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  • Author: Marinka
  • Date Submitted: Jun 20, 2023
  • Category: General

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed serious challenges to maintaining a healthy diet and fitness level. For a person living with AIDS, this is even more difficult. Marinka, a 48-year-old Latina woman living with AIDS since 1998, was referred to Apicha CHC by her primary care provider. When she first arrived at Apicha CHC, Marinka had high cholesterol and a viral load of 140 copies/mL. A viral load indicates how many copies of the HIV virus exist within an individual, and the goal is to reach a viral load that is so low it is undetectable and untransmittable.

Apicha CHC staff connected Marinka with the nutrition health education program to help manage and improve her conditions. They scheduled her for one-on-one educational appointments and monthly group sessions. During these sessions, health educators helped Marinka set goals and make lifestyle changes to sta dedicated to HIV care, healthy eating, and exercise. Throughout the program, Marinka became better and better at meeting her goals. She began taking the stairs, walking and choosing healthy food more often. She kept up with her medication, lab appointments, and PCP visits to manage her HIV.

When COVID-19 forced millions into quarantine, it became extremely difficult for many people to keep up with exercise and healthy eating. But this was no longer a problem for Marinka. With the support of online video sessions from Apicha CHC’s nutrition health educators, Marinka has continued to sustain a healthy lifestyle during the pandemic. Today Marinka has lost five pounds and has suppressed her viral load to an undetectable level. She remains committed to working toward a healthier lifestyle, despite these challenging times.