce Way, Suite 202, Hamilton, NJ 08691; and 180 Mount Airy Road, Suite 102, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920. Reproduction without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. Publication of an advertisement or other product mention in Healthy Living With HIV should not be construed as an endorsement of the product or the manufacturer’s claims. Such advertising or product mentions should similarly not be construed as either influencing or controlling the editorial content of Healthy Living With HIV. The appearance of or reference to any person or entity in the editorial material (including photographs) in this brochure does not constitute an expressed or implied endorsement of the product advertised. Readers are encouraged to contact the product manufacturer with any questions about the features and/ or limitations of any product mentioned. The reader also is advised to consult appropriate medical literature and the product information currently provided by the manufacturer of each drug to verify indications, dosage, method, duration of administration, and contraindications. Copyright 2012, Patient Education Center

PEC-HL-DEC-042

Protect Yourself Against Hepatitis C When Traveling, Know Before You Go Preventing Opportunistic Infections

Visit us online at www.patientedu.org/hiv


Are Dietary Supplements

Right for You

?

To optimize your health, it may mean doing more than simply taking your HIV medications and leading a healthy lifestyle. Dietary supplements may help you get all the nutrients your body needs, but it’s important to know which supplements are right for you.

H

IV medications are the most important part of the equation for most people to stay healthy while living with the infection. However, some people will need extra help to make sure that their body maintains optimal levels of key nutrients. Most of the time, you can keep up good nutrient levels simply by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and taking a healthy overall approach to the way you care for your body. But that’s not always easy to do. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, these lifestyle practices won’t be enough to ensure that you get all the nutrients you need. When this happens, taking supplements may help fill in the gaps.

Learning About Nutrients The word “nutrients” refers to a group of chemicals that help in all of the body’s natural functions. Nutrients include vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. You can get most of the nutrients your body needs by eating food. With HIV, however, the virus can impair your immune system or force it into overdrive, making the body use more nutrients than usual. When this happens, supplements can come in handy. Supplements are substances you can take to make up for not getting enough nutrients in your daily life. Supplements are usually taken in pill, capsule, or tablet form, but they can also

come in powder or liquid form. In some cases, an injection may be required. See Table 1 for a list of aspects of your health that supplements can help control or improve. Many supplements also relieve oxidative stress, which occurs naturally through illness, aging, and other triggers. Antioxidants can help protect the body from some of this oxidative stress. While there are many potential benefits to supplements, they cannot replace HIV medications. There is no substitute for antiretroviral therapies when it comes to keeping HIV under control. No supplement has ever been found to reliably fight HIV, despite some manufacturer claims that their drug can do that.

Potential Health Benefits With Supplements

Table 1

• Bone health

• Brain function

• Dehydration

• Depression

• Diarrhea

• Fatigue

• Cholesterol and triglycerides • Focus • Muscle mass

• Nausea

• Neuropathy

• Sleep disorders Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art56659.html).

Find Out What May Benefit You It can be tough to determine which supplements are best because everyone has different deficiencies in certain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Have your doctor run blood tests to measure your levels of each of the nutrients listed in Table 2. If any deficiencies are found, talk with your healthcare provider about what they mean and whether taking a supplement is the best way to get your levels back up into a healthy range. While it’s still unknown for sure if supplements on top of HIV medications can improve immune recovery or function, what is known is that some supplements are a good idea for your health overall.

What About Risks? It’s important to always be careful about what you put into your body. Even though supplements contain natural nutrients, they can still sometimes cause side effects. There are also known interactions between some supplements and certain HIV medications. If you’re on HIV medication, you and your healthcare team should discuss ALL supplements you’re taking or plan to take BEFORE you take any supplement. It’s important to remember that few studies have been done on potential interactions between supplements and HIV drugs. It is possible to take too much of a supplement, which can result in uncomfortable or even potentially dangerous side effects. Figuring out which dietary supplements to use can be challenging on your own, so be sure to talk with your doctor and other healthcare providers first. Research supplements carefully on your own. Together, you can learn more about what nutrient deficiencies you may have and then compare your options to see which one(s) will best fill your needs. Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art56659.html).

Table 2

Important Nutrients

Alpha-lipoic acid:

A strong antioxidant that improves the way insulin captures glucose for later use.

