Living With HIV and Diabetes

GettyImages-93187426Diabetes is one of the most popular chronic health conditions in the United States, and rates in New Mexico are slightly higher than the national averages. Diabetes is especially prevalent in American Indian populations and among Hispanic and African American populations – groups that are also at a higher risk of being HIV-positive. That means that many HIV+ people also face the challenges of living with diabetes, and at UNM Truman Health Services, we are committed to providing support for both of these needs!

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes generally presents in one of two ways: Type II diabetes, where the body becomes resistant to insulin as a result of obesity or diet, and Type I diabetes, where the body does not produce enough insulin, usually due to a poorly functioning or damaged pancreas.

Diabetes is treated with diet, regulating the intake of sugars and simple carbohydrates, as well as supplementary insulin or other medications. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of heart disease and kidney trouble, due to the presence of excess sugar in the blood, and diabetes can also lead to blindness, nerve damage, and other issues including reduced immunity.

Managing Two Chronic Conditions

It’s important to know that some HIV medications can increase blood glucose levels, increasing the risk of developing Type II diabetes or complicating existing diabetes. If you have or are at risk of developing diabetes, speak with your doctor about choosing the best medication to meet your needs.

Otherwise, the most important thing you can do to protect your health is to manage your chronic conditions. This includes taking all necessary medications, monitoring your blood sugar, disposing of insulin needs and diabetic testing supplies safely, and taking steps to improve your diet and lifestyle. We offer nutrition coaching through UNM Truman Health Services that can help to provide a starting point for keeping you in better health.