Different illnesses are more likely to affect people living with HIV and/or affect them at an earlier stage than HIV negative people. These may include heart disease, some cancers, osteoporosis and disorders of the liver, kidneys and brain. So, just as you check your pockets for wallet, passport and phone before a trip, don’t travel too far on your HIV journey without knowing more about these health checks.
As well as talking to your HIV consultants at your regular appointments, make sure you are also booking in your annual health assessments. This allows you to step back, consider your long term health and plan ahead. Ask about the tests that are available to you as you age; for example, if you are over 40 years old, your clinician may want to measure your bone mineral density (BMD) and do a FRAX test (Fracture Risk Assessment Tool), which can tell you how high your chance is of breaking a bone. You can also request urinary tests such as an eGFR test which keeps check of your kidneys, or a QRISK2 test to work out your risk of a heart attack. These may sound scary but they are simple tests to keep you in the know! Use the Health MOT to help the conversation along and to make sure that both you and your co-pilot on your journey.