Calcium:

Important for proper heart, muscle, and nerve function. Also helps prevent osteoporosis by growing and maintaining healthy bones.

Vitamin D:

Good for immune function and boosts the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

Carnitine:

Improves the ability to use fat for energy. Also called acetyl-L-carnitine or L-carnitine.

Coenzyme Q10:

Involved in the production of adenosine triphosphate, a major source of energy for cells and a driver of many biological processes. Also acts as an antioxidant. Animal studies suggest it may be an immune booster.

Vitamin B12:

Regulates the body’s metabolic processes, which include producing energy, regulating the heart, and maintaining healthy nerve cells.

Zinc:

Helps to produce testosterone and preserves sexual function. Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art56659.html).


Are Dietary Supplements

Right for You

?

To optimize your health, it may mean doing more than simply taking your HIV medications and leading a healthy lifestyle. Dietary supplements may help you get all the nutrients your body needs, but it’s important to know which supplements are right for you.

H

IV medications are the most important part of the equation for most people to stay healthy while living with the infection. However, some people will need extra help to make sure that their body maintains optimal levels of key nutrients. Most of the time, you can keep up good nutrient levels simply by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and taking a healthy overall approach to the way you care for your body. But that’s not always easy to do. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, these lifestyle practices won’t be enough to ensure that you get all the nutrients you need. When this happens, taking supplements may help fill in the gaps.

Learning About Nutrients The word “nutrients” refers to a group of chemicals that help in all of the body’s natural functions. Nutrients include vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. You can get most of the nutrients your body needs by eating food. With HIV, however, the virus can impair your immune system or force it into overdrive, making the body use more nutrients than usual. When this happens, supplements can come in handy. Supplements are substances you can take to make up for not getting enough nutrients in your daily life. Supplements are usually taken in pill, capsule, or tablet form, but they can also

come in powder or liquid form. In some cases, an injection may be required. See Table 1 for a list of aspects of your health that supplements can help control or improve. Many supplements also relieve oxidative stress, which occurs naturally through illness, aging, and other triggers. Antioxidants can help protect the body from some of this oxidative stress. While there are many potential benefits to supplements, they cannot replace HIV medications. There is no substitute for antiretroviral therapies when it comes to keeping HIV under control. No supplement has ever been found to reliably fight HIV, despite some manufacturer claims that their drug can do that.

Potential Health Benefits With Supplements

Table 1

• Bone health

• Brain function

• Dehydration

• Depression

• Diarrhea

• Fatigue

• Cholesterol and triglycerides • Focus • Muscle mass

• Nausea

• Neuropathy

• Sleep disorders Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art56659.html).

Find Out What May Benefit You It can be tough to determine which supplements are best because everyone has different deficiencies in certain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Have your doctor run blood tests to measure your levels of each of the nutrients listed in Table 2. If any deficiencies are found, talk with your healthcare provider about what they mean and whether taking a supplement is the best way to get your levels back up into a healthy range. While it’s still unknown for sure if supplements on top of HIV medications can improve immune recovery or function, what is known is that some supplements are a good idea for your health overall.

What About Risks? It’s important to always be careful about what you put into your body. Even though supplements contain natural nutrients, they can still sometimes cause side effects. There are also known interactions between some supplements and certain HIV medications. If you’re on HIV medication, you and your healthcare team should discuss ALL supplements you’re taking or plan to take BEFORE you take any supplement. It’s important to remember that few studies have been done on potential interactions between supplements and HIV drugs. It is possible to take too much of a supplement, which can result in uncomfortable or even potentially dangerous side effects. Figuring out which dietary supplements to use can be challenging on your own, so be sure to talk with your doctor and other healthcare providers first. Research supplements carefully on your own. Together, you can learn more about what nutrient deficiencies you may have and then compare your options to see which one(s) will best fill your needs. Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art56659.html).

Table 2

Important Nutrients

Alpha-lipoic acid:

A strong antioxidant that improves the way insulin captures glucose for later use.

Calcium:

Important for proper heart, muscle, and nerve function. Also helps prevent osteoporosis by growing and maintaining healthy bones.

Vitamin D:

Good for immune function and boosts the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

Carnitine:

Improves the ability to use fat for energy. Also called acetyl-L-carnitine or L-carnitine.

