Since the first time I had a chance to get into the doctor’s office after my positive HIV diagnosis, I have always heard them folks discuss these two, seemingly, important numbers:
- One being my viral load
- and the other being my T-cell (CD4) count.
See, I’m the type of patient who asks a TON of questions because not only do I need to understand what they tell me for my own sake, but I always want to be prepared for when I have to explain it to someone else.
10 years, 5 doctors later … this is the best I have for you:
Viral load – you want this number to be as low as possible. When you get it low enough, with the help of medication, the chance of you transmitting the virus is extremely low. You never want to say it’s a 0% chance of transmission – but it is pretty close.
T-cells – you want these jawns to be high, high. It is my understanding that the more of these little buddies you have, the more equipped you are to fight off any threat to your immune system.
What’s crazy about the T-cells is that HIV is not the only thing that can pose as a threat to how they function. 👀
Stress, among other things, can also affect how these vital cells function within our bodies. I emphasize this because although you may not be living with HIV, you could possibly be still putting your immune system at risk with other behaviors.
That is scary.
Tip: Pay close attention to your body. It will tell you when something isn’t right.
Understanding that I am living with HIV as well as stress has really put things into perspective for me. 🧐
I need my T-cells. I ain’t trying to die.
Seeing that my stressors are not going away and evidently neither is HIV, I had to quickly develop ways to manage all that I had going on.
Here are just a few of the ways I manage stress:
- I write. I get all of it out. I don’t have any space for it inside of me.
- I pray. Like all of the time. You would probably think I’m talking to myself.
- I call off my plans when I feel too overwhelmed. Mental health days are crucial!
What not to do: Don’t just keep taking mental health days for the hell of it. You know how we do. Sign up for a support group, therapy, or something!
🤔 Think about ways that you can more easily deal with stress in your own life. Bounce those ideas off of others.
I’m trying to make it as long as I can in this camp.
I’m not going to allow HIV or stress take me out before then.
+ Ci Ci +
* No professional or medical advice. Just my opinion. *