Steps For HIV Treatment
How HIV is Transmitted
The human immunodeficiency virus is chiefly caused by contact with vaginal fluid, semen or blood infected by the disease. HIV is typically spread via these three causes:
– HIV may be spread to infants from their mothers during childbirth or during nursing.
– Sexual contact with someone infected with HIV.
– Contact with an infected needle or syringe (Sharing needles with someone infected with HIV).
HIV Precautionary Measures Include:
– Discuss HIV and other STDs with your sexual partner.
– Learn as much as possible about your partner's past sexual behavior, other sexual partners, drug use and lifestyle.
– Use a condom every time you have sexual intercourse.
– Never share needles or syringes with anyone.
– Get tested for HIV and other STDs.
Although there is no known cure for HIV / AIDS, it is a manageable virus. Advances in HIV treatments since the HIV / AIDS epidemic began in the 1980s have helped to weaken the progression of the HIV infection to AIDS. As a result of advancements in medical research and sciences, the number of fatalities resulting from AIDS has decreased in the United States. All blood donated to blood banks and infirmaries in the United States are now tested for HIV. As a result, contracting HIV from a blood transfusion is very rare.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, there are currently thirty-one antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of HIV and AIDS. These drugs do not cure or get rid of HIV or AIDS, but they do suppress the virus and allow the infected person to live a longer, richer, healthier life. It is important to note, that although the virus can be suppressed via use of ARVs, HIV / AIDS can still be spread by the infected individual. It is important that the infected person use all precautions to forestall the spread of the virus to others.
Treatment Complications, Risks and Possible Side Effects
Like many drug treatments, the medications used to treat HIV / AIDS can cause complications and side effects. Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) on rare occasion can cause serious medical complications including: changes in metabolism and bone loss. Patients need to be aware of possible complications when taking any medication and be alert to their body's response to the drug. It is important to communicate any concerns regarding your HIV treatment with your physician.
Research has shown that HIV can create strains resistant to antiretroviral drugs when patients fail to take all their prescribed medications consistently. It is essential for patients to talk to their physicians regarding their concerns or hardships with their suggested drug regimens. Some patients experience disagreeable side effects and may have difficulty keeping up with the required daily medication schedule. If this is the case, it is recommended that the patient and physician find an alternative solution as quickly as possible as inconsistency with antiretroviral drugs may allow the HIV infection to become resistant to that specific treatment.
HIV Support Groups
Support groups and connections with others who are also living with HIV / AIDS may provide some benefit. Connecting with others who share your medical condition may provide emotional support, a sense of unity and may help prevent individuals from feeling isolated in their illness. The World Health Organization states that support groups can provide important psychosocial support to individuals living with HIV / AIDS. Becoming infected with HIV can affect all aspects of the infected individual's life as well as the life of their family and caregivers. Support groups may help HIV patients better cope with their illness. Support groups should not be used to replace professional psychological services.