We can cure people with various diseases such as hepatitis C and malaria. However, it seems like HIV is something out of the ordinary. A lot of people with the disease are suffering from life struggles. These include the constant changes in their lifestyle, the physical discomforts, the frequent exposure to stress, the buildup of anxiety and depression, and a lot more. Sometimes, family and friends’ relationship gets affected too due to patients’ constant emotional imbalance caused by the condition. Though the situation is now accepted widely, there are still a lot of people who don’t seem to take it fondly. And by that, adherence is an essential thing that HIV patients can do to ensure that their therapy is effective.
HIV’s cause of transmission is through the exchange of bodily fluids, having unprotected sex, and getting contact with contaminated needles. The virus does not disseminate through the air, water, of casual skin to skin contact. The disease affects all individuals with any sexual orientation, race, age, gender, and status. It infects cells that are part of the immune system inside the body. It targets the T-cells that mainly defend the body against fungal and bacterial infections.
HIV is a retrovirus. Meaning, it can create its genetic codes inside the body’s system from the infected cells and makes more copies of itself. During its first stage, the virus replicates and destroys the functional cells in the process. By this, patients often experience flu-like symptoms. It’s not typically a mortal danger though. But if the manifestation ranges from a few months to several years, it can be a terrible situation. Though in this period patients may feel and look completely healthy, the virus continues to replicate and destroy T-cells. And when it drops too low, there’s a more significant chance of patients contacting more severe and dangerous infections that the immune system will no longer be able to handle. When it reached that level, it now becomes an acquired immune deficiency syndrome or most commonly known as AIDS.
HIV Treatment Guide
Treatments of HIV have come a long way since its discovery in 1983. Several drug therapies can help HIV patients while scientists are still finding out the cure for the virus. These medications can help patients to live long and experience life despite their condition. With the right therapy, people can expect healthy lives and are much less likely to infect others.
It is one of the primary and effective therapies for HIV as of today. There are classes of antiretroviral drugs, and these include NRTI, NNRTI, Protease Inhibitors, Entry or Fusion Inhibitors and Integrase Inhibitors. Antiretroviral drugs work by explicitly targeting the infecting virus that already damaged the body’s cell. Though it somehow seems compelling, it still cannot eliminate the totality of HIV in the human system. But they can keep the virus levels or also known as “viral loads” in a manageable state to prevent HIV in progressing to AIDS. Many of these drugs interrupt to stop the virus from creating and replicating copies of itself. Other drugs stop HIV from spreading in the body by blocking the virus from attacking and docking on healthy cells.
Unlike before, early HIV positive patients are given a handful of prescription pills throughout the day. But now, some drugs come together as a “once-daily pill.” That is because taking medicine a day makes it more convenient to adhere to HIV medication. Since many of these drugs work against HIV differently, these drugs are often in a blended form. It prevents the virus from developing resistance and from rendering ineffective treatment.
The Drugs’ Side Effect
Yes, these drugs are helping patients and stop HIV from progressing. However, some side effects need consideration. The most common side effect of retroviral drugs is vomiting, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, dizziness, and weakness. There are also instances that some patients may develop skin rashes as well. With all these symptoms, doctors may prescribe medicines or recommend certain lifestyle changes to combat these side effects. These include proper diet, regular exercise, and drug supplements. In some unfortunate circumstances, patients undergoing HIV treatment experience other uncommon side effects. These include the imbalance of sugar and lipid in the blood. There’s also an instance of bone loss, and even abnormal fat distribution in the neck, belly, arms, or face.
Working closely with a professional doctor can help mitigate these potential side effects. However, people should understand that there is no direct solution to this condition. No treatment works accurately with different individuals because every person’s needs are different from one another. So talking and seeking professional advice is a must. With proper diagnosis and applied treatment for the condition, side effects, resistance, and incorporation of the remedy into patients’ daily lives can entirely help them find the best regimen to keep HIV in a manageable state.