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HIV Fatigue


Fatigue in people with HIV can come and go. Fatigue can be related to the virus or to a particular drug or treatment or other factors (see below).

Symtoms of fatigue can include each of the following:

  • A general feeling of being tired or worn out that is not relieved by sleep.
  • Having difficulty climbing stairs or performing simple daily tasks.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Decreased sexual desire.

Factors Which Can Affect HIV Fatigue include::

  • HIV itself
  • Treatments for HIV.
  • Anemia.
    • Anemia is when red blood cell count or the quantity of hemoglobin in the blood is low. Low counts means there is less oxygen being circulated in the system. One of the early signs of anemia is fatigue.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Disruptive or not enough sleep.
    • Restorative sleep is necessary to help reduce the feeling of exhaustion.
  • Stress decreases the immune system.
  • Medications.
    • Certain medications may cause fatigue, even though they are necessary at any given time. Both medicines and the schedule on which they are taken can be changed.
  • Physiological disturbances such as constipation.
  • Pain.

A basic element of managing fatigue is recognizing what you can and cannot change. For example, you cannot change a fatigue which results from a treatment if the treatment is necessary for your health. On the other hand, you can do the following to help make you the healthiest,disease fighting, person you can be. Each of these ideas are discussed more fully in our article Managing Fatigue.

  • Communicate with your health care team.
  • Optimize nutrition.
  • Exercise (even mild exercise).
  • Conserve energy while being as active as possible.
  • Build in rest periods.
  • Keep track of your symptoms.
  • Plan work and daily activities with good days in mind.
  • Decrease stress as much as you can.
  • Get the appropriate amount of sleep (not too much).
  • Consider medication to manage side effects such as anemia or infection.
  • Get support.
  • Consider complementary therapies.
  • Beware of illegal stimulants.

To Learn More

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