Coenzyme Q10:

Involved in the production of adenosine triphosphate, a major source of energy for cells and a driver of many biological processes. Also acts as an antioxidant. Animal studies suggest it may be an immune booster.

Vitamin B12:

Regulates the body’s metabolic processes, which include producing energy, regulating the heart, and maintaining healthy nerve cells.

Zinc:

Helps to produce testosterone and preserves sexual function. Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art56659.html).


Are Dietary Supplements

Right for You

?

To optimize your health, it may mean doing more than simply taking your HIV medications and leading a healthy lifestyle. Dietary supplements may help you get all the nutrients your body needs, but it’s important to know which supplements are right for you.

H

IV medications are the most important part of the equation for most people to stay healthy while living with the infection. However, some people will need extra help to make sure that their body maintains optimal levels of key nutrients. Most of the time, you can keep up good nutrient levels simply by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and taking a healthy overall approach to the way you care for your body. But that’s not always easy to do. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, these lifestyle practices won’t be enough to ensure that you get all the nutrients you need. When this happens, taking supplements may help fill in the gaps.

Learning About Nutrients The word “nutrients” refers to a group of chemicals that help in all of the body’s natural functions. Nutrients include vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. You can get most of the nutrients your body needs by eating food. With HIV, however, the virus can impair your immune system or force it into overdrive, making the body use more nutrients than usual. When this happens, supplements can come in handy. Supplements are substances you can take to make up for not getting enough nutrients in your daily life. Supplements are usually taken in pill, capsule, or tablet form, but they can also

come in powder or liquid form. In some cases, an injection may be required. See Table 1 for a list of aspects of your health that supplements can help control or improve. Many supplements also relieve oxidative stress, which occurs naturally through illness, aging, and other triggers. Antioxidants can help protect the body from some of this oxidative stress. While there are many potential benefits to supplements, they cannot replace HIV medications. There is no substitute for antiretroviral therapies when it comes to keeping HIV under control. No supplement has ever been found to reliably fight HIV, despite some manufacturer claims that their drug can do that.

Potential Health Benefits With Supplements

Table 1

• Bone health

• Brain function

• Dehydration

• Depression

• Diarrhea

• Fatigue

• Cholesterol and triglycerides • Focus • Muscle mass

• Nausea

• Neuropathy

• Sleep disorders Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art56659.html).

Find Out What May Benefit You It can be tough to determine which supplements are best because everyone has different deficiencies in certain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Have your doctor run blood tests to measure your levels of each of the nutrients listed in Table 2. If any deficiencies are found, talk with your healthcare provider about what they mean and whether taking a supplement is the best way to get your levels back up into a healthy range. While it’s still unknown for sure if supplements on top of HIV medications can improve immune recovery or function, what is known is that some supplements are a good idea for your health overall.

What About Risks? It’s important to always be careful about what you put into your body. Even though supplements contain natural nutrients, they can still sometimes cause side effects. There are also known interactions between some supplements and certain HIV medications. If you’re on HIV medication, you and your healthcare team should discuss ALL supplements you’re taking or plan to take BEFORE you take any supplement. It’s important to remember that few studies have been done on potential interactions between supplements and HIV drugs. It is possible to take too much of a supplement, which can result in uncomfortable or even potentially dangerous side effects. Figuring out which dietary supplements to use can be challenging on your own, so be sure to talk with your doctor and other healthcare providers first. Research supplements carefully on your own. Together, you can learn more about what nutrient deficiencies you may have and then compare your options to see which one(s) will best fill your needs. Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art56659.html).

Table 2

Important Nutrients

Alpha-lipoic acid:

A strong antioxidant that improves the way insulin captures glucose for later use.

Calcium:

Important for proper heart, muscle, and nerve function. Also helps prevent osteoporosis by growing and maintaining healthy bones.

Vitamin D:

Good for immune function and boosts the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

Carnitine:

Improves the ability to use fat for energy. Also called acetyl-L-carnitine or L-carnitine.

Coenzyme Q10:

Involved in the production of adenosine triphosphate, a major source of energy for cells and a driver of many biological processes. Also acts as an antioxidant. Animal studies suggest it may be an immune booster.

