Mental health is just as important as physical health. That’s just a fact. Those of us with HAND each have our own particular symptoms and coping strategies. Listed on this page are several that have been shown to work for many of us. If you have a strategy that works for you, please feel free to share it via a response to the Resources post in Community.
Note: No links or embeds on this page are “paid endorsements.”
Mindful meditation has been shown to ease anxiety and improve focus. It can be challenging to get into the habit of meditation if this is foreign to you, but it is so worth it. There are quite literally thousands of YouTube videos with guided meditations, unguided meditations, binaural meditations — the list goes on. It has also been shown to slow CD-4 decline and help your immune system in general, so it’s a double whammy of benefits (see our Research page for more on that). We suggest that you find what works for you and use it. Here are some good guides on how to get started with the practice.
New to mindfulness? How to get started
This entire site is a good tool as you explore mindful meditation, stress, and other psychological issues.
Mediation for Beginners
If you want your meditation from a Zen perspective, you can’t do better than this.
It’s a tale as old as time: you are what you eat. Getting the proper amounts of nutrients, proteins, carbs, and lipids is only the beginning of good nutrition as it applies to HAND. Because most nutritional supplements are not as rigorously studied as medications are, we often find ourselves back in the Buyer’s Club days when trying to decide what to take and when. Listed here are things that have been shown to work for some people.
This is where I need to add the caveat: This site should never replace your health care team. If an article here strikes you as relevant, please discuss it with your provider.
Vitamin D Deficiency
As you can see from the Research page, low Vitamin D levels are a marker of HAND. It’s also a very useful vitamin for other HIV issues such as osteopenia and osteoporosis. Here’s a good breakdown of what it does and how to get it.
Improve Brain Health with the MIND diet
Alzheimer’s and HAND are not related in any way but they both have one thing in common: they are made worse by neglecting nutrition and improved by paying attention to it.
“Born as a hybrid of two existing eating styles with decades of research at their backs — the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet — university researchers developed the MIND diet to emphasize foods that impact brain health.”
We do not claim to be the only place to go to for information on HAND. There are many other places where you can learn more about how to manage your HAND. Here are just a few.
Six Things Providers Should Know About HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders
This is a very good and quite readable by the layperson article about HAND. If you read nothing else on this page, I’d suggest this one.
Living With HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders
This pamplet-style page from Australia has some good, basic info.
A Healthcare Provider’s Guide to HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND)
You are your own best healthcare provider. You can also share this with your healthcare team to give them some ideas on how best to work with you to manage your HAND.