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Question: I want to know how I can resist HIV. And what are the best food and material I can have to make my immune system strong and resistible for any disease? Salii.

Answer: Dear salii,

The most effective initial treatment for people that are diagnosed with HIV is highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). HAART is a combination of drugs to treat HIV. Antiretroviral drugs can increase CD4+ cell counts (white blood cells that protect the body against infection) and decrease viral load (a measurement of how much HIV is present in your blood).

HAART drugs that are most often used to treat HIV infection include:
" Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs)
" Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs)
" Nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors
" Protease inhibitors (PIs)
" Fusion inhibitors

There are potential benefits and risks of early treatment; you should discuss all the issues with your doctor before starting HAART.

For ongoing treatment of HIV one should have regular appointments with a doctor to monitor the amount of virus in the blood (viral load) and CD4+ cell counts. This is done by taking blood tests every 3 to 4 months that show how much virus is in the blood and how it is affecting the immune system. The results of these tests will help monitor the infection and help making the decision about starting antiretroviral drugs.

To make your immune system strong, make sure you eat: Protein-rich foods, a diet high in fruits and vegetables such as Citrus fruits for vitamin C and vegetable oils for vitamin E, spinach, sweet potatoes and carrots which supply beta carotene. Fish, poultry, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, cereals and legumes (peas, lentils, beans) are all good sources of minerals. Foods such as cheese, eggs or liver, which supply vitamin A.

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