Vitamin B12:

Regulates the body’s metabolic processes, which include producing energy, regulating the heart, and maintaining healthy nerve cells.

Zinc:

Helps to produce testosterone and preserves sexual function. Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art56659.html).


Are Dietary Supplements

Right for You

?

To optimize your health, it may mean doing more than simply taking your HIV medications and leading a healthy lifestyle. Dietary supplements may help you get all the nutrients your body needs, but it’s important to know which supplements are right for you.

H

IV medications are the most important part of the equation for most people to stay healthy while living with the infection. However, some people will need extra help to make sure that their body maintains optimal levels of key nutrients. Most of the time, you can keep up good nutrient levels simply by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and taking a healthy overall approach to the way you care for your body. But that’s not always easy to do. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, these lifestyle practices won’t be enough to ensure that you get all the nutrients you need. When this happens, taking supplements may help fill in the gaps.

Learning About Nutrients The word “nutrients” refers to a group of chemicals that help in all of the body’s natural functions. Nutrients include vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. You can get most of the nutrients your body needs by eating food. With HIV, however, the virus can impair your immune system or force it into overdrive, making the body use more nutrients than usual. When this happens, supplements can come in handy. Supplements are substances you can take to make up for not getting enough nutrients in your daily life. Supplements are usually taken in pill, capsule, or tablet form, but they can also

come in powder or liquid form. In some cases, an injection may be required. See Table 1 for a list of aspects of your health that supplements can help control or improve. Many supplements also relieve oxidative stress, which occurs naturally through illness, aging, and other triggers. Antioxidants can help protect the body from some of this oxidative stress. While there are many potential benefits to supplements, they cannot replace HIV medications. There is no substitute for antiretroviral therapies when it comes to keeping HIV under control. No supplement has ever been found to reliably fight HIV, despite some manufacturer claims that their drug can do that.

Potential Health Benefits With Supplements

Table 1

• Bone health

• Brain function

• Dehydration

• Depression

• Diarrhea

• Fatigue

• Cholesterol and triglycerides • Focus • Muscle mass

• Nausea

• Neuropathy

• Sleep disorders Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art56659.html).

Find Out What May Benefit You It can be tough to determine which supplements are best because everyone has different deficiencies in certain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Have your doctor run blood tests to measure your levels of each of the nutrients listed in Table 2. If any deficiencies are found, talk with your healthcare provider about what they mean and whether taking a supplement is the best way to get your levels back up into a healthy range. While it’s still unknown for sure if supplements on top of HIV medications can improve immune recovery or function, what is known is that some supplements are a good idea for your health overall.

What About Risks? It’s important to always be careful about what you put into your body. Even though supplements contain natural nutrients, they can still sometimes cause side effects. There are also known interactions between some supplements and certain HIV medications. If you’re on HIV medication, you and your healthcare team should discuss ALL supplements you’re taking or plan to take BEFORE you take any supplement. It’s important to remember that few studies have been done on potential interactions between supplements and HIV drugs. It is possible to take too much of a supplement, which can result in uncomfortable or even potentially dangerous side effects. Figuring out which dietary supplements to use can be challenging on your own, so be sure to talk with your doctor and other healthcare providers first. Research supplements carefully on your own. Together, you can learn more about what nutrient deficiencies you may have and then compare your options to see which one(s) will best fill your needs. Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art56659.html).

Table 2

Important Nutrients

Alpha-lipoic acid:

A strong antioxidant that improves the way insulin captures glucose for later use.

Calcium:

Important for proper heart, muscle, and nerve function. Also helps prevent osteoporosis by growing and maintaining healthy bones.

Vitamin D:

Good for immune function and boosts the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

Carnitine:

Improves the ability to use fat for energy. Also called acetyl-L-carnitine or L-carnitine.

Coenzyme Q10:

Involved in the production of adenosine triphosphate, a major source of energy for cells and a driver of many biological processes. Also acts as an antioxidant. Animal studies suggest it may be an immune booster.

Vitamin B12:

Regulates the body’s metabolic processes, which include producing energy, regulating the heart, and maintaining healthy nerve cells.

Zinc:

Helps to produce testosterone and preserves sexual function. Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art56659.html).


