About AIDS

Keep the ho-ho days merry!

The holiday season is here, with its unfamiliar food and drink and perhaps even a trip or two. For immune-compromised people – HIV-positive and a T4/CD4 count under 200-300 – special awareness is needed to stay


• Don't forget to take your meds! Erratic schedules are big causes for missing doses.

• Flying with lots of pills? Carry enough for 3 days (or a filled meds-minder box) with you and pack the rest in your checked luggage. If you and your bags get separated, you'll have enough to get by until either

your luggage is recovered or you get an emergency prescription. Taking lots and lots of pills in your carry-on, however, could be dicey in the current atmosphere at airports.

• Don't overparty! Alcohol and most medications don't get along well, and your liver is already stressed enough just processing the meds. Same for party drugs. Their use is also the biggest predictor that you will miss doses.

• Watch what you eat – there are nasty bugs out there. No raw oysters, steak tartar (raw beef), or raw fish (sushi/sashimi or ceviche). In Mexico or further south, don't eat raw fruits or vegetables unless they've been peeled. And bottled water only!

• When traveling, it's always good to know something about services where you're headed, in case of an emergency. Your physician can refer you to a local doc, and ASA (458-AIDS) can provide info on service agencies. The more delicate your health, the more important this could be.

• Get your rest and take it easy. Remember: the holidays are supposed to be fun, not a stress-filled chore.

Take care of yourself – and may your holidays be cheerful and light!

Have questions about HIV or AIDS? Call the ASA Info-Line at 458-AIDS or e-mail sandy.bartlett@asaustin.org.

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