Managing your health: a guide for people living with HIV


How to use this book

Welcome to the fourth edition of Managing your health: a guide for people living with HIV, published by the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE). Since it was first published in 1993, Managing your health has become a “must read” for people living with HIV and those around us who seek reliable information in plain language delivered from the perspectives of people living with this disease.

This edition has a number of new features and a fresh new look. You will notice that each chapter is written by a different author, many of whom are people living with HIV, showcasing the remarkable diversity and expertise of our communities. We have included chapter summaries, highlighted key messages and added fold-out cover features, including a glossary. We hope these features will help you orient yourself and navigate easily through Managing your health. We have responded to your requests to make Managing your health more of a workbook, in which you can track your own personal health information, write notes and make the book your own. We have also included a personal health record, which you can use to keep a record of your doctors, laboratory results, anti-HIV drugs and any side effects or symptoms you might want to discuss with your doctor. Managing your health is also available on CATIE’s Web site where there are interactive links, plus health-monitoring and information features that help you personalize your copy.

Managing your health is based on values central to CATIE. This book reflects our beliefs that:

  • people with HIV can do many things to ensure that they are as healthy as possible, for as long as possible;
  • people with HIV are equal partners with their healthcare providers when it comes to making decisions about their health;
  • knowing about HIV disease and what you can do to stay healthy gives you greater power and control in a situation where you might otherwise feel powerless.

Though Managing your health is a big book, it doesn’t pretend to cover everything you will ever need to know about living with HIV. But it does provide a guide to some of the most important issues you may be struggling with, and some of the questions you may have now or in the future.

Information overload is a big challenge for people with HIV, especially if you have just found out your status. We have tried to put this book together so that you can pick and choose, taking as much information as you need. Some people read Managing your health from beginning to end. Others pick it up whenever needed and consult it about a particular topic they want to know more about. Feel free to start anywhere you like, read the information that interests you and skip the information that isn’t relevant to you. And remember that Managing your health is really a starting point for your questions. CATIE has many more resources in print and online that cover other topics or provide more in-depth information on the topics covered in this book.

We have made every effort to ensure the information in Managing your health will not become outdated quickly. Nonetheless, information about HIV changes very rapidly, so we recommend that, in addition to reading Managing your health, you also talk about your questions and issues with your doctor or a worker at your local AIDS service organization. You can also contact CATIE’s free HIV information service from Monday to Thursday at 1-800-263-1638, by e-mail at or on the web at

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