Treatment should commence immediately after a diagnosis of HIV, irrespective of viral load. The main treatment for HIV is antiretroviral therapy, a combination of daily medications that stop the virus from reproducing. This helps safeguard CD4 cells, keeping the immune system strong enough to fight off disease.
Antiretroviral therapy helps keep HIV from progressing to AIDS. It also helps minimize the risk of transmitting HIV to others.
A person still has HIV, even when the virus is not visible in test results. And if that person stops taking antiretroviral therapy, the viral load will increase again and the HIV can again start attacking CD4 cells.
More than 25 antiretroviral therapy medications are approved to treat HIV. They work to prevent HIV from destroying and reproducing CD4 cells, which help the immune system fight infection. This helps reduce the risk of developing complications related to HIV, as well as transmitting the virus to others.
These antiretroviral medications are grouped into six classes:
- nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs).
- non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs)
- protease inhibitors.
- fusion inhibitors.
- CCR5 antagonists, also known as entry inhibitors.
- integrase strand transfer inhibitors.
- Treatment Regimens.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) generally recommends a starting regimen of three HIV medications from at least two of these drug classes. This combination helps prevent HIV from forming a resistance to medications. (Resistance means the drug no longer works to treat the virus.)
Many of the antiretroviral medications are combined with others so that a person with HIV typically takes only one or two pills a day.
A healthcare provider will help a person with HIV choose a regimen based on their overall health and personal circumstances. These medications must be taken every day, exactly as prescribed. If they’re not taken appropriately, viral resistance can develop, and a new regimen may be needed.
the regimen is working to keep the viral load down and the CD4 count up, blood testing will help determine. The person’s healthcare provider will switch them to a different regimen that’s more effective if an antiretroviral therapy regimen isn’t working
Side Effects And Costs.
Side effects of antiretroviral therapy vary and may include dizziness, headache, and nausea. If side effects are severe, the medications can be adjusted.
Costs for antiretroviral therapy vary according to geographic location and type of insurance coverage. Some >pharmaceutical companies have assistance programs to help lower the cost.
Many researchers are working to develop one, there’s currently no vaccine available to prevent the transmission of HIV. Taking certain steps can help prevent the spread of HIV.
1. Safer sex.
The most common way for HIV to spread is through vaginal or anal sex without a condom. This risk can’t be eliminated unless sex is avoided entirely, but the risk can be lowered considerably by taking a few precautions. A person concerned about their risk of HIV should: Get tested for HIV. They must learn their status and that of their partner.
Get tested for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If they test positive for one, they should get it treated, because having an STI increases the risk of contracting HIV.
2. Use condoms.
They should learn the correct way to use condoms and use them every time they have sex, whether it’s through anal or vaginal intercourse. It’s important to keep in mind that pre-seminal fluids (which come out before male ejaculation) can contain HIV.
3. Limit their sexual partners.
They should have one sexual partner with whom they have an exclusive sexual relationship. If they have HIV, take their medications as directed. This lowers the risk of transmitting the virus to their sexual partner.
Other prevention methods:
Other steps to help prevent the spread of HIV include:
- Avoid sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia. HIV is transmitted through blood and can be contracted by using contaminated materials.
- A person who has been exposed to HIV should contact their healthcare provider about obtaining post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP can reduce the risk of contracting HIV.
- A person at a high risk of HIV should talk to their healthcare provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). If taken consistently, it can lower the risk of contracting HIV.
- Healthcare providers can offer more information on these and other ways to prevent the spread of HIV.
The main treatment for HIV is antiretroviral therapy, a combination of daily medications that stop the virus from reproducing.
More than 25 antiretroviral therapy medications are approved to treat HIV. They work to prevent HIV from destroying and reproducing CD4 cells, which help the immune system fight infection. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) generally recommends a starting regimen of three HIV medications from at least two of these drug classes. A healthcare provider will help a person with HIV choose a regimen established on their overall health and personal circumstances.