When Traveling,

Know

Before You

T

Go

ravel for many people is inevitable with the busy holiday season upon us. Living with HIV, you run the risk of coming into contact with germs that can make you sick. Know the medical risks and take steps to protect yourself. Here’s a quick checklist you should follow before taking that trip:

1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

 Make sure you have all the HIV medication you’ll need  you’re away. while Talk to your doctor about your plans before you travel.

Plan in advance for problems that might come up on your medical insurance coverage while you’re away from home.

 Only  eat food and drinks that are generally safe. Be careful when swimming to not  any water. swallow

When traveling, be smart and use common sense. Protect your health and the health of others just as you do at home. Source: CDC (www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/brochures/travel.htm).

Preventing

Infections W

Several strategies can be used to prevent OIs from occurring, but the most important is to take strong antiretroviral therapy. This can allow a damaged immune system to recover and do a better job of fighting OIs. If your CD4 count drops below 200, your doctor may recommend that you start taking prophylactic medications in addition to your current HIV drugs. These drugs are designed to prevent OIs from taking advantage of your weakened immune system. Some OIs are sexually transmitted, but you can reduce your risk of these infections by practicing safer sex. Others are preventable with

Hepatitis C H

epatitis C infection is more serious in people with HIV because it can lead to liver damage more quickly. It can also affect how your HIV is treated. Unfortunately, many people with hepatitis C don’t have symptoms. Your healthcare provider should test your blood regularly to check for hepatitis C.

Feature:

Are Dietary Supplements

Right for You

?

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent being infected by hepatitis C. The best way is to stop injecting drugs or never to start. Substance abuse programs may help. If you continue to inject drugs, always use new syringes and never reuse or share syringes, needles, or other drug equipment. Do not share toothbrushes, razors, or other things that can be contaminated with blood. Tattooing or body piercing may also put you at risk. Always practice safe sex. Be sure to talk to your doctor to learn more about hepatitis C.

Opportunistic

hen your CD4 counts get low, you may be at risk for developing potentially dangerous infections called opportunistic infections, or OIs for short. An OI is any infection or condition that takes the opportunity of a weakened immune system to cause disease. OIs typically happen when CD4 counts get to around 200.

Protect Yourself Against

December 2012/January 2013

vaccines. With some OIs, safer food handling and preparation and becoming aware of and avoiding disease-causing organisms can prevent these infections.

Screening Matters In some cases, exposure to OIs is unavoidable or may have already occurred. To be sure, get screened upon first finding out that you are HIV-positive. This will show if you’re already exposed to an organism and give you a chance to learn about prevention for OIs you don’t have. An important step for any person is to regularly see a healthcare provider who can recognize symptoms of OIs. These HIV care providers will be more familiar with preventive OI medicines and how to treat infections. If you suspect you have an OI, tell your doctor about all symptoms you have so that problems can be diagnosed and treated early. Source: TheBody.com (www.thebody.com/content/art50042.html).

Source: CDC (www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/hepatitis.htm).

Also in this issue: The editorial content for this brochure was developed and created solely by the Patient Education Center. The content does not necessarily represent the opinions and/or views of our advertisers. Healthy Living With HIV is published by the Patient Education Center. Offices: 5 Commerce Way, Suite 202, Hamilton, NJ 08691; and 180 Mount Airy Road, Suite 102, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920. Reproduction without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. Publication of an advertisement or other product mention in Healthy Living With HIV should not be construed as an endorsement of the product or the manufacturer’s claims. Such advertising or product mentions should similarly not be construed as either influencing or controlling the editorial content of Healthy Living With HIV. The appearance of or reference to any person or entity in the editorial material (including photographs) in this brochure does not constitute an expressed or implied endorsement of the product advertised. Readers are encouraged to contact the product manufacturer with any questions about the features and/ or limitations of any product mentioned. The reader also is advised to consult appropriate medical literature and the product information currently provided by the manufacturer of each drug to verify indications, dosage, method, duration of administration, and contraindications. Copyright 2012, Patient Education Center

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Protect Yourself Against Hepatitis C When Traveling, Know Before You Go Preventing Opportunistic Infections

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Healthy Living With HIV: December/January 2013  

Are Dietary Supplements Right for You?; Protect Yourself Against Hepatitis C; When Traveling, Know Before You Go; Preventing Opportunistic I...

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