29.3 PLHIV should be informed about their health
Informing the PLHIV in your care about their health status builds up their confidence, thereby encouraging their active involvement in improving their own health. At each visit, you should inform patients about how they are progressing health-wise, and provide them with health information materials that are available from your health post to build their ability to manage their own health issues. When working with patients, you should ask them if they have any questions about HIV/AIDS and/or their specific health issues in a relaxed and non-confrontational manner. It is advisable to encourage PLHIV to attend their visits accompanied by members of their family or treatment supporters, especially if this helps them express any concerns they may have about their health status (Figure 29.2).
You should encourage your patients to learn, to the best of their abilities, about HIV infection, AIDS and related health problems. Understanding more about HIV may lessen a patient’s fear of HIV, and help them identify and maintain strategies to stay healthy. Knowing more about HIV may also help your patients remember to take their medications correctly and at the prescribed times, hence promoting good adherence to ART.