29.5 PLHIV should work as their energy allows, and avoid stress
Being able to work, either full- or part-time, and/or being involved in daily routines are important assets for maintaining a positive attitude and a healthy lifestyle. When discussing positive living practises with PLHIV, you should emphasise that work provides income, stability, satisfaction, friendships and fulfilment to many people, and may therefore promote their psychological and physical wellbeing. You should encourage your patients to continue working for as long as they are able to reasonably manage their workloads. In the event of episodes of ill health, it may be quite difficult to continue regular work, and PLHIV should determine whether they are fit enough for work. However, they should keep in mind that returning to work after illness may help improve their quality of life.
Avoiding stress and dealing with worries in a positive manner is also important for PLHIV to maintain their health. Specific strategies on how to deal with stress, anxiety and depression are discussed in detail in the Module on Non-Communicable Diseases, Emergency Care and Mental Health. For example, they may need to find positive ways to deal with stress such as talking with friends or family members, and avoid negative ways of dealing with stress such as abusing alcohol, chewing khat or taking other recreational drugs. It is important to emphasise that alcohol or chewing khat may make them forget their problems for a short while, but may lead them to be involved in risky behaviours such as unsafe sex.