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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection (cont.)

Surgery

There is no surgical treatment for HIV.

What to think about

People with HIV may need surgery for other conditions. You can have surgery if you are HIV-positive. But you may have a more difficult time healing after surgery if you have a weakened immune system.

Other Treatment

HIV can cause emotional, social, and financial stresses that significantly add to the stress of being ill. Accepting that these stresses are present and getting the education and support you need may help you manage them and improve your quality of life as well as the lives of your caregivers.

Other treatment choices

Counseling may help with the strong emotions associated with an HIV diagnosis and can reduce the anxiety and depression that often occur with HIV. For more information, see the topics Anxiety and Depression.

Reducing stress can help you better manage the HIV illness. Some methods of stress reduction include:

  • Relaxation, which involves breathing and muscle relaxation exercises.
  • Guided imagery, a series of thoughts and suggestions that help you relax.
  • Biofeedback, which teaches you to relax through learning to control a body function that is not normally under conscious control, such as heart rate or skin temperature.
  • Problem solving, which focuses on any current problems in your life and helps you solve them.
  • Acupuncture, which involves the insertion of very thin needles into the skin to stimulate energy flow throughout the body. It may also help reduce the side effects of HIV medicines.

What to think about

Alternative and complementary treatments for HIV need to be carefully evaluated. Some people with HIV may use these types of treatment to help with fatigue and weight loss caused by HIV infection and reduce the side effects caused by HAART. Some complementary therapies for other problems may actually be harmful. For example, St. John's wort decreases the effectiveness of certain prescription medicines for HIV. It is important to discuss complementary therapies with your doctor before trying them.

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