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How Can You Actively Manage HIV and Other Chronic Conditions?

Lee Health in the Community
Author name: Sharon Krispinsky, RN, BSN, CDCES, Chronic Health Program Coordinator

What does it mean to actively self-manage your health?

When faced with a chronic health condition, such as HIV, you have a choice: You can actively manage your condition or become passive.

We all might know someone who tends to be passive with their own care. They might isolate, stop taking part in activities they enjoy, and live a more sedentary lifestyle.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can make the decision to be an active manager of your health today, right now – to put yourself in control of your condition, to stay engaged in your life, to ensure you can continue your usual daily activities – sometimes with a few accommodations – and tackle the emotional changes that come with a chronic condition.

In short, being an active manager of your health – taking a lead role in the treatment planning and execution –keeps you happier.

So how does it work?

Active self-managers of their health utilize a variety of tools to manage their conditions including healthy nutrition, physical activity, medication, monitoring, mindfulness and many more.

But a good place to start is problem solving, decision making and action planning. 

Making Good Decisions

When diagnosed with HIV, or another chronic condition, a healthcare professional will tell you all about a variety of treatment options. That means you will have to make a lot of decisions. Problem solving, decision making and action planning help you decide what tools will work best so you can start to manage your condition.

Decisions can be difficult during times of uncertainty and stress. But these three tools help empower you. They give you the confidence to work through all the complexities of your condition.

For example, your provider may suggest that you start a new medication. You have the power to decide if this is something you want to do. 

By following a reliable and proven methodology—and then trusting your gut (intuition) to guide you—you can feel confident about moving forward. 

Problems are a natural part of life. Some may be extremely stressful while others may be only minor inconveniences. The difficult challenge? Identifying exactly what the actual problem is. Once you figure that out, there are three simple steps to follow:

  • Take action
  • Develop a realistic and specific goal to work toward
  • Come up with an action plan that identifies what you can reasonably accomplish during the next week as you work toward your goal

Lee Health Solutions is Here to Help

Lee Health Solutions, a department of Lee Health, has three complimentary community self-management education programs to teach participants how to become active self-managers of their health:

  • Chronic disease
  • Chronic pain
  • HIV

The chronic disease and chronic pain workshops assist anyone no matter their health or pain condition. Lee Health Solutions’ HIV self-management program begins in January.

The virtual workshops meet once a week for six weeks and last approximately two hours.  The programs – taught worldwide – were originally developed at Stanford University Patient Education and Research Center.

During the workshop, participants will learn a variety of tools to help them feel better and enjoy life.  To register for an upcoming workshop, contact a program navigator at 239-343-9264.

Sharon Krispinsky, BSN, RN, CDE, is the Chronic Health Program Coordinator for Lee Health. Some Information on this page is adapted from the HIV Self-Management Education program offered by the Self-Management Resource Center.  For more information, log on to

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    Registered dietitians, nurses, and physicians providing education on how to manage chronic conditions and pain.